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    Thursday, 20 November 2008

    I was having lunch in my favorite Thai restaurant last week while waiting to discuss an order for hand embroidered Thai shirts for employees, and I had the privilege of being seated near enough to a group of eight ladies that I could clearly overhear their conversation.

    After the usual ice-breaker conversation about how everyone was and how things were with their respective jobs, one of them asked, "So, what's everyone doing for the holidays?"

    Answers included traveling to be with family, staying in town to attend an annual gathering of friends who live away from their families, and one ambitious one who announced she and her family would be meeting at their mountain cabin where she would cook the traditional Thanksgiving meal - all from scratch, including her apple and pumpkin pies.

    The group quickly pronounced that ambitious one as insane even though she defended her fresh approach using organic and natural products, like honey in her pies and candied yams, as one of the greatest days of her year.

    Finally, time came for the one who originally asked the question to answer the question. I've dubbed her the grandmother because she said her two children, their spouses, and five grandchildren were coming for Thanksgiving Day and she was planning to spend as much with them as possible.

    Another lady asked the grandmother how she could spend any time with them while preparing a meal for that many people, and the answer really caught my ears, "You wanna hear a little secret?"

    All heads nodded, so she continued, "I buy a really good brand of frozen apple pie, then let thaw for about a half-hour. Then I carefully slip it into my own pie dish, brush it with milk and sprinkle on a little sugar to give it that nice glazed top, then I bake as directed. Voila! In no time I have a pie people always rave about with very little effort."

    "Wow, that would also work with pumpkin pie," one of the ladies planning to attend the friend get-together piped in. "That's what I've been asked to bring this year and I was going to buy the pie at the bakery, but I think I'll try 'baking my own.'"

    They all laughed heartily, then the conversation continued with a suggestion that you could buy an entire turkey dinner at the supermarket and serve it beautifully on china platters and bowls and never have to admit to not having done all the work.

    They discussed the virtues of instant mashed potatoes and how adding a few spices and some extra butter enhances the flavor. They mentioned gravy mixes for a lump free topping on those potatoes. Brown and serve rolls from the supermarket, and frozen vs canned string beans for a casserole.

    The general theme of this group was to minimize how much time they spent in the kitchen and maximize how much time they spent with family and friends.

    As the lunch hour wound down, I couldn't resist walking over to their table and presenting them with business cards with a World Shopper's Club first order discount code on the back. In an apologetic introductory tone, I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation and I'd like to suggest you check out the food items we have to help you with your holiday cooking. We have soup mixes, desserts, and of course spices and honey for those you who like to cook," as I deliberately gestured toward the previously proclaimed insane one planning to do the entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch.

    Then, I thanked them in the best way I knew how by telling them with a wink ;) toward the grandmother that I'll be providing an apple pie for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. "Served from my own apple pie dish of course."

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 18 November 2008

    Thanksgiving desserts

    It's that time a year! One thing I treasured in my life was Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmas. She had to be the best cook on the planet. The thing that she had, that will make or break your family from being happy with your meal or walking away saying it was ok, is dessert. I have included two recipes here for you to have, that will put smiles on everyone's faces.

    Pumpkin Cake Roll

    Ingredients:

    Cake:

    3 eggs -- room temp, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon,1 teaspoon ginger,1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup walnuts, chopped

    Filling:

    1 cup confectioners' sugar, 6 ounces cream cheese, 4 teaspoons butter, ½ teaspoon vanilla

    Instructions:

    Beat eggs for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice. In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread in prepared jellyroll pan. Top with walnuts. Bake at 375'F for 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto towel sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and roll up "jellyroll fashion. Cool. Prepare filling, beating all ingredients until creamy. Unroll the cake and spread filling and re-roll; chill. That's It.

    Pumpkin and Praline Pie

    Ingredients:

    2 pie crusts

    Filling:

    1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. bitters ( optional), 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 2 tbsp. butter, 1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin, 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk, 1/4 cup milk, 1 cup water

    Praline:

    4 tbsp. butter, softened, 2/3 cup light brown sugar, 2/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

    Instructions:

    Mix sugars, flour, bitters, spices in large bowl. Stir in egg; set aside. Melt butter in large skillet over low heat. Add pumpkin, simmer, stirring occasionally until purée thickens slightly, 10 minutes. Gradually stir hot pumpkin into sugar mix, stir in evaporated milk, milk and 1 cup water. If desired, cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Praline:

    Prepare crust. Preheat to 450°F. Spread half the praline mix in each crust. Bake until praline is golden brown and bubbly, around 10 minutes; cool slightly. Reduce oven temp to 400°F. Pour half pumpkin filling into each crust; smooth top with spatula. Bake until pumpkin is firm and crusts are golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool completely and serve. Garnish with Whipped cream or topping, if desired. That's it, good luck and Happy Holidays.

    Visit http://www.foodrecipe.ws for thousands of recipes including Holiday, diabetic, and diet.

    Dessert is a must at Thanksgiving and during the Holidays. I hope these recipes help. Check out http://www.foodrecipe.ws for thousands of recipes

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:44 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 17 November 2008

    Check out these ideas I found for making your cupcakes a bit more fancier.

    A cupcake is made more attractive by its designs or toppings. You can design your cupcake with the occasion or affair in mind. The ordinary cupcake has come a long way from being the plain and simple small or "mini" cakes of yesteryear. Modern day cupcakes still follow the basic recipe of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. However, the cupcakes of today come in various designs and toppings. The simple frosting and sprinkles combination has been replaced with cupcakes topped with gumpaste flowers, fruits and nuts and come in a variety of colors and flavors.

    If you are hosting or planning for an occasion, it would be easier to design your cupcakes with the event in mind. If it's for Halloween or Christmas, you can bake your cupcakes and top them with a dark colored frosting and sprinkle with orange and black sprinkles which you can buy at most confectionery store.

    For a fancier design, you can decorate your cupcakes with edible pearls and jewelry, dragée, quins, edible leaves or decoratifs. Fresh flowers can also be used as garnishes or toppings for cupcakes. Fruit is another favorite topping of cupcake aficionados. Strawberries, blueberries, mango and the like can serve as tasty decorations.

    Fancy and elegant cupcake and muffin papers can also be bought to complement your cupcake motif or theme. Designs range from the colored variety to the super hero, flowers, sports, valentine or any other theme and occasion.

    For a fancier design, you can decorate your cupcakes with edible pearls and jewelry, dragée, quins, edible leaves or decoratifs. Fresh flowers can also be used as garnishes or toppings for cupcakes. Fruit is another favorite topping of cupcake aficionados. Strawberries, blueberries, mango and the like can serve as tasty decorations.

    Fancy and elegant cupcake and muffin papers can also be bought to complement your cupcake motif or theme. Designs range from the colored variety to the super hero, flowers, sports, valentine or any other theme and occasion.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 01:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 14 November 2008

    Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be quite stressful. The holiday season is already upon us and it seems we are busy even before the day gets here. First Thanksgiving, then Christmas, with New Years Day to follow. First, calm down. Here are some tips to relieve some of the stress so you too can enjoy the day with your guests.

    First, decide how you want your Thanksgiving dinner to be set-up. Do you want buffet-style? With this set-up you would need a fairly large place to set the food. Your guest would then serve themselves and sit where you have provided. This is a very casual dinner and works well with a large guest list. Another way to serve your holiday meal would be pot-luck style. This way is much less stressful on the host as each of your guests would be bring a dish and usually a dessert. The host usually provides the main dishes such as the turkey, stuffing and gravy. So a sample way to work this would be to let each guest know what items to bring such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls and such. Make sure your specific though so you do not end up having tons of greens beans! And yet another way to serve Thanksgiving dinner would be a more formal dinner setting at the table. This is my favorite and is a more intimate setting. To have a formal setting you would need a large table and smaller guest list. What we do at our home is set up two tables next to each other. One for the adults, and one for the kids. The kids can chat amongst their selves and the adults can visit with each other without everyone being separated. So deciding now what kind of Thanksgiving dinner style you want lets you plan accordingly.

    The second thing you should do is start you baking now. Most baked goods freeze quite well. You could make and freeze pies, nut breads, unfrosted cakes and cookies. You can freeze fruit pies uncooked, wrapped in plastic wrap then cover in foil. To bake, place frozen pie in center oven at 375 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or until bubbly and golden brown. To freeze nut breads, you will need to bake as usual and let cool completely. Wrap cooled bread in freezer bread according to size of loaf. To thaw just place on counter for about an hour, then slice as usual. To freeze unfrosted cakes, cool cake layers completely and wrap separately in parchment paper and then in foil. Let thaw on counter completely before frosting. Cookies freeze very well. Just bake according to recipes and cool completely. Store cookies in freezer bags or freezer containers such as lock-n-locks. Just thaw on counter until ready to display and eat. Doing this now will certainly help take a load off.

    Plan your guest list. This may seem simple, but as you think about who you want over at your home, your list can grow to impossible numbers! Do you have a large family? If so, you may not be able to have many friends over. This is where you need to decide who you want to spend the day with. Traditions also play a part in this. Maybe you have the same people year after year, such as Grandma and Grandpa. If so, this will be easy because you already know. Ok, you now have your guest list ready.

    Start your grocery shopping early! Don't wait until the week of Thanksgiving to buy what you need. Not only are you risking empty shelves, but it is expensive to buy at the last minute. There are great sales starting around Halloween for baking supplies and such. Stock up now. If stuffing mix is on sale when you are at the market for milk, pick it up. You are going to need it anyway. You can also get cranberries cheap way before the big day. Cranberries freeze well too. As you buy items you know you will need, mark them down so when you get the rest of what you need, you do not over buy items. Turkeys also are on sale sometimes weeks before. You can get great deals like $5 turkeys limit 1. When you see this, go back again and pick up another to freeze!

    Plan your cooking day. This will most likely be the day or two before. Decide what you have left to do and prep as much as you can. Mix up the stuffing for the bird and put into bowl and store in fridge. Also, you can make your rolls ahead. Cook up those cranberries. They will be much better the next day anyway after setting. You can also make your molded salads the day before as they also will need setting up. This is when you will defrost all those baked goods you froze the weeks prior to now. So if you need to frost the cake, now is the time. You can also bake up those pies you froze. Doing as much as you can on this day will help you to have more time with friends and family.

    And Finally Thanksgiving Day! Your turkey is in the oven. When your guests start to arrive you need to enlist help. You may want to do it all and get all the glory for the hard work you have put in, but it is much better to let others help out and enjoy your day. Delegate tasks such as setting the table, organizing serving dishes and setting out appetizers for your guests to enjoy while the meal is being prepared. Snacking is an important part to hosting a party. This is a must when entertaining. So set out the appetizer trays and mingle with your guests because you have planned for this day and you will now enjoy it too!

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Stephanie Maggio
    928-503-4922
    http://www.maggiospersonalchefservice.com

    A sample Thanksgiving meal menu:

    Roasted Turkey with Herbs
    Cider Crusted Baked Ham
    Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan topping
    Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Pan gravy
    Cranberries with Grand Marnier Sauce (YUM!)
    Molded Raspberry/Cranberry Salad
    Homemade Rolls with Honey Butter
    Green Bean Casserole (kids love this)
    Bread Stuffing with Italian Sausage,Pecans,Raisins and Apples
    Pumpkin Pie
    Apple Pie
    Pecan Pie

    Stephanie Maggio is the owner and chef of Maggio's Personal Chef Service. She does full personal cheffing and in-home catering. Stephanie has been cooking for 15 years and is a proud member of the Personal Chef's Network.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 13 November 2008

    It's almost time to celebrate Thanksgiving Day again. Most of us will sit down and enjoy the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. There are a lot of people who might want to try something a little bit different this year. Here's a couple ideas for your Thanksgiving meal.

    Standing Rib Roast

    A standing rib roast is a cut of beef from the rib section where rib-eye steaks are generally cut from. A lot of my customers know this particular cut as "Prime Rib". It's called a "Standing Rib Roast" because it includes up to seven rib bones and is most commonly cooked in a "standing" position. To ensure you have enough to go around, I recommend a serving size of two people per rib, with a minimum size of three ribs. Anything less than that is basically a nice thick steak.

    Thanksgiving Ham

    Some of my customers love having ham for the holidays. You can buy hams either boneless or with the bone-in. As third a generation butcher, I always recommend bone-in hams because they provide more flavor and the bone can be used to make soup or even ham and beans. You'll want to have about one pound of boneless ham per every three to four people or one pound of bone-in ham for every two to three people or at your Thanksgiving meal.

    Crown Roast of Pork

    A crown roast of pork can capture the spirit of any holiday since it can be decorated to match any occasion. A crown roast comes from the rib section of the pork loin. It is called a crown roast because a butcher will take two rib racks and bend them into a circle. The sections are tied together to create a crown effect. Bones are left in this roast to add to the flavor and moistness of the roast. Plus, it adds to the presentation.

    I suggest 1 rib bone per person or about ¾ of a pound per person. Most Crown Pork Roasts roast will serve about eight to ten people. Ask us to tie a smaller roast if you are serving fewer people.

    Boneless Beef Rump Roast

    A boneless beef rump roast is cut from above the back end of the hipbone. Generally this boneless roast is rolled and tied. A rump roast that contains the bone is known as a standing rump roast. I recommend a boneless rump roast since it is easier to carve. This is important when hosting a lot of guests at a Thanksgiving Feast. Rump roasts are very flavorful and are always a hit. Generally you want to about one pound of boneless roast per every two to three people at your meal.

    Duck

    Roasting a duck for a Thanksgiving feast is an excellent alternative to turkey. Duck meat is darker and usually more moist than meat from a turkey. Just remember, ducks are also a lot smaller. I tell my customers to roast one duck for every 2-3 people. This ensures that everyone has enough to eat.

    Italian Thanksgiving

    How about an Italian Thanksgiving? Columbus did discover (or re-discovered to be politically correct) the Americas. For those who want an Italian theme to their Thanksgiving feast you can add an Italian Roll. Italian Rolls are made from a thin cut round steak. Add a layer of mild or spicy Italian sausage to the round steak and roll it. This makes for a very flavorful addition to your Thanksgiving feast.

    Steaks

    Who doesn't love a great steak? There's rib-eye's, t-bones, porterhouses, and of course filet mignons. Everyone has their favorite cut steak and any of these steaks are the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving meal. As your local butcher to custom cut your Thanksgiving steaks to your specification.

    Many people will stay with the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving meal while others will skip turkey altogether. Not sure if you're ready to skip out on Turkey this Thanksgiving? Stick with tradition, but serve an alternative with your turkey. It may be the start of a new Thanksgiving Tradition. Whatever your choice, enjoy the holiday.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    John Brooks is a 3rd generation butcher for B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli. A neighborhood grocery store that has been family owned and operated since 1922

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 12:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 12 November 2008

    Are you looking for an excellent dessert to follow the perfect Italian meal, romantic wedding cake, or just a recipe to break the chocolate cake monotony? If so, you definitely want to consider an Italian cream cake recipe.

    Cake Ingredients:

    2 cups of white sugar
    6 large room temperature eggs.
    Cooking spray
    1/2 cup of unsalted butter
    2 cups of all purpose flour
    1tsp of baking soda
    1 cup of low fat or regular buttermilk
    1/2 cup of coarsely chopped pecans
    1 tsp of real almond extract
    1 tsp of real coconut extract
    1 tsp of real vanilla extract
    1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut
    1 tsp of salt

    Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

    4 oz of unsalted butter
    4 cups of powdered sugar
    1 tsp of real vanilla extract
    8 oz of cream cheese
    One cup of pecans (toasted or un-toasted)

    Italian Cream Cake Recipe Directions

    The Icing:

    Step One: Combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and cream cheese in a medium bowl.
    Step Two: Beat the ingredients until light and creamy( about three minutes.) Be careful not to over beat, or the icing will be too runny.
    Step Three: Set the nuts aside. They will be used at the end.
    Step Four: Cover and refrigerate the icing.
    Note: Do not add nuts to the icing. It will make the icing very difficult to spread.

    The Cake:

    Step One: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Step Two: Evenly spray 3 (9 inch) round cake pans with the cooking spray.
    Step Three: Dust the pans with flour, and then shake off excess flour.
    Step Four: Set the pans aside.
    Step Five: In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter. Use an electric mixer to beat on medium speed; until it is an even creamy consistency.
    Step Six: Separate egg yolks and whites. Reserve the egg whites for use in a moment.
    Step Seven: Add one egg yolk and beat the mixture well. Add another egg yolk and beat the mixture well. *You will only use two of the egg yolks.
    Step Eight: In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda.
    Step Nine: Add the 1/4 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, and mix well.
    Step Ten: Add 1/4 of the buttermilk, and mix well.
    Step Eleven: Continue to alternate flour and buttermilk, until all of it is used.
    Step Twelve: Stir in the vanilla, coconut, and almond extracts.
    Step Thirteen: Stir in the pecans and coconut.
    Step Fourteen: Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites on high speed, until a stiff peak forms. Be careful not to over beat.
    Step Fifteen: Gently fold egg whites into batter.
    Step Sixteen: Pour batter into pans.
    Step Seventeen: Bake for 23 minutes.
    Step Eighteen: Let the pans cool for 10 minutes. Then, gently remove cake from pans.

    Icing The Cake:

    Step One: Line a plate or cake dish with wax paper. You can use one of the pans to trace a circle for the exact size.
    Step Two: Place one layer on the plate, and ice with ¼ of the icing. Repeat with each layer.
    Step Three: Use the final 1/4 of the icing to ice the sides of the cake.
    Step Four: Sprinkle the pecans on the top of the cake and along the sides. You can use a piece of wax paper to press the pecans into the icing.

    It may sound a little tedious, but this Italian cream cake recipe is well worth it!

    Wendy Pan is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn more about italian cream cake recipe, please visit My Cake Recipes for current articles and discussions

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 11 November 2008

    The year is flying by quickly. Halloween is past us and Thanksgiving is coming on quickly and you know what that means - the hefty, delicious Thanksgiving Dinner. Ah, but which wine are you going to drink?

    As you probably know by now, wine goes well with food. That being said, only certain wines go well with certain foods. A white wine, for instance, is usually not a good choice for red meat meals because the wine tends to get overwhelmed by the flavor of the meat and any sauces used. In contrast, a red wine tends to be more hearty and flavorful, which makes it a better wine for red meat.

    The unique thing about Thanksgiving Dinner is the meal is layered. Although meat is a staple at the end of the meal, the initial appetizers and such can be much lighter. This means most people will mix wines throughout the dinner. Depending on what you are eating, there may be one wine that can handle each stage, but you are usually looking at a mix of vintages.

    White wines tend to be complimentary to pointed, fruity tastes. For Thanksgiving, a good white wine would be palatable with appetizers and, perhaps, the desert depending on what is served. For appetizers like stuffed celery, a Sauvignon Blanc would be a good choice. It is a white wine with more of a crisp taste, so it can handle heavier tastes without getting overwhelmed. You can even serve it as a compliment to your red wine for the white meat of the turkey.

    Red wines are a staple of Thanksgiving. Let's face it, the foods we eat during Thanksgiving tend to be heavy and very hearty. From mashed potatoes to stuffing to the dark meat of the turkey, a classic red just makes sense. A Pinot Noir is going to go well with this meal, so pick a favorite or two and offer them up.

    If you just want to stick with one vintage for the entire meal, the clear choices are either a Riesling or a Pinot Noir. Each of these wines has then necessary strength and versatility to work throughout the full meal. The have average bodies, but less tannin which means they compliment just about anything you are going to serve.

    So, are there specific vintages you should go with? Yes. Thanksgiving is not a time to experiment because it simply is not a wine tasting party. Refer to your wine tasting journal or memories to find particular choices you tried and loved in the past. These should be your choices for this years Thanksgiving Dinner.

    Rick Chapo is with NomadJournals.com - makers of wine tasting journals that make great wine related gifts for wine affectionados.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 06 November 2008
    Is this the first time you've cooked a Christmas turkey? Or maybe you're just tired of the same old recipe and want to try something different. Either way this article will help you cook the perfect turkey this Christmas.

    Firstly, you should check the packaging for instructions on how long to defrost your turkey for, but if there aren't any, then follow this guide:

    Put it in the fridge, allow 10 to 12 hours per kg, but if your fridge is cooler than 4°C (39°F), add extra defrosting time.

    Leave it in a cool room (below 17.5°C, 64°F) and allow three to four hours per kg.

    Leave it at room temperature (about 20°C, 68°F) and allow approximately two hours per kg.

    Top tips for cooking your turkey to perfection.

    1. Weigh your turkey after stuffing

    2. Cover the breast with strips of bacon or smear with softened butter then cover loosely with foil.

    3. Preheat your oven to 190°C (180°C for fan assisted ovens), 375°F, Gas Mark 5.

    4. Less than 4kg weight? Cook for 20 minutes per kg then add another 70 minutes cooking time at the end.

    5. More than 4kg weight? Cook for 20 minutes per kg then add 90 minutes cooking time at the end.

    6. Remove the foil for the last 40 minutes to brown the top.

    7. Ovens vary, so always test your turkey to make sure it's thoroughly cooked. Pierce the thickest part, this is usually the leg of a whole turkey, with a skewer or sharp pointed knife. Hold a spoon underneath to catch the juices as they run out. If they are clear the turkey is done. If they are pink it needs further cooking.

    8. Allow the turkey to stand for 15 to 20 minutes in a warm place, it won't go cold, it'll be more juicy and easier to carve.

    Recipe - Classic turkey with trimmings

    Classic roast British turkey with all the trimmings, including cranberries, stuffing and chestnuts.

    Serves: 12

    Calories per portion: 771

    Fat per portion: 21g

    Stuffing:

    30ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil

    1 red onion, chopped

    50g/2oz dried cranberries

    zest and juice 1 lemon

    175g/6oz fresh white breadcrumbs

    200g/7oz ready cooked and peeled chestnuts, chopped

    60ml/4 tbsp each chopped fresh sage and fresh parsley

    225g/8oz sausagemeat

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Turkey:

    1 (5.4kg/12lb) oven-ready British Turkey, giblets removed

    12 rashers rindless smoked streaky bacon

    6 chipolata sausages, twisted in half to make 12

    12 pitted no-soak prunes

    50g/2oz butter

    30ml/2tbsp plain flour

    900ml/1 1/2pt turkey stock

    To serve: Roast potatoes, parsnips and mixed vegetables

    1. Make stuffing: heat oil in a pan and fry onion for 4 mins. Add cranberries, lemon zest and juice; remove from heat. In a large bowl, mix remaining stuffing ingredients with onions; season.

    2. Prepare trimmings: stretch bacon rashers with back of a knife; cut in half. Wrap a piece of bacon around each of the sausages and prunes. Place seam side down in a roasting tray, cover and chill until required.

    3. Stuff the turkey: Preheat oven to 190C/Fan 170C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Spoon stuffing into neck cavity of turkey, then tuck skin flap underneath; secure with cocktail sticks. Roll any remaining stuffing into balls and roast with bacon rolls.

    4. Truss and weigh turkey: tie string around leg joints, then around parsons nose, under the bird and up over the wings. Tie tightly to secure shape. Weigh turkey, then calculate cooking time: allow 20 mins per kg + 90 minutes. Place in a large roasting tin. Spread all over with butter and season. Loosely cover with foil.

    5. Roast turkey for the calculated time, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Remove foil for final 45 mins, to crisp skin; roast bacon rolls and stuffing balls above the turkey for 20 mins. Check turkey is cooked by piercing thigh with a skewer - the juices should run clear. Transfer turkey to serving plate, cover with foil and rest in a warm place for 20 mins, this makes carving easier.

    6. Make gravy: spoon off excess fat from juices in roasting tin. Place tin on a low heat, add flour and cook, stirring for 1 min. Gradually stir in stock and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally then strain into a warm gravy boat.

    Kate Korr
    Good to know
    A great Christmas resource featuring Christmas food ideas, Christmas dinner recipes and Christmas budget planning.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:45 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 05 November 2008

    There is nothing better than the annual Thanksgiving dinner. Loved ones gather every year to enjoy this holiday tradition, at the center of which is of course the Thanksgiving Turkey. For most of my life the thanksgiving Turkey was more or less a traditional bird. My mom would start the process the night before, and the turkey would cook for hours until it was just right. But these days there are an increasing number of new traditions when it comes to the thanksgiving diner table and finding new and interesting twists on the thanksgiving turkey is all the rage.

    Below you will find 3 of my favorite versions of the Thanksgiving turkey, enjoy!

    Deep Fried Turkey - Deep fried turkey is becoming more and more popular every year. This method of course requires a deep fryer but they are pretty common these days, and around the holidays especially, you should have no problem find an affordable Turkey deep fryer at your local cooking store or even possibly the grocery store. Deep fried turkeys come out most and delicious, but you may want to cook them outside or in the garage because they can be messy and the oil is flammable.

    The Classic American Thanksgiving Turkey - An oldie but a goody, the classic turkey is slow roasted and relies on butter, vegetables and seasoning to get it's traditional flavor. The key to making a great tasting classic Thanksgiving turkey is to be sure that it doesn't dry out. You may even choose to use a little white wine to keep the turkey moist and flavorful.

    Vegan Turkey Loaf - For the animal lovers, or simply the health conscious folks out there, an increasingly popular tae on the Thanksgiving turkey is to skip the turkey altogether. By Combining nuts, breadcrumbs, some vegetables and grains you can make a delicious vegan Thanksgiving turkey that is sure to please even the most finicky eaters.

    Want to cook your Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe like the restaurants do? Find Top Secret restaurant recipes for this thanksgiving.

    Feel free to browse my recipe database at Restaurant Recipes Exposed.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 04 November 2008

    Germans are famous for their cake recipes. They have several that I love and have made on several occasions. I have came up with a really good recipe, and I hope that you enjoy it.

    Ingredients for the Cake Mix:

    1/2 Cup of water

    4 Ounces of semi sweet chocolate

    1 Cup butter

    2 Cups sugar

    4 Egg yolks

    1 Teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

    2 1/2 Cups flour

    1 Teaspoon of baking soda

    1/2 Teaspoon of salt

    1 Cup buttermilk

    4 Egg whites Stiff peaks

    Bring the water to a simmer, You will then add your chocolate and water over a double boiler and melt the chocolate until it is smooth. You will remove from the double boiler and cool down to room temperature. You will then start to mix your sugar, vanilla bean paste, and and butter until creamy, and then add in egg yolks one at a time until incorporated. You will need to make sure the chocolate mixture is cooling down because you are going to start getting the rest of your ingredients ready to put them all together very soon.

    We are ready to get the dry ingredients ready now. First thing you will need to do is get your dry ingredients ready at this point. You will need to sift the flour, soda, and salt. You will then add in buttermilk and give it a stir. Now you will add the buttermilk flour mixture to the chocolate liquid and stir them just until they are incorporated.

    I would preheat the oven to 350F degrees, so you can pour the batter and go directly into the oven. This is the last step of the chocolate cake batter. This is what is going to make the cake light and fluffy. You will need to whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. You will add about a third of the stiff peaked egg whites in to the batter and fold gently into the chocolate mix, repeat two more times until all of the egg whites are folded in. Do not mix, but fold them into the batter. You will lose the lift the egg whites will produce.

    Grease and flour two or three 9" circular pans, pour in the batter, and put into the oven. Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes, remove and cool. When the toothpick comes out clean the cake is ready.

    Ingredients for the coconut and pecan frosting:

    1 Cup evaporated milk

    1 Cup sugar

    3 Beaten egg yolks

    1/2 Cup of butter

    1 Teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

    1 Tablespoon of Meyers Dark Rum

    1 Can of flaked coconut

    1 Cup chopped pecans

    In a bowl you will mix the milk, rum, sugar, yolks and butter. You will then heat in a pan stirring constantly until it thickens, 10 minutes or so. Then pour into the vanilla bean paste, coconut and pecans, and let cool.

    For the Chocolate Icing:

    8 Ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

    2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

    1 1/2 Ounces of unsalted butter

    1 Cup heavy cream

    1 Bag and a metal tip for the ring of frosting around the cake

    You will add the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter. You will heat the cream to get it hot enough to melt the chocolate. You could also do this over a double boiler if you like to make more of a ganache. You will then remove from heat and gently pour over the chocolate. You will give it a quick stir, and then let stand until all of the chocolate has melted stirring occasionally. You will let this sit until you are ready for this at room temperature. If you like you can add your tip to the bag and add about a third of your icing, so you are ready to go. You will leave the rest of the icing for the sides of the cake.

    Putting the cake together. Take the cake layers and assemble by adding a layer of the coconut frosting in between the layers. And the second, and then third and repeat the frosting in-between the layers. Once the last layer is on top add the coconut frosting layer on jut the top of the cake. You will then start to frost the sides of the cake with the chocolate icing. You will need a knife and a glass of water to dip into to smooth down the sides. Once that is complete you will add decorations on the top of the cake. You can do a decorative ring or whatever you wish. Then serve

    Chef Shelley Pogue, a Cum Laude, Le Cordon Blue graduate and Executive Research and Development Chef, for Vertical Sales and Marketing, San Ramon, CA. Shelley is also the desserts editor for http://www.BellaOnline.com

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 03 November 2008

    These are difficult economic times without any sight of change in the foreseeable future. We will return to pleasures in our lives that are unconnected to money. While our holidays will still be filled with gift giving, many of the gifts will come from the kitchen instead of the shopping mall. Giving a gift from the kitchen during the holidays is thoughtful and personal. It is a gift that truly is from you. One of my recipes that my family and friends look forward to receiving is my Pineapple Fruitcake. No one throws this fruitcake away!

    Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and barley mush were mixed together to form a ring-shaped dessert. Roman soldiers packed fruitcake with them on their long marches because of the fruitcake's long shelf life. During the Middle Ages, cooks added honey, spices, and dried fruits to fruitcakes. Crusaders, like the early Roman soldiers, carried the fruitcake with them to sustain themselves for long periods on their marches to the Holy Land. An interesting historical twist to the lore of the fruitcake occurred in the early 18th Century when a few European countries outlawed the fruitcake because they were considered "sinfully rich."

    As a special touch to the Pineapple Fruitcake, jot a note that tells some of the history of the fruitcake and attach it to the gift.

    Pineapple Fruitcake

    2 and ½ cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ¾ cup butter
    ½ cup white sugar
    ½ cup brown sugar
    4 eggs, beaten
    3 tablespoons orange juice
    1 and ½ cup candied pineapple chunks
    ½ cup candied cherries
    1 and ½ cup walnut pieces

    Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in orange juice. Mix well. Fold in fruits and nuts. Pour into well-greased and floured 9 inch tube pan.* Bake at 300 degrees about 2 hours or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan.

    * To stretch gift giving, divide batter into two small bread pans. Adjust cooking time. Check with toothpick after 45 minutes, then 15 minute intervals.

    A breast cancer survivor who also battled liver disease, Sandy Powers turned to organic foods after her mastectomy to heal her liver and fight cancer recurrence. Her research and healing recipes she shares in her recently published book "Organic For Health," winner in the Health category of the National 2008 Beach Book Festival, Finalist in the Health:General category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, and is on file with Oprah. Visit Sandy at http://www.organicforhealthsite.com for more recipes.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 05:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 03 November 2008

    These are difficult economic times without any sight of change in the foreseeable future. We will return to pleasures in our lives that are unconnected to money. While our holidays will still be filled with gift giving, many of the gifts will come from the kitchen instead of the shopping mall. Giving a gift from the kitchen during the holidays is thoughtful and personal. It is a gift that truly is from you. One of my recipes that my family and friends look forward to receiving is my Pineapple Fruitcake. No one throws this fruitcake away!

    Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and barley mush were mixed together to form a ring-shaped dessert. Roman soldiers packed fruitcake with them on their long marches because of the fruitcake's long shelf life. During the Middle Ages, cooks added honey, spices, and dried fruits to fruitcakes. Crusaders, like the early Roman soldiers, carried the fruitcake with them to sustain themselves for long periods on their marches to the Holy Land. An interesting historical twist to the lore of the fruitcake occurred in the early 18th Century when a few European countries outlawed the fruitcake because they were considered "sinfully rich."

    As a special touch to the Pineapple Fruitcake, jot a note that tells some of the history of the fruitcake and attach it to the gift.

    Pineapple Fruitcake

    2 and ½ cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ¾ cup butter
    ½ cup white sugar
    ½ cup brown sugar
    4 eggs, beaten
    3 tablespoons orange juice
    1 and ½ cup candied pineapple chunks
    ½ cup candied cherries
    1 and ½ cup walnut pieces

    Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in orange juice. Mix well. Fold in fruits and nuts. Pour into well-greased and floured 9 inch tube pan.* Bake at 300 degrees about 2 hours or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan.

    * To stretch gift giving, divide batter into two small bread pans. Adjust cooking time. Check with toothpick after 45 minutes, then 15 minute intervals.

    A breast cancer survivor who also battled liver disease, Sandy Powers turned to organic foods after her mastectomy to heal her liver and fight cancer recurrence. Her research and healing recipes she shares in her recently published book "Organic For Health," winner in the Health category of the National 2008 Beach Book Festival, Finalist in the Health:General category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, and is on file with Oprah. Visit Sandy at http://www.organicforhealthsite.com for more recipes.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 05:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 03 November 2008

    These are difficult economic times without any sight of change in the foreseeable future. We will return to pleasures in our lives that are unconnected to money. While our holidays will still be filled with gift giving, many of the gifts will come from the kitchen instead of the shopping mall. Giving a gift from the kitchen during the holidays is thoughtful and personal. It is a gift that truly is from you. One of my recipes that my family and friends look forward to receiving is my Pineapple Fruitcake. No one throws this fruitcake away!

    Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and barley mush were mixed together to form a ring-shaped dessert. Roman soldiers packed fruitcake with them on their long marches because of the fruitcake's long shelf life. During the Middle Ages, cooks added honey, spices, and dried fruits to fruitcakes. Crusaders, like the early Roman soldiers, carried the fruitcake with them to sustain themselves for long periods on their marches to the Holy Land. An interesting historical twist to the lore of the fruitcake occurred in the early 18th Century when a few European countries outlawed the fruitcake because they were considered "sinfully rich."

    As a special touch to the Pineapple Fruitcake, jot a note that tells some of the history of the fruitcake and attach it to the gift.

    Pineapple Fruitcake

    2 and ½ cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ¾ cup butter
    ½ cup white sugar
    ½ cup brown sugar
    4 eggs, beaten
    3 tablespoons orange juice
    1 and ½ cup candied pineapple chunks
    ½ cup candied cherries
    1 and ½ cup walnut pieces

    Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in orange juice. Mix well. Fold in fruits and nuts. Pour into well-greased and floured 9 inch tube pan.* Bake at 300 degrees about 2 hours or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan.

    * To stretch gift giving, divide batter into two small bread pans. Adjust cooking time. Check with toothpick after 45 minutes, then 15 minute intervals.

    A breast cancer survivor who also battled liver disease, Sandy Powers turned to organic foods after her mastectomy to heal her liver and fight cancer recurrence. Her research and healing recipes she shares in her recently published book "Organic For Health," winner in the Health category of the National 2008 Beach Book Festival, Finalist in the Health:General category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, and is on file with Oprah. Visit Sandy at http://www.organicforhealthsite.com for more recipes.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 05:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 03 November 2008

    I've added the recipe to make fresh Pumpkin Puree as it makes a huge difference to the taste. The roasted pumpkin puree adds a delicious flavor and aroma, but if you don't have enough time on hand, you can use the canned pumpkin puree to bake the pie.

    Ingredients

    Pumpkin Puree

    1 pie pumpkin (weighing 2 to 3 lbs.)

    Vegetable oil

    Pie Filling

    3/4 cup granulated sugar

    1/2 tspn salt

    1 tspn ground cinnamon

    1/2 tspn ground ginger

    1/4 tspn ground nutmeg

    2 large eggs

    ** check notes for eggless recipe below

    1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin Puree

    1 cup (12 oz) Evaporated Milk

    1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

    Whipped cream - for garnish

    Eggless Version:

    Replace eggs by 1/4th cup cornstarch. Add that to the liquid ingredients just as the recipe states below.

    Method

    Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.

    Pour into the pie shell. Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

    Pumpkin Puree

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the exterior of the pumpkin, remove the stem and cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers from the center using a metal spoon.

    Coat the cut surface of the pumpkin halves with vegetable oil. Place halves cut side done in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan.

    Place the pumpkin in the preheated oven and bake for 60 to 90 minutes. It is done when the flesh feels tender when poked with a fork.

    Remove the pumpkin from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool until it can be handled comfortably. Scrape the flesh out of the pumpkin halves and place in a large bowl. Use a hand mixer to blend the flesh until it is pureed.

    Drain moisture from the puree by placing it in a sieve lined with paper towels or a double layer of coffee filters. Be sure the sieve is placed in a bowl to catch the liquid as it drains.

    Cover the puree with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Allow puree to drain for at least 2 hours. Drain overnight if possible. After draining, the pumpkin puree is ready to use.

    For those who'd love to bake their own pie shells, here's a little tutorial on How to Make Pie Crust at home, in case it interests you.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Saturday, 01 November 2008

    Are you looking for a Thanksgiving dish that will have your dinner guests talking for months to come? If you answered yes, then it is time you tried Turducken. This original Cajun creation is a combination of turkey, duck and chicken. Actually, it is a turkey, stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a chicken that is stuffed with stuffing. Sound complicated? Read on to learn a little more about this unique Cajun delicacy.

    As you have probably figured out by now, this dish got its name by combining the words turkey, duck and chicken. But what is the origin of this outrageous dish? Like most legends, the origin of this dish is slightly muddy. Some will say that the dish began in the middle of the last century when a renowned surgeon used his skill with a scalpel to de-bone a turkey, duck and chicken and created the dish. Others will say that it's the creation of a well know Cajun-Creole chef named Paul Prudhomme in 1982.  

    One of the more popular stories about the origin says that in the mid 1980's a local, unnamed farmer brought a turkey, duck and chicken, cleaned and plucked to Herbert's Specialty Meats located in Maurice Louisiana. The story claims that this unnamed farmer requested that Herbert make the now (regionally) famous holiday dinner centerpiece. Herbert's Specialty Meats is now making about 5,000 of them per week.

    Whatever the origin, you have two choices when it comes to acquiring one for your dinner. You can either purchase one pre-made from a specialty meat shop or you can make your own.

    If you choose to make your own, keep in mind that this will take a lot of patience and some skill with a knife. But creating your own can become a family event that will make the holidays even more enjoyable.

    One of the most difficult parts of creating it is the de-boning process. You may want to get detailed instructions on how to correctly de-bone your fowls. If you do not de-bone the turkey, duck and chicken, you will never get them stuffed into each other.

    After you have the duck and chicken stuffed, the next hardest part is stuffing this combination into the turkey. This will take more than one person. You may want to get a family member ready with a video camera, because this can be quite hilarious. Imagine trying to push a slippery, stuffed chicken into the cavity of a very slippery turkey. The video could be used for entertainment for all of your guests before Thanksgiving dinner.

    So if you want a unique Thanksgiving meat that will make your dinner a hit, try turducken this year. Get a great recipe for the stuffing and find detailed instructions for de-boning. Keep in mind that this type of turkey cannot be deep fried and it will take a little longer to bake than the traditional turkey. Get the family involved and make your holiday dinner one to remember!

    Beryl Stokes is the owner and creator of Cajun Cooking TV, a soon to be syndicated Cajun cooking program. For more Cajun recipes, Cajun cooking ideas, Cajun information and products, go to: http://www.cajuncookingtv.com/

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 03:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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