Mom’s Beef and Broccoli

Mom’s Beef and Broccoli

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom lived in Taiwan for a few years in her twenties (for more information about why, feel free to DM me on Instagram or Twitter).  This means that, not only did she come home with some amazing experiences, but she came home with some amazing small-town, authentic Taiwanese/Chinese recipes.  But this one is my favorite.  And in a post dedicated to my wonderful mother, what better recipe to share than my favorite thing she taught me to make.

My mother is incredible.  She’s easily one of the most dedicated, hardworking people I’ve ever met.  She had a successful career, raised several kids, and always managed to find time to get things done around the house.  Her energy and willpower seem limitless.  It’s quite inspiring to watch her (and also a little daunting)!  She’s strong and opinionated, determined and fierce.  And she’s my hero.  I mean, I’m pretty sure my mom is Wonder Woman (*recently confirmed by my dad).  She doesn’t see it- she’s always got one reason or other for how she can do everything and still find time to read about 2-3 dozen books a year – but I know the truth.  And while I can’t be her and do everything under the planet successfully and efficiently, I’ve learned so much about the person I can be from her.  So this post is dedicated to my mom, for the example she is and the life she taught me to live.  Thanks, mom.

Mom’s Beef and Broccolitime etc

Guys, this recipe is really easy.  In fact, it may seem so easy that you’ll wonder if it’s even worth eating.  Yeah, it’s a little basic – like all good homemade classics are – but I think it’s so good I’ll literally find excuses to drink the leftover sauce.  It’s so good you’ll probably stop eating beef and broccoli at restaurants because it won’t taste quite like this…

First, and always, we start the rice.  Come on, you’re old hats at this by now!  Rinse the rice, add water up to your first knuckle, turn on the rice cooker.  Again, if you don’t have one of those Christmas is just around the corner…  Maybe it’s time to splurge on the most-used gadget in my kitchen.

Then let’s slice the steak into long, thin strips.  Preferably about 1-2 inches long and 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  To make it easy, slice against the grain.  You see the way the muscle lines flow?  Slice perpendicular to that.  It’ll make a cleaner, easier cut.  Place all the meat in a bowl and add enough soy sauce to submerge, but not drown the meat.  It’s a fine line.

Wash everything (knife, cutting board, counter) so there’s no cross contamination.  Then rinse and cut the broccoli.  We want to keep just the florets in bite-size pieces.  I usually cut the stalk off and then break the broccoli up.  When you cut broccoli, sometimes the floret breaks apart, so this is my recommendation.  You can remove or leave as much of the stalk as you want – me, I remove as much as I can.  Place the broccoli in a separate bowl.  Then wash and dice the green onions into 1 inch pieces and separate into 2 piles.

When the rice is done (or nearly so) get out your trusty wok.  I guess you could try and make this in a frying pan, but it won’t cook the same and it may not taste the same.  Also, it’ll probably take way longer to cook.  But if you try it, let me know!

oil and onionsAnyway, add half the vegetable oil to your wok and turn the heat on as high as it’ll go.  Two things about this are important: 1) turn the heat up as high as it’ll go.  Trust me.  A proper stir fry, a proper wok, is cooked over very high heat.  Because of the way a wok works, things’ll get mushy and take forever if you cook it low.  And 2) use vegetable, canola, avocado, or some other high heat oil.  DO NOT cook this with olive oil.  The oil can’t handle those temperatures and it’ll burn, baby burn. 

Add half the green onions to this oil and wait until the onions start to sizzle and pop.  When they do, you know the oil is ready.  Add all the meat and soy sauce together (it should be nicely marinated by now) and cook, stirring frequently/continuously, until the steak is brown on the outside, but still probably pink on the inside.  Depending on how much liquid you added you may need to push the meat up out of the liquid onto the sides.  We don’t want the meat to boil, we want it to fry.  This’ll take between 2-4 minutes.

remove the steak

Remove the steak carefully, I don’t want any burns on my conscience, and put it into a new bowl – or the same bowl, but washed.  Again, no cross contamination here!  Add the remaining oil and green onions and wait for the sizzle and pop.

When you hear it, add the broccoli and stir until it’s completely shiny, about 1 minute.  At this point, make a well in the middle of the broccoli so the wok shows through and add all the cold water at once.  Quickly cover and allow the broccoli to steam for several minutes, or until tender.  Check after 3 and see how it’s doing – add more water if necessary, but be quick, we don’t want the steam escaping!

cook together

When the broccoli is ready add the steak and sauce back to the wok and stir until everything is well-mixed.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes so the broccoli can soak up all that delicious soy sauce.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

close up

Mom's Beef and Broccoli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Delicious beef with broccoli in a soy sauce marinade

Ingredients

  • 1 pound london broil or sirloin steak – 1-1.5 cups soy sauce – 4-5 large broccoli crowns – 1 bunch green onions – 1 cup very cold water – 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil – 3 cups calrose or other sticky rice – enough water to cover the rice to your first knuckle

Directions

  1. Rinse the rice and add water so that it comes to your first knuckle when your finger rests on top of the rice. Add the lid and turn on the rice cooker. 2. Slice the steak into long, thin strips, preferably about 1-2 inches long and 1/8-1/4 inch thick. 3. Place all the meat in a bowl and add enough soy sauce to submerge, but not drown the meat.  It’s a fine line. 4. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite-size florets. Place the broccoli in a bowl. 5. Wash and dice the green onions into 1 inch pieces and separate into 2 piles. 6. When the rice is done (or nearly so) add half the vegetable oil and half the green onions to your wok and turn the heat on as high. 7. When the onions start to sizzle and pop add all the meat and soy sauce together and cook, stirring frequently/continuously, until the steak is brown on the outside, but still pink on the inside. You may need to push the meat up out of the liquid onto the sides. This will take between 2-4 minutes. 8. Remove the steak carefully and put it into a new bowl – or the same bowl, but washed. 9. Add the remaining oil and green onions and wait for the sizzle and pop. 10. Add the broccoli and stir until it’s completely shiny, about 1 minute. 11. Make a well in the middle of the broccoli so the wok shows through and add all the cold water at once. Quickly cover and allow the broccoli to steam for several minutes, or until tender, about 5-8 minutes. You may need to add more water halfway through. 12. When the broccoli is ready add the steak and sauce back to the wok and stir until everything is well-mixed. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes so the flavors can meld together.

    Serve over rice and enjoy!

Veggie Cream Soup

Veggie Cream Soup

Alright, guys, I think I’m about to throw you for a loop.  After checking recipes, matching BotW photos, and deciding on what I want to make, I’m making a change up to my recipes.  Now, I have a Veggie Cream Soup already made.  But the BotW photo is much more orange, the Cream of Vegetable Soup is more creamy, and I wanted to make cheese soup.  Because, quite frankly, I don’t love Cream of X soup.  I utilize it in other recipes to make other things, but I never actually just eat Cream of X soup.  So I’m renaming my last veggie soup Cream of Vegetable soup, after all, it’s veggies, cream, and soup.  And the new and improved Veggie Cream Soup, is about to follow!

Veggie Cream Soup

time and difficulty

Basically, folks, we are making cheese soup.  And while I have photos one way, I’d really like you all, please, to follow what I say, not what I show!  It’ll make sense when I start describing what’s going on.

Start by chopping all the veggies up into lovely bite-size pieces.  Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower can go into a bowl together, but keep the onions separate.  When everything is diced heat a heavy-bottom pot (or, I guess, any pot) and add all the butter but 3 tablespoons.  Add the onion and saute for 1 minute.  Then add the other veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes, until shiny and starting to soften.  

shiny veggies

Here’s that part where you get to ignore what I’ve done and pay attention to what I say!  I have you add the extra butter and flour to the sauteed veggies, but the roux really struggled to come together, and without a solid roux, the likelihood that your cheese will break is pretty high.  And, for me, I can handle that, but I don’t want that for you people at all!

So now we’re just going to remove the veggies and put them in a bowl.  Then, add the 3 tablespoons of butter, melt it down, add the flour slowly, and make a nice roux by whisking continuously.  I have photos from the old Veggie Cream Soup…  Pretend like they’re from this recipe.

Add the milk 1 cup at a time and whisk until completely mixed.  This’ll thicken the milk.  Continue with the remaining milk.  Then add the cream and chicken or vegetable stock (your choice to make this vegetarian!) and stir in the veggies, salt, and pepper.  We don’t add a lot of salt because the cheese is salty, so don’t be tempted to add more.  It’ll feel bland at this step.

veggies and liquid

 

Here’s the next step, and it’s an important one for winding up with a nice, smooth soup instead of a cheesy broken mess.  Don’t let the soup boil.  It should simmer, barely bubbling, to cook the veggies, but it shouldn’t boil.  Keep an eye on it.  If it boils you may not get a great soup.

cheese added

Simmer it for 10ish minutes, or until the veggies are tender and delicious!  Then remove from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes until it cools slightly.  This is like adding chocolate to cream – if you do it while it’s too hot the fat will break out and won’t be able to reform properly, so you end up with a mess.  Cheese into hot things is the same.  So once it’s cooled slightly, add the cheese, 1 cup at a time, and stir until smooth and creamy.  And then eat it all while you can – you won’t really feel like stopping!

close up

Link’s Veggie Cream Soup:

    • Fresh Milk
    • Rock Salt
    • Any Carrot or Pumpkin

Veggie Cream Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A creamy cheese soup with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

Ingredients

  • 1 large broccoli crown – 1/2 head cauliflower – 3 medium carrots – 1 small onion – 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter – 1/3 cup all-purpose flour – 4 cups milk – 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock – 2 tablespoons heavy cream – 1 teaspoon kosher salt – 1/5 teaspoons black pepper – 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Chop the carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Place these into a bowl. Dice the onion and keep separate. 2. Heat a heavy-bottom pot on medium and add all the butter but 3 tablespoons.  3. Add the onion and saute for 1 minute. 4. Add the other veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes, until shiny and starting to soften. 5. Remove the veggies and put them in a bowl. 6. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter, melt it, and add the flour slowly. Make a roux by whisking this constantly until thickened and yellow. 7. Add the milk 1 cup at a time and whisk until completely mixed and thickened. 8. Add the heavy cream and chicken or vegetable stock, stir in the veggies, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined. 9. Simmer the soup, barely bubbling, to cook the veggies, about 10 minutes. 10. Remove from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes until it cools slightly. 11. Add the cheese, 1 cup at a time, and stir until smooth and creamy. Serve hot.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time | The Game That Defines Sheikah Plate

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time | The Game That Defines Sheikah Plate

Hey, everyone! It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means – a new recipe! But I wanted to do something a little different. Yesterday my post for one of the most amazing collaborations went live. Normal Happenings has been running a series every day since November 1st on The Games That Define Us. 35 AMAZING collaborators have written up their feelings about the game that has meant the most to them. If you’re ready to shed some tears and experience some feelings, please go check out every single post. They’re all wonderful. But I’m reblogging mine here today because A) I want you all to read it and B) I created a special recipe homage to my favorite game of all time. So while it’s not Breath of the Wild, it’s still Zelda. Here’s The Game That Defines Me: Ocarina of Time.

Normal Happenings

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

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Audio

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introductionJust a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Well, do we…

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Happy Thanksgiving and Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat!

Happy Thanksgiving and Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Here in the U.S., and especially for me, this holiday is all about food.  Growing up, my mother would get up at an ungodly hour (for a holiday) to make everything from scratch on Thanksgiving day.  We’d tumble out of bed and start to help out when we could.  Now, as an adult, it’s become a tradition to get up as early as mom and stand around the table as she teaches us how to properly make pie crust, make stuffing from scratch, and roast a 30 pound(ish) turkey.  Thanksgiving for my family was about passing on the traditions of cooking, of learning and honoring those who came before you with family recipes and family stories shared over an entire day of cooking and eating together.  It’s the best way I know how to truly observe this holiday – with thankful hearts toward the people in my past who have made this holiday possible.

This year, that also means you guys, the faithful blog readers.  I feel so blessed and honored that so many people follow my blog and comment on my posts.  I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to learn how to better express myself through cooking.  And I feel grateful so many of you are so supportive of me, in spite of my long breaks between posts and ghost status on social media lately.  Thanks for all you do to help me become the best I can be!  And, in honor of the from-scratch people who were up at the crack of dawn (I love you, mom!) to make dinner, here’s a reblog of my Thanksgiving turkey recipe – 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.

Hot Buttered Apple

Hot Buttered Apple

Weird.  It’s time for normal recipes again.  Well, when I say “normal” I still mean I’ll be fall focusing for now.  It’s nearly Thanksgiving here in the U.S., after all! And speaking of Thanksgiving let’s talk about my tiny, special surprise for this month.  We had Monster recipes in October, plus my favorite spooky stuff, so this month I’ll be focusing a little bit more on being thankful by posting a new Thankful recipe every Thursday!  These will be dedicated to the people in my life who have helped me become who I am, and who I’m seriously grateful for.  So are you ready for double the recipes, double the fun?  Either way, I am, so it’s happening.

Hot Buttered Appletime and difficulty

Now, the original recipe is… a little boring.  Apples, butter.  While this sounds like an okay recipe I need my baked fruit a tad more flavorful for me to even pretend to enjoy it.  Hence, a very buffed up version of the Baked Apple you’re about to see here.  And the best part?  It’s insanely easy.  Like, 5 minutes to put together tops and 30 minutes to bake easy.  If you’re ever intimidated by Breath of the Wild recipes, this is the one for you!  Also, it’s apple season!  What else was I going to do?

jonagold apples

Wash the apple thoroughly – this is especially true if you buy them from the supermarket.  We have this lovely and absolutely amazing orchard near our house that I go out of my way to drive to during orchard season (I regularly post about it on Instagram).  If you’re lucky enough to have that – go there!  A lot of people recommend you purchase “a good baking apple” for these kinds of recipes and then list 5 apples completely different from someone else’s list.  Quite frankly, I have no idea what “a good baking apple” is, so just purchase an apple variety you like.  My personal favorite are Jonagold – not to sweet, not to sour, usually nice and crisp.

cored apples

Using a paring knife, cut around the core of the apple straight down, being sure to leave about 1/2-1 inch at the bottom of the apple (so you don’t poke holes through it).  Next, take a small spoon and, gently as you can, scoop out the core.  It may be harder than you think – you weren’t able to cut the bottom of your core, after all.  But make sure you get all the seeds, again, leaving about 1/2-1 inch at the bottom of the hole you’re digging out.  If you have an apple corer then bonus points, you can easily use that!  If, like me, you don’t this’ll be the easiest way.

Mix together the softened butter, sugar, and spices until completely combined.  Split the mixture in half and stuff each of the apples to the top of the hole.  Depending on your apple size you may need a bit more, or a bit less, of the mixture.  I had some nice, medium apples and it fit perfectly.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

apples in water and container

Heat the water in a cup in the microwave, or even on the stove, until boiling.  Place the apples in an oven-safe container and pour the boiling water at the bottom.  This’ll help the apples bake evenly and not dry out – I wound’t recommend skipping this step.

Bake at 375F/30ish minutes.  This time is very subjective.  I prefer my apples to still be a little stiff, but baked through.  I don’t like soft baked fruit – it feels mushy to me.  So 30 minutes was perfect.  If you prefer your apples a bit wrinkly and a bit more like pie filling, bake for closer to an hour.  Really, it’s all based on touch – how the apple feels to you when you touch it and squeeze it.  Don’t depend on my times for your perfect apple.  Then simply take them out of the oven, allow them to cool slightly, and serve.  If your apples are a bit stiffer (like mine) you may want to slice them and allow the sauce to drizzle over each piece.  If yours are softer, simply serve with a spoon.  PS – these are amazing with some vanilla ice cream!

apple close up

 

Link’s Hot Buttered Apple recipe:

    • Apple
    • Goat Butter

Hot Buttered Apple

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Baked apples filled with brown sugar and cinnamon


Ingredients

  • 2 apples of your favorite variety
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • sprinkle of kosher salt
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Wash the apples thoroughly.
  3. Using a paring knife, cut around the core of the apple straight down, being sure to leave about 1/2-1 inch at the bottom of the apple. Take a small spoon and, gently as you can, scoop out the core, ensuring you remove all the seeds and leave about 1/2-1 inch at the bottom of the hole. You may simply use an apple corer if you have one.
  4. Mix together the softened butter, sugar, and spices until completely combined.
  5. Split the mixture in half and stuff each of the apples to the top of the hole. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  6. Heat the water in a cup in the microwave, or even on the stove, until boiling.
  7. Place the apples in an oven-safe container and pour the boiling water at the bottom.
  8. Bake for 30ish minutes, or until the apples are the correct “doneness” for your tastes. You may check this by squeezing them gently, but be careful not to burn yourself.
  9. Take them out of the oven, allow them to cool slightly, and serve. If your apples are a bit stiffer you may want to slice them and allow the sauce to drizzle over each piece. If yours are softer, simply serve with a spoon.

Monster Stew

Monster Stew

When  I saw the BotW recipe for Monster Stew I couldn’t imagine how I was going to pull it off.  Meat, seafood, flour, milk?  How on earth are you supposed to combine those together to make, not only something edible, but a stew?  So I just went with it – totally making this up as I went along.  It may not be the first recipe I’ve ever made up from scratch, but it is the first recipe I’ve dared share with people.  So hopefully you all like it as much as I do… I’ll be super embarrassed if not!

Also, no scary story today… I couldn’t get it quite right.  I’ll keep working and maybe I’ll post it a little later.  But Happy Halloween anyway, right!?

Monster Stew

time and difficulty

Let’s start with the beef.  This’ll take about an hour to cook down, and the entire recipe will take about 2 hours, so give yourself plenty of time before you plan to eat.  Otherwise you’ll be starving come 9 pm and you’ll order take out just because you don’t want to wait till it’s ready.

Cut the beef into 1 inch cubes.  Add oil to the bottom of a heavy pot – as usual, I prefer my cast iron – and turn it on medium.  When the oil is hot add the beef and garlic salt and stir until the meat is browned on all sides.  Then add 4 cups of beef broth, wait for it to come to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, put the lid on, and step away for an hour.  I’d recommend checking it every half hour to make sure the liquid isn’t boiling off too quickly.  If it looks like it needs more liquid you can add more beef broth or water.

While the meat is cooking cut the carrots, onions, and peppers into bite size pieces.  Also slice the Andouille sausage into bite size pieces and pull the tails off the shrimp.  It’s pretty easy – I talk about it in my Seafood Fried Rice post.  But here’s a quick recap: Properly thaw the shrimp.  Then place the shrimp on a cutting board, lay your knife on the tail, and gently pull the shrimp away from the tail.  It should just slip right out.  Easy peasy.

add rice

When your beef has been stewing about an hour add the remaining beef broth and the rice.  We are deviating slightly from the photos.  After eating the stew it was determined (by me) that the rice takes way too long to cook and the shrimp and veggies are all overdone by the time the rice is done.  I think this is inherent to the thick grain nature of the forbidden rice, which brings such a delightful color, but really takes a long time to cook.  So instead, add the rice and broth to the beef and bring back to a simmer.  Place the lid on and leave it alone until we add everything else.  This will allow the rice to cook properly.  A word of advice – if you’re using white rice, you probably need to add the rice and veggies/shrimp at the same time.  If you’re cooking with brown rice, I’d recommend adding them early, like the forbidden rice.

We want to add the shrimp/veggie/sausage mixture in at about 15 minutes remaining in rice cooking time.  So when the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes heat another pan/skillet with the remaining oil until it’s hot.  Add the sausage, shrimp, and creole seasoning and stir until the shrimp are just barely turning pink.  At this point add all the veggies, stir them around until everything is shiny, and pour the entire thing into the soup pot.  Stir it around to mix the creole seasonings in and cover again, letting it simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes more.

close up of stew

Serve and enjoy this creepy, purplish black masterpiece!

Link’s Monster Stew recipe:

    • Any Meat
    • Any Seafood
    • Monster Extract

Monster Stew

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Southern-style beef and seafood stew with forbidden rice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rump or chuck roast
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, thawed and deveined
  • 15-20 inches of Andouille sausage (about 3 links)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • another 4 cups beef stock and water in case your liquid boils off too quickly
  • 5 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons Creole seasoning

Directions


1. Cut the beef into 1 inch cubes.
2. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of a heavy pot and heat on medium.
3. When the oil is hot add the beef, salt pepper, and garlic salt and stir until the meat is browned on all sides.
4. Add 4 cups of beef broth and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. I recommend checking it every half hour to make sure the liquid isn’t boiling off too quickly.  If it looks like it needs more liquid you can add more beef broth or water.
5. Cut the carrots, onions, and peppers into bite size pieces. Slice the Andouille sausage.
6. Pull the tails off the shrimp. To do this, properly thaw the shrimp. Place the shrimp on a cutting board, lay your knife on the tail, and gently pull the shrimp away from the tail. It should slip right out.
7. When your beef has been stewing about an hour add the remaining beef broth and the rice and bring back to a simmer.  Place the lid on and allow to cook for 15 minutes. A note: if you’re using white rice, add the rice and veggies/shrimp at the same time as the cooking time is less for white rice.
8. Add the shrimp/veggie/sausage mixture in at about 15 minutes remaining in rice cooking time. So when the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes heat another pan/skillet with the remaining oil until it’s hot.  Add the sausage, shrimp, and creole seasoning and stir until the shrimp are just barely turning pink.
9. Add all the veggies, stir them around until everything is shiny, and pour the entire thing into the soup pot.
10. Stir the stew to mix the creole seasonings in and cover, letting it simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes more.
11. Serve and enjoy this creepy, purplish black masterpiece!

Monster Soup

Monster Soup

In spite of all my hopes and plans, this is the one recipe that I was forced to use food coloring.  I tried using, what I had thought, the perfect ingredient for making this soup purple without using any coloring…  But, unfortunately, the purple potatoes not only did NOT make the soup purple, it turned it a horrible shade of brown, meaning I simply had to use coloring to make it a nice, purple shade.  So sad.

Monster Souptime etc

Cut the onions, carrots, and celery into bite size pieces.  Wash and dice the potatoes, too.  Now, we know that I like my vegetables with their skins on, but if you feel so inclined, peel the carrots and potatoes.

In a nice pot heat the butter on medium until melted.  Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw look is gone.  Add the potatoes and cook, stirring continuously, until the potatoes are “crisp tender”.  This means it’s still hard, but not raw.  This’ll take about 5-8 minutes.

veggies in a pot

veggies and brothAdd all the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, raising the heat if needed.  Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are starting to soften up.  Then we want to add the milk and flour.  Now, a word of caution about the flour and milk – we want to make sure that the flour is COMPLETELY whisked into the milk before we add it to the soup.  If it’s not you’ll end up with lumpy bits of flour everywhere and it’ll be gross.  Allow everything to simmer for about 5 minutes.  By this time the potatoes should be getting softer.

You’ll need to be extra careful with this next part.  Take out 1/2 of the soup, using a heat-proof container.  Pour the soup into a blender in however many batches you need to make it fit, blend until smooth, and pour back into the remaining soup.  When half of the soup is blended, and all the soup is back together, add the heavy cream.  Stir and heat until hot and then taste for seasonings.  You may want to add the rest of the salt and pepper now…

add coloring

Guys, now it’s time for the part that makes this Halloweeny, but also kinda weird.  Add all the food coloring.  It feels like a lot, I know, but it’ll make it the best color for Monster Soup – and make it not a weird shade of brown… I honestly thought pureeing purple potatoes would make the soup purple, not brown.  But I was wrong.  So if you don’t want to add Monster Extract to your soup, simply use russet potatoes to ensure that your soup is a nice, creamy white instead of a weird brown.

monster soup

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives.  Also, if you’re using this at a Halloween party, serve it in a small cauldron for a great touch!

Link’s Monster Soup recipe:

    • Fresh Milk
    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Goat Butter
    • Monster Extract

Monster Soup

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Potato Soup with purple coloring for a lovely Halloween effect


Recipe adapted from Perfect Potato Soup by Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1 pound purple potatoes (or russet for a white soup instead of purple soup)
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (substitute almond milk to make this vegan)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more almond milk for a vegan recipe)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon purple gel food coloring
  • grated cheese, fresh chives, and sour cream to garnish

Directions

  1. Cut the onions, carrots, and celery into bite size pieces. Peel, if you desire.
  2. Wash and dice the potatoes, again, peeled if you desire.
  3. Heat the butter on medium in a pot until melted.
  4. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw look is gone.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring continuously, until the potatoes are crisp tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Add all the vegetable broth, and the first amounts of salt, pepper, and paprika, and bring to a boil, raising the heat if needed.
  7. Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes start to soften.
  8. Whisk together the milk and flour until completely combined. Add to the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are nearly soft.
  9. Using caution, remove 1/2 of the soup, using a heat-proof container. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to blend in batches if your blender is small. Pour the blended soup back into the pot and stir to combine.
  10. Add the heavy cream and stir and heat until lightly simmering.
  11. Taste for seasonings, adding the remaining salt, pepper, and paprika if desired.
  12. Add the first amount of the food coloring. Stir until completely combined and the soup begins to change. If a darker purple is desired, continue adding coloring until the color you’re looking for is achieved.
  13. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives.

Monster Curry

Monster Curry

Guys, there’s no such thing as Monster Extract.  We all know this.  It’s severely disappointing, but it’s true.  So, after much deliberation, I decided that Monster Extract was simply going to be unusual ingredients thrown into regular meals that either A) dye the food a more purple color or B) add a unique/unexpected purple food to the meal.  The goal is to actually do both.  And while some recipes will require the use of food coloring to achieve the right effect, this one, I am proud to say, does not!  Now, to make that happen, this meal isn’t quite as purple as I wish it could have been.  But we make do…

Monster Currymonster cake meter

We need to start with the chicken and the marinade.  This allows the spices to mix together for long enough that the marinade takes on the flavor of the spices and they don’t taste quite so raw and it also allows the chicken to soak up the flavor of the marinade.  It’s like… giving the chicken the Zora Tunic – all of a sudden Link takes on the characteristics of the Zora and can breathe underwater.  Thank goodness.

So cut up the thigh meat (technically you can use breast, too, but thigh tends to retain moisture better) into 1/2 inch cubes.  Doesn’t have to be perfect, we just want them similar in shape so they cook at the same time.  Then peel and cut the garlic and fresh ginger.

add to the blender

Next we add all the spices, the tomato paste, and the yogurt to a blender (or food processor if you’re cool like that).  Blend until completely combined.  You may have to stop occasionally, even in a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, and shake and scrape everything around to make sure the garlic and ginger get thoroughly chopped.

Add the spice mixture to a bowl with the chicken and stir to completely coat the chicken.  Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 2.

When the chicken is nearly done marinating let’s take the onion, carrot, and beets, wash them, and dice them.  A word of caution – if you cut the beets into large or thick pieces they will take FOREVER to cook.  Don’t make my mistakes, cut them up nice and skinny.

Start the rice about the time you’re ready to start cooking.  We’ve gone over this – add rice, wash rice, add water, press start.  You guys are experts by this point!

When you’re done dicing and slicing, take the chicken out of the fridge to warm up a bit.  Add half the butter and oil to a pan – I prefer my good, old-fashioned cast iron pans.  I’m kind of obsessed with them…  When the butter is melted add the onion and cook for maybe 1-2 minutes.  Next add the carrots and beets and cook until they’re tender, about 10 minutes.

cook chicken

Remove the veggies from the pan and add the remaining butter and oil.  When the butter is, you got it, melted, add the chicken and all the marinade.  It feels like a lot.  It feels thick and goopy.  It feels weird.  But trust me, it all works out in the end.

add veggies back in

Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through.  Depending on the size of your chicken pieces it should take about 10 minutes.  Just make sure there’s no pink in the middle of a piece if you cut it open, okay?  Add back all the veggies and stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until everything is nice and combined.

add the cream

At this point, add your heavy cream.  Stir and mix until it’s completely combined and then simmer for about 15 minutes.  We want to give the flavors time to combine and we want to give the curry time to change colors from yellow to… a more purplish yellow…  It’s all I could do, folks.

close up

Serve with the rice and be happy!

Link’s Monster Curry recipe:

    • Hylian Rice
    • Goron Spice
    • Monster Extract

Monster Curry

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

A chicken korma curry with beets and carrots


Recipe adapted from Indian Chicken Korma by Sabrina from Dinner Then Dessert

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs boneless and skinless
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 8-10 beets
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil i.e. canola
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2.5 cups dry rice
  • water to cook rice

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5 tablespoon-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1.5 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more for a spicier meal)
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Cut up the chicken thighs into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Add all the spices, tomato paste, and yogurt to a blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until completely combined, scraping down and mixing the sauce as needed.
  4. Add the spice mixture to a bowl with the chicken and stir to completely coat the chicken.  Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.
  5. Wash and dice the onion, carrot, and beets. Dice the beets into thin, bite-size pieces in order to shorten cooking times.
  6. Start the rice when you’re ready to start cooking. Rinse the rice several times, add water up to your first knuckle of your finger when it rests on top of the rice, and press start on your rice cooker.
  7. Take the chicken out of the fridge to warm up while you cook the vegetables.
  8. Add half the butter and oil to a pan. When the butter is melted add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and beets and cook until they’re tender, about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the veggies from the pan.
  10. Add the remaining butter and oil. When the butter is melted add the chicken and all the marinade.
  11. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, ensuring there is no pink in the center of the chicken – about 10 minutes.
  12. Add back all the veggies and stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until everything is combined.
  13. Add the heavy cream.  Stir and mix until it’s completely combined and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
  14. Serve with the rice and be happy!

Monster Cake

Monster Cake

It’s the first Halloween post of the season!  And yes, we are starting with the easiest, but I wanted to make sure A) the post got done and B) you could make these delicious little monsters for your own spooky (or simply fun) Halloween bash!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the polls on Instagram and Twitter this last week!  Even though the results were overwhelmingly in favor of allowing me to use purple coloring as my Monster Extract, I’ve decided on a compromise.  I’ll do half the recipes with naturally occurring purple coloring from the ingredients I use.  And for those recipes that need a little extra help I’ll add actual Monster Extract i.e. purple coloring.  Sound good?  Sound like a nice compromise?  I hope so, because it’s already happening.

Monster Cakemonster cake meter

We are going to start with the tempered chocolate.  Confession: I’ve never tempered chocolate before.  And not only have I never done it before, I just had to start with the most difficult chocolate to temper – white chocolate.  Oh well.  Prep by inserting a piping bag with a medium round tip (#10 Wilton is what I used) into a cup and wrapping the top of the bag around the edges.  It’ll be easier than trying to fill a bag in your hand.  Lay a piece of parchment paper out on the counter, and get ready to melt some chocolate!

We temper chocolate by using a candy thermometer and a water bath to gently melt the chocolate to the perfect temperature.  Start by splitting the white chocolate into two bowls – about 75% into a stainless steel bowl and 25% into any other bowl.  Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in any old pot, place the stainless steel bowl over the top, add the gel food coloring, and attach the candy thermometer.  Now, two things.  First, we MUST use gel food coloring.  If you add any amount of water to the chocolate it’ll seize up and be unusable.  And second, you’ll need to make sure the tip of the thermometer is in the chocolate BUT NOT touching the bottom.  If the tip is touching the bowl it’ll register the temperature of the bowl, NOT the chocolate.  We need to know the temperature of the chocolate.

seed the chocolate

Once it’s inserted correctly gently stir to melt the chocolate evenly until the temperature of the chocolate reads 110°F.  Quickly remove the bowl from the pot and add a few morsels of chocolate.  Stir until completely dissolved, read the temperature, and add more chocolate.  We need to use this “seed” method to bring the temperature of the chocolate down to 84°F.  This is the temperature at which the chocolate will still be shiny and not brittle.  Do it wrong, and you may have to start over.

When the chocolate reaches the correct temperature quickly add it to a piping bag and begin piping the chocolate into horn shapes on the parchment.  You’ll probably want them to be about 2 inches tall at the most – you don’t want them falling off the cakes!  Leave them on the parchment to cool and harden while we make the cake and frosting.  If you want to speed this up, yes, you can put it in the fridge.

Next – the cake!  And trust me when I say, the chocolate was the hardest part of this recipe.  The rest is… a piece of cake…

butter and sugar

Start by putting the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium until soft.  Add the sugar and beat on medium until fluffy and pale in color (about 2 minutes).  Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating on low until each egg is fully incorporated, then bring the speed up to medium for several seconds until homogeneous.

dry ingredients

The next part is the trickiest with the cake.  Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and either sift or, if you’re like me and don’t have a sifter, whisk until they’re fully mixed.  Then, slowly and with the mixer off (trust me on this one) add 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture to the stand mixer.  Mix on low until fully mixed.  Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk to the bowl and mix on low until incorporated.  Add the remaining 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry and mix fully between each step.

Butter and lightly flour a sheet cake pan (18 x 26 inches with a 1 inch lip).  Add all the cake batter to the pan and smooth with a spatula.  It looks like a lot, I know, but this cake doesn’t actually rise a lot – it’s a pretty dense version of a blackout cake.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Put aside and cool completely.

While the cake is either baking or cooling, let’s make the buttercream!  Now, for ease, I always make an American buttercream.  It’s much easier, doesn’t require any cooking, but is sweeter than your other versions.  I have found, with cakes, at least, that sweeter isn’t a bad thing.  Particularly because I prefer my cakes less sweet, so the balance works nicely.

Wash and blend or mash with a potato masher or fork all the blackberries.  Add the butter and powdered sugar to a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or, again, a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on low until the butter and powdered sugar have come slightly together.  Add 3/4 of the blackberry puree to the bowl and beat on low until the mixture comes together and there’s no more dry powdered sugar.  Beat on medium, check the consistency of the buttercream, and add more blackberries as needed to reach the right consistency.  You’ll want the frosting to hug a spoon or spatula and not slip or fall when held upside down (called a medium consistency).  This will ensure the frosting is thick enough to hold your cakes steady.

proper frosting consistency

Once the cakes are completely cooled, cut out each shape with a 3 inch round cutter.  Now, here’s where I’m going to suggest you do something different than I did.  In the pictures the cakes are overwhelmingly tall in comparison with the frosting layer.  Which is fine!  But if I were to make these for myself and my own party, instead of stacking two heavy pieces of cake together, I’d simply cut each round in half, fill the center, and stack them together again.  That way the frosting can actually hold up the top layer properly and no one gets a giant piece of cake there’s no way they could actually eat it.  Besides, by cutting it you’ll double the amount of cakes you’ll get – making this recipe way more feasible (you’ll get about 15 cakes instead of 7-8).

So, slice each cake in half or, if the warning wasn’t enough, place two whole rounds together.   Fill a piping bag fit with a large flower tip (or star tip) with frosting, and pipe rosettes around each of the bottom pieces of cake.  To pipe a rosette simply pipe a fat star about 1/3 inch above the center of the cake then pipe a swirl around the outside of the cake.  Do it in one motion to make a nice rosette or two separate motions because no one will see it, anyway.  For a good video, see the Wilton tutorial here.

Layer the top portion of the cake onto the frosting-covered bottom and pipe another rosette on the top layer, continuing the swirl all around in ever-decreasing circles to get a nice swirl.  Again, a great Wilton tutorial can be found here.

Add your monster horns by gently pressing them into the cupcake swirl and really impress your friends for that Halloween party!  These are best eaten the same day or stored in the fridge for a few days.

Link’s Monster Cake recipe:

    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Goat Butter
    • Monster Extract

Monster Cake

  • Servings: 15 3 inch cakes
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

A chocolate cake layered with blackberry buttercream and topped with white chocolate horns

Recipe adapted from Devil’s Food Layer Cake by Elizabeth Pruitt from Tartine

Cake

  • 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

White

  • 12 ounces white chocolate (morsels or baking chocolate)
  • 1/8 teaspoon purple GEL food coloring

Blackberry

  • 2 cups butter, at room temperature
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup blackberries, washed and pureed

Directions

  1. Prepare a piping bag by inserting a medium round tip (#10 Wilton or similar). Place the bag in a cup, wrapping the top of the bag around the outside of the cup. Lay a piece of parchment paper out on the counter.
  2. Split the white chocolate into two bowls – 75% into a stainless steel bowl and 25% into any other bowl.
  3. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot. When the water is lightly boiling, place the stainless steel bowl over the top, add the gel food coloring, and attach the candy thermometer. Ensure the tip of the thermometer is in the chocolate not touching the bowl.
  4. Gently stir the melting chocolate until even and the temperature reads 110°F.  5. Quickly remove the bowl from the pot and add a few morsels of chocolate.  Stir until completely dissolved, read the temperature, and add more chocolate. Continue adding and melting chocolate until the temperature reads 84°F. This is the temperature at which the chocolate will still be shiny and not brittle.
  5. When the chocolate reaches the correct temperature quickly add it to a piping bag and pipe the chocolate into horn shapes, 2 inches tall, on the parchment. Leave them on the parchment to cool and harden or put it in the fridge.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and butter and flour a sheet cake pan (18 x 26 inches with a 1 inch lip)
  7. Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium until soft.
  8. Add the sugar and beat on medium until fluffy and pale in color (about 2 minutes).
  9. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low until each egg is fully incorporated, then bring the speed up to medium for several seconds until homogeneous.
  10. Add all the dry ingredients to a new bowl and whisk until they’re fully mixed.
  11. With the mixer off add the flour mixture in 3 equal batches alternately with the buttermilk in 2 equal batches. You should start and end with flour mixture.
  12. Add all the cake batter to the pan and smooth with a spatula. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Put aside and cool completely.
  13. To make the butter cream first wash and blend or mash with a potato masher or fork all the blackberries.
  14. Add the butter and powdered sugar to a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or, again, a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on low until the butter and powdered sugar have come slightly together.
  15. Add 3/4 of the blackberry puree to the bowl and beat on low until the mixture comes together and there’s no more dry powdered sugar. Beat on medium, check the consistency of the buttercream, and add more blackberries as needed to reach the right consistency. You’ll want the frosting to hug a spoon or spatula and not slip or fall when held upside down (called a medium consistency).  This will ensure the frosting is thick enough to hold your cakes steady.
  16. Once the cakes are completely cooled, cut out each shape with a 3 inch round cutter.
  17. In order to maximize the amount of cakes you get and to realistically frost and present the cakes cut each round in half lengthwise, dividing each round into 2 equal pieces.
  18. Fill a piping bag fit with a large flower tip (or star tip) with frosting, and pipe rosettes around each of the bottom pieces of cake. Do this by piping a fat star about 1/3 inch above the center of the cake then pipe a swirl around the outside of the cake. Do it in one motion to make a true rosette or two separate motions because no one will see it, anyway.
  19. Layer the top portion of the cake onto the frosting-covered bottom and pipe another rosette on the top layer, continuing the swirl all around in ever-decreasing circles to get a nice swirl.
  20. Add your monster horns by gently pressing them into the cupcake swirl and really impress your friends for that Halloween party! These are best eaten the same day or stored in the fridge for a few days

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

When I was a kid my cousins lived within a few blocks from us and nearly every Sunday was spent with them at our house or us at theirs for dinner.  And my very favorite thing my cousin made was homemade teriyaki chicken.  Delicious, incredible teriyaki chicken.  It was so good, and so special to her, that we called it Brenda-yaki chicken in honor of her.  Seriously.  It even says Brenda-yaki Chicken on my recipe card.  And I’m thrilled to share it with you because you’re going to love it, too!  You’ll like it.  So much that maybe you’ll call it *pause for dramatic effect* Teri-yaki chicken…

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl
time and difficulty

So lets start with the rice.  Honestly, this takes the longest, so lets get it going!  It’s just like the way we make rice in the Meat and Rice Bowl.  Simply add rice to the rice cooker, rinse several times, and add water until it covers up to the first joint in your pointer finger over the rice.  Turn it on.  And leave.  I really don’t know what I’d do without a rice cooker.

Next we need to cut the green onions into 1 inch-long strips.  Doesn’t have to be pretty, but it does need to come first.  You see, you could cut the chicken first and then cut the green onions, but you’d have to either dirty another knife and cutting board OR wash this one in between.  Let’s get real, folks, dishes are the worst.  So instead of taking all those extra steps (and in the name of food safety and Salmonella-less summers) we cut the onions and then the chicken!

Third, trim the excess fat off the chicken then slice it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and any length long.  That one’s a personal preference.  Now, let’s get real, I’m using boneless chicken thighs not because I prefer them, but because they’re what the recipe calls for.  You want it to be prime?  Gotta be chicken thighs.  So if you’d like to use chicken breasts, be my guest!  Though, now that I’ve used it, I may never go back – they were absolutely juicy and delicious!  I think I understand now why people sing the praises of thigh meat…

Okay – Focus!  Fourth is make the sauce.  Its pretty easy.  Measure out the sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder into a container.  Stir until combined, taste for garlic adjustments (I like my garlic to be strong!) and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugars.

all the ingredients

And now, once the rice is done and on the “warm” setting, of course, we cook.  Why do we wait until the rice is done?  Because this takes about 6-7 minutes to cook and you don’t want to wait for your rice to finish while your chicken is getting cold.

Remember that wok I told you to buy?  Well it would sure come in handy about now!  Let’s pull it out, shall we?… Oh wait… you didn’t buy it?… Fine.  Be that way.  Well you can easily make this recipe in a pan.  Would it be better in a wok?  Of course, don’t be ridiculous.  But you can do it in a pan just fine.  Just follow all the steps like normal, then sit in a corner and think about what you’ve done.

boiling sauceAdd oil to the pan/wok and half the green onions.  Turn the heat on high, as high as it’ll go (for a wok) or medium high (for a pan) and wait until the onions start popping.  Add the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until they’re no longer pink on the outside.  Add the remainder of the green onions and all of the teriyaki sauce (which, if you kept stirring it, should have all the sugar dissolved).  Stir until everything is coated and allow to boil and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.  Be warned, if you cook this in a pan, you’ll want to do it in a tall pan (maybe even a pot).  The sauce foams like crazy when it boils and it’ll grow to about double it’s height.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the photo.

teriyaki chicken detail

When the sauce is thickened turn off the heat, serve over rice, and enjoy!

Link’s Prime Meat and Rice Bowl recipe:

        • Raw Prime Meat or Raw Bird Thigh
        • Hylian Rice
        • Rock Salt

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chicken Teriyaki with homemade sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 bunch (5-6) green onions
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sushi (Calrose) rice
  • enough water to cover the rice

Directions

  1. Rinse 2 cups of rice several times and then add to a rice cooker. Add water until the level is up to your first knuckle on your pointer finger when your finger is resting on top of the rice.
  2. Start the rice cooker
  3. Cut the green onions into 1 inch-long strips.
  4. Trim the excess fat from the chicken then it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and any length long. I prefer 2 inches long.
  5. Make the sauce by adding the sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a container.  Stir until combined, taste for garlic adjustments and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugars.
  6. When the rice is cooked heat a wok on high or a pan/pot on medium high.
  7. Add oil to the pan/wok and half the green onions.
  8. Add the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until they’re no longer pink on the outside.
  9. Add the remainder of the green onions and all of the teriyaki sauce (which, if you kept stirring it, should have all the sugar dissolved).
  10. Stir until everything is coated and allow to boil and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.  Be warned, if you cook this in a pan, you’ll want to do it in a tall pan or pot as the sauce foams like crazy when it boils and it’ll double it’s height.
  11. When the sauce is thickened turn off the heat, serve over rice, and enjoy!