Monday, November 23, 2009

Fig and Berry Trifle

Holy crap, this sounds good!

Serves 6

* 1 pint (about 18) green or black figs, stemmed and quartered
* 1 pint mixed berries, such as red raspberries, golden raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, large ones hulled and quartered
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur
* Yellow Genoise Cake
* Lemon Curd Filling
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. Combine figs and berries in a small bowl. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and liqueur. Let sit, tossing gently once or twice, until juicy, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice cake into twelve 3-inch squares (you will have a few extra squares), and toast in the oven until golden brown in color, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Arrange half the toasted cake squares on 6 serving plates. Spoon the lemon curd and the fruit over the cakes. Cover each with another slice of cake, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve.

From Martha Stewart Living, September 1997 | Send Me a Free Preview Issue Now!

Adoreable Cupcakes

I have no idea how to even start icing these, but these are awesome!


Makes 24


  1. Tint buttercream green with gel-paste food color. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a small multi-opening tip (#233). Starting at the center and moving outward, pipe rows of grass on top of cupcakes: With tip on surface of cupcake, squeeze bag, then release while quickly pulling up to form 1/4-inch-long blades, making some slightly longer than others.
  2. Form ladybugs: Divide marzipan in half. Working on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, tint one portion red and the other black with gel-paste food colors. Form a 1/2-inch ball of red marzipan for each ladybug body, and a 1/4-inch ball of black marzipan for each head. Flatten the red ball slightly into an oval shape, and press the head onto the body. Pinch off black marzipan to make tiny balls for the spots, and press onto the body. Repeat to make additional ladybugs with remaining marzipan. Place one or two ladybugs on top of each frosted cupcake, gently pressing them into the buttercream grass. Refrigerate 30 minutes to allow frosting to set. Cupcakes are best served the same day they are decorated; keep at room temperature.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brine Your Turkey

I don't know about you, but, I love to brine my turkey for Thanksgiving. here is a great recipe I found.


  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried savory
  • 1 gallon ice water


  1. In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
  3. Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  5. Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Learn How to Carve a Turkey

this is a video I found, that shows you how to carve a turkey. You will impress everyone

More Thanksgiving Table Ideas

I love modern ideas for the holidays! This is from a great site called

Thanksgiving 2008 } Global Lounge Style


Sustainability is about using what you already have, so this Thanksgiving, my color theme was inspired by a swanky bolt of blue and brown satin ribbon I had lounging about...I also wanted to give our dinner a hip hotel lounge vibe which would definitely have everyone talking about it afterwards. Global accents like origami, rattan, Chinese knots and classic patterns, like woven cane and circle medallions provided the global modern touches I adore. We also used our DJ uplights to jazz up the ambiance...everyone loved the mood lighting!
I've always wanted to use paper cranes for decor and thought the subtle resemblance to a turkey would be a nice touch. They were made with gift wrap paper, strung with crimped silver wire and hung from kiwi vines. The vines were held up by floral foam in a drinking glass and wrapped with turquoise tissue paper. The magical blue glow is created by super cool LED tea lights placed at the base of the vines, hidden by the tissue.

I sewed simple square napkins using a great cane patterned fabric that I found at the fabric store...the colors matched my theme perfectly!!! I only needed 2 yards.

Instead of Thanksgiving cards, I thought I would save paper and ink by making bookmarks with inspiring quotes on both sides and a nice satin ribbon at the end.

For the cocktail vibe, my hubby created a signature blue mocktail (blue raspberry lemonade blended with ice and sprite) and instead of the usual placecards, I created custom monogram drink tags using scrapbook supplies.
I found these rattan placemats with blue trim at a discount retailer for a buck a piece! I call this "intuitive sourcing" also known as, I was so lucky to find these!

And lastly, for the favors, I wrapped up some delicious iced gingerbread cookies in a kraft pillow box with the swanky satin ombre ribbon, a custom gift tag and a lovely Chinese knot. I'd have to say that this is my favorite dinner party so far! I really loved the lighting and magical LEDs!

Pan Roasted Root Vegetables with Apples and Chestnuts

From Food and Wine mag, this is a recipe I like, although, I think there are many great, easy ways to make roasted veg. Play around with this recipe, See what works with your taste buds!


  1. 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  5. 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  6. 2 medium red onions, each cut into 8 wedges through the core
  7. 1 cup vacuum-packed whole chestnuts (6 ounces)
  8. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 2 medium beets, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  12. 2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, cored and cut into eighths


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, combine the cider vinegar, chicken stock, butter and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large shallow roasting pan, toss the sweet potatoes, onions and chestnuts with the olive oil and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Tuck the beets among the other vegetables and roast for 20 minutes. Gently turn the vegetables, add the apples and roast for 20 minutes longer, or until all of the vegetables and the apples are tender and lightly browned. Add the sauce and toss gently. Transfer to a platter and serve.

How much do you love your dog????

I love mine lots, but I never cook for him. This recipe may change my mind though... HOMEMADE DOG TREATS! if you make these, please leave a comment, so I know how they turn out.


  • 2 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
  • 1 cube beef bouillon, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked ground pork
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 6 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil two cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, milk powder, beef bouillon, and salt. Add the ground pork, carrot, shortening and egg; mix in to the flour mixture while gradually adding water to form a stiff ball of dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters, and reroll scraps until no dough is left. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the cookies are browned. Allow cookies to set for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Love Devils on Horseback?

You know I do!  So how about trying Bacon Wrapped Apricots with Sage. I mean, WHA??
 It sounds so good!


  • 24 small fresh sage leaves
  • 24 large dried apricots
  • 8 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • toothpicks, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 375º F. Place a sage leaf on each apricot, wrap with a piece of bacon, and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side.
  3. Remove from oven and brush with the maple syrup. Serve with toothpicks.
By Kate Merker and Sara Quessenberry,  December 2009

Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup!

this is a recipe that I found in Real Simple magazine a few years ago, and made it just a few weeks ago. It can be made veggie, or non- veggie...and here's how, Sub chicken stock instead of water. I found I liked the flavor of adding some Organic Chicken Stock. And remember to roast the veg really well, I like them to carmalize, it adds beautiful flavor. Also, I prefer Red Onion, I like how sweet it turns, when roasted.


  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 baguette, cut into 16 thin slices


  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, combine the carrots, parsnips, onion, 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush with the remaining oil. During the last 10 minutes of roasting time, toast the slices until crisp.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a blender and purée with 3 cups water, adding more water if necessary, ¼ cup at a time, until smooth. Rewarm in a pot over medium-low heat, if necessary. Divide among individual bowls and serve with the olive oil toast.
By Sara Quessenberry,  October 2007

Some Paula Deen Stuffing!!

I lovezz me some Paula Deen, any woman who likes butter like she does, is ok in my book! Try some Southern Stuffing!

Southern Cornbread Stuffing

Southern Cornbread Stuffing


Cornbread, recipe follows
7 slices oven-dried white bread
1 sleeve crackers (recommended: Saltine)
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sage, optional
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, optional
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 min
Difficulty: Easy
Show: Paula's Party/Celebrates Cookbook/Nov/Dec 2006 issue

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pork Belly Roast

I love anything that Jamie Oliver cooks, Try this beautiful Pork Belly, on a cold fall night, or give it a whirl for thanksgiving! xo-ERIN
pork belly roast © David Loftus


pork belly roast

main courses | serves 4-6
Turn oven to the highest temperature you can get it to. Using a Stanley knife score the skin down to the meat (try not to cut the meat), make the cuts very close together (go across the skin)
Put the fennel seeds and the malden sea salt in a pestle and mortar and grind till the seeds are smashed and mixed well with the salt.

Pour half the oil over the top of the skin of the pork belly sprinkle over ½ of the fennel and salt mixture and rub in, pour over the remaining oil and then the seed and salt mixture, now really rub this into the skin so that everything gets inbetween the skin and down onto the meat. Wash the carrots and celery well, cut them into large 2 inch pieces and throw these into the base of your roasting dish. Throw in the whole garlic bulbs, peel and cut the onions into large wedges. Toss in the whole thyme leaves.

Put the seasoned pork belly on top of the vegetables and then put into your very hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the skin of the belly starts to bubble and is golden brown. Turn the oven temperature down to 170 °C then roast for 1.5 hours. Carefully open the oven door and add into the tray ¾ of the white wine, continue cooking for 1 hour. Remove the meat carefully from the oven and test to see if it pulls apart easily. If not put back in the oven until the meat is ready then remove from the oven. Take the meat from the tray and place onto a wooden board and allow to rest while you make the gravy. Put the tray of roasted vegetables directly onto your stove top and on a medium heat add in the flour and stir till thick cook for 1 minute then add in the remaining wine. If you sauce is too thick add a little more white wine. Using a potato masher, mash up the vegetable until you have a delicious thick looking sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. Taste, strain through a sieve keeping all the lovely sauce for pouring over the roasted belly.
Remove the crackling from the top of the belly and break up into pieces, set aside then pull the pork belly apart and enjoy with more vegetables and your home made gravy.

Pork Belly
• 1.3 kg piece
• 15 gms Fennel whole seeds
• 10 gms Malden sea salt
• 100 mls olive oil

• Carrots
• Celery
• Onions
• Garlic cloves skin on
• Thyme whole and fresh
• 1 bottle white wine
• 75 gms plain flour

Brussels Sprouts

3 containers (10 ounces size) Brussels sprouts
3 slices bacon
1 medium onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Turn this recipe into a puzzle! [click]

In covered nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 1 inch water to boiling over high heat. Meanwhile, trim tough ends and any yellow leaves from Brussels sprouts. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are just tender-crisp.

Meanwhile, cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice onion in half, then thinly slice crosswise.

Drain Brussels sprouts, then plunge into large bowl of ice water to stop cooking; drain thoroughly.

In same skillet, cook bacon, onion, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup over medium-high heat 7 to 8 minutes or until onion and bacon are browned, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, cut Brussels sprouts lengthwise into thin slices. Add Brussels sprouts to onion mixture in skillet; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until all liquid evaporates and Brussels sprouts are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon syrup; cook 1 minute to heat through.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Bacon-Maple Brussels Sprouts serves/makes 12


Want a new creative idea for thanksgiving? Forget about a indian corn, and turkey salt and pepper shakers...try this!


It's been way too long. I lost a lot of interest in writing, when I started planning my wedding...Some of you ladies took over my life. Well now it's over, and the holiday season is upon us, so I am FORCED to think about food and entertaining again. I plan on it being an exciting year of food and parties! Please join me!