Monday, December 15, 2008

Italian Cookies

1/2 c butter
1/4 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
4 eggs
3 c flour
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract (or anise or lemon)

Melt butter and shortening together. Add the sugar; mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the extract. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture gradually. If the dough is too sticky to roll in the palm of your hand, add flour until firmer, but dough should be very soft. Roll dough in small balls and place them on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. The bottom should be lightly browned but the tops should remain light. Remove cookies to wire rack and cool completely before glazing.

Mix milk gradually into powdered sugar to make a thick glaze. Dip top of each cookie into glaze. Sprinkle with colored jimmies or nonpariels while glaze is still wet.

Makes a lot of cookies, depending on how large you roll them. 3/4" balls will yield about 100 cookies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Corn Pudding

1/2 stick butter
2-1/2 c fresh yellow corn kernels, cut from the cob (3-4 ears)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 large eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c half-and-half
1/2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
dried parsley

Preheat oven the 375. Spray a baking dish (8-10 cup capacity) with cooking spray.

Melt butter and saute corn and onion for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and half-and-half. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and parsley. Add the corn mixture and pour into the prepared baking dish.

Place the dish in a larger pan and fill the pan halfway up the sides of the dish with hot water. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 4 servings, but can easily be doubled.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Eggnog Cookies

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks. Beat a medium speed with mixer until smooth.

Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until combined. Do not overmix. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Bake 20-23 minutes until bottom of cookies turn light brown.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cranberry Sauce

1 medium orange
1 small jalapeno
1 pound fresh cranberries
1 c sugar
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T Triple Sec

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the orange. Seed the jalapeno and slice thinly.

Put the cranberries, juice from the orange, orange peel, sliced jalapenos, sugar, vegetable oil, salt, cloves, cinnamon and Triple Sec in a saucepan.

Cook on medium heat until the cranberries pop and are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove the orange peel. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 T olive oil

Pour 3/4 cups warm water into a small bowl. Stir in the yeast and let stand until dissolved (5-10 minutes).

Put 2 cups flour, 1 tsp sugar and 3/4 tsp salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the dissolved yeast and 3 T olive oil. Knead dough until smooth (5-8 minutes) adding more flour, if needed.

Put dough into a bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in size, about an hour.

Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Place dough on an oiled pan (sheet pan, pizza pan, etc.) and using your hands, form into desired shape.

Cover dough with spaghetti sauce of your choice. Add cheese and whatever toppings you like (pepperoni, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, ground meat, etc.)

Bake at 450 degrees until dough is browned and cheese has melted, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bolzano Apple Cake

Adapted from Scott Carsberg

1 stick butter (4 ounces), plus more for greasing pan
1/2 cup flour, plus more for pan
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 small Gala apples
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment, then spray the parchment with cooking spray.

Melt butter in small saucepan. Set aside.

Beat together eggs and half the sugar in a bowl. Continue to beat while slowly adding remaining sugar until thick; it should form a ribbon when dropped from a spoon.

Split vanilla bean in two lengthwise. Scrape seeds into egg-sugar batter and add pod to melted butter.

Peel, quarter and core apples, then trim ends and slice thinly.

Remove vanilla pod from butter and stir butter into egg-sugar batter. Combine 1/2 cup flour and baking powder, then stir it into batter alternately with milk. Stir in apples, coating every piece with batter. Pour batter into pan, using fingers to pat top evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate pan; bake for about 25 minutes more, until cake pulls away from pan and is brown on top; a thin-bladed knife inserted into center will come out clean when it is done. Cool 30 minutes, then cut lengthwise and sprinkle slices with powdered sugar.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 medium head of cabbage
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
¼ cup chopped green onions
Cilantro (optional)
2 T sesame seeds
¼ cup toasted almonds
2 pkgs Top Ramen (use dry; break up)
3 chicken breasts (bake and cut into bite-sized pieces

Chop the cabbage up and add everything together in a good sized bowl.

¾ cup salad oil
¾ cup rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
½ tsp dry mustard
2 tsp sugar

Stir or shake all of the ingredients together and put the salad dressing on whenever you please.

Cheesecake Cupcakes

4 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 box Vanilla Wafers
Cupcake liners

Soften cream cheese, beat eggs and add with the sugar to the cream cheese. Beat until smooth.

Drop one vanilla wafer into each cupcake liner. Fill with cheesecake mixture to about ½ full.

Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned.
Cool and top with topping of your choice (canned cherries, blueberries, etc.) Makes about 40 cupcakes.

Big Lake Scalloped Corn

½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
3 pkgs Gold Medal corn muffin mix (6.5 oz.)

Combine all above, add muffin mix last. Pour into buttered 9x13—bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Optional: Add 4 oz. can diced green chilies.

Mom's Blueberry Muffins

1 cup blueberries
¼ cup butter
1-3/4 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk

Melt butter in a mixing bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into the butter. Add unbeaten egg and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in blueberries. Put cupcake liners in muffin pans and fill 2/3 fill. Top generously with additional granulated sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Snow Pudding with Custard Sauce

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cold water
¼ tsp salt
2 egg whites, beaten stiff
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup lemon juice
5 T cornstarch

Combine sugar, salt and boiling water. Blend cornstarch and cold water. Add to sugar mixture in medium saucepan. Heat to boiling, cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly in refrigerator. In a bowl that has been rinsed in cold water, fold in egg whites and lemon juice. Refrigerate until it reaches the consistency of Jell-O.

Custard Sauce
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 cup milk, scalded
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Combine egg yolk and scalded milk. Combine sugar, add milk mixtures in a small saucepan. Heat until slightly thickened. Add vanilla and salt. Cool. Serve over Snow Pudding.

Portuguese Sweet Bread

2-1/2 lbs flour (about 7 cups)
2 cups milk
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks butter
6 eggs
2 oz yeast
¼ cup flour
2 T sugar
¼ cup water

Combine milk, sugar, and salt in saucepan and boil for three minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Cool pan with milk mixture in sink filled with cold water. Combine yeast, ¼ cup flour, 2 T sugar, and ¼ cup water to make paste. Set aside in a warm place. Beat eggs until foamy. Place flour in large mixing bowl and stir in cooled milk mixture. Using electric mixer, blend in eggs and yeast mixture at a low speed. Stir until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Shape dough into a ball, place in a well-greased bowl, and let rise two to three hours in a warm place. Punch down and shape into biscuits or small loaves. Let rise again four to five hours. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Makes three dozen small loaves.

Portuguese Rice Pudding

1 cup rice
1 cup water
½ tsp salt
5-1/2 cups milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sugar

In a heavy pot (preferably not Teflon coated), boil rice and water over high heat, stirring constantly, until water is absorbed. Lower heat to medium and add salt and 2 cups milk, stirring well and cook for 15 minutes. Add another 2 cups milk, stirring well, and cook for 15 minutes. Add another 2 cups milk, stirring well before and after. Repeat this process 15 minutes later with remaining 1-1/2 cups milk. Stir constantly for an additional 20 minutes, then blend in beaten egg, and cook for two minutes. Add sugar, stir well, and cook for two more minutes. Pour into a medium-sized bowl, dust with cinnamon, and cool or refrigerate before serving.

Mom's Boston Baked Beans

Saturday night dinner—serve with
brown bread…

1# pea beans, soaked overnight
½# salt pork
1 tsp salt
4 T molasses
6 T brown sugar
1 T dry mustard
1 sliced onion
3 to 4 cups boiling water

Drain beans and put them in the bean pot. Cut the pork and bury in the beans. Combine seasonings, mix with one cup of water and pour over beans. Bake at 250 degrees for 8 hours. Add additional water to cover beans as needed.

Portuguese Kale Soup

2# pinto beans
2 pigs feet
4 linguica
1 sliced onion
About 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
About 3 cloves pressed garlic

3 bunches Kale

Put everything into a big pan and cover with water. Simmer until beans are done—about four hours.

When beans are done, take out the pigs feet and linguica. Mash the beans and potatoes right in the pan. Slice a head of cabbage and add it to the pan. Add three bunches of kale. Put the pigs feet and linguica back into the pan. Add more water and season with salt. Simmer all day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vanilla Caramels

2 cups heavy cream
½ cup condensed milk
2 cups light corn syrup
½ cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut into small cubes.

Prepare 9x9 pan by lining it with parchment. Alternatively, line the pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Combine cream and condensed milk in small saucepan and place on burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm, but do not allow it to boil.

In medium large saucepan, combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming, which will make the candy grainy.

Insert candy thermometer and reduce heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 degrees.

Add the softened butter chunks and the warm milk mixture. The temperature should go down about 30 degrees.

Continue to cook, stirring constantly, so the bottom does not scorch. Cook until the thermometer reads 244 and the caramel is a dark golden brown.

Remove from heat and immediately pour into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight. It will set up and develop a smooth, silky texture.

Place a piece of waxed paper on counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the paper (or foil) as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the paper (or foil) layer from the bottom of the caramel.

Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Cut into the caramel, creating 1-inch squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary.

Wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting. Alternately, you can dip them in chocolate once they are cut.

Store the caramels at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicken Marsala

8 chicken breasts
Flour for dredging
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Olive oil for frying
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup dry white wine, Chablis type
1/2 cup sweet Marsala

Debone the chicken breasts and remove the skin. Save the skin and bone for a later soup stock. Pound the breasts thin between two pieces of plastic.

Dredge the pieces in flour seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Saute only until the onions are clear, not browned. Remove from the pan and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Pour the white wine over the onion and garlic.

Rinse the pan and heat it again. Add a bit of olive oil for frying and saute the chicken pieces, a few at a time, quickly on both sides. They should just begin to brown. Remove them to a warm plate and finish the remaining chicken pieces. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and deglaze with the Marsala. Allow the wine to reduce a bit and then pour the sauce over the chicken pieces.

Serves 6-8

Recipe from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine
(c) 1986 by Frugal Gourmet Inc.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons

2 c dried split peas
2 T olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 bay leaves
4 smoked ham hocks
2 qt chicken stock

Cover dried peas with water and let sit for one hour.

Saute carrot, onion, celery, garlic, and bay leaves in olive oil. Add peas, smoked ham hocks and chicken broth. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

Simmer an additional hour, uncovered, or until soup is desired consistency.

Homemade Croutons
Cut sourdough bread into slices, then cube. Put 2 T olive oil in frying pan and saute bread until browned and crispy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cinnamon Butter

Soft Butter (it's up to you how much)
Cinnamon (it's up to you how much)

Put soft butter in a bowl, add cinnamon, blend.

Phew, I'm all tuckered out!

This stuff is delicious on sweet potatoes!

P.S. You can do the same with honey... don't tell anybody.

Chipotle Tuna Salad

1-12 oz. can solid white albacore tuna
5 green onions
3/4 c mayonnaise
2 chipotle peppers
Salt and pepper

Drain tuna and place in a bowl. Add chopped green onions.

Blend mayonnaise and chipotle peppers in a food processor.

Add mayonnaise mixture to tuna and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pile onto lettuce leaves with tomatoes on the side, or make a tuna sandwich (or tuna melt) with your favorite bread.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Portuguese Chicken and Rice

1.5# chicken (thighs, boneless breasts, or whole chicken, cut up)
1 large onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1/2# bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1-1/2 c long grain white rice
1/2 c soft butter
5 T olive oil
1 T paprika
1 T granulated (or powdered) garlic
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp dried parsley

Put chicken pieces, onion, bay leaf, and bacon in a pot and cover with water (or chicken broth). Cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken, bay leaf, onion and bacon to a bowl and set aside.

Pour 1-1/2 cups rice into the chicken broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, combine soft butter, olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, parsley and Old Bay Seasoning.

When the rice has cooked, spread it out in a 9x13 pan, using a slotted spoon. Don't drain the rice... you'll want to get some of the broth into the pan so the rice won't dry out.

Place each piece of chicken in the butter mixture and coat completely. Lay the chicken pieces on the rice. Add the bacon and onions, placing them around the chicken pieces.

Pour the rest of the butter mixture over the chicken and rice. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until chicken is browned and bacon is crisp.

Pumpkin Nut Muffins

2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powdr
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
2 eggs
1/3 c milk
1/3 c butter, melted
1T light Karo syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c raisins

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger onto wax paper.

Beat eggs, milk, butter, Karo, vanilla, sugar, and pumpkin in a bowl.

Stir in dry mixture all at once and mix just until moistened.

Fold in nuts and raisins. Fill muffin cups to the top.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 15 large muffins.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dad's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dad's Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 cubes butter, softened
3 eggs
2 T vanilla
1-1/2 c sugar
2 c brown sugar
6 c flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
2 c walnuts, chopped
24 oz chocolate chips

Beat butter until smooth; add eggs and vanilla and blend well. Cream the sugars into the butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and soda. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture; blend well. Dough will be dry. Add chocolate chips and walnuts.

Form cookies into small balls, or use cookie scoop, and place on a lightly greased sheet about 2" apart. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 100 cookies.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rajas con Crema

Rajas con Crema (Poblano Strips with Onions and Cream)

2 pounds fresh poblano chiles (about 8)
1 medium white onion (about 8 ounces)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup heavy cream

Roast and peel chiles. Cut chilies into 1/3-inch-thick strips. Halve onion lengthwise and cut each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. In a heavy skillet cook onion in oil over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chilies and salt to taste and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Rajas may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat rajas before serving.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cranberry-Walnut Biscotti

Cranberry-Walnut Biscotti
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter (room temperature)
3 large eggs
1/2 c dried cranberries
1 c walnuts, chopped
1/3 c sherry
3 c flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, cranberries, walnuts, and sherry. Blend in flour and baking powder.

Form two loaves, approximately 1"x3"x16". Dough will be sticky. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Cut each log into 3/4" diagonal slices; place flat side down on cookie sheet lined with Silpat liner or parchment. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 32 biscotti.