Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eggs-in-a-Basket

Note: Alex had titled this "Toad-in-the-Hole", which refers to another dish entirely. Discussion is in the comments.

This is a fun recipe (technique really) that I picked up from Melanie. She also calls it "Bullseyes" - it has a ton of names - Wikipedia lists it as "Eggs in the basket" among many, many others. You could do it with any kind of bread (a personal favorite is corn bread, then put some salsa on top). It's also quite popular with kids. One crazy variation I see online is to use waffles.



Instructional Pictures!




With ham and Swiss cheese melted on top in the toaster oven.
Ingredients:
Eggs
Bread (in slices)
S&P

Take some pieces of bread, butter both sides, and cut holes in the center (you can use a glass or cookie-cutter to do this). On medium-high heat, cook the bread for a minute or so, then crack an egg into the center. You can sprinkle on some salt and pepper at this point. When it looks cooked enough to flip, flip it, and cook as you like. Be careful not to singe the bread since the egg can take a while to cook.

If you like, you can also cook the parts of the bread you cut out. This is especially good with corn bread.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mmmm....cookies!


Betsy's Shortbread Bites
(from King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook)

These delicate cookies are tiny mouthfuls of melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. It is almost like making pastry, and not difficult at all. I saved half the dough in the fridge for later, which is my favorite way to make cookies. Not only do you have more for later (Surprise! What's in this Tupperware?) but they don't all get eaten on the first day.

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use spelt, but any old white flour will do)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/4 cup sugar (really!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
confectioner's sugar

Combine flour, sugar, butter, and salt with pastry blender or fingers. Add vanilla and mix with a fork. Cover dough and chill until firm or overnight. (2 hours is plenty)

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll small pieces of fough between palms of hands into tiny little balls about 1/2" in diameter and place on greased (or non-stick) cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 mins. or until golden.

Cool thoroughly on rack and shake them gently in a bag of powdered sugar. Make sure they are completely cool or the sugar won't stick - honest!

Best served on a cute little dish, like from your old tea party set.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Basic Thanksgiving Stuffing

Wasn't sure if I should post this since it's so basic, but this is essentially the stuffing we have all known and loved. I made it last night for a crowd and it got great reviews. I put some extra work in to use fresh made turkey broth and meat bits, but if you are making this on Thanksgiving day you will probably have timing problems unless you trim the wings from the bird to make broth instead of roasting them. You can use pre-made broth and omit the meat. This is for making the stuffing from packaged bread cubes--it will need to be altered (less liquid, more spices) if you use fresh bread.

I doubled the stuffing to make enough for 8 people + leftovers (the broth is enough for a double recipe).

Broth:

2-4 turkey legs or wings
2 Tbsp. oil
8 c. water
2 carrots, in chunks
1 onion, washed, trimmed, and cut into quarters with skin on (skins make the broth golden)
2 ribs celery, in chunks
handful of parsley stems
2 bay leaves
4-5 allspice berries
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. sage
1 tsp dill seed (optional)

Heat the oil in a stock pot and fry the chicken pieces to get golden brown edges (for flavor). Add the water and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the meat is tender or pressure cook for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the stock. Remove the meat from the bones.

Stuffing:

Preaheat oven to 350 and butter a large casserole.

1 bag (14 0z.) Brownberry sage and onion stuffing cubes
3+ c. turkey broth
1 c. cooked turkey chunks
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3/4 stick butter
2 Tbsp. minced parsley

Cook the onion and celery in the butter until they are soft and the edges are golden brown. Pour the bread cubes into a very large bowl. Add the cooked celery and onions (including the butter from the pot), parsley, turkey bits, and broth and toss gently to combine. If you like a moister stuffing add more liquid. Bake for 20-30 minutes until it is hot and the edges reach the desired crispness.