Search This Blog

Monday, November 30, 2009

Attempts at Food Photography

I have been trying to practice getting some shots. I know I need better lighting since the lighting, or shall I say lack of lighting, coming in my house is crappy. If anyone reads this and has pointers please leave a comment or email me.

A few Thanksgiving recipes

No matter what the family get-together I always seem to get carried away. Hey what can I say, I love to cook. As in a previous post, I stated that lately I have been getting back into creating my own recipes. Small thought they might be, I figured I have to start again somewhere, right?

Well, here we have Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Curried Corn, Orange Cranberry Sauce, and Mulled Cranberry Juice(not pictured).

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Recipe by Devona McGill

1 cup pumpkin puree
5 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 ½ lbs. stale bread, cubed (I use Challah)

350 degrees
45 minutes

Whisk the first 8 ingredients together in large bowl. Put bread cubes in and stir to coat with mixture. Pour into parchment lined pan of your choosing (I used a 10 inch round pan with removable bottom). Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

* You will have to adjust the time accordingly if you use a larger pan which would be done in less time.

Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Everybody has their preference, so if you like yours hot like I like mines then you could eat it immediately. I however, think it taste better after putting it in the refrigerator to cure over night and then warming in the microwave.
Quick Curried Corn
Recipe by Devona McGill

2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup onions, chopped
16 ounces frozen corn, thawed
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt

Heat butter in sauté pan, add onions and sauté until onions are soft. Add corn and sauté for 5 minutes. Add last 5 ingredients and stir constantly for 1 minute.
Serve immediately
Orange Cranberry Sauce
Recipe by Devona McGill

12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 ¼ cup sugar
Zest from 2 oranges (preferably organic)
Juice from 2 oranges + enough water to make 1 cup

Put all ingredients into saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Boil on high until cranberries pop, about 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and cool to warm temperature.
Mulled Cranberry Juice
Recipe by Devona Mcgill

8 cups Cranberry juice
½ cup brown sugar
Sprinkle allspice
2 star anise
½ tbsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange (preferably organic), peeled

Pour cranberry juice into Crockpot. Add brown sugar and allspice, stir.
Toast star anise, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in frying pan until you smell their aroma. Put toasted spices and orange peel along with the orange in cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth and place inside Crockpot. Turn Crockpot to low and heat for 3 hours. Take cheesecloth out of Crockpot and serve.

Who needs fast food? Homemade bacon, egg, and cheese...

I have been making these biscuits for years and during those years I have been very guarded with the recipe. Well I have changed that, especially since so many of you bloggers share your own recipes. My girlfriend, Gwen, makes it a point to request these biscuits as often as possible. For Thanksgiving I made Dorie Greenspan's Sweet Potato biscuits and Gwen just happened to be one of the only ones to not get at least one. She was very vocal about it on Sunday, so she asked for my regular biscuits.

I have made and posted these biscuits before, but this time I went for the bigger and crispier edged version.

Well here they are and guess what? The recipe is below. Don' t stop at the pictures, okay.
Keep going....
okay here you go.

Recipe by Devona Mcgill

3 cups of self rising flour (I use Southern Biscuit)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

400 degrees oven
Makes approx. 8-12 biscuits

In mixing bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk just until wet. Pour mixture out on lightly floured counter and knead a few times to bring all loose pieces together. Roll the dough to about 1 inch and using a floured cutter of your choosing, cut biscuit as close together as possible. Place biscuits on sheet pan, about 2 inches apart for crunchy sides or close to each other for softer sides. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All

This year has been one of many changes for me as well as the world. There have been new additions in my life such as this blog and all the chances to make food that I always wanted to make, but never attempted. I have been trying to get back into writing my own recipes, with hesitation, so that I have something to pass along to other family members.

Then there's the hard times, money is not as prevalent in many households. People are getting crazier and crazier, yet others are getting more caring.

One thing that remains the same is my family and the love we have for each other. Throught the good and bad times we still have each others backs. On this gorgeous Thanksgiving Day I want to give thanks to God for All He has given me and mines.

I hope everyone out there has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fresh pasta is the business...

Finally, finally, finally, I have gotten around to making fresh pasta and I must admit I am hooked. I have read about it in blogs and read books speaking on the ease of making pasta from scratch. Let me just tell you, it is easy and addictive. Did you hear me? If not let me shout it from the rooftop...*climbing up* "IT IS EASY AND ADDICTIVE!!!!!" *climbing down*

The first time making pasta I decided to be ambitious. Most people would just make plain and they would probably make any ribbon kind. No, not me, I had to be THAT one. The one who says "I want spinach tortellini". Well, spinach tortellini it is.

The time spent kneading the dough(about 10 minutes) and the time spent waiting for the dough to rest(1 hour) was well worth it. My girlfriend Gwen and I worked together to make the filled pasta and had fun while doing it.

Early in the day I had made pesto sauce and I also made a cheese sauce to have a little variety.

Needless to say I will be making pasta a lot more.

Spinach Pasta Dough
Makes about 12 ounces

6 ounces Fresh Spinach, washed well and trimmed
1 large whole egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. all purpose flour, more for dusting
1/2 tsp. coarse salt

STEAM SPINACH Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and fit with a steamer basket. Bring water to a simmer, then place spinach in basket and cover. Steam until leaves are bright green and softened, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then thoroughly squeeze out liquid in a clean towel. Chop spinach coarsely; you should have abour 1/3 cup.

MIX DOUGH Combine spinach with egg and yolk in food processor, and process until well combined. Add 1 1/4 cups of flour and salt and process until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds.

KNEAD AND REST Turn out dough onto well floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding up to 2 tbsp. more flour if dough is too sticky. Form dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic, and let rest 1 to 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.

Roll out by hand as thin as possible or use a pasta machine and cut into desired shapes. If you are making filled pasta fill immediately.

Martha Stewart's Cooking School
Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook
Pasta section pages 362-371

Monday, November 16, 2009

The donut dough being cut
Frying cake donuts

Chocolate powdered donuts

Chocolate on chocolate
I have made donuts before and decided that I wanted to try chocolate ones, well these were not what I expected. I couldn't even taste the chocolate in the plain donut so I figured I would dress them up for some pics. I am still on the search for a good chocolate donut recipe, so if anyone has one let me know.

Chocolate Doughnuts
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 ozs. unsweetened chocolate

Melt butter and chocolate, set aside. In a mixing bowl stir together 2 1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt. In large mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer till thick. Combine milk and butter/chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to egg mixture, beating just till blended after each addition. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour. Cover dough; chill about 2 hours.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 in. thickness. Cut woith a floured 2 1/2 in. doughnut cutter. Reroll as necessary.

Fry two or three doughnuts at a time in deep hot fat(375 degrees) about 1 minute on each side, or until golden, turning once with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, pg.68
These were just some apple pie wontons. I made the filling to use up some apples before they went bad. After making turnover i had some filling left and decided to use the wonton wrappers in the fridge. I handed them out to neighbors and needless to say they didn't last long.

Macaron Attempt for Daring bakers

My macarons turned out pitifully there are no words I can use to describe them. I tried two times and both times they were flat. Next time I will use Martha Stewart's recipe to see if I can get them right.