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How-to: Fry chicken

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I couldn’t wait to post this how-to on frying chicken.  I know a lot of people don’t like to fry chicken. I get it,  the mess, the grease, what  to do with the grease. How do I know the chicken is done?  Did I season it well enough?   This post will answer all those questions and more so I […]

How to: make confectioners sugar

Call it what you like-confectioners sugar, icing sugar or powdered sugar, today I am here to tell you that you can make your own.  That you will never again have to purchase it unless of course you want to. I myself intend to never buy the stuff again.  Don’t worry we won’t be putting anyone out of work by making our own confectioners sugar. But you will discover how convenient it is to make your own because it starts out with one ingredient that most of us always have in our homes-sugar. Yes, plain old granulated pure cane sugar.  Better still the sugar is the only ingredient you will need for this.

 I came to make my own confectioners sugar by accident.  I always knew that it could be easily made but I never thought to do so as I always picked up a box or bag when I purchased sugar as they are conveniently located near each other.  As any baker knows when you do a lot of baking chances are at some point you will need confectioners sugar for icing, frosting and even just dusting a thin coat over a quick bread or single layer cake.

A couple of weeks ago after I had finished the monkey bread I found I had no confectioners sugar for the maple cream cheese frosting.  I did not feel like taking a trek to the store so I figured I’d finally go ahead and make my own.  I can’t believe how silly I was to have never done this before.  And I call myself a baker.  It’s as simple as this: put sugar in a blender and blend away.  That’s it.  I used my handy immersion blender only because I was making just a little for the icing.  If making a large batch I suggest using the blender it’s much easier.

Though no directions are needed I will provide them.  You’ll find this will be so handy come holiday baking time.  You can thank me then, with say a batch or two of your favorite home-baked cookies.

XO Kat

Confectioners sugar

Directions:  Place 1-3 cups granulated sugar in a blender.  Pulse or blend on high until sugar turns to a fine powder.  Stop blender and using a spoon scoop out a tiny bit and taste, if it is still grainy continue to pulse or blend until a smooth powder.  Store in an airtight container.

Note:  to help as a thickening agent and to prevent clumping , especially if you are using for icing or glazes, add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch for each cup of sugar.

how-to: roast garlic

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One of the worst food crimes I ever committed was purchasing a jar of prepared roasted garlic.  The taste was so bad that for years I wrinkled my nose at any food or recipe  that contained roasted garlic.   I was doomed to forever associate how it should taste with that awful store-bought jar.   Which really would have been a shame.   Thankfully I got a taste of what true roasted garlic should taste like and also learned how easy it is to make at home.

If you like garlic sautéed and mixed into soups, stews and sauces, you will love it even more in its roasted form.  Roasting garlic gives it a nice heady aroma but mellows out it’s flavor so that you can actually eat it as is with no further preparation.  It becomes so mild and soft that the  roasted cloves can be turned into a spread and eaten with only a slice of crusty bread to accompany.  You can mix roasted garlic into pasta sauce to give your spaghetti and meatballs a bump in flavor.  It also goes well mixed into mashed potatoes, rubbed onto a cooked steak even mixed into vinaigrettes.  The possibilities are endless. 

So don’t be like me and deprive yourself of this wonderful taste any longer, grab some garlic and roast it today.

A few things: I only roasted one head of garlic because that’s all I needed.  I could have easily packed 2 or 3 more heads into my dish and roasted a bunch and stored the leftovers in a jar in the fridge.   If you don’t have a shallow dish, no worries, you can wrap individual heads in foil and roast on a baking sheet. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Have handy a small oven proof shallow baking dish or aluminum foil is fine.  You will need one or more heads of garlic, with any loose skin peeled away, but leave the head whole and intact, olive oil and kosher salt. 

 Carefully chop off 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves.  The top is the part without the root.  Do this with all the heads if you use more than one.  If you are using the baking dish, put the head of garlic in it and drizzle with olive oil ( a few tablespoons), sprinkle with a little kosher salt and cover the entire dish tightly with foil.  If you use foil-have a piece large enough to wrap one head, place the garlic on the foil, drizzle with the oil and kosher salt, then wrap the head up by gathering the foil sides together and twisting to make a long twist it will be easier to open this way and the oil will not spill out. Wrap all heads this way if you are doing more than one and place on a baking sheet.

 

Set the baking dish (or baking sheet with the foil wrapped garlic) into the preheated oven and cook about 35-40 minutes.  Remove the garlic from the oven, it should be nicely browned and soft, let cool before you squeeze out the flesh.  Use immediately or put into air tight container(cover with more oil) and store in fridge up to a week.

 

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