Celebrating Lunar 4713 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 04 February 2016 13:56

020416fThe Chinese are gearing up to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the time to plan for feasting and family get-togethers, parades and firecrackers that will kick off the Year of the Monkey 4713 on Monday.

No holiday is as laden with food symbolism as the Chinese New Year festival. Every dish connotes prosperity, health or good fortune for the coming year.

CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD

1 (16-ounce) package mixed salad
     greens, washed and drained
1 small carrot, shredded
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped green onions and tops 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
Soy-Sesame Dressing

Combine salad greens, carrot, chicken, green onions and cilantro in large serving bowl; pour dressing over mixture and toss together to coat all pieces well. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

To make the Soy-Sesame Dressing, combine 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 3 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce, 1 tablespoon each vegetable oil and Oriental sesame oil and 2 teaspoons sugar in small bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves.

KUNG PAO PORK

1 pound boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup bottled stir-fry sauce
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dry Sherry
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
6 whole dried red chiles
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch squares
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts

Coat pork with mixture of 2 tablespoons stir-fry sauce and cornstarch. Combine remaining 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce and sherry. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in hot wok or large skillet over high heat. Add chiles, breaking 2 peppers in half. Stir-fry 20 seconds, or until chiles turn black. Add pork and stir-fry 3 minutes; remove. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same pan; add onion, bell pepper and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes. Stir in pork and stir-fry sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and all pieces are coated with sauce. Stir in peanuts; serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

EASY VEGETABLE STIR-FRY

1 tablespoon dry Sherry
1/4 cup bottled teriyaki marinade & sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 (16-ounce) package frozen stir-fry or Oriental-style vegetable mixture
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

Combine Sherry,  teriyaki sauce, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Heat oil in hot wok or large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and stir-fry 15 seconds, or until golden brown. Add vegetables and mushrooms; stir-fry 3 minutes, or until vegetables are heated through.

Stir in teriyaki sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens and vegetables are coated with sauce. Makes 6 servings.

POTSTICKERS

Dumpling Dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
Filling:
8 ounces Napa cabbage
3 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound lean ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, with tops
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Dash white pepper
Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a bowl, mix the flour and 1 cup boiling water until a soft dough forms. Let dough rest in covered bowl in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Knead the dough on a lightly flour surface about 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Cut the cabbage across into thin strips. Mix with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix the celery cabbage, pork, green onions, wine, cornstarch, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and the white pepper.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a roll 12 inches long and cut each roll into 1/2-inch slices.

Roll 1 slice of dough into a 3-inch circle and place 1 tablespoon pork mixture in the center of the circle. Lift up the edges of the circle and pinch 5 pleats up to create a pouch to encase the mixture. Pinch the top together. Repeat with the remaining slices of dough and filling.

Heat a wok or nonstick skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, tilting the wok to coat the sides. (If using a nonstick skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil.) Place 12 dumplings in a single layer in the wok and fry 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

To make a dipping sauce: In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Serve with the dumplings. Yields about 48 potstickers.

IMPERIAL NOODLES WITH SPECIAL SAUCE

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of minced green onion, fresh ginger and garlic

Combine all ingredients, except noodles, in small bowl and blend well. Set aside.

Bring large pot of water to full boil. Add noodle and cook 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and rinse thoroughly under cold, running water. Drain again. Transfer to serving bowl. Add soy sauce mixture and toss to blend. Makes 4 first-course servings.

 

 
Thank the Scots for Scones! PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:18

012816fScones, those first cousins to our baking powder biscuits – only a little sweeter and often baked with bits of fruit – originated in Scotland.

There are many varieties, but the basic ingredients are usually flour, baking powder, salt, butter and milk, plus berries or such dried fruits as currants or raisins. Potential combinations are endless.

A batch of scones can be prepared in the time it takes to heat the oven. They should be baked immediately after mixing and shaping.

Scones have a tender, heavy crumb and a slightly crusty brown top after baking.

Resist the urge to eat them hot out of the oven. Letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture. They’re best eaten on the day they’re baked, but you can keep a batch of pre-baked frozen scones on hand for special occasions when something is needed for spur-of-the-moment. Just pop a few in a 350°F oven until they’re heated through.

CURRANT SCONES

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup currants
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl; mix well. With two knives or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in currants. Add buttermilk and stir until dough comes together in a mass. Divide dough in half and, on a floured board, shape each into a ball. Flatten balls and cut each round into six wedges.

Place wedges slightly apart on baking sheets. Brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar and ground cinnamon and bake at 425°F until light browned, about 15 minutes. Make 12 scones.

CRANBERRY-ORANGE SCONES

1-1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
3 tablespoons sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk, plus more if necessary

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest (grated peel).

With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in dried cranberries.

Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add buttermilk, and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Use a little more buttermilk if dough is too dry to work with.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; shape into an 8-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet. Cut circle into 8 wedges; space them 1/2 inch apart (to prevent sticking, dust knife with flour). Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Yields 8 scones.

OAT BRAN SCONES WITH DRIED CHERRIES

2/3 cup dried cherries
1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup oat bran (grind in a blender or food processor for a finer texture)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter cut into pieces
About 3/4 cup buttermilk
Oat meal for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cover dried cherries with boiling water and let stand 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in cold butter with a fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add drained cherries. Stir in enough buttermilk to make a sticky, soft dough.

Turn out onto a very lightly-floured work surface and knead lightly to hold dough together, about six gentle kneads. Kneading distributes the moisture and increases the flaky texture. It should be done thoroughly yet gently. Over-kneading causes the scones to become tough.

Divide into three equal portions. Pat each into a round 1-inch thick and 4 inches in diameter. Sprinkle on oats. With a knife, score each round into four wedges.

Place rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with a bit of sieved brown sugar, if desired. Bake in the center on oven for 15 minutes or until crispy and golden.

Break wedges apart and allow to cool for a few minutes. Makes 12 scones.

RAISIN SCONES

2-1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2-1/4 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup nonfat milk or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, orange peel, baking powder, soda and salt. Cut in margarine with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins.

Combine milk and vanilla. Stir into mixture. Form dough into two balls. Pat one ball, on floured board, into 6-inch circle 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 6 wedges. Repeat with remaining dough. Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in 400°F oven 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 12 scones.

BLUEBERRY-PECAN SCONES

7 ounces cold butter
2-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or grease them with butter.

Chop the cold butter into 1/4-inch pieces—no larger. Place butter in the freezer compartment and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and chop with two knives or a pastry blender until it is well blended and some of the butter is crumbly. Mix in the pecans.

Gradually add the buttermilk, 1/3 cup at a time, and mix gently until all ingredients are incorporated, but not completely blended and mixture is a shaggy mass (you may not need all of the buttermilk).

Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the dough and only mix enough to evenly distribute the berries.

Gently form the dough into 1/3-cup balls and place them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 24 to 26 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Makes 16 scones.

 
Easy One-Skillet Recipes for Rainy Evening Meals PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:06

012116fIt’s easy to make a healthy supper without having to wash every pot and pan in the kitchen afterwards. And, with a side salad and warm rolls, these recipes make the perfect comfort food for  a rainy evening.

SANTA FE CHICKEN

2 teaspoons chili powder 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-3/4 pounds boneless, skinless
      chicken breasts
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 green onions, minced
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can Campbell’s
      Condensed Tomato Soup
1/2 cup Pace Picante Sauce
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Stir chili powder and cumin in a small bowl. Season chicken with the chili powder mixture.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 6 minutes or until browned on both sides. Add garlic and onions and cook and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in soup, picante sauce and water and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the beans and corn. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Serves 6.

DIJON CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

Cut chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Stir the garlic powder, thyme and black pepper in a small bowl.  Season the chicken with the garlic powder mixture.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.

Add the mushrooms and onion to the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes or until tender-crisp, stirring often.

Stir the wine in the skillet. Stir in the soup and mustard and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return chicken to skillet.  Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serves 4.

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 cups halved fresh white mushrooms
2 cups sweet green bell pepper cut in 1-inch squares
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
2 pounds fully ripened fresh tomatoes, cut in 1-inch chunks (about 5 cups)
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces; cook and stir until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green pepper, onion and garlic; cook and stir until mushrooms release liquid, about 4 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, salt, thyme and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are heated through, about 2 minutes. If desired, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve over noodles or rice. Yield: 4 servings

SPINACH, PASTA & RICE

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup mini ring pasta
1 cup long- or whole-grain rice
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2  (10-1⁄2 ounce) cans condensed chicken broth

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serves 4.

TUNA & CORN SKILLET

2-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10-3/4-ounce) can cream of shrimp soup
1/2 cup milk
1 (17-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 (12-1/4-ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and translucent.

Stir in soup and milk. Add corn, tuna, and pepper; heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot cooked rice. Serves 4.

CAPTION: Dijon Chicken – sautéed chicken breasts, simmered with mushrooms in a kicked-up picante sauce and bursting with flavor. These one-skillet recipes are perfect for a rainy night’s supper.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPBELL’S FOODS


 
Oldest Condiment in the World Keeps Being Reinvented PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 14 January 2016 15:54

011416fMustard, the magic ingredient that adds savor to sauces, spice to grilled foods, and a kick to plain old hot dogs, was used by the ancient Greeks in both culinary and medicinal ways.

But it wasn’t until 1904 that Francis French set out on a noble course to find “a better mustard worthy of Americans.”

“I want a new kind of pure, prepared mustard,” French said, to his brother, George, who happened to be President of the R.T. French Company.

Francis was certain there was no condiment on the store shelves similar to the pure, creamy version of mustard he envisioned.

Old Francis was definitely on to something. His “better tasting” mustard became French’s Cream Salad Mustard, introduced to a mustard-hungry public at a price of ten cents.  Each 9 ounce jar came in its own carton with a wooden paddle for doling out the deliciousness.

Today, more than 800 million gallons of yellow mustard are consumed worldwide each year; more than 35 million gallons in the U.S. alone. And each year, dozens of new flavors – many created in the Napa Valley – are introduced to the public.

So, go ahead, slather on the latest toasted-hazelnut-black-pepper-mango-pear mustard, or try making a new flavor yourself!

BASIC HOMEMADE MUSTARD

1/4 cup mustard seed
1/4 cup dry mustard
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup vinegar (wine or flavored)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey

In small bowl, combine mustard seed, dry mustard and water. Let sit, uncovered, about 2 hours. Come in food processor with remaining ingredients to desired consistency. Pour into clean jars, cover tightly and refrigerate. Makes 1 cup.

COARSE-GRAINED HONEY MUSTARD

3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup Coleman’s mustard powder
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine

Place the ingredients in bowl of food processor. Process until a fairly smooth paste forms. Store, covered, at room temperature for 2 days. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months. Yields 1 cup.

DIJON-STYLE MUSTARD

3/4 cups hot mustard powder
1/4 cup very cold water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 whole juniper berries
2 tablespoons cold, fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Stir together mustard powder and water to make a paste. In a saucepan combine vinegar, wine, onion, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and juniper berries and bring mixture to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer mixture until reduced by two thirds. Strain mixture, cover and chill.

Stir the chilled vinegar reduction into the mustard paste. Add the lemon juice, salt and sugar and stir to combine. Let mixture stand for at least 20 minutes. Transfer the mustard mixture to a saucepan, bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Transfer to a sterile jar and seal tightly, and store on a dark, cool shelf for at least a month or up to 6 weeks, before using. Mustard will mellow with age. Mustard should be refrigerated once open and will keep for 6 months. Yields about 2 cups.

MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

A good all-purpose dressing for salads, cooked vegetables, cold meats and smoked fish.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt, freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Combine vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt and pepper to taste in bowl. Slowly stir in olive oil until absorbed. Yields 1 cup.

GINGER-TERIYAKI MUSTARD

An exceedingly hot mustard, its fresh taste of ginger makes it ideal for serving with grilled oily fish and, when combined with equal parts teriyaki sauce and sweet wine vinegar, it makes a tingling dipping sauce for Asian appetizers.

1/4 cup whole dark mustard seeds, finely ground
1/2 cup mustard powder
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup finely mince fresh ginger root

Place the mustard seeds and powder in a medium bowl; mix well. Add the water, vinegar and teriyaki sauce and mix well to form a paste.

Add the sugar, garlic and ginger and mix well. Transfer to  clean, dry jar or bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate for one week before using. Yields 1 cup.

BLACK PEPPER & GARLIC MUSTARD

An excellent mild spread for bread and served with smoked meats. A tablespoon or two also enhances the flavor of meatloaf, beef stews, and macaroni and cheese.

2 cups water
6 large unpeeled cloves garlic
3/4 cup whole, yellow mustard seeds, finely ground
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Place garlic and 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the garlic is very soft.

Drain well and remove the skins from the garlic.

Place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Puree until fairly smooth and well mixed, frequently scraping the sides of the container.

Transfer to a clean, dry jar or bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate for one week before using.

 

 
The Ever-Popular Pot Pie PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 07 January 2016 15:34

010716fFew foods are as comforting as a traditional pot pie. Beneath a golden, flaky crust lies an explosion of flavor – piping hot chunks of meat and tasty vegetables wrapped in a savory sauce. Generations of hungry appetites have been satisfied with this delicious culinary staple.

CHICKEN POT PIE

1 pound skinless, boneless
     chicken breast halves, cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes one 9-inch pie.

COUNTRY BEEF POT PIE

1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 tablespoon oil
3/4 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (12-ounce) jar beef gravy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups frozen southern-style hash-brown potatoes (from 32-ounce package)
Sesame seeds, if desired

Heat oven to 400°F. Prepare pie crusts as directed on package for two-crust pie using 9-inch glass pie pan.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef and onion; cook and stir until beef is browned. Drain.

In small bowl, combine gravy, cornstarch, sugar and pepper; mix well. Add to beef in skillet. Stir in vegetables and potatoes. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are thawed, stirring occasionally.

Spoon mixture into pie crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edges and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust; sprinkle with sesame seed.

Bake at 400°F for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Yields 6 servings.

VEGETARIAN POT PIE

1 tablespoon butter
2 small heads fennel, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2/3 cuppeeled and finely chopped carrots
12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (5 cups)
1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup whole milk
1 cup frozen baby green peas
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1/4 cup parsley
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 large egg yolk
7 ounces store-bought puff pastry or pie dough (defrosted if frozen)

Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Melt butter over medium heat in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add fennel, onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add peas, herbs, and vinegar, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.

With kitchen shears, cut dough to fit over the baking dish. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

HAM & CHEESE POT PIE

1 (6-oz) ham steak, chopped
1 cup  shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup  frozen broccoli cuts, thawed, drained
1 cup  frozen cauliflower florets, thawed, drained
2 green onions chopped
1/2 cup (half of 8-oz tub) cream cheese witdh chives and onions
1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 14.1-oz. pkg.)
1 egg
1 tablespoon  water

Heat oven to 400°F.

Combine first 5 ingredients. Microwave cream cheese spread in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until completely melted, stirring every 15 seconds. Add to ham mixture; mix well. Spoon into 4 (8-oz) ramekins.

Unroll pie crust on lightly floured surface; roll to 12-inch circle. Cut into 4 rounds with 5-inch cookie cutter. Cut leaves from about 1/4 of the trimmings with small cookie cutter or sharp knife; discard remaining trimmings.

Beat egg and water with fork until blended; brush onto top edges of ramekins. Top with pastry rounds; press gently onto top edges of ramekins to seal. Top with leaf cutouts; brush lightly with egg wash. Discard any remaining egg wash. Place ramekins on baking sheet. Cut slits in crusts to vent.

Bake 30 to 32 min. or until golden brown. Serves 4.

 

 
Soup Takes Bite Out of Winter Cold PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 31 December 2015 12:24

123115fAs temperatures drop into the low 30s these nights, there’s no better way to fight off the cold than with a hot bowl of tasty soup. Make a big pot and enjoy the leftovers later.

ACORN SQUASH BISQUE

2 acorn squashes (3 pounds) 
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves,
     plus more for garnish
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half

Place squashes on a paper towel and microwave on high just until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the microwave, and halve each squash lengthwise (to speed cooling).

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add squash, thyme, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to medium, and cook until squash is very tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute. Return to pan; add half-and-half, and season generously with salt and pepper. Thin bisque, if needed, by adding more water. Serve garnished with thyme. Yields 4 servings.

POTATO-LEEK SOUP

8 cups chicken stock
6 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into large pieces
4 leeks (whites only), thoroughly washed and sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream

Put the chicken stock, potatoes, leeks, celery, bay leaf and thyme in a large pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Boil until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Allow liquid to cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid to prevent the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times, then process on high speed until smooth. Pour the soup into a medium pot; add the cream and simmer until the soup has thickened, about 20 minutes. Serves 8.

NAVY BEAN SOUP

3 cups (1-1/2 pounds) dried navy beans
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large onion, chopped
1 meaty ham hock or 1 cup diced cooked ham
2 cups chicken broth
2-1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced parsley for garnish

Rinse and sort beans, then place them in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened.

Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid. Place in a large Dutch oven or soup kettle. Add the tomatoes with juice, onion, ham hock, broth, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Add more water if necessary. Remove ham hock and let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bone, cut into bite-size pieces and return to soup. Heat through. Yield: 10 servings.

OLD-FASHIONED 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 length-wise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1bay 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.

CHEDDAR BEER SOUP

10 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
4 tablespoons  margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
2 cups shredded medium-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup beer or ale

Cook vegetables and drain. Melt margarine, stir in flour, salt, and mustard.  cook over low heat until smooth.  Remove from heat. Add milk and Worchestershire. Heat mixture until it coats the spoon.  Add cheese.

Cook over medium heat until cheese melts. Stir in beer and vegetables bring to a simmer.  Cook about 15 minutes. Serve with preferred garnishes (croutons, paprika, etc.).

REUBEN SOUP

1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups water
4 teaspoon instant beef bouillon or 4 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 pound corned beef, shredded
1 cup sauerkraut, well-drained
3 cups half and half
3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
6 - 8 slices toasted rye bread, cut into triangle quarters

In a large saucepan, cook onion and celery in butter until tender; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in water and bouillon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add corned beef, sauer-kraut, cream and 1 cup of the cheese.

Cook for 30 minutes. or until  slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Ladle into 8 ovenproof bowls. Top each with a slice of bread and put 1/4 cup of the cheese on top of the bread. Place in oven under broiler until the cheese melts and browns ever so lightly.

 

 
A Traditional Christmas Dinner PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 24 December 2015 14:10

122415fFor a spectacular holiday centerpiece, nothing quite compares to a beautiful beef roast cooked to perfection.

Cooking a roast may seem a bit intimidating at first, but it really is one of the more simple main dishes to prepare. There’s little more to it than putting it in the oven and pulling it out when it’s done. To know when it’s done, you’ll need a meat thermometer (an instant-read type is easiest to use).

CLASSIC PRIME RIB ROAST

1 (6-8 pound) trimmed beef rib

    roast, chine bone removed

6 large cloves garlic, crushed

1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine garlic, thyme and black pepper. Press evenly into surface of beef roast.

Place roast, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Do not add water or cover roast.

Roast approximately 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours. Using an instant read thermometer, remove roast when internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium rare or 150°F for medium.

Tent loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes prior to carving. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

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.

CREAMY MASHED POTATOES WITH CHIVES

6 Idaho or russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for cooking potatoes
1 cup milk, warmed

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water to 2 inches above potatoes. Season water generously with salt and bring potatoes to a boil to cook for 40 minutes, until very tender.

Drain potatoes and return to pot. Mash potatoes with warm milk until smooth. Fold in mascarpone and chives. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Serves 6 to 8.

CHRISTMAS CRANBERRY SALAD

Cranberry Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
3/4 cup olive oil
Salad:
12 cups mixed greens
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Chill until ready to serve.

In a large salad bowl, combine the greens and red pepper. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Serve with cranberry vinaigrette. Yields 12 servings (1 cup vinaigrette).

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

2 (10-3/4 ounce) cans
Campbell’s Cream of
Mushroom Soup
1-1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (9-ounce) packages frozen cut green beans, thawed 2-2/3 cups French fried onions

Stir soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 1-1/3 cups onions in 3-quart casserole.

Bake at 350°F 30 minutes or until hot. Stir. Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes more until onions are golden. Makes 12 servings. To enhance this dish, cook 4 slices bacon until crisp and crumble.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

4-1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. Spread sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serves 12.

 

 
Sugar & Spice PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2015 08:20

121715fFor the next couple of weeks, the kitchen is going to be a favorite gathering spot for the family, drawn there by the unmistakable scent of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, mace...all of the spices that we associate with the holidays.

No British Christmas is complete without a Christmas Pudding. Make it a few days ahead and store in a cool place.

ENGLISH CHRISTMAS PUDDING

Fruit mixture (to be made 4 days ahead):
1 pound seedless raisins
1 pound sultana raisins
1/2 pound currants
1 cup thinly sliced citron
1 cup chopped candied peel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound finely chopped suet (available at meat market)
1-1/4 cups cognac
Pudding:
1-1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
1 cup scalded milk
1 cup sherry or port
12 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Cognac

Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.

Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly.

Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.

To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. Serves with brandy sauce or custard. Serves 12.

CLASSIC APPLE PIE

Pastry for double-crust pie
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll one pastry round into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

Roll other round of pastry into 10-inch round. Fold into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Serve warm.

APPLESAUCE FRUITCAKE

2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups applesauce
2 cups raisins
2 cups fruit cocktail mix
1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together sugar and shortening. Mix in applesauce, raisins and fruit, then add egg. Mix together cocoa, flour, salt, cinnamon and soda and add to applesauce mixture. Add walnuts. Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 350°F for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

MELTING CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Caramel sauce
Coffee ice cream

Heat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and melted chocolate. Mix with a spoon until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly into 8 muffin tins and bake until the cakes have just cooked through, about 15 minutes.

The cakes will still look a bit moist on top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm with the caramel sauce and ice cream. Serves 8.

PECAN PIE

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Pastry for single-crust 9-inch pie

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, corn syrups, eggs, vinegar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry shell. Cover edges with foil.

Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove foil; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serves 8. Refrigerate leftover pie.

PUMPKIN GINGERBREAD

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup balanced margarine, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
3 egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, margarine, granulated sugar and orange peel; beat with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating about 1 minute after each addition. Add pumpkin, corn syrup and molasses; beat on medium speed until smooth.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together sifted cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into sugar mixture, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into a greased 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan.

Bake at 350°F about 30 minutes or until the cake pulls slightly away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Transfer pan to wire rack and cook about 15 minutes until warm. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm or cool, cut into squares. Makes 9 servings.

 

 
Christmas Cookies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 December 2015 12:11

121015fFew things represent the spirit of Christmas more than homemade cookies. They’re something family and friends can make together. They can be given as gifts, and savored anytime.

So before it gets any closer to Christmas, heat up the oven and get out the cookie sheets.

BASIC HOLIDAY BUTTER COOKIES

2-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons light cream
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Mix yolks, cream and vanilla together in a measuring cup.

Cream sugar with butter and shortening until lightened and pasty. Beat yolk mixture into creamed butter until just combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until mixture begins to clump together (about 18 to 20 seconds on the lowest speed of an electric mixer).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently to shape into a soft dough. (Can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to three days at this point). Proceed with rolling, shaping and baking. Yields about 72 single cookies.

For Chocolate Butter Cookies: add 1 ounce each of melted unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate chips after creaming sugar with butter and shortening.

SOFT GINGERBREAD COOKIES

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.

Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen cookies

FIRELIGHTERS

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1-3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add corn syrup and brown sugar and mix. Remove from heat. Add oats, baking powder, salt, coconut and vanilla and stir until oats are well coated. Pour batter into greased 8-inch-square baking pan.

Bake at 325°F until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes and cut into squares while still warm. Makes about 16 cookies.

RAISIN-FILLED COOKIES

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 ups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Filling:
1-1/2 cups raisins
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel

Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into butter mixture; mix well. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Combine all filling ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly; cool. Heat oven to 350°F.

On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds with cookie cutter. Place a teaspoon of filling on center of half the dough rounds. Cut small circles from centers of remaining dough rounds; place on top of filled rounds. Press edges lightly together to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake in upper third of oven at 350°F 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks. Makes 30 cookies.

ALMOND MACAROONS

1 (8-ounce) package almond paste
2 egg whites
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Sliced almonds

Grease a large cookie sheet, dust lightly with flour, tapping off excess.

Break up almond paste with fingers into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add egg whites, salt and vanilla.

Beat at low speed until mixture is smooth and well blended. Add powdered sugar slowly, continuing to beat at low speed, until a soft dough forms.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on prepared cookie sheet (macaroons spread very little as they bake).

For a crackly top, dip fingertip into water; pat over tops; sprinkle top with almonds.

Bake in a slow oven (325°F) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks with a spatula and cool. Makes 3 dozen.

CHRISTMAS MERINGUES

4 egg whites at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely grated
6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar while continuing to beat. Add vanilla. Gradually fold in remaining 1/3 cup sugar and grated chocolate.

Shape into well-rounded ovals with teaspoon. Bake on nonstick baking sheets (or baking sheets covered with parchment paper) at 275°F until firm, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan.

Melt chocolate pieces with milk in top of double boiler. Dip top of cooled meringues in warm chocolate then in chopped nuts. When chocolate hardens, store in airtight container. Makes 60.

COCONUT RUM BALLS

4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1-1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup rum
Powdered sugar

Combine crumbs, coconut and nuts in bowl. Stir in condensed milk and rum, mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar to coat.

Cover and store in refrigerator at least 24 hour or up to several weeks. Roll again in powdered sugar just before serving.

Makes about 6 dozen rum balls.

 

 
Symbolic Holiday Menu Calls for Potato Latkes PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 December 2015 19:09

120315fWhen the first Hanukkah candle is lit this Sunday evening, the glow will remind those of the Jewish faith of a miracle with oil that took place more than 2,000 years ago when the Jews drove a foreign army out of Jerusalem and rekindled the eternal light in the Temple with pure oil.

Legend relates that only enough oil for one day could be found, but it miraculously lasted for eight days. To commemorate this event, colorful candles are lighted each night of the holiday.

The custom of serving fried foods, particularly potato pancakes (latkes), grew out of the miracle of the oil, and have become the symbol of the holiday.

Latkes are usually served with sour cream and applesauce.

TRADITIONAL POTATO LATKES

1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Sour cream and applesauce for accompaniments

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Allow potatoes to soak for another 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven. Yields 12 to 16 latkes

SHORT RIBS WITH ROOT VEGETABLES

6 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large onions, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2-1/2 cups apple cider
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon each, finely
chopped fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1-3/4 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 9-quart Dutch oven over high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, cook the beef, flipping once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer beef to the wire rack. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add onions to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Raise heat to medium. Add garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar, cider, stock, and 1/2 cup water. Add thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Return beef to pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Cover; transfer to oven. Cook until almost fork tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Remove pot from oven. Stir in parsnips, carrots, and potatoes. Return to oven; cook until fork-tender, 1 hour 10 minutes more. Gently transfer beef and vegetables to a baking sheet or a plate.

Skim fat from cooking liquid. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by about half, about 7 minutes.

Return beef and vegetables to pot. Season with salt and pepper; toss gently. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS

2 red apples
2-1/2 cups apple cider
3-1/2 cups flour, plus more
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons shortening
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Vegetable oil, for frying

Core and coarsely chop the apples (do not peel). Combine with 1-1/2 cups cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup. (Boil to reduce further, if necessary.) Let cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer on medium speed until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make a sticky dough; do not overmix.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and pat into a 7-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Simmer the remaining 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and glossy, then set aside. Mix the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside for the topping.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Cut the chilled dough into 12 rounds, using a floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter, then cut out the middles with a 1-inch cutter (or use a doughnut cutter).

Slip 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

Dip one side of each doughnut in the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off; dip just the glazed side in the cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm.

 

 
Tom’s Encore: Leftovers Make Classy Meals PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 14:45

112615fLeftovers are as much a part of Thanksgiving as the main dinner itself. Of course, eating the same meal for the third day in a row could get boring, but there’s no need for that when there are so many ways to transform those prepared ingredients into new dishes.

Be sure to refrigerate leftovers as soon as dinner is over never allowing food to be at room temperature for mor than two hours. Carve meat from the bone before refrigerating. It will chill more quickly that way.

Stuffing and gravy should be used within one or two days.

TURKEY COBB SALAD

4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded
2 cups roasted turkey, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into chunks
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

In a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Let cool, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. While continuing to whisk, drizzle in olive oil until thickened. Add lettuce, and toss to coat. Place on a large serving platter. Arrange remaining ingredients on lettuce as desired, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.

CURRIED TURKEY CASSEROLE

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons curry powder
Salt and pepper
6-1/2 cups broccoli florets
4 cups cooked turkey, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 cups day-old bread, diced

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium pot, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until slightly softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Whisk in flour and continue to whisk 1 minute. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce comes to a simmer. Stir in curry powder and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add broccoli and cook just until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Stir in cooked turkey. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, toss bread with remaining 2 tablespoons butter, melted, until coated.

Top turkey mixture with bread and bake until sauce is bubbling and bread is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serves 6.

TURKEY REUBEN SANDWICH

For each sandwich:
2 teaspoons soft butter
2 slices rye bread
2 tablespoons Russian
Dressing
1 ounce sliced Swiss cheese
4 thin slices cooked turkey
3 tablespoons tangy cole slaw or sauerkraut
2 dill-pickle sandwich slices

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. Flip bread over, and spread Russian dressing on the other side of each slice. Place half of the cheese on top of dressing on 1 slice. Top with turkey, cabbage slaw, and pickles. Top with remaining cheese, then the second slice of bread, buttered side up.

Place on grill pan, and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula, until golden brown and cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Cover with a heatproof lid to encourage cheese to melt; use caution when removing.) Cut sandwich in half, and serve immediately.

TURKEY A LA KING

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (2-ounce) jar pimiento strips
2-1/2 cups cooked cubed turkey
Dash onion powder
Dash pepper

Melt butter; add green pepper and mushrooms. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon. Add flour to butter, cooking and stirring until smooth. Add half-and-half and cream of mushroom soup, stirring until smooth and thickened. Add turkey, pimiento, mushrooms, green pepper, and seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve over hot cooked rice, biscuits, or noodles. Serves 6.

TURKEY & YAM CASSEROLE

2 cups cooked, mashed yams
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
3 cups leftover turkey
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley

Stir the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk in a medium bowl. Spoon the sweet potato mixture around the inside edge of a 10-inch round casserole, forming a ring.

Heat the stock and onion in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the soup, turkey and water. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Spoon the turkey mixture into the center of the sweet potato ring.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the turkey mixture is hot and bubbling. Sprinkle with the walnuts and parsley, if desired. Yields 6 one-cup servings.

 

 
When it Comes to the Turkey, Timing is Everything PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 23 November 2015 22:07

111915fWhile there’s nothing complicated about roasting a turkey, it never hurts to have a refresher before showtime since it’s something most families only deal with once or twice a year.

Preparing the big bird is mostly a matter of timing.

If you haven’t yet purchased a frozen turkey, you should do that before the weekend. The general rule is to allow at least 1-1/2 pounds of turkey per person.

You can start thawing your turkey soon after you get it home by putting it – still in its wrapper and breast-side up – on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator (so it won’t drip on other food items). Figure thawing time at one day for every four pounds.

To prepare the turkey for roasting, remove the wrapper, release the  legs from the clamps and pull neck and giblets from cavities. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat dry.

If you stuff your bird, do it just before putting it in the oven (never hours earlier). Stuff the neck cavity first, then turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place or skewer if skin is too short. Fill the cavities lightly with the mixture; don’t press it in because the stuffing will expand as it cooks. Use 1/2 cup of stuffing per pound for turkey weighing up to 10 pounds; for turkeys weighing more, use 3/4 cup per pound. Stuffing should reach 165°F.

To save time and ensure safe, complete cooking without the risk of overcooking your turkey, consider baking your stuffing in a covered casserole, instead of inside the bird.

If you don’t stuff your turkey, the addition of 2 cups of coarsely chopped celery, onion and carrots to the cavity will enhance the fragrance and add to the flavor of the pan juices.

This recipe makes a good simple and basic stuffing.

TRADITIONAL SAVORY STUFFING

1-1⁄2 pound loaf day-old bread 
3 cups chopped onion
2-1⁄2 cups chopped celery
1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1-1⁄2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley

Tear bread into 1⁄2-inch pieces, or use 3 quarts plain dry stuffing; set aside.

Sauté onion and celery in butter or margarine just until tender. Add to bread along with salt, poultry seasoning, and parsley. Toss lightly until well mixed.

Place in two buttered, covered casserole dishes or stuff loosely into neck and body cavities of turkey.

Skewer cavity openings to secure stuffing. Tie legs together and twist wing tips under the back.

Casserole Method

Bake stuffing covered at 325°F for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer. Drizzle with juices from the turkey roasting pan for additional flavor and moistness. Makes 8-10 cups stuffing after baking.

Roasting the Turkey

Place turkey, breast up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan 1 to 2 inches deep. Heat oven to 325°F.

Roast turkey until a meat thermometer (don’t depend on pop-up timers) indicates the internal temperature registers 180-185°F in the thigh and 170-175°F in the breast.

The drumstick should twist easily in its socket, and juices should run clear, with no traces of pink when pierced with a fork.

When the skin is light golden brown, about two-thirds cooked, shield the breast loosely with a tent of foil to prevent over-browning.

When done, let the turkey stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

TURKEY GRAVY

Turkey drippings
Giblet broth
Cooked giblets, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Cover giblets and neck with 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until giblets are tender. Drain, reserving broth and discarding neck. Chop giblets.

Pour turkey drippings from roasting pan into 4-cup measure. Remove 1/4 cup fat from the drippings and place in a pan. Skim off and discard remaining fat from drippings. Add giblet broth to drippings to make 4 cups.

Blend flour into the pan with the fat until smooth, then add drippings and broth mixture.

Cook and stir over medium heat until gravy comes to a boil and thickens. Stir in salt and pepper and add giblets.

 

 
Page 1 of 22

Classifieds

Weekly specialty items listings, garage sales, and much more!

 

Current Ads

 

If you would like to place a Classified Ad, call Patrick at 510-614-1558.

Real Estate

Get the latest in housing news and services delivered to you in full color PDF.

 

Browse this weeks gallery