armadillas


Split the Big One

I’m supposed to be posting about the long hours I spent preparing Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday with my friends…but it seems the doughnuts I made tonight are taking precedent. I mean, hello! We’re talking about doughnuts here. As wonderful as my new cranberry sauce recipe is, I’m just way to excited about eating some fried dough to dwell on last week. Sure, these doughnuts aren’t 100% made from scratch. I admit the only reason these babies made it into existence is because I opened the fridge and saw a can of biscuits just begging to be made into something greater. But when you have a sudden doughnut craving, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and accept a little help from Pillsbury. I’ll make them from scratch next time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of biscuits
  • 7-8 cups canola oil

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
  • Pinch salt

Apologies (using the mighty voice of Spartacus), but I didn’t start taking photos until halfway through. It seems I’ve become so accustomed to my camera being out of commission I keep forgetting that it actually works now. Oh well. Heat the oil on medium high heat in a dutch oven or some sort of pot/pan with high sides. The oil should be over an inch deep and reach 350-375 degrees.

Meanwhile, pop that can of biscuits open and find something to start cutting holes in them with like a salad dressing bottle!

Now that your oil is nice and hot, carefully drop the doughnuts in 3-4 at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd them. My tongs were in the wash, so I used chopsticks. I really love how versatile chopsticks can be!

 

 

They cook really quickly, so flip them over after 30 seconds or so when they are golden brown. When both sides reach the desired color, carefully use your chopsticks to pull the doughnuts out and drain on some paper towels. Or some paper bags. Whatever you have handy!

 

Don’t forget to fry up the doughnut holes!

 

Once all your doughnuts are fried, you can start glazing them. Yum! Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, salt, and milk until the glaze reaches a gooey consistency. It shouldn’t be too too thick, but it’s your glaze. You have artistic license to do as you will!

Once again, don’t forget the doughnut holes!

 

Aren’t they beautiful? All that’s missing is a tall glass of milk

 

Yes please. Thank you!

 

Enjoy!

Tijuana

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Heat of the moment

So. Much. Cranberry sauce! I honestly don’t know what to do with it all. But…it was a hit at the luncheon. I’m so happy. I was really nervous there for a second. I kept thinking they aren’t going to like it. It’s too tart and is going to end up back in my kitchen again. Thankfully, that was not the case. Someone even took some of the leftovers home with them. Hallelujah! That certainly made my day. But I still have more sauce left in my fridge than I would care to have in there. So I was thinking. Why not cook it up with some pork. It’s holiday season and I always see magazines at all the sores with lovely photos of pork loin served with cranberry sauce. I could totally do that! Of course, I didn’t have a pork loin on hand, but I’ve always been one for improvisation and a couple thick cut boneless pork chops will serve the same purpose. It’s like a pork loin cut in half… right guys?

Anyway, my dinner tonight was inspired by The Pioneer Woman. I like how that woman handles here meat! She provided her own recipe for cranberry sauce, but for obvious reasons I just used the one I already had handy. But by all means, use her method. Looks pretty good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick cut pork chops, boneless
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cranberry sauce

First, wash your meat! Pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Lots of pepper. In a castiron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is nice and hot, we are going to sear our pork chops. Mmm mmm mmm. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera was back in business until this moment. Oops

 

Once it’s nice and brown on both sides (the color here does not do it justice), pop the whole thing, pan included, into a 425 degree oven

 

Meanwhile, reheat the cranberry sauce in a small pan

 

On a whim, I added some honey

 

After ten minutes, check your chops with a meat thermometer if you’re a little on the paranoid side like me sometimes

 

I seriously think my meter is broken. Either way, your meat should read 155-160ish.  Just look at that color!

 

Yum yum yum. Serve with a good glob of cranberry sauce on top. Perfect. just perfect!

 

It tastes especially good sliced and piled up on a dinner roll. Enjoy!

Tijuana


Endings

Last night I was asked to whip together a homemade cranberry sauce for some Thanksgiving luncheon today. Cranberry sauce? No problem! Actually, before last night I had never made cranberry sauce before. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever tried homemade cranberry sauce either. As with a lot of things, cranberry sauce is a new love of mine discovered a year or two ago. Can you blame me? The stuff does not look that appetizing. Jiggly red stuff out of a can…no thanks. But then one thing led to another and I tasted it and it was surprisingly yummy. If the canned stuffed is so good, imagine what the fresh stuff will taste like. So I tackled the challenge!

I didn’t follow any one particular recipe. I looked at a few recipes online and read the back of the cranberry bag and what I came up with is just a hodgepodge recipe of things thrown together. It really was not that bad for my first try. It’s tart to be sure, but we are working with cranberries. I suppose that’s to be expected.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice (or any citrus of your liking)
  • Cinnamon

Okay, I know I didn’t give you any measurements, but I have a good reason so don’t yell at me yet. See, a certain someone decided they wanted to buy 32 ounces worth of cranberries…and you really don’t need that much in my opinion. My bulk sauce took a lot longer to cook than your average run of the mill sauce so I’m going to attempt to scale it down for you guys! The way I see it, the most common method is boiling a cup of water with a cup of sugar and then adding your 12 oz bag of cranberries and simmering the whole thing together until the berries burst open and become real tender.

Well, according to this method I needed three cups of water. To play around with flavor, I did two and half cups of water and half a cup of lemon juice. I took a similar approach with the sugar; 2 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup honey. But I didn’t add the honey until after I added the cranberries. Then I just kept adding cinnamon to taste. So basically, this is how it went down:

  1. Boil 3/4 cups of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice with 3/4 cups of sugar.
  2. Add 12 ounces of cranberries and bring back to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Pour honey into cranberry mixture and stir. Sprinkle in a dash or two of cinnamon and stir some more.
  4. Allow mixture to simmer until all the berries pop and you’re cranberry sauce begins to take on the consistency of jelly, about 10 minutes
  5. Remove from heat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

My sauce took maybe 30 minutes to finally break down,which made me nervous because I read you’re not suppose to cook cranberries for more than 15 minutes, but it turned out fine. Besides, I had three times as many berries as I needed so it makes sense that it would take longer to cook. Overall, I was happy with my finished product and hopefully it will be a hit at the luncheon. Guess we’ll find out!

Also, if you neglected to notice…my camera is working again! At least temporarily. I just hope it holds up through Thanksgiving because I’m going to have lots of recipes to post and it’s just not the same without pictures.


Tijuana


Radios

I’m so excited! Every year my friends and I gather together for a pre-Thanksgiving meal. It’s been a tradition since freshman year of college. It’s one of my favorite things to do every year. As it happens, our dinner is planned for next Sunday, which I think is appropriate because it will be the end of my first week on the new job and it’s also a few days away from Sarah Beth’s birthday. Needless to say, there will be lots to celebrate the end of that week! Did I mention I’m excited? I’m really really really uber excited to see all my friends!

(Oh the kitchens of college kids)

So far, I’ve always been in charge of the turkey. Last year I tried to do some crazy spin off a turducken…but all I ended up doing was wrapping the thing in bacon. I won’t sit here and say it was a HUGE success, but regardless of looks it was tasty and the whole idea of it was fun anyway.

This year, I’m going to fry the turkey. I’ve only ever had fried turkey once and I was too young to really remember if it was as divine as everyone claims. Which of course means that I have never fried a turkey before and I’m a little nervous about the whole ordeal. Gallons of hot oil does not sound all that fun to me, but hey- after I give the bird a good rub down it’s going outside with the guys anyway and I won’t have to mess with it at all if I don’t want to. And it’s going to be delicious. Plus, that means free oven space. Win-win all across the board in my opinion.

Since I’m thinking about not being in charge of the actual frying of the turkey, I get to play around with other recipes this year. Like a cranberry-blackberry sauce. And homemade baked mac n cheese with white cheddar and gruyere and crispy bacon sprinkled on top. Oh, and let’s not forget the sweet potato souffle. Mmm with pecans and gooey marshmallows and no coconut in sight. I can’t wait to see what everyone else is bringing (hopefully some dessert!). I’m sure it’s going to be a blast. I just wish everyone could make it. We were short a few faces last year and will be short a couple this year. Guess that’s what happens when you grow up and start moving away.

But clearly, we always have a good time!