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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

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We posted our Shrimp Scampi recipe back in January. We got the recipe from Allen's Mom who first made it for us some years back and we loved it! It is so delicious. It is our go to scampi recipe and we made it tonight. We just added a little more butter this time.

Shrimp Scampi close-up - yummy!
Here is the Shrimp Scampi recipe:
http://twofrys.blogspot.com/2011/01/shrimp-scampi-jasmine-rice.html.

Jasmine Rice
We made Jasmine Rice in our rice cooker. There is no better way to get perfect rice ever time and the rice cooker does all the work.

-Sophia & Allen/Two Frys

Red Velvet Snowball Cake

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Red Velvet Snowball Cake
Last year, I made this cake but I used dark chocolate and not enough red coloring so I didn't achieve the standard red velvet color. This year, I made it on New Year's Eve and finally hit a home run with this cake. I followed the recipe as is and was so pleased with the results. I first came across this recipe from Redbook Magazine, December 2009 issue and thought it was so beautiful. I make alot of Ina Garten's Coconut Cake throughout the year as is and this reminds me of that from the outside. The red velvet color and taste of the cake is almost perfection. The recipe divides each cake layer in half making 4 layers, but I kept my cake a two-layer one.

Red Velvet Snowball Cake - just sublime!
I found the recipe online on Redbook's site so I hope you will consider trying this Red Velvet Snowball Cake:
http://www.redbookmag.com/recipefinder/red-velvet-snowball-cake-recipe

Allen and I really enjoyed the taste of the cake which was rich but not heavy. My Mom and one of her friends loved it too. I think this cake is one of my best tasting cakes. If you make it, you will not be disappointed.

Red Velvet Snowball Cake being gobbled up.
Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Dinner

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Every Christmas my better half likes to cook a feast for us providing an abundance of leftovers for days. This year, I contributed one dish - my Sour Cream Chives Mashed Potatoes. Hubby made Spiral Sliced Honey Ham, Cornbread Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole and Mushroom Gravy.

Spiral Sliced Honey Ham with Pineapples

Sliced Pineapples were added to the Spiral Sliced Honey Ham in the last 30 minutes for added flavor that complimented the glaze. The pineapples did not lose their texture and had a smokey flavor from the Ham.

The Cornbread Stuffing was different this year by adding Mushrooms to the recipe.

Cornbread Stuffing with Mushrooms
I made Sour Cream Chives Mashed Potatoes and they were divine, so rich and creamy. Here is the recipe:  
Sour Cream Chives Mashed Potatoes
 Ingredients:
3 pounds Potatoes

3 Tablespoons Chives

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups Milk

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Kosher Salt

Chop Chives and set aside for now.

Peel and cut Potatoes in half and then in 3-4 sections. Place Potatoes in a large pot with cold water and add Kosher Salt. Bring Potatoes to a boil on medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 12-13 minutes. Make sure Potatoes are fork tender.

In a small saucepan, heat Milk and Butter until Butter melts and it is hot. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat until Potatoes are cooked.

When Potatoes are cooked, drain in colander and return to pot or a large bowl and mash the Potatoes with a masher or use a food mill if you have one. Slowly add Butter/Milk mixture and stir with a spatula. Keep adding enough until it has a creamy texture.

Add 2 Teaspoons of Kosher Salt, Sour Cream, and Chives and blend together well. Taste and add more salt if you wish.

Green Bean Casserole with Loeb's Onion Crunch
The Green Bean Casserole was so delicious and baked with Loeb's Onion Crunch. Once the casserole was out of the oven, we sprinkled more Loeb's Onion Crunch which added a great depth of flavor and a crunchy texture that we loved. This product tastes so much better than other brands we have tried in the past. I recommend this product wholeheartedly and will be sprinkling the rest on salad, burgers and hotdogs. I love the size of the container since it is 12 oz so you can use it for several meals. You can purchase Loeb's Onion Crunch at http://www.onioncrunch.com/ and tell them you heard about them from Two Fry's.

Mushroom Gravy
For the Gravy, we added Mushrooms since we love them so much and had a ton we had to use while they were fresh. Try this next time you make Gravy.

-Sophia and Allen/Two Frys

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Cookies

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Holiday Cookies 

Spritz, Red Velvet Swirls, Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
This year, I made triple the amount of cookies from last Christmas. I have no idea why but it happened. I wanted to try some new recipes other than sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies so I also made red velvet swirls, coconut chocolate chip cookies and holiday spritz cookies. I wish I started a day earlier since this took so much time in my small kitchen. I do not have a lot of counter space so baking of this magnitude was quite a challenge. I had to clear both of my counter tops in order to have enough space to decorate the cookies. It was back breaking at times but a lot of fun though. It is great giving away cookies to your loved ones so if you can you should try baking some for your friends and family. They will be very glad you did and they are very tasty too.

December 22nd:
I have a Cuisinart Electric Cookie Press and made Holiday Spritz Cookies for the first time. I used the recipe in Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking Magazine, 2011, pgs. 26-27. These spritz cookies were delicious. I just need to get a hang of the cookie press but I did OK for my first try. Next year, I will tint the dough and make them in multiple colors and use more designs.

Holiday Spritz Cookies
My original plan was to make Red Velvet Pinwheel Cookies but the temperature outside was so hot (in NYC this time of year-what?) so I had problems working with the dough. To make the best of out my situation, I ended up making two variations of Red Velvet Swirls just playing with the dough as best as I could. The recipe for red velvet pinwheel cookies is from Pillsbury Best Holiday Desserts Magazine #72, pgs. 59-60. If like me you have never made pinwheel cookies, Google "a how to" video for tips. These cookies are very chewy and soft with a cake like texture and real yummy.

Red Velvet Swirls
My favorite cookie of all the ones I baked were these Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am just so in love with coconut so maybe that is the reason why. The recipe I used is from Taste of Home Cookies Cookbook, pg. 55. These cookies are delectable.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
December 23rd:
I am not an artist so I worked slow and did my best to make the Sugar Cookies pretty. I doubled the Sugar Cookies recipe from the batch I made the week prior. You can find the recipe here: http://twofrys.blogspot.com/2011/12/holiday-cookies.html. I used small and large snowflakes, two different Christmas trees, star, snowman, heart and round cutouts.

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Large Snowflake Sugar Cookies
I used Wilton and Betty Crocker Decorating Icing in several colors, but was unable to find any in white and was desperate so I made some. Next year, I will make sure I stock up on these much earlier or plan my ingredients ahead of time and make my own icing.

Here is the Decorating Icing recipe:

Ingredients:
1 Egg White

3 ½ Cups Confectioners Sugar

1 Teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

3 Tablespoons Water

Christmas Trees Sugar Cookies

Stars, Christmas Trees, Snowflakes Sugar Cookies
Beat Egg White in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed for several minutes until foamy.

Gradually add Confectioners Sugar, Almond Extract and Water. Continue beating until smooth and glossy.

Decorate cookies using icing in pastry bag. Allow icing to dry before stacking them together or putting them in cookie gift tins or bags.
 
Snowmen Sugar Cookies

Lots of Sugar Cookies
For the Gingerbread Boys & Girls, I used Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix.

Gingerbread Boys & Girls
Here is the Gingerbread recipe:
Ingredients:
1 Stick Butter

1 Extra Large Egg

1 Tablespoon Water

Stir Gingerbread Mix, Softened Butter, Egg and Water in a large bowl until a soft dough forms.

Form dough into a large ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour to 1 hour.

More Gingerbreads
Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin to prevent dough from sticking. Use your Gingerbread cutters and continue to flour surface and rolling pin as needed. I used a silicon mat to roll the dough and do the cutouts and it worked great. If dough starts sticking, place in refrigerator for ½ hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the Gingerbread cutouts 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-11 minutes.

Cool for 2-3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Do not wait longer or they make stick to the cookie sheets. I know, I broke about 4 of them.

Cool completely for about 1 hour before decorating.

Hearts Sugar Cookies
Some tips from personal experience:
Before starting a recipe, be sure to have all your ingredients measured ahead of time. It is not fun running to the supermarket in the wee hours of the night.

Gels and cake/cupcake Frosting does not work well with Sugar Cookies. They do not harden up like Decorating Icing. If you have to stack or package cookies, do not use Gels or Frosting.

To make sure decorating sugars, sprinkles, etc. stick to your Spritz Cookies use a spray bottle filled with water, and gently spray and add your decorations.

To decorate Sugar Cookies, use artist brushes to flood the cookies and toothpicks to help you with decorations. I got 24 artist brushes for .99 cents at my local dollar store.

To soften butter, place in the microwave for 5-15 seconds. Start with 5 seconds then check it and continue to microwave 5 seconds at a time until butter is soft. Allow to cool before adding to recipe.

When you fill a pastry bag or clear storage bag, keep a clip on the tip so the icing does not run out and make a mess all over the darn place.

Ornament Sugar Cookies
When you cut out the tip of the pastry bag be sure to make it small otherwise decorating will be a pain in the ass.

When working with dough, always refrigerate for ½ hour to an 1 hour to make it easy to do cutouts.

Decorating Icing dries up quickly so add your decorations ASAP and then let the cookies dry completely before stacking or packing them in gift tins. My Gingerbreads dried so fast I was unable to add any decorations. Do one at a time.

Place parchment paper or paper towels under cooling racks so they catch your decorating mess and do not stain your counter tops or table.

Try to have many cookie sheets because you have to let them cool completely before putting them back in the oven with more cookies.

Lastly, do not eat all the cookies that break at once. Place them in a cookie jar. There is no need to give yourself a tummy ache and be in a sugar coma when you have so much to do.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Cookies

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Cookie Baking set up. Ready. Set. Go.
Last Sunday, I baked holiday cookies. I have lots more baking to do but this was the first batch and most were mailed to Cali to hubby's parents, some for us and for a gift. For the Gingerbread Cookies, I used Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix and followed the package directions and added 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

Sugar Cookies
For the Sugar Cookies, I used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. Recipe follows.

Sugar Cookies. Allen did all the Christmas Trees!
Sugar Cookies ingredients:
2 (17.5) packages Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix

2 Extra Large Eggs, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2/3 cups butter, softened

2 teaspoons whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Oops blurry, Snowmen, Snowflakes and 3 Gingerbreads
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together cookie mix, flour, eggs, butter, milk and vanilla until a stiff dough forms.

On a floured surface, take dough and form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer until it hardens up and becomes easy to work with. In the meantime, take a rolling pin and rub flour all over it.

Once the dough hardens up roll dough to desired thickness and use your cookie cutters to make shapes.

Place cookies in ungreased cookie sheets and space them far enough so they don't end up stuck together.

Gingerbreads we both did together.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Place parchment paper under your wire racks so when you decorate you won't make a mess.

More Gingerbreads we decorated.
Cool cookies in pans for a few minutes and then remove them and place on wire racks and cool completely (about 1 hour). After the cookies are cooled, enjoy decorating them with royal icing and your sanding sugars, sparkles, etc.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays - Help City Harvest

Pin It Help Others during the holidays (and year round) in NYC - Support City Harvest NYC

City Harvest needs all of us to help them save food for the hungry!

Serving New York City for more than 25 years, City Harvest is the world's first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city's hungry men, women, and children.This year, City Harvest will collect more than 30 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to nearly 600 community food programs throughout New York City using a fleet of trucks and bikes as well as volunteers on foot.

Each week, City Harvest helps over 300,000 hungry New Yorkers find their next meal.The most needed foods are:
■canned fruit
■canned vegetables
■peanut butter (plastic jars)
■mac and cheese (packaged)
■hot and cold cereal (packaged, family-sized)
 
Online Information:
http://www.cityharvest.org/

Online Donations:
http://www.cityharvest.org/donate-funds/
 
A little bit can go a long way this holiday and anytime.
 
Happy Holidays from The Two Frys Foodie Blog.
 
-Allen/Two Frys

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pecan Pie

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Pecan Pie - golden and so delicious.
I made this Pecan Pie yesterday and it was my first one and came out great. It was so easy too. I used the recipe from Pillsbury Best Holiday Desserts magazine I subscribe to (p.11-12). You gotta try it.

Ingredients:

1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.

1/3 cup packed brown sugar.

1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour.

1 1/4 cups light corn syrup.

1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

3 large eggs.

1 1/2 cups pecan halves or pieces.

2 tablespoons butter.

Instructions:

Let Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust come to room temperature for 15 minutes and then place into glass pie baking dish and press sides and bottom firmly. Use the edge of a fork around the crust.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter on stove top or microwave and let it cool. If you use a microwave it will melt in 30 seconds on medium-high setting.

In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, corn syrup, vanilla extract and eggs until well blended.

Using a spatula, stir in pecans and butter and fold together.

Pour into pie shell. Place pie dish onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (mine took 50 minutes) until the filling has puffed up and the pie is golden brown. I started checking mine at the 40 minute mark and kept checking it every 5 minutes until it was done.

Place pie on cooling rack and let it cool completely for 2 hours and then refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before you serve it.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Pie
For Thanksgiving, I made this Pumpkin Pie recipe to take to my Mom's dinner and everyone loved it. Today I made one because I was in the mood for some. I used the Libby's recipe that has been on their pumpkin can labels since 1950 but added nutmeg to mine.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar.

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

2 large eggs.

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S 100% Pure Pumpkin.

1 can (12 oz.) NESTLE CARNATION evaporated milk.

1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust and an extra one if you are decorating with pie cut outs.

Instructions:
Let Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust come to room temperature for 15 minutes and then place into glass pie baking dish and press sides and bottom firmly. Use the edge of a fork around the crust.

If you have pie cut outs, brush them with a little egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Place them in a baking sheet and put aside for now.

In a bowl add sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and combine. Put aside for now.

In a large bowl, beat eggs for just a minute or two and then add pumpkin and mix together for another minute. Add sugar-spice concoction and mix together for another minute. Gradually add evaporated milk as you mix until combined.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake pumpkin pie in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. If you have cut outs, place them in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes on a baking sheet until the crust is golden brown and remove and let them cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour. After the first 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake pumpkin pie for another 40 to 55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took 55 minutes so watch it closely once you get to the 40 minute mark.

Cool pumpkin pie on a wire rack for 2 hours. If you have cut outs place them on pumpkin pie after the pie has cooled for 20 minutes. Refrigerate pie after 2 hours or serve. Enjoy with a dollop of whip cream with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice over it.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys