Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Freezer Meals on Fox

Polynesian Orange Ginger Pork and Coconut Milk is the freezer meal we highlight today on Fox 10 Arizona Morning at 9:45. In case you are just joining me. Thanks for dropping by for a little chat. For more information on freezer meals, you might want to check out these posts:
Remember when planning a freezer meal session to clear a good amount of space out of your fridge to chill food. The colder you get the food before you put it in the freezer, the better food safety you will have. Meaning, you won't have stacks of warm food growing bacteria in the freezer. It not only sounds gross, it is gross. When you are ready to serve meals, either microwave the ingredients out of the plastic bags, or defrost in the fridge. Never defrost at room temperature on the counter! Food may feel cool to the touch and still be just the right temperature to grow unwanted food born illness. If it's predictable, it's preventable.
Be sure to also label your meals clearly. My sister, Auntie Em, has gone so far as to print labels with the cooking instructions as well as having a daily calender on the fridge with all the meals planned out. That's totally amazing and a matter of preference. I keep a list on the fridge of foods I have on hand. When I take one out of the freezer, I mark it off the list. Do what you want. Go explore the rest of the recipes I have. Though to be honest, I have only just begun to put freezer meals on this site. I have a couple hundred I've used and love so we can definitely have a lot more. I'm thinking of instituting Freezer Friday, where I highlight one freezer meal a week for folks to try and add to their list of foods that freezer well. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sculpted Roses

A couple of weeks ago I promised a full tutorial on sculpted roses for tutorial Tuesday. I try to do a tutorial every Tuesday, but I took off the week of Christmas. Sorry. It had to happen. This week is shaping up to be one of extreme excitement as this year draws to a close. Tomorrow morning I will doing another cooking segment on Fox 10 , this time on freezer meals and how to use them to keep on track with your diet. Joining me on the piece will be one of my old high school friends...Sione Fa (The Biggest Loser, season 7).Along with his sister Selena who is so cute and amazing. It should be a lot of fun. Though I don't think I will be giving him nooogies like I used to when he was smaller than me.

On to the roses. If you missed the last entry Neive's Modeling Chocolate is what we will be using to make the roses. So you will need to read that and prepare some in order to proceed with the tutorial. I start with a hunk of chocolate. This isn't going to technical, since it's more of an art than an exact science and some of this stuff just comes by experience. I've been making roses like this for 15 years.
Mold the chocolate into a base like this.

Take a second piece of modeling chocolate about 1 inch in diameter, and roll it into a ball. Mold it into a long petal, about 2 inches long, and pinch one edge until it is paper thin, like a real petal. Wrap the petal around the base like this.
Curl it back slightly.
Repeat with another one inch ball rolled and then shaped into a petal. Place it squarely in front of the opening of the bud. Repeat three times, placing petals one third of the way around the base of the rose.
Place it on the rose so that all three petals look like this.
It is very important that the rose maintain the shape of a rose. Yea, like a strict diet and exercise...or a petal tuck. Plastic surgeon Tess. Keep it nice and smooth folks.

Repeat this petal pattern with a second layer of 5 petals, made from 1/2 inch balls of modeling chocolate.
When rose is completed, I add a light dusting of pearl powder. Wilton makes it. I got mine at Orson Gygi Co.

Bronze and Red pearl give the roses a wonderful effect. Modeling chocolate picks up the pearl quite nicely.
Hand sculpted roses. There you go. It takes a lot of practice, but I think you can do it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Neive's Modeling Chocolate

I've had a lot of requests for some tips on modeling sculpted roses and flowers from chocolate. It's a pretty amazing technique. I promised I would post some of the basics this week, and alas on Tuesday, my day got frantic. So Saturday is here. I'll start by sharing the basic recipe for modeling chocolate that (believe it or not) I didn't come up with, but my mom did. She is food science wizard sometimes, thanks to a degree in Home Economics Education, and invaluable real life "hard knocks" training. I used to have to find this modeling chocolate at speciality gourmet bakery supply stores...and the price was incredible. This homemade stuff not only tastes better, but I've found it easier to work with. Keep in mind that the better the grade of the chocolate, the better results you will have. However...that being said, most any chocolate will do if you are just wanting to practice.

Neive's Modeling Chocolate

10 ounces chocolate, chopped(white chocolate is very pliable for flower working)
1/3 cup corn syrup

Place chocolate in a double boiler over a low heat and stir until melted, about 5 minutes. Add the corn syrup and stir until well combined. Pour mixture out onto a pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool 24 hours at room temperature.

When it is cooled you will have the start of hand sculpting.

There you go.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mixing Things with Fox 10

Isn't this cookie mix bag looking pretty snazzy? I thought I would do something a little swanky to take into the staff at Fox 10. Thanks my trip to a fantastic culinary store in the Utah valley called Orson Gygi Co. I was able to stock up well for the piece. Thanks Gygi's.

This morning at 8: 20 Fox 10 Phoenix I did another segment. Holiday Giving for Your Kids! This one was so crazy cool. We had mixes, variations of the mixes and some great tips for how to package those fine baking mixes to make them artsy. The great part is we focused on the extreme budget friendliness of the whole project. I had a wonderful time with Wendy and all her adorable kids!
Just another service I am happy to provide my dear friends.
The link is...Make a Mix. For a PDF I'm happy to send you a copy. Please contact me via email at: and I can get that to you. Fox should have the pdf on their website shortly as well. God bless.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Random Thoughts...winter coats.

I never wear a coat in Arizona. Never. I think I can count on two fingers the times I've worn my fabulous white princess coat. That's not because I am a spoiled high-maintenance chick with twelve designer coats either. This one I got at a yard sale. I don't need a coat for physical climate reasons. I need sunglasses and a good lip balm. Those sunglasses are not designer ones either. I have one pair. So, meet the practical real chef Tess. In the car on the way to the airport to visit my family in my hometown, I realized I was wearing a coat, a sweater and two long sleeve shirts. Like a dork. I am Wimple-stilt-skin. I Chef Tess am a total gutless wonder when it comes to cold. I can own that. I can also own the fact that the guy who sat next to me on the plane giggled when he sat down and said, "nice coat". (Hopefully he wasn't mocking my timeless fashion sense...). In all reality, he was from Utah and in a short sleeve dress shirt and tie. No coat for him. No coat. I felt like an idiot. But not a big enough idiot to take off my coat. Was the coat thick enough to mask my obvious inability to ward off the cold? Nope. I was purple lipped for 3 days. When I return to my loving husband and children in Arizona, I will put the coat in the closet and put on my shorts, walk outside barefoot without getting frozen toes, and water the lawn. The snow is fun to visit...blah, blah,blah. A BBQ in December tossing a Frisbee and having a picnic outside without freezing is golden. Arizona travel board sending me several thousand dollars for this post...priceless. No...they didn't. I would settle for a pair of designer sunglasses my lovelies. That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Book is Out!

Have you ever opened a gift that you could tell took so much love to make for you, that you felt your heart would burst at the gesture? That incredible moment when you realize that someone has taken their precious commodity of time and poured it into a gift beyond measure is absolutely priceless. I opened one of those gifts. It was an early Christmas gift from my sister, Auntie Em. The night of my dad's 60th birthday she could take it no longer, and had to have me open it right then. So I did, and my eyes brimmed with tears of joy. Dear sweet Em. Three months in her spare time had meticulously and in a very detailed manner compiled all my best recipes from Chef Tess Bakeresse and my Chef websites. She had cut and paste document after document. Carefully she labeled and preserved my zany personality. Now it is all in one place for me to enjoy...and pass on to my children. She has in her own right, put into solid form, what I have tried to do this entire year...preserve my cooking for my children. I will never be able to thank her enough. I will also have to read it with a box of tissue just thinking of her sweet hands typing and organizing. It's unbelievable. Really.
If having the cookbook wasn't enough for any woman on earth...this made me sigh with awe. All the recipes on recipe cards...right on hand. I shall never be able to repay this gift. Ever.

All my love and greatest thanks. Once again, Em, you are the wind beneath my wings. My angel sister. I'm so glad you are a wonderful and intricate part of my life.

As a random end note...I visited a book store today and the owner said that if I got this book published, she would absolutely host a book signing. So...maybe, just maybe, that would be in the near future. Right now though...the book is Right here on my lap it's being adored. Thank you Auntie Em...the best editor money couldn't buy. Priceless.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pansy Man's Cherry Cordial Cheesecake

My dad is the Pansy Man. He was labeled that about 16 years ago when a local newspaper came to see the greenhouses he ran for our worldwide-church and the reporter saw the inordinate number of pansies the sweetest man on earth was able to produce. In a very deep Russian accent the reporter said, "Pansy Man" and that was in fact the title of the article... Some men would have taken offense to that nickname, but my father, who is one of the most tender kind beings to ever walk the fit. He's strong. Not to be confused with the term applied to wimpy men. His Super-Pansy strength has allowed him to raise me...who, let's face it...would take the strength and emotional stability of Job. He's a nurturer and the embodiment of creativity. Yes, to raise me would take that most amazing of souls. He did it...with flying colors. He did in fact raise 4 children with that same spirit of love. Today on his 60th birthday as children and family gathered around to celebrate his life...this is the cake he wanted. Cherry Cordial Cheesecake. A real man's cake. He is a man who will answer to God that he did, in every way, love and support his family. That my friends, is worth celebrating.
Cherry Cordial Cheesecake
seriously altered and Adapted from the Pillsbury Christmas Cook book 2007

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
3 T melted butter

2 lbs cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp orange oil (King Arthur)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup prepared cherry filling (canned or fresh homemade)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Ganache Glaze:
1 cup cream
1 lb chopped high quality chocolate (we used Guitard)
1/4 tsp hazelnut oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ancho chile powder
Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl combine crust ingredients. Mix well. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of ungreased spring form pan.
Filling:Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature. Add sugar, almond extract,vanilla and orange oil. Cream this mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides of your bowl several times to ensure it is all combined.
It should look very smooth. Add the cream and combine again.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. I mean it. One at a time. This will give you a very even nice batter.
Pour 1/2 of the batter in the prepared crust in a spring form 10 inch cheesecake pan.
Do everything in your power to avoid licking the rim of that mixing bowl...or at least tie your hair back so it doesn't get in the batter. Sick-o.
Cherry filling. One cup. Canned or homemade? Yeah...whatever you want. Just make sure it tastes like cherry filling and not tin can. That's all I have to say about that.
Spoon the one cup of cherry filling over the middle of the cheesecake filling, leaving an inch around the outside edge and a 3 inch circle in the middle.
Gently cover the filling with 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips and then lightly spoon the remaining cheesecake batter over the top of the filling. It should cover the filling completely.
Bake 325 degrees 1 hour and 5 minutes. I personally prefer baking 2 hours at 300 degrees.
Now, hunk off 1 lb of high quality chocolate. The Professor was in town for this event, and he mathematically calculated how much I would need.
Boil one cup of cream in a sauce pan and pour over the chocolate. I added 1/4 tsp hazelnut oil, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8th tsp ancho chile powder...and blended until smooth. Want to see something evil?
Don't hurt yourself. Once cheesecake has been removed from the oven, chill 4-6 hours. Remover spring form ring and spread the chocolate ganache glaze over the top of the cheesecake (use a spatula...I know you'll want to use your tongue...but don't do it). Once glaze has been done, shaved chocolate or decorations may be added as desired.
All I the Pansy Man said it was perfect. You just don't get better approval than that.
There you go dad. Thank you for being a Pansy Man. I love you forever!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

The Real Man's Dinner

I showcased the dessert of the birthday guy, but I thought we should just briefly show the main course. It was amazing. My dad should get the feast of a king for his birthday right? Prime rib. We don't see much of this around here so we wanted it to be perfect. I think it was cooked to supreme perfection, seasoned and given the full magnitude of the gardener's bounty. Starting with his own grown onions, herbs and spices.
We used the recipe from Food Network's Guy Fieri for Dry Aged Prime Rib Roast ( for the dry aging process as well as the seasoning his directions are superb!. Adding of course some of our own tweaks. To the spice blend we added 1T of fresh ground fennel seed to the rub as well as using 2T of fresh thyme instead of the dry. In the Au Jus, we used 1/3 cup tomato paste in place of the wine, as we don't cook with wine here.
One of my father's specialities, is fresh grown corn. It wasn't until my adulthood that I really came to a full appreciation of the fact that as a child I could just walk out the back door and pull a fresh ear of corn right from the field, husk it and plunge it into boiling water. It couldn't be more sweet and perfect! Mom preserved an immense amount of the bounty from this summer in freezer bags. So I was giddy to use some in a homemade corn pudding. My recipe:
8 cups fresh or frozen corn, off the cob
1 cup heavy cream
2T fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp crushed garlic
1T flour
1 package Boursin garlic and fines herb cheese
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp fresh sea salt.

Combine all ingredients and bake 375 degrees, 45 minutes in a 9 inch by 13 inch casserole, covered.

Dad grew a huge amount of buttercup squash this summer. Not to be confused with a butter-nut squash. This is a different breed. They are the size of a medium pumpkin, but fully ripe are green. Pumpkin could probably be used for this recipe. This one was about 3 lbs. In the Fall they harvested so many of these squash that he took a large amount to the food bank. Mom had to winkle this information out of him. He's just that way. He knew that our family wouldn't use the full amount and he wanted to give back.
I wanted to make an amazing "something with this home grown squash. So we used my mom's homemade Danish Medisterpolse. I'm having a problem getting the computer to do links today, but she makes this at Thanksgiving and then freezes it in mass. I have her recipe here on my blog in November. To 1 lb of her sausage we added 1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped, 3T bell pepper, 1tsp fresh thyme 1/2 lb fresh crimini mushrooms, chopped, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Saute 10-15 minutes.
Stuff the sausage stuffing in the buttercup squash. This squash is roughly the size of a basketball. No dribbling this...except I dribble spittle when I drool. Wrap the whole thing in heavy foil and place on a sheet pan. Bake 375 degrees 2 hours.
At service, remove the foil. Place it on your head to avoid alien mind control. Or, just throw the foil in the trash. Cut the squash down the sides about 3/4 the way with the filling just staying piled in the middle. It's an amazingly dramatic presentation.

Yes...the kids will eat it too. The Mini Professor thought it was heaven.
There you go.

Sculpted Flowers

Question...does anyone want to have a tutorial Tuesday on sculpted flowers? This lovely sampling was made from homemade modeling chocolate. I bet a lot of you don't even know what that is...or if you do know what modeling chocolate is, you may have no idea how to make it from scratch. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. A little mood lighting please...

My oh my. It's two o'clock in the morning here in lovely Utah. I'm visiting my parents to celebrate my dad's 60th Birthday. The plane touched down at 9:30...and I have been baking with mom since we got home at 11. What do you think? Not bad for a couple of hours of giggling and way too much fun for a gal who should be in bed. However...I couldn't wait to put these on the blog and let you all know that Tuesday the 22nd I will have a full tutorial on the sculpted flowers. That's the day after my Fox 10 segment...and the first second I will have to go into great detail for of my wonderful friends here on the blog.

Also...just in time for Christmas...the classic poinsettia. Full tutorial on this baby too. What say you? Okay...tell your friends.
That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Brownie Mix

Keeping with the tradition of homemade mix week this week I thought I would share brownie mix. This is my sister's recipe and one I think is amazing. It's a quick and easy homemade mix that is not chuck full of extra additives and preservatives, and made with love! You can't beat that! Good for holiday gift giving...or anytime on hand goodies! Plus, you might just already have all this stuff hanging around your house. Less money going out means more for other things. I know a few who are counting every penny this year. God bless you! I'm sure there are a few friends you can think of who would love this stuff! Winter school break is coming up. Why not have the kids help you by holding open the bags while you scoop in the ingredients, or by helping you count your kitchen math. "Kids, how many Tablespoons are in a Cup (16)"...How many teaspoons in a Tablespoon? (3)...Go on from there wherever the conversation leads.

These make a 9 inch by 13 inch pan. Make them 10 at a time and you have quick and fast mixes on hand. Sell them to make extra holiday money. Whatever you need. Again, this is my gift to you. Need to earn money for the youth ministry or cub scouts? This is a great way to do so. Get the kids involved (with very clean and sanitized prep areas, hair nets and gloves). No reason they can't help. Try having them make or decorate the gift bags. I've slipped the mix into cloth bags tied with a bow, or gone as simple as colored lunch size sacks with printed labels giving baking instruction. Whatever fits your needs.


1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c cocoa powder
1 1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts,walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Optional flavor additions:
1/2 tsp raspberry,orange, or cherry flavored drink mix (like kool-aid optional)
2T instant coffee or Pero(non-coffee grain drink powder) for mocha
Combine all ingredients in a zip top quart bag. When I do 10, I put the bags in bowls standing upright and go down the assembly line so I don't miss any ingredients. It's a great fast way to pump out a lot of goodie bags at once. If you give instructions for the rocky road brownies, include a separate bag with the nuts,chocolate, and marshmallows. I do the same with Caramel brownies.

Include the following cooking instructions:

TO MAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Empty brownie mix into a large mixing bowl, and stir to blend. Mix in 1 c melted margarine, 3 eggs and 1 t vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely in pan before cutting.

TO MAKE INTO ROCKY ROAD BROWNIES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan; set aside. Place the brownie mix, 3 large eggs, 1/2 c melted butter, and 1/4 c milk in a large bowl; stir with wooden spoon until smooth, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. The moment the pan is out of the oven and on a wire rack, sprinkle 3 c of miniature marshmallows over the top, followed by 1 c chopped nuts and 1 c chocolate chips. Cover the pan with aluminum foil to hold in the heat for 5 minutes; then uncover the pan and cool for an additional 30 minutes.

Caramel topped: Unwrap 12 squares of caramel and place on top of warm brownies just after they come out of the oven. Cover with foil for 5 minutes. Uncover and allow to cool an additional 30 minutes.

Homemade stove cook stuffing

Do you love stove cooking stuffing, but don't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money for dried bread cubes? Really...that is all that's in that little bag...and some spices. Here is a pretty good mock recipe I've tweaked a bit. Don't be scared. You can do this!! This makes 12 if you have a family of 4, enough stove top for 3 meals. Teenage boys in your family. Triple the recipe for one meal. Either way, with the budget needing to be stretched especially this time of year...this is a good one to have around. Plus, it will make it easier to make that holiday turkey or whatever. Use homemade whole grain bread if you make your own. I love it made with the savory variations of Apple sourdough.

Tess' Homemade Stove Top Stuffing
6 cups cubed bread (I use whole wheat,Tess' Oat Bread is amazing! ) make sure the pieces are pretty small, 'cause stove top is...)
1 tablespoon dry parsley flakes
3 tsp chicken bouillon (I like the no MSG or low sodium variety)
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp celery seed (or 1/2 cup dehydrated celery, chopped fine--I dehydrate my own)
1 T poultry seasoning (or Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake bread 8 to 10 minutes on a sheet pan--It may take longer depending on the size of the cubes of bread (it should be dry!). In large bowl toss bread with remaining ingredients till evenly coated.
Store in a air tight container. Will keep for 1 to 4 months or 12 months frozen. Cook just like you would for the prepackaged mix.
To prepare:

for 4, (1/2 cup servings)
Combine 2 cups stuffing mix with 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Full batch for 7 cups stuffing total,
Combine 1 and 1/2 cups water and 1/3 cup butter.
Microwave 3-5 minutes, or stove top added to boiling water/butter.
Those "home-bake" meals with the can of cream of chicken and vegetable soup and the stuffing mix are a cinch, and much cheaper if you use the homemade mix. Soup is usually on sale or I like to give away a pint of Creamy Curry Celery and Chicken Soup. Prepare the stuffing mix for 4 servings, according to directions. Put soup in the bottom of an 8 inch by 8 inch casserole. Wonderful casserole baked at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bread of Life Section...Angels on Earth

Welcome to the Sunday post. It's a day I share my soul.
Early this week I was in a grocery store checking line waiting to pay for a couple of items and run off to teach a cooking class. In front of me in line was a very loaded cart. I can't imagine how more toys could have fit in the cart. I was in a hurry. The clerk had "beeped" all the items and then the woman asked if she could have each toy put in a separate bag. I admit it...I may have been a bit jealous of the abundance of toys...and I assumed the worst. I was totally non-Christian and thought "her kids must be so spoiled!" Instantly I was put to terrible shame. The woman laid down a stack of "Christmas Angel" cards. One to go with each bag. Each bag a separate gift for a large number of children from families who did not have the money to buy toys for their own children. My heart stuck in my throat and I started to cry. How I had misjudged. How I had been humbled. How wonderful to see a miracle in action from one stranger to another. I learned a great lesson. I learned that I was a dork. I learned that I deep down had a great desire to give as I saw this woman doing. So, thank you dear lady wherever you are for that stack of toys. It reached my heart more than a thousand sermons. You really are a Christmas Angel.

Thomas S. Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, . . . my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”14 In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith...
I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind. "