Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Blondes Do Pasta

The Blondes had a turkey hangover, so decided to make some Festive Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage.

We took some Sweet Italian sausage out of the casings and chopped it roughly (Lorena Bobbett eat your heart out)

and put it in a large skillet

We browned the sausage over medium heat and moved it to a large saucepan

We soaked some dried mushrooms, about a cup in hot water and drained them:

Then we chopped up two large onions:

Added a little oil to the empty skillet (leave the sausage drippings in there)

and then added the onions & mushrooms, along with some chopped fresh oregano & basil in the skillet to hang out until everything gets soft (no , we aren't going to post another Lorena joke) and maybe even a little carmelized

Add two large cans of chopped tomatoes with puree and four fresh chopped tomatoes and some chopped garlic (sometimes the Blondes start drinking wine and end up with way too much garlic, but that is a post for another time)

Add a good splash of a robust red wine & let the whole thing simmer for a while

Then add about a 1/2 cup of Romano cheese to the sauce & another good amount on top of the finished dish

Bon Appetit!

Friday, December 4, 2009




One Pillsbury Pie Crust - prepare as directed on label
One medium pumpkin
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 whole eggs
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 cup skim milk (gotta watch those calories!)

Cut pumpkin in half and seed it, roast it about two hours at 300F or until soft.
Puree pumpkin in blender or food processor.

Take about 2 3/4 cup of the puree and whisk with brown sugar & granulated sugar. Add
flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Add in the eggs & whisk until smooth.
Add the cream, vanilla & milk and whisk some more!

Pour into prepared pie crust. If desired, he edges with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. A splash or three of whipped cream won't hurt!

Thanksgiving, Part Deux

We made more than turkey for Thanksgiving.

The dressing was a traditional sausage mushroom combination:


Two Blondes Sausage Stuffing:

Brown about a lb of sausage and set aside

Saute about two cups of mushrooms & two onions until soft

Warm some chicken broth (about 4 cups)

Break up two baguettes into coarse large pieces and add the sausage and mushroom onion mixture to it in a large bowl.

Slowly add the chicken broth until it moistened to your liking - there are two camps on the issue of stuffing - those who like it moist (we're in this camp) and those who like it dryer.

Bake the whole thing for about an hour - you can do the stuffing the day before and just reheat before serving.

We also made some green beans with hazelnuts and mushrooms.

First you clean the mushrooms and chop them finely (we used reconsituted dried mixed mushrooms).

Roast the mushrooms at about 350F until they start to brown and shrivel up a little.

Toast about a 1/2 cup of hazelnuts & chop.

Steam the green beans until they are al dente' and then put them on a platter with the mushrooms mixed in. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. We also sauteed about a 1/2 of a large onion and used it as a garnish on the beans.

We also served some roasted carrots.

First we julienned the carrots and mixed them with olive oil and garlic.

We roasted them at 350F unti they carmelized and started to brown

Put the carrots in a serving bowl and drizzle with a little maple syrup.....

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turkey! Turkey! Turkey!

The Blondes are never satisfied with the traditional way of doing things, and being blondes, usually find a way to make everything a little harder, but perhaps tastier!

Anyway, we made three, count them, three turkeys for Thanksgiving this year; smoked, deep fried & roasted (we really really like turkey).

Here's how we made the smoked one:

Soak apple & hickory chips in salt water overnight. Brine the turkey overnight as well in salt water.

In the morning, rinse the turkey with cold water & dry it with paper towels. Start the smoker up and try to get the temperature to 235F (to kill salmonella). Put the turkey in and smoke about 35 minutes per pound, make sure the juices run clear. Of course, a rub is always an option, but we like the smoked flavor, so we don't rub our turkeys!

This is what it looked like:

Here's how we made the deep fried turkey:


Always fry turkeys outside on a flat surface

Make sure there is no ice on the turkey (so it doesn't explode)

Don't fill the fryer to the top with oil (bad bad idea)

Submerge the turkey in water first to see how much space it takes up in the fryer; only put in enough oil so that when the turkey is in the fryer, the oil won't splash out on your feet (see next precaution)

Don't wear flipflops!

Never let the oil get over 350F

After the oil is hot (usually about 20 minutes) target temperature is 320F carefully put the turkey (breast side down) in the oil.

Fry the turkey 3 minutes per lb, plus five extra minutes. Try and get the breast temperature to about 170F

Five minutes before the turkey is done, inject the turkey with an appropriate marinade (we used cajun because we're just spicy girls)

Take it out very, very, very carefully.

Here's what it looked like:

Here's how we made the boring old traditional turkey.

We brined it overnight in a mixture of salt walter, fresh chopped sage & buttermilk. In the morning, we rinsed it off carefully and then roasted it in a slow oven (about 325F) until the internal temperature was about 170F.

It was quite good, and quite big:

Monday, November 9, 2009


Add Video

Over the weekend, the Blondes set out to make Ila's World Famous Crabapple Jelly. Here's how we did it:

Clean and sort the apples and cut in half - no need to seed or peel...

Then add water or apple juice or cider to cover the apples and simmer until they are mushy. Mash them slightly and then hang over a pot in a jelly bag or sieve lined with cheesecloth. Let it sit, gently pushing down on the apples every once in a while, until you get all of the juice out of the apples.

Then bring the apples back to a boil, add sugar to taste and 1 package of Sure-Jell. Boil hard for five minutes, stirring constantly.
That's it! Just let the jelly cool and then fill plastic containers (Ball has some cute ones with purple tops), cool completely and freeze!

This jelly didn't taste exactly like Ila's, but it's better than no Crabapple Jelly at all!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Having just finished our second season with Borski's Farm in Kaysville which was you're interested, the Blondes decided to look around for other sources of local fresh food and headed to Bear Lake Valley, known far and wide for world famous raspberries. After Labor Day, Bear Lake Valley tends to have less visitors, thus making it prime for scavenger hunts by cooking Blondes.

This year, we had our eye on the wild crabapples growing everywhere up there. We found an especially good looking tree that had not yet been discovered by the local moose population.

We couldn't wait to taste one, and were surprised at how sweet they were. Crabapples aren't usually known for their sweetness, but because of a late, wet spring they seemed to be especially sweet this fall. We'll see how they taste once we turn them into Ila's Famous Crabapple Jelly, which will be the subject of our next post....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Smoked Salmon Nicoise

One of my neighbors hosts a "Twin Peaks" night every once in a while. Twin Peaks (if you don't know) was a 90's drama series about a murder in a small town. I also live in a small town where there isn't much to do, so getting together and watching old tv shows and drinking wine is a good way to pass an evening. On this particular night, I volunteered to bring a salad. I decided to make my own version of Salad Nicoise with smoked salmon.

Here's how to make the Smoked Salmon:

Mix 1/2 cup of Kosher salt with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar. Put a piece of aluminum foil about twice the size of the salmon on a cookie sheet and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap about the same size. Spread some of the salt and sugar mixture on the plastic and place the salmon filet (preferably wild) on top. Spread the balance of the salt mixture on top and seal the whole thing in a package. Put this in your refrigerator with a few heavy books on it for at least 12 hours.

About an hour before you smoke the salmon, take it out of the refrigerator and carefully rinse it. Then set it on a rack to dry for a while (at least an hour). Fire up the smoker and put the salmon on a rack. Smoke it until it flakes easily and has a slightly smoky flavor, an hour or so.

While the salmon is smoking, boil some new red potatoes, steam some fresh green beans and hard boil a few eggs. Half the eggs.

A few minutes before serving, arrange it all on a platter with some black olives, red onion, capers, cream cheese & crackers and serve with a vinaigrette.