Sunday, December 31, 2017

Curried Chicken Gizzards

2017 was a weird year, am I right?
For the last post of 2017 I decided to share a weird recipe. 
Have you ever had curried chicken gizzards? Growing up they were one of those foods I remember because I was always completely grossed out by the thought of them. I got in big trouble one year because I told Sue what gizzards were. See.... she used to love them until I told her what the gizzard was and what the chicken used it for. Big surprise - now she doesn't like them. My parents were not pleased with me. 
Anyhoo..... childhood shenanigans aside.... this recipe is one that needs to be tasted before being judged. It's not the prettiest but it is delicious, I swear. (I tasted the sauce, not the gizzards, but my parents loved it) 
We're ending 2017 with some weirdness - here's hoping 2018 brings a little more. 
Weird is good. 

Curried Chicken Gizzards

2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb chicken gizzards
1 cup water

Prep your ingredients. 

In a large frying pan oven medium heat, heat oil until sizzling. Add in onion, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. 
Add in the diced tomato and spices and cook another 2 - 3 minutes.
Add in the gizzards and water.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour (to an hour and a half) - until gizzards are tender. Stir the dish every 20 minutes or so to make sure it is not burning.  
After an hour or so the sauce will be reduced and the gizzards should be tender. Serve with rice or quinoa.

Happy New Year to all our readers! We hope to see more of you in 2018. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cinnamon Cheesecake Pie

When I first heard about cinnamon pie I was curious.... I mean, how exciting could a pie made of cinnamon be? Well, it turns out there are a lot of variations on cinnamon pie and the one I went for - the cheesecake-y version - is very exciting. 
Dense and squishy like a cheesecake, crust on the bottom like a pie, and all that spicy, cinnamon-y goodness inside. This worked really well for Christmas dinner as a small slice will do so you can get a lot of servings out of one pie: unless you are me and you enjoy eating a LOT of super rich dessert until you feel like exploding. In that case, you will not get a lot of servings. 
Anyways, we love trying different desserts and this one is definitely that. 
Different is good. 

Cinnamon Cheesecake Pie

pie crust for a 9 inch pie

8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup whipping cream (or heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

extra cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350. 
Place pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan and set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth, scraping sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk. Beat in the whipping cream and vanilla. 
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. 
Pour into prepared pie shell. 

Bake at 350 until pie is set, about 40 - 50 minutes. Remove from heat to wire rack and let cool completely. 

When pie is cool, prepare whipped cream topping.
In a mixing bowl, beat together whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of pie. If desired sprinkle with a little more cinnamon for decoration. 

Cover and chill until ready to serve - at least 2 hours, up to overnight. 

I really liked this dessert. Sue, not so much. But then, she's not a huge cheesecake fan. *cough* weirdo *cough*

A little goes a long way as this pie is rich, sweet, and dense. Leftovers will last a day or two, covered, in the fridge before the pie crust starts to get too gummy. 
Are you a fan of cinnamon? If so, you should definitely give this treat a try. 

Be sure to visit Carole's Chatter for more fun foody links!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Dinner 2017

Sue hosted our family's Christmas dinner again this year. Once again we over did things, as is family tradition. Below we are posting photos of our meal and we have included links to recipes and how-to's where applicable. 
Sue and I hope you had a great holiday season and look forward to sharing more recipes and fun with you in 2018! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

This year our Turkey was a masterpiece. Our nephew, Jordan, and Sue's hubby, Rob, deep fried it! This was probably the best turkey I have ever eaten. Not even lying. I've uploaded some video that Jordan shared on Snapchat - sorry about the swear on the one, I couldn't take it off! lol
Jordan and Sue's husband, Rob, took a lot of safety precautions to make sure there was no turkey accidents. They did it outside in the middle of the yard wearing some welding equipment. We are nothing if not cautious!

(above) Putting the turkey in the oil. 

(above) Taking it out after 35 minutes

(above) Walking it to the tray.

(above) Admiring the end result. Notice the extra steam as it was -17 out that night. 
Everyone in the family gets excited to try new recipes and cooking methods.... especially when there is danger involved. 

It pays to have a professional butcher in the family!

The light and dark meat were sooooo moist and the skin was ridiculously crispy. 
Jordan and his big brother, Travis, also brought our mom and dad a duck from their hunting trip.

We roasted it for Boxing Day lunch. It was tasty too. 
Aaaaaand..... of course, we had to have some super moist and delicious ham for dinner as well. 

Normally ham is my favorite but that turkey was amazing. 

Our sister, Orra, brought some salt & pepper ribs. We do love to have options...

For the sides - Sue made these super cheesy mashed potatoes which were heavenly. 

And, speaking of potatoes, Rob thought it would be a good idea to cook some home fries in the oil after the turkey was done cooking. Turns out he has some fabulous ideas sometimes. 

Sue also made some bacon wrapped roasted yams and Brussels sprouts. Needless to say there were no leftovers. 

We went with Stove Top Stuffing instead of homemade this year. I love Stove Top - probably even more so than homemade, which is weird because 99% off the time homemade is better. #notinthiscasethough

Orra also brought ambrosia salad - side or dessert - either works for me!

Orra also tried to healthy us up a bit with some yummy green salad and tangy vinaigrette. Tried being the word to focus on there.....

The turkey gravy was also fantabulous this year, as always, Sue is an excellent gravy maker!

Along with chips and deviled eggs and a pickle tray and garlic stuffed olives it was a pretty good spread. Of course, it's not Christmas without desserts!

We decorated some sugar cookies this year - Sue even held a cookie decorating party which was tons of fun. You can check out our Instagram (joandsue on Instagram) for photos from the cookie party. 

I made Butter Tart Cookies (Recipe HERE) that were a huge success. 

Christmas Crackle was also on the menu this year. Who can resist this crunchy caramel-y treat? Not me, that's who. Click HERE for the recipe. 

Another favorite this year? Old Fashioned Soft Molasses Cookies. I'm noticing I have a lot of favorites. I may have a problem.... (Click HERE for the recipe)

I also made Creamsicle Shooters. They are super-de-duper easy (1 (4 serving size) pkg of vanilla pudding, 1 (15 oz) can of Mandarin oranges, half drained, and 1 container (about 2 cups) Cool Whip. Beat together with an electric mixer and put in shooter glasses, top with a mandarin slice and chill at least 2 hours before serving. They can be made a day ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge. 

I started out making a berry pavlova but my meringue fell apart. Not one to give up, I threw a bunch of ingredients together and came up with these Angel Food Dream Cups. Sometimes fails can turn into wins! (Click HERE for the recipe!)

I made a Traditional Christmas Pudding and absolutely fell in love. (Click HERE for recipe
No more store bought for me!

Lastly I made a Cinnamon Cheesecake Pie. It was a cross between and a pie and a cheesecake and was lovely. Definitely something you want to try if you are looking for something different! Click HERE for recipe! 

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that 2018 brings you happiness, health, and peace!
We hope you will come back and visit us again. :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Traditional Christmas Pudding with Rum Sauce

Every year we used to buy a Christmas pudding to steam for dessert, usually for Boxing Day, and proceed to smother it with rum sauce and dive in. Personally I was not a huge fan of the actual Christmas pudding but drown it in enough rum sauce and it was delicious. 
The last 2 years we haven't been able to find any Christmas pudding in town so I decided to make my own this year. I figured it would be something really complicated and expensive to make. Nope. Turns out it is pretty darned easy and not expensive at all. 
Best of all? It tastes even better than store bought. 
I found this recipe in the tin under our cupboard so I'm not sure who to credit for the original recipe. The rum sauce recipe is our mother's. 

Traditional Christmas Pudding with Rum Sauce

3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups raisins
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup peeled and grated potato
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda

Rum Sauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream (or heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp rum

Prepare pudding - Spray heat safe bowl with cooking spray, set aside. (Makes one large pudding or 2 or 3 medium sized puddings)
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed. Add in raisins, carrot, potato, and egg.

Beat until well combined.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, spices, and baking soda.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined. Batter will be very stiff. 
Fill the prepared bowls with the batter, leaving about 1 inch between the top of the bowl and the pudding for it to rise. 

Cover the bowl with a piece of parchment paper, followed by a piece of tinfoil, secured with a string. 
Place in the top of a double boiler.

Cover the double boiler with a lid and steam the pudding for 2 to 3 hours, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. (I did 3 medium puddings and 2 hours was just right. A larger pudding will require more time!) Be sure to check that the bottom of the double boiler does not run dry! 
When pudding is done, remove from steamer and place bowl on wire rack.

Run a knife around the inside of the bowl, then invert on to a serving plate. Serve warm with rum sauce. **NOTE** - Pudding can also be made to this stage, cooled, and then either frozen or placed in fridge. Puddings can be frozen for several months or refrigerated for several days if covered well. 

If you freeze your puddings, simply let thaw in the fridge and then steam again for about 20 minutes to reheat. No need to cover the pudding, just place it in the top of a double boiler and steam until heated through. 

While pudding is steaming, prepare rum sauce.
Prepare rum sauce - In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla. Bring to a boil and then simmer, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Serve warm over the pudding.
To serve - Place warm pudding on a serving plate.

Cut slices and place on individual serving plates. 

Pudding can be served like this.... but is ever so much better with rum sauce!

Top with as much of the warm rum sauce as you like. 

Add a dash of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. This is optional but makes it even more amazing. 
FYI - If you don't have a double boiler you can steam the puddings by using a large pot. Simply place a mason jar ring or something similar on the bottom of the pot, place the bowl of pudding on top of the ring to keep it off the bottom of the pot, pour water into the pot, no more than 1/3 of the way up the side of the bowl, then cover the pot and steam for 2 - 3 hours, until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Make sure the pot doesn't boil dry. 
Who knew carrots and potatoes could make such a delicious dessert?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Crackle

This is one of those recipes that everyone makes and calls by a different name.  It can be made with saltine crackers, graham crackers, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, topped with nuts, sprinkles, and the list goes on. It goes by the name Holiday Crackle, Christmas Crack, Almond Roca, Saltine Toffee, Mock Almond Roca, Soda Cracker Candy, etc...
Basically it's a crunchy base topped with caramel and then topped with chocolate. 
We have always made it with graham crackers in the past but this year our sister, Orra, found a version on the Tenderflake website that used pie crust as a base. I was hooked. I mean.... pie crust topped with caramel and chocolate? Sign me up. 
I changed the recipe very, very slightly so be sure to pop over to the Tenderflake website for the original version (HERE)

Christmas Crackle
(Ever-so-slightly adapted from Tenderflake)

1 box Tenderflake pie shells (regular or deep dish)

Caramel Layer
1 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed

Chocolate Layer
2 cups chocolate chips (milk or dark)
3 Tbsp coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Thaw pie shells according to package directions.
Remove both pie shells from the tinfoil pans. Press onto the prepared cookie sheet using your fingers. Try to gently press together any cracks that appear.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. 
While crust is baking, Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Stir until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil and then boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown. Remove from heat and pour over the baked crust. Spread evenly with a spatula. 

Place cookie sheet back in oven and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place on wire rack to cool for about 2 - 3 minutes. 

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and let sit to soften for a minute.

Spread the chocolate gently with a spatula. Sprinkle with the sea salt. 

Pop the pan into the freezer for 15 or so minutes to harden the chocolate. 

Now you can simply break into pieces. It stores well in an air tight container for a week or more. It also freezes very well. 

Not only does this taste amazing, it is super easy to whip up (from start to finish in about half an hour), and it makes great gifts to give family and friends. 
One of those indulgent treats that helps make the holidays even better! 

We're sharing over at Carole's Chatter. Be sure to pop by!