Monday, December 27, 2010

Maple Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping

On Thanksgiving I wanted to make Yams, but my Mother In Law cannot tolerate Gluten. I wanted to make something she could enjoy other than Mashed Potatoes.

I searched and found this wonderful recipe on the Epicurious Website. It is amazing, in fact my husband ate Yams for dessert instead of pie! That is how good they are!

From now on, this is the only way I will be making yams! and the good news, you can make it Gluten Free by omitting the flour in the topping, which I did!

4 pounds yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used about 1/4 cup)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup all purpose flour (Omit this for a Gluten Free version)
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

PreparationPreheat oven to 400°F.

Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add yams. Cook until water returns to simmer, about 4 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water.

Arrange yams in prepared dish, overlapping slightly. Season with salt. Pour syrup over yams. Dot with 3 tablespoons butter. Cover and bake until yams are almost tender, about 25 minutes.

Mix flour and brown sugar in medium bowl. Add remaining 5 tablespoons butter. Rub in with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in pecans.

Sprinkle pecan mixture atop yams. Bake yams until tender, about 20 minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cool. Cover and let stand at room temperature. (You can rewarm, uncovered, in 375°F oven 20 minutes.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cashew Brittle

I love to make food related gifts for the Holidays, on tap this year are Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods, Fudge, White Chocolate Bark and my famous Cranberry Orange Bread.

My Father In Law, whom I love to spoil, wanted some Cashew Brittle. He had fond memories of the Brittle his Sister made. I trolled around the interwebs and found this wonderful little recipe from Alton Brown. The addition of Cinnamon and Cayenne makes it not so sickly sweet and very interesting! The original recipe called for nuts, but my Father In Law wanted Cashews!

1/2 cups lightly salted, roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I recommend using less)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I recommend using less)
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Vegetable oil, for coating the saucepan
Softened butter for spatula
In a small bowl combine peanuts, cinnamon, and cayenne. Set aside.

Brush the inside of a medium sized heavy saucepan with vegetable oil. Add the sugar and water to the saucepan, cook over high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it comes to a boil.

Stop stirring, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the sugar is a light amber color. DO NOT STIR

Stir in peanuts. This will greatly reduce the temperature of the sugar so work quickly. Once evenly mixed, pour mixture onto a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or buttered parchment paper.

Using a buttered spatula, spread thin. You will have to work quickly when pouring out and spreading the mixture in the pan. If necessary, in order to achieve single layer of peanuts, top with second sheet pan whose underside has been buttered.

Cool completely and then break into pieces.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bean and Bacon Soup

First off I apologize for being MIA the past few weeks, the hubsters was on vacation and I have been super busy since then, I have missed you!

My husbands favorite Campbell's Soup is the Bean and Bacon variety. We don't really eat canned soup anymore as I make soup from scratch about once a week or so. I wanted to try to re-create the same flavor and consistency of the Campbell's Soup. I gave some to my Father In Law and he loved it as well, it does not get any better than that!

I have to admit I tried to make what I thought Ham Stock would be (smoked ham hocks and veggies) lovingly cooked all day, and ended up with a large bowl of Ham Jello. I should have consulted with my husband on that. So I ended up using Chicken Stock. It still turned out incredibly well. I doubled the recipe below.

2 cups Navy Beans - soaked overnight
1/2 pound good smokey bacon
3 medium carrots minced small
3 celery stalks minced small
1 medium onion minced
1/2 tsp Thyme
2 cloves garlic minced
4 ounces tomato paste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes or more to your taste
6 cups Ham Stock or Chicken Stock
1 TBL White Wine Vinegar
2 drops Liquid Smoke
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dice your bacon into small squares, saute in a stock pot until the fat has rendered and you have small crispy bacon bits, remove with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Keep the bacon grease!

Saute your carrots, celery, onion and thyme in the rendered bacon fat for 5 minutes or so until the onions are translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until beans are tender about 3 hours. Foam will rise to the top of the soup, skim it off...

Remove 2 cups of soup and puree and add back to the pot (this will thicken the soup)

Serve with Cornbread.

How to spatchcock a chicken or turkey!

Finishing some of Cheryl's drafts... Keeping spatchcocking simple. Using a VERY sharp cleaver or kitchen shears -- not scissors, carefu...