Tag Archives: butter

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pretzel roll title

If you 're new here you might be wondering why I'm posting our Friday Recipe on Sunday night. The rest of you already know why: because I can't get my act together! Just when I think I'm getting back into my routine I run across a speed-bump (a heinous cold, physical therapy, raccoons) and it throws me off course again. It's tough being me.

One thing I did right was make these Salted Pretzel Rolls from Bake Your Day. I follow Bake Your Day's blog and have tried a few other of her recipes with great success so I thought, "Why not!" I like rolls. I like pretzels. This is a mash-up I can get behind.

First off I want to tell you, these are deeeeeee-licious! I mean, seriously delicious. The outsides with their browned & salted tops are crispy-crunchy but the insides remain fluffy and delightful, especially straight from the oven all hot and steaming... with a pat of butter....

pretzel butter

Second, this recipe is so much easier than you might imagine. For the "mixing" part, the electric mixer does all the work. Then there is a 2-step cooking process which sounds intimidating but trust me it's easy and kinda fun. You feel a little bit like a scientist and afterward you will feel smarter. Rolls that are scrumptious as well as raise your IQ!

pretzel bites

Thirdly, there is a 2nd option in this recipe to make them into pretzel bites instead of rolls. I put aside a couple handfuls of dough to try the pretzel bites. After you make the "bites", simply toss a smashed clove of garlic and some butter into a pan, warm over medium until it is melted. Throw out the garlic clove and toss in some chopped parsley. Drizzle over the pretzel bites and eat while still warm.

I made these pretzel rolls/bites one Saturday when I was by myself at home and they were so good I threw them in a cloth napkin and drove down the road to my brother's house to share with him and his family. As it turned out, he was having a shooting party so we passed the pretzel bites around till they were gone; it took about 47 seconds. Later my brother called to tell me how insanely delicious they were. They are that good.

So jump on over to Bake Your Day and give it a try! You will either love me because they are so tasty or hate me because you just can't stop eating them.

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I've been getting back into the kitchen a little more, but I'm having a hard time taking photos at the same time. I know I prefer to read a recipe post with photos, I'm betting you do too. So if anyone would like to volunteer to follow me around day after day and take pictures of my hands, measuring spoons and cutting board I am accepting applications. The stipend pays in pretzel bites. No takers?

pretzel long

cracker jack title

Here it is, as promised!  I'm really excited to share this Friday Recipe with you for a few reasons:

  1. It's a Carey-original recipe.
  2. Actually, that first statement is only partly true.  It's really my mom's recipe, which is another reason why I'm thrilled to share it with you. I just added a tiny twist to make it mine.
  3. This is a super-simple recipe and if you  have young cooks in the kitchen this would be a perfect recipe to start them out on.  I learned this recipe when I was in Jr. High and my mom was my home economics teacher.  I wasn't allowed to call her "mom" in class.  That's a whole other weird story.
  4. The ingredient list is short and cheap.
  5. To put it plainly, it's good.  Really good.

cracker jack handwritten recipe

I have very few memories of my mother cooking with pre-packaged, processed foods.  She preferred to make things from scratch, and she could.  She was a brilliant cook.  Ironically, although she was very health conscious (very!), she was fine with sweet treats that were homemade in our kitchen and we made this recipe for Homemade Cracker Jack often.

It's easy enough to whip up on a weeknight after dinner and still maintain a feeling of health because the ingredients are very natural.  You can easily increase or decrease the size of your batch, making it a perfect party snack.

Are you ready?  Let's get started!  The full recipe will be at the end of this post, but I'll walk you through the finer points:

cracker jack pour

This recipe starts out simple enough... pop some popcorn.   You can use air popped corn, microwave popcorn (natural, not flavored) or you can do the stovetop method, which is my personal favorite.  You are going to need about 2 quarts of popcorn.  Don't know how much that is?  It is roughly 1/2 cup unpopped kernels but you can also use a 2 qt sauce pan to measure your corn after it is popped. This recipe is casual, easy-going, forgiving.  Don't get too hung up on getting exactly 2 quarts of popped corn, just estimate.  All will be well, I promise.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat combine the honey, butter and my addition, molasses.  The molasses is optional, my mom didn't use it.  But I think it adds one more delectable layer of flavor.

After those ingredients are melted and combined add the peanuts.  Some of you observant ones are looking at the above photo and thinking, "Those don't look like peanuts!"  You caught me!  It turns out, I was all out of peanuts so I grabbed some almond slivers.  This proves my point that this recipe is so easy, so forgiving.  You can swap the peanuts for your favorite nut or better yet, use a combination of nuts.  You could even leave the nuts out or use pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds instead.

Pour the melted honey-butter mixture over the popcorn and then using your hands or two spoons lightly toss the popcorn so the syrup and nuts are evenly distributed.

cracker jack tray

Slide the gooey popcorn onto a shallow baking sheet.  I line mine with parchment so the cleanup is a snap. Spread the  popcorn across the pan in a single, even layer.  You observant ones have caught me again, "That doesn't look like a single layer!"  Do as I say, not as I do!    My pan was a little too small.  But you can get around that non-problem by either giving the popcorn a little stir halfway through OR bake it in 2 batches.

Into a preheated 350 degree oven it goes for 10-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  It will be very sad if it burns because there is no salvaging burnt cracker jack.  It will turn golden brown as it bakes, pull it out before it starts turning dark brown.

This part is important: when you take it out of the oven you must let it cool!  You will be greatly tempted to start snacking on your cracker jack as soon as it comes out of the oven.  It will smell nutty and sweet, glistening from the butter and honey.  Resist!  You will blister your fingers and taste buds, I speak from experience.  Also, the popcorn might appear to be a little soggy when it first comes out of the oven.  Be patient dear friend, you will be rewarded.

cracker jack finished

After about 15 minutes of relaxing on the counter the popcorn will be nearly dry and cool enough to touch.  Slide your cracker jack into a big bowl, give it a little toss to break up any big clumps and enjoy!

It's crunchy and sweet.  It's salty and nutty.  It's addicting.  I really hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

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Homemade Cracker Jack

by accordingtocarey.com

1/4 cup salted butter (1/2 stick)

1/4 cup honey

1 Tablespoon molasses (optional)

2 quarts popped corn, in a large bowl

3/4 cup peanuts (can substitute other nuts, seeds or leave out completely)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter, honey and molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Mix in the nuts.  Pour mixture evenly over the popcorn and toss lightly to coat the popcorn evenly with the butter mixture.  Spread the sticky popcorn onto a shallow baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake the popcorn for  10-15 minutes, giving it a stir halfway through.  Remove the popcorn from the oven when it has turned golden brown.  Let it cool on the counter or stove top for 15 minutes before transferring to a large bowl.  Gently toss to break up any clumps and enjoy!

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blood orange, food, citrus
A ripe blood orange from Uncle Farmer's Market.

 

..

I've told you about my uncle, right?  The one I call Uncle Farmer's Market?  Last night I stopped by my uncle's house to say "howdy" and left with a big bag of Blood Oranges.  He had about 15 bags of Blood Oranges that he is getting ready to sell but being his niece and all, I get the family discount: free.

I am a huge fan of all citrus but the oranges I grew up on, the ones my grandpa grew, are considered "eating" oranges, not "juicing" oranges.  This means that they lean a little more towards the tart side rather than sweet.

This is why I love Blood Oranges! They are a delectable combination of fruity and tart, not syrupy sweet, but what really sets them apart from standard naval oranges is their gorgeous ruby color.  On the outside they look just like a regular orange but the inside, oh the inside!  Such a beautiful shade of pinkish-red.

Since I have about 15 pounds of oranges to use up, I did a quick internet search for some new ideas to use up blood oranges.  Aside from peel-n-eat or adding the juice to cocktails, my blood orange repertoire is pretty light.  Thanks to Google I came across a recipe that I think is worth sharing.  The recipe comes from Martha Stewart and is called "Striped Sea Bass with Blood Oranges and Olives".  Just think about that for a second: firm, succulent sea bass paired with tart blood oranges and briny olives. Is your mouth watering yet?

It couldn't be simpler: after cooking the fish in a skillet on the stove, add a pat of butter and saute shallots.  Add the blood orange juice, reduce, then add some more butter.  Because butter is goooooood. Toss in the blood orange segments and olives.  And that's it!  Pour the sauce over the fish and if you like, you can serve it with a little polenta or jasmine rice or simple salad.

You gotta try it!

Get the whole recipe here, from marthastewart.com.  

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In other news, I am still dreaming of warm weather. Sunshine, please come back!!  Hot or cold, I hope you enjoy your weekend.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

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20120914-092814.jpg

Corn.  Butter.  Herbs. Spices.  Could a recipe be any more simple than that?  Ok, there is a touch more to the process but not much.

Last weekend I was preparing some plump, fresh corn on the cob (just boil the water & when you smell corn it's ready) when I started craving... something spicy.  I do have a special place in my heart for chile spiked corn.  But as most of you know, I have an even bigger space in my heart for butter.  So I did what anyone would do, I combined the two.  Double the love!  Oh, and I had a tiny bit of cilantro leftover from salsa-making so I added that to the mix too.  Triple the love!

More specifically, I let 1 cube of butter come to room temperature inside my mini food processor.  I sprinkled in a scant pinch of smoked Serrano powder (this stuff is seriously hot but definitely addictive), a tiny pinch of salt (because the butter was already salted), a couple grinds from the pepper mill and about 1/4 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves.  After a couple pulses on the food processor I had this:

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I slathered my herbed & spiced compound butter onto the hot corn and as my brother would say, "Boy howdy!".  I didn't even bother to tell everyone else what was on the corn.   I let them blindly chomp into the buttery goodness and then I basked in the chorus of "Mmmmms!"  and "Yuuuuummmms!"

I usually lean towards the Mexican side of flavors but the possibilities with compound butters are virtually endless.  Someday I might try these variations:

  • Fresh basil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan & garlic powder
  • Fresh parsley, saute'd onions & garlic and the zest of half a lemon
  • Fresh dill, a teensy sprinkle of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning and a little squirt of lemon juice
  • I have to stop... my mouth is watering!

And you don't have to limit your use of compound butter to corn.  Compound butters are great on steaks, french bread, sandwiches, chicken, popcorn... anywhere you would normally spread a little buttery-love.  If you have extra you can roll it up in waxed paper and save it for a later day.  It can store in the fridge for about 1 week or the freezer for a couple months.  About 5 minutes of effort for a BIG flavor payoff.  Make some today, you wont regret it!

I'm hoping to catch up on some art projects this weekend. I'm taking the Brave Girl Art School course from Melody Ross.  So far it is so much fun and I know it will just get better and better.  I  hope you are doing something fun this weekend, see you back here next week!