#12NewTreats :: April :: Chocolate Pie

Chocolate Pie

So.  Here’s what I have to say about the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Chocolate Pie.

  1. It was really friggin’ easy.
  1. It was really friggin’ amazingly delicious.
  1. I am already salivating at the thought of making it again.
  1. I might just turn it into pudding next time and skip the pie shell.
  1. I might just make two batches next time so I have pudding AND pie for breakfast and dessert every day of the week.
  1. You should make this. And soon.  For no reason at all.  For any reason you can think of.  For someone special.  Because you made it through another week at work.  Because your baby is now sleeping through the night.  Because you love your spouse.  Because you love your kids.  Because you love yourself.  Because you probably already have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your house, right this very second.  Because any reason is a good reason to make this chocolate pie.

I could go on and on and wax poetic on this chocolate pie for y’all, but please, just do yourselves a favor and go make it.  It’s so ridiculously easy, there is no reason NOT to.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for this amazing chocolate pie recipe!  You can find the original recipe //here//.

Chocolate Pie

Ingredients
1 whole pie crust, Baked And Cooled (or Can Use Oreo Or Graham Cracker Crust – I used a premade shortbread crust)
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
4 whole egg yolks
6-1/2 ounces, weight bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely (I used semi-sweet and it turned out perfect)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
Whipped cream and berries, for serving

Directions
1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.

2. Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.

3. Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: It should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.

4. Pour the pudding into the pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes for pudding) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered.

4. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream and berries, if desired!

Secret Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip.

Really, SFB?

I know, I know.  Everyone knows how to make spinach dip, right?  In fact, it just may be that you know how to make it the way I make it here.  Maybe what I have here is not even new to you.  But it’s new to me, and I’m excited to share it!

Two jobs ago I worked with a girl who claimed to have the best spinach dip recipe ever.  I love spinach dip – have all my life – ever since I was a kid that hated vegetables and anything green – so I said girl, bring some in and I’ll tell you if it’s better than my mom’s.

So she brings it in, with a box of Triscuits.  I say, why the Triscuits?  She says, it’s the best way to eat it.  So I try it, and doggone it, she’s right.

I kept eating it, and trying to figure out what made it so different.  Upon close inspection, it appeared to contain all the same ingredients as my mom’s dip.  It mostly tasted the same.  There was a slight difference I couldn’t put my finger on.  But the main difference was the texture.  It was thicker.  More stiff.  So I started grilling her.

“What is it?  What makes it so thick?”

“I’m not telling you!”

“TELL ME.  I have to know.  What is it?!”

“NO, I’m not telling you!  It’s a secret family recipe.”

“Do you use more sour cream than mayo?”

“I’m not telling.”

“Do you use any mayo at all?”

“Not telling.”

“AH!  Do you use cream cheese?!”

:: looks away sheepishly and blushes :: “I’m not telling!!”

Bingo.  The girl put cream cheese in her dip.  Now to figure out the correct proportions!

It only took me two tries to get it right.  Sadly, I don’t talk to this girl anymore, we have grown apart and moved on with our lives, but if I did I’d let her know I cracked her secret spinach dip code, and thank her for introducing it to me in the first place.

Jorie, if you’re out there – thanks!! 💕

Secret Spinach Dip

Ingredients
1 8oz brick cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 packet Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 10oz box of frozen cut spinach, thawed to room temperature, wrung dry in a kitchen towel
Several dashes (to taste) of hot sauce

Directions
1. In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream with a hand mixer. Beat for a couple of minutes until very well combined.

2. Add the vegetable soup mix and beat for another couple minutes.

3. Add in the wrung-dry spinach and hot sauce. (To wring dry: empty spinach into the center of a clean kitchen towel. Gather the towel up around the spinach and twist the towel together over a sink, and squeeze and wring until no more water comes out.) Beat for another minute or to to ensure it’s well combined.

4. Remove the beaters, and continue combining with a spatula if necessary, to break up larger chunks of spinach. Pour into a bowl and seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 5 days. Serve with cut celery, carrots, pretzel chips, and – of course – Triscuits.  😊

CHRISTMAS !! Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Honestly I have no idea what these things are actually called.  I just made that title up.  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups… seems legit  But for every Christmas for as long as I can remember, my mom has made these.  And they are SO SIMPLE.

In fact I’m kicking myself now for spending $30 on DiBruno Bros cookies for my daughter’s Christmas party at school when I could have just spent like $10 and made all these damn cookies.  Oh well.  Lesson learned.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Really though, these cookies could not be any simpler.  My mom is a total overachiever when it comes to Christmas baking, and I’m pretty sure she used to make these with her homemade chocolate chip cookie dough.  I don’t remember if she eventually switched over to the pre-made stuff, or if that was my idea (you know how I roll with my memory, mom!), but these are the simplest Christmas cookies you can throw together – and I will guarantee you one thing – THE PEOPLE WILL LOVE THEM.

These have been a regular part of my Christmas baking rotation for years.  And no matter what cookies I make, these ones always get the most comments – “What ARE these?!  How did you MAKE these?!  Can I have your RECIPE?!”  Well people now you have it.

Merry Christmas!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Ingredients
1 package Nestle Toll House mini break-and-bake cookies (makes 40 cookie cups)
or
1 package Nestle Toll House break-and-bake cookies, each square cut in half (makes 48 cookie cups)
40 or 48 unwrapped Reese’s mini peanut butter cups

Directions
1. Preheat oven according to cookie package directions.

2. Line a mini muffin tray with mini muffin wrappers. Set each portion of cookie dough into each muffin wrapper. Bake according to package directions.

3. When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven, and immediately start pressing one mini peanut butter cup into each chocolate chip cookie cup. Press down firmly so that the peanut butter sinks all theway into the cookie cup, so that the cookie cup gives it a nice warm cookie hug. I’m corny.

4. Let cool in the muffin pan for several hours; I usually set mine under a ceiling fan overnight. As the cookie cups cool, the tops of the peanut butter cups actually get kind of melty, so even if you wanted to remove them from the pan, you couldn’t stack them anywhere. I know it’s tough, but be patient, and let them cool overnight. You won’t be disappointed.  😊

CHRISTMAS !! Hello Dollies

WHO IS READY FOR CHRISTMAS.

I guess I am.  I’m as ready as I’ll be.  About 90% of my shopping is done and about 0% of my wrapping is done.  That will probably happen on Christmas Eve.

Also only slightly more than 0% done?  My Christmas baking.

Every year I turn into my mom and spend a weekend baking a shit ton of cookies to give out as gifts to all the people I “love” (only true for about 20%) and “like” (only true for about 10%) at work and stuff.  But this year I just didn’t have the time or the money or the patience or the anything, so I skipped it.

And then I really wanted Hello Dollies, and then my friend requested a pan of Hello Dollies, so I made two pans of Hello Dollies today.  And now I’m nomzing on one and you’re jealous.

So what are Hello Dollies?  They’re like a layered cookie bar thing that my mom always made when I was growing up, and they were my favorite part of every Christmas.  Why are they called Hello Dollies?  IDFK man.  Maybe because when I see them I say Hello and Dolly is a term of endearment of some kind?  No clue.  I just made that up.

Anyway.  These are really the easiest thing in the world to make.  My daughter has been helping me make them for years now – I let her crush the Nilla wafers with a meat mallet and she loves it.  She helps with all the other steps too… and then she says CAN WE EAT THEM YET CAN WE EAT THEM YET CAN WE EAT THEM YET until I let her eat some.

Merry Christmas ya’ll.  Stay tuned for a couple more cookie recipes.  😊

Hello Dollies

Hello Dollies

Ingredients
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 12oz can sweetened condensed milk

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Melt the butter and pour into a 13x9x2 baking pan. Add the crushed vanilla wafers, and press evenly into the pan to form a crust.

3. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given, sprinkling evenly on top of the vanilla wafer crust. Drizzle with the can of sweetened condensed milk. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several hours so that it firms back up. Cut into squares and serve!

Thanksgiving Leftover Kentucky Hot Brown

Oh hai.

Welcome to the Slutty Food Blog, where I like to take seemingly boring holiday leftovers and slut them up with a sinful cheese sauce and call it a Kentucky Hot Brown.

Thanksgiving Leftover Kentucky Hot Brown

Seriously though – I know these pictures don’t tell much of the story, but you will just have to trust me on this one.

This is actually the third recipe I have written down in my notebook to share with you.  About a year ago now, I started planning out how I was going to start a food blog.  I started writing down recipes that I wanted to share and I had lots of recipe ideas that I had yet to execute so had some recipe testing to do – this was the third recipe that I tested and decided, ok, that’s it, I’ve gotta do this food blog thing.  This was the recipe that made me realize that I could wing it and be creative in the kitchen and succeed.  Until last year, I had always thought I wasn’t that type of cook.  But this one’s a game-changer for me.

So here we are.  These pictures are a year old now, and I’ve done what I can to spruce them up in Photoshop, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one.  I literally couldn’t share this recipe any earlier than now because when else do you have leftover stuffing + leftover turkey except this time of year?

(Also BTW PS, I realize I’m a little late to the leftovers game here, please forgive me.  It has been a hectic week.  I need a weekend from my weekend, nomesayin’?)

(Also PPS, because the last 5 days have been crazy city, I didn’t get to make this for myself, and now I has a sad, but bonus I have an extra turkey so there is hope for me yet.)

Speaking of which – my extra turkey?  Shout out to Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown for literally saving my Thanksgiving dinner!  So over a month ago now, Whole Foods opened up their holiday ordering program, where you can reserve a turkey, the size of your choice, and select the pickup date so you will be sure to have a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.  I have done this for about 4-5 years now and I have never once been disappointed in the experience or the quality.  I love having a fresh (not frozen!) turkey for Thanksgiving and will probably never do a frozen turkey ever again.  So anyway, this year we weren’t hosting a huge amount of people so we decided to reserve a 7-10lb bone-in turkey breast.  I go to pick it up two days before Thanksgiving, and the biggest turkey breast they had left was 6.86lbs.  At first I thought damnit, that’s my fault, maybe I should have scheduled an earlier pickup date.  I was bummed, because to me this meant little to no leftovers.  But as I was driving home I got more and more irritated with this.  What was the point of me reserving it online ahead of time, if I couldn’t be sure that I’d get what I’d reserved?  If that was the case, I could have picked up a fresh turkey breast at any point in the year (they sell them year-round), and tossed it in the freezer and thawed it before Thanksgiving.  So I got home and wrote them a letter expressing my disappointment, saying that I would probably go a different route next year if I couldn’t be sure I was getting the size turkey I had reserved.  Because let’s be honest, anyone that cooks knows you have to plan for 1/2-1 lb per person, and at 6.86lbs, this turkey breast would barely cover it for my feast.

The next day I got an email from the meat department manager, saying how sorry he was that this had happened, and that he had just gotten another shipment of turkey breasts and he put a 9lb one aside for me free of charge.  Dude!  I can’t tell you how thankful and grateful I was!  I raced to the store to pick it up and thanked him profusely.  He literally saved my Thanksgiving dinner, and I couldn’t have been happier.

This is why I love Whole Foods.  They make things right.  I couldn’t be more appreciative.

So yeah, I tossed that 6.86lb turkey in the freezer and maybe I’ll make it at Christmas or New Year’s or something.

And this Kentucky Hot Brown will promptly follow.  I swear.

Homemade Kentucky Hot Brown

So let’s talk about a real Kentucky Hot Brown.  A real Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon, tomatoes, and a decadent white cheese sauce called Mornay sauce.  I was fortunate enough to have a real Kentucky Hot Brown when I visited Lexington in January of this year:

Stellas

And it was amazeballs.  But before I had a real one, I developed this one, based off of an idea I had.  See my friend Ben had told me many times about the Kentucky Hot Brown, how when he goes home to Kentucky to visit he always has to stop by the hotel where it originated to get one.  I have seen many pictures and have loved it from afar before ever trying it, and then I came up with this slutty version.

We’re talking about leftover cornbread stuffing, smashed into a waffle maker to make it crispy.  Topped with layers of warm, tender turkey, and crispy bacon, and juicy tomatoes.  And then blanketed with a thick, cheesy sauce.  A little sprinkle of Parmesan on top, then under the broiler it goes to make it brown and gooey.  And there you have it, a Thanksgiving Leftover Kentucky Hot Brown.

No, it’s not textbook and no, it’s not traditional but yes, it is sluttacular and yes, it is good and yes you will say oh Cristin, Cristin thank you for sharing this recipe with me.  😊

Add this to your list of Ways to Use Leftovers, and thank me later.  Make this and post it on Instagram and tag me!!  @sluttyfoodblog

Thanksgiving Leftover Kentucky Hot Brown

Ingredients
Leftover turkey (see Notes)
Leftover cornbread stuffing (see Notes)
1 tomato, sliced to your preferred thickness
About 1/2 package of bacon, prepared to your liking (feel free to make more if you’re a huge bacon fan)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Minced parsley and green onions for garnish

Mornay Sauce:
1.5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese (see Notes)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (see Notes)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Start with the Mornay sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and add the green onions and parsley and saute until the green onions have softened. Add the flour and whisk together, cooking for about a minute. Whisk in the heavy cream, raise the heat, and cook until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken. Once the sauce has thickened, add in both cheeses, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well combined, then lower the heat and keep warm.

2. Reheat leftovers: For the turkey, reheat in the microwave on 50% power until warmed through. For the stuffing, preheat a waffle iron. If you have a Belgian waffle maker, you will need more stuffing, about 1 cup per stuffing waffle. If you have a thinner waffle maker, bank on using 1/2 cup stuffing per waffle. Mound the stuffing in the center, and press down real hard to compact it together. Cook until the stuffing waffle is golden brown – should be however long it normally takes to cook a regular waffle, about 5-7 minutes. When the light goes out, it’s probably done, but check it and see. When they are done, remove them to a foil-lined baking sheet that fits into your broiler.

3. Get ready to assemble!: Preheat the broiler to high. On top of each stuffing waffle, layer slices of turkey, slices of tomato, and slices of bacon. Then pour as much Mornay sauce as desired on each pile of deliciousness. Then, sprinkle with some of the extra Parmesan cheese. Broil for 1-2 minutes, but watch it – some broilers are hotter than others. Remove from broiler to a plate so you can devour it. Top with extra parsley and green onions for garnish if desired. Then grab a knife and fork and dig in!!

Notes
1. So since this is a recipe that uses leftovers, it’s kind of hard to approximate quantities out. Also, this is completely scalable – do you want a big Kentucky hot brown? Or are you on a diet (what craziness is this) and only want a small one? You decide. Just know that if you’re trying to feed like 4 people, you better have a good amount of turkey and stuffing leftover. If you don’t have enough leftover stuffing, then make a box of Stouffer’s cornbread stuffing fresh, and….
2. Roast a turkey tenderloin if you do not have any (or enough) leftover turkey. Turkey tenderloins are great by the way – I find them fresh at Whole Foods year-round. Season that baby up however you’d like and roast it in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
3. As for the cheeses, I would recommend actually weighing them, because the weight is different than the measurement. When I weighed 2 ounces of Gruyere cheese, it came out to about 3/4 cup; and when I weighed 2 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese, it came out to about 1/2 cup.

THANKSGIVING !! How to Brine a Turkey + Day-Of Schedule

 

So I almost bought this shirt to wear on Thanksgiving.  Alllllllmost.

Fat PantsThanksgiving in my house is not about wearing dresses and tights and nice shoes and curling my hair.  No.  It’s about putting your eatin’-clothes on and vegging out.

We don’t eat dinner at 1, or 2, or 3, or 4.  We eat dinner at dinnertime – between 5 and 6.  We typically eat all day long; though this year I think I am easing up on the appetizers a little bit.  I’d rather save my appetite for the main event.

Anyway!  Today I’m going to teach you how to brine a turkey.

It might be a little late for those of you that have bought a frozen turkey – you are probably going to leave that sucker in the fridge until Thursday to thaw out.  But if you bought a fresh bird (in my opinion, there’s no other way to go), then you are in luck my friend.

Brining a turkey is super simple.  I’ve done it for several years now and I do love how it turns out.  Here is what you need:

  • 1 5-gallon bucket from the hardware store
  • Cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • Peppercorns
  • Ice

Fill your bucket halfway with cold water.  Stir in the salt and brown sugar, and stir till it dissolves.  Then drop in all your aromatics.  Then gently lower your thawed frozen, or fresh, turkey into the bucket.  Cover with the ice, put the lid securely on the bucket, and keep it away from your dog for 12-24 hours.

Turkey Brine

So now that you know how to brine a turkey, I thought I’d help you out with the Thanksgiving Day Schedule.  I follow this almost every year and somehow manage to get things on the table around the same time, so something must be working!

Step 0 :: Take some help from the store.
What’s step 0?  Well I made a step 0 in case this is not something you want to do.  If you’re a superchef in the kitchen and you don’t need to take help from the store, more power to ya.  Me, I prefer not to be a martyr, and take help where I can get it.  This means I purchase pre-made gravy, a packet of Bearnaise sauce, canned or frozen corn, a box of cornbread stuffing, and a can of crescent rolls.  No, it’s not organic and no, it’s not paleo, but yes, it is classic Thanksgiving.

Step 1 :: Get the turkey in the oven.
On Thanksgiving day, several hours before you wish to eat, remove the turkey from the brine.  Set it on your roasting rack in a roasting pan and pat it dry with paper towels.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Stuff your turkey with the same aromatics you brined it with (don’t reuse the ones from the brine, use fresh ones) – a head of garlic, sliced lengthwise; a quartered lemon; a quartered onion; and sprigs of fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme.  Melt a stick of butter over low heat and drop in some more sprigs of fresh sage.  Brush your turkey with the butter, cover the turkey tightly with foil, and set it in the oven to roast.  The general rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F, but you should check your individual turkey’s package instructions.  Also, I highly recommend the use of an oven-safe meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast of the bird, not touching the bone, to keep track of the turkey’s progress.  About once per hour, brush the turkey with the melted sage butter.  During the last half hour, remove the foil so that the skin gets crispy and brown.

Stuff It!

Step 2 :: Make the Cranberry Orange Relish.
If you haven’t already, that is.  You can make this the day before and it will just taste more fantastico on the day of.

Step 3 :: An hour and a half before dinner…
Peel the potatoes to make Parmesan Smashed Potatoes.  Cover with cold water and set on the stove over medium heat.  Follow the recipe from there.  These keep warm very well if they finish early.

Step 4 :: An hour before dinner…
Make your classic green bean casserole.

Step 5 :: A half hour before dinner…
Pop the green bean casserole into the oven.  Roll up some crescent rolls and put those in the oven 15 minutes later.  Make the stuffing.  Dump some corn into a small saucepan and warm over low heat with a pat of butter on top.  Finish the potatoes.  Make sauces and warm gravies.  Keep everything warm until go-time.

Step 6 :: Get that turkey out!
Bring out the turkey and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Then carve it and plate it on a platter for serving.

Step 7 :: SIT DOWN AND EAT.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with all the people you love most.

And I hope you come back after because I have the sluttiest idea for leftovers ever…… 😊

THANKSGIVING !! Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

I may lose my foodie card today, because I have to tell you that there is one food I have yet to master on a consistent basis – and that is mashed potatoes.

Most of the time when I make mashed potatoes, they are just ok.  They aren’t terrible, but they don’t knock your socks off either.  Sometimes I make mashed potatoes and they are pretty damn good.  But for whatever reason, no matter how hard I try, I can never quite duplicate those results.  Mashed potatoes are my forever work in progress.  But there IS one potato dish that I can make consistently well, no matter what, and that’s these Parmesan smashed potatoes.

I don’t even remember where this recipe came from, but every single time I make it, they come out perfectly.  And since we are calling them “smashed”, I don’t have to worry about that perfect, chunkless, silky-smooth consistency that characterizes mashed potatoes.  Nope.  Chunks are okay in smashed potatoes.  Totes ok.

But I must share a little tip with you that I learned the hard way…. DO NOT USE A HAND MIXER TO MAKE THESE.

Why?  Well for one, you’re not making mashed potatoes, remember – you’re making smashed potatoes.  So you must smash them.  With a potato smasher.  A hand-held (s)masher like this one.  No hand-mixers.  Nothing that you’re plugging into the wall.  You’re doing this by hand.  It’ll be your arm workout for the day.  You get to eat an extra helping of them because you’ll be in such a carb deficit after smashing these by hand.

Ok you get it right?  No hand-mixers.  Oh and why #2 is because you are never ever ever EVER supposed to use hand-mixers on red potatoes.  I can’t explain it scientifically but I can say from experience that a hand-mixer will ruin red potatoes.  If you feel like eating potatoes of a matte, soupy, gluey, porridge-like consistency, then have at it, but I highly recommend against it.  It’s pretty gross.  Scientifically, it has something to do with the wax content or something.  Idk.  I don’t care.  Google it if you care.  But you shouldn’t, because all you have to do is not use a hand-mixer and you’ll have good potatoes, which is what you really care about right now.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

If you follow the directions and proportions exactly, these potatoes will turn out creamy, dreamy, silky, sweet, and delicious.  Good luck friends!

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients
3 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Boil potatoes until tender and drain. I know this is a generic direction, but I have found over the years that I can never nail down a time limit for boiling potatoes. I rely on the fork test for doneness – draw a large chunk of potato out of the water with a large spoon, and stab the potato in the center with a fork, and lift it off the spoon. If the potato slides off the fork easily, they are done. If the potato sticks to the fork, it needs more time. Just babysit them, or rely on someone else’s directions for how long to boil potatoes. I can’t tell you how many recipes I see “boil 10-12 minutes and drain”, and there are times when 10 minutes is too long and there are times when 12 minutes is not enough. Thus, I rely on the fork test. Ok end rant and sorry.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, combine butter and milk in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat until butter melts. Return potatoes to the pot, then pour in half of the butter/milk mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Smash with a hand masher. If needed, add the rest of the butter/milk mixture to get the potatoes moist enough, and mash again. Taste for seasonings, and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Mash until you’ve reached your desired consistency (more chunks or less chunks, up to you).

3. Add sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Fold in with a spatula, or use your masher to mix them in well. Taste for seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

THANKSGIVING !! Cranberry Orange Relish

It is finally here – it is finally upon us – one of my most favorite food holidays of the year! – THANKSGIVING.

Thanksgiving wasn’t always one of my favorite food holidays of the year.  There was a time once when I couldn’t have cared less about turkey, it was really just another day off where I got to sleep in and drive all over southeastern PA to spend portions of my day with different family members.  Which sounds like hell when I think about it now.  But then I started making a big Thanksgiving dinner myself, and I started to really love it.

If you’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving feast before, it can be pretty damn intimidating.  THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO.  I’ll admit, I’ve got a system down that I’ve developed over the years, and it typically ends up being a nice leisurely day until about an hour before we eat and I’m rushing around like a madwoman, cursing my small kitchen, wondering how I ever thought I could get it all on the table warm at the same time, ticked that I didn’t splurge for double ovens when I remodeled my kitchen 9 years ago (double ovens which will almost certainly be a must-have in my new house next year).  But nonetheless – every year there is that mad rush right before eating, and every year it turns out good and delicious.

I realize now I’ve made it sound bad but I promise it’s not.  It’s not that bad.  I’m just being dramatic.  I’m sure it’s even less bad if you have a kitchen bigger than my wingspan.

So let’s start with some easy stuff first.  Cranberry orange relish.  Why oh why would you buy that cranberry jell-o instead of making this?  This takes almost no effort at all.  All you need is a blender!

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of cranberry sauce, but I find this tasty; and those that DO like cranberry sauce find this stuff excellent.  I’m relying on their authority here.

My husband’s mother used to make something like this every year before she passed away, and when I discovered this recipe and made it for the first time, he was so excited that I was able to find something like what she made.  I make it every year and serve it in one of her crystal bowls.

The absolute best thing about this stuff is you can make it up to a day in advance.  Just blend it up and pour it into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Cross this off your to-do list early, and you will feel more accomplished heading into the Main Event.  Stay tuned for more recipes and advice over the next couple of weeks to help you plan your big feast!!

Cranberry Orange Relish

Ingredients
12oz bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 whole orange, cut into small wedges (peel included)
1/4 cup orange liqueur, like Grand Marnier

Directions
Pour half of the cranberries, half of the sugar, and half of the orange into the blender, and bland until combined well. Add in the rest of the cranberries, sugar, and orange, and blend until combined well. You are looking for a thick-ish consistency, like salsa. You may need to stop the blender and push the contents down several times before it takes and starts getting smooth. Add liqueur and blend one last time to combine. Pour into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

MEMORIAL DAY !! Cheeseburgers

HEY!  HI GUYS!  How are you?!

It’s Friday and I just got the most amazing news and it’s a three-day weekend and I’m about to go party after work to celebrate the aforementioned amazing news and really THE ONLY thing that could make me happier is having one of these babies staring back at me.  👆👆👆

But I just ate one last night.  I know, you’re jealous.

I know you want to know what my amazing news is and I would be ecstatic to tell you but it’s probably not right that I do.  So let’s just suffice it to say that – you know how I’ve been complaining about work a lot lately?  I think that will be going away in the future.  I think the future looks pretty bright for me and my coworkers at work and all of us are ecstatic with this news and have been waiting for something like this for a long time.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk cheeseburgers.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Cristin, a cheeseburger is a cheeseburger.  Why do you need a blog entry about it?”

Because, my friends.  You have to know that the girl who owns a blog called Slutty Food Blog doesn’t make just any kind of cheeseburgers.  You have to know we make slutty cheeseburgers in our house.

The path to Sluttastic Cheeseburger Heaven is composed of three essentials.  The Three Essentials of Sluttastic Cheeseburger Heaven are:

1.  Good beef.

Good beef

(That you grind yourself, if possible.  Or, ask your butcher to grind a chuck roast for you.  Whole Foods will do this happily for you.)

Good beef in a bowl

2.  A cast iron skillet.

Cast iron skillet

(Trust me.  Juicy burgers come out of this thing.  If you don’t already have a cast iron skillet, it is absolutely worth investing in one.  LOOK AT THAT JUICE.  Fat = juice.  Juicy burgers do not come from 90/10 ground beef unless you put a pat of butter inside the patty before grilling it.  Anyway this is way better.)

Juicy burgers

3.  Good buns.

Good buns

(You know you don’t want none unless you got buns hun.  I get these at Whole Foods, and once in a while they are out of them, so when I see them, I usually grab 2-3 packages and freeze extras for later use.  These are the best burger buns I have found to date.)

So now you have the three essentials, and all you need is the recipe, found below.  But let me just say.  Even once you pile on all the delicious toppings, you will still take a bite into that burger and note how juicy it is, how salty and succulent, how tender and delicious it is.  Once in a while I get a hankering for a grilled burger, but I mostly prefer burgers in the skillet.  They are so much more juicy and flavorful.

But – let’s say you don’t have a cast iron skillet.  Or let’s say the weather is beautiful and you just want to cook some burgers on the grill out back on the deck and hang out with your friends.  Go for it dude.  Ain’t no shame in yo game.  I respect the grill.  If you’ve got ground chuck and these French brioche buns, you are 2/3 of the way to Sluttastic Cheeseburger Heaven.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!  Have a safe weekend with your family and friends – and food!!

Cheeseburgers
Serves: 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck – either a chuck roast you’ve ground yourself, or that you’ve asked the butcher to grind fresh for you
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced into thick slices
4 leaves green leaf lettuce, curly lettuce pieces only (spine of the leaf removed)
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
4 French brioche hamburger buns
Your favorite sliced pickles
Your favorite condiments – ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce
Your favorite sliced cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions
1. Put your ground beef in a bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine the meat and mix well to distribute the salt and pepper. Form into four equal patties.

2. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add burgers gently, one at a time, and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until done to your liking. When the burgers are done, turn the heat off and remove the skillet from the heat. Put a slice of cheese on each burger, and cover with a lid to let the cheese melt.

3. While the cheese is melting, prepare each burger bun as desired. Spread with desired condiments and top with desired toppings. When the cheese has melted, add the burger to the sandwich and chow down!