Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cake and cranberries

Carol made Mrs. Billett's white cake  with vanilla butter cream for her games group.  It was delicious and the winning cake in a Southern Living contest.  Jennifer prepared sugared cranberries to garnish the cake.  I bet that was beautiful - the white cake with the red cranberries. 
 
I first had sugared cranberries at Bengy's and made them for Christmas last year.  They were a huge hit and simple to make.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Turkey and Pie!

I found my go-to turkey recipe for Thanksgivings to come.  It was easy, flavorful and moist.  I bought the least expensive type of turkey (HEB $0.97 a pound) because the store was swarming with zombies and I had to get in and get out as quick as possible so I grabbed the first one I saw.  Later I found $6 a pound turkeys in a specialty store and I started regretting my less than a dollar a pound turkey.  But not after I tasted mine! While the Bon Appetit recipe is partly responsible for my delicious turkey, the most important step was a meat thermometer in the thigh while cooking so I could remove it at 165 degrees.  I then let it rest for 45 minutes before carving.  The turkey skin browned in the first 30 minutes and after that I kept it tented in foil and it stayed brown.  I love cooking with fresh herbs and citrus and that is what this recipe used.  I prepped the turkey the night before - herb butter on the skin and cavity and onion, orange and lemons inside the cavity.  I tucked the wings under the bird and tied the legs together.  In the morning, I added the water to the roasting pan and cooking began!

I did need more cooking time than the recipe stated but that is where the thermometer came in to play.  Do not judge by time, judge by temperature!  I think it took about 3 1/2 hours.

A lemon meringue pie was requested so I baked my first one EVER.  What a stressful experience.   The recipe was not that complicated but it does involve many steps.   First, I made this pie crust a few days in advance.  I stored in the refrigerator and then set on the counter about 30 minutes before I needed to use them.  I blind baked the shell (almost forgetting to use my pie weights!) and then let it cool while I made the filling.  The pie crust was incredibly easy and the only thing I would do differently is not pulse too many times (my butter blobs were a little too small) and then roll out thinner when putting into the pie pan.

As far as the filling, I faced and defeated my fear of custards.  I am always afraid I will end up with scrambled eggs.  I tempered the heck out of the yolks.  I practically added all of the custard to the yolks, a half cup at a time.  I definitely erred on the side of caution and it worked!  For the meringue, just when I thought my egg whites would never peak, they did.  And when put into the oven, they browned beautifully.  I let the pie cool completely, then gently tented with foil and put in the fridge.  The pie had a delicious, tart, lemon flavor without being overly sweet.  Everyone loved it AND the pie crust.  Now that I have done it once it will be a breeze to prepare again!