With the holiday season upon us, I thought it wise to revisit the importance of safe food handling to prevent foodborne illness.
Simple safety steps in the kitchen can prevent foodborne diseases. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after food preparation, and especially after handling raw foods. Clean all work surfaces, utensils and dishes with hot soapy water and rinse with hot water after each use. Be sure to cook foods thoroughly and to refrigerate adequately between meals. Consumers can find more information about “Food Safety Tips for Holiday Feasts” on the CDPH website. Also, never give your dog turkey skin, turkey or poultry bones, onions, grapes, raisins, fatty foods, or other holiday items that are harmful or toxic to dogs.
Whether you prefer a traditional roasted bird, or the deep-fry method, cooking a turkey requires some special handling. Thawing the turkey is tricky; you have to avoid the “Danger Zone” temperature, between 40 and 140 degrees, at which foodborne bacteria thrive.
For thawing and cooking times for turkey, http://www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime/ has all the facts and instructions. The Butterball Hotline is another great option for answers to safe turkey-handling practices.
Are you entertaining a large crowd? Feeling overwhelmed? This recipe, and the mere thought of the grocery bill, may have you Giving Thanks that you are cooking for just 20!
Pumpkin Pie for 1,000 People
120 9-inch pie shells
62 cups granulated sugar
62 cups packed brown sugar
2 ½ cups + 1 Tbl salt
1 ¼ cups + 1 Tbl nutmeg
1 ¼ cups + 1 Tbl ginger
½ cup + 2 Tbl + 1 tsp cloves
185 cups milk
62 cups heavy whipping cream
250 cups pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 425° Mix eggs and sugars, add salt and spices. Gradually stir in milk and cream. Stir in pumpkin puree. Pour filling into pie shells and bake 10 minutes in preheated oven. Reduce oven temp to 350° and bake 40-45 minutes until filling is set.
A bit more Taste of Home
The Cooking School by Taste of Home is quite a party. Participants get to learn helpful hints for simple meals cooked at home, and take home the copy of the magazine with all of the evening’s demo recipes included. A no-host bar keeps everyone hydrated, one way or another, and the culinary specialist stops several times during the demo to raffle off prizes. It’s quite celebratory.
Guests can shop at a number of vendor booths as well. At this year’s event I spotted our own Damsel in Defense consultant Paula McCune and I myself have set up a Pampered Chef booth at past events.
I highly recommend the Cooking School to home-cooks at all levels of interest. The magazine is a great resource for tasty foods that are simple to prepare, and it does not have advertising pages, just recipes and the occasional coupon for ingredients.
Here’s a fun Halloween idea from Taste of Home. Though I had never made fudge (yes, really) I did tweak the recipe a bit; I used yellow and red food coloring to make orange, it was fine. This is seriously great fudge! The flavor reminds me of the chocolate oranges that Trader Joe’s sells at Christmastime.
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, divided
8 ounces white candy coating
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
2 to 4 drops orange paste food coloring
1.Line an 8-in. square pan with foil; butter foil and set aside.
2.In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and 1cup milk on high for 30 seconds; stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Chill for 10 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating with remaining milk; stir until smooth. Stir in extract and food coloring. Spread over chocolate layer.
4.Chill for 1 hour or until firm. Using foil, remove fudge from pan. Cut into 1-in. squares. Yield: about 2 pounds, or 36 pieces.
Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.
1 piece equals 64 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 8 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
Originally published by Taste of Home as Halloween Layered Fudge in Halloween Party Favorites, 2008, p27
Mrs. Potato Head
March has me thinking of St. Patrick’s Day, which has me considering Ireland, which puts me in mind of potatoes. Did you know that the term “toe head,” a moniker for a blonde child, originated in Ireland? Apparently, it is short for “potato-head” and was meant to compare the color of the hair to the color of the inside of a potato. I’ll let you stew over that for a while.
Speaking of stew, it’s a great place for potatoes. Whether the classic Irish stew or a kitchen-sink concoction, potatoes are a staple in stockpot full of veggies, broth or gravy, and meat cooked until it’s tender enough to fall apart in your bowl.
Potatoes are versatile. They roast, bake, boil, and grill beautifully with a bit of oil and seasoning or just a bit of butter. I chop small red potatoes and add olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, and wrap them in foil for the barbeque. They cook while the meat is on the grill, saving time and dirty dishes!
At our office, for St. Paddy’s Day, it is a tradition to honor the day with stuffed potatoes for lunch. A potato bar makes a fun meal for a small family or for a large casual dinner party. The first order of business is baking the taters. I am not a fan of the foil-wrapped method because the skin comes out soft and, to my taste, unappetizing. My preference is to lightly oil the skin and place the potatoes directly on the oven rack. I bake them at 400˚ for an hour or more, depending on the size. After the first 30 minutes, poke the skins with a fork. My grandma said she never saw the point in poking holes in the skin, until one day when a potato exploded in her oven. That’s what she said, anyway.
Your imagination is the only limit to what toppings will be offered at the potato bar. Chili, cheese, and onions are popular choices. Salsa, sour cream, bacon, and broccoli are just a few of my favorites. I also use leftover chicken or beef to add protein and make it a complete meal when I add a vegetable.
For the ultimate twice-baked version, gut the potatoes after baking, and use a hand mixer to blend the sour cream, broccoli, bacon, cheese, green onion, butter, etc. with the potato. Refill the skins with the mixture, top with a bit of cheddar, sprinkle with paprika, and rewarm the potatoes in the microwave or oven. This is a fairly labor-intensive task, so always make extra. It doesn’t require twice the work, and you’ll get a second meal for your trouble!
Bonding over recipes
I love the image of neighbors visiting across the fence, sharing coffee, the latest news and perhaps a new recipe. While social media provides many avenues for the collection of recipes, it does not lend itself to conversation about them. I love finding a new recipe online, but where did it come from? What’s the backstory?
As we drove to L.A. Sunday, my friend Carolyn told me about her daughter’s visit the day before. They went to the recipe box for a particular item and wound up sfting through the recipes and recalling the origin or the event associated with some of their favorites. I have spent countless hours over the years enjoying the same activity with my Mom, Mother-in-law, Grandmas, and Godmother. I love to hear the story of which book a recipe came from, which family member passed it down, who liked it, or who had a snarky comment every Thanksgiving when it was served.
I have recipes written on cards, placemats, napkins, sticky notes and anything else that was handy when something was so good that I just had to ask, “How do you make this?” I could enter them all into a fancy program online or a use software to organize them and create shopping lists, but then I wouldn’t see the chocolate smudge from my son’s fingers when he helped me make a bunny cake, or the handwritten note fall from one of my Mom’s favorite cookbooks when I open it. Recipe collections are, for me, like scrapbooks full of family history and memories of gatherings with good friends around the table.
Here is a simple breakfast treat that has been enjoyed by five generations of my Mother’s family. Great Grandma Stonebraker made it for her daughters, Grandma Rae for hers, my Mom for us, and my siblings and I have made it for our children.
Jot it down or cut it out below, and begin a story of your own,
Note: Nabisco Shredded Wheat has been around for a very long time!
Fried Shredded Wheat Biscuits
• Briefly soak a Shredded Wheat Biscuit in milk, drain slightly
• Brown the biscuit on both sides, in butter or 1T vegetable oil
• Serve with butter and syrup, and a poached egg on the side
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961