Heirloom Tomato Salad...
Our local market had organic heirloom tomatoes for $2.99 a pound, but when I got to the store, there were only a couple choices left,
so I picked up two of the heirlooms and some red and yellow cherry tomatoes and bibb lettuce.
With a few splashes of white basalmic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, a few capers, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and fresh ground pepper,
I had a yummy salad to go with a cup of corn chowder and garlic bread with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
A quick, easy and healthy dinner for a lazy rainy day!
Mama's Got a New Pan...
Did I ever tell you how much I dislike malls?
Perhaps it is because I am not a "fashionista" and most of the stores in a mall pertain to clothing.
However, when I get near a cookware store, I am in heaven.
And so it was on my recent visit to Williams-Sonoma at the North Park Mall in Dallas.
And what should I find, but a special pan to make "waffled pancakes". Another gimmick and you know I had to have it! And better yet... it was 50% off!
Now I don't very often make pancakes but this was still a must have item.
As with any piece of new kitchen equipment, there is a learning curve.
I prepared the recipe provided and put 2 Tbsp. of batter in each waffled well as instructed, and before I knew it,
they all merged together and I had one humongous pancake with dimples. Definitely not a photo op!
So I tried again with a little less than 2 Tbsp. of batter in each one, with much better results.
So... here is my version of:
BUTTERMILK WAFFLED PANCAKES WITH SAUTEED APPLES
3 EGGS, separated
1 3/4 c. BUTTERMILK
8 Tbsp. BUTTER, melted
1/2 tsp. VANILLA
1 3/4 c. all-purpose FLOUR
1 1/2 tsp. BAKING POWDER
1 tsp. BAKING SODA
1/2 tsp. SALT
1/3 c. SUGAR
MAPLE SYRUP for serving
Preheat the Waffled Pancake Pan over medium heat (of course, you may use just a regular pan!).
Preheat oven to 200 degrees (95 degrees C.).
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the buttermilk, butter and vanilla until blended.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and whis until smooth.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
Brush each well of the pan with melted butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray; the pan only needs to be greased once. Starting with the outer wells first, pour about 2 Tbsp. of batter into each one, spreading the batter evenly to fill the well. Cook until the pancakes are golden brown underneath. Using a fork, gently turn the pancakes over and gently press them down to ensure a waffled texture on the bottom. Cook unti golden brown underneath. Transfer to a wire rack set on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining batter.
Makes about 35 pancakes.
Topping: 2 APPLES, peeled and sliced into wedges
4 Tbsp. BUTTER, melted
2 Tbsp. DARK BROWN SUGAR
Sauté these together until apples are tender and place a spoonful on top of each serving of pancakes and then drizzle with warm maple syrup.
Serve with bacon or sausage...
My very favorite dishes to use for breakfast are these "spatterware" Stangl dishes that I collected years ago.
To me, they have a homey country feel that makes the simplest entrée taste even better.
White Chocolate Crispies
My gift to you are these simple but scrumptious candy bites.
The recipe comes from Saveur magazine and is one of those recipes that is definitely kid-friendly.
Especially during the holidays, I like to share time in the kitchen with the grandchildren, and this recipe is perfect for the little ones as they can measure, mix and drop... no cooking required.
An extra special treat this year came in the mail.
My friend and Christmas Elf, Sheila, sent along a couple special aprons for the children to wear. They were excited as they chose their favorite.
If you make these candies for a New Year's celebration... why not sprinkle the tops with some edible glitter!
1 lb. WHITE CHOCOLATE
1 c. CAP'N CRUNCH PEANUT BUTTER CRUNCH CEREAL
1 c. RICE KRISPIES CEREAL
3/4 c. ROASTED SALTED PEANUTS
3/4 c. ROASTED SALTED CASHEWS
1 c. WHITE MINIATURE MARSHMALLOWS
Line a large sheet pan with wax paper; set aside.
Melt white chocolate in the microwave, stirring at intervals until melted and smooth.
Add Cap'N Crunch, Rice Krispies, peanuts and cashews and stir gently.
Cool slightly and then add marshmallows.
Drop mounds of the chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan.
Set aside to cool and set.
May be stored in an airtight container in a cool spot for up to one week.
It had been some time since I last made this recipe for Viennese Chocolate Walnut Bars.
I knew it was a Maida Heatter recipe (my "go-to" guru for cookies and desserts), but the book was misplaced, so I began searching through my filing cabinet and there it was... the recipe that was published in our local paper and a photo of my daughter, Missy.
The year was 1981 and Missy was 10 years old.
We loved to bake together and she enjoyed competing in bake-off competitions and won some ribbons. This recipe is one of our all-time favorites. After she won an award using this recipe, she wrote a letter to Craig Claiborne at the New York Times and he forwarded Missy's letter to Maida Heatter and Missy received a lovely personalized reply in return. That letter is framed and hangs on her wall.
She continues to love to bake and has become known for her many cheesecakes that she has prepared over the years for birthdays, anniversaries, and parties.
The newspaper clipping is now yellowed and a bit fragile, but still holds the wonderful memories of cooking together, the smell of chocolate baking in the oven, and the pride of serving a special dessert.
Please see the next entry in "My Recipe Box" for the recipe and photo of Viennese Chocolate Walnut Bars...
Viennese Chocolate Walnut Bars
1/4 lb. BUTTER
1/4 c. DARK BROWN SUGAR, firmly packed
1 1/4 c. all-purpose FLOUR, sifted
Adjust oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the small mixer bowl, cream butter,and beat in the sugar. On low speed, gradually add flour and beat just until mixture holds together. Turn into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan and pat to make a smooth layer.
Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven, and increase oven temerature to 375 degrees.
1/4 c. SEEDLESS RASPBERRY JAM (the original recipe calls for apricot preserves but I prefer raspberry!)
1 1/2 C. WALNUTS
1/4 tsp. SALT
1/2 tsp. VANILLA EXTRACT
3/4 c. DARK BROWN SUGAR, firmly packed
2 Tbsp. UNSWEETENED COCOA
In a small bowl, stir the jam to soften and set aside.
Beat the eggs at high speed for 2 or 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Add salt and vanilla. On low speed, add sugar and cocoa, then beat at high speed for 2 or 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the nuts, beating only until they are incorporated.
Spread the jam over the hot crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border at edges.
Pour the filling over the jam and level.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
1 c. (6 oz.) SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE MORSELS
2 Tbsp. LIGHT CORN SYRUP
2 tsp. RUM or STRONG PREPARED COFFEE
2 tsp. BOILING WATER
1/2 c. WALNUTS, chopped medium fine
In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt the chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula until it is smooth. Add the corn syrup, the rum or coffee, and the boiling water; stir until smooth.
Spread on top of the cake; sprinkle with nuts, pressing them gently in place with a metal spatula.
Let stand until frosting is firm. Best prepared a day before serving.
Cut into serving size pieces.
Top with whipped cream, fresh raspberries and sprigs of rosemary or mint leaves for garnish.
Happy New Year y'all...
Today it was cold outside and I craved something easy that could simmer for hours in the oven.
It had been quite a while since I last made this dish.
Years ago I purchased the series of cookbooks from Time-Life called Foods of the World and this is an adaptation of that recipe.
3 lb. SAUERKRAUT
1/4 lb. BACON, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. BUTTER
2 CARROTS, thinly sliced
1 ONION, thinly sliced
1 BAY LEAF
10 JUNIPER BERRIES (you may substitute 1/4 c. gin!)
1 10 1/2-oz. can of BEEF BOUILLON
3/4 c. WATER
1 c. DRY WHITE WINE
4 SMOKED PORK CHOPS
8 small RED POTATOES, boiled
Drain the sauerkraut and place in a large bowl, cover with water and soak for 20 minutes.
Drain the water and squeeze the sauerkraut to remove as much water as possible.
Place sauerkraut in a large heavy casserole.
Saute the bacon with the butter, carrots and onions, covered for about 10 minutes and add to the sauerkraut.
Cover and cook the sauerkraut mixture for about 10 minutes.
While that is cooking, preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Tie the parsley, bayleaf, peppercorns, and juniper berries in cheesecloth and bury them in the sauerkraut.
Pour in the bouillon, water, wine and gin (if you are using it).
Add salt to taste and bring to a boil and then place in the oven and cook for 4 hours.
Check now and then to be sure it is not too dry.
If all the liquid has cooked away, add a little more bouillon or wine.
About 30 minutes before the sauerkraut is done, nestle the sausages in the sauerkraut and cook until they are heated through.
Grill the smoked pork chops.
Serve sauerkraut and sausages on a large platter and top with the pork chops and the boiled potatoes.
(Remove the cheesecloth containing the spices.)
Serve with your favorite mustard.
Bulgur, Garbanzo Bean, and Cucumber Salad
I am eating less and less meat, and have vowed to eat a healthier diet.
As I try new recipes that I like, I will pass them on to you.
This recipe was recently printed in Bon Appetit and I encourage you to give it a try.
Bulgur is an ingredient we do not eat very often in this country. It is common to Middle Eastern cuisine.
It is a whole grain and is high in fiber and can be found in health food stores as well as some grocery stores and is easy to prepare.
2 c. whole grain, quick-cooking BULGUR
2 15oz. cans GARBANZO BEANS, drained and rinsed
2 small containers of RED and YELLOW CHERRY TOMATOES
1 c. unpeeled ENGLISH HOTHOUSE CUCMBER, diced
1 c. ROASTED RED PEPPERS from a jar, diced
2/3 c. fresh DILL, chopped
1/4 c. WHITE BALSAMIC VINEGAR
1 Tbsp. GROUND CUMIN
6 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
Cook bulgur in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Drain. Rinse with cold water to cool and then drain well.
Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, cucumber, red peppers and dill.
Whisk vinegar and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper and pour this over the bulgur and toss together.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I like to serve this with some leaves of Bibb lettuce.
Blue Cheese Caesar Salad with Pumpernickel Croutons
There is a little cookbook that I will not part with... "Caesar Salads" by Joie Warner (1994).
It has folded pages and some of those pages are splattered with oil and cheese.
The cover is tattered and there are notations next to many of the recipes.
I like it so much, I bought one for each of my daughters.
I have tried about half the recipes in the book and each is a winner, but this Blue Cheese Caesar is my favorite.
The recipes are not made with a coddled egg like the classic caesar; although there is a recipe for the classic caesar.
The recipes are easy and there is such variety: Mexican Caesar with Parmesan Tortilla Croutons, Greek Caesar with Feta, Mint and Olives (another favorite!), Seafood Caesar, Caesar with Sundried Tomatoes, etc.
Once you have made your own caesar dressing, you will not go back to the commercially prepared dressing because the homemade is so flavorful.
1 large head of ROMAINE LETTUCE, rinsed, dried broken into bite-size pieces
1 large clove of GARLIC, finely chopped
1 can (2 ounces) ANCHOVY FILLETS, drained and chopped (do NOT leave this ingredient out)
3 Tbsp. LEMON JUICE
1 tsp. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
1/3 c. MAYONNAISE
2/3 c. BLUE CHEESE, crumbled
1/2 c. OLIVE OIL
PARMESAN CHEESE, freshly grated
Crisp lettuce in a plastic bag... refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.
Whisk garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, and half the blue cheese in a medium bowl until well blended.
Continue whisking while adding oil in a thin stream until thickened.
Cover and chill for several hours and stir or shake before using.
Toss greens with some of the dressing until thoroughly but lightly coated.
Add remaining blue cheese and top with croutons. Serve with parmesan cheese.
To make croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place 2 c. of 1/2 inch pumpernickel bread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, and toss to combine.
Spread in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.
I recently went to my local Half-Price Bookstore and brought home a copy of "The Take-Out Menu Cookbook" by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds.
It was an interesting concept... cook your favorite international take-out foods at home, 24/7.
Now as you may know, I have collected cookbooks, recipes and the like for many years but I "needed" this cookbook.
Interestingly enough, it has no food photos and normally I shy away from a cookbook without photos as it is the photos that many times make you want to try the recipe.
I decided to try the Mulligatawny Soup.
There are many variations of this soup, but this one sounded easy and included ingredients and spices that I love.
This may be made ahead of time and reheated.
This is now one of my very favorite soups! The flavor is INCREDIBLE!
1/2 c. of Ghee (I just used BUTTER rather than clarified butter)
1 CINNAMON STICK
2 Tbsp. CURRY POWDER
3 ONIONS, (one chopped and two sliced)
2 CARROTS, peeled and chopped
1 rib of CELERY, chopped
1 PARSNIP, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of GARLIC, minced
8 c. CHICKEN STOCK (you may substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
1 tsp. GARAM MASALA
(Our local grocery store stocks this spice.
It is a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, peppercorns and cumin).
1 14-ounce can of unsweetened COCONUT MILK
Freshly ground PEPPER
CILANTRO for garnish, if desired
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt, and cook for 1 minute until the onions begin to soften.
Add the carrot, celery, parsnip, and garlic to the pot and cook for 3 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
Add the chicken or vegetable stock and simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the soup in a blender or food processor. (Do this in small batches to prevent soup from overflowing while processing.)
Return soup to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat in a saute pan.
Add the onion slices and a pinch of salt and cook until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the garam masala, turn the heat to low and cook so the onions caramelize to a rich brown, about 20 minutes.
Add the coconut milk to the onion mixture and raise the heat to high and cook until it is reduced by 1/2, about 7 minutes.
Add the onion/coconut mixture to the pureed soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish if desired with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Best recipes... best friends...
A special present arrived in the mail this Christmas... a cookbook from a friend who I had not heard from for many years.
When I saw the return address, I was ecstatic and ripped into the package to find a cookbook from the hospital where I spent my first 22 years in nursing and a photo of my friend with her family and now, her grandchildren!
It was she, who was responsible for organizing the production of this cookbook of recipes from the present ICU staff.
A few names I still remembered but many were new.
After moving to Texas, we lost touch as our lives progressed. She was busy raising her family and life was hectic.
There was the occasional Christmas card.
When I visited "back East", I would sometimes stop in at the hospital to visit, but there were fewer people working who I knew from years ago.
The gift of this cookbook brought back memories of the past. I called to thank her and of course... she was working.
I had a nice chat with her husband and said I would call the next day.
How good it was to hear her voice and that wonderful laugh.
It was like the years had melted away and we were picking up from where we left off.
We both loved to cook, shop at flea markets and take photos.
I will always remember those impromptu lunches in the backyard by the brook eating grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a little glass of white wine!
So in honor of my dear friend, Onda... I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
May we never again lose touch, and may we build new memories as we grow old and continue to exchange recipes "from the heart".
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
1 small BUTTERNUT SQUASH, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
1 medium ONION, coarsely chopped
1 medium CARROT, peeled and finely chopped
1 ORANGE BELL PEPPER, coarsely chopped
1 14.5 ounce can CRUSHED TOMATOES
2 Tbsp. TOMATO PASTE
3 15.5 ounce cans of BLACK BEANS, drained and rinsed
1 CHIPOTLE CHILI IN ADOBO, minced
1 c. APPLE JUICE
3 Tbsp. CHILI POWDER
1/2 tsp. ground ALLSPICE
1/2 tsp. SUGAR
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
Cut the squash into 1/4-inch dice and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the squash, onion, carrot, and bell pepper.
Cover and cook until softened... about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and chipotle.
Stir in the apple juice, chili powder, allspice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and simmer 10 minutes longer and serve.
OK... we all know the cost of food is going up; therefore,it behooves us to use what we buy.
How many times have you cleaned out your vegetable bin to find a couple limp ribs of celery, carrots, and a few other bits and pieces of veggies you had totally forgotten about? Or maybe there was just not enough of one vegetable left to prepare a dish and therefore, it went unused.
Before that happens, pull out whatever you have, and make some oven-roasted vegetables.
The best part of this recipe is that it is adaptable to what is on hand.
It's easy, requires little attention, and smells wonderful as it cooks.
These were my leftovers: small fingerling potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga. I actually had an onion, but forgot to add that to the veggies.
Peel the veggies (except the potatoes) and cut into nearly equal-sized pieces that will cook in about the same length of time.
Place the veggies in a heavy roasting pan.
Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat them and sprinkle with coarse salt, pepper and some dried crushed rosemary.
Toss to distribute the seasonings.
Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes.
Stir a couple times during the roasting process.
You want the edges of the veggies to become caramelized.
If you want to add garlic... add some minced garlic about 10 minutes before the veggies are done cooking.
Oven-roasted vegetables can be served as a main dish or a side dish and if you have leftovers... they are great used as an omelet filling.
In that case... just heat in the microwave until piping hot, sprinkle cheese on top and again microwave until the cheese is melted and divide up amongst your omelets.
So easy... and you have another meal from what might have otherwise been tossed out.