Recipes @ Suite101.com: 2011

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to Ship Christmas Cookies

If you're shipping Christmas cookies this holiday season, it helps to keep a few tips in mind to make sure your baked goods reach their destination safely. Air-popped popcorn makes inexpensive, excellent packing material. Plus, it's environmentally sound. The popcorn will also soften the impact of any bumps your package will encounter along its way. 

Taking time to prepare your cookie tins properly will also minimize the risk of having your cookies crack or crumble in their journey. Line the bottom of a cookie tin with a layer of parchment paper topped by a layer of waxed paper. To achieve a perfect circle, use the top of the cookie tin as a pattern or use a Fiskars Rotary Cutter. Line the inside of the cookie tin with a strip of corrugated cardboard cut to fit the dimensions of the inner edge of the tin and the ends taped together at the seam. Carefully place cooled cookies in tin. Cover cookies with a round of parchment paper. If your cookies are particularly fragile or are a wafer-type cookie, place a round of parchment paper in between each layer of cookies.

To embellish the outside of the tin, tape a strip of corrugated cardboard around the outside of the tin. Secure in place with a ribbon. Add any festive touch you prefersuch as an evergreen sprig or a nonbreakable ornamentand attach a label to the tin.

Place a scoop or two of popcorn into the bottom of your shipping box. Set the tin in the box and cover with a layer of popcorn. If you plan to send several tins, set up your packing materials in assembly-line fashion. Make sure the tin and your packing material fit securely in the box. The less opportunities you allow for shifting, the better chances you'll have to ensuring your baked goods won't get damaged during shipping. Seal the package shut with tape. Reinforce corners of the box with tape. Attach a big label to the box. Complete the label with the required information and send off your package.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Candy Corn Votives

Jack-o'-lantern bright and trick-or-treat sweet, these easy-to-assemble candy-corn votives will shed a festive orange light on Halloween high jinks. Fill the bottom of a plain glass jelly jar with a handful of candy corn--enough so that when you set a smaller glass votive on the surface of the candy, the top of the votive is flush with the top of the glass. Place a candle inside the votive glass, wick pointed upward. I like to use tea lights, which give off a glow from the center of the votive, since they are shorter than traditional votive candles. Fill in the space between the circumference of the votive and the edges of the jar with candy corn so that the votive itself disappears. You'll need about a cup of candy corn per light. Nibble only when you've blown out the candle.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vanilla

Vanilla Crescents
Discover wonderful recipes celebrating vanilla, including a decadent Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla-Bean Rhubarb Sauce and Vanilla Crescent Cookies. Plus, more sweet ideas for cooking and baking with vanilla.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sweet-and-Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Some families often challenge one another to create the year's scariest jack-o'-lantern. Roasted pumpkin seeds, seasoned with a generous sprinkling of salt, are a bountiful by-product of this annual competition.

I've updated this seasonal favorite by using such flavorful seasonings as coriander, cinnamon, ginger and freshly ground black pepper. For best results, pumpkin seeds must be dried in the oven before tossing them in the spices.

Whether for cooking or carving, choose an unbruised pumpkin that feels heavy for the size of the pumpkin; it will keep, uncarved, in a cool, dry place for up to a month.

RECIPE

SWEET-AND-SPICY PUMPKIN SEEDS

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds from 1 medium pumpkin (about 5 to 6 pounds)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Open pumpkin from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon. Remove pumpkin seeds from flesh and set seeds aside; discard flesh. Spread seeds on baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 4 tablespoons sugar, salt, coriander, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and the pumpkin seeds begin to attain a golden color, about 1 minute. Transfer seeds to bowl with spices using a slotted spoon and toss seeds in spices to coat. Let cool. Seeds may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

Halloween

Pumpkin Carving
Discover a ghoulish beef goulash for All Hallow's Eve. Plus, discover the art of creating carved pumpkin creations and a technique for flavored roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween III

Peanut Brittle
All the tricks and treats you'll need for a bewitching Halloween party: Peanut brittle, spooky sweets and more, including some very scary surprises your guests won't forget.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween

Caramel Apples with Chocolate Coating
Halloween treats and sweets--learn Michael's secret for sensational Caramel Apples with Chocolate Coating. Plus discover a Halloween Jack-o'-Lantern Cookie perfect for trick-or-treating and a haunting way to light up the Halloween sky.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween Pumpkins
Join expert Joost Elffers for pumpkin madness. Get fantastic ideas for carving your Halloween pumpkins. Plus, glowing candle creatures and more great and inventive ways to celebrate Halloween.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween-Themed Cocktails: Graveyard Ghoulada and Ice Cube Eyeballs

These glasses are sure to elicit some blood-curdling screams. Plus, toast your Halloween guests with ghoulish flair by adding floating eyeballs to their drinks.

GRAVEYARD GHOULADA

Usually, glasses are rimmed with salt to help flavor cocktail favorites like margaritas. But at Halloween, rims coated with vampire's blood are much more appropriate for the holiday. If you experience any difficulty extracting the blood of an unsuspecting victim, you can substitute 1 teaspoon light corn syrup and about 2 tablespoons red food coloring--a mixture that is sure to give your lips a hideous, vampirish gleam. Pour the corn syurp mixture onto a small plate, slowly twirl the glasses into the mixture to coat the entire rims and turn the glasses upright. Let the "blood" drip slightly for a ghastly effect, then fill the glass with a bloody good drink.

RECIPE


Graveyard Ghoulada

Makes 2 medium drinks

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons good-quality rum (optional)
Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients. Place 1 scoop crushed ice in a blender, and add drink mixture. Blend until the mixture is smooth; add more pineapple if mixture is too thick. Carefully pour drink mixture into prepared glasses; serve.


ICE CUBE EYEBALLS

At Halloween--the one time of year when the gory, grotesque and gruesome take center stage--use the occasion to conjure up your wicked imagination with just the type of drink Dracula might have sipped at cocktail hour. With medium-size radishes and blueberries, you can prepare a batch of hair-raising ice cubes that seem to resemble eyeballs--ideal for a horrifying Halloween martini or in a gruesome glass of flavored water for your young ghouls and gals.

Pumpkin Dinner

Individual Chicken Potpies in Pumpkins
Join Michael for Halloween recipes for an Orange-Pumpkin Flan, Chicken Potpies in Pumpkins and Crunchy Pumpkin Seed Salad.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Desserts

Gingerbread Cake
Bake fruity and spice-laden treats to celebrate the best of the season, including an old-fashioned Gingerbread Cake and an impressive and sophisticated Cranberry Pear Charlotte.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn Harvest

Wild Rice Cakes
Create a luscious soup, brimming with the bounty of the season. Visit Bad River Rice and learn how wild rice is harvested. Plus, tips and techniques for cooking with wild rice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Asian Delights

Asian Chicken Salad
Learn Michael's version of Thai classics, including the recipe for a fragrant and spicy Thai Soup, plus the way to prepare a refreshing Thai Salad. Plus, all the ingredients you'll need for a Thai pantry and answers to your questions on cooking with lemongrass.

Honey

Honey flows from an extractor.
Honey has been called the nectar of the gods--and it's one of Michael's favorite things. Discover its sweet secrets. Follow the bees in the honey hive, learn how honey is harvested and try the delectable recipes that are drizzled with it. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Sweet Rosemary Pear Pizza
Join St. Paul, Minnesota, radio show host and author Lynne Rossetto Kasper and discover the art of making her signature Sweet Rosemary Pear Pizza, Rustic Jam Shortbread Tart and a Supper Tart of Red Onions, Greens and Grapes

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rich Coffee Tart

Rich Coffee Tart
Discover the art of French pastry and learn how to bake a majestic Rich Coffee Tart, and discover the secret to the lightest Sweet Pastry Crust. Plus, answers to your questions about crystallized ginger.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cooking with Apples


Puff Pastry Apple Crowns
Sweet and savory ideas for apples, including a Pork and Apple Quick Cook recipe designed for busy nights. Plus, join master baker and Chef Michel Richard for a dessert fit for a king.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Maple Sugaring

It's a Maple Sugar Harvest. Visit a family farm in Vermont and discover the art of making maple syrup. You'll learn how to tap trees, gather the sap and refine the syrup as you sleigh through the beautiful forest. Plus, discover how to make homemade maple candy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Italian Home Cooking

Discover the secrets for authentic southern Italian cooking, with a tour of one of New York's oldest Italian markets. Plus, learn Patty Beebout's tips and techniques for canning tomatoes and much more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvest Basket and Simple Salsa

As autumn begins displacing summer, the garden is offering up the last few vegetables of the season. After many weeks of harvesting, you may have a few garden items that you'd like to share with others. One idea to use the bounty is to bring a simple salsa to a friend's house during a weekend visit.

To make a similar version, chop up a white onion, a red onion and several tomatoes; you might use a couple of cherry tomatoes, and one each of the red and green variety. Squeeze out the seeds. Add a few sprigs of parsley and cilantro to taste. To give the salsa some bite, chop up one jalapeño pepper and one serrano and habañero chile. Add the juice of a lime, and allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Apples II

Pork and Apple Quick Cook
Discover some unusual varieties of apples and learn which apples to use for cooking and which are best enjoyed eaten out of hand. Plus learn how to make sweet Apple Fritters and a Quick Cook recipe--Pork Chops with Apples and Sautéed Cabbage.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Healthy Cooking with Michael Milken

Join cancer survivor Michael Milken to learn the importance of soy as he creates a rich Spinach Cannelloni in Tomato Sauce and tosses a Caesar salad. Plus, Michael's taste test and learn some surprising ways to change the way you eat.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Italian Pot Roast Dinner

Italian Pot Roast
Master Italian Pot Roast, an acclaimed dinner classic, sweet vegetables, including carrots, potatoes and fennel. Plus, boneless pork shoulder, simmered in a rich broth. Learn about a rare and unusual tool for enjoying savory marrow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grilling Tomatoes with a Grill Pan

Grilled whole tomatoes, a summertime favorite, can be prepared indoors on your stovetop with the aid of a grill pan. The ridges on the bottom of the pan replicates the effect of an electric indoor grill or a charcoal outdoor grill. Rub ripe, juicy tomatoes with olive oil, and cook them in the heated pan until they're slightly charred and fragrant. For a delicious sandwich, layer grilled whole tomatoes with basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar between two thick slices of hearty bread.

Grill pans are widely available in department stores, cookware stores and chef's catalogs.

SOURCES

11-inch square Calphalon grill pan
12-inch round Claphalon commercial nonstick grill pan

Available at cooking-supply stores

Monday, August 29, 2011

Garden Harvest

When late summer rewards gardeners with a bounty of fresh produce, they can finally savor the fruits of the labor that began last winter when they planned their gardens. Now is also the time for gardeners to contemplate their successes and failures, and start thinking about next year's gardens.

Enjoy a colorful array of eggplants, like violet-colored Japanese, orange-tinted Turkish, and crisp white varieties like Solanum melongena 'Snowy.' Or try exotic 'Blue Cocoa' string beans, which turn a familiar green when cooked. Experiment by making a simple stew of white and orange beets flavored with celeriac. Your own vegetable garden should foster pride and offer any culinary possibilities.

Preserve your cornucopia by canning, pickling, or freezing--come January, you'll be very happy that you did. And don't forget your friends, who will appreciate baskets of vine-ripened treats that are still warm from the summer sun. A summer harvest also frees up space for a late planting of baby lettuces and herbs, which mature quickly, or hearty cabbages and root vegetables like radishes and carrots, which can withstand the first frost.

SOURCES

Heirloom seeds

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
P.O. Box 170
Earlysville, VA 22936
800-973-4703

Preserving Herbs with Salt

If the advent of winter leaves you longing for fresh herbs, this Tuscan technique will preserve plenty of basil, rosemary and sage--even as snow covers your garden. Alternate half-inch layers of herbs in a covered glass container, beginning and ending with coarse salt. The salt absorbs mold-breeding moisture and stalls the action of enzymes that turn fresh herbs brown. Refrigerate. Before using, rinse the herbs with water, and pat dry. You'll be savoring the flavors of August well into December.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DIY Weddings


Heart Sandwich Cookies


Get ready for the big day with simple, beautiful wedding ideas and delicious recipes from Michael Vyskocil's Suite101.com Recipes articles.

Recipes
Tips

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kitchen Spice Grinder

Toast and grind your own spices in a spice grinder to assure the freshest, most potent flavors.

Coffee grinder for grinding fresh spices.

Coffee beans and spices have something in common: Since their delicate aromatic oils break down quickly, they taste their best when freshly ground minutes before use. However, to keep this morning's coffee from tasting like last night's curry, you might want to consider this simple solution: two grinders. Designate one for coffee and the other for spices; label each accordingly to avoid confusion.

To keep your grinders in top condition, remove loose grounds and residue with a pastry brush. Place a large piece of soft bread in the bowl of the grinder, grind thoroughly, and remove the oil-absorbing bread crumbs.

SOURCES
Cuisinart coffee grinder
(DCG-20), $30

800-726-0190

Available at local retailers

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract

For the best flavor in all your baked goods, homemade vanilla extract is incomparable. Learn how to make your own batch of vanilla extract.


Vanilla Extract

The smooth flavor of vanilla in baked goods can be as soothing to the tongue as aloe is to sunburned skin. Homemade vanilla extract makes a great present, especially for someone who has a penchant for baking.

Vanilla bean pods are the product of an orchid species, Vanilla planifolia. These orchid varieties are native to areas of Mexico, Madagascar, Java and Tahiti. In order for the orchid to produce its edible treasure, the vanilla bean pod, the plant must flower and the flower must be pollinated. However, the flower only opens once each year; the only known animal pollinators are certain species of ants, hummingbirds and the Melipona bee. To make pure vanilla is a laborious and highly exacting process. The vanilla beans must ripen or cure from anywhere between three and six months. During this time period, the vanilla bean pods shrink tremendously--about one-quarter of their length before curing. They also dry, losing about 85 percent of their moisture content, and intesify their signature aroma.

Making your own vanilla extract isn't difficult. You'll need vanilla beans, which you can obtain from specialty food stores or in some large supermarkets. First, run the dull side of a knife up and down the vanilla beans several times to loosen the seeds. Next, split the beans in half lengthwise and place them inside a bottle of bourbon, vodka or some other similar flavored liquor. For best results, use the best liquor you can find. Seal the bottle and place it in a cool, dark place for five to six months. During this infusion stage, give the jar a shake every few months to redistribute the vanilla bean seeds in the liquid. As the months pass, the liquor will assume the flavor of the vanilla bean seeds. If you're using vodka or other similar clear liquor, the color will darken during the aging process. After six months, the vanilla extract is ready to use. Since you'll only need small amounts of vanilla extract in recipes, it's best to transfer the vanilla extract into small containers. Clean and sterilize small bottles or jars with lids, and, using a canning funnel, fill the bottles or jars with the vanilla extract. To store, keep vanilla extract tightly covered in a cool, dark place.

Michael's Classic Christmas Ideas for Holiday Entertaining

I've collected my favorite ideas for everything you'll need for a delightful Christmas holiday. Peruse these ideas below for Christmas and holiday entertaining inspiration:

Michael's Classic Thanksgiving Ideas

I've collected my favorite ideas for everything you'll need to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table. Peruse these ideas below for Thanksgiving Day dinner inspiration:

Preserved Lemons in Oil

Learn how to prepare Preserved Lemons in Oil with Chef Jody Denton of the Restaurant LuLu in San Francisco, California.

Preserved lemons are an essential ingredient in Moroccan cuisine. You can purchase preserved lemons in oil in specialty shops, but they are just as easy to make at home.

Chef Jody Denton of the Restaurant LuLu in San Francisco, California, shares his recipe for Preserved Lemons in Oil.

RECIPE
Preserved Lemons in Oil
Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Scrub the lemons well under running water. Cut off ends of the lemons. Cut lemons into 1/4-inch-thick slices and remove the seeds.
  2. In a 3-quart rectangular baking dish, toss the lemon slices with the salt. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour lemon juice over the slices. Cover and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the lemons are slightly dry and the skin is tender, stirring lemon slices around in baking dish occasionally.
  3. Remove lemons from oven and let cool completely. Transfer lemon slices and roasting juices to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 days.
  4. To make preserved lemons in oil, transfer lemon pieces and juices to the bowl of a food processor. Cover and process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add olive oil to lemon mixture; cover and blend just until the oil is combined. Store, uncovered, up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
SPECIAL THANKS
Jody Denton

Restaurant LuLu
816 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
415-495-5775
Fax: 415-495-7810

Sweet Dessert Bruschetta


Food for Thought

The bruschetta (broo-SKET-ta), originally from the olive-growing regions of Italy, started out as the typical lunch of the olive grove workers. The classic bruschetta included olive oil and vegetables, such as red sweet peppers or ripe plum tomatoes, and perhaps fresh mozzarella or creamy goat cheese. Here we present a sweet dessert version.


Sweet Dessert Bruschetta

RECIPE

Sweet Dessert Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices (about 3/4 inch thick) Italian country bread or crusty sour-dough bread
  • 3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread*
  • 3 medium bananas, thinly bias-sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • Chocolate shavings or curls (optional)
Directions:

Toast bread and let cool. In mixing bowl combine nuts and sugar; set aside. Spread cooled bread slices with chocolate hazelnut spread. Layer banana slices on top of spread. Brush banana with melted butter or margarine. Top with nut mixture.

Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat about 30 seconds or till bananas just begin to glaze and nuts are toasted. Garnish with chocolate shavings or curls, if desired. Makes 6 bruschetta.
*Note: Purchase chocolate hazelnut spread in specialty food stores or large supermarkets.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe


Michael displays a tray of pumpkin seeds.


When eaten out of hand, pumpkin seeds make a healthy, flavorful snack. Learn how to turn the remnants of pumpkin carving into a seasonal treat.

Full of vitamins A and C, pumpkin seeds are nutritious. They don't require much but a sprinkling of salt to bring out their natural nutty flavor. If your pumpkin is particularly striking, you may choose to save some seeds for planting in the garden in the spring; the rest of the seeds can be turned into a delectable snack. After you've finished carving out your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the pulp and spread the seeds in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Discard any seeds that appear shriveled or pitted. Avoid the temptation to wash the seeds with water--washing will only take away the inherent flavor from the seeds. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds lightly with coarse salt or, for a sweet alternative, use granulated sugar. Place the pumpkin seeds in a 350 degree F. oven for 5 to 10 minutes. The fragrance of the toasted seeds will indicate when they're ready to be removed from the oven. Let cool and enjoy a tasty autumnal snack.

Mulled Cider for the Holidays

Hot mulled cider is a warm and comforting treat to serve to guests at the holidays. Find out how to make this spicy cider.

Gather around your Christmas tree this year with a steaming mug of hot apple cider infused with some of your favorite flavors. Try such spices as cinnamon, star anise, cloves and lemon peel for a delicious aroma and flavor.

Hot Mulled Cider

Serves about 20

Hot Mulled Cider


Ingredients:
  • 4 whole star anise
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 orange
  • 1 small apple
  • Cloves
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
Directions:
  1. Place star anise, lemon zest and cardamom pods in a square of cheesecloth and tie to secure.
  2. Stud orange and apple with cloves.
  3. Place apple cider in a large pot. Add cinnamon sticks, cheesecloth bundle and the orange and apple studded with cloves, and place over medium-low heat.
  4. Bring the apple cider to a simmer and allow the cider to steep for 1 hour.
  5. Serve warm in mugs, garnished with a cinnamon stick, if desired.
SOURCES

Star anise, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon sticks
Penzeys Spices
12001 West Capitol Drive
Wauwatosa, WI 53222
800-741-7787
Fax: 414-760-7317


Present Food Gift Baskets for Christmas

A food gift basket is a Christmas gift that's sure to be treasured by its recipient. Of course, you can purchase food gift baskets already assembled, or you can create your own gathering items that your friends and family will love. For the friend who loves hosting cocktail parties, include a book on hors d'oeuvres and garnishing tools. Or, for a delicious way to start Christmas Day, pack a basket with all of the fixings for Christmas morning breakfast.

If you're putting the baskets together, begin with the essential materials: You'll need an appropriately sized basket, packing material, ribbons and gift tags. Pack all the items securely. If the basket doesn't have a lid, wrap it in cellophane or tissue paper, then tie it with a ribbon.

Our food gift basket suggestions can be tailored to suit other tastes and interests. You can adapt this idea to other areas, including gardening with a basket filled with seed packets, garden gloves and a few tools.

FOOD GIFT BASKET IDEAS


Hot Cocoa Gift Basket
  • Individual packets of cocoa
  • Cellophane bag of cookies or biscuits
  • Stainless-steel whisk
  • Jar of preserves
  • Stoneware mugs
Breakfast Gift Basket
  • Bag of pancake mix
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Reversible cast-iron griddle
  • Juice glasses
  • Spatula
Hors D'Oeuvres Gift Basket
  • Hors d'oeuvres cookbook
  • Pastry brush
  • Mini muffin tins
  • Pastry bags with couplers and assorted tips
  • Garnishing tools
  • Serving tray

Homemade Chicken Stock

This recipe makes more than you'll need for many recipes, but the stock can be frozen for up to five months. The gelatin from the chicken bones is released during the long cooking time yielding a rich, flavorful stock.

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK
Makes 8 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, washed, cut into thirds
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed, cut into thirds
  • 2 stalks celery, leaves attached, cut into thirds
  • 1 four-pound chicken, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4 pounds bony chicken parts (backs, necks and wings)
  • 12 cups water
Directions:
  1. Place the peppercorns, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, onion, carrots, celery, whole chicken, chicken backs, necks and wings into a large stockpot. Add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for 50 minutes. The liquid should just bubble up to the surface. A skin will form on the surface of the liquid; skim off the skin with a slotted spoon and discard it. Repeat the skimming process as needed during cooking. After 50 minutes, remove the chicken from the pot and set the chicken aside until it is cool enough to handle.
  2. Remove the meat from the chicken bones, set the cooked chicken meat aside and return the bones to the stockpot. Shred the chicken meat and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Continue simmering the stock, on the lowest heat possible, for 3 1/2 hours, skimming any skin from the surface of the stock as needed. The chicken bones will begin to disintegrate. Strain the stock through a sieve lined with a layer of cheesecloth into a very large bowl. Discard the solids. Place the bowl in an ice bath and let the stock cool to room temperature. Divide the stock into airtight containers. The stock may be refrigerated for 4 days or frozen for 5 months. Refrigerate for at least 10 hours or overnight. If storing, leave the fat layer on top to seal the stock. Before using, remove the fat layer that collects on the surface of the stock. 

Flavored Whipped Cream

Keeping whipped cream stiff can be a challenge. Find out how to thicken and add flavor to whipped cream with honey or melted quince jelly.

Just like a toddler, whipped cream has a tendency to be troublesome. Sometimes it cooperates with you, forming fantastic stiff peaks. Other times, it stubbornly throws a wrench in your plans, refusing to fluff up and whip itself into proper form. But like a baby sound asleep, whipped cream is a sight to behold because of its sweet nature.

One day, I was in the kitchen, and I couldn't find any sugar to sweeten some whipped cream. So, I decided to use honey instead. Later, with a second batch, I used melted quince jelly. Both of these items added sweetness to the cream, but the jelly provided an additional component. The high pectin content in the jelly acted as a thickener, keeping the whipped cream stiff for hours. Another way to increase your success of making whipped cream is to place the bowl and whisk (or mixer beaters) in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then, when you whip the cream, the fat molecules around the bubbles of air in the beaten cream will stay strong, holding up the foam.

RECIPE
Flavored Whipped Cream
Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat honey, or
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons quince jelly, melted
Directions:
  1. In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream with a balloon whisk until stiff. Alternatively, whip the cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. If using quince jelly, gently melt it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Fold the sweetener of your choice into the whipped cream. Serve immediately.
  2. Save any remaining cream by transferring it into a sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a bowl, cover the bowl and sieve tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Chocolate Butter Cookies

Chocolate Butter Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the butter, sugar, egg and chocolate in a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla; mix well. Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies about one inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and add the molasses. Beat well.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon and baking soda. Beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until all of the ingredients have been incorporated.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl; halve the dough and flatten into one-inch-thick rounds.

Wrap each round in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with a 3-inch floured cookie cutter.

Place the cookies one inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool for two minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Royal Icing

Royal Icing
Makes About 2 1/2 Cups

  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, water and meringue powder on low speed until all ingredients are moistened, scraping sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on medium-high speed for about 7 to 10 minutes or until icing is thick and glossy. Use immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Note: Icing will soften upon standing. If necessary, beat the icing again with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until it thickens.

Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy; about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses. Add the flour mixture; mix until combined. Form dough into a flat round; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Pour the remaining granulated sugar into a bowl. Form the dough into 1-inch rounds; roll each ball in the sugar. Place the sugar-coated balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart. Using the palm of your hand, flatten each ball slightly into a flat disk.
  4. Bake the cookies until brown, rotating the sheets from top oven rack to bottom and bottom to top halfway through baking to promote even browning, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Pastry for a Double-Crust Pie

Pastry for a Double-Crust Pie

Makes Enough for 2 Piecrusts

  • 2 cups plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  1. In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are the size of small peas. (If you have a food processor, you can use it to pulse the dry ingredients together first. Once you add the butter, pulse for about 20 seconds until the mixture resembles coarse meal.)
  2. Add 1/4 cup ice water over the flour mixture, tossing with a fork until all of the dough is moistened. Depending on the humidity at the time you're making it, you may need to add more water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. You don't want a big sopping wet ball of dough. Just as soon as the pie crust comes together in the bowl (much like bread dough), stop adding water. (If you're using your food processor, you can add the 1/4 cup ice water in a slow steady stream through the feed tube with the machine running. Process just until the dough holds together. Do not process any longer than 30 seconds.)
  3. Turn the dough out onto a flat round on a piece of plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before using.

Beef Broth

Beef Broth
The butcher can cut veal bones into small pieces for you. This beef broth is great as a base for quick, homemade soups any time.

Makes About 7 Cups
  • 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 pounds beef shank cross cuts
  • 2 pounds veal bones, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into thirds
  • 1 medium celery stalk with leaves attached, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Tie the parsley, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth to make a seasoning packet. Set aside.
  2. Arrange the beef shank, veal bones, onion, carrot, and celery in an even layer in a large roasting pan. Roast, turning ingredients every 20 minutes, until the vegetables and the bones are deep brown in color, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the meat, bones, and vegetables to a large Dutch oven, and set aside. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan, and discard. Place the roasting pan over medium heat on the stove. Add the red wine, and stir, using a wooden spoon to loosen any browned material from the bottom of the pan; boil the mixture until the wine becomes reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into the Dutch oven.
  3. Add 6 cups cold water to the Dutch oven, or more if needed to cover bones. Do not reduce amount of water; cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer so that bubbles only occasionally rise to the surface. Add the reserved seasoning packet. Skim foam from the broth's surface. Continue to simmer the broth over low heat for 3 hours. During simmering, a foam will form on the surface of the liquid; skim off with a slotted spoon. Repeat skimming as needed. Add water if at any time the level at the surface of the broth drops below the bones.