Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story


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How to Roast a Turkey Breast(Technically Half a Turkey Breat)

I have brought back this post because hands down it is my most-viewed post and seems to get many positive comments of satisfied customers who have replicated it. So have at it, and let me know if you enjoyed it too. And before you hem and haw, and drag your feet, prep time is about 20 minutes and it cooks in about 1 hour and a quarter. So, no excuses! Chop, chop or roast, roast more appropriately.

Where is your happy place? What is the one thing in the world that can pick you up out of a slump and place you on solid ground? It’s important that you know yours and that you can summon it up on any given day when life is more than a little topsy turvy. There are too many moments that can throw you for a loop so please, if there is one take away from this post, research your happy place and know how to reach it at a moment’s notice. It is essential.

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My happy place is my kitchen.   My happy place invites me in, gives me a hug, and seems to say, “It’s OK. You are welcome here and everything is going to be fine.” It also seems to shout, “Roast a turkey! Make some soup, mash those potatoes and then throw in a pumpkin bundt cake!”. I have some pretty weird self-talk. I am aware.

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And when I’m in my happy place, my hand instinctively reaches for the knob on my oven and swishes it on to 350 (well in this case for the turkey, technically 325 folks), I step outside to snip some rosemary and pluck a fresh orange off the tree, and I inadvertently begin to sing the chorus lines from my favorite songs. I usually only know a couple of lines from any given song, but I belt them out anyway, unknown words be damned. Please don’t tell me I should turn on Pandora. I love Pandora. We’re good friends, but when I’m in my happy place, I sing. My Golden Retriever, Sadie, who sits dopily at my feet, with her sweet smile and her big brown eyes, likes my singing and would not be as warmed by Pandora. I know this for certain. I am a doggy mind reader. It’s one of my hidden talents.

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You can now officially stop saving that delicious roasted turkey dinner for Thanksgiving alone. Roasting a half turkey breast is the easiest thing you’ll do in the kitchen and it’s extremely rewarding. This particular turkey breast turned out so golden and juicy that I would swipe little slices of it to snack on the next day.  The herbs give the turkey so much savory flavor and the oranges add a hint of sweetness and help the turkey stay nice and juicy.

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You can then use the turkey breast for dinner, lunches during the week or for the king of comfort foods at my house,Creamed Turkey. It’s what we always eat the day after Thanksgiving, gets requested by several family members for their prized birthday dinners, and it is creamy, warm and comforting. To me, any dinner that includes roasted turkey is like a big hug on a plate so consider this post a big hug from me to you.

How to Roast a Turkey Breast

Makes enough turkey slices for a family of four for dinner (small-medium eaters). If you need more, roast two turkey half breasts.
This is an S&C original recipe
20 minutes prep time and approximately 1 hr. and 15 minutes cooking time.

1 half bone in turkey breast with skin, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (if using dry spices, use two teaspoons of each)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed juice from an orange
2 tablespoons good olive oil
one orange thinly sliced
2 whole sprigs of rosemary
4 large washed but unpeeled carrots
1/2 unpeeled sweet onion
1-2 cups chicken broth or white wine
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

To make the turkey: Turn your oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat and get out either a small roasting pan or a glass rectangular casserole dish or other comparable dish. Rinse and pat dry your turkey (don’t leave it wet, the paste won’t adhere well). In a small bowl, make a paste, mixing together the chopped herbs, rosemary through sage, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice and drizzle in the olive oil. Mix together until it forms a paste. Rub the paste all over the meat and skin of the turkey and then also underneath the skin.

Thinly slice an orange and tuck in the oranges under the skin in a single layer as well as two sprigs of rosemary.  Cut your butter into small pats and put single pats of butter over the skin and meat. Cut your onion in a couple of large, thick slices. See photo in post for butter and carrots.  Place four carrots lined up in your roasting pan (use more carrots if they are small or your turkey is larger than the four carrots can support) and the onion pieces. Place the turkey on the carrots and onion. Pour the wine or chicken broth into the roasting pan (don’t pour onto turkey),  and drop in any remaining pieces of the orange. Place a meat thermometer in your turkey, place in the thickest portion of the breast, being careful not to touch the bone. Then tent the turkey with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes tented. Remove the tent and let roast another half hour or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. Smaller breasts (2-3 lbs may cook in a little over an hour whereas larger ones, 3-4 lbs, may take an hour and a half). It’s a good idea to see where your temperature is at an hour. A meat thermometer is imperative with cooking a  turkey to properly cook it to the correct temperature for food safety.

Your turkey should turn out  a nice golden brown from the butter. When you take out your turkey, tent it with fresh foil (do not use the foil which touched the raw turkey please).  Let it rest for a good 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to spread through the turkey and be maintained in the turkey meat instead of on the cutting board. Cutting a turkey breast is not my forte….please consult Google for that.:)

Health and Safety Note: When working with any poultry, it is important to wash your hands every time you have touched the turkey. Then when you reach for salt shakers and the foil, you are not contaminating these items with raw turkey juices which could contain bacteria.


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A Fly on the Wall and a Light-ish Lemon Linguine


Not many food blogs include a fly in the title. I guess I am just special that way.  Doesn’t it spawn an immediate interest in my tantalizing lemon linguine, no? Ah well. One can never say I am too sophisticated for my own good over here at Sweet and Crumby. This lemon linguine is definitely something to relish.

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It is absolutely luscious with a bit of tang from the lemon, but just the right amount of saltiness and richness from the parmesan. And those leeks, they add such a nice little bite of both texture and freshness. Top it with juicy and plump shrimp, scatter some freshly snipped parsley, and you definitely have an easy new dish to not only add to your monthly  repertoire, but one that looks flashy and tastes divine (and isn’t loaded with fat and calories!). Win cubed I say! (I am trying to start a new trend…”win cubed”…please pass it on.😉 )

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Now back to my fly on the wall reference. As a young mom, I was frequently questioning my parenting skills. As my kiddo whined for some toy, laundry was piling high and dishes were stacked in the sink, I would wonder, “Is this normal? Do other houses and moms look like this? Or is there something inherently wrong in what I am doing over here?”

I desperately wanted to be a fly on the wall at someone else’s house; someone whose kids I thought were “perfect” and whose momming skills seemed to be exemplary. Someone who never left the sack lunch by the door, always had matching clothes on and never, ever  had french fry crumbs in their kid’s car seat. I wanted to know how it’s done and what it looks like so I could replicate THAT.

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But as I got older and somewhat wiser, I realized no one really has it all together; there are no perfect kids and certainly no perfect moms. We are all just treading water at various times. I do think there are some times out there when one is riding the easy train for a little while.  But those easy times are simply snippets of time in a long up and down hill ride of raising children.

I am thankful my almost-grown kids are doing great, amazing even, but they definitely have had their bumps in the road. And, although I try to be a super duper mom who will never be mentioned in therapy later on, I know that I make mistakes, hopefully recoverable ones, and I worry too much and grasp too tightly to them. Overall, parenting is a lot of intuition and an equal amount of guess work, and sometimes it is just survival based.

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Looking wishfully at other moms who appear to have it all together is just a glossy window pane view in my opinion. We don’t know each others’ pains, squabbles or daily battles that are hidden from public view. The fly on the wall in any of our houses may take in quite a different view than the window that the world looks through, but ultimately, we can all just do the best we’ve got each day and try to afford others the courtesy to do the same.

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I hope you get to make and enjoy this pasta dish with perhaps no flies on the wall at your house.

If this lemon linguine didn’t hit the mark, maybe you would like to try my lightened up Fettuccine Alfredo.

Lemon Linguine with Shrimp

Inspired by Cooking Light but with many changes.
Serves Approximately 4-6 Medium-sized portions (depending on portion size)

  • 8 0z linguine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of raw large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3-4 T. olive oil, divided
  • 2 T. butter, divided
  • 2 leeks trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups).
  • 2/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth or organic No Chicken broth (made by Imagine Foods). I use the No Chicken…it’s wonderful in this!
  • 2 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine
  • 1 t. grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Optional Addition: 1 can of drained artichokes chopped.

First properly clean your leeks. There are bits of dirt in between the layers.  Trim both the top and bottom off of the leeks (like green onions). Then cut the leeks in half lengthwise leaving two long equal halves. Loosen the layers and submerge and soak in water either in a long dish or a Ziploc bag for a couple of minutes. Drain the water and fill again and repeat if there was dirt in your water.

To begin the dish: Boil a large pot of water for your linguine. Salt the pot with two or three shakes of salt (1/2 t.).  Add linguine when the water is boiling and stir. Stir now and then while making your sauce. Make your sauce while the pasta is cooking. Drain linguine when “al dente” ( a little firmer than you like to eat it). I always taste my pasta before deciding whether it is time to drain it. It will continue to cook as you drain it and will cook a bit in the sauce as well. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside until your sauce is done. Always drain pasta well so you are not adding water into your pasta sauce.

To begin your sauce and cook your shrimp:  In a large pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, stir and saute the chopped garlic for a minute or less. DO NOT COOK ON HIGH HEAT or garlic will BURN! Garlic burns quickly. Scrape the garlic and remaining oil into a small bowl and set aside to add back to the pan later. Remove any bits of garlic left in the pan with a paper towel so they don’t burn while you cook your shrimp. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to the pan you used to cook the garlic in, and turn on medium-high heat. When good and hot, put the cleaned and dry shrimp in the pan. Turn shrimp over with tongs in about a  minute or so. When they are ready to be flipped, you will see the shrimp starting to turn a light pink underneath. *Cook another minute or so on the other side until just barely pink and not blue/gray-ish. Take them out with tongs, leaving the remaining oil and butter in the pan, and set aside. Do not clean your pan in between the making of your sauce. The essence of the shrimp and previously cooked garlic will continue to flavor your sauce in the next steps.  *It is important not to over cook the shrimp. Overcooked shrimp tastes rubbery and dry. The shrimp will cook residually when you remove it from the pan and will cook even a little more when added back into the pasta dish with hot sauce.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the “shrimp” pan (if needed depending on how much oil and butter mixture is left after cooking the shrimp) over medium heat. You want to be able to cook the leeks in about 1-2 T. of oil and butter mixture. So if you are short, simply add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  Using a wooden spoon, be sure to get those good bits of shrimp-essence scraped off the bottom of the pan and into the oil. Add back in the sauteed garlic and the fresh leeks to the pan. Stir and saute for about two minutes on medium heat until the leeks are somewhat  translucent.  Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for about five minutes on a low-simmer or until liquid has reduced by about half. Turn down to a low heat now, and add the lemon zest, Parmesan, one tablespoon of butter, 1/2 t. salt and a few grinds of pepper and stir. Add the optional chopped artichokes now too. Taste. This is where personal preference comes into play. If it’s too lemon-y to you, add a couple  more splashes of your chicken broth (maybe 1/4 c.) and stir. Not enough lemon? Squirt a little (maybe 1/2 T.) of lemon juice into the sauce. Taste again! If it needs a tad more “something”, chances are another tablespoon of butter will add some richness and bring everything together or if it is tasting under salted to your liking, add another 1/2 t. more salt or a little more Parmesan. When the sauce is perfect,  turn off the heat and add the shrimp to the pan and stir.

Add the pasta to the shrimp and sauce (not the other way around) and coat with the sauce. Serve on a platter or in a bowl and top with the chopped parsley.  My favorite side dish is a simple Caesar salad with this. Enjoy!

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Confessions of a Chocolate Snob and A Memorable Chocolate Souffle Cake

 

I have one friend who likes to tease me because I am such a chocolate snob. I won’t eat Hershey’s. Sorry Hershey. Your taste, texture and overall lack luster appearance just doesn’t do it for me.  What my friend doesn’t realize is that I wear the ridicule like a badge of honor; like a brash wine or cigar snob.

I can walk by our office jar of grocery store chocolates like it’s no big deal, like I am just THAT GIRL who prefers healthier fare, craves wheat grass and avoids sugar like the plague.

But I am not THAT GIRL.  Oh, how I wish I were; my jeans would fit a bit better I am sure. But no, that is not my M.O.  I am just choosy with my chocolate and truly have no desire for anything sub par.

Chocolate is a lot like fine wine. When you cook with or drink a cheap wine, well…it tastes cheap. But when you sip an exquisite wine, it reverberates in your mouth and soul and fills your senses with a feeling of complete satisfaction. Chocolate is no different. When you cook with or eat fine chocolate, there’s a difference. It has a such a full, multi-layered flavor and this carries through to create complex flavor in your baked goods.

Take my go-to Chocolate Souffle Cake. It’s my fail-safe cake for bringing to parties and for serving guests at my home. It’s always finessed with fresh raspberries and draws, “oohs” and “ahhs” and many “mmmms” every single time while eyes roll and carb avoiding friends stealthily pinch a bite of their husband’s slice—again and again.

But the reason it draws this kind of response is not solely the list of awe-inspiring ingredients like Kahlua, espresso powder and cocoa and not all because of me, the amazing baker, even though I do like to take the credit. Honestly though, the wow factor that takes it from good to memorable is the quality of the cocoa powder. For this cake I used Chuao’s Cacao Rouge cocoa powder which  I  stock pile had on hand.

Now I know we can’t all get our hands on that particular brand and frankly even I run out of Cacao Rouge now and then…gasp! So I do have to slum it at the market like everyone else once in awhile, and most of the time I can at least find some unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa powder to stand-in for it. No, it does not compare, but yes, it absolutely does taste better than the other stuff.

I know I am a chocolate snob, but I could have worse faults I suppose.

I hope you get a chance to bake this Cooking Light Chocolate Souffle Cake. Yes, it is from Cooking Light…so you really don’t have any excuse to avoid it…unless all you have is Hershey’s I guess.

Dark Chocolate Souffle Cake
Taken directly from http://www.Cookinglight.com
Cooking spray
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 T. instant espresso or coffee granules
2/3 cup Dutch process or unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t salt

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons Kahlúa (coffee-flavored liqueur)
3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup sifted cake flour (such as Swan’s Down)
6 large egg whites at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 c. raspberries, optional

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 300°.  Coat bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, water, and espresso in a large saucepan; stir well and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add cocoa, salt, and chocolates, stirring with a whisk until chocolate melts. Stir in Kahlúa and egg yolks. Stir in flour; cool to room temperature. Set aside.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold one-fourth of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; repeat procedure with remaining egg white mixture, one-fourth at a time. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Remove sides from pan; sift powdered sugar over cake. Garnish with raspberries.

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Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding: How Good Intentions Go Awry

The road to he!! is paved with good intentions. That’s what my grandmother used to tell me now and then. Perhaps it was a hint. Basically, it means that individuals may do bad things even though they intend the results to be good.  I look back and think, maybe I was a little bit of a wild card then. I sure hope so. I really haven’t sowed any wild oats in the last 30 years or so—unless you count this Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding.

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Naughty or Nice List and A Gluten-Free Version of My Famous Greek Crescent Cookies

Just like Santa, when I am determining who is on my recipient list for my coveted box of Christmas cookies, I make a naughty and nice list. I require very little to make it to the nice list, but the numero uno qualification is that you “ooh” and “aah” when I arrive with my box. At the very least, to make it to next year’s list, you must either shoot me a text, call or email one of the following, “Those were amazing!!!”, “Best cookies I’ve ever had!”, “So delicious!”. You get the picture.

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Gluten-Free Orange and Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello All,

I am definitely coming back off a long hiatus. Hopefully, I will have more to say and more to bake, but until then I am well into my Holiday Cookie Baking routine of preparing dough and cookies for gifts for friends. I hope you enjoy this GF spin on my famous Orange and Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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