Blueberries for Sal

Curried Chicken Salad

I had this left over chicken in the refrigerator and it had lost its interest among my household's eaters (me included) so I took the meat off the bone, chopped it up and made a curried chicken salad. Good for this hot weather.
The thing about curry is it can be hundred different ways depending on which spices you use and how you balance it. This is how I did it.

After chopping the chicken I chopped a bunch of celery (one of the hearts sold in stores as opposed to a long bunch of whole celery). Mixed the two together and added a half a cup of Mayonaise. This is the base for any chicken salad.

Then I started adding a little of this and a little of that.
3 or more tablespoons of Tumeric,
1-2 tablespoons of Cumin,
1 teaspoon of Cardamom,
a sprinkle of Garam Masala I happened to have,
Salt and Pepper

What the salad really needed were some golden raisins but I didn't have any, so I used dried peaches, and chopped them into raisin sized bits and added.
Blueberries for Sal

Fresh vs Frozen Turkey

last Thanksgiving's bird

Apparently if you go to the Giant and order a FRESH turkey, they give you a frozen one anyway. Fresh is the opposite of frozen when it comes to meat of any kind. What's the difference you ask? a LOT. First of all you don't know when the turkey was frozen so there's no way to tell how old it is. Second frozen and then thawed meat can sometimes get waterlogged leaving it tough and spongy. When meat is fresh you can tell so by the smell. It shouldn't have any, that is. If it starts smelling it's probably spoiled.

The first time this happened to me was Thanksgiving. I opened up the supposedly FRESH turkey to find ice inside it, which is a clear indication it had been frozen. Fortunately it didn't affect the meat, which was tender and good. This time I picked up the turkey and it was hard as a rock, frozen solid. A day in the refrigerator didn't even thaw it out. The neck was completely frozen inside the cavity and could not be removed without running warm water into it.

In both cases the turkey was from Shady Brook Farms and was clearly marked FRESH YOUNG TURKEY. There was no mention of it being frozen, or fresh frozen, or frozen fresh, or frozen anything. Yet frozen they were.

Next year I'm going to explore the possiblity of getting a turkey from a local turkey farm. Apparently there are lots to choose from.
Blueberries for Sal


I'm re-doing the Boston Cream Pie I made for my birthday last month because I'd forgotten the baking powder and it came out a mess. Had to mostly be thrown away. And so because I like a good Boston Cream Pie I'm remaking it. It still didn't rise too much but probably because I'm baking in 10" pans instead of 9" which is what it calls for. So far it's looking good. Ben is coming over tonight for pizza. I'll make that later.
Blueberries for Sal

Countdown day two ~ pecan pie

Pecan Pie with chocolate chips on top

The Giant felt like a steam bath today. I did NOT need that as I slogged through the isles doing the massive shopping chore. Also picked up the fresh turkey. Today I'm making the pecan pie, cranberry relish and the spinach gnocchi. The pie is in the oven, so this afternoon I'll tackle the gnocchi and the relish.

I'm wiped already. Tomorrow is the soup, stuffing and the turkey.

Pecan Pie with chocolate chips*


1 small bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Karo® Dark Corn Syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust (I make my own classic pie crust)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

• Line pie crust with enough semi sweet-chocolate chips to cover the bottom
• Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust
• Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

* Note, in the picture the chips are on the top of the pie. That's because I forgot the first step until after I'd filled the pie shell, so I added them on top. But a layer on the crust is really preferable.
Blueberries for Sal

Countdown day three ~ cleaning and wine shopping

So I got the rest of the dusting/cleaning done. I went out and made a booze run-- two bottles of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and one Cabernet Sauvignon. Then I got a bottle of Kahluha, Amoretto, and dry Vermouth (for the turkey). I'm making an orange maple glaze for the turkey and it calls for Vermouth.

Then I made homemade baked macaroni and cheese for myself tonight. Jon's in Bethesda tonight. Tomorrow is grocery shopping and making the pecan pie. Then Thursday I'll make the stuffing, cook the turkey, make carrot cashew soup, spinach gnocchi , and cranberry orange relish. And of course mountains of mashed potatoes.

Friday I plan to sleep all day.
Blueberries for Sal

Happy Birthday to ME 11-11-11

Boston Cream Pie

6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup light cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
In a deep bowl cream 6 tablespoons of the butter with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time, then beat in the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture alternately with the 1/2 cup of the milk in 3 additions, Beating the batter smooth after each addition. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until cakes begin to shrink away from the sides of the pans and centers spring back when lightly touched. Turn the cakes onto wire racks to cool.

To Make The Filling: Combine the 1/2 cup light cream with 1/4 cup of the milk and cook over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Immediately add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt, stirring until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and whisk to remove lumps. Whisk in the 2 eggs. Add the hot cream mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return to the mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and is smooth (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature.

To Make The Chocolate Frosting: In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir the chocolate pieces and 2 tablespoons butter until they are completely melted. Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, add the 1/4 cup light cream in a thin steady stream. When mixture is smooth, stir in the confectioners' sugar and beat vigorously. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
To Assemble Cake: Spread the cooled filling over one the cooled cakes and place the second cake on top. Pour the chocolate frosting evenly over the top allowing it to spill down the sides.

and don't leave out the Baking Powder like I did or your cake will be a cracker
Blueberries for Sal

Kaddo Borawni

Pumpkin after sauteeing

For the pumpkin
2 Sugar Pie pumpkins, each about 3 pounds
6 tbsp peanut oil
3 C sugar

For the yogurt sauce
2 C plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp salt


Make the pumpkin:
It helps to have a serious vegetable cleaver for this bit.
Preheat your oven to 350º.

Wash off the outside of the pumpkins. Cut them in half. Scrape out the stringy stuff on the inside. Cut the halves into smaller pieces. Peel them. Get rid of all the green and rind.

Using a large dutch oven, I sauteed the pumpkin in oil for 5-7min. turning frequently. Then I sprinkled the sugar over them, put the lid on it and baked it at 350º for 30 min.

The sugar will all melt away and end up partially absorbed. The pumpkin pieces will turn dark orange and translucent. They will have a stunningly novel texture. It is a beautiful thing.

Make the yogurt sauce:

Mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate.

(this makes a LOT of Kaddo Borawni, I only made one small pumpkin that weighed about 1.5lbs so I cut the proportions.
Blueberries for Sal

La Shana Tova

I'm baking a spice cake--

Cream cheese frosting on spice cake


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups applesauce
2 eggs
3/4 cup chopped pecans


4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Sift flour, white sugar, soda, salt, baking powder, and spices into a large mixing bowl. Mix in 1/2 cup butter or margarine, buttermilk, and applesauce. Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in eggs. Fold in 3/4 cup chopped nuts. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes.

3. Mix confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Frost the cooled cake.
Blueberries for Sal

Warm Apple Pie

I use the Fanny Farmer Cookbook recipe for a standard crust (but I use butter for the shortening) and I increased the amounts by half again because I like a thick flaky crust.

3 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/3 cups of butter
1/2 cup of ice water (or less)

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter 1/2 cup at a time and process till the flour mixture holds together in a soft pea size. Lightly add only enough water till the dough holds together . CHILL for an hour.

Pare and slice 8 Granny Smith apples, add some brown sugar (1/2 cup) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Cut chilled dough in half and put one half back in refrigerator. Roll out the bottom crust for a 9" pie plate. Line the plate, trim excess. Fill with the apple mixture and dot with butter. ROLL out the top crust, lay over apples and crimp the edges to seal.

Bake at 425º for 50 minutes.

Serve with ice cream on top.