Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Black Forest Cake Day! March 28, 2011

Filed under: Berries,cake,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,holiday,Parties — hmills96 @ 10:00 am

My foodie fame at work goes beyond my delicious weekly offerings. It actually started long before my first pitch-in. We have a special, in-house instant messaging system that allows us to not only talk to people at my branch, but also the St. Pete location.

We cannot access Facebook and Twitter, and I almost hate to admit this…when I first started my new job I was having social networking withdrawals. Plus, I wanted to get to know the people I was working with. There’s a status update feature on our IM system. One day, I updated my status to tell everyone Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

The rest was history. If I don’t post an update every morning, I get 10 IMs asking what the food holiday of the day is. It’s started quite a few discussions–What’s your favorite soup/candy/pop? Every day its something different.

Today is National Black Forest Cake Day! I knew I had to make something for this holiday. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I turned this recipe into one of my trifles–it’s easier for me to transport to Indy without the whole thing falling apart. But feel free to make this into a layer cake as it was originally intended!

Black Forest Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 cans cherry pie filling
2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 Tbsp Chambord

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Cool Whip (I used two small tubs to make the trifle, you won’t need nearly as much to make the cake version)
1 Tbsp Chamboard (use Kirsch if you can find it)

Combine cherry filling, cranberry juice, and 1 Tbsp Chambord in a saucepan. Stir over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cake pans heavily with PAM or line with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In your mixer, combine butter milk, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Mix until well blended.

Pour batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool.

Mix together Cool Whip with 1 Tbsp Chambord or Kirsch.

Layer cake, cherry filling, and Cool Whip either in a trifle dish or on a cake plate. Garnish top with cherries and chocolate curls.


Pork Roast Tacos May 5, 2010

Filed under: crockpot,Family,holiday,Mexican,Pork — hmills96 @ 6:02 pm
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Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today is the day where margaritas are on sale at every restaurant that sells so much as a nacho chip and every food blogger cooks something with tortillas or tequila! Not that I’m complaining–seriously what’s wrong with tequila?

The 5th of May, in my family, has always meant Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy!! There’s an unwritten rule in our house that the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant for dinner, and I always remember going to get Mexican–Banditos in my younger days, then El Camino when they came in to town. Dad LOVES spicy food–chiles rellenos is one of his favorites!

This is old, but cute!

He would have liked this dish–it doesn’t pack much heat, but the spices are definitely there. The pork is seared, then braised for 2 hours in all kinds of deliciousness. My house smelled AMAZING yesterday when I was making this!


Pork Roast Tacos
Adapted from My Baking Adventures

Chili Spice Rub–See Below

3lbs pork tenderloin
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 dried red chiles (or a handful of red pepper flakes)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp Mexican Hot Chile Powder

Pat pork dry. Rub chili mixture into meat.

Set dutch oven over medium high heat, coat bottom with oil. Sear meat on all sides.

Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until the caramelize. Add tomatoes, chiles, cumin, and chile powder. Add 2 inches of water.

Cover and simmer for 2 hours, adding more liquid as necessary. Mine boiled down quite a bit, keep an eye on it.

Shred meat and serve on tortillas.

Chili Spice Rub
Adapted from 500 Five Ingredient Recipes

1/2 cup Hot Mexican Chili Powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
8 cloves garlic, minced fine

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Rub into meat before cooking.

**Note–Once seared, this could probably be cooked lower and slower in a crockpot, just make sure your meat is cooked thru before serving.


Strawberry Pie April 18, 2010

Filed under: Family,holiday,pie,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 9:23 am

Two posts in one morning? Have I lost my mind? I promise I haven’t–I just had another blogger friend mention they were looking for a good strawberry pie recipe, and I had made this one before I stared The Blog. I told her I’d post it.

I made this for Easter last year. I’m usually in charge of bringing a dessert to family gatherings–I think my savory dishes might be a little too over the top for my very traditional family. I knew this pie would be a big hit, especially to my dad. We used to get fresh strawberry pie at a diner in Bluffton, The Dutch Mill, when I was growing up. It was the best ever! Unfortunately, the restaurant burned down a while back, and those beloved pie recipes have never been sold.

Funny story about this pie–It ended up all over the back of J’s car on the way to Easter dinner! This pie does have a lot of sticky liquid, so if you are traveling with it, be sure to keep it level!

**A note about the measurements–this came out of a cooking textbook from a college course I took. It doesn’t use the standard cups and teaspoons, which I found very frustrating. There are tools online to help you estimate if you don’t have a kitchen scale.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

From On Cooking by Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause

Yield:  2 9 inch pies

700 g granulated sugar
240 ml water
75 g cornstarch
360 ml water, cold
2 ml salt
60 ml lemon juice
Red food coloring, as needed
2 lt fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced in half
2 pie shells, baked
Whipped cream to top

Bring sugar and 240 ml of water to boil.

Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and add to boiling liquid. Cook over low heat until clear, about 5 minutes.

Stir in salt, lemon juice, and enough red food coloring to make bring red.

Pour glaze over strawberries and toss gently to cat. Pour into pie shells. Chill thoroughly to set and top with whipped cream just before serving.


Bourbon Slush March 16, 2010

Filed under: alcohol,holiday — hmills96 @ 6:46 pm

I’ve never really celebrated St. Patty’s Day. I mean, aside from desperately trying to remember to wear green so I didn’t get pinched at school–but what awkward nerd doesn’t go through that stage? Just me? K.

But the green beer, the soda bread, all that–no, not really. Tomorrow night, J. and I are going out to a local beer bar, where a friend of mine’s dad is playing Irish music. The Fickle Peach takes their beer pretty seriously, I don’t know if there will be any green beer available, and even if there is, I can’t drink it. It will be wine for me! Either way, I’m pretty excited to actually get out and do something special!

To celebrate even further, I thought I’d share this recipe with ya’ll. It calls for bourbon, but you could certainly use Jameson! And add green food coloring for the holiday! 

Mine didn’t get slushy, for two reasons, I think:  1)  I only gave it about 4 hours to freeze. It probably needs to be made the night before. 2) I used Wild Turkey 101 which has a higher liquor content than most, so maybe I needed to add more water. Instead, I poured it over ice in my blender, which ended up doubling the recipe (like I minded that!). This will dilute the strength of the liquor (though not the flavor at all), so if you are doing this to get tipsy, you might add a little more.

This is the next day, after it had frozen completely. Looks pretty!

Bourbon Slush

From Food Alla Puttenesca

12 oz lemonade concentrate
6 oz orange juice concentrate
2 1/2 cups brewed tea, cooled
1 cup sugar
2 cups bourbon
6 cups water

Pour all ingredients into large pitcher or punch bowl. Freeze until slushy. Enjoy responsibly!


Turkey-lurkey December 23, 2009

Filed under: Fall/Winter,holiday,turkey — hmills96 @ 2:00 am

So I’m sitting here in my dining room, waiting on the browned butter and simple syrup to cool and I realized, I have been a terrible blogger lately. I set out to do the NaBloWriMo, and failed in the last week. Ugh. I hate that. And ever since then I’ve kind of fallen off the face of the earth. I have been cooking, I have a stack of recipes to share with ya’ll. But, it’s that time of year when I get terribly burnt out and all I feel like doing after work is reading in bed, which usually puts me to sleep by 9:30!

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw that two weekends ago, I threw my very first dinner party! You probably even saw this picture that I took just before my bird went into the oven:

That whole day I taunted all of you with how beautiful my turkey was looking, how delicious it was smelling, and I promised you a recipe. And oooooooooooooooh how amazing that turkey was. It was by far the best turkey I’ve ever had, hands down. Everyone who was here told me how much they loved it, demanded to know the secret, and begged me to host the party next year so I could make the turkey again. It was a very proud moment in my culinary journey.
And then I got the flu. The very next day. It was awful. It knocked me on my feet for 3 days solid. I’ve been trying to catch up every since then. So here is your turkey recipe. I’m sorry it’s just now getting posted. But look, I took pictures!

All the credit for this recipe goes to Prudence Pennywise (go check out her blog, I love her recipes). Wow girlie, this recipe is a knockout. Because it was my first time making turkey and gravy, I did not change anything in either recipe. If you can’t find sage, I bet rosemary and/or thyme would go great with this bird. Seriously, try this. I will never roast a turkey without brining it first. It makes a little bit of a mess and takes a few days of preparation, but it is so, so worth it.

Sage Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy
From Prudence Pennywise
Notes: Thaw turkey in fridge from Fri-Mon before Thanksgiving, brine from Mon-Wed night.
8 quarts cold water
1 cup salt
8 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice
1 16- to 17-pound turkey; giblets removed,
Herb butter and gravy
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 large Granny Smith apples, quartered, cored
2 large onions, quartered
1 cup apple cider

To brine the turkey:
Line extra-large pot or bowl with two 13-gallon (or larger) plastic bags, 1 inside the other. Combine 1 quart water, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice in large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until salt dissolves. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart cold water and cool to lukewarm. Pour into plastic bags; mix in remaining 6 quarts water. Submerge turkey in brine to cover completely, gathering bags tightly to eliminate any air; tie bags closed. Refrigerate turkey in brine in pot at least 18 hours and up to 20 hours.
Line large roasting pan with 4 layers of paper towels. Remove turkey from brine and drain well; discard brine. Place turkey in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For herb butter and gravy:
Mix parsley, sage, and nutmeg in small bowl. Transfer half of chopped herb mixture to small bowl; mix in 1/2 cup butter.
Combine broth and apple cider in heavy large saucepan. Boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. Pour broth reduction into bowl. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in same saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Whisk in broth reduction, then cream, and remaining chopped herb mixture. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until gravy base is thickened and reduced to 2 3/4 cups, whisking often, about 20 minutes. Cool gravy base slightly. (Gravy base and herb butter can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

To roast the turkey:
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Remove turkey from roasting pan; drain any accumulated juices from main cavity. Discard paper towels from roasting pan. Melt herb butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Brush bottom of roasting pan with some of herb butter. Return turkey to prepared pan. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Place some apple quarters and onion quarters in main cavity. Brush remaining herb butter over turkey; sprinkle with pepper. Scatter remaining apples and onions around turkey in pan.
Roast turkey 1 hour. Baste with 1/2 cup apple cider. Roast turkey 30 minutes. Baste with remaining 1/2 cup cider. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting turkey every 30 minutes with pan juices and covering breast loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about 2 hours longer (3 1/2 hours total). Transfer turkey to platter; let stand at least 30 minutes before carving (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
Discard apples and onions from pan. Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup; spoon off fat from surface. Pour
degreased juices into gravy base and bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Boil until gravy thickens enough to coat spoon and is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season gravy to taste with pepper.
Serve turkey with gravy.


Uh oh! November 20, 2009

Filed under: Fall/Winter,holiday,NaBloWriMo,pie,Pumpkin — hmills96 @ 1:56 pm

Well, it finally happened. I forgot to do a post. I was not in the best of moods last night and I just gave up and went to bed. I didn’t remember until about 3 am that I hadn’t written a blog!

So to make up for it, you get two posts today.
The first recipe is going to be a pretty standard pumpkin pie recipe, but I know everyone is looking for the best one right now, so I thought I’d help you out with your search. I made this one last year and it went over pretty well.
Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup ice water

In food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter and process until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add water and process until dough balls. Flatten to disk, wrap in plastic. Store in fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Roll out dough for pate brisee. Place in pie pans. Wrap in plastic and chill again for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie

3 large eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375.
Lightly whisk eggs. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until filling is set and crust has browned.

Missing Recipes… November 18, 2009

Filed under: Family,holiday,NaBloWriMo — hmills96 @ 2:45 am

For the most part, we are moved in and unpacked. We are down to the boxes of crap that we just don’t know what to do with. The stuff that I just need to take a weekend and get out of the boxes and put away, but a lot of it is decorative stuff, or stuff for our living room. The problem? We don’t have furniture for our living room. I also don’t have the bookshelves for my office, so a lot of that stuff hasn’t been unpacked yet. So I have a bunch of random junk boxes in my garage. It is driving me CRAZY!!! I am constantly running into nights like tonight, when I need something, that I know I have somewhere, but can’t find it anywhere. I looked through every single one of those boxes. I had a very specific recipe I wanted to share with you guys, but it is in my recipe box that has not appeared yet. Urgh I am so frustrated!

Instead, I pulled out the recipe book that my sister made for my wedding shower. I found this simple recipe from my mom that made my mouth water with nostalgia. I remember munching on these at Thanksgiving every year, but I never realized she was the one who made them. Although as I’m writing that, I have the vague memory of eating them warm out of the oven…mmmm…. Anyway, I haven’t made this recipe myself but these are fantastic, trust me. And the recipe looks fairly simple to make (and knowing Mom, it has to be simple to make. LOVE YOU MOM, but I know how much you to hate to cook!)
Oyster Crackers
From My Mom
1 pkg oyster crackers
1 cup Wesson oil
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
Mix last 3 ingredients, add crackers. Spread onto cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 1/2-2 hours. Stir every 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container. Wash entire kitchen 3 times until there is no trace that you did any cooking in the last 6 months. (Hehe *kiss*)
Note–As you can probably tell…this post is all in good fun. My mom and I are two very different people. She loves to clean, I love to cook. We tease each other quite a bit about each others strong points (like when I knew that the mystery sauce served with the asparagus at dinner the other night was beurre blanc. I never heard the end of it.) My mom and I fought like cats and dogs when I was in high school, but now that I have moved out, we spend as much time as we can together. Love you Mom!!!!