Friday, November 27, 2015

Du Hast Thanksgiving 2015

Here are the highlights from 
our Thanksgiving 2015!

NOTE: That big "Thing" covered in a brown tarp in the video, is my huge new SMOKER I bought off of Craiglist for $25!  More to come about that for the next big party soon.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Easy Fresh Tomato, Basil, Onion, Parmesan Focaccia Bread

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!  I made this last night and it came out amazing, so I thought I would share it with you.  

Great with dinner, breakfast, and you can even make turkey sandwiches with this for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.  It will heal you.  : )

2 teaspoons sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 ½ cups bread flour
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves whole
Fresh Rosemary, Parsley minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small red onion sliced thinly
Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated


In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Sprinkle entire surface with olive oil.  Push holes in the dough to make room for the tomatoes.  Wrap each tomato in a fresh Basel leaf and insert them into the dough. In a food processor or blender, add the rosemary, parsley, garlic cloves and olive oil. Blend into a minced paste consistency. Spoon over the top of the dough. Add the thinly sliced onions and finish with Parmesan Reggiano cheese and kosher salt.  Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 30 minutes. This will come out soft on the inside and crispy o the outside. It’s AMAZING!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Very Best Turkey Brine Recipe

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Soaking a turkey overnight in a solution of salt and water ensures moist results. When you add aromatics to the brine, the resulting roast is also infused with a subtle character all its own. This recipe adds great moisture to your turkey whether you are smoking, roasting, frying or BBQing it.  THIS IS A GOOD ONE!

1 gallon water
1 medium size bag of ice
2 cups Kosher salt
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 bottle dry Chardonnay wine
2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorn
½ cup brown sugar
6 bay leaves
½ cup Star Anise
1 teaspoon brown mustard
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh Rosemary
2 sliced oranges
2 sliced Meyer lemons
1 fresh whole turkey (18 to 20 pounds)


In a large bucket or container large enough to hold your turkey (I use an Extreme Cooler), mix together all the ingredients in a large pot and let it come to a boil. Let it cool down enough to pour it safely into the brining container.  Add the ice and then submerge the turkey and let it soak for 2 days before cooking it. 

When it’s time to cook the bird, make sure to rinse off your turkey thoroughly to remove any excess salt from the exterior of the turkey.  This recipe will give you a moist, flavorful aromatic turkey EVERY TIME.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marie Antoinette’s Head Strong Easy Cake Recipes

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At my last Glamping adventure, I was a clue stop in “Toby’s Treasure Hunt”.  A group of marauding pirates of all ages have an entire private campground to them and are led by a fierce Pirate Captain along a uniquely designed treasure hunt, with skits and clues to figure out at each stop along the way.

I was Marie Antoinette at one of the big foodie stops.  Marie said, “LET THEM EAT CAKE”, as they arrived.  Standing very nearby was the Executioner with an axe.  When the crowd yelled, “Off with her head,” Marie would say, “NO HEAD, NO CLUE.” If they didn’t hear the clue, no pirate would get the treasure for guessing the answer.
I wore this Bitchin' Tranny Wig - That I Love!

I had a beautiful table fit for a queen, 17th Century French Music soundtrack playing, a punch bowl of white champagne punch and small sample sizes of the following cakes:

1)   Dark Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake w/ Nutella Buttercream Frosting
2)   Golden Rum Cake
3)   Lemon No Bake Cheesecake w/Blueberries
4)   Red Velvet Cake w/Cherries & Cream Cheese Frosting

Samples of beautiful cake, perfect for everyone to try a little of EVERYTHING.

I made the cakes ahead of time and kept them very cold and then sliced them up at camp.  I used box cake mixes and have found some amazing ways to fluff up a standard box cake mix to make it GREAT!

Any standard box of cake mix
3 eggs – (add an extra egg – that is 4 eggs total)
1-box of instant pudding (any flavor that goes with the cake flavor)
1/3 cup oil (substitute melted butter instead)
1 cup water (substitutes: coffee, rum, tequila, milk, or juice instead)

Combine all of the ingredients and bake as box instructions say.  One thing that I like to do before I frost the cake is sprinkle a little Orange Liqueur or Rum over the sponge cake.  It gives it a grown up appeal. 

I still make Butter cream frosting's from scratch, just not the sponge cake part.  WAY EASIER. 


I'm getting mileage out of the costume...
Marie will be making an encore 
this Halloween Weekend 
at a party near you! 

She let them eat lots of Rum Cake!

And she almost lost her head...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cheesy Mushroom Meatloaf Stromboli

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Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various cheeses, typically mozzarella, Italian meats such as salami, capicola and bresaola or vegetables. The dough traditionally used is Italian bread dough.

I took a nice American comfort food and combined it with this Italian classic.  Here is something great to do with leftover meatloaf or chicken. 
The fresh made crust really makes the difference.  

Try my Stupid Easy Epic Pizza Dough Recipe and cut it up into smaller sizes and freeze the dough.  It makes it super easy to have outstandingly fresh made pizza dough - ESPECIALLY FOR THIS RECIPE.

Crunchy outside, soft bread inside, cheesy gooey goodness!

2 Tablespoons olive oil
Leftover meatloaf for filling
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Basil
1 cup sliced sauteed mushrooms
Salt and pepper
A dash of cayenne pepper
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ shredded Parmesan cheese

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION: O Mio Babbino Caro - Giacomo Puccini

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Hand stretch your pizza dough with a little flour on the counter to keep it from sticking. Roll out to an 8 by 12 rectangle on a lightly greased baking stone or cookie sheet.

Break up the meatloaf into small crumbles.  Mix in about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and several shakes of your Worcestershire sauce.

Spread the meat evenly across the crust like you would a pizza, add the sautéed sliced mushrooms, Basil and top with cheese. Starting from one end, roll up the crust like you would a jelly roll.  Pinch the edges to seal tight and place seam down on your lightly greased pan.

To ensure your dough is cooked all the way through, cover it with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 5 to 15 minutes until a deep golden brown. Serve with a nice green salad and ENJOY!

This is a fabulous easy dinner recipe to feed a crowd!