Saturday, November 7, 2009

Early Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Math: Pie=Yuck. Tart=Yum.

Chocolate Pecan Tart (just made one big tart)

Apple Tart

Pastry Crust (very important - NOT yucky pie crust)

Also, this year we tried a Pumpkin Creme Brulee that was absolutely delicious. We simplified the recipe for us lazy/cheap folks.

½ c. plus 3 T. sugar
5 egg yolks
1½ c. heavy cream
1 t. vanilla
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. pumpkin purée

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together ½ cup sugar and the egg yolks. Combine the cream, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepot, and bring to a simmer. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the yolk mixture through a fine-meshed sieve. Whisk in the pumpkin purée. Fill ramekin with enough pumpkin-cream mixture to reach ¼ inch from the top. Place in water bath to cook. Bake for 20 minutes. Check to see if the edges have set but the center is still wobbly; if the mixture is still liquid, return to oven for up to 20 minutes. Cool at room temperature. When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops evenly with a thin layer of the remaining sugar. Brûlée with a torch until the sugar is golden brown and crispy. (We used the broiler.)

Parkerhouse Rolls

6 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt
2 T. yeast
1 c. butter, softened
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; add 1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick). With mixer at low speed, gradually pour 2 cups hot tap water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F.) into dry ingredients. Add egg; increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in 3/4 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter; continue beating 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 2 1/2 cups) to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in more flour (about 1/2 cup) while kneading. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased large bowl, turning over so that top of dough is greased. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees F.) until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough is doubled when 2 fingers pressed into dough leave a dent.)

Punch down dough by pushing down the center or dough with fist, then pushing edges of dough into center. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead lightly to make smooth ball, cover with bowl for 15 minutes, and let dough rest.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In 17 1/4-inch by 11 1/2-inch roasting pan, over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 cup margarine or butter; tilt pan to grease bottom.

On lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/2 inch thick. With floured 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut dough into circles. Holding dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted margarine or butter pan; fold in half. Arrange folded dough in rows in pans, each nearly touching the other. Cover pan with towel; let dough rise in warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Bake rolls for 15 to 18 minutes until browned.

Early Thanksgiving

Leonard is visiting and cooked us an Early Thanksgiving meal. The theme for the meal was Bacon: What could go wrong?

Brussel Sprouts
trim and cut in half
put in baking dish
add butter and salt
bake at 350 for 40 minutes
Green Beans
trim and cut in half
boil until a little bit crunchy
add a little butter, slivered almonds, garlic and salt
fry in butter

Mashed Potatoes
chop and boil potatoes
mash with butter, garlic, and buttermilk
add salt and pepper
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Leonard's recipe
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. cream
3 T. butter
4 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled and sliced

Dump everything in a pot. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Mash and serve with pepper.

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag cranberries
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
Boil until cranberries pop

Turkey Breast wrapped in Bacon (bacon, bacon)
This was the tastiest, moistest turkey I've ever had in my life. Highly recommended.

rub turkey breast with vegetable oil and salt and pepper
bake at 400 for 15 minutes (for crispiness)
roast at 325 to turkey temp
45 minutes before turkey will be done, wrap with bacon, using colorful toothpicks to hold (this gives the turkey a beautiful measles look)

Alton Brown Recipe
Leonard substituted walnuts and apples for cranberries and pecans

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This is our new favorite breakfast to make. I use Mom's pancake recipe, and just sprinkle some chocolate chips on the top of the batter after putting in the pan. Maggie loves to help with that part. We eat them with whipped cream, or whipped topping, and sometimes fresh, sliced strawberries.
Mom's Pancake Recipe
1 1/2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 3/4 t. baking powder
Sift together.

2 eggs
3 T. melted butter
1 - 1 1/4 c. milk

Mix with dry ingredients.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer Garden Pasta (aka Zucchini Pasta)

This is about the closet thing I have to an original recipe. We used to make it almost entirely from ingredients in Mom's garden. It can also be served over rice, but it's better with pasta.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups of chopped tomatoes
handful of torn basil leaves
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper
whole wheat pasta
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add zucchini, onion, and garlic and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, basil, vinegar salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until zucchini is tender. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Orzo Salad

Another great recipe from my sister-in-law Jamie. This delicious salad is easy, but somewhat expensive, to make. Jamie and I both left out the pine nuts and Jamie also leaves out the fresh basil. I happened to have some growing my garden so I used it.

Also, 1 pound of orzo makes a lot. I halved the recipe and it was plenty for us for dinner, and for lunch tomorrow, and probably more.
6 c. chicken broth
1 lb. orzo
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in orzo and cook until tender. Drain.

1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. honey
1/2 c. olive oil
Blend together and mix with orzo in bowl.

Stir in:
2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1 7 oz. package of feta cheese
1 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 c. sliced green onions
1/2 c. pine nuts

Serve immediately, or chill for 2 hours.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jake Cookies

This is one of two recipes we use regularly which are named after a former roommate. They are worth the extra effort. It makes a lot of cookies. I halved the recipe this morning and got over 5 dozen using a 2 oz cookie scoop. Blend the walnuts and the oatmeal in the blender after measuring. Also, grating the Hershey bar takes a very long time. This time I just threw in 1 T. of cocoa. Not as delicious, but definitely faster.

Blend together:
2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. blended walnuts
2 c. sugar
2 c. dark brown sugar

Mix in:
4 eggs
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. vanilla

5 c. blended oatmeal
4 c. flour
1 24 oz chocolate chips
1 8 oz Hershey bar, grated

Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homemade Hot Pockets

Hot Pockets:
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons molasses (or honey)
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Mix dough and rise until double. Divide dough into 11. Roll until about the size of a pita. Put about 1/2 c. of filling in the middle. Bring up both the sides and pinch together. Gently turn it over into your hand and place on greased baking sheet pinched side down. Tuck the ends under. Let rise for 10-15 minutes.

Filling ideas: I usually use ham, broccoli and cheese. You could also do hashbrowns, eggs and crumbled bacon; or pepperoni and cheese with a little tomato sauce and some green pepper or olives. These were very easy to make and so cheap compared to the real thing. They tasted just like actual Hot Pockets. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and cracked sea salt. Move to cooling wrack so that they don't get soggy. When cooled wrap in paper towel and put in a freezer bag. To heat, microwave on high 2-3 minutes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cranberry Smoothie

I don't even like cranberries, but this smoothie was delicious.

1 c. cranberries
2/3 c. cran-raspberry juice
1 c. raspberries
1 c. vanilla yogurt
ice (We used frozen cranberries and raspberries, and didn't use ice)

Blend in blender until smooth.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Balls

I haven't posted anything in a while because I've been doing another sort of cooking - the bun-in-the-oven type where actual cooking doesn't sound appetizing. But yesterday John made these delicious cookies using a recipe from his sister, Jamie.

They are somewhere between peanut butter cookies (which are dry) and no-bake peanut butter balls (which are not nearly as delicious). If you like peanut butter, you must try these.

1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. chocolate chips
1 egg

Mix and roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Easy Breakfast Drink

Maggie and I love to have this for breakfast. It is quick, easy, delicious, and healthy.

1 c. milk
1 pkg chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast
1/2 banana
handful of frozen strawberries (4 or 5)

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Maggie drinks hers with a draw so she doesn't get a chocolate mustache.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Polynesian Chicken

A friend brought this over after Maggie was in the hospital and I've been bugging her for the recipe ever since. I finally got it and made it today. It is simple to make, easily halved, and tastes like something you'd get in a Chinese restaurant.

Combine in 9x13 casserole dish:
5 breasts cooked, cubed chicken
1 can drained pineapple tidbits (save the juice)
sugar snap peas or chopped green pepper

pineapple juice from the tidbits + water to make 2 cups
1 cup vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce (you can leave this out and it tastes just as delicious)
2 T. lemon juice
4 T. cornstarch
Combine ingredients for sauce in a saucepan. Whisk and cook over high until it comes to a boil (It will start to thicken then). Pour sauce over chicken mixture in casserole dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min. Serve over hot rice.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Soft Pretzels

1 T. yeast
1 c. warm water
2 1/2 to 3 c. flour*
2 T. oil
1 T. sugar
6 T. baking soda in 6 cups water

*I use about 1/4-1/3 amount of whole wheat flour.
I always double this recipe. We can eat 12 pretzels really fast, so I make two batches and put some in a Ziploc in the freezer once cooled. The one time I only made one batch it was very disappointing and hardly worth the effort. I use 9 T. baking soda in 9 c. water when I make two batches.
This is a fair amount of work, but worth it if you love soft pretzels. They don't have the fake aftertaste of the store-bought ones and the cost works out to be less than 6 cents per pretzel!

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. add 1 1/2 c. flour, the oil, and the sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes to make a smooth batter. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny (about 5 minutes) adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top, and cover and let rise until double (1 hour).
Punch down dough, turn out onto a floured board, and divide into 12 pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball by gently kneading. Then roll each into a smooth rope about 18 inches long, and twist into a pretzel shape. Place slightly apart on a greased baking sheet, turning loose ends underneath. Let rise, uncovered, until puffy (about 25 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a 3-qt stainless steel or enameled pan (not aluminum) bring soda water to a boil, adjust water to keep water boiling gently. With a slotted spatula, lower 1 pretzel at a time into pan. Let simmer for 10 seconds on each side, then lift from water, drain briefly on spatula, and return to baking sheet. Let dry briefly, then sprinkle with coarse salt and let stand uncovered.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes (I cooked mine for 9 1/2, so watch them) or until golden brown. Transfer to racks, serve warm with butter, mustard or cream cheese. Or let cool completely, wrap airtight, and freeze. Microwave frozen pretzel for about 30 seconds to reheat.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tomato Wild Rice Soup

3 T. butter
3 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1/2 c. wild rice
pinch of sugar
1/2 t. basil (or 3 T. chopped fresh)
1/2 c. heavy cream

Melt butter with olive oil in a soup pot. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook. Add tomatoes, chicken broth and rice and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 hour until rice opens and fluffs. Stir frequently. Add water if it boils down too much (I didn't because I like thick soup). Add salt, pepper, sugar and cream and heat through.

Tomatoes: I thought it was too chunky the first time so I dumped mine in a bowl and blended them with my immersion blender.
Rice: Wild rice is quite expensive. I substituted half brown rice and it was just as delicious and saved about 50 cents.