Chicken, Plain and Fancy | 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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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 | 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 | 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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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? | 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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 | 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 | 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.


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.


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.


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

Combine all ingredients in bowl and serve with roast.


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.


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.


Festival of Lights Begins Tuesday | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014 15:08

121114fHanukkah will begin this year at sundown next Tuesday and continue for eight days and nights.

The holiday is celebrated by candle lighting, exchanging gifts and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom commemorating an event at the temple in Jerusalem, where a tiny vial of oil is said to have burned for eight days.

The favorite Hanukkah food is potato pancakes, or latkes as they are called in Yiddish.


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

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. Makes 12 to 16 latkes.


6 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cord and thinly sliced
Juice & grated peel of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup orange juice

In a large bowl, toss together apple slices, lemon juice and peel. Set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, marmalade and orange juice. Cook over medium heat stirring until sugar and marmalade dissolve. Bring syrup to boil, reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, just until sauce begins to thicken.

Add apple mixture to syrup and toss to coat apples. Simmer covered, 10 to 15 minutes, until apples are soft. Transfer to glass bowl and cool to room temperature.

Gently mash apple mixture. cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serve with latkes. Makes 5 to 6 cups.


1 6-pound lean beef brisket
Kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 onions, thinly sliced
5 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced
2 potatoes, peeled, diced
1 rutabaga, peeled, diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 (12-ounce cans) beer
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Rub brisket generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pan over high heat and brown brisket about 1 minute on each side. Remove brisket, pour off all fat and return brisket to pan. Place garlic, onions, sliced carrots and parsnips, diced potatoes and rutabaga, parsley, thyme and bay leaves on top of brisket. Combine beer, stock and tomato paste and add to brisket. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, on stove top, or bake at 325°F 2 to 3 hours until brisket is tender.

Remove some of the vegetables and purée with some of the liquid to form a sauce. Slice brisket and serve with sauce and remaining vegetables. Makes 12 servings.


3 eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
6 medium-size crisp apples
Oil for frying

Purée the eggs, milk, flour and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Scrape the batter into a shallow bowl.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Dip each apple slice into the batter; let excess batter drain of briefly, then fry slices, a few at a time, until golden on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove slices to a paper towel-lined platter or baking sheet to drain and cool briefly.

Sprinkle apples on all sides with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Keep warm in a 200°F oven, if necessary.

Repeat with remaining apples, skimming browned bits of batter from the pan and adding additional oil if needed. If oil becomes too brown, discard it and use fresh oil for successive batches of frying.

Transfer apple fritters to a warm platter. Sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar before serving. Yields about 30 fritters.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Cut cold butter or margarine and cream cheese into bits. In food processor pulse flour, salt, butter or margarine, cream cheese and sour cream until crumbly. Shape crumbly mixture into four equal disks. Wrap each disk and chill 2 hours.

Roll each disk into a 9-inch round, keeping other disks chilled until ready to roll them.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and finely chopped raisins.

Roll each disk into a 9-inch round keeping other disks chilled until ready to roll them. Sprinkle round with sugar/nut mixture. Press lightly into dough. With chefs knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges. Roll wedges from wide to narrow, you will end up with point on outside of cookie. Place on ungreased baking sheets and chill rugelach 20 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

After rugelach are chilled, bake them in the center rack of your oven 22 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers...they freeze very well. Yields about 4 dozen.


December’s Cookies | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 04 December 2014 08:59

120414fDecember is inevitably associated with cookies, the joy of baking them at home, and nibbling one the moment it is cool enough to be consumed without scorching either your tongue or fingers.

So tie on your apron strings and be prepared to put good intentions about self-control on hold till January.


3/4 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Your favorite jam or preserves

Cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. (Do not overmix.) Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1-1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.


1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 (1-ounce)squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted, cooled 5 minutes
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (14-ounce) package Kraft Caramels
2 tablespoons cream
6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Mix butter, brown sugar and vanilla thoroughly using an electric mixer. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually blend in flour and corn starch.

Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Gently press down on each cookie to flatten using fingers or a flat bottomed drinking glass (dipped in sugar to prevent sticking).

Bake at 300°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Melt caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.

Dip cookies in caramel sauce; roll dipped portion in chopped pecans. Place cookies on wax paper to cool before serving. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup shredded coconut

Beat butter until light and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix. Sift together flour and salt and add to butter mixture, stirring until incorporated.

Shape pieces of dough around pecan halves and roll in coconut. Bake on ungreased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 325°F until coconut is lightly toasted, about 20 minutes.


1 cup molasses
1/2 pound butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
4 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat the molasses to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Place the sugar in a deep bowl and add soda to the hot water; pour water into the molasses. Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl of sugar and thoroughly mix. Add spices, flour and salt and mix with molasses and sugar. Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper or waxed paper and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut dough as thin as possible and bake on a non-stick surface or a greased sheet for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack as soon as done.


1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
8 ounces chopped candied orange peel
8 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Blend the sugar and the cream. Stir in the flour, almonds and orange peel. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a heavily creased and floured cookie sheet. Spread mixture into thin circles with a spatula.

Bake at 350°F just until the edges are light brown about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before removing from the cookie sheet, cool.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt over low heat, or microwave on medium for about 3 minutes. Turn cooled cookies upside down and spread the bottoms with the melted chocolate. Let cookies stand at room temperature until chocolate is firm, at least 3 hours.

Store in a covered container at room temperature or refrigerate. Yields 5 dozen.


Thanksgiving’s Weekend Encore | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 12:14

112714fSure, we’ll all be groaning after Thursday’s big dinner, but most of us have waited all year for the grand prize of Thanksgiving – the weekend of leftovers!

Whether it’s a late Thursday night raid of the fridge, a turkey sandwich with a little warmed-up stuffing on Friday, or a bowl of turkey soup on Sunday, most Thanksgiving remnants are even better the second time around. And there’s just no end to the possibilities.


1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons honey mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 pound thinly sliced ham
12 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices Swiss cheese
8 lettuce leaves
3/4 pound thinly sliced leftover turkey
8 slices tomato
4 slices bacon

Combine sour cream, horseradish, honey, mustard, garlic salt, and white pepper; stir well. Place 3 ounces of ham on each of 4 slices of bread. Top each with 1 teaspoon sauce, 1 slice cheese, a lettuce leaf, and another slice of bread. Place 3 ounces of turkey on each slice, and add 1 teaspoon sauce, lettuce leaf, 2 slices tomato, and 1 slice bacon. Top with remaining slices of bread.

Cut each sandwich into halves or quarters (if quartered, secure each segment with a toothpick.) Serves 8.


2/3 cup Dijon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
3 tablespoons minced onion

(Use either prepared or homemade Dijon mayonnaise. To make your own, combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.)

Combine Dijon mayonnaise and lemon juice in large bowl. Add turkey, apple, celery, carrot and onion; toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes 4 (3/4-cup) servings.


3 cups hot mashed potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/3 cup french fried onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, milk and garlic powder in large bowl; mix well.

Spoon half the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup french-fried onions and 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining potato mixture. Bake 30 minutes until heated through. Top with remaining onions and cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer, or until onions are golden. Serves 6.


4 cups (about 1-1/4 pounds) cooked turkey chunks
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2-1/4 cups leftover turkey gravy, or 2 (10-1/2-ounce) cans turkey gravy
1/4 cup snipped chives, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, mix turkey, peas, corn, gravy, 2 tablespoons of the chives and the thyme. Turn into shallow 2-1/2- to 3-quart baking dish; set aside.

In microwave-safe dish warm potatoes on high for 3 minutes; mix in remaining chives. Cover turkey mixture with potatoes. Place dish on baking sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes in center of oven until turkey mixture is bubbly and potatoes begin to brown. Serve with cranberry sauce, if desired. Serves 6.


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, 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.


First Layer:
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 pound jellied cranberry sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Second Layer:
1 package unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup chicken broth, hot
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups cooked turkey, diced

First Layer: Soften gelatin in cold water. Mash cranberry sauce, add orange juice, and heat until sauce melts. Stir in gelatin. Chill until partially set, then add celery and pecans. Pour into 9-1/2- by 5- by 3- inch loaf pan and chill until almost set.

Second Layer: Soften gelatin in cold water; stir in hot broth. Chill until partially set. Blend in mayonnaise, milk and salt. Add diced chicken. Spoon over cranberry layer. Chill. Unmold and garnish as you choose.


2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 cup soy or regular milk
1 cup mashed cooked yams
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8  teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups dry whole-grain bread cubes (4 slices)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

To dry bread cubes, spread in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool. (Bread will continue to dry and crisp as it cools.) Or let stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

In a medium bowl beat together whole eggs, egg whites, and milk. Whisk in sweet potato, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a 2-quart square baking dish combine bread cubes, raisins, and pecans. Pour the egg mixture over bread mixture. Lightly press with the back of a spoon to thoroughly moisten bread.

Bake in a 325°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.


Tackling the Turkey | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 21 November 2014 15:44

112014fSome 15 million Americans plan to visit a restaurant for a Thanksgiving meal this year, according to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association.

And, of respondents who said they plan to go out shopping on so-called Black Friday, 60 percent said they expect to visit a restaurant. Overall, 46 million shoppers are expected to dine out on Nov. 27 and 28 this year.

For many others, the fussiest parts of the Thanksgiving dinner will be brought home from a restaurant or a supermarket.

For most of the rest of us, it will mean the once-a-year job of thawing and cooking a frozen bird.

The best method of roasting a turkey is also the simplest. Here, step-by-step, is how to prepare, stuff and carve the bird, and make a delicious and traditional turkey gravy.

If you haven’t yet purchased a frozen turkey, you should do that before the weekend. The general rule is to allow at least one pound 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.

If you buy your turkey late or forget to thaw it, stick the frozen bird, breast side down (and still in its wrapper), in cold water to cover. Change the water every 30 minutes. Figure on this method taking about 30 minutes a pound.

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.

Brush the skin with olive oil. Mix about 2-1/2 teaspoons of salt with about 1-1/2 teaspoons of black pepper and sprinkle it evenly in turkey cavities and all over the skin. Heat oven to 450°F.

If you stuff your bird, do it just before putting it in the oven. Fill the cavities lightly with the mixture; don’t press it in because the stuffing will expand as it cooks. (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.

Place turkey in oven and reduce heat to 325°-350°F.  Use a meat thermometer (don’t depend on a pop-out indicator) inserted at the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone. It should register 180°F. The stuffing should register 165°F.

After the first hour of roasting, baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so with  drippings (add a little chicken stock, water or wine to the drippings if they evaporate too quickly). When skin is golden brown, shield breast loosely with light foil to prevent overbrowning.

When the turkey is done, allow it to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.

Carving the Turkey

Place the turkey breast up on a carving board and spoon out stuffing.

Use a chef’s knife to remove thighs, drumsticks and wings. Slice drumstick holding the knife parallel to the bone. Slice in alternating cuts from each side of the bone. Slice the thigh as it lays flat on the board.

Switch to a very sharp carving knife and make a horizontal base cut across the bottom of the breast.  The sharper the blade, the more attractive the slices. (Don’t use a serrated blade, as it tends to tear up the meat.)

Starting parallel to breast bone, slice diagonally down to the horizontal base cut. Continue slicing the breast by beginning at a higher point each time.


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  just until tender.  Add to bread along with salt, seasoning, and parsley. Toss lightly until well mixed. Place in two buttered, covered casserole dishes and bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes, or stuff loosely into neck and body cavities of turkey.


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

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 to taste and add giblets.


Thanksgiving Sides… With a Twist! | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 November 2014 15:31

111314fThanksgiving Day is just a couple of weeks away, so it’s not a minute too soon to make plans for your holiday meal.

In most families, there’d be open rebellion if your table didn’t include such traditional favorite side dishes as yams and cranberries along with the roast turkey.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try out a few really good variations on the old themes.


8 medium russet potatoes
15 peeled garlic cloves
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces

Peel potatoes and quarter lengthwise; cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick. In a 5-quart saucepan, combine potatoes and garlic cloves; cover with water (about 8 cups) by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes.

Drain; return garlic and potatoes to pan. Stir over medium-high heat until dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil; pour over potatoes. Add butter and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash until smooth and creamy. Serves 8.


4 medium unpeeled yams
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple in own juice, drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Scrub yams and place on a baking sheet. Cook for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool 15 minutes. Cut thin slice off top of each; carefully scoop pulp into a bowl, leaving shells intact. Mash pulp; stir in raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, pineapple, and vanilla.

Spoon into shells, sprinkle with pecans and marshmallows. Bake at 350°F. for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serves 8.


4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are deep golden brown and very soft, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until crisp-tender and bright green, about 6 minutes. Drain and toss with tarragon and 1 teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer beans to a platter and top with onions. Serves 8.


1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

In a large saucepan, combine cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen), cherries, sugar, and water.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until most berries have burst and liquid is syrupy, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Cover, pressing plastic wrap directly on surface of relish; refrigerate. Yields 3 cups.


3 medium turnips, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In an 8-inch square baking dish, arrange a single layer of turnips and sweet potatoes, overlapping slightly. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with one-third of the flour. Repeat to make three more layers, sprinkling with salt, pepper, and flour between layers.

Dot top layer with butter, then slowly pour broth and wine into dish, keeping layers intact. Cover with foil and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese over dish. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Let gratin sit 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.


4 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups cranberry juice

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup cold water; let soften for about 5 minutes. Place over low heat, and cook until gelatin has dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. (When rubbed between your fingers, it should feel smooth.) Add sugar, stirring gently until dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat.

Transfer gelatin mixture to a medium bowl; gradually stir in juices. Pour into a 1-1/2-quart (6-cup) Bundt pan, and skim any foam from surface. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

To unmold, dip bottom of pan (do not submerge) briefly into hot water; invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Serves 6.


Crab Sport Season Opens | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 06 November 2014 15:25

110614fEvery year at this time, recreational crab fishers eagerly set out in pursuit of California’s Dungeness crab. The annual sport season opened one minute past midnight on Saturday.

Some set hoop nets and crab traps from boats and piers while others fished crab loop traps on the end of a fishing rod. Still others dove in to take the crabs by hand. Regardless of the method, Dungeness crabs are one of California’s most popular shellfish.

(For information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations, visit

If you’re lucky enough to lay your hands on some fresh crabs this weekend, here are some choice ways to serve them.


For the Dressing:
Juice of 4 fresh limes
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Salad:
1 pound carrots
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored
3 ounces radishes, peeled
1/2 rutabaga, peeled
1 bunch baby turnips, peeled if needed
1 jalapeño chile, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra
5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus extra
3/4 cup prepared or fresh Dungeness crabmeat (from 1 to 2 crabs)

To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice and ginger in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For the salad, slice or shave carrots, fennel, radish, rutabaga, and turnips, preferably on a mandoline, into very thin rounds over a large bowl; toss. Add vinaigrette, jalapeno, cilantro, and mint, and toss to combine. Season with salt. Gently fold in crab. Garnish with cilantro and mint. Makes 10 servings.


1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few drops sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
1/4-inch fresh ginger
1 lime, halved
1-1/2 cups white crabmeat
Enough Chinese leaf cabbage to line 2 small plates when shredded
1 scallion
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil and wasabi. Peel and mince or grate the ginger into the bowl and add the zest of 1/2 the lime. Squeeze 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice into the bowl and mix everything together.

Toss the crab in the sauce, and then finely shred the Chinese leaf cabbage, arranging a bed of shredded cabbage on two plates. Divide the crab between them, piling it into the center of each one. Finely chop the scallion and scatter over each plate, and then bash some pink peppercorns either in a pestle and mortar or put them in a freezer bag, close it and hit with a rolling pin and sprinkle these, too, over the crab cocktails.

Cut the remaining lime half into wedges and put on the side of the plates for extra spritzing.


1 stick butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 pound picked over crabmeat
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onions

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the crabmeat, garlic, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to medium. Heat until the crab is the temperature of the vegetables, stirring occasionally, but don’t break up the crab.

Dissolve the flour in the water and add to the crab mixture. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and green onions and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Serve over steamed rice. Makes 4 servings.


1 pound lump crab meat, cleaned
1/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs without crusts
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoons seafood seasoning powder
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
White pepper
Pinch of salt

Gently fold together crab meat and bread crumbs, being careful not to break lump crab meat. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, egg, seafood seasoning, both sauces, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in separate bowl. Mix well.

Gently fold crab meat mixture into sauce mixture until thoroughly mixed. Shape into 4 cakes. Bake in greased jellyroll pan at 400°F until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

If desired, serve with Grainy Mustard Sauce (below).

Grainy Mustard Sauce

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
Salt, pepper

Combine sour cream, white wine, mustard, pinch salt and pinch pepper. Mix well.




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