Ghee Whiz!

What is ghee? Well, think of it as caramelized butter.  It has a higher smoke point than regular butter and a deeper, more nutty flavor.
Basically all you’re doing is evaporating off the water content and browning the milk solids (which you strain out).
Clarified butter is similar, ghee is just cooked longer for a deeper flavor.
My favorite uses for ghee are for popping popcorn and grains, stir frying, roasting… anytime you want to cook at a higher heat or get an amazing sear, pull out the ghee.  It is easier than you think and lasts quite a long time.  If you get any water in it, that can cause bacterial growth.  So I always keep it in a jar with a lid and use a clean dry utensil.  Or you can store in the refrigerator as well.
It can take over 20 minutes, so I usually make it when I’m going to be in the kitchen anyways making dinner or doing dishes or whatever.

GHEE
1 pound unsalted butter

Using a small heavy pot, add butter and heat over medium heat.

After it melts it will begin to foam up.  Keep cooking!

Turn your heat down if it is boiling too hard.  You want a gentle simmer.

The second foam is what we’re looking for.

When the milk solids are a deep brown you’re done!

Just strain and let cool.

Store on the counter for a month in an airtight container (I use a jar) or refrigerate for longer storage.

Ghee Whiz!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter

Instructions

  • Using a small heavy pot, add butter and heat over medium heat.
  • After it melts it will begin to foam up.  Keep cooking!
  • Turn your heat down if it is boiling too hard.  You want a gentle simmer.
  • The second foam is what we're looking for.
  • When the milk solids are a deep brown you're done! This can take over 20 minutes to reach this point, but it depends on heat level and your pot as well.
  • Just strain and let cool.
  • Store on the counter for a month in an airtight container (I use a jar) or refrigerate for longer storage. 
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    Homemade Noodles

    I love making homemade pasta.  I usually enlist the help of my favorite sous chefs, my daughters.  They are more than happy to help especially when they know fresh pasta is coming! It may seem daunting but it is far easier than you think!
    Pasta dough recipes vary quite a bit, but this is how I make mine.  By adding more liquid/ eggs the dough is softer and easier to work with.  I find it is much easier to start with less flour and gradually add more to desired tackiness.  This makes a dough much easier to roll out as well.
    I use plain all purpose flour.  If you want to use whole grain flours I suggest just subbing out a quarter to a half of the flour.

    Pasta Dough
    Makes approx 19 oz

    2 Cups flour (plus more as needed)
    4 eggs (and water or other puree/ juice to make 1 cups)
    2 tsp salt

    Measure your flour onto your clean working surface.  Make a well in the center.

    Add water if needed to your eggs to measure 1 cup. (Or another flavoring, such as vegetable puree or juice)

    Add to the center of the well and add your salt.

    Use a fork to whisk eggs.  Start incorporating the flour from the outer walls.

     

    When you’ve added most the flour start using a bench knife to scrape it together.  Add more flour as needed so it isn’t sticky.

    When done your dough should be smooth but not sticky.  You may have to add a couple more cups of flour even.

    Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and rest at least 30 minutes before using.  This allows the flour to fully hydrate and relaxes the gluten to be able to roll out thinly.
    I like to make it earlier in the day or even a couple days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.

    Here is a dough made with basil pesto used for 1/4 cup of the water:

    To roll out by hand: Divide dough into 2 or 4 pieces (whatever is manageable for you) and roll out on a lightly floured surface as thin as possible.
    Cut into desired shapes.
    To roll out using a pasta roller: See steps here.
    After you have your pasta cut dry on racks or cook immediately.

    It cooks very quickly so if serving with a sauce have that ready before you cook the pasta.  Usually 1 to 2 minutes.

    Homemade Noodles

    Yield: approx 19 oz.

    Ingredients

    • 2 Cups flour (plus more as needed)
    • 4 eggs (and water or other puree/ juice to make 1 cup)
    • 2 tsp salt

    Instructions

  • Measure your flour onto your clean working surface.  Make a well in the center.
  • Add water if needed to your eggs to measure 1 cup. (Or another flavoring, such as vegetable puree or juice)
  • Add to the center of the well and add your salt.
  • Use a fork to whisk eggs.  Start incorporating the flour from the outer walls.
  • When you've added most the flour start using a bench knife to scrape it together.  Add more flour as needed so it isn't sticky.
  • When done your dough should be smooth but not sticky. You may have to add a couple more cups of flour even.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and rest at least 30 minutes before using.  This allows the flour to fully hydrate and relaxes the gluten to be able to roll out thinly.
  • I like to make it earlier in the day or even a couple days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
  • To roll out by hand:
  • Divide dough into 2 or 4 pieces (whatever is manageable for you) and roll out on a lightly floured surface as thin as possible. 
  • Cut into desired shapes.
  • To roll out using a pasta roller:
  • See steps here.
  • After you have your pasta cut dry on racks or cook immediately.  It cooks very quickly so if serving with a sauce have that ready before you cook the pasta.  Usually 1 to 2 minutes.
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    Rosemary Salt

    If you plant one thing, I suggest fresh rosemary.  I have a few planted around our house and they become huge and are usable practically year round.
    Rosemary can be a little twiggy so getting the rosemary ground up small is helpful.
    You can sprinkle this on popcorn, rub on a pork loin roast or whole chicken before cooking, roasted potatoes, or toss with some homemade pasta with a little lemon zest. Yum!  You can also add lemon zest to this before freezing.

    Fresh Rosemary Salt

    2 parts fresh rosemary (removed from stem)
    1 part kosher salt

    Pulse rosemary in spice grinder (or food processor) or mince finely by hand.
    Store in the freezer.

    Rosemary Salt

    Ingredients

    • 2 parts fresh rosemary (removed from stem)
    • 1 part kosher salt

    Instructions

  • Pulse rosemary in spice grinder (or food processor) or mince finely by hand.
  • Store in the freezer.
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    Art Party

    This was lost in my “pictures for the website file” that seems to be a pit of things I haven’t gotten to! A few years ago we did this for our oldest daughter and I think it’s time to do another one.  She loves art and so an artsy fartsy birthday was perfect.  She also loves bright colors so I used primary colors to decorate.
    Her cake was so simple and cute!

    I made 6 layers and colored each a color of the rainbow.  I used a white frosting in between each…

    Frosted the outside and then went to town with primary colored sprinkles.

    On top I added a rainbow made from marshmallow fondant.  (Use a skewer on each side to give structure and place into cake)  I set this out to dry a couple days ahead of time to firm it up as well.
    Then I added some “clouds” with more white frosting on top

    It looked pretty cool when we cut into it.

    I made pizza and also some colorful whoopie pies.  Just use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Just use white chocolate chips and add some sprinkles, sandwich with frosting and roll sides in sprinkles.

    “Paintbrushes” were pretzel rods dipped in brown candy melts, then the tops in a colored melt.

    Rice Krispy treats made great paintbrushes too!

    I used my “Monster Munch” recipe but used m and m’s instead of reese’s and all white chocolate.

    Some white tulle bunches and primary colored streamers made a fun rainbow and cloud backdrop. White balloons would work well too.

    The activity was fun and pretty messy! I put an example up of what each station was for.
    Spin art is popular in our house.  I just use a cheap salad spinner from IKEA, paper plates trimed to fit it (or construction paper, but you’ll want something thicker), and watered down paint in small bottles.

    Marble painting got messy fast but they had so much fun.  Just use washable paints, a container for each color, marbles, and a tray that your paper fits in.

    I made the invite myself on Microsoft Word as usual.

    If you have a little one who loves art an art party is a fun inexpensive idea! Just make sure to have fun doing things together for the party and be prepared to clean up a mess! 😉

    Honey Garlic Salmon

    This is the first way I got my kids to eat (and love) salmon… scratch that, my kids AND my hubby!
    It is super quick to make and every time we have it I am reminded why we love it!  Perfect with roasted veggies and grains for an easy quick dinner that pleases everyone!

    HONEY GARLIC SALMON

    12-16 oz salmon fillets, skin removed
    1 green onion, sliced thin

    Sauce:
    1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    1 Tablespoon honey
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 Tablespoon lime juice
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper

    Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and place in a ziplock bag with salmon.  Marinate for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
    Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and when hot remove the salmon from the sauce and add to pan.
    Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Flip salmon and recover pan for 3 more minutes.  Remove lid and continue to cook for a minute or until cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Garnish with green onions.

    Honey Garlic Salmon

    Ingredients

    • 12-16 oz salmon fillets, skin removed
    • 1 green onion, sliced thin
      Sauce:
    • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper

    Instructions

  • Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and place in a ziplock bag with salmon.  Marinate for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
  • Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and when hot remove the salmon from the sauce and add to pan.  
  • Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Flip salmon and recover pan for 3 more minutes.  Remove lid and continue to cook for a minute or until cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Garnish with green onions.
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    Homemade Steak Sauce


    “Steak sauce” is a little misleading, as this sauce is great on other things too.  Grilled chicken is particularly good with it, even veggies too.
    I am baffled at recipes for steak sauce, BBQ sauce, or other homemade condiments and the main ingredient is ketchup.  If you are going to the trouble of making a homemade condiment do yourself a favor and use tomato products, not a premade ketchup as a base.
    The end of summer is fast approaching.  But do yourself a favor and have at least one more grill night and take a tiny bit of time to make this easy amazing sauce.  I’m sure we’ll have it in winter even!

    HOMEMADE STEAK SAUCE

    1 white or yellow onion, chopped (approx 1 1/2 cups)
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    16 oz can tomato sauce
    6 oz tomato paste
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup Worcestershire
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    2 Tablespoons molasses
    1 tsp mustard powder

    In a medium pot saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant.
    Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

    Pour through a strainer and discard onions and garlic.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a couple weeks or freeze for longer storage.

    Homemade Steak Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped (approx 1 1/2 cups)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 16 oz can tomato sauce
    • 6 oz tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons molasses
    • 1 tsp mustard powder

    Instructions

  • In a medium pot saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Pour through a strainer and discard onions and garlic.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a couple weeks or freeze for longer storage.
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    Smoked Mac and Cheese

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    Do you have a favorite BBQ side dish? This was so fantastic, and unique and different.  Plus, in the summer when the smoker is going for a protein its great to be able to throw a side dish in there and not have to cook it in the house.  If you love smoked cheese you will love this!

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    SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE

    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    1/2 cup flour
    4 cups milk
    1 lb shredded cheese
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 pound elbow noodles, slightly under cooked

    Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for a minute.
    Add milk slowly, whisking in.  Cook until thickened and smooth.
    Add cheese and stir until smooth.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Place in a greased foil pan and hot smoke for 1-2 hours, to desired smokiness.

    Smoked Mac and Cheese

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 4 cups milk
    • 1 lb shredded cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pound elbow noodles, slightly under cooked

    Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute.
  • Add milk slowly, whisking in. Cook until thickened and smooth.
  • Add cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place in a greased foil pan and hot smoke for 1-2 hours, to desired smokiness.
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    Smoked Corn on the Cob

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    This is really a recipe.. just an awesome suggestion.  If you have a smoker running throw some shucked corn on the cob where ever you have an empty spot and an hour later you have the most amazing corn on the cob!
    You can brush some melted butter or olive oil on it before hand and sprinkle with seasoning, or just throw it in plain like we did and really let the smoke flavor shine.
    So good!
    Next time I’m making extra so I can use the leftovers to make some smoky corn fritters!

    Unicorn Parfaits

    DSC09284

    If you think the unicorn themed treats are so last year.. well, you don’t live in our house!  These are the funnest little parfaits for little ones that believe in all things magical.. and delicious! 🙂 I highly recommend getting some edible gold star sprinkles for an extra touch!

    UNICORN PARFAITS
    Lucky charms
    Whipped cream (or non dairy whipped topping, thawed)
    various sprinkles and decorations for topping

    Separate the marshmallows out of the cereal. Set aside.
    Divide whipped cream into 2 or 3 bowls and color each. We did one purple and one blue.
    Fill two disposable pastry bags with whipped cream.  Place both bags inside a large pastry bag fitted with a large star.
    Alternatively, you could just spoon the whipped cream in.
    Pipe or spoon some in parfait cups or small canning jars.  Sprinkle some cereal, then pipe some more.  Do 3 or 4 of these layers, depending on the size of your containers.
    Sprinkle the top with the marshmallows and sprinkles just before serving.

    Unicorn Parfaits

    Ingredients

    • Lucky charms
    • Whipped cream (or non dairy whipped topping, thawed)
    • various sprinkles and decorations for topping

    Instructions

  • Separate the marshmallows out of the cereal. Set aside.
  • Divide whipped cream into 2 or 3 bowls and color each. We did one purple and one blue.
  • Fill two disposable pastry bags with whipped cream. Place both bags inside a large pastry bag fitted with a large star.
  • Alternatively, you could just spoon the whipped cream in.
  • Pipe or spoon some in parfait cups or small canning jars. Sprinkle some cereal, then pipe some more. Do 3 or 4 of these layers, depending on the size of your containers.
  • Sprinkle the top with the marshmallows and sprinkles just before serving.
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    Scooby Doo Party

    My youngest LOVES Scooby Doo so for her last birthday we of course had a Scooby Doo theme.
    I have a few rules about birthdays:
    1. We’re not breaking the bank, a kid’s birthday party should be fun, but also inexpensive.
    2. If we’re going to have a “theme” it’s because we’re going to spend time together making fun things.

    We thought of some pretty fun things for the Scooby Doo theme, and had lots of fun making them together.
    First up, hamburger “cake pops”.  Directions here.
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    And of course Scooby would want some hot dogs to go with the burgers!

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    Orange Soda.. I mean, Jinkies Juice.

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    The cake was probably her favorite thing to make.  We found some ideas on pinterest for making a fondant scooby.
    We used our trusty Marshmallow fondant of course.

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    More directions on making it here.

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    For activities they make their own pizzas.

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    And played the “mummy game”.

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    And pin the tag on scooby.

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