Monday, January 31, 2011

Roast Pheasent

Malfoy is feeling left out, but Harry would rather hang out with his friends, than accept the invitation to dine with Professor Slughorn aboard the Hogwarts Express, where Slughorn passes around pheasant to the select members of the 'Slug Club" (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chap. 7) (The unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)

Ahh roast pheasant...This dish dates back to the feudal times, and is still loved today. This recipe has very little ingredients which is good for the cook on a budget. You will love how simple this is, just chop up your vegetables, put in the chicken and pop it into the oven and viola! you have a dish that looks like it took a day of slaving over the stove. When in reality it just hung out in the oven for about a hour and a half. So put this baby in, set your timer, and sit back and relax.

Now, this was my first whole baby chicken I have ever cooked. This little person has only ever cooked with chicken breasts. Yes I said is shameful I know ;) but it is the truth, just plain ole chicken breast from the grocery store. So naturally this was a whole new experience for me. The recipe doesn't say what size chicken to buy, so I got a 5lb one so that it would be enough to feed the whole family. The great thing about this recipe is that it is great for anyone trying to watch their weight. It has very little fat, and has a lot of flavor, especially the vegetables in it! I have to be honest, this chicken looked so pretty I didn't what to cut it, but I was starving so I did so gladly. It was so tender and juicy! You have Got to try this one! Just make sure you have some time on your hands to do so.

My boyfriend decided to use the left overs the next day to make a chicken sandwich. So there you go, now you have lunch for the next day! We loved the fluffy mashed potatoes so much that we decided to make it again to go with it.
Roast pheasant and fluffy mashed potatoes
Okay, so I asked all of you (in the poll) what you would like to see more of, so I have decided to grant you that wish for APPETISERS! ;) So, weekend I will be making canapes, I have a feeling this will be interesting, so tune in with me. Happy cooking!

Harry Potter Trivia:  According to the movie, what was the first spell that harry potter knowingly cast?

Note: Don't forget to type your name with your answers into the comment box!
Roast Pheasant
1 onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves
1 pheasant (I used a 5 lb)
olive oil for brushing on the pheasant
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lay the onion slices in a roasting pan and scatter the celery, carrots, and garlic cloves on top.
2. Rinse the pheasant in cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the pheasant in the roasting pan, breast side up, wings tucked under. Brush the olive oil over the pheasant and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. Pour the water into the roasting pan.
3. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 45minutes, or until the juices run clear. (mine took about a hour and a half)
4. Remove the pheasant from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Note: the best way to check if it is done, is to pierce the breast with a knife and see if the juce is clear.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Knickerbocker Glory

"Dudley pretends to cry when he discovers that Harry will have to come along with him on his birthday trip. Aunt Petunia, fooled by his antics, assures Dudley that she won't let Harry spoil his special day. Little does she know! But before the day ends in disaster, Harry enjoys the Knickerbocker glory he has been allowed to finish when Dudley complains his doesn't have enough ice cream." The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.

For most of you (like me), probably do not know what Knickerbocker glory is. For all of those people, I will give you a bit of history on it. This is a good summertime, parfait-like treat that was first recorded in the United States in the 1930s, but instead of taking of here, it found its way across the ocean and became popular in England. How did it get it's curious name? some say from striped knickerbockers: the layers of ice cream, jelly, custard, fruit, and whipped cream look like striped knee breeches. Knickerbockers was also a term used to refer to New Yorkers, so this could be the origin as well. (courtesy, of The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook).

I was particularly excited to make this recipe upon first flipping through the cookbook. It seemed to be a very interesting desert. I was pretty excited because it was so different from anything else I had tried, since it contained custard, whipped cream, and ice cream that is all made by hand (with the exception of the ice cream). This recipe would be good a simple desert for a diner party or such, because of its beautiful presentation and ability to make ahead. The great thing about this is that most of it is made ahead, then you just basically combine it in layers in a pretty dish :)

To be totally honest, I would have to say that the desert had a really good flavor. The custard was soooo good. I have to admit that once I finished the custard, I was licking the spoon. Oh man, who can resist warm, creamy custard? Not me! The combination of the custard, ice cream, whipped cream, and fruit made a very creamy, and delicious treat. The jello in the desert gave the desert a nice twang, but a weird texture. Taking a bite of this creates a very different texture that shocked my palate at first. So, my first bite was a little shocking, from the contrast in texture, but the flavor was delicious. The flavor was so good, I almost made me another this morning, and I almost dipped back into the custard bowl again this evening as well. But considering me trying to watch my figure somewhat ;) I decided not to, but I make no promises for tomorrow.
                                                           I told you it was pretty ;)
Before I post the recipe, I want to let you all know that today I am giving you all your first Harry Potter trivia question. I will post a new question up every week along with the weekly recipe. At the end of the Harry Potter Project (when all of the recipes are made), the person with the most correct answers will receive their very own cookbook. Just simply post your answers into the comment box. If you do not have a google account, just select anonymous, and put your name into the comment box with your answer. So good Luck! I will see you all back here this weekend when I will be attempting to make Roast Pheasant! Happy Cooking!

Harry Potter Trivia Question: What were the names of Harry Potter's Parents?

Knickerbocker Glory
2 cups custard (recipe follows)
Whipped cream (recipe follows)
2 cups any flavor Jell-O (prepared in advance) (I happened to use strawberry)
Chopped toasted nuts, such as peanuts (I used pecans)
2 cups chopped fresh fruit (such as, peaches or berries. I used strawberries and blueberries)
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Chocolate syrup

1. Prepare the custard, whipped cream, and Jell-O in advance; Chop and toast the nuts ahead as well. (If you are new to toasting nuts as I, just simply heat your oven to 350 degrees F. and place your chopped nuts on a baking sheet and cook for just a few minutes, you do not want to brown them).

2. Wash and chop fruit into bite-size pieces.

3. Set out six tall sundae glasses. Divide 1/2 pint of the ice-cream into the bottom of the six glasses. Evenly divide 1 cup of the fruit into the glasses. Then evenly divide 1 cup of the Jell-O over the fruit and 1 cup of custard over the Jell-O. Repeat the layering once with the remaining ice cream, fruit, Jell-O, and custard.

4. Top with the whipped cream, toasted nuts, and chocolate syrup. (If you want to save time and do not wish to make the whipped cream, you can buy it, it does taste the same. Although, isn't everything better from scratch? It is fun to do together as a family as well).

1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the cornstarch and salt in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the milk and cream and stir until the cornstarch dissolves. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

2. Cook the milk mixture over medium-high heat until the mixture is just starting to bubble and thicken. reduce the heat to low. Temper the yolks by slowly pouring 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly. Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan, stirring constantly.

3. Turn the heat back up to medium-high. Cook, stirring constantly but gently, until the mixture is thick. Once the mixture starts to thicken, it must be handled gently or the cornstarch will lose its thickening power. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

4. Strain the custard through a sieve into another bowl. (you may need to push it through the sieve with a rubber spatula; this gets rid of lumps.) Cover the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and chill until it is set.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whip until firm peaks form and stay in place when you lift up the beater and turn the bowl upside down.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


(This soup is one of the nine recipes from the Goblet. When students from various places come to Hogwarts to compete in the tri-wizard tournament).

"Cock fighting is a cruel and abhorrent sport, but like it or not, it did take place in days of old (unfortunately also today in some parts of the world). After a fight, the Scots took the dead rooster and served it up to the sports lovers in a soup made with leeks, barley, and most unusual, prunes. This version includes rice but leaves out the prunes to create a full meal in one dish. If you want a more authentic dish, leave out the rice and add 2 cups pitted prunes to the soup a 1/2 hour before it finishes cooking." The unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Okay everyone, here is the awaited Cock-a-Leekie soup! Sorry I didn't post it Saturday night, but I was kind of set back by the dreaded "first of the month" bills, but after scavenging around for the ingredients, I am back with soup! Now that we are done with the apologies, I must say this was a really good soup! one thing I LOVE about this soup is the number of ingredients. This only calls for six ingredients! yes, I said six! and most of these six, I bet you already have in your kitchen. So this would be a perfect meal to have during the week. This was a super simple soup that packs great taste. In this recipe I did things a bit different than the book, in the chicken department, that is.

The recipe calls for 6 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry. I ended up using about a pound of chicken breast. Simply for the reason of already having this type of chicken already on hand. My chicken happened to be still frozen when I got home, so needless to say I was running it under hot water to thaw it while I prepared the onions and leeks. Well, I became a little flustered when I realized I had no paper towels to pat them dry, and I was going to have to sear it while wet and we know how that will end. At this point I grabbed a glass of wine and wished that I had of gone to the grocery store and bought the chicken thighs, while I quickly dropped the chicken into the sizzling pot.

Crack! Pop! Crack! is all I heard for about five minutes, not daring to go near it. We all know that water and oil do not get along with each other, the oil tries to throw the water out of its territory. I knew this would happen, but it was all I knew to do, is just let them battle it out. All the while my mom comes into the kitchen to spectate my chicken throw down while saying, "are you sure it is supposed to do that?" so with wine in hand, chicken in the pot popping and cracking, mom saying. "it needs to be turned down" and such. I was wondering if this should call for a proper meltdown....hmmm, right conditions, check! lots of noise, check! glass in hand, check! mom in background, check!...I think it might qualify. Well, just then, while I am standing back watching the chicken fuss, mom steps into the ring and shows the chicken who is boss! she cautiously approaches the stove and stretches out her hand, avoiding the evil chicken's wrath and turns down the eye. We all watched as the chicken eventually calms down.

Yay! one for mom! and zero for chicken! mom saves the day with a blow to the chicken, its K.O. for the chicken folks! After, the chicken show was over I cut up the semi-raw chicken into chunks so it would cook faster, and even though it was wet to start out with, it still browned a bit, so I was happy. Then I added the other ingredients just as the recipe directed. From then on out everything worked out fine. So, without my small little mishap, the soup turned out great and  very delicious. So, I recommend you try this recipe for the family, they will love this soup on a cold day. Just make sure you have your paper towels around so you can pat your  chicken DRY. Also, I know that I promised you guys Knickerbocker Glory for desert, and I am going to fulfill my promise. Tonight I am going to be making this desert and it will be posted by tomorrow evening. I hope you all enjoy this recipe. See you all here tomorrow! Happy cooking!
(this was taken with my phone, so I apologize for the size and clarity).
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1 med. onion, chopped
1 lb leeks, washed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups of water
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. heat 1 teaspoon oil in a wide pot. Add 3 of the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook on both sides until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate. Pour out the fat, wipe out the pot, and add another teaspoon of oil. Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.

2. Pour out the rest of the fat, wipe out the pot, and heat the remaining tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the water, rice, and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until chicken is tender. The rice will be completely soft and almost melted into the soup.

4. Remove the chicken from the soup. Using a wide spoon such as a serving spoon, skim the fat off the top of the soup. Remove the chicken meat from the skin and bones and chop into bite-size pieces; then return it to the soup. Season the soup with the salt and pepper. Yields: 8

(Note. if you use chicken breasts without the bone, as I did, you will not need to follow step four, with the exception of the salt and pepper).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Molly's Meatballs and Onion Sause With Hogwart's Fluffy Mashed Potatoes!

(At the Ministry of Magic on the morning of Harry's hearing, Mr. Weasley bumps into Kingsley Shacklebolt. They pretend not to know each other, but Mr. Weasley manages to whisper to him that Mrs. Weasley is serving meatballs for dinner should he wish to stop by (see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 7) from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook).

Okay, So last night I ventured into my first two recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and I must tell you it turned out great! Molly and those house elves sure do know their way around a kitchen! lol. Just so you know, I'm not a big fan of onions and this particular recipe cause for two whole onions, so naturally I was a little hesitant as well as excited about starting it. So I'm here to tell you, onion haters beware! this will turn you into a onion lover! this recipe is awesome! My whole family raved about these meatballs as well as the fluffy mashed potatoes. Upon reading this recipe, me being a garlic fan and all, last night I was like where is the garlic? surely there would be garlic in the meatballs! so I fought with myself last night, on whether I should add some form, any form, of garlic to the meatballs or mashed potatoes. So, me being a go to garlic person really struggled with this for about 3 minutes on whether I should add these things to the recipes, but needless to say I decided to trust molly.(you know, everyone has their go to item) I decided that throughout this recipe conquest I would follow the recipes the way that they are meant to be. So if it doesn't call for garlic, I will not put it in there ;) This way, I can truly tell you guys honestly what the recipe is like. Everyone must try this dish, the mashed potatoes are like those creamy ones that your grandma makes, you know the ones...the ones you can't ever seem to get enough of on thanksgiving. The meatballs with onion sauce has a sweet caramelized onion taste, it is really, really good. I encourage you all to try these two recipes and let me know what you think about them. It is funny, because my boyfriend over heard my mom telling my brother that it was the best tasting thing that I have ever made, lol. It was delicious, but she also hasn't had many of my meals before either ;) Both recipes were real simple to make. There was actually some drama going down at my house at the time, so I accidentally put the oil into the meatball mixture, so I just put a little oil into the pan and it turned out fine. This would be a good recipe to make during the week, also since it is easy and flavorful. i made mine with peas and carrots to go with my dish to complete it, but I 'm sure whatever you decide to add to yours will be great also. I will give you all the recipe down below. This is just one of those dishes that the whole family will love. Trust molly she knows what she is doing! Although, I am giving you all the recipes for you to try for yourselves, I strongly recommend you buy a copy of this awesome cookbook. It has food facts and tidbits as well as good recipes. Well, see you next week when I will be cooking Cock-a-Leekie (which is a soup) and Knickerbocker Glory! (a dessert) Happy Cooking!

(the green was my attempt at presentation lol)
1 lb. Extra-lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh or dry bread crumbs
1 Large egg
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoons oil

Onion Sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 14-ounce can chicken broth

1. For the meatballs, combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix throughly.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet. From the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, and working in batches, fry the balls on each side until well browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the meatballs to a dinner plate.
3. For the Onion Sauce, add 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and heat. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the flour, and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbling. Return the meatballs to the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or wide egg noodles. (Serves 6)

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
6 Idaho or russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs.), peeled and quartered
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 25 minutes or until the potatoes break apart when pierced with a fork.
2. Drain the potatoes. Add the butter, milk, salt, and black pepper. Mash with a potato masher until the potaotoes are light and fluffy. (serves 4)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Treats from the wizarding world of harry potter

 The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook  by Dinah Bucholz includes 150 recipes from many of the best loved characters from the wizarding world like Molly Weasley and Hagrid the loveable half-giant. There are also recipes of food that was seen back at number four Privet Drive with the Dursleys.

I absolutely LOVE to cook! So naturally I have many cookbooks at home, although I have only scratched the surface of many. So, when I got this cookbook for Christmas, I decided that it would be cool to try and work the book through. My goal is to cook all of the recipes within the book with an exception of using the offal ingredients. So sorry to disappoint anyone, but I will not be making haggis, or black pudding. I am fully ready to try many new things within this book, I am not quite ready for recipes like the ones mentioned above. I am really excited to try almost all of the recipes within the book, some look really delicious and some look very different, then what I am used to eating. Above all, this will be an adventure, one that will include gliding through the easy ones, and battling dragons on the hard ones, lol. This will be my first cookbook I will have conquered, so I will be glad that you will share the experience with me. Most of the recipes featured in this book I have not had. So I am excited and a little nervous to try each one of them. I am going to attempt to do one recipe a week, although there will be certain weeks where I will do more. Due to me being a student and having bills, I am restricted to mostly one a week. Each week I will post a recipe that I am attempting and I will include a little information about the recipe,  how much of a challenge it was to make, and how good it was. I will be fully honest with you in how well the recipe tastes and such, so I will not lead you astray ;) I also encourage any feedback on the recipes and if you want to make it along with me that would be great!
Tonight I will be starting off with two recipes, Molly's Meatballs with Onion Sauce (pg.83), and Fluffy Mashed Potatoes (pg. 125).
Wish me luck!