Friday, January 31, 2014

Penzy's Beer Bread



Penzy Beer Bread
I have found the greatest source for the highest quality spices.  Penzy Spices has a home office in Wauwatosa, WI.  They have retail stores throughout the United States and also publish a catalog listing their great selection of spices and spice blends along with recipes.  Shipping is free on a thirty dollar order or more.  About four or more times a year they offer a free gift with a purchase.  With the winter catalog, if you bring in the included coupon you receive a coffee mug.  With a mail order the mug is also included.  The previous Holiday catalog included a five-dollar coupon for a discount on two different gift collections of spices.
*
Penzy's Beer Bread
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano, or basil,
    or cracked rosemary
1 12oz bottle beer at room temperature
*
Topping:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and herbs if using.  Add the beer and stir until blended.  Pour the batter in a loaf pan (5 x 9 or 4 1/2 X 8 1/2) and bake for 1 hour.  Combine the butter and garlic if using.  When finished baking, pour the butter mixture over the top.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before removing.  Bread cuts easier when cool.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mushroom Barley Soup


Mushroom Barley Soup

INGREDIENTS:

10 oz white mushroom, rinsed and sliced2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped1 stalk celery, rinsed and fine dice½ cup carrots, finely sliced2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil1 Tbsp all-purpose flour4 cup vegetable broth¼ cup barley, rinsed1 Tbsp Italian parsley, choppedsalt and pepper, to taste*

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot and add in the mushrooms, onion, celery and carrots. Sweat until the vegetables start to soften; approximately 5-8 minutes.
Stir in the flour, then add the vegetable broth and barley; mix well.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-1 1/4 hours or until the barley has fully expanded. Season with salt and pepper. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Italian Sausage Patties with Peppers, Pesto, and Penne

Italian Sausage Patties with
Peppers, Pesto, and Penne
*
These burgers have terrific texture. The secret? Mixing lean ground pork with the sausage. Since basil is a luxury in the winter, and as these are burgers after all, purchase bottled pesto—Classico makes an excellent one.
*
Burgers

1 lb. uncooked hot or sweet Italian
sausage, preferably with fennel  
8 oz. lean ground pork
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil (for frying)
6 ciabatta or other buns

Peppers

2 medium sweet peppers, preferably
different colors
½ medium sweet onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. pesto

Penne

8 oz. penne rigate
1½ cups homemade or purchased
tomato sauce for pasta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. pesto*
*
1. Remove sausage’s casing; crumble sausage into a bowl. Crumble in pork; sprinkle with garlic and parsley. Using hands, toss until well mixed. Divide and form into 6 patties, each about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick. (Burgers can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day.) 
*
2. Seed peppers; slice into strips about ¼ inch (5 mm) wide. Likewise slice onion. (Peppers and onions can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day.) When ready to sauté, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat; add peppers and onions. Sauté, turning occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes or until softened. Then stir in pesto; reduce heat to low to keep warm while frying burgers. 
*
3. Meanwhile bring a large saucepan or pot half-filled with salted water to a boil; cook penne according to package directions, usually about 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. (Penne can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day.) Heat tomato sauce in medium saucepan over medium heat until hot. Stir in cooled penne. When hot, spoon onto one side of warmed large serving plates; garnish with cheese and a dollop of pesto. 
*
4. Simultaneously, cook burgers, frying in batches or in 2 pans as needed. Heat 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 25 mL) oil in a large frying pan sprayed with high-heat cooking spray (or a nonstick pan) over medium heat until very hot. Add burgers without crowding; sauté 8 to 10 minutes per side or until crusty and cooked through. Slide into buns, top with peppers and serve with penne. 
Makes 4 generous servings

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beef Bourguignon or Beef Burgandy

Beef Bourguignon
or
Beef Burgandy
This is the dish made famous by Julia Child.
*


INGREDIENTS:
  • ⅛ lb salt pork, diced fine
  • large onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 lb stewing beef, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp marjoram, dried
  • 1 tsp rosemary, dried
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • bay leaves
  • 1½ cups red wine
  • 1½ cups beef broth
  • 20 pearl onions, trimmed and peeled
  • ½ lb mushrooms, quartered

*

Directions:

Melt the salt pork over medium heat in a heavy Dutch oven or covered casserole. When crisp and golden, remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the chopped onions to the melted fat in the pan, and slowly cook them to a light golden brown. Remove and set aside.

Mix the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate, and roll the meat in the mixture.

Brown the beef, a few pieces at a time, and add the herbs, wine, and beef broth.

Return the pork and onions to the pot and cover. Simmer for 1½ hours.

Add the pearl onions and cook for an additional 20 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 more.

When the onions are fork-tender, the stew is done.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Light, Fluffy and Rich Pancakes

This is another recipe of the NY Times sent to me by my daughter Mary.

  Light, Fluffy and Rich Pancakes 

Ingredients:


1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
3 eggs, separated
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
Dash salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Butter or grapeseed or other neutral oil as needed.

***
Directions:
1. Beat together the ricotta or cottage cheese, sour cream or yogurt and egg yolks. Combine baking soda, flour, salt and sugar. Beat egg whites until fairly stiff but not dry.
2. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you finish batter. Stir flour mixture into cheese mixture, blending well but not beating. Stir in lemon juice and zest, then gently fold in beaten egg whites; they should remain somewhat distinct in batter.
3. Add about 1 tablespoon butter or oil to griddle or skillet and coat surface. When it is hot, add batter by the heaping tablespoon, making sure to include some egg white in each spoonful. Cook until lightly browned on bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook second side. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hot Mexican Chocolate


     Hot Mexican Chocolate
Combining chocolate and spices is a favourite for hot chocolate and creates a decadent-tasting beverage. Shaking it in the Thermos® will help create a foamy texture when you don’t have whipped cream to serve with it.



3 oz 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (see TIP)
1/3 cup  dark brown sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant co ffee granules
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch ancho chili powder or nutmeg (see TIP)
Whipped cream (optional)

1 In a saucepan, whisk together chocolate, sugar, cocoa powder, instant co ee and nutmeg with 1 cup of the milk. Add cinnamon sticks, set over medium-low heat and melt chocolate, whisking occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Slowly whisk in remaining milk and chili powder; bring to a gentle simmer, whisking often, for about 8 minutes or until steaming and hot.

2 Serve dolloped with whipped cream and a pinch of chili powder or nutmeg, if desired. If serving right away without whipped cream, simply whisk vigorously to produce more bubbles on top.

Serves 4 to 6

TIPS: Look for 70% cocoa chocolate bars in the candy aisle of the grocery store. For a spicier version of this drink you can use the dark chocolate bar infused with chili. For a smoky hit of chili powder, try using chipotle instead of ancho chili powder.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
Ingredients:
1 pound canned pumpkin puree
10 whole spice berries
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 3/4 cups bread flour, plus extra
    for dusting
1 tablespoon plus teaspoon 
    powdered milk
1 egg
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons packed
    brown sugar
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
***
Directions:
Start the night before:  Put the pumpkin puree in a sheet of cheesecloth.  Bundle it and tie it.  Put a rack inside a large pan, suspend the bundle over the rack, and let it drain in the refrigerator overnight to release the excess moisture, leaving behind only the dense pulp.
*
The next day remove the pan from the refrigerator.  Discard the liquid collected in the bottom and reserve the pulp in the cheesecloth.
*
Grind the allspice and cloves in a spice grinder, and combine with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
*
Pour 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water into a bowl and rain the yeast over it.  Stir and set aside to activate for 5 minutes.
*
In an electric mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the yeast mixture with 3 cups flour and the powdered milk, egg, brown sugar, sea salt and pumpkin puree on a very low speed.  Over a one-minute period, add the spice mixture and the remaining 1 3/4 cup flour, a scoop at a time.  Add the butter and mix until combined.  Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the mixer bowl with a rubber spatula (the dough should be sticky), and then mix on high for 5 minutes.  The dough will become shiny, somewhat firm, and less sticky.  Transfer the dough to a bowl that's large enough for the dough to double in size.  Place the bowl in a large plastic bag, tie it loosely, and set it aside in a warm place in the kitchen until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
*
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide it in half.  Pinch off a nugget of dough about the size of a walnut from each of these halves; these will be used as the stems of the pumpkins.  At this point you should have two large pieces of dough and two walnut sized pieces.  Flatten each of the dough pieces of dough with the palm of your hand and roll them into loose balls.  Cover with a plastic bag and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
*
Reshape the dough into tight balls.  Line two medium bowls with a linen napkin and dust them generally with flour.  Place one of the large dough balls in each bowl.  Top each large ball with a small dough ball.  Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise a warm spot in the kitchen until double in size, about 1 to 1/2 hours.
*
Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and put a baking stone on it.  Place a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it with water (to increase the moisture inside the oven).  Preheat the oven to 450^F.
*
Gently turn one of the pumpkin breads into your hands.  Put the bread on a pizza peel (a flat wooden or metal shovel with a long handle) with stem side up.  With a razor blade or a sharp knife, make 1/4 inch deep cuts in the bread from the stem to the bottom, to create ribs of the pumpkin.  Immediately slide the bread onto the baking stone.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375^F and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
*
While the first pumpkin bread is baking, place the second one in a cooler spot to prevent it from over-proofing.
*
The bread is done when a thermometer placed in the center registers 200^F.  Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool at least one-hour before cutting.
*
Repeat the process for baking the second pumpkin.
Yield: two loaves  


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fried Buffalo Mozzarella

Fried Buffalo Mozzarella
This is a great recipe to serve with a tomato sauce.  It is not only a great meal starter but a crowd pleaser.
*
Ingredients:
1 4-ounce buffalo mozzarella ball
1 cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 oz. olive oil
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup roasted, julienned red and green peppers
*
Directions:
Dry mozzarella, and slice in half.  Place flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs in three shallow dishes.  Dredge each half in flour, then in eggs, then breadcrumbs and set aside.

Warm oil over medium heat.  Panfry mozzarella until soft and golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.  Serve with marinara sauce and roasted peppers.   

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Apple Upside-Down Cake
Ingredients:
For the Apple Butter:
1 vanilla bean
6 apples, peeled, cored, and
   cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Juice if one lemon wedge
1/4 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
*
For the Caramel Apples:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 apples, peeled, cored, and 
   each cut into 8 wedges
*
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
***
Directions:
Begin with the apple butter:  Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife and scrape out the pulp with the back of the knife and put the pulp and the pod in a medium saucepan.  Add the apples and a few drops of lemon juice, and the apple juice, nutmeg and sugar.  Cook and cover over medium heat until the apples are steamed soft, 7 to 10 minutes.  Smash the apples with the back of a wooden spoon until the form a sauce.  Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to allow the excess moisture to evaporate, for another 10 to 15 minutes.The apple butter is ready when it becomes thicker and smoother and has a rich tan color.  Let the apple butter cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla pod.
*
Adjust the oven to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350^F.
*
To make the caramel apples, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a 10 inch cast-iron skillet and cook over medium heat until it caramelizes to a deep golden brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Carefully add the apple wedges, transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the apples are tender but still retain their shape.  Remove from the oven and let them cool completely in the skillet.  (Leave the oven on.)
*
While the apples are cooling down, prepare the cake batter:
Cream the butter, brown sugar, salt , baking powder, and nutmeg in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the egg and 1 cup of the apple butter, and mix to combine.  Add the flour and mix just until incorporated-being careful not to overmix or the batter or the cake will be tough.  Pour the cake batter directly on the caramel apples in the cast iron skillet, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.  The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
*
Using a pair of kitchen towels or oven mitts, invert the cake:  Place a plate that's larger than the skillet over the top of the cake.  Holding the skillet on the bottom, assertively flip the skillet and plate together, inverting the cake onto the plate.  Slowly lift off the skillet.  If any apples stick to the skillet, remove them with a spatula and put them back on the cake.  Let the cake sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving it.   Serves 8 to 10

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meyer Lemon Bars

Meyer Lemon Bars
Ingredients:
For The Dough:
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Grated zest of 2 meyer lemons
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
*
For The Meyer Lemon Filling:
3 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Grated zest of 3 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 whole eggs
5 egg yolks
*
Powdered Sugar for sprinkling
***
Directions:
To make the dough, first cut the butter into cubes, spread them on a plate and freeze them for 30 minutes.
*
Meanwhile adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350^F.
*
Scatter the pine nuts on a cookie sheet and toaast them in the oven until they ar light brown , about 7 minutes.  Let them cool completely.
*
Pulse the flour, sugar, cornmeal, pine nuts, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor until the pine nuts have broken into smaller pieces.  Add the frozen butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a course cornmeal.  Transfer it to a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.  Whisk the yolks and cream together in a separate bowl and pour the mixture into the well.  Knead with your hands until the ingredients are fully combined and the dough is uniform and smooth.  Flatten it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 3 hours.
*
Roll the chilled dough between two pieces of parchment into a 15 x 17 inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.  Drape the dough inside a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, working it into the corners and up the sides of the dish.  Trim off the excess dough with a paring knife, refrigerate the dish for 30 minutes.
*

Monday, January 20, 2014

Spring Risotto



Spring Risotto
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup english peas, shelled
1 1/4 cup fava beans, shelled
1 cup fresh corn kernels
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Aborio or Carnaroli rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken stock, warmed
2 whole scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (about 1/4 cup)
2 cups rich beef broth*
*
Directions:
Fill a medium bowl with water and put about a dozen ice cubes in it and set it aside.

Bring a quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add 1 tablespoon salt, and blanch the peas in the boiling water until they are bright green and tender, about 3 minutes.  Immediately strain out the peas (reserving the water for the other vegetables) using a colander to place them in the ice water to stop them from overcooking and retain their color).  Let them cool for 2 minutes.  Reserve the peas and repeat the same process with the fava beans (3 minutes in the boiling water), and corn 5 to 7 minutes in the boiling water).

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the onions. Season them lightly with salt and pepper and sweat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter..  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to sear the grain-this step will ensure the risotto will have a bite to it.  Deglaze the pan with the wine, and simmer it until it has evaporated.  Then add 3 cups of the warm chicken stock, and cook stirring continuously, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.  If necessary, continue cooking, adding the remaining 1/2 cup stock if the risotto starts to dry out. The risotto is ready when it is al dente, with a thick creamy consistency.
*
Stir in the blanched peas, fava beans, and corn kernels, along with the scallions, Parmesan and remaining 1 tablespoon butter.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Place the risotto in individual bowls and ladle the beef broth around it, and serve.
*
Rich Beef Broth:
1 quart beef broth
1/2 onion
1/2 carrot
1/2 celery stalk
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 flat leaf parsley stem
Kosher salt and black pepper
*
Directions:
Combine all of the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes.  
*
Strain, put the liquid back into the saucepan, and reduce by half.  Season with salt and pepper.
Serves 4

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken
Does the thought of Roasted Chicken and Sunday dinner at grandma's house bring a special memory to you?  It is one of my favorites.
***
Ingredients:
1 free range organic chicken
   3 to 4 pounds
2 cups Kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 bay leaves
5 black peppercorns
1 lemon sliced into coins
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 celery stalks
***
Directions:
Carefully debone the legs and thighs while leaving them attached to the chicken.
*
Fill a large pot with 5 quarts of water and bring it to a boil over high heat.  Turn of the heat.  Add the salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, and peppercorns and stir until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.  Set the brine aside to cool completely.
*
Once the brine has cooled, put the chicken in the pot and set a heavy plate on top of it to keep it submerged.  Cover the pot with plastic wrap, put it in the refrigerator and let it set for 8 to 12 hours.
*
Pull the chicken out of the brine, rinse it under cold running water, and pat it dry with paper towels.  Discard the brine.  Leave the chicken out until it comes to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
*
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425^F.
*
Using your fingers to separate the skin from the meat, slide a lemon slice, a few grlic slices and 1 teaspoon parsley leaves under the skin of each breast.  Put the remaining lemon slices and garlic slices and parsley leaves in the chicken cavity.  Close the cavity by crossing the legs and securing them together with a wooden or metal skewer.
*
Brush the chicken with the olive oil.  Cut each celery stalk in half crosswise.  In a roasting pan, arrange the celery pieces like ties an a railroad track (you're creating a base to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan).  Lay the chicken right on top of the celery.  Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, until the skin starts to develop a tan color.  Then reduce the oven temperature to 350^F and roast for another 50 to 60 minutes, until its internal temperature registers 165^F.  (Use a meat thermometer to take the temperature, inserting it between the breast and the thigh and making sure it isn't touching the bone.  Transfer the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving. 
*
To split the chicken in half, separate the breasts by making a long cut along the spine with a sharp knife to reveal the bone.  Carefully carve each breast off the carcass and cut the joint that keeps the wing bone attached, while keeping the breast connected to the leg and thigh.  Transfer to a serving platter or two separate plates, serve immediately.  


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise
Ingredients:
2 egg yolks, must be room temp.
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground 
   black pepper
*
Directions:
In a food processor, put 1 tablespoon water, the egg yolks, a few drops of lemon juice, and the mustard in the processor.  With the processor running, gradually add a few drops of the oil.  Continue adding the oil in a thin stream-you want to do this slowly to ensure that the oil is fully emulsified into the yolks from the get-go.  Once you've incorporated about the 1 cup of the oil (the mixture should be very thick at this point), add another tablespoon of water and a few more drops of lemon juice at this point.  Season with salt and pepper, and continue to add the remaining 1/2 cup oil while the processor is running on high.  Transfer the mayonnaise to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  The mayonnaise will keep for up to three days under refrigeration.  
*
For a thinner mayonnaise, whisk more water, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.
*
Makes about 1 cup.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Best Ever Gingerbread

Everyone has a favorite gingerbread topping, perhaps whipped cream, ice cream or sauce. 
Gingerbread 
Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup salad oil
1 cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 eggs well beaten
*
In a bowl, combine the sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.  Stir in the salad oil, then the molasses, mixing well.  Mix the soda into the boiling water and immediately stir into the mixture.  Gradually blend in the flour, to prevent lumping.  Then mix in the eggs.

Turn into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan and bake at 350^F oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Makes 12 servings.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crispy Cheddar Chicken - Baked

 Crispy Cheddar Chicken - Baked
You may never fry chicken again after tasting this baked crispy chicken. 
Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken tenders or 4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Sauce:
1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoon butter

*
Directions:
Crush crackers. If using chicken breasts and not tenders, cut each chicken breast into 3 large pieces. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Then press the cheesy coated chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in.
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.
*
In a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Avocado Dressing


Avocado Dressing To Replace Ranch!
*
Cousins of mine posted this recipe on their Facebook page.  I thought it sounded like a great healthy change for a salad dressing.  Thanks Ann and Nancy!
***
Ingredients:
1 large avocado
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon hot sauce 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
*
Blend and enjoy!









Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lazarus Tuna Pasta Salad


Lazarus Tuna Pasta Salad
This recipe is from the cookbook, "Lazarus Recipes  From Our Kitchen".  Lazarus Department Stores were headquartered in Columbus Ohio.  Each store had a dining room and served freshly prepared food.   The bonus was they also sold a cookbook with the recipes. This is a recipe from that book shared by Kina Kerst from the Penzy blog. 
***
Ingredients:
8 oounces shell pasta
2 cups celery, coarse cut
2 13-ounce cans tuna fish, drained
1 cup Lazarus Dressing
*
Directions:
Cook Macaroni in salted water, drain and cool.  Drain tuna fish.  Add celery, tuna fish, and house dressing, toss lightly.

*
Lazarus Dressing
1/2 cup parsley, fresh
4 cloves garlic, fresh
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons salt 
1 tablespoon dry mustard


*
Chop parsley and garlic in blender using par of the oil.  Add all other ingredients, and blend 3 to 5 minutes.  Store in refrigerator.  Keeps 3 to 4 weeks.  Shake well before using.




Monday, January 13, 2014

Blue Cheese Stuffed Figs With Balsamic Reduction

Blue Cheese Stuffed
Figs With
Balsamic Reduction
Ingredients:
12 ripe black Mission Figs
4 oz. Spanish Blue cheese
   such as Valdeon or Cabrales
4 bamboo or metal skewers
1/4 cup rice bran or canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 handful baby arugula
*
Directions:
Adjust the oven rack to the top position and preheat the oven to 450^F.
*
Trim the stem off the figs and cut an X three-quarters of the way into the top of each fig.  Stuff each fig with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the blue cheese, and then press the fruit back into place to close.  Place 3 stuffed figs on each skewer.  Brush the figs with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange the skewers on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Roast until the figs are soft and warmed through (they should be oozing juices and slightly caramelized),  about 10 minutes.  Remove the figs from the skewers.
*
While the figs are roasting, put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until it is reduced to the thickness of honey.  You'll know it's done when large bubbles start to form.  Keep it warm until ready to use.
*
Arrange the arugula on a serving platter, place the warm figs on top, and drizzle with the warm balsamic syrup.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stanford Hospital Prune Cake

Although details are lost of the origin of this recipe which first appeared in the Sunset Magazine in the 1940's.  The hospital is still in Palo Alto, California and the cake is still a favorite.  It makes a good coffee cake as well as a dessert.
Stanford Hospital Prune Cake
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/4 cup finely chopped 
   moist-pack pitted prunes
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular
   milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons
   vinegar)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sweetened whipped cream
*
Directions:
Cream the butter and sugar well.  Add the egg yolks, and beat smooth.  Sift the flour, measure, then sift with the baking powder, soda, salt and spices.  Coat the prunes and nuts with some of the flour mixture, reserve.
*
Add remaining flour mixture a little at a time, alternately with the milk, to the butter mixture, beating smooth.  Then mix in the lemon juice, prunes, and nuts.  Beat egg whites stiff and fold into batter.
*
Pour into three greased and floured 9" round cake pans.  Bake in a 375^F oven about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Serve warm in wedges, with sweetened whipped cream on top; or put layers together with whipped cream.
Serves 12 to 16

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bread




Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Makes 2 loaves

To achieve the proper dough consistency, make sure to weigh your ingredients. The dough will appear very wet and sticky until the final few minutes of kneading; do not be tempted to add supplemental flour.

Ingredients:

Dough:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 3/4 cups (20 2/3 oz.) bread flour, plus extra for  
    work surface
3/4 cup (2 3/4 oz.) nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup (2 1/3 OZ.) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1  1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz.) golden raisins 
    • *
    • Filling:
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Egg Wash:
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with pich of salt.
  • ***
  • Directions:
  • 1. FOR THE DOUGH: Cut butter into 32 pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon flour; set aside to soften while mixing dough. Whisk remaining flour, milk powder, sugar, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Using stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add water and egg and mix on medium-low speed until cohesive mass forms, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl if necessary. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Adjust oven rack to medium position and place loaf or cake pan on bottom of oven.  Remove plastic from mixer bowl, add salt, and mix on med-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 7 to 15 minutes.  With mixer running, add butter, few pieces at a time, and continue to knead until butter is fully incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 3 to 5 minutes longer.  Add raisins and mix until incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds.  Transfer dough to large greased bowl and using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edgar of dough toward middle.  Turn bowl 90 degrees, fold again.  Turn bowl and fold dough6 more times (for a total of 8 folds).
Cover tightly with plastic and transfer to middle rack of oven.  Pour 3 cups booing water into loaf pan in oven and close door, and allow dough to rise for 45 minutes.
3. Remove bowl from oven and gently press down on center of dough to deflate. Repeat folding step (making total of 8 folds), re-cover, and return to oven until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
4. FOR THE FILLING: Whisk filling ingredients together until well combined; set aside.

5. Grease two 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pans. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide into 2 pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough, pat into rough 6 by 11-inch rectangle. With short side facing you, fold long sides in like business letter to form 3 by 11-inch rectangle. Roll dough away from you into ball. Dust ball with flour and flatten with rolling pin into 7 by 18-inch rectangle with even ¼-inch thickness. Using spray bottle, spray dough lightly with water. Sprinkle half of filling mixture evenly over dough, leaving 1/4-inch border on sides and 3/4-inch border on top and bottom; spray filling lightly with water. (Filling should be speckled with water over entire surface.) With short side facing you, roll dough away from you into firm cylinder. Turn loaf seam side up and pinch closed; pinch ends closed. Dust loaf lightly on all sides with flour and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with second ball of dough and remaining filling.

6. Working with 1 loaf at a time, use bench scraper to cut loaf in half lengthwise; turn halves so cut sides are facing up. Gently stretch each half into 14-inch length. Line up pieces of dough and pinch 2 ends of strips together. Take piece on left and lay over piece on right. Repeat, keeping cut side up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted. Pinch ends together. Transfer loaf, cut side up, to prepared loaf pan; push any exposed raisins into seams of braid. Repeat with second loaf. Cover loaves loosely with plastic, return to oven, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Remove loaves and water pan from oven; heat oven to 350 degrees. Allow loaves to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes longer (top of loaves should rise about 1 inch over lip of pan).

7. Brush loaves with egg mixture. Bake until crust is well browned, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, tent loaves with aluminum foil, and continue to bake until internal temperature registers 200 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes longer.

8. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Baked and cooled loaves can be wrapped in double layer of plastic and stored at room temperature for 2 days. To freeze bread for up to 1 month, wrap it with additional layer of foil.