Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jean's Blueberry Coffee Cake

My knitting friend, Jean, brings this coffee cake to our winter knitting get-togethers. It's always such a hit that she brings along copies of the recipe to hand out.

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups blueberries (if frozen, thaw and drain)

Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder together.

In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars and oil, then add the eggs and beat well. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9" x 13" pan.

In another bowl, mix all the topping ingredients together and spoon on top of the batter.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Asparagus

My friend, Jean, tells me that this is her favorite chicken recipe ever. It comes from Martha Stewart, and this version (with photos) can be seen on Cooking San Francisco.

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (about 3 pounds)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Toss potatoes with the olive oil in a roasting pan; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until potatoes are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
3. Scatter asparagus, lemon, and garlic around chicken. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Roast until asparagus is tender and chicken is opaque throughout, 5 to 15 minutes. Serve chicken, vegetables, and lemon drizzled with pan juices.
Serves: 4

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kilian's Bread and Butter Pickles

Kilian is married to Maura, who is the daughter of my half-sister. We love his pickles, which are kind of a hobby for him, as he is a professional restaurant chef in Boston.

6 cups loosely packed pickling cukes, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 red or green pepper, sliced
A few cauliflower florets
1/4 cup salt

Mix all together in a large pot. Let stand for three hours.

Combine in a sauce pan and boil for 5 minutes:
2 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tbl. pickling spices
1 tsp. celery seed
2 cups apple cider or malt vinegar

Rinse the cucumber mixture thoroughly, with several changes of water. Let soak in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain and return to the large pot. Add the boiling syrup mixture.

Heat slowly to just below boiling point, stirring occasionally. Place in sterilized jars and cover immediately.

Note: If you increase the recipe, increase the salt just slightly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade Cracker Jacks (Caramel Corn)

Our recent trip to Fenway Park left us craving Cracker Jacks. I looked around for a homemade recipe online, and combined several to come up with this one.

2 quarts freshly popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups peanuts

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/6 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix the popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside.

Mix the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until boiling. Simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and peanut mixture and stir to coat well. 

Spread on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees F. for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool, break apart and store in tightly covered container. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grilled Shrimp and Roasted Pear Salad

I had the best salad EVER at the Metro Deli in Chicago's Union Station while waiting for our train. It was very much like this one, which I found here and in several other places around the Internet. It seems like everyone has posted the same recipe, so I don't really know where it originated online. 
16 jumbo (U/15) shrimp
2 whole fresh pears of your choice, cut in 1/2 (core and stem removed)
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz dried cranberries
2 oz candied cashews
12 oz mixed baby greens 
5 oz balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 Tbs pure maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 oz croutons made with cinnamon and raisin bread

1. Mix 1 ounce balsamic vinegar with Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon oil and coat shrimp. Season with salt and pepper, grill 1 1/2 minutes per side until done, then keep warm.
2. Toss pears with remaining oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in 450° F oven for 14 minutes and allow to cool.
3. Mix remaining balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a medium sized bowl and toss in mixed greens and gently coat, add croutons, cranberries and cashews.
4. To serve: Divide greens onto 4 plates, arrange 4 grilled shrimp per plate and top with a sliced roasted pear half and serve.
My note: Add some gorgonzola, crumbled

Monday, July 11, 2011

Red Chile Caesar Dressing

Based on the Great Caesar Dressing in the book, The El Paso Chile Company's Burning Desires; Salsa, Smoke, and Sizzle, by W. Park Kerr.

Combine in a food processor or blender:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 large egg at room temperature
4 to 6 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground red chile

Process until smooth.

With the motor still running, add through the feed tube in a quick, steady stream:
1 cup corn oil
1 cup olive oil

The dressing will thicken up nicely. Refrigerate in a covered storage container. Can be prepared up to three days before using.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

Ready to go into the oven

Scrub, peel (if necessary), and slice thinly:

Sweet potatoes
Onions (any kind: red, white, yellow, or green--or a combination)
Sweet red, green, yellow, and/or orange peppers

You can also add any kind of root vegetable, like turnips

Place all in a large pyrex dish. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with thyme and fresh ground pepper.

Roast at 400 F. for at least an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Check to see if vegetables are tender. If they still need more roasting and are getting too brown, cover the pan with aluminum foil. At our altitude (3900 feet) I roast them for a total of an hour and a half.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whole Grain Waffles

2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together wet ingredients; sift together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet, stir well. Bake in waffle iron.

Serve with blueberry syrup.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Italian Pignoli Amaretti - Pine Nut Cookies

These holiday cookies are a legend in Beez's family. They are expensive to make, so will only be making another appearance at our house next Christmas. 

Thank you, DonnaSue, for this recipe. 

2 (8-ounce) cans almond paste (not marzipan), coarsely crumbled*
1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large
egg whites
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) pine nuts 
* It is important to use canned almond paste only (the type sold in tubes is too crumbly and will not give the cookies the right consistency).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Either line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. 
In a food processor, pulse almond paste until broken up into small bits, then add powdered sugar and salt; continue to pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add egg whites and and honey; process until well combined. 

NOTE: Have a bowl of water near to dip your fingers in before rolling each cookie. This will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. 

Using a rounded teaspoon for each cookie, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cooking sheets. Lightly flatten each cookie and press some pine nuts into each cookie to cover. 
Bake cookies in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, approximately 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden brown and soft and springy. Remove from oven and and transfer to wire racks to cool completely before serving.
The cookies can by prepared up to 3 weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Here are a couple more notes for you: Auntie Bucksnort and I found that the dough could be mixed in a KitchenAid stand mixer. Use care with whatever machine you use; the dough is heavy and Cousin DonnaSue broke her food processor mixing it, making the cookies even more expensive this year. 

We sprayed the cookie sheets with Pam, rather than using a Silpat, because we had no idea what that even was. Of course, we now know that it is a no-stick silicone baking mat, but we didn't know then. They are expensive, too.

Let the cookies cool just a minute--no longer--before removing them from the pan or they will stick. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cranberry Muffins

I was looking around for a way to use up bits of leftover cranberry sauce and orange-cranberry relish and came across this recipe on MomCentral. Since my homemade sauce had lots of orange in it, I let that be a substitute for the lemon zest. The recipe made 12 nice, big muffins--very delicious and grainy, as I used whole wheat flour.

  • 2 ½ cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup plain Greek-style yogurt (whole milk or low-fat milk)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray (or line with muffin liners).
  2. Measure flour by spooning into a dry measuring cup, level with a straightedge or back of a knife, then pour into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl whisk eggs until slightly frothy. Add yogurt, milk and canola oil. Whisk well until smooth. Add lemon zest and brown sugar, mixing well. Add cranberry sauce and stir with a spoon until thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened. The batter should still be lumpy with a few little spots of dry flour. Do not over mix. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each to the rim.
  5. Bake in center of oven 22 minutes, rotating muffin tin once halfway through, until muffins are a lovely golden color on top. Remove tin from oven, transfer muffins to a cooling rack. Serve warm or room temperature.