Cake Mania

I’m caught up. Baking again feels like heaven. There’s very few words I really need to say here.

It’s cake mania at my house right now. Using Paula Deen’s Mama’s Pound Cake recipe via Food Network

Flavorings totally optional and interchangable. Yesterday was vanilla. Today Lemon.

Join the Fun

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Changes

Well friends tomorrow is the start of change. No I’m not trying to be cliche or sound like my Prez..I mean real, around my way. Change.

I know I’ve been M.I.A.  The kitchen has been closed. Hopefully come tomorrow I Will start to once again do more. The daily “Aunt Nae” hat is off and now its about me trying to once again find my day to day groove.

In my kitchen making memories is where ideas come..stay tuned friends!

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Weekend Whip Up’s: Easter Eats

It’s Easter and that means family, church services, and lots of good food.  For tomorrow I’m making the ham.  Just a par cooked, bone in spiral this year so not much to say about the prep so I’ll just leave the recipe for my glaze.

Brown Sugar & Honey Mustard Glaze

1 cup prepared yellow mustard

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 heaping tablespoons honey(I had clover on hand)

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon black pepper

I will be using this glaze on my ham that is currently filling my house with good smells and making my mouth water tomorrow. Just cover the ham with the glaze and bake uncovered on 350 F for 30 mins.

I also made some peanut butter eggs for tomorrow..two ways!

Peanut Butter Eggs

1 cup creamy peanut butter

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (unsalted is all I use but regular will be fine too)

1 box confectioners sugar (one pound)

1 Tablespoon whole milk

4ox cream cheese(for version 2)*

4 Baker’s blocks of semi sweet chocolate

1/2 Tablespoon vegetable shortening

In a large mixer beat all ingredients together till combined. It will be like large crumbs. Scooping by the tablespoon full I formed eggs by hand and laid them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I made 15 of these before I made the next variation

*Take the remaining  peanut butter mixture and beat with 4 oz cream cheese, form these into eggs as well.

Freeze eggs for 2 hours

Prepare the chocolate by chopping it and then slowly melt with the shortening. You can use a double boiler if you have it or in my case , melt slowly over medium low flame/heat, stirring constantly. Dip each frozen egg in chocolate and lay on parchment or wax paper lined sheets to set.

 

I wont be slicing, dipping, or decorating until tomorrow so pica of all will be posted then. Hope you all have a Happy Easter!

About Last Night: Cast Iron Roast Chicken and Chicken Fried Potatoes

Last night I came home hungry. I spent a good chunk of my day yesterday tossing around ideas for flavor mates for a small whole fryer chicken I’d picked up at the grocery. I decided after much internal debate that I was going to take some curry powder and see what I could do, Method wise I was stuck wishing I had a self rotating rotisserie. Just the sight of that twirling , glistening bird..come on now I know I’m not the only one who see’s those babies and automatically starts getting hungry. I unfortunately don’t have one..yet..but the thought reminded me of a episode of a Cooking Channel show I’d seen where the  chef cooked his chicken in one and below them  to catch all the love drippings while they roasted as well were potatoes.

My dinner plans were set and here’s what I did!

Ingredients -Preheat oven to 425 F

1 Whole fryer chicken

Mrs. Dash

Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

Tony Chachachere Creole Seasoning

Ground Curry Powder

Lemon Juice

! Large potato

Garlic Powder

I had a small whole fryer (almost 4 pounds) that I first rinsed, dried and then with shears, butterflied. Th do this just remove the backbone with a pair of kitchen shears and press down the breast bone to flatten.

I then gathered some lemon juice, curry powder, table blend Mrs. Dash, Lawry’s, and Tony Chachachere. Using just my eye and personal taste I sprinkled both the inside and outside with this seasoning mix after rubbing a bit of the lemon juice inside and on the skin. 

I also prepped the potato by just washing it off and slicing in medium sized chunks, making sure they all had a flat side. Then sprinkle with garlic powder and set aside.

Heat up a large cast iron pan with oil and butter just shy of letting your butter brown and then place chicken in to sear skin side down. Once crisp and brown on the skin side I flipped with tongs and let the meat side cook while I carefully placed my potato pieces, cut side down all around my chicken as close as I could get them.

Cut off the heat and then place your pan in the hot oven for a hour. Once done (internal temp 165) carefully turn your potatoes over and let your chicken rest in the pan for at least 30 mins to let the juices redistribute.  Now most things you will see at least the same amount of cook time suggested for resting but I won’t even lie to you guys..it’s wasn’t happening after smelling it cook I was starving. 30 did just fine for me this time.

The chicken was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. The potatoes had also gotten a major crisp exterior while staying fluffy inside. I added a dollop of Honey Dijon to the side for dipping. Good stuff ya’ll.

I definitely will be doing this again. With all the different ways you can season this quick chicken the ideas are pretty much endless. As far as the sides, you can do all kinds!

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Only BBQ Will Do

This weekend I spent lots of time playing catch up. With house cleaning and rearranging, with old friends, and it seems more often than not getting acquainted with my kitchen. I had plans to do so much since the weekend always flies by that I didn’t get to do. This blog being one of those things so just consider this a long over due post and weekend whip up all in one.

I”m always trying to think of new and exciting ways to keep my food tasting and making interesting and for some reason I was stuck on BBQ sauce all this past week.

I asked the question on my FAOF Facebook page..”Do you make your own sauce?” and got lots of “likes” but no recipes so I decided to try my hand at something different. I love Asian flavors and just knew that was the direction I wanted to go in so after a store run for a few extra ingredients I didn’t already have on hand this is what I came up with:

My Asian Style BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoons molasses

3  heaping teaspoons light brown sugar

One teaspoon each of:

garlic powder

ground ginger

onion powder

ground mustard

black pepper

paprika

1/4  teaspoon sriracha (aka rooster sauce) You can always add more if you like it extra spicy!

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Stir to combine all and set aside if using immediately or cover and chill till ready to use.

 

I took this sauce and some skinless chicken thighs I’d gotten and made a very happy plate. I just season my  thighs with Creole seasoning, garlic powder, Lawry’s, and about a teaspoon of the sauce before searing on the  stove and then baking at 375 for an hour and a half, basting twice with the set aside sauce. Once about half way through and again about ten minutes before pulling my cast iron skillet from the oven. With a side of white rice..Sunday supper was set.

I still wasn’t satisfied. Although good as is this was not what I was hoping for. What I really wanted was a BBQ sandwich..a chicken  sandwich, but BBQ nonetheless.  That was my mission as soon as I got home Monday evening.

After making a fresh batch of sauce,  I took those same glistening thighs from my fridge and let them take a whirlpool ride in a hot crockpot. I added hot water to my leftover sauce for them to cook in (adding chicken broth for half def is a good idea as well..but I was out) and let them go on high for about 2 hours. This made them shred tender and much like the texture of pulled pork. Can you say yum?! By sight alone I was happy.  Then I looked up at the clock and realized a sandwich of this saucy caliber wouldn’t keep me happy to lay down on at that particular time of night. I really gotta work on time management sometimes when I cook  huh? Can’t help myself, when it hits me I just gotta do it.

Tonight’s dinner looks promising for sure.  I didn’t go all gourmet with my bread purchase but do intend of butter toasting some buns to hold a huge mound of BBQ Chicken goodness. You guys know though that this only started my wheels turning for accompaniments outside the realm of regular coleslaw.

So that’s my day’s question..To top or not to top? Coleslaw, relish, or some other version of the classic?  Share your ideas with me please in the comments!  (Pics to be added later)

Weekend Whip Up’s: A Requested Roast

Hey all..I know it’s been a good while since my last WWP, my apologies. Time for other things sometimes gets the best of all of us and sadly my blogging has been the casualty. Getting back in the swing of things was gladly pushed forward by a new friend’s request for a meal. Last night was my time to put my roast and potatoes to the request test.

 

I started out with the usual suspects: A sirloin roast, two carrots, two stalks of celery, half of one large onion, beef broth,  two heaping teaspoons of flour(not pictured), and butter.

I did a quick marinade of my roast by sprinkling both sides with Lawry Season Salt  and Onion Powder. Placed it in a bowl and gave it a few shakes of A! and Worchestire sauce. Just eye balled to my liking..no measurements really needed here. It’s all about your personal taste so what you use  is all up to personal taste. I popped it in the fridge and while it did it’s thing I rough chopped my veggies, preheated my large saute pan, and plugged in my large crockpot.

 

After about a 15 min chill out I grabbed the roast and gave it a good pat drying.  Adding about a tablespoon of roasted garlic oil (Pampered Chef) and 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter to my screaming hot pan the roast went in to browned on both sides.

I let it rest in the waiting, cold crock pot and went to work on the veggies and gravy. I added two tablespoons of butter to the pan to heat up before adding in all the onions, carrots, and celery..cooking just until they all began to sweat. I then sprinkled in my two heaping tablespoons of flour, combining and cooking those with the vegetables for an additional minute or two before adding in 3/4 box of the beef broth and two dried bay leaves.

I have a gas stove at home so once stirred to combine it didn’t take long for this to come to a boil. I then covered it and let it go for about 10 minutes to heat through and thicken slightly. Once that was done it all got poured over the meat inside the crock, covered, and cooked on high for one hour and on low for an additional 5. (Yes, I started this in the morning and my cut of meat was rather stubborn getting to my desired tenderness..was an all day thing)

I skipped out for a really late sushi lunch while my house filled with beef perfume..

After a fab lunch and a confirmation call with my dinner guest I got to work on peeling potatoes.  I had two very large russets  I cut  these in medium sized chunks and boiled in salted water until “case knife slide” tender. Then after drained they went in my kitchenaid bowl along with two tablespoons of butter and with the beater attachment I broke them down till smooth before adding about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of whole milk, two tablespoons of sour cream, and about a tablespoon or so grind of kosher salt, stirring all to combine throughout.

With all set to go  and plates filled I had a fab  Saturday night dinner made even better with great company  What was for dessert you ask?  Oreos and chocolate ice cream! Oh and I already have plans for the leftovers…Beef Pie Anyone?

One Hundred Years of Cookie Bliss

“Milk’s favorite cookie” turns 100 today!  It’s personally mine as well..without milk, well at least for the drinking. I personally love them just out of the box..or ice cream carton, glass, on the bottom of various pie fillings..

I could go on about these addictive cookies for a while but I won’t bore you with my personal story of the Oreo and Sundrop birthday gift basket or the many store runs just because I was “too close to being out” moments of the past. I’ve since tamed my intake of them some honestly for my own good but I couldn’t let this personal milestone in culinary confections go unnoticed. There are lots of great recipes out here and great stories written today, like this post on Yahoo!. It has all you’ve ever maybe wanted to know,,if you’re anything like me,,about the cookie, It’s many varieties, and impacts here and in other countries. Grab a pack, a glass, and celebrate with a milk mustache today!

The whole Oreo website is dedicated to its special day so go check out all they have to offer as well!

Crazy Craving Anyone?

It’s definitely been an interesting few weeks since my return from one of the homes of chicken and waffles, We lost a vocal treasure, family obligations have been a plenty, and red carpets have been on tv overload. After tearfully watching worldwide coverage of the homegoing service of the late and always to me great Whitney Houston all I could think to do to get my mind off of it and all the other things that happen along the way was make a cake. In fact I made two-pound cake loaves that night. I used Paula Deen’s recipe, as usual, and it’s always a success but other than mixing the batter and taking in that fresh-baked smell in my house, the comfort was minimal. Food Network and Cooking Channel always seem to get my wheels turning toward the positive so I turned over. This was the beginning of my now over a week-long craving.

For what you ask? Cheese. Specifically oozing, gooey, melting mozz! As I watched Giada De Laurentis do her thing I was hooked like this wasn’t a epi I’d seen at least five times before. I was drawn in by the cheese.  Who wouldn’t get drawn in by sights like what you see below?

I thought that would get you just like it did me. SO that’s my “crazy” craving I plan on making for dinner tonight. Is that wrong?

How about you all? What is that food that get;s you every time?

Weekend Whip Up’s: A Trip For Chicken and Waffles

This weekend whip up took place in Lithonia, GA. I was glad to be able to take a break away from home and daily realities and embark on a trip out of town with my sister in-law and three of her friends
After a late and a bumpy(literally) start along the highway we arrived late in the evening in Georgia. Thanking God for road mercy and solid ground I got changed and ready with the ladies for a after birthday night about town at Gladys & Ron’s Chicken and Waffles.

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menu cover

The signature wings and waffle plate, the
“Midnight Train” with a side of mac and cheese is what i chose. Was great!
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The soul food spot, named for it’s legendary soul singer owner, Gladys Knight and her former husband Ron Winans had a great mix of soul food comfort classics to choose from on its menu. A nice place that def has character.

Where Arts Meet The Culinary

I enjoyed this read and thought you all might too!
http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2012/02/leah_chase_joins_other_famous.html

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