Sunday, December 16, 2012

You can never have too much butter!

I love butter so much!  It is truly one of my favorite ingredients in cooking, only surpassed by salt.  I have been using and eating "too much" butter for years.  I used to eat it on my sandwiches as a young girl. And, when I was a learning to bake chocolate chip cookies as a child, I was the only one who wanted to lick the beaters after only creaming the sugar and butter together.  Needless to say I LOVE butter.  So, when I found out there was such a drink that used butter as the garnish on top, I knew I had to try it!  My first hot buttered rum was exactly a week ago yesterday and I loved it.

Tonight, I had the privilege of hosting a Christmas party for my new friends.  We decided to watch White Christmas.  At the mention of hot buttered rum in the film, I commented, "yum, hot buttered rum!"  A friend of mine had said that she was curious to know what that tasted like.  Being someone who just happens to have those ingredients on hand I had to make of for her and myself.  Hot Buttered Rum is an acquired taste I fear, it has an extremely unique flavor.  Well, seeing as I actually was able to serve this drink on the night I planned to write the third and final post in my series of Hot Christmas Cocktail suggestions, I felt it was only appropriate for this to be the recipe that sent us out.

So here it is... no frills, no Kristenisms, just the plain strait recipe.

Hot Buttered Rum:
2 oz. Spiced (or Dark) rum
2 oz. Hot water
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
1 pat of butter on top (will melt to create a layer of creamy foam)
Ground All Spice, Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg to taste (optional)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A need for something different

I know that this is a food blog, and that my main purposes of writing here are to offer culinary tips, advice, or fun ideas.

But today that doesn't seem appropriate.  Today something tragic struck our hearts in this country and I felt the need to write about it.  I have recently just started using a new outlet for my writing in addition to this blog so here is a link to the story I posted on Storylane.  I hope you find it honest and comforting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

With the change of weather often comes seasonal sickness. My throat always could use some help this time of year.  Perhaps my most favorite warm cocktail is also one that happens to be an excellent throat soother.  The Hot Toddy is a classic cocktail that has been used by grandmothers to sooth soar throats for years, even before the concoction received its name.  Even though this cocktail can be a great for medicinal purposes, it is also a great tasty drink for any wintery day.  And, that makes it a great addition in my three part series this week.  So, continuing on with my recommendations for holiday hot drinks, I've included a recipe for my version of the Hot Toddy.  The traditional recipe uses hot water, honey, cloves, a cinnamon stick, lemon juice and whiskey or brandy.  However, like everything I like to put my own spin on things, so here's my recipe for a hot toddy.

Kristen's Hot Toddy:
1 tsp.     Honey
1/4 tsp.  Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 oz.      Hot Water
2 oz.      Blended Scotch
2 Orange Slices

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Time is Here

With Christmas just around the corner, everyone is either hosting or attending parties. Whether you are the host or the attendee, the same dilemma usually ensues. "What dish do I make?" One of the things I love most about the holidays is the food, but I have found it to be true is that no matter how delicious the food, people will always enjoy it just a little more with a really good cocktail.

So, this year, instead of agonizing over the food why not be the one to fill people's cups with cheer? There are several options whether warm or cold of drinks that are excellent for entertaining and deliciously fun. This week I will be talking about the Christmas cocktail. I will provide you with three of my favorite recipes that I've tweaked or created. So here to get us started is number 1 of 3.

Glögg Mulled wine is one of the most traditional Christmas beverages. Even though it has not been fortunate enough to find it's name in a song, it's popularity as a winter cocktail has spanned centuries and is as renown as the famous Wassail and Hot Toddy.

If you were to look for a recipe for Glögg on the internet you would find a slew of them. I have been playing with my own recipe for a while and I love this version of it the best by far.

Kristen's Glögg:
yield 12 servings
2 Bottles Inexpensive Red Wine
2 Cups Spiced Rum
1 Cup Light Rum (Optional substitute Brandy, I have done both but prefer Rum) 
1 Cup of Tripple Sec (Substitute 1/2 cup of sugar if you don't have tripple sec)
2 Oranges 2 Tbsp Whole Cloves
1 Tbsp Whole Allspice
5-7 Cinnamon sticks (plus 12 for garnish optional)

In a large pan combine the wine and 1 cup of the spiced rum. Poke the cloves into the oranges so that they look like spiked balls and add to the pot. Add allspice and cinnamon sticks. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 10 minutes until steam starts to rise or until liquid reaches 160* F. Reduce to medium-low heat and cover for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add all remaining ingredients, then cover for another 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy! Glögg is a scandinavian specialty, this is sometimes referred to as Mulled Wine or the German Glühwein. However you pronounce it and whatever you decide to add to it, hot spiced wine is one of my favorite cozy Christmas party beverages. It is not only economical to serve to several guests, but it is also easy to make.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Turkey, Turkey, Turkey

Thanksgiving turkey 1 of 2
So, you are all probably sick to death of Turkey by now.  So sick of it, in fact, that you can't stand the thought of making one at Christmas so you're thinking about buying a ham instead of cooking the 23-pounder in your freezer.  Well, I feel your pain, I am one of those crazies who actually cooked two turkeys this year and didn't even host Thanksgiving.

Turkey is one of the most wonderful parts of Thanksgiving, but the left-overs can linger on for what seems like an eternity.  So, today I thought I would share with you my ideas for turkey left-overs.  It can be far more interesting than eating Thanksgiving dinner five times over.  The ways you can repurpose turkey meat are endless.

Left overs option #1:

Turkey Stew:
This is an easy way to take a lot of the drier portions of the bird and and make them moist again.  And my favorite way to eat turkey stew is to pour a ladle of it over mashed potatoes.  The part of this dish is that you don't have to make it in any one way, you can make it however you'd like.  Just follow a basic stew recipe and add whatever you would like into it. (If you need some help figuring out what to put in your stew, here is a great recipe from Taste of Home, Just substitute turkey for the chicken--Simple Chicken Stew). My personal recipe is very simple, it's just turkey, broth, carrots, and onions, then some cornstarch or arrowroot to thicken it up.  I don't care for celery much and I don't like a lot of starches in my stew because I like to have the option of rice or potatoes later.  This is an economical and tasty way to get rid of some turkey and possibly some other Thanksgiving left overs.

Turkey stew may not have been enough of a flavor change for you.
So here's option #2:

Turkey Soya:
This is a terrific family recipe that has been handed down.  I love this dish it's quite possibly one of the easiest and cheapest ways to feed a lot of people. There are different versions of it I'm sure, but the way I made it this year was basic because I lacked some of the other ingredients and it worked out great.

(Kristen's Version) Turkey Soya:

1 Cup Soy Sauce
3 Cups of Water
1 Bay Leaf
3 Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2 Tsp. Black Pepper
3 15-oz Cans of Black Beans (drained)
or 1 1-lb bag of black beans soaked overnight (drained)
2-3 cups shredded left over turkey

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 4 hours.

Finally my favorite thing to do with turkey left overs...

option #3 anything Mexican:

I love to repurpose turkey meat for mexican food.

I recently made turkey tacos, turkey quesadillas, and my personal favorite turkey enchiladas.

All of these things are simple to make and you can find recipes for any of these dishes online.  And, don't forget you don't have to even look for turkey versions just substitute turkey for the meat in the recipe.  But, for the enchiladas I made I took the meat and repurposed it by turning it into Turkey Carnitas.  I know that seems like it's not possible but, it is and it's EASY!

Turkey Carnitas:

2-3 lbs. Shredded Turkey meat
3 Tbsp. Bacon Grease or Lard
1/4 cup WarmWater
1 Tbsp. Salt
3 Cloves Garlic

Pre-heat oven to 250*

Dissolve salt in the water. Set aside.

Heat up a large skillet (preferably Cast Iron, but any oven safe skillet will do) on stove on Medium heat.  Add bacon grease and heat until liquid in texture.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add turkey. Evenly coat the turkey with the grease and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, allow turkey to start to crisp or brown just slightly.  Remove from heat. Add salt water to hot skillet and stir turkey to evenly distribute the steam.  Put in oven for 3-5 minutes until water is fully absorbed or steamed off and turkey is moist.

Well, there you have it three different ways to eat your thanksgiving left overs without losing your mind.   What are some of your favorite things to do with turkey leftovers?