Omelet

Omelet

Let’s start with the basics.  A) because in order to make a good omelet in the future it’s good to know the basic skills from the start, and B) because it’s the end of the week and I still haven’t done a recipe for the week…. Hey, at least I’m being honest, right?

This recipe is super easy to get right and super easy to get wrong.  Eggs are notoriously easy to overcook and you really want to pull them off the heat before they’re completely cooked.  Since they continue cooking after you take them off the heat you can prevent overcooking simply by following that one rule.  So, let’s make sure you get it right and get right down to the recipe!

Omeletomelet meter

Let’s start with prepping everything.  Since eggs cook so quickly it’s important to keep everything right at hand at all times.  A few seconds can be the difference between rubbery, overcooked mush and a perfect, fluffy, delicious omelet.  So gather your eggs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and butter and let’s go!

omelet ingredients

Heat your heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.  Now, the pan size will make a difference with how many eggs you use.  This recipe calls for 3 eggs and an 8 inch-ish pan.  This will make for a fluffier, thicker omelet.  If you use 2 eggs, you obviously use less butter, but it will make a big difference to the final product to use a smaller pan, as well.  The second thing to note is that we cook eggs on medium.   This is an important step.  Yes, it takes longer to cook things on medium but cooking eggs any higher runs the risk of burning, overcooking, cooking too quickly, and a sub-par breakfast.   Who knew a pan could make such a big difference with something as simple as eggs, right?  Lightly oil the pan by pouring some oil in and using a paper towel to sweep it around the entire pan and mop up any if you happen to pour in too much (as I usually do!).  Add the butter and gently tilt the pan to coat the pan with melting butter.

While the butter is melting crack your eggs and whip some air into them with a fork.  Just break the yolks and keep whisking until well-mixed.  There shouldn’t be any long stretches of any yolk or albumen remaining.

Once the butter is bubbling add the eggs all at once.  Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the eggs and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Every once in a while gently tilt the pan to distribute the egg that hasn’t set yet.

When the eggs are nearly set add the salt and pepper.  Now, when I say nearly set I mean there’s a bit of a wobble to them.  There shouldn’t be any raw-looking bits but it shouldn’t be stiff or completely cooked through yet.  This is that all-important step I mentioned in the beginning.  Overcook at this point and your omelet won’t impress.

As soon as you add the salt and pepper tilt the pan away from you and, using a spatula, fold the edge closest to you over the rest of the omelet.  Once the omelet is flipped it won’t unstick from itself but who cares what it looks like as long as it’s delicious!  And with practice, flipping will produce perfectly shaped omelet’s every time!  Now, one last thing, when you add the omelet to the plate don’t get any of the butter.  It’ll just make the omelet taste like butter instead of eggs.  So gently lift the omelet out of the pan, leaving all the butter, and place it on your plate.  Enjoy with toast, muffins, fried tomatoes, whatever your heart desires and enjoy!

final omelet

Link’s Omelet

    • Bird Egg

Basic Omelet

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A basic omelet with salt and pepper


Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. For three eggs a good size pan would be 8 inches. Lightly oil the pan by pouring in the olive oil and sweeping it around the entire pan using a paper towel.
  2. Add the butter to the pan and gently tilt the pan to coat the pan with melting butter.
  3. While the butter is melting, crack your eggs and whip some air into them with a fork.  Whisk until completely mixed.
  4. Once the butter is bubbling add the eggs all at once.  Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the eggs and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Every once in a while gently tilt the pan to distribute the egg that hasn’t set yet.
  5. When the eggs are nearly set add the salt and pepper.
  6. As soon as you add the salt and pepper tilt the pan away from you and, using a spatula, fold the edge closest to you over the rest of the omelet. Serve with your favorite breakfast foods!

Veggies Cream Soup and New Year Resolutions

Veggies Cream Soup and New Year Resolutions

I’m back!  But this time I’m not just attempting to be back because I’ve made a goal/new year resolution to get back into this.  I’ve never really been a resolutions kind of girl.  I’ve always had the opinion that if you have a goal then start now, don’t wait for the new year and risk losing momentum before you’ve even started!  But this year (mostly because of timing, partly because of my intense need to organize everything perfectly to fit in time grids) I’ve decided to start my very own set of resolutions.

One of my best friends from high school started making goals in sets of 4 and I think it’s incredibly clever to do it this way!  It gives you enough to make changes in every aspect of your life, but not so much that you give up.  They are goals in mental (i.e. knowledge), spiritual, physical, and social health.  So what are my goals, you ask?  They are:

Mental/Wisdom: Master all the Tartine and Tartine No. 3 bread recipes

Spiritual: Actually, I don’t really want to share this here, as it’s pretty personal and would take a very long time to explain.  But suffice it to say that I have one!

Physical: The proverbial “Get Healthy”, but I actually have a plan for how to do this, so it’s not just a plea in the dark

And last but not least, Social, the reason I’m boring you with all of this: My goal is to improve my blog and my community here by being more regular in recipes, in the quality of my work, and being committed to the schedule I’m about to propose.  They always say you’re more apt to accomplish goals if you tell people what they are so this is me requesting that you hold me accountable!  The new sort-of-schedule is going to be:

A new recipe each week

One “Thankful” recipe per month

One Gaming Thoughts post per month

And, potentially, if I’m able to keep all those other posts regular, one collaboration per quarter.

Yeah, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a schedule I think I can stick to and a schedule I feel comfortable making a commitment to.  Also, there will be an element of surprise to it all, since I’m not specifying posting days this time!  Let’s see if that works and if it does maybe I’ll go back to specific days…  So hopefully you guys can help me stick this goal through and I hope this will produce a better blog for you to give your limited time to and a better chance for me to be a part of your community!

And now, after all that, your recipe.

Veggie Cream SoupHeader and Meter

ingredients photo

Lets start with stripping the herbs and cutting up all the veggies.  When you’re using fresh herbs they need to be taken off the stems.  This can seem incredibly daunting but i promise, it’s actually not that bad.  If you’re using dried herbs, just skip this step and move on!  Start by washing (obviously) and shaking dry the herbs as much as you can.  Place the edge of your knife against the herb stem below the leaves, tight, but not cutting through.  Once you’re in place simply pull the stem and drag the leaves along the blade of the knife.  Don’t move the knife, just the stem.  The leaves will strip off and the stem will pull through!  Easy peasy!  Any more questions, just watch this video:

Strip the herbs

Next, we cut the vegetables.  Just slice and dice them into bite-size chunks, larger or smaller depending on your preferences.  I prefer large chunks.  I feel like you get a better flavor from them!

Once everything is prepped add a tiny bit of butter (or oil) to a pan with some height.  We are going to be simmering in it later, so we want to make sure there’s enough room for the liquid.  Start by frying the onion until it’s tender and opaque.  Then add all the fresh veggies and saute for about a minute or two, just until they are all shiny.  And guys, I know my photos have the zucchini added at this step.  My advice, don’t follow the photos!  While it was easy, it made the zucchini a little overcooked, which is not what we’re going for.  We’ll add it later.  Promise.

Add broth to the veggies

Once everything is nice and shiny add the vegetable broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.  We want everything nice and tender before we add it to the sauce!  If you’re using fresh peas and corn (because it’s summer or you’re very lucky) go ahead and add them to the simmering veggies.  If not, I used frozen peas and canned corn.   I like the taste of canned corn better in soup, but you can use frozen if you prefer.  While your fresh veggies are simmering just heat up the peas and corn.  Make sure all the water is drained and set them aside for later.

Next, we make a roux.  We talked about the pitfalls of making a roux when we made Fish Pie, so I won’t go over them in detail again.  Let’s just do the basics.

Melt your butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Wait until the butter is completely melted and bubbly.  Once it is, whisk in half the flour.  Once all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again add the remaining flour.  Whisk is continually until it starts to melt again.  Whisk constantly for 2 minutes until your roux reaches the blond stage.

Once your roux is ready we start slowly adding the milk.  Add about half the milk at a time.  The roux may ball up on itself when you do but just keep whisking and it’ll sort itself out!  Whisk until the mixture is homogeneous and slightly thick.  Add the remaining milk and repeat.  If the mixture is too thick you may have added too much flour.  Add regular milk until it reaches a gravy-like consistency.

Once your sauce is ready simply add all the veggies (including the zucchini, peas, and corn at this point!), herbs, and remaining broth to the sauce, stir until well combined, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors and spices to combine!  If you skip this part the herbs won’t have done their job and it’ll be a bit bland.  Be patient.  It’ll be worth it!

close up of stew

P.S. I don’t recommend adding a raw carrot at the end… The price we pay for matching photos, right?

Link’s Veggie Cream Soup

    • Fresh Milk
    • Rock Salt
    • Any Carrot or Pumpkin

Veggie Cream Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Vegetables in a thick, creamy soup


Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 15 oz can of corn
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 3/4 tablespoon dried thyme)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 3/4 tablespoon dried oregano)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives (or 1/2 tablespoon dried chives)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Directions

  1. If using fresh herbs, strip the oregano and thyme from their stalks and finely dice the chives. Set aside.
  2. Slice the carrots and zucchini into large, bite-sized pieces. Remove the stalk and leaves of the cauliflower and chop into large bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion.
  3. Add a small amount of oil or butter to a pan and heat on medium until the fat is hot. Add the onion and cook until translucent and tender. Add the cauliflower and carrots and saute until shiny. Add all the vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables are simmering thaw the peas and drain the corn and peas. Set aside.
  5. Begin the roux by melting the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and bubbling whisk in half the flour.  Whisk continually until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again. Add the remaining flour and repeat. Once all the flour is incorporated whisk constantly for 2 minutes until your roux reaches the blond stage.
  6. Slowly add half the milk and whisk until the mixture is thick.  Add the remaining milk and whisk until the mixture has thickened to a gravy-like consistency.
  7. Add all the simmering vegetables and broth, corn, peas, zucchini, herbs, salt, and pepper to the sauce and stir until well combined. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors and spices to combine.

Comprehensive Gaming

Guys, I know this isn’t the recipe you were looking for. The holidays definitely got the better of me both physically and emotionally. And while a recipe is coming (I just have to write the post) in the meantime I wanted to share a link to an incredible in-depth look at gaming costs vs playtime vs enjoyment. This post is found on Complicate the Narrative, a blog dedicated to analyzing gaming and applying literary theory to it.

You can find the post here

It’s a long article, but guys, it’s totally worth reading.

I highly recommend chatting with the author in their comments about their experience but if you want to chat here I’ll direct him to it.

My favorite excerpt and my take-away message is this:

After forcing myself to look this closely at the time and money I spend on games, I’ve decided that in the end, the best games do only 2 things: entertain and inspire. The second a game is not doing at least one of those two things, stop. Seriously, just stop. Examine why you aren’t entertained or inspired, then watch out for those patterns in other games, and don’t play those games. Don’t buy them, don’t start them, don’t give them any more attention than they deserve.

This year I’ve really questioned gaming and whether I should, as some put it, grow out of it. I’m planning a pretty long post about overcoming my fear in regards to those sentiments soon, but this conclusion by Paul is the conclusion I’ve made. Gaming brings you joy and can inspire and teach. Find the games that make you feel that and then it’s never a waste of time!

Nutcake

Nutcake

You know those weeks when you’re sure you’ll have plenty of time to do X and Y and everything in between?  And then reality happens and you wind up accomplishing absolutely nothing?  Well, folks, that week was this one for me.  I felt like, for the first time in a long time, I would have plenty of hours to get done my forever-long list of tasks.  And I didn’t finish any of them.  I wish there was a super-cool, trendy and fancy reason that would put me in the good graces of anyone and everyone and make me the super-star of the gathering.  But no… it was simply the fact that it’s been nearly two years since I’ve re-read Lord of the Rings and I can’t put it down!  I really love that book.  And I really love eating desserts while I read at night.  So this week I made a really easy, but awesome recipe.  Something I could throw in the oven and eat piping hot while engrossed in the Mines of Moria.  And after last week’s intense recipe I figured you could all use as much of a break as I did!  So let’s take it with this simple take on nutcake.

Nutcake
header and time

So I wanted to make this easy.  So easy you could do it in one bowl (though I used two).  So instead of making this an actual cake recipe it became a quick-bread.  What’s the difference between a cake and a quick-bread you ask?  Well, according to my friend, with whom I’ve had this debate several times, nothing.  So instead of arguing the point we’re just going to close our eyes and go with it!

nutcake ingredients

First we add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.  Whisk them well to blend them together.  Just use a hand whisk.  This recipe isn’t fancy, remember?

dry ingredients

Add the eggs to a separate bowl and whisk with a fork until they are slightly beaten.  Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add all the liquids at once.  Stir until just combined.  We don’t want things to get over-mixed or it’ll be a bit dry and tough.  So stir, I used a spoon, until the dry ingredients are all moist and homogenous.

liquids and drys

Chop the walnuts into quarterish pieces and add most of them to the batter.  Stir until they are evenly distributed.  This recipe is super complex, I know…

Grease a 9×5 loaf pan well with butter.  If you use anything else I cannot vouch for your loaf coming out of the pan in once piece.  I’ve tried other methods and for me, nothing works as well as butter.

Add all the mixture to the pan.  Now let’s make the pseudo-candied walnuts.  Chop the remaining walnuts and mix them with the maple syrup.  Stir them together until the walnuts are completely coated.  Gently spread them over the top of the batter.

buttered pan with batter and nuts

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean.  See?  After a rough recipe last week this one is a walk in the park!  It’s so easy I added an extra step – let’s make honey butter to spread over this wonderful bread/cake.

Add the softened butter and honey together in a bowl.  Whip or beat until well combined.  Done.  Now spread it over the nutcake/bread and enjoy!

bread in a pan

Link’s Glazed Veggies

    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Goat Butter
    • Any Nut

Nutcake with Walnuts and Spices

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Nutcake quick bread with Walnuts and spices


Nutcake

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1.75 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Honey

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 5-6 tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.  Whisk well to blend together.
  3. Add the eggs to a separate bowl and whisk with a fork until they are slightly beaten.
  4. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add all the liquids at once.  Stir until just combined and there are no more dry parts.
  6. Chop the walnuts into quarters.
  7. Add 1 1/4 cups to the batter and stir until they are evenly distributed.
  8. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan well with butter and add all the mixture to the pan.
  9. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup quartered walnuts and the maple syrup together and stir until the walnuts are completely coated. Gently spread them over the top of the batter.
  10. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 55-75 minutes.
  11. To make the honey butter, add the honey and softened butter in a bowl and whip until thick and completely combined.

Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat

Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat

It’s the second of two Thanksgiving posts and the day is almost here, which means this recipe is just in time!  So open this up, thaw your turkey (properly), and let’s make a turkey.

Raise of hands, how many of you have ever made a turkey before?  Really?  That few?  Well don’t be intimidated.  I promise it’s a lot easier than it sounds or looks.  Quite frankly, it’s just like any other salt-grilled meat recipe we’ve already done, with a few adjustments, of course.  And you’ll love the finished product.  It’ll be picture perfect and deliciously juicy for all your guests/family!

Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meattime and heart meter

Now, you should have started thawing your turkey by now following the instructions provided with your turkey (they almost always come with instructions).  It can take up to 4 days to thaw a turkey (depending on the size) in the fridge.  If you need to speed up the process you can fill a sink with cold water and place the turkey in.  Continue checking the water to make sure it doesn’t get too warm.  Drain the water every 1/2 hour and refill with cold water again.  Do this for roughly 8 hours.  It’s easier to thaw in the fridge but in a pinch, this other way will work.  Just whatever you do, please thaw it correctly!  I don’t want to be responsible for any food poisoning here!

turkey ingredients

We start with what’s called a brine.  Now, there are several ways to brine a turkey but I’ve chosen the easiest of them all.  You have enough to do on Thanksgiving – no reason to make it harder.  The brine with a turkey is the same principle as with pork – it tenderizes the meat and allows the juices to stay inside instead of the bird getting dry and gross.  It also negates, with an extra step, the need for basting!  That’s two time savers here people.  We’re on a roll!

You’re going to need to remove the bird from the packaging and take out any extras they throw in for the really hard-core people a.k.a the giblets and the neck.  Open the bottom of the turkey and they should be in there.  It’ll be a long neck and a packet of weird mushy stuff.  If the packet isn’t in there check where the neck is supposed to be attached.  Sometimes they put it up there to be sneaky.

Once everything gross is out pat the turkey dry with paper towels and coat it with kosher salt and pepper.  Be generous, it’ll help!  Allow the turkey to sit, with the salt and pepper, at room temperature for 1 hour to take off the chill.  The skin will be crispy and delicious if you do it that way.

While the turkey is warming up wash the sage and oregano or thyme, slice a medium onion into quarters, and remove the skin from 6 garlic cloves.  Place these inside your roasting pan, or if you don’t have excess cash floating around to buy a new pan for one meal a year (like me) a normal 11X15 cake pan.  If you want to get extra easy buy one of those disposable cake pans, like my mom does, and just throw it away when you’re done.  Whatever will fit your turkey comfortably will work!  Line the bottom of your pan with these ingredients, putting the onions in the corners.

buttering the turkeyThe next step is almost as important as the brine.  It’s also, for those of you who are a little squeamish, the grossest part of the entire affair.  Rub the room temperature butter all over your hands.  Then rub the entire turkey with those hands, pausing to get more butter if needed.  Make sure the entire bird in covered in the butter to make sure there’s an even crisp to the skin.  A safety note, just because I’m a microbiologist, please don’t reuse any butter you may have touched with raw poultry again.  Just throw it out and save yourself a horrible bought of food poisoning.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  It’s very important you don’t go much higher than that because most glassware will shatter if you do and that would ruin your entire night.  If you’re using metal feel free to go up to 450°F.  Put your turkey in the pan and put your pan in the oven on the middle shelf.  Close the door and walk away for 45 minutes.  Plenty of time to get started on literally 1 million things to be cooked for dinner.

turkey in the pan

Once the turkey has been roasting for 45 minutes take some tinfoil and cover the breast of the turkey, molding it to keep it in place.  It’ll help trap in the moisture and make for a much more juicy bird!  If you need to make a piece of tinfoil bigger to cover the whole turkey simply fold over the edges of the foil together and press down to seal.  It’ll work.  Trust me.

Lower the temperature of the oven to 350°F and bake for the remainder of the time.  Here’s a handy, dandy chart for approximate times if you need one.  It’s all based on pounds, really, so make sure you know the poundage of your bird beforehand.

9-11 pounds: 2 1/2 hours

12-14 pounds: 3 hours

15-17 pounds: 3 1/2 hours

18-20 pounds: 4 hours

21-23 pounds: 4 1/2 hours

24+ pounds: 5+ hours

turkey thermometerTo check if the turkey is done you’ll need an instant read meat thermometer.  You can buy them in any grocery store this time of year for about $5.00.  It’s worth it.  You’ll use it again (maybe…).  When the time is up stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, making sure you aren’t touching any bones.  Allow the thermometer to read.  Your turkey temperature should be 165°F.  If it isn’t, your turkey needs more time to cook.  Mine took an extra 20 minutes to get up to temperature.  If you need to check again make sure you check in a different spot than the first time!  If you want to be extra careful, check in the breast under the wing, as well.  The temperature is much more important than the color.  Any turkey could have a pink coloring naturally, but if it got up to 165°F or higher, you’ll be just fine!

Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil for at least 30 minutes to allow the turkey to rest.  This equalizes the juices inside so you have perfectly moist, delicious meat.

foiled turkey

Remove the turkey from the pan and start slicing!  There are several excellent videos if you google “how to slice a turkey”.  I think you’ll be alright!

While someone is slicing you can make the gravy.  Technically this isn’t part of the recipe but who eats Thanksgiving turkey without gravy?  Remove all the herbs, onions, and garlic, and pour all the drippings into a pot and add all the chicken or turkey stock.  Heat the liquid to a boil and, while you’re waiting, make the cornstarch mixture.  You could use a roux if you feel like it, but that takes longer and we are all about making Thanksgiving easy here!  Mix the cold water and cornstarch together until dissolved.  Once the liquid is boiling slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the drippings.  Stir and continue to heat until thickened.  If you need it thicker, just add more cornstarch liquid.

Serve with all the Thanksgiving trimmings and have an incredible time!

turkey leg

Link’s Salt-Grilled Meat

    • Raw Gourmet Meat or Raw Whole Bird
    • Rock Salt

    Salt-Brined Roast Turkey

    • Servings: dependant on turkey pounds
    • Difficulty: moderate
    • Print

    Turkey

    • 1 Turkey
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt per pound of turkey
    • 1/4 tsp pepper per pound of turkey
    • 1/2-1 cup butter, room temperature, based on turkey size
    • 7 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme
    • 5 sprigs fresh sage leaves
    • 6 garlic cloves
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 instant read meat thermometer

    Gravy

    • 1 pan turkey drippings
    • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
    • 1/4 cup cold water
    • 3 heaping spoonfuls cornstarch

    Directions


    1. Thaw your turkey according to the packing instructions, generally refrigerated for a few days. If you need a quicker thaw, fill a sink with cold water and place the turkey in. Drain the water every 1/2 hour and refill with cold water. Continue this process for 8 hours until the turkey is thawed.
    2. Remove the bird from the packaging and take out the neck and giblets. These should be located inside the turkey at either the bottom or the neck holes.
    3. Dry the entire turkey with paper towels
    4. Coat the turkey in the kosher salt and pepper.  Allow the turkey to sit, with the salt and pepper, at room temperature for 1 hour to take off the chill.
    5. Wash the sage and oregano or thyme.
    6. Slice the onion into quarters.
    7. Remove the skin from 6 garlic cloves.
    8. Line the outside edges of a glass or metal cake pan large enough to hold your turkey with the aromatics, putting the onions in the corners.
    9. Rub the room temperature butter all over your hands, coating them completely.
    Then rub the entire turkey with those hands, pausing to get more butter if needed.  Make sure the entire bird in covered in the butter.  A safety note, if you touch any butter with turkey or turkey-covered hands please throw it away to mitigate the risk of food poisoning.
    10. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put your turkey in the pan and put your pan in the oven on the middle shelf.  Close the door and bake for 45 minutes.
    11. Once the turkey has been roasting for 45 minutes take some tinfoil and cover the breast of the turkey, molding it to keep it in place. If you need to make a piece of tinfoil bigger to cover the whole turkey simply fold over the edges of the foil together and press down to seal.
    12. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350°F and bake for the remainder of the time. Please see the chart in the body of the post for the correct times.
    13. Insert the instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure you aren’t touching any bones.  Allow the thermometer to read.  Your turkey temperature should be 165°F or higher. If the temperature is not quite high enough, roast the turkey until the temperature reads the correct amount.
    14. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil for at least 30 minutes to allow the turkey to rest.
    15. Remove the turkey from the pan.
    16. To make the gravy remove all herbs, onions, and garlic, and pour all the drippings into a pot. Add the chicken or turkey stock and bring to a boil.
    17. Mix the cold water and cornstarch together until dissolved. Once the drippings are boiling slowly add the cornstarch to the drippings, stirring to mix.
    18. Stir the gravy and bring it back to a boil. Add more cornstarch and water if a thicker gravy is desired.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Let’s talk about a few things.  I’ve been having a bit of a depression backslide lately.  There was a thing that happened, it was incredibly difficult to handle, and I haven’t really quite recovered yet.  So I haven’t been posting, as you are all well aware.  I’m sad about that, and I hope you are, too!  So I’ve made a few decisions that will, hopefully (finger’s crossed) help keep things moving a little more regularly on the blog as well as giving me enough time to continue to heal mentally.

Decision one: I think this blog is about to become very recipe-heavy!  I think there are some of you who are clapping and some who are booing, but all in all, I think this will be a good short-term solution.  I want to be better about posting BotW recipes and focusing on that instead of collaborations or even Thursday Thoughts will help that!  So get ready for one BotW recipe per week.  That’s definitely happening.

Decision two: I’m working on a pretty big (at least emotionally) Thursday Thoughts post.  I’m not sure when it’ll be done, but maybe at the end of the year.  It’s something I think will really help with some of the depression and anxiety I’ve been struggling with recently and hopefully will be worth reading!  So until then, I probably won’t do any other Thursday Thoughts.

Decision three:  In order to be a little more grateful in my life for the things that are going right and well I want to spend the rest of the year adding (maybe not every week, mind you) recipes from bloggers who have been supportive and inspiring and people who have helped shaped my life.  These will all be non-Zelda recipes and will showcase their favoriate/family recipes or recipes that have serious importance in my development as a person.  Hopefully you enjoy this season a little more because of these and we can all feel a little more appreciation for the wonderful people in our lives!

And now, without further ado, on to the first of two Thanksgiving (at least here in the U.S) recipes: pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin PiePumpkin pie meter and time

pumpkin pie ingredients

We start, as we did with the apple pie, with a pie crust.  For the real details check out my Apple Pie recipe.  For those of you who stick with me let’s shorten this up (see what I did there?).  Cut in the butter, add a tiny bit of cold water, mix, add more, etc… until you get the perfect, just-held-together texture.  Once we’re there simply wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Now for the insides.  The very easy insides.

pimpkin, sugar, spices

Measure out the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves into a bowl.  Mix and stir until combined.  Add two eggs.  Now, you can either beat the eggs before you add them or do as I do and add the eggs, lightly beat them on top of the pumpkin mixture, and then mix everything all together.  I’m all about shortcuts here.

Once everything is mixed and homogenous add the cream and stir until combined.  It’ll look pale and a little fluffy.

Take the pie crust out of the fridge, lightly flour a surface, and roll the crust out into a round shape large enough to cover the pie tin and hopefully less than 1/4 inch thick.  Thick crust makes for weird pie, so thinner can definitely be better.  Using the coolest technique ever, gently roll the crust onto your rolling pin and unroll it into the ungreased pie tin.  It’ll make you look really awesome so be sure to do it while other people are looking.  If they aren’t make sure you cough loudly or sneeze to get their attention.

Gently press the crust into the tin, folding the crust over itself to patch any holes.  You can do the next step one of two ways: either cut the excess crust and then crimp it into a pretty shape OR crimp it and then cut off the excess.  Either way is fine, just make sure if you choose the first option you leave enough to crimp.

Pumpkin pie filling

Add the filling until it fills the crust at least 3/4 of the way.  It’ll rise a little as it bakes, but not too much.  We don’t want it over-full or you’ll get horrible burned stuff all over your oven.  And we don’t want it under-filled or you’ll get too much crust on top… Like mine…  Do as I say, grasshopper, not as I do…  Now bake for about 55-65 minutes.  The key is that the filling turns a lovely shade of darker brown and has a crack in the top.  If there’s no crack it may not be done.  If you’re unsure give the pie a bit of a wobble.  If it moves a lot, it’s not done.  If it’s a little more stiff it’s probably ready!

finished pie

Remove, make some whipped cream by adding sugar to cream that you are currently whipping, and serve!

delicious pie!

Link’s Pumpkin Pie recipe:

      • Fortified Pumpkin
      • Tabantha Wheat
      • Cane Sugar
      • Goat Butter

      Pumpkin Pie

      • Servings: 1 pie, 9 inches diameter
      • Difficulty: moderately easy
      • Print

      Homemade Pumpkin Pie


      Pie

      • 2 cups flour
      • 2/3 cup cold butter, cut into tablespoons
      • 1/3 teaspoon salt
      • 4-6 tablespoons ice-cold water

      Pumpkin

      • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
      • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
      • 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
      • 3/4 cup sugar
      • 2 large eggs
      • 3/4 cup heavy cream

      Directions

      1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and add some ice to a small cup of water.
      2. Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces. Add the butter to the flour and begin rubbing it between your fingers while adding flour. This will create a breadcrumb-like texture. Make sure you leave some butter pieces as large as peas.
      3. Handling the dough as little as possible, start adding water a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture begins to hold together. The dough will be a bit shaggy but should be mostly cohesive.
      4. Wrap the dough in cling wrap.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
      5. While the dough is chilling make the filling.
      6. Add all pumpkin puree, sugar, and spices to a bowl and mix until combined.
      7. Add the eggs and lightly beat them on top of the mixture before adding them to the pumpkin.
      8. Add all the cream and stir until combined. The mixture should be light brown and creamy.
      9. When the dough has chilled remove it from the fridge.  Lightly flour a surface and roll it out into a round shape large enough to drape over the edges of the 9 inch pie tin and thinner than 1/4 inch.  Do not grease the tin beforehand.
      10. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin and unroll into the pie tin. Gently press the dough into the shape of the tin, filling any cracks with excess as necessary.
      11. Add all the pumpkin pie filling. It should fill at least 3/4 of the tin.
      12. Remove the excess crust using an knife and, using a pinching technique between two fingers on one hand and a finger on the other, pinch the crust to create a crimped look.
      13. Bake for 55-65 minutes. Check your pie about 40 minutes into the bake.  If it’s starting to look too dark on top gently place a layer of tinfoil on the parts that are browning too quickly. When it’s baked you should notice a significant darkening of the filling and the filling should have formed a bit of a crack. It should have a slightly firm wobble. If the filling isn’t cooked place it back in the oven for a few more minutes.  Once it’s baked remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least an hour before you eat it. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Autumn

Everywhere you look

There’s some rain that is falling down

And leaves that are turning brown

And pumpkin spice and sweaters all around!

So after that are you still here?  Yeah?  Well I can’t help it!  I love Autumn (or as we call it in the U.S. because American English is a pretty strange language, Fall) and it’s finally here!  Everything is cooling off, the squash are starting to ripen, apples are falling, cinnamon and nutmeg are everywhere, and the smell of wet pavement is a dream!  When things start to get chilly we naturally turn to deliciously warm food and spices to heat things up and what could possibly be better than fresh apple pie?  I submit that nothing could be… unless you don’t like pie… like me…

Apple Piemeter and time

apple pie ingredients

We start with a pie crust, technically called a short crust pastry.  There are other kinds of pastry you could use but this is a traditional and well-established method.  And since this was my very first apple pie ever, I thought we should go easy on ourselves.

Put some water into a cup and add a cube or two of ice.  The colder the water, the better the pastry will turn out.  Then let’s rub the cold butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs with some pea-sized chunks of butter left.  You don’t want it too fine or you won’t get a nice flaky crust!

Now for the scary part.  Once we start adding water we need to handle the dough as little as possible to get the best crust.  Start with a few tablespoons, mix it in with your hands, add a few more, mix, lather, rinse, repeat until you’ve got a dough that sticks together well but isn’t too wet.  It should be, as we say, a little shaggy, with some dried flour/butter bits still left over.  See the photo if you have questions.

shaggy dough

Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough together until it forms a cohesive mass.  Again, don’t handle it too much or it’ll be stiff and tough.  Split it so you have 1/3 and 2/3 in separate balls and wrap each in cling wrap.  Refrigerate for a while so it relaxes and doesn’t get too tough.

wrapped dough

Now let’s make the filling!

sliced applesThinly slice the apples, making sure to remove the core.  I like to leave the peel on for some added texture but if it bothers you, feel free to peel them as well.  Then add all the apples to a bowl and add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar to the apples.  Mix it around with your hands until all the apples are coated evenly and set aside.  PS – this is a pretty standard pie filling recipe but I’ve switched out the regular white sugar for brown sugar.  I’ve found it makes it a little more like caramel apples in flavor and I love it!

When the dough has chilled for about 15 minutes remove the smaller third from the fridge.  Lightly flour a surface and roll it out into a round shape large enough to drape over the edges of the pie tin you are using.  Don’t grease the tin or anything – there’s enough butter in the crust to take care of that for you!  Remove the remaining 2/3 dough from the fridge, flour your surface, and roll it out into a rectangle at least the width of the pie tin and the longest you can.  You want it as thin as you can get it because we are weaving this to match Link’s pie.  If you wind up with bits that crack don’t worry, shortcrust is super forgiving.  Just patch them up with some excess crust and roll over the top!

shortcrust rolled out

Once we have a nice rectangle cut the strips into 1 inch wide pieces.  Lightly flour another surface and let’st start weaving!  Lay out strips right next to each other the width of your pie tin.  Take leftover strips and weave them, starting from the center, through the strips you’ve laid out.  Over, under, over, under.  Take another strip and weave it the opposite way, so you’re two strips are over/under opposite one another.  Continue until you have a nice, even lattice.  If you run out of strips, no worries.  Just gather up any scraps and roll them out again.  Cut from that and you should be golden.  This crust recipe may be a little tight but it fit my 10 inch diameter pie tin just fine!  And don’t weave this lattice too tightly – we need to have some space for air to escape so the pie doesn’t explode!

Lightly flour the bottom of the pie crust in the tin.  This helps with the moisture and prevents you from incurring the wrath of Mary Berry and having a soggy bottom.  Add all the apples to the crust.  Don’t overfill the pie, we want it to be level with the top of the tin.  If you’re left with extra you won’t regret just eating them.  Promise.

Gently, using a combination of prayers, incantations, friend’s hands, and extra strong hopes, pick up your lattice somehow and lay it on top of the pie.  If you are lucky enough to have a flat, large sheet you can slide under it, lay it on the pie, and slide out do that!  If not, you’ll have to get some help.  If it breaks a little, again, no worries!  Just mash the pieces together and call it good.

Using a pinching technique between two fingers on one hand and a finger on the other, pinch the top and bottom layers of crust together.  Trim the excess off the sides using a knife, brush the top of the pie with milk, and bake!

Check your pie about 40 minutes into the bake.  If it’s starting to look too dark on top gently place a layer of tinfoil to the parts that are browning too quickly.  This didn’t happen to me so I don’t have any photos.  If it looks light and raw still you shouldn’t have a problem.  Once it’s baked remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least an hour before you eat it!

fresh apple pie

Link’s Apple Pie recipe:

      • Apple or Wildberry
      • Any fruit
      • Tabantha Wheat
      • Cane Sugar

Apple Pie

  • Servings: 1 pie
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Homemade apple pie using fresh, tart apples

Pie

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6-9 tablespoons ice-cold water

Apple

  • 2 1/2 pounds tart apples
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and add some ice to a small cup of water.
  2. Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces. Add the butter to the flour and begin rubbing it between your fingers while adding flour. This will create a breadcrumb-like texture. Make sure you leave some butter pieces as large as peas.
  3. Handling the dough as little as possible, start adding water a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture begins to hold together. The dough will be a bit shaggy but should be mostly cohesive.
  4. Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough together until it forms a cohesive mass, being careful not to handle it too much.
  5. Split the dough so you have 1/3 and 2/3 in separate balls and wrap each in cling wrap.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. While the dough is chilling make the filling.
  7. Thinly slice the apples, making sure to remove the core.  You may peel the apples or leave the skin on, but leaving the skin gives it a little more texture and color.
  8. Add all the apples to a bowl and add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.  Mix it with your hands until all the apples are coated evenly. Set this bowl aside aside.
  9. When the dough has chilled remove the smaller third from the fridge.  Lightly flour a surface and roll it out into a round shape large enough to drape over the edges of the pie tin you are using.  Do not grease the tin beforehand.
  10. Remove the remaining 2/3 dough from the fridge, flour your surface, and roll it out into a rectangle at least the width of the pie tin and the longest you can.  You want it fairly thin because we will be weaving the top. If you wind up with bits that crack just patch them up with some excess crust and roll over the top.
  11. Cut the strips into 1 inch wide pieces.  Lightly flour another surface to begin weaving.
  12. Lay out strips right next to each other the width of your pie tin.  Take leftover strips and weave them, starting from the center, through the strips you’ve laid out by placing the strip over then under the next strip. Take another strip and weave it the opposite way, so you’re two strips are over/under opposite one another.  Continue until you have a nice, even lattice.  If you run out of strips simply gather up any scraps and roll them out again.  Cut new strips to finish the lattice. Don’t weave this lattice too tightly – we need to have some space for air to escape so the pie doesn’t explode!
  13. Lightly flour the bottom of the pie crust in the tin.  This helps with the moisture from the apples and keeps the crust crisp. Add all the apple mixture to the crust.  Don’t overfill the pie, we want it to be level with the top of the tin.
  14. Gently pick up your lattice and lay it on top of the pie. If it breaks a little, again, no worries!  Just mash the pieces together and call it good.
  15. Using a pinching technique between two fingers on one hand and a finger on the other, pinch the top and bottom layers of crust together.  Trim any excess pie crust from the sides with a knife so it’s an even finish.  Brush the top of the pie with milk and bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown.
  16. Check your pie about 40 minutes into the bake.  If it’s starting to look too dark on top gently place a layer of tinfoil to the parts that are browning too quickly.  Once it’s baked remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least an hour before you eat it.