Friday, November 21, 2008

Mix and Match

Many of us have that one or two things that we'd just jump into it - no matter what. For example Vik, it can be snowing or scorching hot outside, but if you have soccer ball and enough guys to play a game. He'd be out within seconds. He is in that certain pool of people who would go golfing in 5 layers of clothing - to get the last game before the grass frost over. Or, my very best friend who loves to sing and she'd sign up to all sorta singing contest - just for the heck of it. The one that you really would hate to go to karaoke with, because it's all her songs!! Or it can be your song but she is the one who sings it.

Me, house renovating and cooking. Cooking. Not baking. Yet, two weeks ago when being asked if I am willing to 'help' out with holiday food drive, by baking some cookies. I said YES YES I WILL! No further questions asked - was not very smart, huh? I just have soft spot on that kinda thing. Never mind that I have my own baking plans for the holiday already. After quick tally up, in total, I will be baking about 150 dozens of cookies. Cookies baking is not big deal, so it's not like I am whining. Bread and cake is not my strongest suit. What I did not take into calculation is that .... lack of space!! Time, I can make time - though with 1.5 full time job and I do have life outside job, ya know - it gets crazy sometimes :) Still, I can do my work anywhere I want and cream-ing butter and sugar while reviewing specs - is entirely doable.

Space....we borrow friends' fridge. Yeah. And I don't do any fancy shaped cookies. My mom was horrified when I told her about sliced and dropped cookies. Eh, in her glorious days of running a bakery - sure she was a career woman and has another full time job as well, but there were always 5 girls working the ovens, shaping, molding, finishing, etc. My aunts and grandma on dough mixing. Mom came from her job and do super thorough checking. No crooked edges cookies. Checklist and what not.

Do you see any other pair of hands around here?! :) Truth is, she thinks I am crazy. In cute way. It's not that I don't want to ask some girl friends over for help. But the only way I can manage in winging these baking frenzy is that I do it in random times. I simply can't put away 4 solid hours.

Anyhoo, so I dig out this cheat sheet and thought to share it here. Up til now, I have about 50 dozens worth of cookies dough all packed up in freezer. I am a little bit nervous for the baking day (s) though. Gotta borrow some baking pans too. Maybe then I have to call up couple friends.

This spritz cookies is not even in 'the list.' My overachiever personality seems to take over last week and so I whipped up small batch of this. One of those breezy easy cookies yet just the right kind for dunking to tea and coffee.

- 250 gr unsatled butter, room temperature
- 175 gr sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 350 gr flour, sift with 1/4 tsp salt

- Cream butter until fluffly and pale. Add sugar and continue beating to smoother texture.
- Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract on low speed just until blended.
- Add flour-salt mixture to butter mixture, and stir with wooden spoon just until blended.
- Spritz using either cookie press or cone with star tips.
- Bake in the 375 oven for about 8-10 minutes.

Couple tips: Make sure baking sheets are cool - or dough tends to slip off when lifting cookie press/ cone on warm sheets. If dough starts to feel warm, put in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Oh and I only made half of the recipe, and comes up with about 2 dozens.

Thanksgiving Stuffed Turkey

This stuffed turkey has been a sitting duck (sitting turkey) in my draft for oh...1 month?! So before holiday season is over and next thing I know it's 2009, I thought to combine these posts together. It was fairly small Thanksgiving dinner - so I opted for stuffed turkey breast. Quick, easy and never had any leftover - while if it's whole turkey, I may have to make turkey sandwich, salad, chili, etc with the leftover.

The 'out from the oven' photo is not so great - it was 7.30 pm and I had to take it to the table quick. So it was literally point and shoot under my poor kitchen lighting.

- 1 turkey boneless turkey breast, lightly pound to flatten it up.
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Stuffing is the combination of these (adjust ratio to own liking)
- red onion
- garlic
- wild mushrooms
- celery
- carrots
- sun dried tomatoes
- olives
- almonds
- rosemary, finely chopped

- Marinate the turkey the night before in ziploc bag. Toss in olive oil, bay leaf, garlic and 2 sprigs of rosemary. Give it a good 'massage.'
- Cook the stuffing in olive oil.
- Assemble by placing the turkey breast, skin side down. Spread stuffing and leave about 1/2 - 1" border all around. Gently roll up - try to somewhat tighten up while rolling.
- The better way of doing it is using kitchen strings - which I completely truly absolutely sure I got in my kitchen drawer. But it's nowhere to be found. Since it's not exactly gigantic, toothpick works just fine. Secure the seam with toothpick.
- Place rolled up turkey breast on roasting pan. I use few skinny farmers market carrots as rack for it so that all the drippings would drip better. Also, it gives space underneath the rolls to brown up nicely, instead of creating icky mess. Tuck in sprig of rosemary under the skin. Brush top with some garlic infused melted butter. (Whacked garlic and let it sit in melted butter)
- Bake in preheated 375 oven for about 40 minutes - depending on thickness of breast. Using meat thermometer is of course recommended. But I just prick it with satay skewer and once the juice runs clear - it's done.
- I make simple gravy with the drippings and chopped up shallots.


Alexa said...

The cookies and turkey rolls look great! I have never made this type of cookies. I always shy away from the recipes I saw because it always looked complicated to me. I am getting more adventurous with my baking lately. :-)

Adam said...

Ever wonder how just about anything is better when it's rolled up? I love stuffed proteins, and this looks awesome. I hope you don't have too much house craziness and work going on :)

The Mediocre Cook said...

Your turkey photo looks great compared to my thanksgiving photo fest. I really like the idea of a stuffed turkey breast instead of a whole turkey... I might have to try that sometime.

The quick cookies look good but I am amazed that you took on the task of baking so many cookies. I struggle with one batch let alone 150! Excellent job!

Esi said...

These cookies look so good! Good luck with all of the baking you have planned. I don't know if I could do that much myself!

Elra said...

Hi Cecil,
Your turkey look really delicious.

150 cookies? awww that's a lot of baking. I am impress!

noobcook said...

omg the turkey looks amazing. I love the festive baking you are doing now :)

tigerfish said...

The stuffed turkey looks good! And the cookie looks like those butter cookie I get in those Danish butter cookie tin ;p

Mochachocolata Rita said...

oh wow...can i have some of the frozen cookie batter hehehe

i do hv a friend who can sing all kinds of various languages: english, cantonese, mandarin, japanese...oh yes...she is our walking, living and breathing iTunes, iPod, iSing! when we go to karaoke, it's like attending her concert hehehe. Luckily, she sings really really well...imagine if this friend is an out of tuner T_T

Cynthia said...

I'm sure your friends would love to come over, bring some pans and help you with the baking.

Stuffed turkey is yummy.

Kevin said...

That stuffed turkey looks really tasty!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Your turkey looks sooooooooo delicious and so do your cookies. I would dunk one in my tea right now!