Tag Archives | OXO

Glazed Turkey Breast and OXO Roasting Gear

A month or so ago, I signed on to participate in a blogger campaign with OXO that had a roasting theme. My intention was to use the goodies and get the post up well in advance of Thanksgiving, because that would have made a whole lot of sense. Best laid plans.

Instead, there was a dab of travel. The cookbook I’m working on continues to expand and absorb my every waking hour. And I’ve been fighting a cold that will not end. So I am behind.

Instead of throwing in the towel or trying to find something else to roast before the campaign deadline, I am going to talk about apricot-glazed turkey breast. A few days after Thanksgiving. Perfectly appropriate, right?

My argument is that there are plenty of roasting opportunities still to come in the coming weeks. And I firmly believe that turkey breast is a really good option for holiday parties and gatherings (easier than a whole turkey! But just as festive and delicious!). At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Before I dig into the roasting and glazing technique, let’s talk about the OXO gear. They sent…

For the juiciest and most flavorful finished roast, you want a whole, bone-in turkey breast. This isn’t something you typically find in the poultry case, but it’s something specialty butchers will have and you can always have your grocery store arrange one for you. Here in Philadelphia, you can almost always get a bone-in turkey breast at Godshall’s in Reading Terminal Market.

Now, if you’ve struggled with roasting turkeys in the past, know that you’re going to have a much easier time when you roast just the breast (the big issue with whole turkeys is that dark meat needs more time in the oven than the white meat, making it hard to get white meat that isn’t woefully overcooked).

You just salt the turkey breast well, pop it on the roasting rack, and get it into a 325F oven. It roasts for about two hours, until the skin is crisp and the internal temperature is around 150F. Once you reach that threshold, you paint on a generous layer of jam (I used apricot, but peach or cherry would also be good).

The temperature gets reduced to 300F and you roast for another 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature is close to 165F (you want the final temp to be 165F, but the turkey will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven, so you want to remove it a few degrees shy of that).

The jam will darken into a gorgeous, sticky, flavorful crust. It makes a lovely addition to a holiday party spread (pair it with slices of good bread and homemade cranberry mustard for DIY sandwiches).

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Bake a Difference with OXO For Cookies for Kids’ Cancer + Oatmeal Muffins

It’s that time of year again, when the folks at OXO host a blogger campaign for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. The goal is to help raise both awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. For every blogger who dedicates a post to the topic, they donate $100 to the cause.

I participated last year, sharing my story of losing a friend to cancer when I was in middle school, and making a batch of tasty cookie bars from Dorie’s Cookies.

This year, I’m offering up a batch of muffins rather than cookies, thankfully, I’m told that they’ll still count. And if you missed Shianne’s story last year, consider hopping over to that blog post to read it.

OXO sent me their Non-Stick Pro 12 Cup Muffin Pan, a dozen Silicone Baking Cups, and Baker’s Decorating Tool and told me to be creative. I spent a little time worrying about doing that decorating tool justice before realizing that one should always write what they know (as it were).

And so I opted to adapt a simple oatmeal muffin recipe from the classic and invaluable King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion and use the filling tip on the decorating tool to give them a plum butter center. It worked better than I’d even hoped. Next time I’m invited to a brunch potluck, I know what I’ll be bringing!

I’m not someone who typically goes in for fancy decorations on baked goods of any stripe (I’d be a terrible contestant on the Great British Bake Off), and so it was my first experience using a decorating tool. I was happy to discover that it was really intuitive to use and fun to booth. I predict that there will be more jam-filling and piped frosting in my future thanks to this devise.

Oh, and if you don’t have a nifty tool for filling your muffins with jam, they would be equally good if you split them and simply gave them a healthy dollop.

Disclosure: OXO sent me the tools you see above. No additional compensation was provided for this post. 

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Quick Pickled Apple Matchsticks & OXO Chef’s Mandoline

I got my first CSA share of the season a week ago, and in addition to the other spring vegetables like snap peas and breakfast radishes, it came with an enormous head of red butter lettuce, an unwieldy bunch of kale, dandelion greens, and bags of spicy arugula and mixed salad greens. You will not be at all surprised to hear that we’ve been eating a lot of salads lately.

Thought I eat salads all year round, I think of this time of year as the true salad season, and as such, I like to outfit my fridge accordingly. I work up a few easy things that can enhance all those greens and make it simple to shake together tasty little batches of vinaigrettes.

This spring, I’m particularly digging these quick pickled apple matchsticks. The are bright, tangy, and crunchy. In combination with a tangle of greens, some soft goat cheese, a few toasted walnuts, and a drizzle of olive oil, they make an incredibly pleasing salad.

The nice folks from OXO recently sent me one of their new Chef’s Mandoline Slicers to try out and it makes slicing apples for this quick pickle such a pleasure. Unlike other mandolines, where you have to manually change out different blades in order to create matchsticks, you simply turn a knob to dial up the julienne blade. What’s more, the guard is designed to wrap around the piece of food that you’re slicing, making the whole slicing act feel safer than any other mandoline I’ve used.

The same knob that allows you to move the julienne tines into place also adjusts the thickness of the cut. This means that you can select thickness settings in 0.5-mm intervals, which is an unusual amount of control for a mandoline that is priced under $100 (this one sells for $79.99). You can also select straight and wavy blades, and a French fry blade. There’s not much in the slicing realm that this mandoline can’t do.

If you’re still making bread and butter pickles with your grandmother’s rusty wavy slicer, consider giving yourself an upgrade this year. Your pickles will be more consistent and will come together in record time!
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New Year, New Breakfast with OXO

My father is a master breakfast maker. When he was very young, he did some time as short-order cook at IHOP and learned things like the difference between basted eggs and those cooked over easy. He became comfortable with poached eggs (and passed his worry-free poaching skills along to me). And he became a master pancake maker (evidence here).

Having spend a lifetime training at his elbow, I value breakfast time and take at least a few moments each day to make myself a morning meal (often, I post pictures of such creations to Instagram!).

Recently, my breakfast game got a serious upgrade thanks the to folks at OXO. They sent their Microwave Bacon Crisper, a snazzy Microwave Omelet Maker, an Adjustable Temperature Kettle, and a Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank. I’ve been making easy omelets, boiling water in no time, and making perfect cups of coffee.

The kettle was the biggest upgrade to my morning routine that they sent. It’s not my first variable temperature kettle, but it’s the most intuitive and easy to use that I’ve had. It’s also incredibly speedy. I feel like I switch it on, turn my back for a moment, and just a minute later, it’s ready. I also didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy having a glass kettle. I so enjoy watching the swirl of bubbles as the water reaches a boil.

I really love the omelet maker for its ease and speed. Grease the silicone pan (I use a dab of butter that I scoot around with my fingers), lay out your omelet ingredients, add the egg and microwave for a few minutes (timing depends on the amount of egg in the pan and the age/power of your microwave). Tuck a piece of cheese inside, fold over, and wait a few seconds. Done.

I’m also in love with the pour over coffee maker. I’m the only coffee drinker in my household, so I’ve always used a pour over system of some kind. But as an impatient person, I would just dump the water in and then end up drinking a mediocre cup. This brewer slows me down, removes the guess work, and prevents lousy coffee.

Finally, the bacon crisper. I must confess, this is the only piece of gear that didn’t rock my world. I’d never cooked bacon in the microwave before and the finished results left something to be desired. I can see using this tool to quickly crisp some bacon for a sandwich, but if it’s playing a starring role in the meal, I feel like the stovetop would serve better.

If you’re curious about the products I’ve mentioned,  Microwave Bacon Crisper, Microwave Omelet Maker, Adjustable Temperature Kettle, and Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank, head over to the OXO site to check them out!

Disclosure: OXO sent me the products you see pictured here for review and photography purposes. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions are entirely my own. 

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Babka for Now, Sticky Buns for Later + OXO Glass Bakeware

Use this sweet, yeasted dough to make a batch of apricot walnut babka for now, and a batch of sticky buns that can be par-baked and popped into the freezer for another day. It’s perfect do-ahead baking for the upcoming holiday.

Back in November, I got an email from OXO looking for bloggers to participate in a campaign designed to feature their sturdy glass bakeware. The idea was to create something that could be made ahead, frozen, and then either baked off or reheated later. Their glassware is particularly good for these fridge or freezer to oven situations, because it’s made from sturdy resistant borosilicate glass.

They sent out a Glass 9″ Pie Plate, a Glass 1.6 Qt Loaf Baking Dish, one SteeL Pie Server, a nifty Double Pastry Wheel, and 1″ Pastry Brush. I spent a little time pondering what I might make that would fit the assignment, make good use of these tools, and would also allow for a liberal application of jam.

What I came up with was a single dough that allowed me to both have a relatively immediate treat, as well as one to freeze and finish baking on another day. I’m calling this concept babka for now, sticky buns for later. Because who wouldn’t want that?

I started by searching out recipes for a sweet, yeast-risen dough. After a bit of internet searching and book scanning, I found what I was looking for in Tammy Donroe Inman’s fabulous book Wintersweet (it’s a favorite of mine for holiday baking).

I made Tammy’s dough the day before I wanted to bake. After its first rise, I punched it down, tucked it into a glass storage container, and popped it into the fridge (a handy trick any time you need to make yeasted doughs work for your schedule). The next day, I divided it up into two balls and began to turn one into babka. I opted for a filling of apricot jam and toasted walnuts.

Once the dough was rolled out into a large rectangle (about 18 x 12 inches), I brushed it with melted butter, spread out a half pint of apricot jam, and sprinkled the whole things with those toasted and chopped walnuts.

As far as I can tell, the thing that makes a babka a babka is that it’s a slightly sweet, buttery, yeasted dought that’s filled, rolled, sliced and twisted. And so that’s what I did. Starting with the short side, I carefully rolled until I had a fat tube of filled dough. Then, taking a sharp knife, I cut the roll down the middle, taking care to leave the top inch (or so) intact.

After slicing the dough, I took a deep, steadying breath, firmly grasped the two ends and twisted them outward in opposite directions. There was some filling loss, but not enough to be particularly worrisome.

Once sliced and twisted, it was simply a matter of nestling the dough in the loaf pan and letting it rise in a warm place before baking.

While the babka took its time rising, I turned my attention to that second ball of dough. Much like the babka, it needed to be rolled out into a generous rectangle. I brushed the dough with melted butter. However, instead of applying jam, I dusted the dough with cinnamon and sugar (using OXO’s tea ball to ensure even distribution) and used the rest of the walnuts.

I rolled up the dough (starting with the long side, rather than the short one) and sliced it into rounds. I set them into the pie plate and let them rise (at this point, the babka was ready for the oven, since I actually ate dinner in between working with the two sets of dough).

When the babka was done (it should be around 200 degrees F inside when finished. If the exposed jam seems to be getting too done, perch a sheet of foil on top of the pan) and the sticky buns had risen, I popped that pan into the oven. However, instead of cooking them to completion like the babka, I only baked them for 12 minutes. This is just long enough to get a little color and set their shape. Once they are cool, pop the pan into a big ziptop bag and nestle it into the freezer.

The night before you want to eat your sticky buns (perhaps when the babka is all gone?), pull the pan out of the freezer and make room for it in the fridge so that they can defrost slowly. The next morning, heat the oven to 350 degrees and slide in your pan of sticky buns. They’ll only need a quick 15 minutes in the oven and they’ll be ready to eat.

Brush the finished sticky buns with a little melted butter to help them stay soft, and then drizzle them with a little glaze made from powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and a dusting of cinnamon.

As we head into the frenzy of this week, wouldn’t it be nice to have a loaf of babka on the counter and a pan of sticky buns ready to go in the freezer?

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Mary’s Maine Bars & Bake a Difference with OXO For Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

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I met Shianne on the first day of 6th grade. She had impressively high bangs (as was the fashion in 1991), had a delicately pretty face, and walked with a limp. Her family had moved to the area over the summer and though all of us were new to middle school, she was new to everything.

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We became friends in those first weeks of school and I learned that she loved the New Kids on the Block (also all the rage in 1991) and had a younger sister the same age as mine. Once Shianne started to trust me, she shared the reason for her limp. When she was a baby, she had developed bone cancer. In order to save her life, they’d amputated her leg.

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As an 11 year old, the hardest thing that I’d dealt with in life had been a little teasing from other kids. It was incredibly tough for me to fully grasp all that Shianne had lived through. Still, the thing she most wanted was to be normal and have a life like other kids. And so that’s what we did.

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We put on make-up for the school dances together, and gossiped about the boys on whom we crushed. We were cabin-mates at outdoor school and worked on the school paper together. At slumber parties, when our group of friends were all snuggled in our sleeping bags on the floor, there would be Shianne’s prosthetic leg on the floor next to her. It was an entirely normal middle school existence, until sometime near the start of 7th grade, when Shianne’s cancer came back.

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She started missing large stretches of school for treatment and recovery, but came whenever she felt strong enough. She lost her hair and came to school bald, but with make-up meticulously in place.

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Unlike her earlier bout with cancer, this second round did not end in remission. Shianne was treated endlessly, but the cancer was stronger. She died in the fall of 1994, just as she should have been starting high school with the rest of us.

I often find myself thinking about her. I wish I’d gotten to know her for longer and I wonder what her life would have been like had she lived.

mixing-marys-maine-bars

Recently, the folks at OXO put out the call, looking for bloggers to participate in an campaign for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to help raise both awareness and fund for childhood cancer research. They were also offering to donate $100 for every blog post written. Having been witness to Shianne’s experience, I volunteered to participate.

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They offered up a few different recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s upcoming book, Dorie’s Cookies, along with the gear necessary to make the cookies. I opted to make Mary’s Maine Bars, which are a tender, molasses-rich bar cookie.

To ease the baking process, folks at OXO sent over a pair of their relatively new Good Grips Glass Baking Dishes with Lid (2 quart and 3 quart), as well as a clever Brownie Spatula and their Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer.

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The baking dishes are made from BPA-free borosilicate glass, which allows them to withstand significant temperature changes. The handles are easy to grab and the lids make it possible to prep, stash in the fridge or freezer, and then go into the oven (obviously, you remove the lids before baking).

The OXO On Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer is the best hand mixer I’ve ever used (though, to be fair, the one I was using previously was from 1999). It has a simple-to-use digital control that allows you to change speed smoothly and the illuminated headlight means you can always see what’s happening in the bowl.

The recipe for Mary’s Maine Bars is after the jump. They’re perfect for sharing with friends, and are a good way to temper bittersweet memories.

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