Cooking 101

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Spiced Sweet Potato Meringue Pie

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 56 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

2 pounds sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Ginger Snap Crust, recipe follows
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until very soft, about 1 hour. When potatoes are cool enough to handle halve and scoop out enough flesh to measure 2 cups, reserving remainder for another use and discarding skin. While potatoes are still hot, add butter and mash until almost smooth; small lumps of potato should remain. Whisk together eggs, sugar, allspice, ginger, and salt. Stir in evaporated milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Gradually add egg mixture to sweet potatoes, whisking gently to combine. Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake until the filling is set around edges but still jiggles slightly when shaken, about 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, about 30 minutes.

To make the meringue topping, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add the sugar while beating constantly. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat the meringue.

Preheat the broiler.

While the pie is still warm spread the meringue evenly over the filling, smoothing out to the pastry edges to seal. Place under the broiler and cook until the meringue is golden brown, about 1 minute.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour. Serve.

Ginger Snap Crust:
1 3/4 cups crushed ginger snap crumbs
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 large egg white

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine the ginger snap crumbs, butter, and brown sugar and blend well. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Place another 9-inch pie pan on top of the crust and press firmly to smooth and pack the crust. (Some of the crust may spill over the edges of the pan.)

Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Brush the crust with the egg white. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for one hour before using, or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

Yield: 1 (9-inch) crust


Cranberry-Pecan Bread

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf

1/2 cup orange flavored liqueur
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, halved
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (or defrosted if frozen)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, combine the orange liqueur, sugar, water, cloves, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cranberries. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the berries burst, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the berries cool in the liquid. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and discard.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

In a mixer bowl, using the mixer on high speed (or using a hand mixer), cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and orange juice. Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture to the creamed butter, beating after the addition of each. Fold in the reserved cranberry mixture, pecans, orange zest and vanilla. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be made ahead. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature 1 day or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)



Rhoda's Candied Sweet Potatoes - Kicked Up!

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

8 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8ths
3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bourbon
1 stick butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large heavy pot, combine the potatoes, sugar, water, orange juice, vanilla beans, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the potatoes out of the sauce and place in a casserole dish. Return the sauce to the pan.

Add the bourbon to the sauce and continue to cook until syrup is thickened, about another 15 minutes. Pour the syrup over the potatoes and place in the oven. Bake until the potatoes are browned, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring gently to incorporate. Serve immediately.



Citrus-Cranberry Sauce

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3 cups

2 large navel oranges
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, picked over
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Remove the peel and pith from oranges with a pairing knife, cut each section into quarters.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine oranges, cranberries, sugar, water, and ground ginger. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon and lime juice. Cover sauce and chill before serving. Can be made up to 3 days prior to serving.


Good Eats Roast Turkey

Recipe Summary
Yield: 10 to 12 servings

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pumpkin Pie
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 15 min
Inactive prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 50 min
Yeild: 6-8 servings

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yokes, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
1 piece pre-made pie dough
Whipped cream, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.




Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Prep: 1 hour
Bake: 8 minutes

  • 1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup mild-flavored molasses
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • Raisins, snipped dried apricots, and sunflower nuts

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter or margarine with electric mixer on medium speed until softened (about 30 seconds). Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy.

2. Add the egg, molasses, finely shredded orange peel, and orange juice. Beat the mixture well.

3. In another bowl stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Stir into the butter mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator about 2 hours or until firm enough to roll out.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Divide dough in half. Chill 1 half. On a lightly floured surface roll out other half so it's 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookies cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool 1 minute. With pancake turner lift onto cooling rack.

5. For icing, mix softened cream cheese and honey until of piping consistency. Pipe icing onto cooled cookies. Decorate with raisins, apricots, and sunflower nuts. Store in refrigerator. Makes 24 cookies.

For some great ideas on what to do with this recipe visit:





Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sweet Potato Pie
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
See this recipe on air Wednesday Nov. 01 at 11:00 PM ET/PT.

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie
User Rating:4 Stars

1 pound 3 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
3/4 cup packed, dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
5 egg yolks
1 (9-inch) deep dish, frozen pie shell
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Special equipment: steamer basket

Put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer basket into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of basket. Allow to steam for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Mash with potato masher and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment. Add yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, yolks, and salt, to taste, and beat until well combined. Pour this batter into the pie shell and place onto a sheet pan. Sprinkle pecans on top and drizzle with maple syrup.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the custard reaches 165 to 180 degrees. Remove from oven and cool. Keep refrigerated after cooling.



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thanksgiving Leftovers
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and there will be more food than anyone could ever imagine eating in one day no matter how many people are eating dinner at your house this year. So what do you do with all the leftovers that you have after everyone is gone and the holiday is over? There are the obvious things like take to work in the form of a sandwich for the next 3 weeks and take the rest in containers but that gets old fast. Why not try something different this year? Here are a few things you can do to make the Thanksgiving leftovers a little more intersting this year.

Turkey Casserole

2 cups turkey breast cut into bitesized pieces
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons grated onion
1- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup chow mein noodles

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 2 quart casserole combine turkey, celery, mayonnaise, onion and lemon juice. Top with almonds, cheese and noodles. Bake about 30 min.


Turkey and Stuffing Soup

4-6 cups prepared stuffing
1 tablespoon (1 turn around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped, up to 2 cups leftover baby carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf fresh or dried
2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 lbs. cooked light and dark turkey meat, diced
A handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped
1 cup frozen peas or leftover prepared peas, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F and transfer stuffing into a small baking dish. Place dish in oven and reheat 12-15 min until warmed through.

Heat pot over moderate heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. Work close to the stove and add vegetables as you chop. If you are using fresh carrots, cut them into a small dice or slice thin. If you are using leftover baby carrots cut into small bite-size pieces. Add celery and onion and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaf and stock and bring liquid to a boil by raising heat. Add turkey and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until any raw vegetables are cooked until tender, about 10 min. Stir in parsley and peas if using.

Remove stuffing from oven. Using ice cream scoop, place healthy scoop of stuffing in the center of a soup bowl. Laddle soup around stuffing ball. Your soup will look like a chunky matzo ball soup. Pull spoonful of stuffing away as you eat through your bowl of soup.

Yeild: 2 quarts, 4-6 servings


Turkey Stuffing Bundles

1 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets (2 sheets)
1 12oz jar turkey gravy or 1 1/2 cups leftover gravy
2 cups coursely chopped turkey or chicken
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (peas, corn, green beans or carrots)
2 cups prepared Prepperidge Farm stuffing, any variety
1/2 cup cranberry sauce

Thaw pastry sheets at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix 1/2 cup gravy with turkey and vegetables.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll each sheet to 14-inch square and cut each sheet into 4 7-inch squares. Place 1/4 cup stuffing in center of each square.

Top with 1/3 cup turkey mixture and 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce. Brush edges of squares with water. Fold corners to center on top of filling and pinch edges to seal. Flute edges if desired. Place on baking sheet.

Bake 25 min or until golden. Heat remaining gravy. Serve with bundles.

Serves 8


Cooking with Your Kids
It is always a great idea to involve kids when you cook. Not only does it make thing interesting for you it helps your kids to explore new things. While safety should always come first next you are cooking or baking ask your kids if they would like to help. Nine times out of ten they'll probably say yes and besides it is a good way to have family time with them. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to cook with the kids.

French Toast

Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 24 min
Yeilds: 4 servings

1 cup half-and half
3 eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in the microwave for 20 seconds
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 (1/2 inch) slices of day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
4 tablespoons butter

In a mediun size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and half, honey, eggs and salt. You may do this the night before. Whe ready to cook pour custard mixture into pie pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting on a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, melt one tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes on per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

Tropical Breakfast Parfait

Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 5 min
Yeild: 4 servings

2 cups vanilla yogurt (low-fat or non-fat is fine)
1 small can mandarin oranges drained
3/4 cup crisped rice breakfast cereal
1 cup diced fresh pineapple

Put 2 tablesppons of yogurt in the bottom of each of 4 juice glasses. Top with 4 orange slices. Sprinkle oranges with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cereal, followed by 2 more tablespoons of yogurt. Top with diced pineapple then with another 1 1/2 tablespoons of cereal.

So give these a try and see if you like them. If you would like more recipes go to and go to Cooking for kids. You'll find lots of fun things to make with your kids.


Holiday Treats

Here are a few holidays treats you may or may not have tried.

Sugar Plum Pops
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee
Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 5 lollipops
User Rating:3 Stars

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
1 package premium white morsels, melted
1 cup melted caramel
1 small prepared cheesecake
5 lollipop sticks
Place nuts in a shallow bowl or dish. Melt chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on 50% power, and then whisk until smooth. Melt caramel in a separate bowl in the microwave on 50 percent power, and whisk until smooth.

With a mellon baller, scoop cheesecake into a balls. Insert lollipop sticks into cheesecake ball. Dip ball in either white chocolate or in caramel, and then roll in nuts to fully coat.

Episode#: SH1A09
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

Candy Cane Cookies
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee
Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Yield: 25 cookies
User Rating:4 Stars

1 box sugar cookie mix
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for surface
Red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine sugar cookie mix, melted butter, egg, cream cheese, and flour; mix together to form dough. Separate dough into 2 equal portions and place in 2 different bowls. Add red food coloring gradually to 1 bowl of dough, kneading together until desired shade of red is created. To second bowl of uncolored dough, add peppermint extract and knead together. On a floured work surface, shape each dough into balls and then roll each ball into 1/4-inch-wide ropes, each about 6 inches long. For each cookie, carefully twist some of the red and white ropes of dough together and shape into a candy cane. Spread candy canes out on cookie sheets and bake on the top shelf of the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool before serving.

Episode#: SH1C12
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

Santa's Sleigh Cocktail
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee
Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
User Rating:3 Stars

White sugar crystals, preferably coarse
2 cups store-bought eggnog, chilled
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 cinnamon sticks
Dampen the rims of 4 martini glasses and then line the rims with sugar crystals.

Combine eggnog, brandy, amaretto, nutmeg, and ice cream in a blender; process until smooth. Pour mixture into martini glasses and garnish each glass with a whole cinnamon stick.

Episode#: SH1C12
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

These are just a few things you might want to try this holiday season.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Cooking is a wonderful thing...

Cooking can be many things to different people. One person may find cooking a pain. Another may consider cooking a relaxing thing. Each person is different. If you are the type of person who loves to cook whether for friends and family or dreams of one day owning your own restaurant this is the place to post fun recipes and great ideas for cooking. So feel free to add things to the site and make comments about a recipe you see that you like. All comments are welcome. Thanks for joining us.