Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apple Crisp - With Oats

This isn't your basic apple crisp with butter and flour as a crumb top. This has oats - and it's so much better!
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Toss the apples in the juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Stir until crumbly. Press half the oat mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with sliced apples.

In a medium saucepan, combine white sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Cook, stirring, until thick and clear, 10 minutes. Pour over apples.
Cover apples with remaining crumble mixture.
Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pumpkin Scones

Here's yet another way to use pumpkin! These are just slightly sweet and taste very similar to pumpkin pie. So good with my morning coffee!

Scone Dough:
2 cups (280 grams) all purpose
1/3 cup (72 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon
baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted
butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup toasted ad chopped
pecans (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh or canned pure
pumpkin (if using canned pumpkin make sure there are no spices or sugar added)
1 teaspoon pure
vanilla extract

Egg Wash:
1 large
1 tablespoon milk or cream
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling the tops of the scones (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder,
baking soda and salt.

Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.

Stir in the raisins and pecans, if using. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and
knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle a little Turbinado sugar on top, if desired.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 6 scones.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alton Brown's Fried Chicken

Fried chicken. It sounds simple enough, yet I've never been able to perfect it. Either it's cooked too long or not long enough or it's bland, etc. On an episode of Good Eats, Alton made fried chicken - and I watched it closely. I realized there were a few things I was doing wrong. I was seasoning the flour, which was wrong. Plus, I had the wrong equipment. Alton recommended a Lodge Chicken Fryer. Where do I get one? I checked a few places and thanks to my friend, Cara, I found exactly what I needed at Trader Horn. Sweet!

Yes - this is what I need! A large, deep skillet. Alton recommends cast iron for it's even heating and cooking. Now, for the chicken.....

1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening, for frying

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pumpkin Pizzelles

I love pizzelles. It's not Christmas without them. I remember hundreds of pizzelles spread across the tables in my grandparents' basement - their second kitchen. Red ones. Green ones. They all had the same flavor, but I still think green was my favorite.

It's a few months until Christmas, but autumn is finally here. So many pumpkin recipes - too many to choose from. The other day, I had a brilliant, or what I thought would be brilliant, idea....pumpkin pizzelles. Some adaptation of the basic pizzelle recipe was required since I would be adding a moist ingredient (pumpkin). The final result, a brilliant idea! I think I'll be headed out to get some cinnamon ice cream to serve these with. Yum!

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup
canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon
vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups
1/2 teaspoon
2 teaspoons
baking powder
1 teaspoon
ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon
ground ginger

1 Preheat the pizzelle iron.
2 Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla.
3 Sift the dry ingredients together, then fold into the sugar mix.
4 Lightly brush the pizzelle iron with butter, then drop a teaspoon amount of dough onto the iron. Close the lid and bake for 34-60 seconds.
5 Remove. Before the cookies cool, you can shape them into cones or rolls or shallow bowls, if you want, or leave them flat.
6 Repeat buttering the iron as needed and dropping on dough and baking it until all the dough is gone.