A CookBook Recipes & Other Stuff or How to Keep the Kids from Developing Beriberi After They've Moved Away From Home

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cranberry Apple Crisp

From Baking Bites  - nice and easy and quick!
(and good with ice cream)

2-2 1/2 lbs apples (approx 4 large apples)
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen.
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oatmeal, rolled oats or quick cooking
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.

Peel and core the apples, the cut them into relatively thin slices (approx 12 or 16 per apple, depending on the size of the apple). Transfer the slices to a medium bowl, add in the cranberries and toss the fruit with 1/4 cup sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oatmeal, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt until well combined. Pour in melted butter and vanilla extract then stir, with a spoon or spatula, until all the ingredients are well-blended and the mixture forms big, moist crumbles.

Transfer apple mixture to prepared baking pan and arrange in relatively flat layer. Top evenly with crumble mixture.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the apples are tender when poked with the tip of a sharp knife.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Sausage Meatlaof

This is pretty much my same old meatloaf - with the addition of Italian sausage - I used three sweet sausages and a mix of fresh and dry breadcrumbs. This recipe seems like something I should have thought of , but didn't - Elise from Simply Recipes did ....

I changed the recipe slightly - to omit all the veggies my kids don't like in meatloaf

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup ketchup, divided 1/3 and 1/3
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (chuck)
3/4 pound Italian sausage (a mix of sweet and hot if you are using links)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
dash of onion powder

You all know how to do this - throw everything in a bowl and mush it up with your hands - form a loaf shape, throw in a loaf pan

Half of the ketchup goes in the bowl, half on top.Bake at 350F for one hour

Going to try it in a sandwich tomorrow ...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cranberry Sauce with Port

" It's Thanksgiving! So she serves everything that she did on previous years and maybe, to amuse herself, something additional, which she's then committed to serving forevermore. NYT "

I don't know if this will be one of those recipes that sneaks in to our "traditional" menu - like sweet potato rolls or more recently cauliflower bacon gratin - but we'll see ... most just fade away so quickly I don't even remember what they were.

I like it - the port gives it a bit of a woodsy flavor, and with the orange peel (in place of juniper berries) and peppercorns, it's a bit spicy?

  • 1cup port (or red wine or Madeira)
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1tablespoon juniper berries
  • 10black peppercorns
  • 112-ounce bag fresh cranberries 
  • a few strips of orange peel

Bring the port and the sugar to a boil - with juniper berries/peppercorns/orange peel or whatever

Add the cranberries and return to a boil - then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Strain the sauce into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the solids through the screen with a rubber spatula. Stir the thin and thick portions of the strained gelée together. (It's important to push all the cranberry stuff through - leaving only the skins - so it will firm up well)

Transfer to a serving thingie and refrigerate - should firm up in a few hours.Makes 2 cups.

Oh, here's where I found the recipe - Food 52

Ok, nobody liked it - actually nobody tried it - I should really give up attempting to get them to try anything new - I would try it with orange juice if I had a different family ...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Because we can never have too much gravy - and making gravy at the last minute is stressful ...

From the NYT, make ahead turkey gravy - one less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving - only changed a few things.  Used bacon strips instead of butter while roasting - and port to deglaze the pan. Oh, I also put some thyme and sage in the stock, and didn't peel the onion.

And I also threw in some celery and an onion when I roasted the turkey - so I guess I changed more than I thought ...

Turkey Gravy From Scratch

Time: About 9 hours, plus cooling
4 tablespoons butter, more if necessary for gravy, and for seasoning (optional)
6 turkey legs or other dark meat turkey parts (thighs, wings, etc.), to make about 6 pounds
Salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and stuck with 3 cloves
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery with leaves, trimmed and cut into large chunks
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
1 cup white wine, Madeira, vermouth, dry sherry or water
12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper.
1. For the stock: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle turkey parts with salt and pepper, place in roasting pan and brush with melted butter. Roast 2 hours, basting with butter every 20 minutes or so.
2. Transfer roasted turkey to a stockpot and set roasting pan aside. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns to stockpot. Add cold water just to cover, bring to a simmer and cook, slightly uncovered, about 6 hours.
3. Meanwhile, place roasting pan on top of stove and bring juices to a simmer over low heat. Pour in wine (or water), stirring and scraping to bring up browned bits. (If using wine, simmer at least 5 minutes.) Pour all liquid into a bowl and refrigerate. When deglazing liquid is cool, lift off top layer of fat; reserve fat. Add deglazing liquid to stockpot.
4. When stock is golden and flavorful, strain into a large container and refrigerate. When cool, lift off fat and mix it with reserved fat from deglazing liquid. Reserve 3 quarts stock for gravy and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.
5. For the gravy: In a deep skillet or large heavy pot, melt 12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) reserved turkey fat over medium heat. If you do not have enough turkey fat, use additional butter to make 3/4 cup. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, until golden brown and toasty-smelling, 3 to 5 minutes or longer for darker gravy.
6. Whisk in a small amount of stock (this prevents lumps), then add remainder more quickly and whisk until smooth. Simmer, continually whisking, until thickened. If too thick, thin with more stock or a little wine and simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, whisk in a few tablespoons cold butter to smooth and enrich gravy.
Yield: 3 quarts, about 20 servings.
To make ahead: Gravy can be made up to a month ahead. It freezes well in plastic containers or bags. Thaw in refrigerator or over low heat. Whisk in a little water if it appears curdled or too thick.
Note: Recipe can be halved to make about 6 cups gravy. Or for more gravy, use remaining stock and add 1 tablespoon fat and 1 tablespoon flour to the roux in Step 5 for each cup additional stock.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Banana Bread

From Simply Recipes -the original banana bread
(which I made this morning for James, Candy and Kairi from their overripe bananas - with added chocolate chunks)


  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar (can easily use 3/4 cup, or drop it down to 1/2 cup if you want it less sweet)
  • Or use 1/2 brown sugar)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I didn't use any)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes (check at 50 minutes) at 350°F (175°C), or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. Remove the banana bread from the pan. Slice and serve. (A bread knife helps to make slices that aren't crumbly.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chocolate Pudding or Pie

From Pioneer Woman - this makes really good chocolate pudding - even Michael ate it ...
I'm going to try it with plain old chocolate chips rather than Ghiardelli - and maybe try out whipped
cream in a jar, like this - It would give the kids something to do before dinner on Thanksgiving when 
I make it into a pie ....

  • 1 whole Pie Crust, Baked And Cooled (or Can Use Oreo Or Graham Cracker Crust)
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 4 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6-1/2 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped Finely
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  •  Whipped Cream, For Serving

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.
Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.
Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: It should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.
Pour the pudding into the pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered.
Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream!

NB: I tried it in a pie, but after 24 hours the crust was way too soggy - so I'd reccomend this as pudding, not pie ...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Apple Cake

It's finally fall, I saw MacIntosh apples and it was Rosh Hashanah  - so I found this on Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perelman's mother's Apple Cake ...

Mom’s Apple Cake

6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples  (while I love MacIntosh, next time I'll use  Granny Smith or Golden Delicious - they don't get so smooshy)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar (for apples)
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan or 9x12. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla.

Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours (took about 1/1.25 hours in a 9x12 pyrex pan) , or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This cake comes from Maida Heatter, by way of Smitten Kitchen - I did have her book a long time ago, but it's disappeared somewhere.

5 tablespoons (40 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, 2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
Pinch of salt

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (i.e. 1 3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons or 240 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, 2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint (2 to 2 2/3 cups, 12 to 16 ounces, or 340 to 455 grams; see Note) fresh blueberries, clean and dry
1/2 cup milk, whole is ideal, any kind should work
1/2 cup (55 grams) walnuts, chopped medium fine (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan (with at least 2″ sides); line it with a round of parchment  or waxpaper.

Prepare the topping by mixing the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cutting the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and zest together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture until just combined, followed by 1/2 the milk; repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk, finishing with the dry mixture. The batter will be very stiff, but don’t fret. Fold blueberries into cake batter until evenly distributed.

Scoop cake batter into prepared pan and smooth so that it is flat. If using walnuts, scatter them on top. Sprinkle with prepared streusel. Bake in heated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free. You can let the cake cool complete in the pan on a rack, or just cool it in the pan for 20 minutes before flipping it out onto a cooling rack, removing the parchment paper lining, and flipping it back onto a plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


 These are really simple - you can add other stuff or leave out chocolate chips - kind of a whatever recipe ....

  • 2 3/4 cups (22 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
  • Cannoli shells 

Make the filling: Line a sieve with a layer of cheesecloth, and set over a bowl. Spoon ricotta into sieve. Cover, and let drain in the refrigerator overnight. (no need to do this unless ricotta seems watery)

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in chocolate chips, vanilla, zest, and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip (such as Ateco #826). Pipe filling into one end of a shell to the center, then into other end. Repeat with remaining shells and filling. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately. 

Friday, December 06, 2013


These are really addictive - but they freeze well, which slows me down. Pat, this was your recipe - so if I've got anything wrong - let us know!

The fillings are each for an entire recipe - so if you're making various kinds you'll have to adjust. The fillings and amounts are just guidelines - not set in stone. If you devise some new filling you like, please post it ....

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 brick (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 cup apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 oz walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 3/4 c Currants
  • 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate  or mini chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water

First make the dough.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until they are light and fluffy (a few minutes).  In a medium bowl, combine the dry dough ingredients, then pour flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture.  Beat on low speed until the flour just disappears.  Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap/wax paper and shape into 3 disks. Wrap well in plastic/wax paper and chill in the fridge for two hours (or up to three days).

While the dough is chilling, prep the fillings and prepare the baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or non stick foil.  Heat the jam just enough so that it loosens up a bit (I cheated and used the microwave for this step-worked just fine.)  Organize your fillings into four small containers- it will make the assembly a breeze.

Next, assemble the rugelach.  Take your chilled dough - Work with one third at time, and keep the others chilling in the fridge.) Roll the dough into a large, thin circle (about 12 inches in diameter).  The circle does not need to be perfect; this is intended to be a rustic dessert.  Spread 2-3 tablespoons of jam thinly (or butter for cinnamon/walnut version) over your dough.  Then, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar, 2 tablespoons chopped chocolate, and 1 heaping tablespoon chopped almonds/walnuts.  Use a piece of waxed paper to gently press the toppings into the dough to help reduce excess spillage.  Use a sharp knife/pizza cutter to cut the circle into 12 wedges.  Roll each wedge tightly from the outside to the center- keep the pointed end of each rugelach tucked underneath- and space them 1 inch apart on your baking sheets.  Pop the tray into the freezer/fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

While the dough rests in the freezer, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Repeat the rugelach assembly with the remaining dough.  Before baking, brush the rugelach with the egg wash.  Bake rugelach for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.  Transfer the rugelach to cooling racks while they are still hot (this will prevent them from sticking to the parchment paper). 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tomato Sauce

This is a good basic tomato sauce - I would double it when going to the trouble of making it - you can always freeze what you don't use! It comes from Hedonia and it's really nice to make on a day when you're sitting around the house with nothing much to do ...

  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • several cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Sausage, sweet and/or hot
  • 1 26-oz box Pomi strained tomatoes, or one 29-oz can tomato puree (I prefer Contadina)
  • 1 6-oz box tomato paste (again, Contadina, please)
  • Olive oil
  • Splash of wine (red or white, whatever you prefer)
  • Stock or water
  • salt, pepper, oregano, basil
In a large Dutch oven, brown the sausage in a small amount of olive oil on all sides, and set aside.

Add the onion and garlic -- just enough to cover the bottom of the pan -- adding oil as necessary to keep from sticking or burning.

Cook until translucent, and scoop out and set aside. Repeat with the remaining onion and garlic, if necessary, until done. Add the mushrooms in the same fashion, cooking only enough at a time to cover the bottom of the pan, until dark brown and highly aromatic.

Once the last of the mushrooms are cooked, reintroduce all the previously cooked mushrooms, onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and a splash of wine.

Bring to a low boil, cover most of the way and reduce the heat to low. Keep at a low simmer, adding stock or water as necessary and stirring every 15-20 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides!

So when is adding more liquid necessary? Well, if instead of dainty little bubbles percolating to the surface of your sauce you get hoary, gloppy, volcanic GLOOPS, you might want to thin it out. Conversely, if the top of the sauce looks watery or transparent, it needs to cook down more. But stirring is of the essence, or you will end up with a layer of water over a layer of tomato mud. And that's no good.

Anyway, go on like this for, oh, three hours. Maybe more, maybe less. How do you know when it's done? I hate to be vague, but you will know. As if by some kind of pazzo alchemy, the sauce will magically begin to change. The color will turn more ruddy and brownish, and the aroma will become deeper and more savory. And the sauce -- if you've been stirring it! -- will take on a consistent, gravy-like texture. I mean, sauce-like.

Season to taste, reintroduce the meat if you used it, and cook another 20-30 minutes to meld the flavors. It's pretty good the day you make it, but it's always better at least a day later.

Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells

These are pretty much as I copied them from Simply Recipes:

You can mess with them as you like - use hot sausages, leave out the basil,  ...

  • 1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 16-ounces ricotta cheese
  • Mozzarella   - about 8 oz
  • 10-ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, chopped further (or 10 ounces chopped fresh spinach)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid, tomatoes broken up (or your favorite tomato or pasta sauce - like the one from Hedonia)

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water). Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

2 Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.

3 Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, half the mozzarella, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.

At this point you can make ahead, to freeze (up to four months) or refrigerate before cooking.

4 Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes.  Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.

5 Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and mozzarella, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dulce de Leche No Cook Cheesecake

This was really easy and turned out well, but a little less gelatin next time?

  • 1 envelope (7 grams) unflavored gelatin 
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 can (13.4 ounces) NESTLÉ LA LECHERA Dulce de Leche
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, whipped until soft peaks form
  • 1 prepared 10-inch (9 ounces) graham cracker crust
  • Chocolate syrup 

  • Mix gelatin and hot water in small bowl until gelatin is dissolved; set aside.
  • Beat cream cheese and dulce de leche in large mixer bowl until creamy. 
  •  Stir in gelatin mixture and vanilla extract. 
  • Fold in whipped cream. 
  • Pour into graham cracker crust. 
  • Refrigerate, covered for at least 3 hours or until set. 
  •  Serve drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Grandpa's Blueberry Sauce

This wasn't invented by Grandpa, but he likes it - and it can be frozen so Grandma doesn't poison him with outdated stuff ...

You can pour it over waffles, cake or ice cream or whatever ...

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  •  3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.
  2. In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and cinnamon. Thin sauce with water if it is too thick for your liking.

Cream of Tomato Soup

I just got Marion Cunningham's book Lost Recipes. Since Michael had one of his rare colds, I saw this as an opportunity to increase his veggie intake and made this soup - I didn't change much from the original - just added a cup of chicken stock in place of one cup of milk and a bit less salt since I used salted butter and the stock and added a bit of pepper ...

3 cups peeled tomatoes - 28 oz can

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 tbsps butter

1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup flour

3 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 sprig fresh

Blend the tomatoes until smooth and stir in baking soda

Melt the butter in a large soup pot

Add the onions and cook until the onions are soft

Add the flour and stir for a minute or so

Slowly add the milk, stock, basil and honey and cook until slightly thickened

Stir in the tomatoes and bring to just a simmer

Strain the soup, add salt and pepper as needed

Reheat and serve

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Raised Waffles

Raised waffles - I would call them that because they really are a level higher than ordinary waffles - crispy and light. I first saw these years ago in the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook, but never got around to making them. This recipe comes by way of Smitten Kitchen  via Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book. 

It is pretty much the same as  the 1896 version, with much more butter - but these will be my waffles from now on.

1/2 cup warm water (about 105 to 110 degrees, so not too hot)
1 packet (1/4 ounce, 7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed (again, not too hot)
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
1 teaspoon table salt (only if using unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Oil or melted butter for waffle iron
Powdered sugar, syrup or berries for serving

The night before: Pour warm water in the bottom of a large (larger than you think you’ll need, because the batter will rise a lot) bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it dissolve and foam ever-so-slightly for 15 minutes. Stir in milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour — I do a little bit of wet ingredients then a little bit of dry, back and forth, to avoid forming lumps. If lumps form, you can mostly whisk them out.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set out on counter overnight.
The next morning, whisk in eggs and baking soda until smooth. Heat waffle iron (a thinner one is better than a Belgian-style one, as these will not rise enough to fill a tall one out) and coat lightly with butter or oil. Ladle in 1/2 to 3/4-cup batter per waffle batch. The batter will be very thin and will spread a lot in the pan, so err on the side of underfilled until you figure out the right amount. Repeat with remaining batter.

Waffles can be kept crisp in a warm oven until needed. If you only want to make a few at a time, the batter keeps well in the fridge for several days. They also reheat well in a toaster from a frozen state, and retain their crispiness ....

Monday, April 08, 2013

Beef Stroganoff

I haven't made this in ages, but I found the old recipe I used ages ago in my new copy of the NYT International Cookbook, and decided maybe Grandma and Grandpa would like it - and they did (so did I, but I like almost everything if it includes sour cream).

I only made a two changes - I cooked the steak whole - if you slice the steak first and saute it, it always gets overdone - so I cooked it first, about 4 minutes per side and then sliced it. I also used ketchup instead of tomato paste - first because I didn't have any, and secondly because I remember making the sauce with ketchup years ago ....

Oh - I also used NY strip steaks because I like them better - both the texture and the flavor.

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

about 1.5 pounds NY strip (about 1 pound after trimming and slicing)

1/4 cup butter

1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 1/4 cups beef stock or 1 can condensed beef broth

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)

a bit of chives or parsley (because otherwise it looks too blah)

Cook the steak in a large frying pan with a little oil or butter

Remove the steak and add the mushrooms and onions and garlic - cook 3 or 4 minutes ( I cooked it longer, until the mushroom juice was evaporated and the mushrooms started to brown a little)

Add the butter, and when melted whisk in the flour. Slowly add the beef broth and whisk until thickened.

Add back the steak (which is now thinly sliced) and mushrooms. Stir in the sour cream and heat briefly - do not boil!

Serve over noodles.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spinach Colcannon Bake

This is our family version of colcannon - (most versions are made with boiled potatoes and cabbage) - and slightly fancied up for reheating - and they do reheat well. This version can be made the day before and baked when you want it. Your great great grandmother simply baked the potatoes, then added butter, milk, cooked spinach, salt and pepper, and served them for lunch to Grandma.

The ingredient amounts are just an approximation - potatoes don't come in standard sizes.

Why your great great grandmother switched from boiled potatoes and cabbage to baked potatoes and spinach is lost in the mists of time - but I am glad she did ....

Recipe makes about 8 servings 
  • 5 large baking potatoes
  • 6 - 8 tablespoons butter
  • .5 cup of sour cream or buttermilk or milk
  • 1 bag baby spinach  (about 15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    2 egg yolks
    salt and pepper 

    Bake the potatoes at about 350F  until soft (don't forget to prick them before baking so they don't explode).

    Wash the spinach and throw in a pot while still wet, cook until wilted. Drain and press out excess water. When cool enough, chop it all up a bit.

    Mash the potatoes while warm, add the butter and milk or whatever, salt and pepper to taste. mash in the spinach. Then add the egg yolks and mash some more ...

    Dump it all in a casserole and sprinkle cheese on top.

    Bake for about 30 minutes at 350F, or until hot. 

    I am sure you could add other things, like bacon bits, chopped corned beef or ham - and I've made it with broccoli instead of spinach ... so you can be a bit creative.

Coconut Bread

This was nicely coconutty (is that a word?) ... I snatched it from Smitten Kitchen, and will definitely make it again - oh, as usual I didn't add any vanilla - and added just one tsp of cinnamon.

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt (didn't add this because I used salted butter)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
5 ounces (140 grams) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.

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

Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix.

Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.

Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray.

Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Walnut Mocha Torte

Snatched from Simply Recipes, everyone seems to like this - so I'll be making it for Easter this year. It may seem a bit difficult - but it isn't - and makes up quicker than you might think ...

While I may not make this very often - the mocha topping is liked by almost everyone - so I'll probably be making it more often than the torte ...


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup (120 g) finely ground walnuts (from about 1 1/3 cup of shelled walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup (55 g) fine dry bread crumbs (plain, unseasoned)

Mocha Topping:
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) white granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) strong coffee (twice the amount of coffee for the liquid as I would usually use to drink)
  • 1 ounce (30 g) of chocolate chips (a little less than 1/4 of a cup)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream

1 Separate the eggs, into yolks and whites.  Take care to make sure there are no pieces of shell or egg yolk in the whites, and that the bowl you are using to contain them is completely clean with no residue of fat. Any fat from yolks or oil will make it difficult to beat the egg whites.

2 Prepare two 9-inch cake pans. Line the pans with parchment paper or wax paper. Lightly butter the sides of the pans (not the paper, but if you get some butter on the bottom of the pan, it actually helps the paper stick down better).

3 Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Mix together the ground walnuts and the bread crumbs in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the egg yolks into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Slowly add  3/4 cup of white sugar and continue to beat the egg yolks until thick and pale. 

5 Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until foamy.  Slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of white sugar, and beat until soft peaks form.

6 With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture, alternately with the walnut mixture.

7 Spoon the batter into the prepared, parchment-lined cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350°F (175°C) until a slight imprint remains when touched.

8 While the cake is cooking prepare the mocha frosting base. Place 1/2 cup of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into a saucepan. Turn the heat onto medium and gradually stir in the coffee and the chocolate chips.  Stir continuously until the mixture starts to simmer and thicken. Continue to stir while the mixture simmers for 1 minute. Then remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract until well blended.  Let cool completely.

9 Remove the cakes from oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a dull knife around the edges of the cakes to separate it from the sides of the pans. Carefully invert the cakes onto a rack. Carefully peel back and discard the parchment or wax paper. Let cool completely.  Note that if you want to make ahead, you can cook the cakes first, let cool to room temp, wrap with plastic wrap, and freeze until you are ready to frost and serve.

10 Complete the frosting. Whip the cream until it is rather thick, just before that point to which if you kept on whipping it would turn to butter. This will help it hold up as a frosting. Once whipped, fold the whipped cream and mocha base together. It may be a little speckled, and if you fold it only lightly, you can have almost a marbling effect of light and dark with the frosting, if you wish.  Place one cake on a serving platter. Frost the top. Place the second cake on top of it, and frost the top and sides of the cake.  Serve immediately, or keep chilled until serving.
Yield: Makes 12 servings.