Monthly Archives: November 2011

Cranberry Orange Tea Bread

  Cranberry Orange Tea BreadIMG_1334IMG_1337

Cranberry Orange Bread 2

Wow this bread was very delicious.  And pretty darned quick to mix together.  And pretty for the holidays.  I made adaptations to the recipe because I didn't have exact ingredients, but I'm thinking it could have made it better!  I'll have to do a comparison.  Maybe.  Someday.  I never will.

Cranberry Orange Tea Bread
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from The Best Quick Breads by Beth Hensperger


1 1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (I used cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used fine sea salt)
grated zest of 2 oranges (I used 1 Tablespoon granulated orange peel from Fresh Market)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup orange juice (I used 100% cranberry juice)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Grease and flour an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan or spray with cooking spray.  Combine the cranberries and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade.  Pulse until coarsely ground.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Add the orange zest and walnuts and mix with wire whisk. 

In a small bowl, combine the juice and eggs.  Beat with a whisk until frothy.  Add the vanilla extracta nd cranberry mixture and stir to combine.  Pour over the dry ingredients and the pour in the melted butter.  Stir with a large spatula just until moistened and evenly mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.  The top of the loaf should be crusty and golden.  (If the edge is getting too brown before the middle is done, cover the edges with foil until done).  Let cool 10-15 minutes in pan.  Carefully turn out onto a cooling rack (edges could break off easily) and allow to cool to room temperature.  Wrap with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. 

This bread has plenty of taste to serve along. Or serve with whipped cream cheese or butter. 

Nigella Lawson’s Blondies

Blondies with oats and chocolate chips.  Blondes showing their roots, as Nigella puts it.

Blondies 2
Use larger chocolate chips, like I did, and they will sink a bit toward the bottom. Which is fine since you still get chips in every bite. 

Blondies with Chocolate Chips
Great with ice cream, of course. 

Jenna's notes to self.  You can peak if you want:  This was one of the easiest recipes, leaving the least clean up ever.  Used 1/2 bittersweet and 1/2 dark chocolate, large chunks.  I think next time use 1/2 bittersweet and 1/2 semi-sweet, regular size chips.  Don't cook to full 35 mintues.  Do not use foil to line – use parchment or spray. 

Nigella Lawson's Blondies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson


2 cups quick-cook oats, not instant
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tablespoons) soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 14-oz can condensed milk (I used low-fat sweetened)
1 egg
1/2 of 12-oz bag bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup chips)

Preheat the oven to 350oF and line your cake pan with parchment paper to make it easier to get the Blondies out once they're cooked.  Can use foil but they stick a bit – or use a foil pan.

Combine the oats, flour, and baking soda in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix or beat the soft butter with the sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in condensed milk followed by the oats, flour, and baking soda mixture until well mixed.

Beat in the egg until mixe well, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula, then cook up to 35 minutes, checking at about 25 minutes.  They should be very golden brown around the edges, but don't let the whole dish get as dark golden.  Should be light to medium golden brown.  They will feel firm on top yet squishy underneath.  Once out of the oven, this middle will firm up.


Southern-Style Deep Fried Chicken

Happy Election Day !!!

Southern Fried Chicken

When you have a food blog, and the food you take pictures of is other people's dinner, sometimes if you're not quick enough, those people start chewing on your subject matter. 

I was darn lucky to grab this lone chicken leg left on the serving plate in time to get a shot for this post.

Or else I'd be describing a fried chicken leg.

I can't believe I'm posting a recipe for fried chicken.  It's not like I've been successful.  I don't even fix fried chicken for dinner.  I think the last time was in the 90's sometime.  And that is obvious by the grease splatters on my novice hands and arms.  However it did give me the opportunity to discuss my war wounds at the office.  "Look at my burn I got from making fried chicken!" I bragged as they looked at me with a worried smile.  I can't help it. My personality profile explains that I "become enthralled by flora and fawna" or something to that effect.

Well, blah blah blah, let's get on with the point of my post.  This is the best fried chicken I've ever cooked.  Which isn't saying much.  So in addition I will say it may be the best I've ever eaten.

I've heard that soaking chicken in buttermilk was the answer, in the past, but that didn't work great for me.  However I had never heard of nor tried this method …

Chicken Boiling in Milk
… cooking the chicken in boiling milk.


Then when it's time to fry it, you are only crisping it up rather than worrying about it cooking all the way through. You put flour and a touch of cayenne pepper in a bag, coat the chicken, roll the pieces in egg, coat a second time and fry.

I got this recipe from Nigella Lawson on the Food Network website.  I've been reading through her most recent cookbook, Nigella Kitchen, and she does have a bit of a spin on the usual recipes.  So I was anxious to try this new method out.

(Now watch me start seeing this same method popping up everywhere suddenly.  Making me feel like I've been living in the back woods for decades. Hate it when that happens.)

Needless to say, it worked brilliantly.  Used chicken legs and thighs.  I guess the milk makes it tender.  I could get my science book out and try to explain why the milk makes it tender, like some people do on their blogs, or I could school you on the origins of cooking meat in milk.  Or the history of the chicken.  Or maybe the first person to eat one?  Or I could just be truthful and say I don't know, and I don't care and if you care that much, I'm not sure I like you anymore. 

Southern-Style Deep Fried Chicken
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Lawson, Food Network

2 chicken drumsticks, skin on
2 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
3 to 4 cups milk
2 1/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, for frying
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten

In a medium pan, place chicken and cover with milk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. This helps tenderize the meat, but is optional

In a large saucepan over a medium-high heat, using tongs, transfer chicken into pot, then pour in the milk. Bring milk to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low allowing to simmer until the chicken is cooked through entirely, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the milk, and place on a rack to cool. Allow them to sit until warm about 15 minutes, and then pat dry using a kitchen towel.

Heat vegetable shortening in a Dutch oven over high heat just until it's nearly at the smoking point around 325 degrees F.

In a large zip-lock bag, add salt, flour, cayenne pepper, shake to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat 1 egg.

Place each piece of chicken, 1 at a time, in the bag and shake to coat the chicken. Then dip chicken into the egg to coat. Place the chicken back into the flour to coat for a second time. Repeat this method on remaining 3 pieces of chicken.

Gently drop each piece of chicken into hot oil, allowing the skin to crisp and turn golden brown in color, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately.

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake

  OH the joys of the office dessert …

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake
…sitting on a plastic plate

Maple Walnut Bundt Cake

…then transferred to a paper plate

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake n Mug
…then nestled by the coffee mug your friend picked up for you at the thrift store for 50 cents.  No, it's not so much sentimental.  It's that people steal things.

Cake Plastic Fork Coffee
…oh and the plastic fork.  This slice of cake was prepared for my office neighbor, Marsha.  See how I sprinkled powdered sugar all around the paper plate?  I think that's a "glass half full" kind of thing to do.  Am I right?

Some prep photos …

Maple Walnut Filling
Maple Walnut Batter
Maple Walnut Bundt Naked

Maple Pecan Bundt Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen, Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson


for the maple pecan filling
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
1/2 cup maple syrup

for the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon (9 Tablespoons) soft, unsalted butter
3/4 cup super fine (caster) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1-2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar for dusting
flavorless oil for greasing pan (or baking spray)

10-inch bundt pan

Preheat the oven to 350degrees F.  Using flavorless oil (or baking spray) grease your bundt pan and leave upside down on paper towel for the excess to drain out.

Make the filling for the cake by mixing together the 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tablespoons butter with a fork (or better yet, a pastry blender), till you end up with the sort of mixture you'd expect when making crumble topping.  Then, mix in the cinnamon, nuts and maple syrup to form a sticky paste. Set aside.

For the cake, measure the 2 cups flour, the baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl. 

Now cream the butter and sugar, (beat well until smooth and pale) then beat in 1 Tablespoon of flour mixture, then 1 egg, then another Tablespoonful of flour mixture, followed by the second egg.

Add the rest of the flour mixture, beating as you go, and then finally the sour cream.  You should expect to end up with a fairly firm cake batter.

Spoon just more than half the cake batter into the oiled bundt pan.  Spread the mixture up the sides a little and around the funnel of the pan to create a rim.  Don't get the sticky filling on the sides of the pan.  Dollop the maple filling carefully into the dent in the cake batter, then cover the filling with the remaining batter.  Smooth the top and put the pan into the oven for 35-40 minutes, until it's light golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted through the cake (no the sticky filling) comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out onto the rack.  When the cake is cold, dust with confectioner's sugar.