Monday, November 29, 2010

Have a Slice...On Us

Just in time to kick off the Christmas season we’re launching our first giveaway!  We hope you are all as excited as we are.  Our first giveaway (to be followed by many) will be Anna’s 6-Layer Dreamy Chocolate Mousse Cake!! I know all of you have wanted to try a piece, and here is your chance!  It’s easy to be entered into our drawing. 
Ways to enter:
1.       Leave a comment on this post telling us why you want to win this cake
2.       Become a follower of Everyday Re-Creations
3.       Give us a shout-out on your Facebook page, Twitter account, or on your personal blog including our link and then leave us a comment telling us you did so
That’s 5 chances you have to be entered into this drawing.  Those already following you are entered once, but be sure to do one of the other ways to better your chances.
Contest will close on Sunday, December 12th at 8:00 PM (ET).  Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't Tell Fish Stories

Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish. Mark Twain

I know what you are expecting.   You’re thinking I’m about to bore you with another green bean casserole recipe or sweet potato soufflĂ©.  And, I thought about it.  It’s Thanksgiving week, that’s what I should be doing! However, whatever I make, I’d probably have to turn around and have it again in a few days…there can be too much of a good thing.  So, all things considered I tried to figure out what I was going to make.   Talk about pressure; how do you follow the star of a show (Thanksgiving turkey) and something called a 6-Layer Dreamy Chocolate Mousse Cake?!?! You can’t!  (Ugh, my face is breaking out just thinking about this!) So, I’m going to switch gears and make something on the other end of the spectrum.  I’m going to try to give you a recipe that you could make on any given week night; a quickie, if you may, or at least that’s what we’ll soon find out.
Now that we have that settled, what to make? This decision shouldn’t be as hard as I’m making it, but to know that what I cook will need to satisfy others makes it tough!  I’m used to cooking for Stephen and myself and maybe my sister.  No one judges it, if it’s not good, no big deal.  But now I want to give you something that you can try to re-create ;) and maybe take out all the guesswork.  A “go-to” recipe that will be something different, but something that you know will be tasty and a time saver. 
All that being said I have been craving something I saw on the Food Network a few weekends ago.  It’s a recipe that Claire Robinson (her show is about making things with only 5 ingredients) was making.  Her version is a Catfish Po’Boy; mine may have a little variation.  I bought my ingredients last Friday, and it’s Monday so if I had bought fresh catfish, they wouldn’t be very fresh anymore.  Therefore, I will be making mine with frozen tilapia (no frozen catfish- thanks, wal-mart).  I’ll let you know if that was a good decision or bad.  {Announcement: Fresh fish is always the best choice if you want the best possible sandwich; however, we’re going to test my version}
Step 1- Pour yourself a glass a wine.  (Sorry, Anna!)
Ok, ok, seriously- let’s get cooking!
First, I made my remoulade sauce.  I took Sandra Lee’s recipe, and remixed it a little.  I seriously don’t think I’ve ever made a recipe exact before (unless it was baking, but we’ll save that for another day).  This is my version:
Remoulade Sauce:
·         1 ¼ cup of mayonnaise
·         Seafood seasoning: calls for 1 teaspoon, I used probably about 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning
·         ½ teaspoon garlic powder
·         A little over half of a lemon
·         Salt and pepper
Mix up, and store in the refrigerator.

*** The original recipe calls for 1 Tbsp capers, 1 scallion finely chopped, and crushed garlic.  Try Sandra’s way if you want!
***Time Saver: Make this the night or day before!

Now for my fishies:  I put them in the refrigerator yesterday morning for them to slowly thaw.   When I got home, I took them out of the package, rinsed them off, and patted dry with paper towel.  Then, I mixed up my flour.  Again, original recipe calls for corn flour, but I overlooked that and went with what I have on hand, good ole all purpose flour.  I eyeballed probably a cup and half (or so) of flour and put in about 2 Tbsp (or so) of Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper to help add some flavor.   Then I poured some canola oil into a pan and waited for it to heat up.   Claire says to heat oil up to 365⁰, but who really has a thermometer?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems like a wasteful kitchen gadget that would just take up room that I don’t have!  So, my tip is to insert a wooden kitchen spoon into the oil (stick side) and if it bubbles, you’re good to go!

Pat the fish dry one more time and put it in your flour; coat both sides.  Slowly lower patty into oil away from you.  If you actually had fresh catfish fillets it’d probably take the original 5 minutes or so that Claire suggests.  With my tilapia it took only about a minute or two on each side.  Be sure not to overcook, but also be sure they aren’t still pink!  I only cooked two at a time; you don’t want to overcrowd your pan.  After you take the fish out, give your oil a minute or two to heat back up.  You don’t want your oil getting cold; your fish will take longer and won’t have a crunchy crust.

Drain on a paper towel, dash it with a little salt, and a splash of lemon juice.  You’re done!  
Lastly assemble your sandwich.  I heavily applied remoulade sauce, a little lettuce, splash of lemon juice, (maybe a little onion if you’re into that sort of thing) some hot sauce, and the fish.  DELISH!

{This was an extremely easy dish to prepare that didn’t take long at all especially if you made the sauce ahead of time.  Give it a try, and let us know what you think!}

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!! Best of luck with all your dishes!

Note from Andie-
OMGoodness!!!  This po'boy was seriously SO good.  And the best part--it was quick and easy to make.  The remoulade sauce really made this recipe to me.  I will definitely be preparing this sauce the same exact way Kirby did and keep it on hand at all times!!

*Added Bonus*
Because it is Thanksgiving week, I thought I’d share these hotlines that will be open on Thanksgiving Day just in case you do have some kind of food crisis!  Also, check under Recipes for the latest Thanksgiving recipe! 
Helpful Hotlines-
U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline: 888-674-6854. Food-safety specialists answer all questions related to food preparation and storage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern standard time (EST) Monday through Friday all year long and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The hotline is closed on all other Federal government holidays.
Butterball Turkey-Talk Line: 800-288-8372. A team of home economists and nutritionists is there to answer bird-related questions from November 1 to December 31 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekday hours are extended, to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., from November 1 to November 24. Hours on Thanksgiving Day are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on December 24 and 25 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Or log on to for live, one-hour chats with the pros every Wednesday throughout the month of November.
The Crisco Pie Hotline: 877-367-7438. Get advice from two National Pie Championship winners, among other pie pros, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. Hours are extended, to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., from November 15 to November 24 and from December 13 to December 23.

Friday, November 19, 2010

6-Layer Dreamy Chocolate Mousse Cake

Imagine this…6 layers of “to die for” chocolate cake. Each layer separated by fluffy chocolate mousse, and all topped with a rich chocolate icing. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Trust me, it is. This recipe came from the Paula Deen’s Chocolate Celebration Magazine in 2008.
My mother convinced me to attempt to make this decadent 6-layer dessert the day she bought the magazine. This is a recipe where it is important to read the recipe all the way through before you begin.  I learned the hard way.  The mousse must set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before you assemble the cake. Now I know to make the make the mousse and icing the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight. This also guarantees the icing is a spreadable consistency.
My mother is a self-confessed chocoholic. However, she is very anti-coffee. This recipe calls for 1 cup strong coffee. No matter how much I tried to convince her that coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, she did NOT want it in her cake. And because I was making this cake per her chocolate craving request, I replaced the coffee with water. This time she was so right. Even though I’m 30 years old, I pretty much still have to do what she tells me. Pretty much. This cake is so divine; I can’t imagine it could be any better, even with the coffee. Thanks, mom!
This is probably the 4th time I have made this cake. People are starting to request it for birthdays and holidays. I love that they love it, but it is a little time consuming. Be sure to plan ahead. This year, I’m making the cake to donate to our annual church Christmas Bazaar. Stay tuned to see what the selling price is!
Let’s get cooking…
Dreamy Chocolate Mousse:
·  1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
·  3 tablespoons cold water
·  1/4 cup boiling water
·  1 cup sugar
·  1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
In a small bowl, mix the gelatin and cold water. Add the boiling water until gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sugar, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream until bubbly. Slowly add in the cocoa mixture until stiff peaks form. This only takes a few minutes. Stir in the gelatin. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
**This mousse is so delicious, if you aren’t in the mood for cake, just spoon the mousse into cute glasses, and voilĂ ! Dessert!!
Chocolate Icing:
·  1 cup sugar
·  5 (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares (The original recipe doesn’t call for chocolate to be chopped, but I recommend it for quick melting)
·  10 tablespoons butter
In a medium saucepan, add sugar and cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and butter until melted. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar. You can sift the sugar first to guarantee a lump-free icing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. I make this at the same time I make the mousse. You can guarantee a spreadable consistency that way.
·  2 cups all-purpose flour
·  2 cups sugar
·  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·  1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
·  1 cup milk
·  1 cup water (you can replace with strong coffee, although I’ve never tried it)
·  3/4 cup vegetable oil
·  2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) square or round cake pans. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add milk, water, oil, and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
2. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
3. Using a serrated knife, cut cake layers in half horizontally to make 6 layers. My grandfather made this nifty cake-slicer, just for this particular cake. It makes it very easy to get even layers. Thanks Papa!! Like it? He might make you one too!

4. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a cake plate, spread with one-fifth of Dreamy Chocolate Mousse. Repeat procedure with remaining cake layers and mousse.

5. Spread Chocolate Fudge Frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.  

The original recipe also calls for you to garnish the cake with chocolate curls. I attempted this the first time, and they all just turned into chocolate dust. I just leave it off, but feel free to try it!
This cake is definitely worth the time it takes to make. Trust me. Try it once and this will be the cake everyone requests from you.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roasting a Turkey: Are you game?

Cooking a whole turkey seems like a daunting task to me. I mean, it's like a whole animal! Where does one begin when taking on such a project??? I have somehow managed to avoid having to cook the main bird at Thanksgiving and Christmas for all 28 years of my life by eagerly volunteering to bring other dishes:
"I'll bring the cranberry sauce!"
"Oh, you want greenbean casserole instead of plain ol' green beans this year?--Got you covered!"
"I make a delightful 7-layer salad that's to DIE for."

I guess I assumed the day would never come when I actually had to cook the turkey myself! Well, my sweet, precious husband told me as we were riding down the road one day, "Baby, Mama wants you to cook the turkey this year for Thanksgiving." Excuse me? Come again? She wants me to do what???? "Sure, darling. I've never cooked a turkey before, but it can't be that hard." This is when I really wish I knew some Lamaze breathing techniques. [Ok, Andie. Take some deep breaths. Breathe in. Breathe out. In. Out...] It wouldn't be so bad if my mother-in-law weren't a master in the kitchen. I mean, you can just walk in her kitchen an five"L.B."s set up camp on your thighs. Oh, precious Lord, take my hand and guide me...and make it quick and painless while you're at it--oh, and don't let me use any "fowl" language during this whole shenanigan. Amen.

So...I tell my sister my news about being given the honor of cooking the turkey. She laughs as if I'm doomed. I secretly fear she might be right. She tells me Butterball turkeys are on sale at Winn Dixie for .99/lb. You know what this girl decides to do? Buy two of those suckers. I gotta practice before the big day. I only wanted a small bird--I'm thinking like 8-10 lbs--since meat-wise we'll also have two hams, a smoked turkey breast, and chicken and dressing on turkey day. Well, I probably should've taken a buggy to the frozen foods section, because i ended up with two 15 pounders, and 30 pounds of poultry gets a little heavy and slippery when you have to tote them from the back wall of the grocery store all the way to the "20 items or less" checkout lane. I only dropped one of them. Oopsie.

Ain't she purty??

Next, I have to figure out what to do with the frozen fowl. How long does it take to thaw? How will I season it? To brine or not to brine? I wonder if my mama will let me borrow her roaster? I wonder if my mama will cook this bird for me???? May Day! May Day! Meltdown in progress!!! Can't we all just take a swig of Wild Turkey, give thanks and call it a day?

Kirby sent me a Better Homes and Garden link entitled "Foolproof Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes". A. I'm a fool, and B. I need a turkey recipe. Pretty sure she read my mind! So I have to decide: do I want to glaze it? No. Fry it? No. Infuse it? Not ready for that. Smoke it? No. Rub it? Not on a week night. Brine it? Yes. Roast it? Bingo! I think i can do this...I think. Oh shoot. According to BHG, there are still 5 more "mouthwatering" ways to cook a turkey, and "Butter Under Skin" is one of those ways. I mean, how does one choose which route to take?

I decided to take into consideration all of the ideas, thoughts, and practices that my family and friends have used--in addition to what I've researched online to come up with "the perfect turkey"-- if I'm lucky :)

The perfect turkey recipe:
turkey (ya think?)
1 med. apple
1 small-med onion
3 stalks celery
1 stick butter or margarine works fine, too

For brining:
3/4 box Morton sea salt
1 bag ice

The night before I cooked our bird, I cleaned the turkey and brined it the way my daddy does it:
Step 1: Pray (Ok, I added that step but I need all the help I can get.)
Step 2: Open the turkey--preferably over the sink because a lot of "stuff" came out.
Step 3: Pull out the two bags of organs. It tells you this on the Butterball instructions. What it doesn't tell you is that finding both bags is like trying to find the prize egg at the Miller family Easter egg hunt--get ready to dig, baby! The first bag was easy: find the biggest opening and dig! I found the second bag on the other side of the turkey in the part where the skin looks like a turtle-neck.

I found the prize!

Step 4: Rinse and pat dry...and take a swig of wine--you KNOW you've earned it after being elbow deep in a bird carcass.
Step 5: Generously rub the outside and inside with salt.

Salting the bird.

Step 6: Transport turkey into cooler. Don't drop it! It's a slippery booger!!
Step 7: Add ice to cover turkey--and about a gallon of water. Soak overnight.

Thanks to Anna, the turkey got an icy brine!

I followed the instructions on the turkey for cooking temperature and time. I took all the information I gathered from various sources (Daddy, Mother-in-law, internet, friends, enemies, co-workers, friends of friends, friends' pets, anyone who looked like they could cook, etc.) and chose the best of all they said to prepare what I think turned out to be a pretty delicious bird, if I do say so myself :)

To prepare the turkey:
Step 1:
Remove from brine, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.
Step 2: Stuff with one apple, an onion, celery, and about 3T. butter.
Step 3: Rub outside with butter. I found it a little tricky to get the butter to stick, so i wound up just globbing some on all over the turkey and separated the skin from the meat and stuck some inside too.
Step 4: Place the extra-slippery bird into a roaster. I placed it in upside down because, while doing research, I learned the fat from the dark meat runs down into the white meat and keeps it juicy. (It doesn't make for a pretty bird when it's finished, but who really cares? You're gonna hack into it anyway!),
Step 5: Cover it and bake according to the directions on the package for the size of the turkey.

I think it's important to note that the Butterball package said to cook until the internal temp reached 180 degrees--which mine never reached (causing a mild-to-moderate panic attack). However, I was watching FoodNetwork the other day and it said that your turkey is fully cooked when the temp in the leg is 165 degrees.

Perfectly tanned, breast-down turkey.

The three of us and our hungry men gathered for dinner to test out my very first turkey. The results were FAR better than I was expecting. I give it four and a half gold stars. *BLING* It was very juicy and tender. One of the best roasted turkeys I've ever eaten. Of course, I'll let the girls put their two cents in, too, because I may be biased--I did come to love my turkey-lurkey. LURVE.

So, I feel like I've accomplished something. I faced my fears and produced an edible turkey. Thanks to everybody who gave me advice on how to cook a turkey--I succeeded! Now, when I wake up Thanksgiving morning to cook the star bird for the Miller family Thanksgiving, I can focus on being thankful for all the blessings I have instead of fah-reaking out! Can I still have a shot of Wild Turkey?

What the others have to say:
"This turkey was truly one of the best! The dark meat is usually my favorite because it is the tastiest, but honestly the white meat on this particular bird was outstandingly tender and juicy. No joke. I would recommend taking the Food Network internal temperature advice,because I think that's what made this bird nowhere near the dry and tasteless turkey we have all grown accustomed to. yummy!" --Anna

"One great bird! My advice is to try and cook the bird the day of the eat-a-bration. It is worth getting up a little early for; a warm, fresh bird makes this dish! Save the cold bird for leftovers!" --Kirby

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Everyday Re-Creations

Welcome to Everyday Re-Creations!  This is an experimentation blog, where we are going to try to get behind the truth of recipes.  We will be trying to re-create a lot of different recipes from shows you may have heard of, give our second opinion on different restaurant choices and even experiment new and exciting recipes!  This will be a learning experience for all of us, and we hope that you enjoy what’s to come.   We are everyday girls with no cooking history except from what we have learned in our own kitchens.  We are going to be blatantly honest with you about everything, from tips and helpful lessons to we would not try this again and oops, I burned it!  We hope this will be a fun and humorous blog.  If you have any tips or recipes you’d like for us to try, let us know!  Sit back, grab a fork and enjoy!