Category Archives: Thanksgiving & Christmas

Holiday Baking: Spritz Cookies With A Lemon-Lime Twist

I’m gearing up for my holiday baking and thinking citrus things. I remembered I was going to try these with some citrus zest next time.

From Christmas 2014:

Spritz Cookies

I love spritz butter cookies. They’re tiny little, melt-in-your-mouth bites that go great with a cup of coffee. I didn’t realize how easy they were to make. It helped that a friend of a friend loaned me her all metal, ratchet handled press. These are not easy to come by any more, at least not when I went looking. Most of the new ones are partially plastic and received tepid reviews, especially for durability and ease of use.

Speaking of reviews, I was reading the reviews when JLB posted her favorite recipe along with her review at Amazon. That ended up being the recipe I decided to use and it worked beautifully.

Although my Christmas trees kind of look like trilobites, they taste great.

If I make these again, I might divide the dough into thirds and make one plain and then make one with lime zest and another with lemon zest and dust with citrus powdered sugar.

Spritz Raw

Here is JLB’s perfect recipe (with my thanks!):

Spritz Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened/room temp – set on counter for about 15 minutes
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks, room temp
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla mixing well. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk.

Add dry ingredients slowly to the butter and sugar and mix until the dough is in small to medium sized clumps. Now mix with your hands to form dough into a ball. (Should have a consistency similar to Play Dough, but not dry.) If your dough is sticky, add flour; a tablespoon at a time. If it seems dry, add softened butter; a tablespoon at a time. (TaMara’s Note: I gently kneaded the dough for about a minute to get the right consistency)

Load dough into press. Top with colored sugars or other sprinkles. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on cookie sheets before removing and placing on cooling racks.
Makes about 5 – 6 dozen.

Me again. A few tips on using the cookie press. Put your baking sheets in the freezer, this makes the cookie dough stick when you press them on the sheets. Like putting your tongue on a frozen light pole.ūüôā I put them out on the patio to cool in between batches before pressing more cookies.

Fill the cookie press 3/4 full, that seems to be the easiest to handle.

I pulled mine from the oven while they were still light colored. One batch got a little golden. It definitely changes the flavor and I preferred the light colored ones, but experiment, you might the golden ones better.

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Sure hope my friend still has that cookie press I can borrow. Nothing beats the spring loaded metal ones.

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What’s In A Holiday?

 

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I put this offer elsewhere and I want to extend it here. While I will begin posting holiday recipes soon, most of my focus is on Christmas – that’s the tradition I grew up in – I would love to share other’s holiday traditions.

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If you have recipes, photos and stories of your family’s holiday traditions, I want to read about them and share them. I Email me!

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You Can’t Have Too Much Gravy

20161126_1118261600x1200You’ll need it for all that dressing!20161125_1050341600x1200

Thanksgiving Files: Cranberry-Apple Sauce

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I love whole berry cranberry sauce and adding apple takes it up a notch. Always best prepped the day before so the flavors can meld. Yummy.

It couldn’t be simpler and fun to make (mostly because the cranberries pop as they cook).¬† Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water or¬†apple-cranberry juice (100% juice)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar
  • 12 oz (1 bag) whole, raw cranberries
  • 1-2 apples, finely chopped.

saucepan

Wash cranberries. Bring juice and water to a boil, add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, then add cranberries, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, no more.¬† Remove to a tempered glass dish or mold, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.¬† What you’ll have is a nice thick cranberry sauce with whole cranberries.¬† You can add different things for a variety of sauces: ¬†pecans, orange rind, ¬†walnuts, ¬†cinnamon, nutmeg, currants.



 

T-Day H-Hour

20161124_0958101600x1200Spatchcock turkey is 2 for 2 here at W4D today. ¬†Herbed butter under the skin, and massaged all over the bird after dry brining and an overnight in the basement fridge air-drying.20161124_1110331600x1200Sweet potatoes in olive oil and honey and teeny potatoes in olive oil and kosher salt on their trays ready for the oven.20161124_1220171600x1200The turkey turned out very well, note the leg position, there will be a short quiz later.20161124_1220121600x1200Clockwise from the top right: ¬†Cloverleaf dinner rolls, sauteed Brussels sprouts, gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, honey roasted sweet potatoes, those little potatoes with rosemary, cranberry relish, and a stick of butter on top. ¬†The dressing is on the counter behind me. ¬†Grr20161124_1227001600x1200I remembered the dressing so it wasn’t a turkey dinner without. ¬†That quiz I mentioned: What is peculiar about the turkey legs in the before and after pictures?

The Big Day Is Here

Spatchcock Turkey finish

I get an extra day for prep, for which I am very Thankful. It’s been so busy I’d never have made it if I had to serve dinner today. We’ll be eating our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. So today, I have a full, relaxed day to cook, walk the dogs and put the finishing touches on the house.

I decided to use the spatchcock recipe this year. I’ll be cooking it on a bed of carrots, onions and celery.

BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. You can do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.

For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears¬†makes quick work of removing the backbone. I’ll prep the bird today, wrapped it up and refrigerated it.

Spatchcock Turkey Prep

Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Rimmed baking sheet, rack

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.

With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the back bone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.

Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before cooking drizzle olive oil over turkey and roast for 1 hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).

Carve and serve.

NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey. They finished up about the same time.

This year, I’ll skip the metal rack and instead will use a roasting pan and place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor could use the boost. I do feel this is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking.

Today I’ll also prep Cranberry/Apple Sauce (recipe to follow in a later post), make the¬†Pumpkin Cream Pie¬†(recipe here), prep the stuffing and put together two loaves of Slow-Rise Bread¬†¬†(recipe here) to bake for sandwiches over the weekend. I’m also making Cucumber Salsa (recipe here) and Garden Salsa (recipe here) so I can use up the last of my tomato harvest and serve with chips as an appetizer. I’m also going to make the gravy ahead of time. So that leaves just roasting the turkey, making the potatoes, and green bean casserole for tomorrow. Makes for a very low stress holiday meal.

More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes or search by name or ingredient in the search box at the bottom of the blog.

I’ll update you on the cooking progress as I go today.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  РTaMara

Spatchcock Turkey finish

 

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Files

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Is this thing on? I know it’s been forever – the house, work and puppies have taken most of my time. Cooking lately is mostly just for sustanance, nothing terribly creative. But Thanksgiving is almost here! Time to get cookin’.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I’m going to have a house full this year and I’m excited to host. Although I wasn’t expecting to have a puppy thrown in the mix, but that just makes it more interesting. I have compiled some of my most requested holiday recipes for tonight’s exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing, (pictured above) part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, click here Рmy family loves these, though the first time I made them they mocked me until they were served because the cooking method is so unusual. I cook them early and keep them warm in a slow-cooker while everything else cooks and stove top space is at a premium.

Two Brussels¬†Sprout dishes:¬†Pan Roasted with Pancetta and Onions¬†(recipe here) and¬†JeffreyW’s Brussels Sprout and Potato Au Gratin¬†(click here)

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

There will be a variety of pies this year, but instead of the traditional Pumpkin Pie, I’m making¬†Pumpkin Cream Pie¬†(above),¬†the¬†recipe is here, plus there are additional pumpkin dessert ideas at the link.

For the main course, we’ve made turkeys a bunch of ways here, including a¬†Spatchcock Turkey,¬†recipe here. For something more traditional, here are some¬†ideas from people smarter than I am:¬†turkey four different ways, good stuff here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, ¬†melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¬ľ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¬ľ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ¬Ĺ cup orange juice
  • ¬Ĺ tsp cinnamon
  • ¬ľ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. ¬† – TaMara



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Might Have To Give These A Try

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Merry Christmas

Cute Kitteh even Cuter1sMerry Christmas from our house to yours

 

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Dear Santa…One Last Thing

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