Friday, July 11, 2014

Copykat Fan Favorites! The Final Review:)

Dining Out At Home Two by Stephanie Manley is a charming cookbook that includes unique and simple recipes from well-known American restaurants.I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity from Ulysses Press to review each recipe chapter along with challenging myself in the kitchen.I have come so far in my cooking skill thanks to Stephanie and now I have advanced to the final chapter of her cookbook.This collection includes the most celebrated dishes amongst enthusiasts of Copykat's such as desserts,mains courses,side dishes and even dressings.I am very pleased the author has shared the most popular dishes from her website to share her appreciation towards her fans.

So from the favorites chapter,I decided to test out a simple recipe for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Fried Apples,which can be served as a side dish or topping.This was the first time ever cooking apples on a skillet and even given the opportunity to cook them in bacon fat.Sadly, I had no bacon at the time and had to use butter instead;however that would of a been an unique flavor concept.Something I definitely need to come back to since I was very impressed how delicious these apples were with just butter.It was a very speedy process to fried these apples and very similar to creating apple sauce.It was also very budget-friendly using simple ingredients, along with enriching the fruits flavor simply with cinnamon and nutmeg.These fried apples were mouth-watering on there own and are exquisite as a topping for meat,especially on pork chops.I can see why this would be voted as a favorite and I greatly recommend it.Who wouldn't love tender,sweet and juicy apples!?

This recipe is another favorite of mine amongst many others from Dining Out At Home Two.I have cherished every challenging experience from constructing potato soup,deep-frying chicken , along with assembling casseroles and ice cream bars.I have learned so many new cooking skills along with creating new dishes from restaurants that are only in America.I continue to be so thankful for having the opportunity and time to get really involved in this cookbook ,along with sharing my reviews with my readers.I send a big thank you to Ulysess Press for this great cookbook and I look forward to continuing this relationship.

Also,to Stephanie Manley, I thank you for sharing these impressive recipes with everyone that for a Canadian like me would of never known.I love your passion for restaurant food and I share your enthusiasm for cooking and baking.Keep up the good work and I will continue to support your cookbooks.

Now for my readers,I give this cookbook a big two thumbs up and I highly recommend picking up Dining Out At Home Two and also to pick up the first installment as well.Try out this recipe and the many others I have reviewed to see what I mean.

The Recipe

1/4 cup bacon drippings,or you can use butter
6 tart apples,cored and sliced(peeled if desired)
1 tsp freshly squezzed lemon juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

Peel and core 6 granny smith apples,then slice.

Then in a skillet over low heat,melt bacon drippings or butter.
Scatter the apples evenly over the skillet bottom and sprinkle on the lemon juice.

Add the brown sugar and salt.Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes,stirring ocassionally,until apples are tender and juicy.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg to serve.Serve on there own or for a topping. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Making your own vanilla extract is not that daunting task that you might of thought.Its actually super easy to make as along as you have the patience to develop a pure product. Its the most popular extract used in baking and for someone such as I that extensively bakes goes through vanilla very quickly.So when I was finally introduce to homemade given as a gift I made a choice to never go back to store bought.It is so much better in flavor and is quite inexpensive in the long run.So, when I saw that Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two had a recipe I knew I had to learn to make my own.

I learned that making your own vanilla extract is pretty basic with only using two vanilla beans and 8 ounces of vodka.It is so quick to put together and I'm surprised I didn't make my own sooner.Through everyone has to know that this extract does take time to fully develop as I mention before and will darken with age over several weeks.The extract also has a very long shelf life and is constantly replenishable ,meaning that keeping the beans completely submerge in alcohol will lengthen its life.I'm highly impressed with this fact because now I no longer need to purchase vanilla.In the end, we have a superior flavor to store bought and is definitely a better choice for everyone.

If you love to bake then I highly recommend this recipe and to keep this extract handy in your pantry. You will definitely see the difference in flavor and see how much money you save. So try out this recipe for yourself and I'll keep enjoying it in my baking.

The Recipe

Vanilla Extract
Yield 6-8 ounces

2-3 vanilla beans
6 to 8 ounces vodka

I used a sharp paring knife and split open the vanilla beans length wise.

Then I placed the beans in an airtight container with lid and poured in the vodka,enough to fully emerge the beans.

Then I tightly sealed the container.I store it in a room temperature area and shook it every couple of days and up to the next several weeks.

It will darken with age and while using it I can top it off with more vodka which sustains the shelf life.Keeping my vanilla beans submerge in alcohol is the key.