Stuck on Peanut Butter PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 05 March 2015 14:41

030515fPeanut butter is a staple in most American homes and for good reason. Besides being tasty, it is an excellent source of protein and healthy fat that comes in natural creamy or chunky forms.

It finds its greatest use in sandwiches where it is usually paired with jam or jelly. But it can be combined with many snacks including apples, celery, carrots, bananas, and many more.

And, of course, there are peanut butter cookies, sauces, cakes, pies, ice cream and hundreds of other desserts.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter with both sugars for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth and well combined. Beat in peanut butter. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 2 batches, until just combined.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheets. Flatten each ball by pressing with tines of a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake, switching pans halfway through, 14 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown on bottom and barely colored on top. Cool on pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. With a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Yields about 80 cookies.

CREAM OF PEANUT SOUP

1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1⁄4 cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1-3⁄4 cups light cream
Peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Sauté onion and celery in butter until soft. Do not brown. Stir in the flour until well blended. Add chicken broth/stock, stirring constantly and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Puree in a food processor or blender. Add peanut butter and cream, stirring to blend thoroughly. Return to low heat and heat just until hot. Do not boil.

Serve garnished with chopped peanuts. Yields 10 servings

PEANUT BUTTER PANCAKES

1 cup pancake mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
1/3 cup water
Honey Butter Syrup:
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey

In a large bowl, combine pancake mix and sugar. In a small bowl, beat egg and peanut butter; add milk and water. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased medium-hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes; cook until second side is golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with warm honey-butter. Yields10 pancakes.

HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER MUFFINS

2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Lightly spray muffin tins with canola oil.

Mix the wet ingredients together, mashed banana, honey, peanut butter, yogurt, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, flax seed, sugar and cinnamon). Add the wet and dry together and stir until just combined.

Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, add the batter into the muffin tin until the cups are 3/4 full, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar on each muffin, and bake on the middle rack of  the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Yields: 12-16.

CHICKEN WITH PEANUT SAUCE

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup hot cooked rice

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; set aside. In a large skillet, saute the chicken, garlic and ginger in oil for 5 minutes. Add peanut butter mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until chicken juices run clear, stirring frequently.

Serve with rice; sprinkle with thinly-sliced green onions if desired. Yield: 2 servings.

PEANUT BUTTER  FUDGE

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup natural peanut butter

Put sugar and milk in pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir just until well mixed. Pour into buttered pan, cool and cut into squares. The smaller the pan, the thicker the fudge will be.

PEANUT BUTTER HOT COCOA

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add chocolate, and whisk until melted and combined. Continue to warm mixture until thick, about 5 minutes. Whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Yields 3-1/2 cups.

 

 
Rooting for Carrots PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:51

022615fCarrots are one of those Plain-Jane, ho-hum vegetables that nobody gets excited about. But aside from being a very nutritious side dish, there may be no vegetable that rivals the carrot when it comes to adding flavor, sweetness and moisture to all manner of baked goods.

CARROT & RAISIN SALAD

5 cups of shredded carrots
1-1⁄2 cups of celery, chopped
1-1⁄2 cups of mayonnaise
3⁄4 cup of raisins
3⁄4 cup of walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon of salt

In a bowl, combine the carrots, celery, raisins and walnuts. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Serve on lettuce leaves. Yields 6 servings.

CARROT COOKIES

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup cooked, mashed carrots
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Orange Icing:
Juice of 1/2 orange (3 to 4 tablespoons)
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Beat shortening; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, carrots and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Sift together dry ingredients; stir into carrot mixture and mix well. Stir in chopped nuts, if using. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

For the icing, combine juice and orange rind with butter; stir in sifted confectioners’ sugar until desired spreading consistency is reached. Add more juice or confectioners’ sugar as needed.

Ice cookies with Orange Icing while still warm.

CARROT-PINEAPPLE BARS

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
Topping:
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, well-beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter
1-1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter with brown sugar, then stir in the flour and oats; mix until crumbly. Press over the bottom and up the sides of an 8-inch square pan. Prick with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

To make the topping while the crust is baking, mix together the pineapple and lemon rind; set aside. Mix together the sugar, egg, melted butter, carrots and nuts.

Remove the crust from the oven and spread the pineapple over it. Spread the carrot mixture over the pineapple and return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes longer.

Cool on a rack, then cut into bars. Yields 12 to 16 bars.

BUTTERED CARROTS

1 pound carrots, trimmed and scraped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Cut the carrots into very thin slices. Place them in a small skillet and add salt, pepper, sugar, water and butter.

Cover the pan and cook over medium heat, shaking the skillet occasionally. Cook about 8 minutes until the carrots are tender, the liquid has disappeared, and the carrots are slightly glazed. Take care they do not burn. Sprinkle the parsley over them and serve.

Yields 4 servings.

OLD-FASHIONED CARROT CAKE

Butter, for pans
2 cups flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
Frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans; Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.

Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.

 

 
Celebrating a New Year! PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 19 February 2015 12:24

021915fChinese New Year (the Lunar Year 4713) begins today. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is widely regarded as the most important celebration in China and is given official public holiday status.

Celebrations   around the world – both literal and symbolic – are underway. Spring cleaning started about a month prior to the new year and must have been completed before the celebrations begin.

Foods during the holiday are symbolic as well. Typically red meat isn’t served and one is careful not to serve or eat from a chipped or cracked plate.

Fish is eaten to ensure long life and good fortune. Oranges and tangerines symbolize wealth and good fortune.

WONTON SOUP

1⁄4 pound lean ground pork
2ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced
2 tablespoons minced green onions and tops
4 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch
1⁄4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
24 wonton wrappers
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1⁄4 cup dry sherry
1⁄2 pound bok choy
2 tablespoons chopped green onions and tops
1⁄2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Combine pork, shrimp, minced green onions, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, cornstarch and ginger in medium bowl; mix well.

Arrange several wonton wrappers on clean surface; cover remaining wrappers to prevent drying out. Place 1 teaspoon pork mixture in center of each wrapper. Fold wrapper over filling to form a triangle. Gently fold center point down and moisten left corner with water. Twist and overlap opposite corner over moistened corner; press firmly to seal.

Repeat with remaining pork mixture and wrappers.

Bring 4 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add wontons. Simmer 3 minutes; remove with slotted spoon. Discard water; pour broth and sherry into same saucepan. Cut bok choy crosswise into 1⁄2-inch slices, separating stems from leaves. Add stems to broth mixture; bring to boil. Add wontons; simmer 1 minute. Add bok choy leaves and chopped green onions; simmer 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

SESAME-GINGER NOODLES

1 pound uncooked fresh Chinese-style egg noodles (or spaghetti, vermicelli or linguine)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup sliced green onions and tops
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt; drain, rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, sugar, cornstarch and water. Heat vegetable oil in hot wok or large skillet over high heat. Add green onions and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until sauce comes to a boil. Add noodles; cook, stirring, 1 minute or until sauce returns to boil and noodles are evenly coated with sauce. Remove from heat. Add sesame oil and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serves 4.

GOOD FORTUNE SEA BASS

1/2 pound skinless sea bass fillet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup sweet & sour sauce
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce

Sprinkle the sea bass with salt, pepper, ginger and garlic and let stand for 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator.

Heat a skillet or wok over high heat. Add the oil and sea bass and pan-fry until both sides are browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add the stir-fry sauce and heat until bubbling. Turn sea bass again and cook an additional minute (6 minutes in all). Remove from pan, garnish with green onions and serve immediately. Serves 2.

QUICK ORANGE-LEMON CHICKEN

3/4 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
2 teaspoons finely chopped orange zest
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon chili bean sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped green onions

Remove skin from chicken and cut meat into long, thin strips. Blanch chicken 30 seconds in pan of boiling, salted water. Drain and set aside.

Heat wok until hot. Add oil, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 10 seconds. Add orange and lemon zests and juices, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch mixed with cold water, chili bean sauce, sesame oil and green onions. Bring to simmer. Add chicken and cook through. Serves 2.

 

 
On Valentine’s Day, Let Them Eat Cake! PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 February 2015 14:45

021215fSaturday is Valentine’s Day, and if you haven’t found the perfect gifts for your loved ones, you probably couldn’t go too far wrong with one of these luscious homemade chocolate cakes.

RED VELVET CAKE

For the cake:
1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened, plus more for the pans
3 cups cake flour (sift before measuring)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
2 pounds (about 8 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the parchment.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Beat the granulated sugar, 12 tablespoons butter and the vegetable oil in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on racks, then turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Using a long serrated knife, carefully slice each cake in half horizontally to make 2 even layers.

To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth.

Put 1 cake layer on a platter; spread 1-1/4 cups frosting on top. Repeat to make 4 layers, ending with the cake. Cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (this is the “crumb coat”; it doesn’t have to be perfect). Chill 15 minutes, then cover with the remaining frosting. Top each slice with a milk chocolate heart and decorate with raspberries, if desired.

DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE

For the cake:
3 sticks butter, plus more for the pan
1-1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1-1/4 cups hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
For the frosting:
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons hot water
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 pound semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, and transfer to a mixer. Beat on medium-low speed until cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa-powder mixture. Reduce speed to low.

Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.

Divide batter between pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely.

To make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. Beat butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.

Reduce to medium-low speed; slowly add melted chocolate and cocoa-powder mixture, and beat until combined. If frosting is not set, let stand, stirring occasionally until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Transfer one cake layer to a cake stand, and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, and coat top and sides with remaining frosting, spreading it in a swirling motion.

CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM CAKE

2 cups sifted cake flour
1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting:
3 tablespoons soft butter
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk

Combine first 5 ingredients  in large mixing bowl and, on low speed of mixer, blend in butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla Beat 3 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into two greased 9-inch layer pans. Bake at 350°F 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Remove from pans, cool and frost.

To make frosting, combine ingredients and beat to spreading consistency.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 (4-ounce) package Baker’s German’s sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-pecan frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt chocolate in water and cool.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in vanilla and

chocolate.

Mix flour, soda and salt. Beat in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into three 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with waxed paper.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in center Cool 15 minutes; remove and cool on rack.

 

 
Our Love Affair with Spaghetti PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 05 February 2015 15:28

020515fAmericans engage in the occasional fling with quinoa and arugula, but pasta, especially spaghetti, has become a long-term love affair.

The average family enjoys spaghetti about once a week, usually made with a heat-and-serve red sauce.

But few bottled sauces can compare with the flavor of homemade. Simple to make, spaghetti sauce typically uses common and inexpensive everyday ingredients. And like soup, it can be customized to suit a family’s taste.

SAVORY SPAGHETTI SAUCE

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon dried  
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Hot cooked spaghetti
Fresh oregano, optional

In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender; drain. Add the next eight ingredients; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with oregano if desired. Yields 4-6 servings (about 1 quart).

QUICK-TO-FIX SPAGHETTI SAUCE

3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 cup dehydrate onion
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces fresh mushroom, sliced
1-1/2 cups water
Cooked pasta
Grated Parmesan, optional

Brown ground beef in large skillet with lid. drain well. Add garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce, onion, basil, onion powder, salt, pepper, cornstarch, sugar, mushrooms and water. Stir to mix.

Simmer sauce for 30 minutes, covered, stirring frequently. Served over cooked pasta. Top with Parmesan. Serves 4.

MEATLESS SPAGHETTI SAUCE

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces red wine
2 tablespoons dried basil
1-2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Place a 4 quart pot over medium high heat, add olive oil and red pepper flakes, stirring for approximately 1 minute.

Lower heat to medium and add onion, sauteing until onion begins to be translucent. Add garlic and saute for additional 2 minutes.

Add both cans tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, and wine. Add spices, blending thoroughly. Cover and simmer on low heat for 2 hours, then taste test and add more wine if too thick and re season as desired.

Simmer, covered, for an additional hour. Can be slow cooked in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. Yields 10 servings.

Cooked ground beef or turkey or cooked Italian sausage may be added upon serving if desired.

This recipe freezes well.

FAUX BEEF SPAGHETTI SAUCE

1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large can tomato sauce
3 small cans tomato sauce
1 cup soy burger
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon basil spice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups water

Sauté onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, celery and garlic in olive oil until slightly tender. Add all other ingredients and simmer for about 4 hours. Add water as needed if mixture becomes too thick or dry. Serves 8 to 10. As you serve this sauce over pasta, sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan.

NARSAI DAVID’S PASTA A LA AMATRICIANA

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add red pepper flakes and tomatoes and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until ad dente. Drain and rinse with hot water. Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle cheese on top. Serves 4 as main course or 8 as an appetizer.

SWEET SPICE SPAGHETTI SAUCE

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
4 medium onions, chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons mince parsley
Spice Blend (recipe follows)
3 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a 6-quart pan over medium high heat, stir bacon and beef frequently until well browned, about 15 minutes. Discard fat. Add onions, celery, garlic, parsley and spice blend. Stir often until onions are limp, about 20 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste, and vinegar. Simmer, uncovered, until reduced to about 2 quarts, about 1 hour. Makes 2 quarts.

To make Spice Blend, combine 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, dry oregano leaves, pepper, rubbed sage, and dry thyme leaves. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground nutmeg.

 

 
Tackling Sunday’s Snackfest PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 13:10

012915fAccording to the Super Bowl party tips published by the NFL, the only rule for game-day food is that there should be plenty of it.

Junk food is required at a gathering like this. Keep in mind that watching a big football game is an acceptable excuse to break any diet.

Dips and one-hand-only foods are absolute necessities. There should be no fumbling distractions – no juggling of knives, forks and spoons.

EASY CHICKEN WINGS

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 pounds chicken wings, cut into thirds, tips discarded

Mix brown sugar, mustard, and soy sauce together in a bowl. Measure 1/4 cup marinade for basting and transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Place wings in a large resealable bag. Pour remaining marinade over wings, coating well. Seal and marinate wings in refrigerator at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove chicken wings from resealable bag and transfer to a baking sheet. Discard marinade.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Baste wings with reserved 1/4 cup marinade; cook, basting every 10 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 30 more minutes. Yields 10 servings.

RANCH DRESSING DIP

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, garlic powder, oregano, dill weed, chives, parsley, Parmesan cheese, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour. If the dressing is too thick, add a little extra buttermilk to thin.

NACHOS

2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 green onions, sliced, white parts and tops separated
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 shredded, cooked, whole chicken breast
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup salsa
1/2 (12-ounce) package tortilla chips
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese blend
1/2 large tomato, diced
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook and stir the garlic and white parts of the green onions in canola oil until tender. Mix in shredded chicken, salt and pepper. Toss until well coated with oil. Stir in the salsa.

Arrange tortilla chips on a large baking sheet. Spoon the chicken mixture over tortilla chips. Top with cheese blend and tomato. Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with green onion tops before serving. Serves 6.

REUBEN PIGS-IN-A-BLANKET

6 beef hot dogs
1 tube refrigerated crescent roll dough
2 ounces deli sliced pastrami
1 ounce diced swiss cheese
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1/2 cup bottled Russian dressing, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Cut each hot dog into 4 pieces, and then cut a small slit into the top of each hot dog piece. Stuff a small bit of cheese into each hot dog.  Slice the crescent roll dough into 24 strips (they won’t be even but it doesn’t matter). Cut the pastrami into strips.

To assemble the Reuben piggies, lay a piece of pastrami on a strip of dough. Top with a small bit of sauerkraut, and then a piece of cheese-stuffed hot dog. Roll up the dough and press together. Place the assembled piggie on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining hot dogs. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the dough is golden. Serve hot with the dressing for dipping. Yields 24.

CROCKPOT BEER-CHEESE DIP

1 pound processed cheese loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup beer
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Mix all ingredients in a 1 or 2 quart slow-cooker. Cover and cook on high for 40 minutes until cheese melts. Stir until mixture is smooth. Scrape down cooker sides. Turn heat to low. Dip will hold for 4 hours if you stir it occasionally. Serve with pretzels, bread cubes or crackers.

DEVILED EGGS

12 hard-cooked eggs
4 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 (2-ounce) jars chopped pimientos, drained
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper

Carefully cut eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. Mash yolks with fork. Stir dressing and mustard into yolks. Stir in pimientos and green pepper.

Refill whites using 1 heaping tablespoon yolk mixture for each egg half. Chill to blend flavors. Makes 6 servings.

SMOKED SALMON DIP

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 pound smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve. Yields 1-1/2 pints.

CHEX PARTY MIX

6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup pretzels
1 cup bagel chips

Heat oven to 250°F. Melt butter (or margarine) in large roasting pan in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container. Yields 12 cups.

GUACAMOLE

2 ripe avocados
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon grated onion
2 dashes hot pepper sauce
Peel, pit and mash avocados.

In a small cup, add salt, minced garlic and lemon juice. Set aside for 15-30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Makes 1-1/2 cups.


 
Chicken, Plain and Fancy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:40

012215fNothing lends itself to new treatments than chicken. It can be fried, grilled, poached, roasted or broiled with any number of spring vegetables, fruits and nuts.

ROAST CHICKEN

1 (3-pound) chicken
Stuffing (optional)
1/4 pound butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely crumbled dried sage
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Remove fat pads at opening of the cavity. Fill body and neck cavities with stuffing, if desired.

Blend butter and sage. Rub mixture inside and out, covering chicken all over. Season with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, using V-shaped rack to hold.

Roast at 350°F for about 50 minutes until meat thermometer registers 160°F, or make small slit with knife at second joint where leg connects. If juice run clear, chicken is done. If juices are pink, roast another 10 minutes. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

CHICKEN PARMESAN

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 teaspoons butter
2 cups spaghetti sauce
4 slices Mozzarella cheese 1teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

Pound chicken to flatten and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Dip chicken in egg; then in bread crumbs and fry in butter in hot skillet, turning and browning for 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

Remove from skillet. Pour spaghetti sauce into skillet and heat thoroughly. Add chicken. Place slices of Mozzarella on top of chicken and sprinkle with parmesan. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Serve with a side of spaghetti. Serves 4.

FRIED CHICKEN

1 quart buttermilk
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
2 (2-1/2-pound) fryer chickens, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Stir together the buttermilk and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a large bowl; add chicken, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

In a large brown paper bag, combine flour with remaining 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper; shake to combine. One at a time, place chicken pieces in the bag; shake to coat. Place coated pieces on a clean plate or tray.

In a large skillet, heat 2 inches oil to 350°F. Using tongs, add chicken one piece at a time, being careful to not overcrowd pan. Fry, turning every 3 to 4 minutes, until deep mahogany in color, about 18 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet, and drain on a brown paper bag. Serve hot, warm, or cold. Yields 4 to 8 servings.

CHICKEN FRICASSEE

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch pieces
3 zucchini, cut in 2-in. lengths
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 (3-1/2 pound) chicken, cut in serving pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut in large chunks
1-1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg cheese, divided

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Add onion, mushrooms, carrots and zucchini. Saute, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.

In same skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Remove excess fat from chicken and some of the skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in small batches until golden.

Remove chicken from skillet. Slowly pour chicken broth into skillet, scraping up any brown bits: bring to boil. Return chicken to skillet. Add parsley. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes till tender; drain and mash. In large bowl, stir 1 cup cheese into potatoes.

Place chicken in large ovenproof casserole. Add reserved vegetables and sauce from skillet. If sauce is thin, cook it (in skillet) over high heat till reduced somewhat, then add to casserole.

Spread potato-cheese mixture over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Continue baking 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and potato topping is slightly crusty and golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks.

Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm. Yields 6 servings.

 

 
Coffee Cake: An All-Time Favorite PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 15 January 2015 15:35

011515fSitting leisurely with a slice of coffee cake and a steaming cup of coffee, is one of life’s little pleasures.

Whether you serve it for breakfast, brunch, an afternoon snack, or dessert, this homey treat is an all-time favorite.

If you don’t already have a special family coffee cake recipe in your repertoire, here are some perfect options.

SUNDAY BRUNCH COFFEE CAKE

For the streusel:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup milk, or as needed
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine  flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Crack an egg into a measuring cup and then fill with milk to make 1 cup. Stir in vanilla. Pour into crumb mixture and mix just until moistened. Spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with streusel.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool. Makes a dozen servings.

APPLE-CINNAMON BUNDT CAKE

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, and eggs. Whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients just until combined (do not overmix).

Using a rubber spatula, fold in apples. Spoon batter into a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan, and smooth top.

Bake until a tester inserted in cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes; invert onto rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and enough water to form a thick yet pourable glaze. Set rack with cake over a piece of wax paper (for easy cleanup); drizzle cake with glaze, and let set before serving. Yields 10 servings.

BETTY CROCKER’S QUICK COFFEE CAKE

For the cinnamon streusel:
1/3 cup Original Bisquick mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons firm butter
For the cake:
2 cups Original Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease 9-inch round pan. In small bowl, stir streusel ingredients until crumbly; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix coffee cake ingredients until blended. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with streusel. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm. Serves 10.

PECAN COFFEE CAKE

1-1/2 stick butter, softened
2 cups (scant) sugar
3 cups flour, sifted
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup whole milk
3 whole egg whites, beaten until stiff
For the topping:
1-1/2 stick butter, softened
3/4 cups flour
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1-1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don’t overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 baking pan (a cake pan with higher sides is best).

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm. Yields 16 servings.

PULL-APART CARAMEL COFFEE CAKE

2 (12-oz) tubes refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut each biscuit into four pieces; arrange evenly in a 10-inch fluted tube pan coated with cooking spray. Combine brown sugar, cream and cinnamon; pour over biscuits.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Yields 12 servings.

 

 
Chasing Away Winter’s Chill PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 08 January 2015 16:34

010815fOn a cold, wintry night, there’s nothing as inviting as a steaming-hot bowl of soup for supper. And soup-making can bring out the creativity in even the first-time cook.

Just begin with well-flavored stock and the sky’s the limit. Add vegetables in the order of the time it takes to cook them – carrots, onions and potatoes first; zucchini, fresh corn, frozen peas, and the like during the last 10 minutes.

If a soup recipe calls for one onion, you won’t go wrong by doubling it to two. Use the one as called for, but dice the other and saute it in 1 tablespoon butter while the soup simmers, until the onion pieces turn golden. Add the fried onions to the soup for the last 30 minutes of simmering.

If you love thick soup, purée a cup of the vegetables in a blender with a little broth, then add it back to the soup.

BASIC VEGETABLE SOUP

3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups tomato juice
2 medium potatoes
3 carrots, diced
1 small onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup green peppers, diced
1/2 cup green beans, chopped
1/2 cup lima beans
1/2 cup corn
4 tablespoons margarine
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Combine broth and tomato juice in large, heavy pan with a lid.

Melt 4 tablespoons margarine in skillet. Add the chopped green peppers, carrots, celery and onion. Sauté on low heat until vegetables are softened and onion browned lightly. Add this to the broth mixture. Add the potatoes, green beans, lima beans and corn. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until all the vegetables are done. Add the salt and pepper. Remove about 2 cups of the mixture and put into blender. Purée this mixture and return to pot with rest of soup. Turn off heat and cover soup. Best if allowed to set for up to 1 hour to blend flavors. Makes 6 servings.

Since this is a basic recipe for soup, you can add the vegetables you prefer and follow the directions above to finish the soup.

Some suggestions: Add bay leaf, shredded cabbage, chopped zucchini, diced turnips, fresh tomatoes, okra or parsley. For added nutrition, serve with a sprinkling of low fat cheese on the hot soup. Also good sprinkled with toasted croutons.

This soup stores well for a few days in the refrigerator and actually improves with time.

BEEF & BARLEY SOUP

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups beef stock
3/4 cup barley
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped 1/2 cup red wine
2 cups cubed potatoes
2 cups diced cooked beef
1-1/2 cups chopped cabbage
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the oil, onions, celery and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the beef stock, barley, bay leaf and thyme and simmer until barley is softened but not mushy. Add the wine, potatoes and beef. Simmer another 15 minutes and add the cabbage. Allow to simmer another 15 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 12 servings.

VEGETARIAN KALE SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
8 cups water
6 cubes vegetable bouillon
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans (drained if desired)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot; cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, vegetable bouillon, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Simmer soup on medium heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Yields 8 servings.

TOMATO BISQUE

2 (14-1/2 oz.) cans  diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk

In a saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Discard bay leaf; press mixture through sieve and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat. Gradually stir in tomato mixture until smooth; heat through. Yields 8 servings (2 quarts).

BLACK BEAN SOUP

10 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1-1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 (15-1/2 ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Salt and ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
Garnish: thinly sliced scallions, grated Cheddar cheese

Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. Cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes. Yields 8 to 10 servings.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock,
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf.

Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving. Serves 4.

 

 
Fond of Fondue? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 02 January 2015 22:09

010115fThe perfect dish for any evening get-together is one that enjoyed popularity a half century ago—fondue!

Fondue originated in Switzerland as a way of using up hardened cheese. The traditional recipe calls for a mixture of Swiss and Gruyere cheese and wine, melted in a communal pot.

Kirsch, a clear brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits, is added to the melted mixture, becoming a dip for pieces of crusty bread, and vegetables. Cheese fondue should also contain a bit of flour or starch to keep the cheese from separating.

It’s delicious, easy to make, and the communal nature of serving and eating lends itself to quiet conversation and lots of laughter.

Once a popular wedding gift, fondue pots lurk mostly unused in the very back of many kitchen cupboards today. But even if you don’t have the official fondue setup, it can be prepared and served in any kind of heavy kettle.

Although cheese fondue is the most popular style of this retro dish, there are many forms of fondue, including chocolate in which pieces of fruit or cake are dipped in warm chocolate sauce.

If you’re serving more than 4 people, have extra fondue pots going to make eating easier. It’s best when there are no more than four people per fondue pot.

Keep fondue warm over as low heat as possible to avoid scorching and stir it occasionally.

CLASSIC CHEESE FONDUE

2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded, plus extra
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Kirsch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pepper

Rub the garlic inside the fondue pot then discard.

Pour the white wine and lemon juice into the pot and turn on the burner. Let the wine and lemon juice warm up without boiling.

Reduce heat and add the shredded cheese.  With a wooden spoon, mix well and stir regularly.

Dilute the cornstarch in the Kirsch, and add remaining ingredients, including pepper to taste, to the pot. If the mixture is too hard, add wine. If the mixture is too soft, add cheese.

Dip bite-size pieces of bread or vegetables, let them cool slightly, then enjoy and repeat.

Italian or French bread makes excellent dippers when cut into small pieces. You can also try mild green or red peppers, zucchini slices, steamed broccoli or cauliflower or whatever else you’re in the mood for.

GARLICKY CHEESE FONDUE

8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, coarsely grated
8 ounces Muenster, grated
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine (or apple cider)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon kirsch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a bowl or large plastic bag, combine the cheeses and toss with the cornstarch to coat. Set aside until ready to use.

In a fondue pot or large heavy saucepan, bring the wine and garlic to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheese a bit at a time, stirring well to prevent from clumping, and cook until melted. Add the kirsch, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, stir well, and cook stirring until the mixture is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Set the pot over a candle or canned heat and serve hot with assorted dipping items.

BEEF FONDUE

3 pounds sirloin, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 pound butter
3⁄4 cup olive oil
10 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Melt 1⁄2 pound butter and olive oil in a large pan. When hot, transfer to a large fondue pot.

Meanwhile, prepare the dipping sauce: melt 10 tablespoons butter, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a medium pot. Stir until fully melted; keep warm over low heat.

When oil mixture begins to bubble, spear beef cubes with a fondue fork; lower into oil and fry 3 minutes, until no longer pink. Serve with dipping sauce.

Horseradish Dipping Sauce

1-1/4 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together, adding salt and pepper to taste. If prepared ahead of time, keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature or warm slightly to serve.

BEER-CHEDDAR RAREBIT FONDUE

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup beer or ale
1 pound aged cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Squares of toasted bread

Melt the butter in the cheese fondue pot. Add beer and warm it up without bringing it to a boil.

Reduce heat. Mix the shredded cheese with flour, and gradually add the cheese/flour mixture. Mix with wooden spoon and let it melt. Keep adding more cheese until all of it is melted. Add remaining ingredients.

If the mixture is too hard, add beer. If the mixture is too soft, add cheese.

Dip toast into the melted cheese and enjoy.

CARAMEL FONDUE

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon rum
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup milk, warmed
1⁄4 cup boiling water
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apples, marshmallows

Place sugar in a small pan; heat while stirring over medium heat until sugar melts and liquefies. Set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and rum. Set aside.

Combine egg yolks, milk, and reserved rum mixture in a double boiler over hot water; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Combine melted sugar and boiling water in a small pot; immediately add to warm milk mixture; continue stirring over low heat 20 minutes, until caramel has melted.

Remove from double boiler; stir in vanilla and transfer to a fondue pot. Serve with apples or marshmallows on spears.

CHOCOLATE FONDUE

12 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons Cognac
Fresh fruit or dessert bites

In a double-boiler over low heat, melt the chocolate one handful at a time, then add the cream and stir until warm and smooth. Do not allow it to boil.

Add the cognac and keep stirring. Once all the ingredients are warmed up and well mixed, transfer the mixture into your chocolate fondue pot and turn on burner.

If mixture is too thick, add more cream or cognac. If too runny, add more dark chocolate.

Put a piece of fruit onto a fondue fork and dip it into the hot chocolate fondue.

 

 
Sugar & Spice PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 26 December 2014 13:47

122514f2For the next few days, the kitchen is going to be a favorite gathering spot for the family, drawn there by the unmistakable scent of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves ... all of the spices that we associate with the holidays.

PLUM PUDDING

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
12 dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup candied mixed fruit peel, chopped
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup self-rising flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch salt

Grease a pudding mold.

In a large saucepan combine butter, sugar, milk, dates, raisins, currants, mixed fruit peel and zest of the orange; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and salt; mix gently until blended. Pour into prepared pudding mold.

Cover with a double layer of greased wax paper and steam for 2 hours. Yields 6 servings.

Serve with custard, whipped cream or ice cream.

HOLIDAY CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

For the cake:
3 cups grated carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
3/4 cup chopped pecans
For the frosting:
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, combine grated carrots, flour, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in eggs, oil, 1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla, pineapple and 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

To make frosting: In a medium bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, Neufchatel cheese, 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until smooth, then stir in 1 cup chopped pecans. Spread on cooled cake.

EGGNOG COOKIES

1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown. Yields 6 dozen.

OLD-FASHIONED PERSIMMON PUDDING

For the pudding:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the pudding mold
1 cup sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup persimmon pulp (from 2 to 3 ripe persimmons, peeled and seeded)
3 teaspoons brandy
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda mixed with 2 teaspoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
For the Hard Sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon brandy

To make the pudding: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the persimmon pulp, brandy, eggs, and baking soda mixture. Stir in the vanilla, spices, walnuts, and raisins and mix on low until the butter comes together, about 5 minutes.

Butter the top and bottom of a 2-quart pudding mold with a lid. Spoon in the mixture. Put the buttered lid on tightly and lock into place. Put the mold in a bigger pot filled with water to come halfway up the side of the mold; cover the pot.

It is necessary to have a well-buttered mold and enough water for ample steam for this pudding to come out right. Bring the water to a simmer and let simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 hours. Make sure the water doesn’t evaporate; add more hot water if it does.

The pudding should be checked with a cake tester. When the tester comes out clean, the pudding is done. Take the mold out of the water and unmold when cool, 1 to 2 hours.

While the pudding is steaming, prepare the hard sauce. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the brandy. Chill at least 1 hour. Serve with the warm pudding. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

HOT BUTTERED RUM

1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 ounces dark rum
3 cups boiling water
Fresh orange juice

Beat butter, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with a mixer on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.

Combine 2 tablespoons spiced butter with 1-1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) dark rum in each of 4 heatproof glasses. Pour 3/4 cup boiling water over each, and stir. Top each with a squeeze of fresh orange juice. Serves 4.

 

 
A Christmas Classic PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 18 December 2014 13:47

121814fWhat would Christmas be without the classic roast beef of Olde England, flanked by crispy potatoes, tangy horseradish, crunchy Yorkshire pudding, and steamed winter vegetables!

The one important thing about cooking a roast is temperature. Ovens are not all created the same, and heat differs from one to the other. Cooking times are suggestions. They can’t be exact in every case. But using a good instant-read thermometer will be exact.

Roast to about 130°F for rare, 145°F for medium, 155°F for medium well, 165°F for well done.

For a juicy and tender roast beef, it’s best to serve it rare. Meat continues to cook after it has been removed from the oven, so remove the roast when it reaches the desired temperature and allow it to rest for 20 minutes after removing it from the oven.

The drippings will provide the essentials for a traditional Yorkshire pudding.

CLASSIC ROAST BEEF

1 boneless beef top sirloin roast (6-7 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce olive oil
6 to 8 garlic cloves
2 cups Merlot, dry
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2/3 cup Port wine
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Trim meat of any heavy fat cover in excess of 3.8 inch and any visible cartilage on bottom of roast. Some fat is essential for self-basting the roast as it cooks. Season all side of the roast with salt and pepper.

On the stove top, heat a heavy iron Dutch oven or deep skillet, add olive oil and garlic. Brown all side of beef roast approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

Place roast in pot in oven. When internal temperature reaches 110°F (in approximately 60-80 minutes), turn oven up to 500°F and continue until internal temperature reaches 135°F. This will provide a medium rare roast with a nicely browned exterior and take up to 15 additional minutes.

Remove roast from oven, transfer it to a tray and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. While it rests, a pan sauce and Yorkshire pudding can be prepared.

Pour off and spoon all excess fat drippings from the pan. Reserve hot for Yorkshire pudding.

Heat pan with remaining juices over medium-high heat, add Merlot and reduce by half. Add stock and Port. Scrape all browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Reduce to about one cup. Strain and remove garlic. Add butter and serve.

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 eggs
4 to 8 tablespoons reserved drippings from roasting pan

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Whisk together the flour, salt, milk, butter and eggs. Using a baster, drop a teaspoon or two of drippings into each cup of a muffin tin. Put the muffin tin in the preheated oven. When the drippings are sizzling hot, remove the tin and fill each cup 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the popovers are puffed and brown. Serve hot.

Yields 12 large popovers.

HORSERADISH SAUCE

1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients in bowl and serve with roast.

CRISPY ROAST POTATOES

6 medium-large potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes, drain well. Return to pan and shake over heat to dry completely.

Heat olive oil in oven-proof skillet. Add the potatoes, turn to coat all sides. Then transfer pan to 350°F oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until potatoes are golden brown. (This can be done while roast is “resting.”)

Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

STEAMED WINTER VEGETABLES

3/4 pound baby carrots, peeled
4 medium new potatoes, quartered
6 Brussels sprouts, halved
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place carrots and potatoes in steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 6 minutes. Add sprouts and continue steaming 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss with steamed vegetables. Serves 8.

 

 
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