Friday, December 23, 2016

Jillian's Holiday Broccoli Cashew Salad

This recipe comes from my friend, Karen, who continues to believe that we actually eat vegetables when not in her presence. 

2 bunches broccoli, including stems, pulsed in food processor
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1 cup cashews
1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

3/4 cup light mayo
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Whisk in large bowl Mayo, sugar, and vinegar until well blended; add other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

This recipe is best if you mix the day ahead and refrigerate to allow the flavors to set.  Also, when you pulse the broccoli stems, do them "fine" and when you pulse the florets, do not over pulse or they will be too fine -- you want "fine" stems, and coarsely pulsed for the florets.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Betty Crocker's Classic White Bread

This is the best white bread I've ever made. The ingredients are like those in every other bread recipe, but this particular combination results in a perfect fragrant, moist loaf. I borrowed the details from this web page. 
If you've ever read any of Philip R. Craig's Martha's Vineyard Mysteries, you will remember that this bread recipe is mentioned in almost every single book. Craig's hero, J.W. Jackson, makes his white bread in batches of four loaves. To do the same, just double this recipe. 
This same recipe also appears in Craig's cookbook, Delish, which I couldn't resist buying after reading the Vineyard series and wondering about the delicious-sounding meals that J.W. cooks for his family. The book also contains some great ways to prepare fish.

6 to 7 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour* or Better for Bread® bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 1/4 cups very warm water (120° to 130°F)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, if desired

  • In large bowl, stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
  • Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  • Grease bottoms and sides of two 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pans with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
  • Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into 18x9-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Pinch each end of roll to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
  • Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 425°F.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; cool.

Note: I've found that if I wait until the following morning after baking, cooling, and storing the loaves in plastic bags I can easily slice them up for freezing. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Saltine Toffee

This recipe has been making the rounds under the name "Christmas Crack." I really don't like that name, so we will call it Saltine Toffee here. No matter what you call it, it really is addictive.

Note: I prefer way less chocolate, just two chips per cracker.

I have borrowed this recipe from The Passionate Penny Pincher.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 40 saltine crackers
  1. Heat oven to 400.
  2. Line 12x17 cookie sheet with foil and spray well with cooking spray.
  3. Layer the saltine crackers on top of the foil.
  4. Heat butter and sugar on stovetop and heat until gently boiling, stirring constantly.
  5. Reduce heat to low boiling and cook, uncovered, between 3 and 5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and sugar is dissolved. (Be careful to avoid burning the butter and sugar- that will ruin the recipe, but do make sure the sugar is dissolved and mixture is thickening. This is by far the trickiest part of the recipe ~ just make sure it thickens and dissolves but does not burn.)
  6. Pour butter and sugar mixture over crackers and spread evenly.
  7. Bake 5-6 minutes in oven.
  8. Remove pan from oven and let cool 3 minutes, then sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over brown sugar mixture.
  9. As chocolate chips melt, carefully spread into an even layer over the toffee layer using a knife. (Note - I pop the pan back in the oven for about 20 seconds after sprinkling on chocolate chips so that they melt faster.)
  10. Refrigerate for one hour.
  11. Break into bite-sized pieces and serve. . . yum, store covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chocolate Frosting (Vegan!)

1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup almond or coconut milk
2 tbl. coconut oil

1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Place chocolate chips, milk, and coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk until the chips have completely melted. Add remaining ingredients, whisking until smooth. You can add a bit more powdered sugar or milk, if needed.

Spread on cake immediately. If your cake is still cooling and the frosting thickens up too much, just microwave it for a few seconds to make it more spreadable.

Note: This frosting is the perfect topping for Cockeyed Cake, which is also vegan.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Southwest Black Bean Vegan Burgers

2 cups cooked and drained black beans (save the juice)

3 fat spring onions, green part only

2 cups roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions (I had some leftovers from the day before)

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 cup edamame beans, cooked in the pod, pods removed (and given to the chickens)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbl. salsa
1 tbl. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. red chile powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced, or a good sprinkle of garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor, chop up at least half of the black beans, adding reserved juice as needed. Put the chopped beans and the rest of the whole beans in a large mixing bowl.

Put the green onion tops through the processor, then add the roasted vegetables and chop to your liking. Add to the bean mixture.

Add all the other ingredients to the bowl, stirring well and adding reserved bean juice to make the mixture the right consistency to mold into patties. If it turns out too soupy, add some cornmeal or bread crumbs.

Form into patties (I made 12) and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for at least 40 minutes, turning the patties carefully halfway through. The baking time will vary, depending on the consistency of the mixture. I like to get the patties pretty crispy, so I bake them a little longer.

Remove from oven and serve hot, or cool the patties on the parchment paper. Patties can be frozen and reheated in the microwave or in a pan.

Note: These are delicious when crumbled on a salad in place of croutons.