Thursday, December 3, 2009

Flemish Carbonades

Serves 6
From the Chocolate & Zucchini Cookbook

Note: For deeper flavors, it is best to make the carbonades a day ahead. Gently reheat on the stove the following day before serving.

30g butter
1.5 kg well-trimmed boneless beef chuck, cut in 3cm slices
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
3 T. plain flour
1 kg. yellow onions (about 6 medium), sliced
750ml (usually 2 bottles) rich amber ale
3 T. light brown sugar
1 T. fresh thyme or 1 1/2 t. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
2 1cm thick slices of day-old peasant style bread, about 60g each
2 T. strong Dijon mustard

Melt the butter over med. heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add half of the meat in a single layer and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer to a plate and brown the remaining pieces. Return all meat to the pot, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flour, and stir to coat. Add the onions and stir; the pot will seem quite full. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid coloring.

Pour in 250ml warm water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Pour in the beer and an additional 250ml water; stir, and bring to a simmer.

Add the sugar, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves, and stir. Lower the heat to med. low; cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every once in a while. An hour into the cooking, spread each slice of bread with a tablespoon of mustard and place at the surface of the stew. The bread will soon be moistened by the steam inside the pot and will fall apart as you stir, giving body to the sauce.

Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat. Serve hot from the pot, with small steamed potatoes.

Variation: Use pain d'épice instead of bread and mustard. Add 2 T. red wine vinegar as you deglaze the pan; omit the sugar and use 100g pain d'épice (about 3 1cm slices).

**Note: I neglected to stir this frequently enough during the last hour of cooking and it started to stick to the bottom of the pan. I saved it, but it would have been a lot better if that hadn't happened. I'll be more careful next time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon I

From the kitchen of Julia Child
Servings: 6
Difficulty: Difficult [I take issue with the difficult rating. Tedious, yes. Time-consuming, certainly. But not really difficult.]
Cook Time: Over 120 min

This recipe is adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)


  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon (or lardons, if you're lucky enough to find them)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
  • Cooking Directions

    Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. [I don't know that I would bother to boil the lardons and then saute them in oil. Why not just saute them with no added oil to begin with?]

    Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

    In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

    Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

    Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

    Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

    Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

    Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

    Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

    While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

    Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

    Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

    Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

    Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

    Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

    Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

    When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

    Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

    Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

    If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

    Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

    Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Gâteau au Yaourt (Yogurt Cake)

    I made this delicious cake last week and I'm sure I will make it again repeatedly. As a bonus, it is fast and easy!

    The recipe comes from Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini, and she says:

    "The basic yogurt cake recipe can be tinkered with endlessly. You can add citrus juice or zest to the batter; fold in berries, chocolate chips, or nuts; substitute ground almonds or cocoa powder for part of the flour; cut the cake in two and spread raspberry jam, lemon curd, or ganache in the middle; or dress the cake with whatever frosting or glaze you like. . . but every time I go back to the original, unadulterated gâteau au yaourt, I am reminded [of] its delightful simplicity."

    I just had a piece for breakfast with some hot chocolate and it was simply divine.

    80 ml vegetable oil
    250g plain unsweetened yogurt, preferably whole milk
    200g sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 t. pure vanilla extract
    1 T. light or amber rum (optional -- I didn't have any, so I increased the vanilla)
    240g flour
    1 1/2 t. baking powder
    1 t. baking soda
    a good pinch of fine sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 180º C. Grease the sides of a 25cm round cake pan or springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, oil, and rum, if using, and whisk again.

    In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (I confess I skipped this step!) Pour the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and whisk until just combined.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen. If you're using a springform pan, unclasp the sides. Otherwise, flip the cake onto a plate and flip it back on the rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Tagine d'Agneau aux Poires (Lamb Tagine with Pears)

    From the Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook
    Serves 6

    1 T. olive oil
    700g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes and patted dry with paper towels
    fine sea salt
    500g yellow onions, about 3 medium
    2 garlic cloves
    a pinch of saffron threads
    1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
    1/2 t. ground cinnamon
    1/2 t. ground ginger
    1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
    1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
    a good pinch of ground chile powder
    100g whole blanched almonds
    15g unsalted butter
    4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered (choose a variety that will hold its shape when cooked, such as Conference or William)

    Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Arrange half of the meat in a single layer over the bottom of the pot without crowding. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, until the meat starts to brown. Season with salt, set aside on a plate, and repeat with remaining meat.

    While meat is browning, peel and slice the onions. Peel and mince garlic. Once all meat is browned and set aside, combine onions, garlic, and 1 T. water in the pot. Cook over med. heat for 10 minutes, until softened, stirring regularly. Add the meat, sprinkle with spices, stir, and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Pour in hot water halfway up the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and lower the heat to med. low. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender.

    While the meat is simmering, toast the almonds in a large dry frying pan until golden and fragrant, and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter over med. heat until it starts to sizzle. Add the quartered pears and toss gently to coat. Lower the heat to med. low, cover, and cook 12 minutes, until the pears are cooked through and slightly translucent. Keep warm.

    Remove the lid from the pot, turn the heat up to med. high, and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the meat and sauce to a serving dish. Surround with the pears, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and serve with couscous.

    Note: If you're at all excited about Moroccan cooking, you may want to add ras el hanout, a complex mix of spices, to your spice rack. If you are able to find it, use 2 t. in this recipe, in place of the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Pâte Brisée (Savory Short Pastry)

    A great crust for quiche or any savory tart. French crusts are always made with butter, rather than shortening. They're not as flaky as ones made with shortening, but they sure do taste good!

    200g flour
    1/2 t. fine sea salt
    125g chilled butter, diced
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    ice cold water

    Combine flour, salt and butter in a medium bowl. Rub the mixture with your fintertips or a wire pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat the egg slightly in a small bowl. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the egg, and blend gently with a fork. When most of the egg is incorporated, knead gently until the dough comes together. If it is a little dry, add ice water, 1 T. at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Avoid overworking the dough, or it will become tough.

    Shape the dough into a slightly flattened ball. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a day. Let stand at room temp. before using, just long enough that the dough can be rolled out without cracking (usually about 10 minutes).

    Sprinkle flour lightly on a clean work surface and on your rolling pin, and roll the pin over your dough 2-3 times with moderate pressure. Rotate the dough by a quarter of a turn and roll the pin over it 2-3 times. Repeat until you get a circle large enough to line your pan, sprinkling both your work surface and rolling pin with a little more flour when the dough starts to stick to either.

    Variation: flavor the dough with a T. of dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano), 1/2 - 1 t. ground spices (nutmeg, ginger, cumin), or 30g hard grated cheese (parmesan in particular).

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Pâte Sablée (Sweet Short Pastry)

    Makes enough to line a 25cm tart pan, or 6 10cm tartlet molds.

    75g chilled unsalted butter, diced, plus a pat to grease the pan
    75g sugar
    150g plain flour
    1/4 t. fine sea salt
    1-2 T. cold milk

    Grease a 25cm tart pan with butter.

    Combine sugar, salt, and flour. Add butter cubes and rub into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add a tablespoon of milk and blend it in, handling the dough as lightly as you can. The dough should still be crumbly, but should clump if you gently squeeze a handful in your hand. If it doesn't, add a little more milk, teaspoon by teaspoon, and blend again, still working lightly.

    Pour the mixture into the tart pan and use the back of a tablespoon to spread it evenly over the bottom. Using the heels of your hands and your fingers, press down on the dough to form a thin layer, covering the surface of the pan and creating a rim all around. Don't worry if the dough is a little dry, this is normal. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to a day.

    Variations: flavor the dough with 1 t. vanilla extract or finely grated citrus zest, 1/2 t. spice such as cinnamon or nutmeg, or 1 t. liqueur (Grand Marnier, rum). Add these ingredients along with the butter.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009


    Okay, here are approximate conversions from Metric to U.S. measurements:


    50 grams = 2 ounces
    110 grams = 4 ounces
    150 grams = 5 ounces
    200 grams = 7 ounces
    250 grams = 9 ounces
    450 grams = 16 ounces (1 pound)
    900 grams = 32 ounces (2 pounds)


    5 milliliters = 1 teaspoon
    15 milliliters = 1 Tablespoon
    60 milliliters = 1/4 cup / 4 Tablespoons
    80 milliliters = 1/3 cup
    240 milliliters = 1 cup
    1000 milliliters (1 liter) = 1 quart


    140º C = 275º F
    150º C = 300º F
    170º C = 325º F
    180º C = 350º F
    190º C = 375º F
    200º C = 400º F
    220º C = 425º F
    230º C = 450º F
    240º C = 475º F

    Now, go and try French recipes!

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Quiche Oignon avec Lardons (Onion Quiche with Bacon)

    Pâte Brisée

    1 T. olive oil
    about 6 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
    1/2 t. fine sea salt
    3 large eggs
    200 ml cream
    1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
    150 g. grated gruyere or emmental cheese
    100 g. lardons (small strips of bacon)

    Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt, and stir. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, until onions are soft and translucent. Remove the lid, turn heat to med. high, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring, until most of the liquids have evaporated.

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before using. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 25 cm quiche pan. Roll out the dough and transfer to the pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden, and remove from oven.

    Remove onions from the pan and fry up the lardons until crisp.

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Fold in the cheese, onions, and lardons, and pour into the tart shell.

    Bake for 35 minutes, until the top is golden and the center of the quiche is still slightly jiggly. Turn off the oven and leave the quiche in the closed oven for 10 minutes, until the filling is set. Serve warm.

    {recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook}

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Porc Fermier (Farmer's Pork)

    1 kg. pork roast
    6 yellow potatoes
    4 carrots
    4 stalks celery
    6 branches of parsley
    1 bouquet garni
    2 large (4 small) chicken bouillon cubes
    6 black peppercorns
    50 g. butter
    50 g. flour
    20 cl. milk
    100 g. grated gruyere or emmental cheese

    Place the pork in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain, rinse, and cover with fresh cold water. Add 3 branches parsley, peppercorns, bouquet garni, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

    Peel the carrots and cut carrots into discs. Cut potatoes into cubes. Slice the celery. Add the vegetables to the pot and cook 20 minutes after it returns to a boil. Drain, reserving 30 cl. of the cooking liquid.

    Cube pork, removing any remaining fat. Place pork and vegetables in a large gratin dish.

    Prepare the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, then add flour, whisking vigorously, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid and milk to the pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil while stirring, and let simmer 2-3 minutes, until it thickens. Add 3/4 of the cheese; salt and pepper to taste.

    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Pour the sauce over the pork and vegetables, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve immediately.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Mediterranean Zucchini Casserole

    500 g small zucchini
    100 g grated parmesan
    100 g mozzarella
    250 g puff pastry
    3 T. pesto
    1 small branch of mint
    2 cloves garlic
    2 eggs + one egg yolk
    1 T. olive oil

    Grate the zucchini, salt and let drain in a sieve for 10 minutes. Sop up liquid with a paper towel.

    In a large bowl, mix zucchini with parmesan, diced mozzarella, lightly beaten eggs, pesto, minced garlic, and minced mint. Salt and pepper.

    Place in a 9x13" pan and roll out pastry to cover. Make several small slits in pastry with a knife. Brush pastry with remaining egg yolk.

    Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until top is lightly puffed and golden.

    Spinach Leek Tart

    200 g flour
    100 g butter
    1/2 t. salt

    4 large leeks
    350 g fresh spinach
    3 eggs
    40 g butter
    25 cl creme fraiche
    80 g grated emmental cheese (or swiss)

    Mix flour, butter and salt together gently with fingertips in a small bowl. Incorporate 3 T. water. Gather dough together in a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

    Clean and slice leeks, then sauté in butter for 15 minutes, over low heat. Rinse spinach. Place in a saucepan and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes over low heat. Drain and coarsely chop. Add to leeks and cook another 3 minutes. Salt and pepper and let cool.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry dough and place in a 12" tart or quiche pan. Poke with a fork and then add spinach/leek mixture.

    In a bowl, mix the eggs with a fork and add the creme and cheese. Salt and pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables and bake for 30 minutes, reducing the temperature to 375 degrees after 15 minutes.

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Chicken Tacos

    This is the easiest crockpot recipe I've ever made. Just place:

    chicken breasts (4?)
    a jar of salsa
    a can (or two) of black beans, drained
    a can (or two) of corn, drained (you could also use frozen corn)

    in crockpot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

    Take chicken breasts out and shred. Add chicken back to pot and stir. Serve with hot tortillas, cheese, sour cream, etc.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Peanut Butter/Banana/Cocoa Protein Shake

    This recipe is based on one that Marc invented -- it reminds us of a smoothie we used to frequently order at WorldWrapps in Seattle (yum). I tweaked it a little as a result of some of Jessie's smoothie tricks.

    I give you...

    Peanut Butter/Banana/Cocoa Protein Shake

    2 c. ice
    1 c. soy milk (or regular milk)
    4 T. peanut butter
    1 large scoop of protein powder
    1 ripe banana
    1 T. cocoa (optional, still very good without it)
    1/3 c. uncooked oatmeal
    1/2 t. vanilla

    Put ice and milk in blender. If you don't have a Blendtec, you may want to blend at this point, to avoid overloading your blender's motor. Or if you're feeling brave, just put all ingredients in at once. Blend until all ingredients are well mixed. Taste to see if you want to add any sweetener (I don't).

    Makes 1 giant or 2 regular servings.

    You've got your protein, your whole grains, your fruit, your dairy. Nice texture, too. Makes a good post-workout smoothie because all the protein helps to rebuild muscle. Also delicious for breakfast and it stays with you to keep you full for a good while.

    If I had a Blendtec to make this smoothie it would be even better because:

    1. It would blend up in a flash, narrowing the gap between wanting the smoothie and drinking the smoothie to almost nil!

    2. It would pulverize the ice, no more pesky larger ice chunks!

    3. It would eliminate the nasty electrical smell that my blender sometimes emits, making me fear it will give up the ghost before finishing my tasty drink.

    Here's the one that I want!

    If you like it, go vote for it!

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    Corn Salad with Lime Dressing

    Jessie came back with this recipe from Denver. Apparently my Aunt Linda gave it to my Aunt Denise. Who knows where Aunt Linda got it? In any case, it's delicious.

    6 ears roasted or grilled corn, stripped from the cob
    1/4 thinly sliced red onion
    1 pkg. cherry tomatoes, halved
    chopped cilantro to taste

    Combine all ingredients and toss with lime dressing:

    2 T. oil
    3 T. fresh lime juice
    2 T. rice wine vinegar
    chopped cilantro
    salt and sugar to taste (I made it without sugar because the corn was so sweet it didn't need any.)

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Best Fudge Cake

    sadly, this is the best photo I got...
    Denise calls this the Giant Ding Dong cake, much to Grandma's chagrin.
    It's pretty much a showstopper.

    3 squares unsweetened chocolate
    1/2 cup soft butter or margarine
    2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
    3 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup boiling water

    1. Melt chocolate in small saucepan over very low heat

    2. grease well and flour three 9X 1 1/2" pans (I spray with
    Pam, set a circle of waxed paper in the pan, and spray again with Pam)

    3. Beat butter until smooth in large bowl with electric mixer.
    Add sugar and eggs; beat on high speed until light and fluffy,
    about 5 minutes.

    4. Beat in vanilla and chocolate with mixer on low speed, then add
    baking soda and salt. Add flour alternately with sour cream,

    beating in low speed until smooth. Pour in boiling water;
    stir with a spoon until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.

    5. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 - 35 minutes or
    center springs back when touched lightly with fingertip.
    Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans;

    6. Split each layer with long serrated knife into 2 layers;
    fill with sweetened whipped cream. Frost with ganache.

    Note: Batter will be thin and makes thick layers.

    ** Quite often, I don't bother to sift the flour. This time I measured
    the cake flour, sifted it, then measured again. There was almost
    1/2 c. left over. The cake was wonderfully moist. I guess I'll
    be sifting from now on.


    6-8 oz. softened cream cheese
    2 c. whipping cream

    Whip cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add whipping cream
    and continue beating until desired stiffness. Add vanilla and
    sweeten to taste. (I used 6 oz. cream cheese because I wanted it to
    taste more whipped cream-y and less cheesecake-y.)


    1/2 c. sugar
    1/2 c. whipping cream
    2 squares unsweetened chocolate
    1/2 bar German sweet chocolate
    a few grains of salt

    (I used a 4 oz. bar of bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate.
    Use what you like, for a total of 4 oz.)

    Stir together sugar, salt and 1/4 c. cream in a small saucepan.
    Cook over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate
    and stir constantly until dissolved. Add remaining cream.

    Ganache will be quite thin, and will thicken as it cools.
    When completely cool, pour over the cake and smooth on the sides.
    Refrigerate cake until serving.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Double Chocolate Banana Bread

    I decided to try a new way of using up over-ripe bananas this week because I had a LOT. (Thanks, Jill!) I found the recipe here and it was a huge hit with my family -- it's rich and delicious.

    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup cocoa (I prefer dutch process)
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

    1. Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom of 8x4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

    2. Beat sugar, eggs, and oil in large bowl at medium speed until combined. Beat in banana and vanilla at low speed. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; beat into banana mixture at low speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

    3 Spoon batter into pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

    p.s. I made a double batch and found that there was too much batter for my 2 8x4" loaf pans. Next time I'll try a 9".

    Monday, April 6, 2009


    I took this donut recipe from my aunt Denise's blog. I made them for the first time on Saturday and they were much easier than I expected. They were delicious and a new Conference weekend tradition was born for us!

    • 2/3 c. butter or margarine
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 1 c. hot mashed potatoes (we use instant mashed potatoes)

    Combine first three ingredients together and add:

    • 1 c. warm milk (we use water and powdered milk; we like our homemade breads best when we use powdered milk)

    Let cool to lukewarm and add:

    • 1 T. yeast that has been dissolved in 1 c. water with 1 t. sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 t. salt

    Beat well. Add 2 c. flour and mix well. Add an additional 5-7 c. flour and knead thoroughly (we use dough hooks in the mixer). Dough should not be too sticky. Place dough in large Tupperware bowl, spray top with Pam, cover, and refrigerate overnight (we have been known to make dough first thing in the morning for use later that day--the dough is easiest to work with, however, when thoroughly chilled). For a large crowd we have been known to make 1 1/2 batches of dough.

    Roll out dough about 3/8"-1/2" thick and cut circles and holes with round cutters. You may have to experiment with sizes. We have a large set of circle cutters and use one of the larger ones. Transfer cut donuts to waxed paper-lined trays that have been generously scattered with flour. The secret to beautiful donuts is being able to get them off of the cookie sheet and into the fryer without collapsing the dough, hence adequate flour is helpful.

    We originally tried frying the donuts in hot oil in a skillet, but found it difficult to control the temperature of the oil; the donuts would often get too brown on the outside and still be doughy on the inside. We have since invested in a "Fry Daddy" and it has been worth every penny! We also read up on donut making and discovered that it is recommended to use solid shortening (a.k.a. Crisco) rather than vegetable oil. Fry donuts until golden, turning as needed. Drain on paper towels/newspapers.

    Make a watery glaze of powdered sugar, water, vanilla, and a few grains of salt. I am the fryer and my mom is the glazer, and when I asked her for the Secret Recipe for the glaze she laughed. She just starts with some powdered sugar in a bowl and adds 2-3 times as much water, adjusting thickness/thinness as necessary. (for the record, I had to add WAY more powdered sugar to get the proper ratio.)

    After the doughnuts have drained for a minute or two (not too long) use a fork to dip in glaze and transfer to wire rack. Donuts are also good dipped in granulated sugar instead of glaze. (We double-dipped in the glaze. Yum! Next time, I'm going to try a chocolate glaze...)

    Good luck in your homemade donut endeavors!

    Rosemary Artisan Bread

    My aunt Linda posted this recipe on Facebook and I was intrigued. Grandma and I made it when I was visiting and it was incredible! She said she has made it without the rosemary and lemon zest and it was still wonderful. Just as good as what you'd buy in a French bakery.

    This bread is almost effortless to make because it requires no kneading. Instead, the dough is allowed to slowly rise over a long period of time. Then it is baked in a preheated covered cast-iron pot, which helps produce a crispy, bakery-style crust on the finished loaf.

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
    • 1 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
    • 2 tsp. chopped lemon zest
    • Cornmeal as needed

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

    Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

    Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

    At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

    Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.

    Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

    Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery (New York City) and Mark Bittman, "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2006.

    (It was almost better the second day!)

    Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Primavera

    1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears
    1 c. matchstick-cut carrots
    1/2 medium sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
    1 t. minced garlic
    1 t. olive oil
    1/2 t. salt
    1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
    1 pint grape tomatoes
    8 oz. uncooked penne
    2 c. sliced rotisserie chicken breast
    3/4 c. whipping cream
    2/3 c. shaved fresh Parmesan

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Snap off tough ends of asparagus and cut into 2" pieces. Combine asparagus, carrots, onion and garlic in jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss gently to coat. Bake for 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown; stir vegetables. Add tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.

    While vegetables roast, cook pasta. Drain well, reserving 1/3 c. pasta water. Keep past and reserved water warm.

    Combine chicken, vegetables, pasta, reserved pasta water, and whipping cream; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

    Yield: 8 servings (serving size 1 1/4 c.)

    *Note: I used Costco grated parmesan with great results. This dish tastes too rich to be a WW recipe (7 points)!

    Triple Caramel Cake

    Grandma gave me this recipe when I was visiting. It's a new discovery and a delicious addition to our family cake repertoire. I can't wait to make it!

    3 c. heavy cream
    2 1/2 c. sugar
    6 oz. butter, softened
    4 large eggs
    2 c. flour
    1 1/2 t. baking powder (3/4 t. at high altitude)

    Pour 2 c. cream into a medium saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil. Lower heat and keep at a bare simmer.

    Put 1 c. sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Leave undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and darken. Gently shake the pan to distribute the sugar and keep from burning. When all the sugar is melted and very dark amber, remove from heat.

    Carefully add hot cream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Don't worry if caramel hardens; it will melt as sauce boils. Return pan to heat and keep at a gentle boil for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Set aside for at least 30 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is cool. Reserve 1 c. sauce for cake batter and refrigerate the rest.

    Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Cream butter and 1 1/2 c. sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Gently but thoroughly fold in dry ingredients alternately with 1 c. of the caramel, beginning and ending with the dry.

    Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until skewer comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Set on rack for 10 minutes, then unmold and cool completely. Bring rest of sauce to room temperature. When cake is cool, drizzle 1/2 of the sauce on top.

    Whip remaining 1 c. cream to firm peaks and gently fold in remaining caramel, leaving streaks visible. Serve with cake.

    Okay, so it's kind of a lot of work, but doesn't it just sound heavenly??


    (oops! forgot to take a photo of the finished product!)

    My cousin Charlotte got this recipe from a roommate who took a food preparation class at BYU. These are fast, easy, and a big hit with the fam.

    1 1/4 c. warm water
    1 T. yeast
    2 T. sugar
    1/2 t. salt
    3 - 3 1/2 c. flour
    1/4 c. melted butter
    garlic salt/parmesan cheese

    Proof the yeast. Mix sugar, salt, and 2 1/2 c. flour. Add yeast mixture and stir to form dough. Add more flour if needed -- it's better to be on the stickier side. Let dough rest 10 minutes.

    Put half of melted butter in a jelly roll pan. Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape and then press into pan. Brush with remaining butter. Cut dough into strips with a pizza cutter and sprinkle with parmesan and garlic salt. Let rest another 10 minutes.

    Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

    **Notes: I happened to check on mine at 15 minutes and they were totally done. Also, I got a grinder in the spice section at Target that has sea salt and garlic -- delicious.

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Miracle Bread

    My friend Hannah brought me a loaf of this bread, along with a copy of the recipe. It's really good! And the best part is, it only takes one hour to make, start to finish! (That's why I named it miracle bread. It seems miraculous to me.)

    I've made the white and the whole wheat, and they are both delicious and super-fast. Both a hit with my family. With bread this fast and easy, I just might stop buying bread altogether!

    5 1/4-1/2c. white bread flour
    1/4 c. sugar or honey
    1/2 T. salt (I use kosher)
    1 1/2 rounded tablespoons instant yeast (I buy my yeast at Costco and keep it in the freezer)
    3 T. vegetable oil
    2 c. hot tap water

    Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Mix briefly and check consistency. If dough is too dry, add a little more water; if very sticky, add a bit more flour. (It's best if you leave it on the slightly sticky side.) Mix for 5 minutes. Spray bread pans with Pam. Divide dough into two equal portions; shape loaves, place in pans and cover with a dish towel. Let rise 25 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. (I use 9" loaf pans, but 8" ones should work as well.)

    Makes 2 loaves.

    For whole wheat bread, use the same recipe, substituting whole wheat flour for the white; add 1/2 c. applesauce with the hot water and oil and use 1/4 c. oil instead of 3 T. You may need to increase the mixing time a bit.

    If you have a high-capacity mixer, you can double the recipe and make 4 loaves.

    *Lately, I've been mixing this by hand, since my KitchenAid is on the fritz. I knead it for about 3 minutes, and the texture of the bread is wonderful! (I like the texture of all of my breads best when I mix them by hand, but do what you prefer.)

    Multi-grain miracle bread!

    Recently I've been experimenting with a multi-grain quick bread. I've tried it several different ways, and this is what I've had most success with:

    2 c. 10-grain cereal (I use a Bob's Mill mix)
    2 c. whole wheat flour
    1 c. white flour
    1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
    1/4 c. sugar or honey
    1 1/2 heaping T. instant yeast
    1/2 T. kosher salt
    2 T. dough enhancer
    2 T. vital wheat gluten
    1/4 c. vegetable oil
    1/2 c. applesauce
    1 1/2-2 c. hot water

    (I added the dough enhancer and gluten because the loaves were a bit too heavy and dense (you can purchase them at grocery stores or on Amazon.) I sometimes add a couple of tablespoons of flax seed as well, because I love the texture that it adds.)

    Mix dry ingredients by hand or in a stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid). Add wet ingredients and mix well. I sometimes need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Let the machine knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

    Divide dough in half and form into oblong loaves. At this point, you can sprinkle the loaves with additional oatmeal or other grain or seeds, if you wish. Place in greased loaf pans (I use 9" ones) and cover with a dish towel. Let rise for 25 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

    The whole wheat bread used to be my family's favorite, but now the multi-grain version has surpassed it!

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Tex-Mex Nachos

    • 3/4 pound ground round
    • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
    • 3/4 cup taco sauce (I used water + taco seasoning)
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained (I used pinto beans)
    • 1 can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
    • 2 ounces fat-free baked tortilla chips (about 2 cups or about 18 chips)
    • 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
    • 1 cup chopped tomato
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1/2 cup salsa
    • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

    Cook meat and green onions in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and return meat mixture to pan. Stir in taco sauce, garlic powder, pepper, beans, and corn, and cook until thoroughly heated. Spoon 1 cup meat mixture over 1/2 cup chips, and top with 3/4 cup lettuce, 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup cheese, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 tablespoons sour cream. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

    4 servings

    Gratin of Beets with Walnuts and Roquefort Cheese

    I found this recipe years ago in a little tiny Bon Appetit cookbook. Marc and I love it and I still make it lo these many years later. (With my passion for trying new things, not that many recipes stay in rotation.) If you think you don't like beets, it may be that you've only tried pickled beets. Roasted beets are a different thing completely -- earthy, delicately sweet -- and if you're lucky enough to have garden-fresh beets, well... you're just really lucky. This is delightful alongside a steak.

    2 medium beets, stems trimmed to 1 inch
    2 t. balsamic vinegar
    1/2 t. sugar
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    2 T. butter
    3/4 c. fresh breadcrumbs
    3 T. chopped walnuts
    1 1/2 T. snipped chives or minced green onions
    2 oz. Roquefort, crumbled

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in foil. Place in baking pan and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Maintain oven temperature. Cool beets slightly. Peel and cut into 1/2" dice. Mix with vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, spoon into a buttered gratin dish.

    Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Mix in walnuts and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Add Roquefort and crumbs to beets and mix gently to distribute evenly. Return to oven and bake until hot, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

    Serves 2, but can easily be doubled or tripled.

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Suzy's Mud Cookies

    This is a bit of a funny recipe, but I made them with no problem. The hit of girls' camp!

    1 1/2 + 6 T. butter
    1 c. + 2 T. cocoa
    3 c. brown sugar
    1 T. vanilla
    3 eggs
    4 1/2 - 6 c. flour, as needed
    1/2 - 1 c. buttermilk
    1 1/2 t. baking soda
    1 1/2 t. baking powder
    1 1/2 t. salt

    Melt butter and cocoa together in microwave. Stir to fully incorporate. Add brown sugar and mix. Add vanilla and eggs and mix.

    Add 2 c. flour and mix. Add 1/2 c. buttermilk and mix. Add 2 c. more of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add more flour as needed -- the consistency should be slightly less thick than playdough. (it should cling to a spoon or fall off in a clump)

    Drop by tablespoons and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should have a cracked surface.

    *Bake 2 or 3 cookies as a test batch -- if they are too flat, add more flour. If too puffy, add more buttermilk.

    Cool and frost with:

    4 c. powdered sugar
    6 T. butter
    1 1/2 t. vanilla
    1/4-1/2 c. milk

    Makes a lot.

    Denise's Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

    3 c. flour
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. salt
    1 c. margarine (Denise calls for Land O Lakes margarine, but since I don't know where to get that, I usually use 1/2 c. butter and 1/2 c. shortening)
    3/4 c. sugar
    3/4 c. brown sugar
    1 t. vanilla
    1 t. water
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

    Sift flour before measuring, then resift with baking soda and salt, and set aside. (I don't bother with this -- gasp! -- I just put a sieve over my mixing bowl and dump it all in.)

    Combine margarine, sugars, vanilla, and water. Beat about 2 minutes, until very creamy. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

    Gradually add sifted ingredients and beat another 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips.

    Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets (I use Silpat or parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. *Do not overbake.

    Remove when lightly browned and slightly crisp on bottom; they may seem slightly undercooked. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then remove to paper towels to cool completely.

    Makes about 40 small cookies.
    (These freeze well, but they disappear quickly around here!)

    Friday, February 27, 2009

    Overnight Rolls

    1 c. scalded milk
    1/4 lb. butter
    1 T. dry yeast, dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
    1 T. sugar, dissolved with yeast
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 1/2 t. salt
    4 c. flour (approximate)

    Beat all thoroughly in mixer. (Or, do it by hand! I think that was the secret to my best batch ever -- light as air.)

    Let dough rise, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.

    The next day, divide the dough in 2 portions. Roll each portion into a circle and cut into 16 pie-shaped pieces. Brush with melted butter. Roll each piece up, from the large edge to the small edge, and place on a buttered baking sheet.

    Brush tops of rolls with melted butter. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 4-5 hours. (The rising time is not critical with these -- they can probably rise up to 6 hours.) Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

    Makes 32 rolls. (this recipe doubles well)

    Grandma's French Bread

    2 T. yeast
    1/2 c. warm water
    2 c. very hot water
    1 T. salt
    2 T. sugar
    2 T. shortening
    6 c. flour

    Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water.

    In a large bowl, combine hot water, salt, sugar, and shortening and stir. Add 2 c. flour and stir well. Add proofed yeast and stir. Add 4 c. flour and stir well. It should form sort of a "shaggy" dough:

    Set the timer for 10 minutes and then stir down the dough. (I took this to mean sort of punching down the dough with your spoon.) Repeat 4 more times (5 times total).

    Grandma recommends putting out 5 objects and taking one away after each stir-down, so you don't forget how many times you've done it. I used magnets. Of course, you have to take one away each time or this strategy is useless!

    After the 5th time, turn the dough out on a well-floured board and cut in 2 equal portions.

    Roll each half into an elongated rectangle. Place both halves, side by side, on a large cookie sheet covered in cornmeal. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slash each loaf 3 times with a sharp knife and brush on an egg/water glaze, if desired. (You may also sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or salt crystals on top of loaves at this point.)

    Bake 30-35 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    Pasta with Chicken Wine Artichoke Sauce

    I tried this recipe this week when I was pressed for time and didn't want to go grocery shopping (I didn't have fresh basil so I used a little dried, and I just used dumb parmesan cheese in a can). The sauce is very bright and flavorful and it really was super-fast! Delicious, now part of our rotation.


    • 1 (12-ounce) package kamut spirals
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke quarters, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
    • Chopped fresh basil (optional)


    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add wine, salt, pepper, and artichokes; simmer 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened and chicken is done. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and 1/3 cup basil. Place sauce and pasta in a large bowl; stir gently to combine. Garnish with chopped basil, if desired.

    Nutritional Information

    Calories: 434 (19% from fat)
    Fat: 9.2g (sat 2.7g,mono 4.5g,poly 1.2g)
    Protein: 40.1g
    Carbohydrate: 49g
    Fiber: 4.7g
    Cholesterol: 72mg
    Iron: 4.3mg
    Sodium: 629mg
    Calcium: 156mg

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Chinese Chicken Salad

    1 small head green cabbage
    1 pkg. chicken ramen noodles, crushed (reserve seasoning packet)
    1 bunch green onions sliced
    1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted
    2 T sesame seeds, toasted
    2-3 cups diced, cooked chicken

    3 T seasoned rice vinegar
    1/2 c. oil
    1 T sugar
    reserved packet of ramen seasoning
    1/2 tsp. pepper

    Shred cabbage and combine with onions, chicken, and ramen noodles, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

    For dressing, mix together rice vinegar, oil, and sugar in a blender/small food processor to emulsify. Add ramen seasoning and pepper. Add dressing, sesame seeds, and almonds to cabbage mixture just before serving.

    Grandma's Bran Muffins

    4 c. Bran Buds
    2 c. All Bran
    2 c. chopped dates
    2 c. boiling water
    1 c. butter or margarine
    2 1/2 c. sugar
    4 eggs
    2 T (scant) baking soda
    1 quart buttermilk
    5 c. flour

    Combine cereals and dates in a very large bowl and pour boiling water over. Let cool.

    Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs and add to cereal mixture.

    Combine buttermilk and baking soda and add alternately with flour.

    Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

    *This mixture may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks -- bake as needed.

    Denise's Deluxe Sugar Cookies

    (I usually double it.)

    1 c. butter, softened
    1 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
    1 egg
    1 t. vanilla
    1/2 t. almond extract
    2 1/2 c. flour
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. cream of tartar

    Mix thoroughly butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Blend in flour, soda, and cream of tartar. Cover and chill 2-3 hours.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Divide dough in half. Roll each half out to about 3/16" thickness on lightly floured cloth-covered board. Cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with sugar and place on lightly-greased cookie sheet.

    Bake 7-8 minutes or until light brown on edge.

    (omit sugar sprinkle if you are planning to frost them -- and I always do!)

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Gingerbread Scones

    2 c. flour
    1/3 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
    2 t. baking powder
    1/8 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. ground ginger
    1/2 t. cinnamon
    1/8 t. ground cloves
    1/8 t. ground nutmeg
    1/2 t. salt
    1/3 c. butter, chilled
    1 large egg
    3 T. molasses
    3 T. milk
    1 t. vanilla

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 10" diameter circle in the center of a baking sheet.

    Stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together the egg, molasses, milk and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky.

    With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into an 8" circle in the center of the prepared baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

    Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer scones with a spatula to the wire rack to cool. Recut into wedges, if necessary.

    Serve with Maple Butter:

    1/4 c. butter, softened
    2 t. maple syrup
    2 drops maple extract (optional)

    Stir together the butter, maple syrup, and maple extract, if desired, until combined. Serve the butter immediately or cover and refrigerate. To serve, let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature to soften.

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Orange Poppy Seed Scones

    2 1/4 c. flour
    1/2 c. sugar
    1/4 c. poppy seeds
    1 t. cream of tartar
    3/4 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. salt
    1/2 c. butter, chilled
    1/4 c. orange juice
    1 large egg
    1/4 t. grated orange zest
    1 egg white mixed with 1/2 t. water for glaze (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 10" diameter circle in center of a baking sheet.

    Stir together the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together the juice, egg, and orange zest. Add the juice mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky.

    With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a 9" diameter circle in the center of prepared baking sheet. If desired, brush the egg mixture over the top of the dough. With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of scone comes out clean.

    Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the scones to the wire rack to cool. Recut into wedges, if necessary. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

    Serve with citrus curd and whipped cream.

    Citrus Curd

    The perfect scone accompaniment!

    2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
    3/4 c. sugar
    1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
    1 t. grated lemon zest
    1 t. grated orange zest
    few grains of salt
    1/3 c. butter, chilled

    In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs and yolks to combine. Whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, lemon peel, orange peel, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and add to the saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture just until it comes to a boil and thickens. Do not overcook as it will curdle.

    Pour the mixture into a heatproof glass container. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    Makes approximately 2 cups.

    Apricot, White Chocolate, and Walnut Scones

    Years ago, Marc bought me a little cookbook called Simply Scones that has provided lovely fare for many a tea party and shower. These are traditional English scones and they are delicious and easy to make!

    2 c. flour
    1/3 c. sugar
    2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    1/4 c. butter, chilled
    1/2 c. heavy (whipping) cream
    1 large egg
    1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
    6 oz. white chocolate chips
    1 c. toasted coarsely broken walnuts
    1 c. chopped dried apricots

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and knead until combined. Knead in the white chocolate, walnuts, and apricots.

    Pat the dough into a 9" circle in the center of an ungreased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut circle into 8 wedges. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

    Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the scones to the wire rack to cool. Recut into wedges, if necessary. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

    For the ultimate decadence, serve with whipped cream and lemon or citrus curd.

    Fresh Berry Crumb Pie

    I got this recipe from a ward cookbook in Seattle. The easiest way to make a fruit pie!

    1 c. hazelnuts or almonds (I always use slivered almonds -- no skins to contend with)
    2 c. flour
    1 c. sugar
    3/4 c. butter, chilled
    1 1/2 T. cornstarch
    2 pints fresh berries (I always use raspberries)

    Create the crumb crust/topping by spreading the nuts in a pan. Roast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove to a cloth towel, rub off and discard skins. Grind the nuts finely in a food processor for 10 seconds.

    Mix the nuts, flour and 1/2 c. sugar in a large bowl and then cut in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Press 1/2 of the mixture by hand into the bottom and sides of a 8-9" tart pan (or pie plate).

    In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 c. sugar and cornstarch and then fold in the berries. Spoon berry mixture onto the crumb crust. Use the remaining half crumb mix to sprinkle over the berry mixture.

    Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Seared Chicken with Squash Quesadilla

    A friend in Seattle saw this on Martha Stewart, and her little boy who was watching with her insisted that they make it that very night. She shared the recipe with me, and it became an instant hit. I have made this so many times, I now have to let some time elapse in-between so it can seem fresh to me again. (I usually make just the quesadillas, which is a meatless meal, but the chicken is good as well.)

    2 T. e.v. olive oil
    1 butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced crosswise into 1/4" slices
    salt and pepper to taste
    red pepper flakes
    4 chicken breasts
    2 T. plus 1/4 t. garlic, minced
    1 lime, cut into 8 slices
    1 t. unsalted butter
    1/4 t. ground cumin
    juice of 1 lime
    1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into rounds
    8 oz. goat cheese
    6 12" tortillas
    2 sprigs cilantro (I use much more)

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle 1 1/2 t. olive oil on a baking sheet. Place the squash pieces on top. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Roast until fork tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

    Meanwhile prepare the chicken; season with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 t. garlic and 2 slices of lime under the tender of each breast. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and 1 t. olive oil. Place the chicken in the skillet, tender-side up. Add the remaining 1 T. minced garlic, cumin and the juice from half a lime to the pan. Cook until firm and golden brown, about 6 minutes per side; after the first 6 minutes, squeeze the remaining lime half over the chicken and turn.

    In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the jalapeno slices for 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. Prepare the quesadillas: arrange squash slices on half of tortillas, top with jalapeno slices, goat cheese and cilantro. Heat until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

    Stuffed French Toast

    This is a fancy French toast that I have made a few times for Father's Day. (because I don't actually like French toast, but Marc loves it)

    8 oz. cream cheese
    1/4 c. peach preserves
    1 t. vanilla
    1/4 c. chopped walnuts (I use pecans)
    2 T. Bailey's Irish cream, optional
    8 slices Texas-style thick bread
    1/2 c. apple juice
    1/2 c. orange juice
    1/2 c. puréed and strained frozen raspberries
    1/4 c. light corn syrup
    2 T. water
    1 T. cornstarch
    3 large eggs, beaten
    3/4 c. half and half
    1 T. vanilla
    1 T. Frangelico liqueur, optional
    1/4 c. vegetable oil
    fresh fruit, such as apple slices or grapes
    powdered sugar
    mint leaves for garnish

    Make filling by combining cream cheese, peach preserves, a teaspoon of vanilla, nuts, and Irish cream. Beat until smooth.

    To make sauce, place apple and orange juices and raspberries in a pan. Add corn syrup and simmer gently. Combine water and cornstarch; add to saue and cook until slightly thickened. Set aside.

    Spread filling on half of bread slices and top with remaining slices.

    Combine eggs, half and half, vanilla and liqueur. Dip bread in egg mixture, completely covering, but do not soak.

    Heat oil in a nonstick sauté pan, and cook bread until brown. Keep warm while browning remaining slices.

    To serve, cut French toast diagonally in quarters. Pour a little sauce on each plate and stand toast wedges upright around the sauce. Arrange fruit on plate. Lightly sprinkle toast with powdered sugar, and garnish with mint leaves.

    Marc's easy pizza crust

    Marc has made some crazy-time-intensive pizzas out of the California Pizza Kitchen cookbook. They are delicious, but for a quick weeknight dinner, we stick to his fast and easy crust. (again, I watched him once and forced him to approximate a recipe)

    1 cube of fresh active yeast (he learned to make this on his mission -- these are about 1/2 oz., so I think we use about a tablespoon of dry yeast)
    1 1/2 c. warm water
    1 t. sugar
    1/2 t. salt
    3 T. olive oil

    Place yeast in a large bowl and add warm water and sugar. Stir with a fork to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add salt and olive oil and stir. Add enough flour to form a thick dough. Knead lightly to mix and form into a ball.

    Oil and flour pizza pan (or sprinkle cornmeal). Press ball of dough in center and press out to the edges.

    Bake about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

    Three favorite easy pizzas:

    -- Spread barbecue sauce on your crust. Top with diced or shredded chicken, green pepper, red onion, and monterey jack cheese.

    -- Spread sweet chili sauce on your crust. Top with diced or shredded chicken, red onion, and other veggies like sweet peppers and/or bean sprouts, peanuts, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro after baking.

    -- Make a simple sauce with tomato paste, a little bit of milk and crushed red pepper flakes. Top with sliced fresh tomatoes, then add sautéed onion and bell pepper. Top with pineapple and mozzarella.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Flank Steak and Blue Cheese Quesadilla Salad

    3 T. Dijon-lemon vinaigrette
    1 1/2 T. sugar
    1 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
    1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 t. chopped fresh thyme (optional)

    1/2 lb. flank steak
    1/4 t. salt
    1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
    cooking spray
    1/2 c. (2 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
    4 8" flour tortillas

    remaining ingredients:
    1 head torn red leaf lettuce
    1 c. vertically sliced red onion
    2 large tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges

    1. Prepare grill.

    2. Combine vinaigrette ingredients; set aside.

    3. To prepare quesadillas, sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Place steak on grill rack and grill 4 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.

    Sprinkle cheese evenly over 2 tortillas. Divide steak evenly over cheese, and top with remaining tortillas.

    4. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over med. heat. Cook quesadillas 4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cut each quesadilla into 8 wedges.

    Combine vinaigrette, lettuce, onion, and tomato in a large bowl; toss well. Divide salad evenly among 4 plates; top each serving with 4 quesadilla wedges.

    {Dijon-lemon vinaigrette:
    3 T. vegetable broth or water
    2 T. fresh lemon juice
    2 T. extra virgin olive oil
    1 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
    1 T. Dijon mustard
    2 t. minced garlic
    2 t. Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 t. black pepper
    1/4 t. salt

    Combine all ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Store in refrigerator.}

    Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Salad

    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    2 c. corn kernels (fresh or canned shoepeg is great)
    1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 avocado, chopped
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
    1/4 c. fresh lime juice
    2 t. grated lime zest
    1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2 t. salt

    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve at once with tortilla chips.

    (6 points for 1 1/2 c. of salad)

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Rustic Turkey Tart

    My sister-in-law Michelle passed this recipe on from Cook's Country magazine.

    **Marc made it with chicken, because that's what we had. He then informed me that he doesn't like turkey in things, only plain. Well, alright, then.

    1 9" prepared pie dough (they recommend Pillsbury Just Unroll crust)
    1 1/2 c. cooked turkey (or chicken) breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
    3/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
    2 firm pears, peeled, cored and diced
    1/4 c. pecans, toasted and chopped
    1/4 c. dried cranberries
    1 c. sour cream
    3 T. heavy cream
    1 T. minced fresh thyme (or 1 t. dried)
    salt and pepper

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Gently press pie crust into 9" tart pan and trim excess dough with a knife. Prick bottom of dough all over with fork tines. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes; cool.

    Combine turkey, 1/2 c. cheese, pears, pecans, cranberries, sour cream, heavy cream, and thyme in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Transfer turkey mixture to cooled pie crust, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.

    Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Tart can be refrigerated for 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

    Cream of Artichoke and Pecan Soup

    Chantal served this to us once at dinner and it was sublime.

    3 T. butter
    4 medium yellow onions, quartered
    1/2 c. pecans, chopped
    1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
    1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 c. heavy cream
    4 c. chicken broth
    1/2 c. chopped artichoke hearts (rinse if canned)
    additional fresh basil for garnish

    In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add onion; cook 15-20 minutes. Add pecans; cook, stirring ocassionally, over medium heat for an additional 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully, as onions caramelize easily and burn. Add basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes.

    Remove from stove and purée mixure in blender.

    Return puréed mixture to saucepan; add cream, chicken broth and artichoke hearts. Bring to a slow boil; remove from heat at once. Garnish with more fresh basil, if desired.

    yields about 7 cups of soup

    Apricot Chicken

    from Better Homes & Gardens

    **This is one of those recipes that I make when I don't want to go shopping, I usually have the ingredients on hand.

    6 chicken breasts
    21 oz. canned apricot pie filling (I usually just use apricot jam)
    1 T. lemon juice
    1/2 t. salt
    1/2 t. ground nutmeg (fresh ground is heavenly)
    1/2 c. pecan halves
    hot cooked rice

    Arrange chicken breasts in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

    Combine apricot jam, lemon juice, 1/2 t. salt, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in pecans. Pour apricot mixture over chicken pieces. Cover and bake in a 375 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until chicken is tender.

    Arrange chicken on rice; spoon apricot mixture atop. Serves 6.

    Friday, January 9, 2009

    Marc's Algerian Couscous

    Marc learned to make this while on his mission to Belgium and France, and fine-tuned his recipe along the way. (He doesn't use actual recipes, so I forced him to write down his proportions one time when we were teaching a cooking class for Enrichment.) Each time I eat this, I feel like my body is thanking me, and it's very tasty as well!

    1 large onion, chopped
    3 T olive oil
    3/4 t. turmeric
    1/2 t. cayenne pepper
    dash of cinnamon
    3-4 whole cloves
    1 1/2 t. black pepper
    1/2 t. salt
    3 chicken bouillon cubes
    1 small can tomato paste
    3 medium zucchini
    4 small yellow summer squash
    4 large carrots
    4 medium yellow potatoes
    1 red or green bell pepper
    1 can garbanzo beans, drained

    Sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add all spices, including bouillon, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring as needed. Add tomato paste, stir and simmer 2 minutes.

    Cut all vegetables into large chunks and add to the pot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least an hour.

    Add the garbanzo beans about 5 minutes before serving. Serve vegetable ragout over couscous.

    Preparing couscous:

    Put couscous in a bowl. Boil water with a bouillon cube. (use a 1 1/2:1 ratio of water to couscous) Put a pat of butter on dry couscous. Pour boiling water over the grain and wait about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

    **My friend Gayle who lived in Morocco for several years makes her couscous differently: she first cuts up a chuck roast into about 6 sections, browns the meat, and then cooks it with the onion, spices, and 2 cans tomato sauce. After cooking the meat for about an hour, she adds the vegetables and cooks about an hour more. She also adds sweet potatoes to the vegetable mixture and steams cabbage on the side, and of course, serves it all over couscous. Hers is delicious, and we make it sometimes as well.

    Old-fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

    Comfort food defined.

    2 1/4 c. flour
    1 t. salt
    1/2 c. shortening
    6 T. ice water
    2 cans chicken broth
    5 diced, unpeeled red potatoes
    4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
    1 onion, chopped
    1/2 - 1 c. frozen peas
    1/2 t. poultry seasoning
    1/4 t. pepper
    1/2 c. milk
    2 c. chopped cooked chicken breast

    Combine 2 c. flour and 1/2 t. salt in a bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle ice water over surface; toss with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Divide dough in two and gently press into 4" circles; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Bring broth to a boil over med. high heat. Add potato; cover and cook 5 minutes. Add carrot and onion; cover and cook 5 minutes.

    Combine remaining 1/4 c. flour, 1/2 t. salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, and milk in a small bowl; stir well. Gradually add to the vegetable mixture, stirring well. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peas and chicken.

    Roll out dough to a size 1" larger than your casserole dish. Fit one piece into dish to form the bottom crust. Fill with chicken/vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining dough and cut two slits for venting.

    Spray with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    (the original recipe halved the dough ingredients and had only a top crust, but I like a top and bottom crust)

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    Grilled Chipotle Salmon Tacos

    1 pound skinless salmon filets or whitefish
    8 oz. medium round red or white potatoes, cubed
    1 1/2 t. ground chipotle chile pepper
    3/4 t. sugar
    1/2 t. salt
    1 c. purchased mild green salsa
    3 T. lime juice
    3/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
    1/2 c. snipped fresh cilantro
    12 6" or 16 4" corn tortillas, warmed
    1/2 c. light dairy sour cream
    lime wedges

    Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse, pat dry, and set aside.

    In covered saucepan, cook potatoes in enough salted boiling water to cover for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.

    In small bowl combine chipotle chile pepper, sugar, and 1/4 t. of the salt. Rub pepper mixture into fish. Grill or broil 4-6 minutes per 1/2" thickness of fish or until it flakes easily with a fork. Cool slightly and break fish into chunks.

    In a medium bowl, combine salsa, lime juice, and remaining salt. Add potatoes, fish, green onions, and cilantro; toss gently to coat.

    Divide fish mixture among tortillas. Top with sour cream; fold tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.

    (2 tacos = 6 WW points)

    Carrot Rice

    (Denise got this from Rachel Ray)

    4 t. olive oil
    3 large carrots, peeled and grated
    1 1/2 c. white rice
    2 1/2 c. chicken stock

    Cook carrot in olive oil with salt and pepper.

    Add rice, stir to coat and cook until rice is golden brown.

    Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat and simmer 15-18 minutes, or until liquid is evaporated.

    Monday, January 5, 2009

    German Chocolate Cake

    Otherwise known as: my birthday cake, every year. Luckily, Marc has become a master at making it.

    from the German's Sweet Chocolate box

    (makes 16 servings)

    1 pkg. German's sweet chocolate (4 oz.)
    1 c. butter, softened
    1/2 c. water
    4 eggs, separated
    1 t. vanilla
    2 c. sugar
    2 c. cake flour
    1 t. baking soda
    1/4 t. salt
    1 c. buttermilk

    Line bottoms of 3 9" cake pans with wax paper; grease sides of pans.

    Microwave chocolate and water on high 1 1/2-2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after each minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

    Mix flour, baking soda, and salt set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

    Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

    Beat egg whites in another large bowl on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into cake batter. Pour evenly into prepared pans.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. (Grandma taught me to check it as soon as it becomes fragrant.) Immediately run spatula between cakes and sides of pans. Cool 15 minutes; remove cake layers form pans and remove wax paper. Cool completely on wire racks. Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling between layers and on top of cake.

    Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting

    1 can evaporated milk
    1 1/2 c. sugar
    3/4 c. butter
    4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
    1 1/2 t. vanilla
    7 oz. shredded coconut
    1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

    Mix milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

    Add coconut and pecans; mix well. Cool to room temperature and of desired spreading consistency. Makes about 4 1/2 c. or enough to fill and frost top of a 3-layer cake (or 24 cupcakes).

    Saturday, January 3, 2009

    Grandma's Lemon Bread

    yields 1 8" loaf or 2-3 mini loaves

    6 T. butter
    3/4 c. sugar
    2 eggs
    3 T. lemon juice
    2 t. freshly grated lemon zest
    1 1/2 c. flour (scant)
    1 t. baking powder
    1 t. salt
    1/2 . milk
    1/2 c. chopped walnuts, optional

    3 T. lemon juice
    1/2 c. sugar

    Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add lemon juice & zest.

    Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk (flour first and last). Stir just until combined.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan.

    Stir lemon juice and sugar together until dissolved. Pour glaze over bread while still warm from the oven. Wait 1-2 days before cutting. Freezes well.

    Jill's spinach dip

    1 c. sour cream
    1 c. mayonnaise
    3/4 c. sliced green onions
    10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
    2 t. dried parsley
    1 t. lemon juice
    1/2 t. seasoned salt

    Squeeze spinach dry. Mix all together and chill.

    Serve with chunks of bread.

    Miriam's Mulligatawny Soup

    1 large onion, chopped
    3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
    2 stalks celery, diced
    2 medium apples, cored and diced
    1 c. diced cooked chicken
    4-6 c. chicken stock (canned is fine)
    2 t. curry powder
    1/2 - 3/4 c. uncooked rice

    Simmer fruit and vegetables in chicken stock for 1/2 hour. Add rice and chicken and simmer for another 1/2 hour.

    Friday, January 2, 2009

    Quick Creme Fraîche

    It's not the real stuff, but it will do in a pinch. (like when you're in the U.S.!)

    1 c. heavy cream
    8 oz. nonfat sour cream
    1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar

    Beat all together in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate, covered, several hours.

    Marc's French Potage

    This is about the fastest, easiest, most filling Winter meal imaginable.

    3 Russet potatoes
    1 bunch leeks
    3 carrots
    salt and pepper

    Peel potatoes and carrots. Cut into large chunks.

    Cut off ends of leeks. Cut again where the light green stalks turn dark green. Cut a slit lengthwise and wash leeks well under cold water to remove grit. Cut into large chunks.

    Place vegetables in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables are tender.

    Ladle out most of the cooking water and reserve. Purée soup with a hand blender, adding reserved liquid if desired.

    Stir in a dollop of heavy cream or creme fraîche just before serving and serve with hearty bread.

    Denise's Rustic Italian Bruschetta

    This is one of those recipes that Grandma would say costs a bucket of money to make, but man oh man, is it good!

    5 med. tomatoes, diced
    2 red onions, diced
    4 oz. fresh basil, chiffonade
    8 cloves garlic
    2 c. olive oil
    1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped

    Heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Cook until golden brown and remove from heat.

    Combine tomatoes and onions. Wrap cooled garlic in plastic wrap and crush. Remove, lightly chop and add to tomato mixture. Pour 1/2 of the oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil into mixture and fold gently. Season with salt and pepper.

    Serve with crostini.


    Slice bread on diagonal into ~1/3" thick slices. Brush with remaining garlic oil and bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 4-8 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

    Mary Kay's Ice Cream Dessert

    1/2 c. butter, melted
    1 c. coconut
    1 c. Rice Krispies
    1 1/4 c. chopped pecans
    3/4 c. brown sugar
    ice cream, slightly softened

    Mix together all but ice cream and bake at 450 degrees for 5-8 minutes, tossing once.

    Spread half of mixture in a 9 x 13 pan and top with softened vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle remaining Rice Krispie mixture on top and freeze.

    Pineapple-Marshmallow Salad

    It's not for everyone, but it's a Petersen family favorite.
    (Jessie and I have been known to make it for ourselves, since no one else wanted to partake!)

    1 can pineapple, drained (reserve juice)
    1 heaping T. flour
    1 T. sugar
    dash of salt
    1 egg or 2 egg yolks
    1 T. lemon juice
    mini marshmallows
    sharp cheddar

    Stir together reserved pineapple juice, flour, sugar, salt, and egg. Cook and stir until thickened.
    Add lemon juice.

    Pour hot sauce over marshmallows and pineapple. Chill, stirring occasionally.

    Top with grated sharp cheddar.

    Thursday, January 1, 2009

    Jenn's Cheese Fondue

    1/2 c. chicken broth
    2-3 c. grated cheese
    (cheddar with swiss, jack, or mozzarella -- I use whatever I had on hand, most recently sharp white cheddar, jarlsberg, colby jack, and a little blue)
    a few tablespoons of flour
    dash of garlic salt or tobasco
    a little finely-chopped artichoke

    Toss grated cheeses with flour.
    Heat the chicken broth in fondue pot.
    Gradually stir in cheese until melted.

    Serve with chunks of hearty bread, apples, and vegetables for dipping.

    Peach Sauce

    Mash 2 ripe peaches in a saucepan.

    Stir in 1 c. sugar,
    3 T. cornstarch
    1/2 c. water

    Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens.

    Turn off heat and add 1/2 t. almond extract and 2 T. butter

    Delicious over vanilla ice cream and sliced fresh peaches! The taste of summer.

    Ranger Cookies

    1 c. brown sugar
    1 c. granulated sugar
    1 c. shortening
    1 t. vanilla
    2 eggs
    2 c. flour
    2 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. baking powder
    1 t. salt
    1 1/4 c. oatmeal
    1 c. corn flakes or Rice Krispies
    1 c. coconut
    1 small pkg. chocolate chips
    1 c. nuts, optional

    Cream together sugars, shortening, eggs, and vanilla.

    Sift together dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture. (My favorite way of sifting dry ingredients together is to place a sieve over the mixing bowl, pour all the dry ingredients in and gently shake.)

    Stir in remaining ingredients and drop cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

    Very Good Banana Cake

    This not-too-sweet cake is a refreshing change for banana lovers!

    2 1/2 c. sifted cake flour
    1 2/3 . sugar
    1 1/4 t. each baking powder and baking soda (5/8 t. at high altitude)
    1 t. salt
    2/3 c. buttermilk
    2/3 c. shortening
    1 1/4 c. very ripe bananas (~3)
    2 large eggs
    whipping cream

    Sift dry ingredients together. Add buttermilk, shortening, and bananas and beat for 2 minutes.

    Add eggs and beat another 2 minutes. Pour batter into two prepared cake pans.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (375 degrees for high altitude)

    Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.

    Top each layer with sweetened whipped cream and sliced bananas.

    Linda's Baked Cheese Dip

    8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    8 oz. sour cream
    1/2 can bean dip
    1/2 pkg. dry taco seasoning
    3-5 drops tobasco sauce
    1 c. grated cheddar
    1 c. monterey jack

    Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and bean dip well. Stir in taco seasoning and tobasco sauce. Stir in grated cheeses and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

    Serve with tortilla chips.