Sunday, May 28, 2017

Auntie's Lemon Bars

In her own words:

Oven at 325 degrees.

1 c. butter
2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Press into a greased 12" x 8" pan; bake 20 min.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
4 T. flour
1/4 c. lemon juice (I use more)
2 T. grated lemon peel (I use more)

Beat until very foamy, pour on top, bake 20 more min. (I go a little longer to make sure it's doesn't end up too goopy), sprinkle w/ powdered sugar, cut while still hot (especially loosening edge). it makes that nice crispy surface all by itself!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

This recipe comes from and makes the best biscuits I've ever made. Delicious!

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board (if you can get White Lily flour, your biscuits will be even better)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder (use one without aluminum)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk (approx)

Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.

Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined. If the mixture is on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.
Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Chicken Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

This recipe originally appeared on Delish. I'm very proud to say that our granddaughter made it for her family when her mom was recovering from surgery. What a good daughter! Yay, Isabella! Get well soon, Aimee! The photo was taken by Isabella and is used with her permission. This looks yummy.

1 lb. lasagna noodles
3 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 c. milk
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 c. grated Parmesan
2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 15-oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 pints skim ricotta
4 c. shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and transfer to a sheet pan to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add flour and whisk until golden brown, 1 minute more. Pour over milk and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Add Parmesan and stir until creamy, then add shredded chicken, spinach, and artichokes and stir until combined.

Assemble lasagna: In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of the sauce mixture. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping each, a layer of ricotta, a layer of the chicken mixture, and a layer of mozzarella. Repeat for three layers, ending with mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake until warm and bubbly, 35 minutes. Broil until cheese is golden, 2 minutes more.

Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Real Tortilla Casserole

We all know about the food memories of childhood--things we wouldn't cook now are remembered ever so fondly. I just heard a food show host tell how his father used to mash up canned salmon with a dollop of catsup and serve it on crackers. And his kids loved it!

It's funny how recipes change over time--but perhaps not so funny to my kids, who remember a tortilla casserole that I made for them long ago when they were little. The recipe was probably from some old 1950s gringo cookbook, copied down back when I lived in California or Washington or British Columbia and imagined that a red chile sauce was red because of the paprika.

And it's really funny to me that the original recipe card, just unearthed today, calls this "Beef Enchiladas," when we've always called it Tortilla Casserole.

Over the years, I stopped frying the tortillas and used them right out of the package; I forgot to add olives, and used whatever was in the fridge--any kind of leftover meat, vegetables, perhaps a chopped up tomato or potato or both. When we moved to New Mexico, I was able to use high quality red chile powder and chopped green chiles, all from crops grown right here in the Mesilla Valley. That's evolution and it happens in every kitchen. (The evolved recipe is here).

But my grown children have always argued that there was once a very different version, the one they remember from childhood. For them, here it is (in case you don't want to decipher my handwriting on the card):

1 lb. ground beef
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbl. chile powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbl. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
3 tbl. flour

2 cups water

1 cup whole pitted olives.

6 tortillas [I'm sure this means corn tortillas, from back in the days when that was the only kind available in most grocery stores. I've used flour ones, too, in more recent times].

Grated cheese (the amount is up to you)

  • Brown the ground beef in a bit of oil. 
  • Add the salt, chile powder, garlic, paprika, oregano, and flour. Stir well. 
  • Add the water. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. 
  • Add the olives.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes until sauce has thickened and reduced.
  • Alternate six lightly fried tortillas, the sauce, and grated cheese in a casserole
  • Bake at 350 for ten minutes. [This surprises me--I like it baked much longer so the edges of the tortillas start to get crisp]. 
  • Cut into wedges and serve with chopped lettuce [what else?] .