Own Your Beauty

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scarlett's Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

When I got to be about 11 years old I found a new fascination/obsession in life. "Gone with the Wind". I read it, I watched it, I had a movie poster, I did book reports, I was all things GWTW. I wanted to be Scarlett O' Hara, and oh baby did I want to marry a Rhett Butler. I ended up being more of a Melanie than a Scarlett, but I did marry me a Rhett Butler.

Every year at Thanksgiving I watch "Gone with the Wind", I always have a bourbon and ginger with my daddy, and my absolute favorite is Georgia Pecan Pie. I could not think of a better way to bring all of them together than to perfect this Bourbon Pecan Pie... and to make it extra sweet for my honey, I had to add a little chocolate. I mean hey, when it's that darn decadent, why not go ahead and shoot it over the top.

I hope you enjoy it, as much as I have enjoyed working on it, and stay tuned because "After all, tomorrow is another day".

1 (9 inch) pie shell
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light vanilla corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup bourbon – please don’t be cheap… if you wouldn’t drink it don’t put it in your pie!I recommend ... Makers Mark.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees F). In a small saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter or margarine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter or margarine melts and sugar dissolves. Cool slightly. In a large bowl combine eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Slowly pour sugar mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until set and golden. Let the pie rest for about 30 minutes to an hour before slicing.

Recommended Accompaniments: I would say that the only thing that would do this justice is a piping hot cup of coffee, light on the sugar, heavy on the cream, and a little splash of the bourbon would not be unheard of. Sip it, and just sit back and enjoy the pure indulgence of it all for a few minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gobble Gobble Gobble

I picked up something today.... it's about 17 pounds, it just got into town yesterday, and it is going to be "yummmmmmy. It's my very first thanksgiving turkey to make!! My momma has to work this year, so after doing thanksgiving for 37 years, I am taking the torch this year.

I decided that since I have really tried to clean up our eating and be aware of where my food was coming from, I really wanted to get the best turkey possible. In comes Susie from Farm to Family in Mechanicsville, VA. Farm to Family is a totally amazing store that also has a bus that travels into the inner city to areas that may not have fresh produce readily available. The store carries a variety of organic produce (varies based on the season), dairy products, fresh pastas, and much more. Two weeks ago I ordered a turkey and when I went to pick "Herman" up today, I was not only able to pick him out, but also able to choose between fresh or frozen. Herman is now chilling out in my mother-in-laws fridge til Wednesday morning. At that point, Herman and I are going to begin what I'd like to consider a spa day for him. He's going to get a sea salt rub down, afterwhich he will receive a little dry skin brushing and then he's going to take a nice long soak in a brine. I've included a basic brine recipe for those of you who may not be familiar with brining.

•7 quarts (28 cups) water
•1 1/2 cups coarse salt and 1/2 cup of sugar
•4 bay leaves
•3 tablespoons pickling spice
•2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
•1 tablespoon fennel seeds
•1 teaspoon cinnamon
•1 fresh whole turkey (18 to 20 pounds), patted dry,with the innards removed
•1 bottle dry Riesling
•2 medium onions, thinly sliced
•6 garlic cloves, crushed
•1 bunch fresh thyme

He's going to soak in the 18 qt. roasting pan that I have overnight. Thursday morning I'll just dump the brine liquid out, cut some slits in his skin and stuff them with slivers of butter and garlic cloves. After that he will cook pretty much all day or until he gets about 180 degrees internally.

I hope you will stay tuned this week!! I'm going to include some more recipes for a healthy, traditional thanksgiving. I might even include one or two that aren't so healthy.. (Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie anyone?)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cherokee Fiddles and Stew

When I was a little girl, I loved the song Cherokee Fiddle. Don't really know why, just something about it always drew me in. Even now as an adult, it's still one of my favorite songs.

In an effort to find some new things for dinner, I began trolling the internet, searching high and low for something. I knew that I wanted chicken, and I knew that I wanted sweet potatoes. I've had that Fall feeling lately, so I also knew that I wanted something warming to the soul. After some careful redoing and a few tests, I came up with a finished project. So as an ode to one of my favorite songs and one of my favorite men (my gorgeous husband) I dub thee..... "Cherokee Stew"

Cherokee Stew
Chicken breast
2 cups of water
2 Bay Leaves
4 sweet Potatoes- rough chopped
1 large Vidalia Onion- rough chopped
16 ounce can of plum Tomatoes-drained
1 tsp. of Hot Paprika
1/8 of tsp of white pepper
¼ tsp of Nutmeg
¼ tsp of Cloves
¼ tsp of Allspice
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp of honey
¼ tsp of Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil the chicken breast with the bay leaves until done. Remove the bay leave and skim the broth. Cube the chicken and add it, along with the remaining ingredients to a 5 qt. crock pot with the exception of the honey and red wine vinegar. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. During the last 15 minutes add in the honey and vinegar.

Recommended Accompaniments
This is a very rustic stew, best served with a simple green salad & warmed wheat flat bread that has been rubbed lightly with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt, garlic, and cracked pepper. Any dark beer would go well with this as would a Cabernet. A recommended dessert would be a pear tart with vanilla bean ice cream.

Yummy Sides and Afterthoughts...

Whewwww... it has been a crazy week, and only more hecticness to come. I promised the recipes for the sides to the High on the Harvest Hog, so here ya go!

Honey Glazed Carrots
2 C of scrubbed and diced carrots
1/4 C of Raw Honey
1/4 tsp of Tarragon
Salt and Pepper to Taste

*** Cover the carrots in water and simmer until the carrots are soft and the water has almost disolved. Add in the honey and Tarragon and stir lightly until the honey has reduced down to a glaze. Add salt and pepper to your liking and serve. You could easily use Rosemary if you dont like Tarragon.

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs de Provence
2 C Quartered Red Potatoes
1 tbsp. of EVOO
1 tbsp of Herbs de Provence
Salt and Pepper to Taste

*** Spred the potatoes on a cookie sheet Rub lightly with the EVOO and sprinkle Herbs de Provence. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Salt and Pepper to taste. A great way to serve these is with a dollop of greek yogurt with a little fresh dill mixed in.

As for the Country Grain bread... one word... Kroger. Get there.. Ya'll didn't seriously think I was that good.. did you?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Agnes's Apple Crisp

When I did my post yesterday, I never dreamed I would get so many request for the accompanying suggested recipes..... I guess I just assumed they were so basic, that everyone knew how to make them because it was something I had been making since I was a kid. I honestly had to make it and pay attention to the measurements rather than just a pinch of this and a dash of that.

You have read my stories of my sassy granny Agnes Louise. This recipe reminds me so much of her, and it is always near the holidays when I miss her the most. I'm sure that right about this week, she, my great aunt, my Memaw, and my great uncle would start the long and tedious ritual of making black walnut apple cakes. My uncle was thrown into the mix, because he was the only one that could stir the mix once all the ingrediants were put in.

I deemed this Apple Crisp in name of her, because it was thru her that I found my love of cooking. Enjoy!
6 apples- (preferably Golden Delicious, but any kind will do)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp of cloves
¼ tsp of nutmeg
5 teaspoons butter
½ tsp of vanilla
¼ tsp dark Rum
Crumble: 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
Peel and slice apples into greased baking dish. Combine sugar and cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and sprinkle over apples. Mix vanilla, 2 tsp. butter and dark rum together and drizzle over apples. Blend the remaining three tsp of butter into brown sugar. Mix and add flour and rolled oats. Spoon mixture over apples. Bake at 350. for 15 mins. Uncover and bake until crust is golden and apples are tender (approx. 35 minutes.)
Copyright: Jenifer Helton 11.07.10

Saturday, November 6, 2010

High on the Harvest Hog

I love fall! I love the colors, and the warmth and the rich yummy recipes. I've included one today that I wrote last fall. I hope you enjoy it! I've included a few side items, a dessert, and even some wine and beer suggestions. Let me know how you like it.
5 lb boneless Pork Loin
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
½ tbsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. cayenne
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 pieces of kitchen twine to secure the loin

Stuffing Ingredients
6 dried black mission figs
1 very ripe pear
2 tsp. grainy Dijon county mustard
1 tsp. dark rum
1 tbsp. molasses
½ cup good dry red wine
1 box pork stuffing
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. melted salted butter

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Wash and pat dry the pork loin. Slice the loin almost in half length wise to open it up. Trim the excess fat and pound meat to about 1 inch thick. Rub the meat with oil all over and set aside. In a small bowl mix together the dry seasoning and whisk with a fork. Apply this dry rub all over the meat and refrigerate for 15 minuets.

In a small bowl rough chop the figs and the pear, adding in the mustard, rum, molasses and wine. Salt and Pepper may be added to taste at this point. Let this seat for 10 minuets. Bring 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth to a boil adding in the butter. Once this reaches a rolling boil add in the dry stuffing mix and the fig mixture. Fluff with a fork. The mixture may seem a little wet, but it will firm up in the oven.

Remove the pork loin from the refrigerator and fill with the stuffing mixture. Lightly jelly roll the loin and secure with kitchen twine. Roast at 500 degrees for 20 min and then reduce heat to 350 degrees until the juices run clear and the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees. (About any additional 45 minutes.)

Recommended Accompaniments
Honey Glazed Carrots
Roasted Potatoes with Herbs de Provence Seasonings
County Grain bread

Recommended Dessert
Apple Crumble

Recommended Wine
Leinenkugel German Style Marzen beer
Mirasou Pinot Noir
*This is a very hearty flavor packed meat. You will want to have fairly simple side dishes.*

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Change of Tune

So, after another little extended leave of abscense, I'm back. They say a little near death experience is sometimes all it takes to put things into perspective. Well, in July, I had mine, and I've spent the last few months trying to roll things into some sort of order. While it's nowhere near perfect, there is some order.

When I orginally started this blog, I titled it Sweet Sunday Dinners. I stand by my title, but I'm heading towards a new direction. The focus now is to feed my family in a manner that is as clean and healthy as possible, while maintaining a workable budget. It's about finding a balance between juggeling all of the hats I wear... wife, mother, daughter, friend,aspiring business woman and most importantly a God loving Christian woman. I invite you to come along with me on my journey. Maybe we can all learn something new, help each other out, and at the end of the day be a better person for it.

The first post which will be later this week will bring my whole experience to light. While it's not really a deathly experience, I can assure you, I have never been sicker, and it totally changed everything, from the second I walked out of the hospital on July 20, 2010.