Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Randomness Part 2: Recipes

*Edited*  I apologize for the weird font sizes and spacing issues.  I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to fix it and make it all the same and just when I thought it worked, I realized that it looked totally different when it published.  I don't know what the deal is.  Also, does anyone else that uses blogger know what is up with pictures lately?  It's been really difficult to get them arranged on the page for some reason.

Now for some more randomness...

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and to those of you who aren't Catholic (which I'm not) or from Louisiana (which I am), a day called Fat Tuesday probably sounds pretty weird.  Mardi Gras in French means "Fat Tuesday" and it is the day before Ash Wednesday.  I'll not go into all of that, but if you are interested just click the links.  

I spent all last week in Louisiana, and the tail end of the week was spent in New Orleans at the Mardi Gras festivities.  I'll have actual pictures from that soon (well, as soon as Mom and CeCe send them to me).  Since pretty much no one here knows or cares about Mardi Gras (to me it's a cultural thing) I wanted to do something fun to acknowledge "Fat Tuesday." I
 made Natchitoches Meat Pies and King Cake.  Zach, Sarah, and Micah came over and we hung out and watched Micah entertain himself with a hand full of beads for a couple of hours. :)  Both the Meat Pies and the King Cake turned out great, so I thought I'd share the recipes that I used.  


Natchitoches Meat Pies

INGREDIENTS:
½ pound ground me
at
½ pound ground pork
½ cup cooking oil
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped green bell
 pepper
¼ cup chopped red bell
 pepper*
1 tbsp diced garlic
2 cups beef stock (see recipe)
2 9-inch pie shells
1 egg
½ cup water
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat. 

Sauté beef and pork until golden brown, stirring constantly, until all liquid has evaporated.

Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. 

Sauté three to five minutes or until vegetables are wilted. 

This should cook slowly for about one hour, adding beef stock to mixture to prevent sticking. 

Season to taste using salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Roll pie dough into circles and cut into halves. 

Spoon a generous portion of the cooked meat mixture into the pie shells. 

Brush a little egg-wash around the edge of the shell, fold over and press the edges with a fork similar to apple turnover.
 
Place on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make small slits in dough to vent steam, egg-wash entire pie and bake thirty minutes at 400 degrees. 

Pie may also be deep-fried. 

*I left out the red peppers because they are really expensive right now.  Also, I added Tony's Chachere's Cajun Seasoning and a little
Crushed Red Pepper flakes.  However, I did not let the meat and veggie mixture cook for an hour - it tasted just fine after 15 or so minutes of cooking.  Believe it or not, aside from the length of time I cooked the meat stuff,  I actually followed the recipe!

King Cake

Prep: 30 min.; Cook: 10 min.; Stand: 5 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 30 min.; Bake: 16 min. 
This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour--the cake will just be more dense.

Yield:
Makes 2 cakes (about 18 servings each)

Ingredients:
1  (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/3  cup  sugar
1/4  cup  butter
1  teaspoon  salt
2  (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
1  tablespoon  sugar
2  large eggs, lightly beaten
6  to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
1/3  cup  butter, softened
1/2  cup  sugar
1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles

Preparation:
Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.

Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. 

Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. 

Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. 

Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). 

Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.*6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.

*Creamy Glaze

Yield:
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
3  cups  powdered sugar
3  tablespoons  butter, melted
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1/4  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2  to 4 tablespoons milk

Preparation:
Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.
I only wanted to make one cake so I halved the recipe.  Have you ever tried to half 1/3 cup?  Yeah - it comes out to .666666666 and on and on.  So basically I just eyeballed it.  I made the whole recipe of creamy glaze though, because it is yummy.  

This was a Southern Living recipe.