Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tunnel of Fudge Cake ..... This was originally a Pillsbury Bake-Off Winner recipe. It also helped Nordic Ware to sell over 50 million bundt pans.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake
The original recipe included a product no longer available today from Pillsbury. The Two Layer Double-Dutch Fudge Buttercream Frosting mix was the secret to the original recipe. This recipe has been revised and the original has been duplicated. If it was a favorite of yours, give this recipe a try.
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting pan
1/2 cup boiling water
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped fine
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
Chocolate Glaze:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake: Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch bundt pan and dust it with cocoa powder. Pour boiling water over chocolate in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Whisk cocoa, flour, nuts, confectioners sugar, and salt in large bowl. Beat eggs and vanilla in large measuring cup.
With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. On low speed add egg mixture, until combined about 30 seconds. Add chocolate mixture and beat until incorporated about 30 seconds. Beat in flour mixture just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Scrape batter into prepared bundt pan, smooth batter, and bake until edges are beginning to pull away from edges of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool upright in pan about on wire rack about 1 1/2 hours, then invert on serving plate and cool completely at least 2 hours.
For the glaze: Cook cream, corn syrup, and chocolate in small saucepan
over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in vanilla and set aside until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Drizzle glaze over cake and let set for at least 10 minutes. Serve. Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to two days

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Grilled Brats and Beer ..... Need Something For A Halloween Party Or A Tailgate Party Or How About Just Everyday?

Grilled Brats And Beer
We lived for many years near the Bratwurst Capitol Of the World which is the claim to fame of Bucyrus, Ohio. A large festival is held annually in July with concessions. It is an experience to see and smell the aroma coming from the vendors with their street side stands selling the Bratwurst and the thousands of people gathered for the celebration.
4 onions sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 12 ounce beers (Budweiser or Miller Genuine Draft)
2/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
10 Bratwurst sausages
10 sub rolls or buns
Heat the grill on medium high for 15 minutes. Scrape and oil cooking grate. Brush onions with oil and season with pepper. Whisk beer, mustard. sugar, caraway and 1 teaspoon pepper in a 9 x 13 disposable aluminum pan.
Arrange disposable pan on one side of grill and grill onions on one side of grill until lightly charred, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer onions to pan and grill sausages until browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove cooked sausages from pan and grill until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Transfer sausages to platter and tent with foil.
Continue to simmer beer mixture with grill covered, until onions are tender and sauce is lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Place brats in rolls and spoon sauce on sauce and onions.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Easier Chicken Dumplings ,,,,, This classic recipe makes the dish fit for company

Chicken and Dumplings
This recipe may be a good use for left over turkey from the Thanksgiving holiday when company is still visiting and that big turkey has lots of leftovers in the refrigerator! Just make Turkey and Dumplings!

5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
For the stew: Bring the broth to simmer in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and return to simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and tent loosely with foil. Transfer broth to a large bowl.
Return empty Dutch oven to medium-high heat and melt butter. Add carrots, onion, and salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Stir in sherry, scraping up browned bits. Stir in reserved broth, cream, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until stew thickens, about 20 minutes.
Make Ahead: Follow recipe through to this point, refrigerating stew and chicken in separate airtight containers up to 24 hours ahead. When ready to proceed, warm stew in Dutch oven and proceed.
For the Dumplings: Stir flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in cream and stir until incorporated (dough will be thick and shaggy).
To finish the stew, discard the bay leaves and return stew to rapid simmer. Shred reserved chicken and add to stew along with any accumulated juices, peas, and 3 Tablespoons parsley. Using two large soup spoons or small ice cream scoop, drop golf ball-sized dumplings. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until dumplings have doubled in size about 15 to 18 minutes. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serves 6 to 8

Friday, October 26, 2007

Flash Back Friday ..... To Sunday October 21, the day of the Witch Fires

Flash Back Friday
Today is the day that I would usually print a recipe that our children would remember from their childhood and was judged as a favorite by them. Instead I will recap the week of the Rancho Bernardo Witch Fire.
Sunday mid-afternoon I came out of a grocery store to the sight and smell of smoke with people scurrying to return home. I drove the three miles to our home and was surprised at the increased amount of smoke in that short time. Santa Anna winds were blowing about 40 or 50 mph. Santa Anna winds blow non stop day and night when they arrive in the Fall.
I photographed the canyon to the rear of our home which was a good contrast for measuring the amount of smoke. When my husband returned he was surprised to see the amount of smoke rolling into the canyon area. We learned a transformer was knocked off of a pole in the town of Ramona which is about eight miles northeast of our Rancho Bernardo home and started the fire.
We had dinner plans with a cousin for Sunday evening as Don had been invited by cousin Ed to travel with their Travel Club. As we were preparing to leave for Menefee, Don called my attention to the increased amount of smoke coming from the canyon direction. I photographed the canyon area again as it was becoming heavy and blocking the sun.
We left for our drive to Menefee which was appoximaterly 45 or 50 miles to the North. As we drove up the I-15 we caught a glimpse of the line of fire of the Witch fire. I said to my husband, if the fire is not contained and climbs that hill it will be in the canyon below our home.
The Fire Department in our area fights these brush fires often and are a very capable group of professionals. The high winds made the difference.
Early Monday morning our daughter Anne called to check that we were safe because we had mandatory evacuation of the area. She and family were at a hotel in Mission Beach. We immediately turned on the TV and saw the horrifying pictures of the beautiful area we chose to retire just three years prior.
For the four following days we had the fire news on the TV. God bless the Internet. We were able to keep friends updated and that we were safe.
We had learned on Tuesday that our house was still standing. What we had not learned was how close we came to being a casualty of this fire.
Returning home was like a science fiction movie. Seeing the remnants of homes that the Witch had not spared were daunting to say the least on the drive back to Rancho Bernardo.
When we arrived home we saw ash piled everywhere. Our front door was blocked by what ended up being five large wastebaskets of ash. Once inside the house, the smell of smoke was very pronounced. The force of the wind blew ash in under the three sets of double doors across the back of the house.
We immediately went outside to look over the canyon. We saw the house below us in a pile of rubble. The landscaping on the hillsides below was randomly burned. The beautiful homes on the southern canyon wall had randomly taken a hit. What were such beautiful mansions were now just a pile of rubble. Five homes remained.
We took a walk around the block to see the devastation. We thought the area looked more like Baghdad than California. It is amazing how the fire arbitrarily selects a home and leaves one very close by unaffected. We returned home and began our clean-up. We thank God we were spared. Our hearts go out to the many families who lost their earthly possessions and comfort zone. We know homes and vegetation will soon cover the scars left behind by the witch.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meaty Freezer Lasagna ..... Thanksgiving is just one month away. This is a great do-ahead recipe when you have a house full of comapny.

Meaty Freezer Lasagna
With the holidays ahead and the family coming to visit, I always like to have something prepared and in the freezer so I am able to maximize my time spent with the family and not in the kitchen.
Tomato Meat Sauce:
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound lean ground chuck
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Pasta Layers:
1 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 no boil noodles from one 8 or 9 ounce package
5 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high, add ground meats, salt, and pepper, and cook, breaking into small pieces, until meat is no longer pink, but browned, about four minutes. Add cream and simmer until liquid is evaporated and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and basil and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until flavors blend, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cool sauce for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until cool, at least 20 minutes.
Mix ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread 1/4 cup meat sauce over the bottom of13 X 9 baking dish. Place 3 noodles crosswise on top of sauce, evenly space 9 tablespoons of ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and sauce mixture two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top and spread with remaining sauce. Cover with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Spray large sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and tightly cover lasagna. Wrap with plastic wrap several times and cover with another layer of foil.
When ready to serve, adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove all wrapping except foil layer that is flush against the lasagna. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, then remove foil. Continue baking until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let lasagna cool for 15 minutes.
Can be frozen up to 2 months

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Roasted Red Onion And Pear Salad ..... This salad tastes as good as it looks!

Roasted Red Onion and Pear Salad
This recipe was a prize winning salad. Pears are so tasty at this time of the year and so plentiful.
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch wedges, with root intact
1 head Bib lettuce, leaves separated but left whole
1 6 ounce bag baby spinach (about 8 cups)
1 ripe pear, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/3 cup smoke house almonds, chopped coarse
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk orange and lemon juices, mustard, honey, and thyme together in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 4 Tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss onion wedges with remaining 2 Tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to baking sheet and roast until brown and soft, about 25 minutes, flipping wedges halfway through cooking. Cool 15 minutes.
Divide Bibb lettuce leaves among individual salad plates. Toss spinach with 1/4 cup dressing in large bowl. Divide spinach among plates. Arrange roasted onion, pear, goat cheese, almonds, and cranberries on top. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve. Serves 6

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Spinach Salad With Hot Bacon Dressing ..... A Taste Reminiscent of Time Spent With My Grandmother.

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
I remember my grandmother making salads with hot bacon dressing. I think you will enjoy this recipe.
8 slices thick-cut sliced bacon, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces
1 10 ounce bag curly spinach, stemmed and torn into bite sized pieces
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 hard boiled eggs, quartered
Fry bacon in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel and blot excess grease. Pour off bacon fat and replace with 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Place spinach which has been rinsed and spun dry in a salad spinner in a bowl next to stove.
Return pot to medium-high heat and cook onion, garlic, salt pepper and sugar until onion is softened, about three minutes. Working quickly, add vinegar and mustard and scrape bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Remove pot from heat, add spinach and cover, allowing spinach to steam until just beginning to wilt, about 15 seconds.
Transfer steamed spinach and hot dressing to empty bowl and toss lightly with tongs. Divide salad among individual plates and garnish with reserved bacon and eggs. Serve!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Redemption Hazelnut Pie ..... Similar to a traditional pecan pie in texture, this pie's toasty hazelnuts make it extra special

Redemption Hazelnut Pie
I warned you that my favorite nut is the hazelnut. I have quite a collection of recipes that use the nut. Toasted with a little pepper they are great on a salad. They are a nut with multi-uses, not just desserts. This recipe will be one of my Thanksgiving dinner desserts.
1 single pastry crust
3 eggs
1 cup dark colored corn syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
In a medium bowl lightly beat the eggs just until blended.
add corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir in melted butter and hazelnuts. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake in a 350 oven for 445 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Makes 8 servings
Note: To toast nuts, spread in a 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan. Roast in a 350 oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until browned. Rub with a clean kitchen towel to remove skins.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Entrecotes Au Poivre Vert ..... French Title For Strip Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Strip Steaks With Green Peppercorn Sauce
With a given choice most people who dine out prefer to order a steak when dining in a fine restaurant. Great steaks are easily made at home with the addition of a tasty sauce. The sauce requires 20 to 25 minutes to prepare. Keep a warmed plated with steaks in the oven on a very low setting as to not continue cooking the steaks.
Four 1" thick strip steaks
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 cups ruby port
2 cups beef stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup rinsed and coarsely chopped brine cured green peppercorns
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
salt to taste
Season four steaks (about 2 1/2 lbs. total wt.) with salt to taste. Place on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove steaks from refrigerator and set aside at room temperature to let rest for one hour.
Heat 1 Tablespoon e.v. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pat steaks dry; add 2 steaks to skillet. Cook flipping once, until well browned and medium rare, 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining steaks. Remove skillet from heat.
Remove skillet from heat and add 2 finely chopped shallots; stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups ruby port.; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 2 cups beef stock; boil until syrupy, 10 to 12 minutes. It is important to first reduce the port and then add 2 cups beef stock; boil until syrupy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; whisk in 1 cup heavy cream. Return skillet to medium heat and boil until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup coarsely chopped brine cured green peppercorns, 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar and salt to taste. Pour sauce over steaks. Serves 4

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Aioli ..... The sauce served with so many foods, ..... Pasta, seafood, vegetables and whatever food is complimented with the flavor.

Thursday evening after arriving in San Diego we decided to stop at our favorite "haunt" for dinner. Don loves calamari and I prefer oysters. Don asked for aioli with his calamari. The restaurant didn't serve it. It is so simple to make but such a great sauce.
1 teaspoon salt
8 to 12 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1 slice white bread, whetted and squeezed dry
2 large egg yolks, room temp.
2 cups extra virgin olive oil, room temp.
juice of freshly squeezed lemon
about 1 Tablespoon boiling water
Make a paste of salt and garlic with pestle and mortar. Add softened bread and pound to amalgamate. Now add yolks and continue pounding to get a thick golden paste. Transfer to food processor. With machine running drizzle in half of olive oil. Next add the lemon juice and continue processing until all of the oil has been slowly added and the aoili is dense, glutenous and glossy. Finally add the boiling water.
Note; Unless I need the full recipe I make the sauce by halving the recipe. With the uncooked egg yolks, I store for only a day or so in refrigerator.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Great Pumpkin ..... Flash Back Friday. Even Charlie Brown would agree!

Pumpkin Pancakes and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Halloween is the second most decorated and celebrated day in America. Beautiful orange pumpkins are everywhere. I used to make pumpkin puree with the pumpkins we used for the season in Ohio after the day was past. There was always a pumpkin for each child. We never wasted the seeds as that was the final treat of the pumpkin for the children. More recently I have since learned so many different uses for the puree. I use it in soup, pie, cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, and now pancakes. Here is a recipe for pancakes and also for the seeds to eat as a healthy snack! Remember the puree freezes so well and "Waste not, want not"!!!! Just cut the pumpkin in half (half way between stem and blossom end. Bake at 250 for a couple of hours. You will see the half loose it's shape as the top collapses inward. and it is done. Scoop out the pumpkin when cool and add the juice to the pumpkin. Process in a blender or food processor. and freeze in measured amounts. I use my large muffin tins with one cup amounts. They have a finish that allows easy release. I also freeze in "pie amounts".
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground all spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix together the milk, pumpkin puree, egg, oil, and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just to combine.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle and frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. Makes 12 pancakes
Serving suggestion: Heat your syrup and add a little cinnamon.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Don't throw away the pumpkin seeds. They make a tasty, quick and nutritious snack.
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups pumpkin seeds
Combine the ingredients and stir well to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 275 for one hour.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fresh Herb Penne With Chicken And Tomatoes ..... Pasta made so easy!

Fresh Herb Pasta With Chicken And Tomatoes
I subscribe to Cooks Magazine. With each edition a product or a kitchen tool is evaluated. One month it was pasta. They used expensive pasta as well as the easily available and inexpensive pasta. Much to any one's surprise, Mueller's pasta was rated as the best product on the market. Today I am offering the recipe from the Mueller's box which results in a tasty dish and an easy to prepare recipe.
16 oz. Mueller's Penne Rigate
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes OR
2 cups fresh diced tomatoes cooked just to soft
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or cut into thin strips
10-12 ounces cooked chicken breast cut in strips
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese OR
I prefer grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Cook and drain Penne Rigate according to package directions. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes anad basil and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken; simmer for 5 minutes. Toss pasta with cheese. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Great Potato Salad ..... A Recipe From A Neighbor's Late Mother

Great Potato Salad
We have a community picnic over the Labor Day holiday. One of the women brought this potato salad last year. I asked for the recipe and she so willing obliged and shared the recipe stating it was her late mother's recipe. I would say one of the oldies but the goodies! I was putting away the items from the cupboards into my new kitchen when I came across the piece of paper with the recipe. I thought it would be great to share with you. This recipe seems too easy to be as good or tasty as it is.
7 medium potatoes
10 Tablespoons sugar
7 Tablespoons vinegar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons mustard
Boil potatoes with the skins; cool, peel and dice. 

Add sugar and vinegar to slightly beaten eggs. Cook over medium heat until it begins to bubble and thicken. Pour over diced potatoes. Add 2 teaspoons mustard and mayonnaise until you have the desired creaminess. The salad I tasted had a double batch of sauce and was very creamy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Catching up!!!

Catching Up After A LONG Week!
For those of you who check my blog often, you realize I have not been on the computer. My computer was acting up and was unreliable. I couldn't get the printer to work and the computer would freeze up often. This really was a trial for my patience which seem to elude me when I sit down at the computer. I telephoned a local repair technician. He came to my rescue and did a great job. On Thursday I began the work of emptying cupboards prior to a new kitchen being designed at the Lake house. It is Sunday night and in three days I had a new floor laid and a new oak kitchen installed with a new sink and exhaust fan. What a beautiful transformation. I now have so much usable cupboard space. I am so anxious to get everything back in place and work in the kitchen. We leave this week to return to our winter home in San Diego.
Stay tuned as I will be posting again once I get the Lake house closed up and return to San Diego. I will need a few days to empty suitcases and get the house opened.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Grilled Lamb Chops With Ratatouille

Lamb chops are my favorite meat.  I am always looking for a new recipe.  Daughter Anne shared this recipe.
Grilled Lamb Chops With Ratatouille
Lamb is so plentiful in California. We are able to buy lamb raised in Australia which is the best I have eaten. Because lamb is not the healthiest meat with a high fat content, I do serve it occasionally.
10 lamb chops
2 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper
Olive oil as needed
1 Japanese eggplant
1 zucchini
1/2 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
Saute individually the eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Place ingredients in a large bowl, add the diced Roma tomatoes. Toss with Corn Vinaigrette.
Corn Vinaigrette
1/4 cup corn juice
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix ingredients and allow the flavors to mellow. Pour over Ratatouille and serve hot with lamb chops.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lazy Daisey Oatmeal Cake

Oatmeal Cake
Our children attended a small parochial elementary school which did not have a cafeteria. Lunches were packed daily. I usually had something on hand that was baked to include in their lunch. The oatmeal cake had a flavor much like a pecan pie but a few thousand calories less.  This was a favorite.
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Place the oatmeal in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over the oatmeal and allow to soak and cool, stir . Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, add vanilla and oatmeal. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add gradually to mixture. Bake in a 13 x 9 x 2 prepared pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
2 egg yolks
approximately 2 Tablespoons milk
Combine the butter, brown sugar, coconut, nuts and egg yolks and mix well. Add just enough milk to make the topping ingredients spreadable. Spread topping on cake and return to oven. Bake at 350 just until a crust forms.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Classic Canadian Burger with Beer Braised Onions ..... We will be enjoying the beautiful days of Fall, our favorite season, with cookouts.

Classic Canadian Burger With Beer Braised Onions
If you need a good recipe for a classic burger or wanting a new twist to your favorite, try this recipe. A cookout is a great way to enjoy the last warm days and those beautiful Fall colors.
Beer Braised Onions
1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup beer
The Burgers
1 1/2 lb. fresh ground beef (round or sirloin)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup beer
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated cheddar or cheese of choice
Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the onion slices and saute, stirring frequently for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add the beer and sugar and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and the onions are slightly golden.
Preheat grill on high. In a small bowl, thoroughly but gently mix ground beef, garlic, pepper, beer, mustard, salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties 1" thick. Place on grill and turn heat to medium. Grill 4 to 6 minutes per side, cooking to desired doneness. Place cheese on top of burger to melt. Top with Beer Braised Onions. Serve on toasted bun.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Perch .... The delicacy of Lake Erie

Tonight we are hosting a dinner party for a friend and her niece who is visiting from Michigan. Visitors to the area of Lake Erie where we spend summers come for one thing, a Lake Erie perch dinner. Perch is a small fish but has a very delicate taste. Everyone has there own method of preparation. Many deep fry their perch which has been dipped in a liquid batter. I personally think this is not healthy and looses the benefit of eating fish. Often the fish is over cooked and becomes tough. Other perch I have eaten has the batter dominating the flavor of the fish. I will share my method of preparation which many have asked for "my recipe" which actually is the recipe my mother used to prepare the perch.
Perch fillets
Saltine cracker crumbs
whipped egg
Mazola Corn Oil
Whip egg until well mixed. I make cracker crumbs in my food processor. Process until the cracker have become rather fine crumbs, not a powder fine crumb. Large crumbs do not adhere as well. I might compare to a dry rice sized crumbs.
Dip fillets in whipped egg and then coat with cracker crumbs. Arrange on a cookie sheet in layers lined and layered with waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour. This allows the breading to adhere to the fish and is not lost in the frying pan when cooked.
Heat oil in frying pan. When oil is hot and not smoking, add fillets flesh side down. Turn fillets when flesh has turned a light golden. Season with salt at this time. As soon as the thickest part of the fillet starts to fleck apart or separate, the fillet is done cooking. Remove fillets from skillet to a platter lined with a paper towel. Serve immediately with or without tartar sauce.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread ..... Great to have on hand when a friend drops in to say hi or just to have with your mid-morning cup of coffee.

Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread
This is a recipe from Starbucks Coffee. At how much a slice at Starbucks? Lets say you saved enough to fill the car with gas by baking your own bread!
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups Dutch processed cocoa
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa Spice Sugar Crust
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Dutch processed cocoa powder
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1/4 cup decorating or sparkle sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about five minutes at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated each time before adding the next and scraping down the sides several times.
Meanwhile in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to butter, beginning and ending with the flour and beating just until blended. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and shake pans to even the tops and set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves. Sprinkle the surface of both batters with the decorating sugar. Sprinkle with the cocoa sugar mixture, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely, run a knife around the sides to release the breads and remove from pans.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Root Vegetable Soup With Meatballs ..... One more soup recipe to share for the cooler weather.

Root Vegetable Soup With Meatballs
The weather is cooling and appetites are warming up for a great bowl of soup. Serve this soup with a loaf of warm crusty bread and a great salad.
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 medium turnips (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
6 medium parsnips (abut 1 1/2 lbs.), peeled and chopped
5 cups sodium reduced chicken broth
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 Tablespoon minced chives, plus more for garnish
1 Tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook , stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add turnips, parsley, broth, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine pork, 1 tablespoon chives, parsley, cheese and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Mix gently to combine. Form into 36 balls, about 1 teaspoon each, and set aside.
Whirl soup in a blender until smooth, (in small batches if necessary). Return to pot and keep warm over low heat.
In a wide shallow pan bring at least 2 inches of water to a boil and add remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add meatballs and cook until they float to the surface and are cooked through (test one to be sure), about 4 minutes. Transfer to a warm plate with a slotted spoon.
Divide soup among 6 bowls. Top each bowl with 6 meatballs and sprinkle with additional chives and pepper. Serve hot.