Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sausage Balls

1/2 cup finely chopped
4 cups shredded sharp
cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped
1 1/2 cups
1/2 tsp
garlic powder
2 lbs Jimmy Dean

  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Form into 1 inch balls.
  • Bake at 375 degree for 15 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. May also be baked individually in a mini-muffin pan.

These may be frozen for later use. Freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then place in freezer bags. They may be put into the oven frozen, but the cooking time will be longer.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Brownie Batter:

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter:

6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square metal baking pan.

For the Brownies:

Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture by hand.

For the Cheesecake:

In a separate bowl, beat together all ingredients.

To assemble:

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan. Spread the pumpkin batter over it, distributing evenly. Drop the remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. To make the swirls, run a butter knife back and forth through the pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely and chill before cutting and serving.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pumpkin-Craisin Muffins

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour (you could probably use all white-whole wheat flour, but I wasn't feeling adventerous)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or vegetable oil, if you're not calorie counting)1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup Craisins (could also use raisins)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

  • Preheat oven to 400 and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Sift together flours, baking powder and soda, salt and spices.
  • In a seprarate bowl, beat egg with brown sugar until well combined.
  • Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, applesauce and pumpkin puree.
  • Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Fold in nuts (if using) and Craisins.
  • Pour mixture into muffin cups and bake approximately 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Black Bean Croquettes

2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
1 t. cumin
1 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 plus 1/3 c. breadcrumbs (panko or Italian)
2 c. finely chopped tomatoes*
2 scallions, sliced*
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro*
1 t. chili powder, divided
1/4 t. salt
1 T. olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 425. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Mash black beans and cumin with a fork in a large bowl until no whole beans remain. Stir in corn and 1/4 c. breadcrumbs. Combine tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, 1/2 t. chili powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir 1 c. of the tomato mixture into the black bean mixture.
  • Mix the remaining 1/3 c. breadcrumbs, oil, and remaining 1/2 t. chili powder in a small bowl until the breadcrumbs are coated with oil. Divide the bean mixture into 8 scant 1/2 c. balls. Lightly press each bean ball into the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake the croquettes until heated through and the breadcrumbs are goldren brown, about 20 minutes.

Makes 4 servings, 2 croquettes each

405 calories/serving, 12 g fat (2 g sat)

16 g protein, 16 g fiber, 61 g carbs

*You may also use about 1 c. bottled salsa, plus more for serving.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Beef and Black Bean Burritos

8 oz. lean ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
6-8 inch flour tortillas
1 to 1-1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

  • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, along with the onion, and garlic.
  • Stir in cumin, chili powder, and coriander. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the black beans, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes. Spoon the beef mixture down the center of a tortilla and top with the cheese and and other of your favorite taco toppings.

optional additional toppings: shredded lettuce, taco sauce, sour cream, and any other of your favorite taco toppings

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pork Chops in Garlicky Sauce

Serves 4

4 thick bone-in pork chops (about 2 lbs). I used boneless chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T. olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped bell pepper
1.5 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces. I didn't peel them
1 C. peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato. I skipped this
1/2 t. pimenton, bittersweet if available. I left this out because I don't know what it is!
Pinch of ground cloves
Freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 C. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and let them stand for 30 minutes. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and fry the chops, turning to brown both sides, for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the skillet.
  • Add the onion, green pepper, and potatoes and saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 C. water, 1/2 t. salt, the pimenton, cloves, nutmeg, and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 30 minutes.
  • Return the pork chops and and juices to the pan and reheat gently until the chops are cooked through, 5-10 minutes.
  • Puree the garlic and parsley in a blender with 1/3 C. water. Stir into the skillet and combine with the pan juices. Cook for 5 minutes.

From Cooking From the Heart of Spain by Janet Mendel

Monday, May 19, 2008

German-Style Lentil Soup

To serve 4; good with bread

1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
garlic powder, thyme, and black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
5-6 cups broth (chicken or beef) or water
1 potato, chopped, OR 1/3 cup quick-cooking barley
1/4 to 1/2 lb cooked smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
1 14-oz can diced or stewed tomatoes (optional), drained, their liquid counted as part of the broth measure

  • Sauté the carrot, celery, and onion in a little oil until soft.
  • Add lentils, meat, tomato if using, potato or barley, broth, bay leaf, and seasonings to taste.
  • Simmer on low approx. 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft, adding more broth if soup gets too thick.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Creole Buttermilk-Black Pepper Dressing

Prep time 10 minutes
Makes 6-8 servings (1 cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip)
1/4 cup sour cream (low-fat okay)
1 T. Creole Mustard
2 T. finely chopped shallot or onion
3 T. buttermilk
1 t. prepared horseradish, optional
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. (or more to taste) freshly ground black pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. If you want it a little more tart, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mint Julep Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
~1 ounce mint sprigs (about 1/4 of a bunch)
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon (less if you want a less strong bourbon taste)

  • Heat the heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the half-and-half, and the mint in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it is just on the verge of boiling. Turn off the heat, cover, and let it steep for about 30 minutes.
  • Strain the cream into a small bowl.
  • Into a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow. Slowly whisk the cream into the egg mixture and return it to the same saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  • Strain the custard into a bowl and cook in an ice bath, then add the remaining 1 & 1/2 cups half-and-half and the bourbon.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Allow to ripen in the freezer for about an hour before enjoying.

Makes 1 quart.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grilled Lime Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

Grilled Chicken Ingredients:
Juice of 4-5 limes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup+ (more to taste) chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red onion, halved then sliced into 1/4” strips

Black Bean Sauce Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 quart filtered water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
Stems from one bunch of cilantro, chopped into 1/4” bits (approx. 1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Combine the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper in a glass bowl and mix well. Trim the chicken breasts, then add to the marinade. Cover lightly and marinate, turning the chicken occasionally, for 2 hours at room temp (or overnight in the fridge).
  • Prepare Black Bean Sauce while chicken is marinating. Place beans in a large sauce-pan or soup pan, and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water if needed. Remove bay leaves, then transfer the bean mixture to a food processor. Process well, adding water if needed to make desired consistency. This is where having an immersion blender comes in handy!
  • Preheat oven to 350° F, and prepare grill (gas or hot coals). Place the red onion slices in the bottom of a shallow, oven-proof dish, then cover with chicken breasts and marinade. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil, then bake for 15-20 minutes (only until the chicken is opaque). Remove the chicken breasts and onions to a platter (separate them) and set aside. Save the marinade for grilling.
  • Place the chicken breasts on the grill over very hot coals or gas flame, and grill until they are thoroughly cooked but still moist (approximately 2 minutes on each side). Drizzle with remaining marinade while cooking. Remove to platter when grilled.
  • Serve the grilled chicken with the red onions, drizzle with the black bean sauce. Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes or fresh cilantro - or serve with a leafy green side salad - as desired.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Panko-Breaded Chicken Fingers

1-1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Few drops of Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
Drop of honey, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips
Spicy ketchup or honey mustard (store-bought or homemade), for dipping

  • Preheat the broiler, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place panko in a pie plate or other flat rimmed bowl.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, honey and black pepper, and stir.
  • Dip the chicken strips into the mayonnaise mixture, and then roll them in the panko, pressing lightly to make sure the crumbs adhere.
  • Place on the baking sheet, and cook under the broiler, turning once, for a total of 6-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the panko is browned. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oven-Crisp Black Bean and Corn Flautas

Serves 6

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp chili powder
1 16-oz tub prepared salsa, divided
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until translucent and fragrant.
  • Stir in beans, chili powder and 1 cup water. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 10 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Mash beans until mixture is thickened but still chunky, and some beans remain whole. Stir in 1 cup salsa and corn, and season with salt and pepper. Cool.
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. Spoon 1/3 cup black bean mixture down center of tortilla. Roll tortilla around filling, and secure closed with toothpick. Set on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and black bean mixture. Bake 6 to 10 minutes, or until tortillas are browned and crisp.
  • Meanwhile, combine cilantro and remaining salsa in small bowl. Place 2 flautas on each plate, and top with remaining salsa.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fresh Strawberry Ice-Cream

Sweet cream base:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
1 cup milk

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1 lemon (optional)

  • Combine strawberries, lemon juice/zest, and 1/3 cup sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Once strawberries have refrigerated, prepare the sweet cream base. Whisk eggs in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the sugar and continue whisking for a minute longer. Add the cream and milk, stir until fully combined.Combine the strawberry mixture into the sweet cream base.
  • Pour into an ice-cream mixer and mix according to mixer instructions.
Fresh Berry Tarts

1/3 C. sugar
3 T. vanilla sugar*
1/2 c. butter
2 large eggs
2 1/2 C. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

*you could also use all regular sugar and add a little vanilla extract to the mixture.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz. package reduced fat cream cheese (aka Neufchatel cheese)
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract

2 T. vanilla sugar (see note above)
You will need a total of about 3 pints of berries total. The original recipe calls for setting aside 24 perfect berries to put on top of the tarts, but I ended up with more like 36 tarts, so be sure to set aside plenty of berries for topping. You will need at least one pint of strawberries to make the topping, but the other two pints can be pretty much any berry you want.

To prepare the crust, cream sugar and butter together until fluffy. Beat in the 2 eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; pour into the mixer at low speed until blended. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate in the fridge at least a few hours. Can also be chilled overnight.

Next, prepare the topping. Slice any strawberries that will not be used whole, about 1 pint total. Top with vanilla sugar and mix well with a spoon. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

Once the dough has been chilled sufficiently, prepare the filling. Mix the sweetened condensed milk with the cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until creamy. Next you'll be rolling out the dough: leaving half the dough in the fridge, roll out the other half very thin - about 1/8 of an inch. If you go much thicker you'll wind up with cookie blobs instead of tarts. You'll also need to flour your surfaces very well - put flour down on the cutting board or counter, then plop the dough down. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the dough blob, flour your rolling pin, then start rolling. I find that the easiest way to accomplish all this is to fill an empty shaker jar with flour. Use a biscuit cutter or wide-mouthed jar to cut out circled that are approximately 3 to 3-1/2 inches across. Carefully drop each circle of dough into a greased nonstick cupcake pan - I used both standard size and mini-cupcake pans, and I found that while both work well, I liked the shape of the smaller sized ones better. Top each shell with 2 T. of the cream cheese filling. Don't overfill. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the crust is golden and the filing is puffy and firm to the touch. Remove the tarts from the pan immediately.

Now you're ready to top the tarts with your whole berries. I ended up quartering some nice-looking strawberries and using two quarters for each tart, along with either a blueberry, a raspberry, or a blackberry, but just do whatever looks good to you. Next, take the strawberry topping out of the fridge. Pour a small amount over each tart - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. The topping will help hold everything together and adds a nice fresh taste, but if you prefer you can brush on a little of your favorite jam. Once you are done pouring off the syrup for the topping, you will have some macerated strawberries leftover. These are tasty on top of vanilla ice cream, or you can use them to make strawberry ice cream!

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy! These are a lot of work but are very elegant and tasty.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dill Roasted Salmon

Prep time: less than 5 minutes
Roasting time: 20 minutes or so depending on how thick the salmon fillet is
Serves 2

2 salmon fillets, skin left on
Enough fresh dill to be the base for the salmon
1 tsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp fresh dill, chopped (more for garnish)
Sprinkle of smoky paprika (brings out flavor and adds even more color)

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a small roasting pan, large enough to hold the fillets so they are not touching each other, place a bed of fresh dill. This should only be enough for the salmon to rest on. Exposed dill will burn at this high temperature.
  • Lay the salmon, skin side down on the dill, drizzle with olive oil, spritz the lemon juice and sprinkle with paprika and a little chopped dill. Bake for 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through
  • Slide the salmon off its skin and onto a plate, spritz with a little more lemon juice and garnish with chopped dill.

Optional: serve with lemony dill mayo

big dollop of mayonnaise

1-2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

Dill and Cheddar Beer Bread

Basic Beer Bread Mix:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
To Make Dill and Cheddar Bread:
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces beer
Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, dill, and cheddar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick.
  • Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan, brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Flavor Variations:
Garlic & Herb: Add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon garlic flakes) to the basic mix. For fresh herbs, use 1 chopped Tablespoon of each.
Dill & Chive: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives to the basic mix.
Rosemary & Feta: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces) to the basic mix.
Italian: Add 1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano (or 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and oregano), 2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan or romano cheese to the basic mix.
Other Additions: Any dried or fresh herbs; 1/2 cup freshly grated asiago (or other hard cheese); 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped scallions; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or 1/2 cup oats in place of 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour. Or practically anything else you can think of--just use your imagination.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
2/3 cup sugar (I used half Splenda and half sugar - next time I'll probably try all Splenda)
2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch (bourbon would probably also be good)
1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.
  • Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is almost smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.
  • Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shredded Beef Tacos

2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 3 inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp oil, divided1 jar red chile sauce (15 oz. or more)

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Season the beef with salt and pepper.
  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat bring 1 Tbsp oil up to temp. Brown half of the beef on all sides, about 1 minute per side.
  • Remove from pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil if needed and brown other half of beef the same way.-Return first batch of beef, with juices, to the pan and cover with red chile sauce. Cover dutch oven with heavy duty tinfoil and then lid.
  • Place in the oven and cook until beef is tender and can easily be pulled apart with a fork, about 4 hours.
  • Transfer the beef to a bowl, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 20 minutes.-Reserve the sauce and let cool.
  • Shred the beef with two forks or a knife. Skim fat off the sauce, then stir about 1 cup or more back into the beef.
  • Serve with warmed tortillas, and all the fixins.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
2/3 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, kept in the freezer until used
  1. Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.
  2. While the mint is infusing in step 1, prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside. You will use this in step 6.
  3. Using a different strainer (or just wash this one later), strain the milk cream mixture into a bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  5. Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes. When the custard base coats the back of the spoon and you can run your finger across the coating and have it not run, it is ready and should be removed from heat immediately.
  6. Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking.
  7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  8. Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

**Note that there is no alcohol in this recipe. A few teaspoons of some spirits such as rum or bourbon will help keep the ice cream soft over several days. Even the alcohol in vanilla extract will help. If you have no added alcohol in a homemade ice cream recipe, you will need to eat it up quickly - in a day or two; beyond that point the ice cream will quickly get very very hard.
Makes 1 quart.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Beef Stew

You can use cheap cuts of beef for this recipe like shin or flank. Even though those cuts might contain sinew, the slow cooking will melt them and you'll end up with tender cubes of meat that almost fall apart.

1. Chop beef into cubes and coat it with some plain (all purpose) flour, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of paprika, all mixed together. Dry fry in a bit of oil, in small portions, until all the meat is brown. It's not cooked at this point, just brown on the outside. Put the meat aside on a plate.
2. Add one chopped onion - another way of adding flavour to food. Even if you don't like the taste of raw onion, it should be added to food because it will add a depth of flavour you won't get without it. Fry the onion until it too is a light brown colour. When it's light brown, that means you've also caramelised the sugars in the onion - and therefore developed its flavour.
3. Chop up two carrots and two sticks of celery. Again, you don't have to like the flavour of these foods as they won't taste like they taste fresh, but they'll add flavour to your dish. Cook these vegetables until the celery has turned bright green.
4. Add pinch of salt and pepper and stir. It's much better to add small amounts of salt and pepper throughout this type of cooking, instead of once large amount at the end. Adding small amounts at the various stages will add layers of flavour instead of just adding seasoning.
5. At this point you could add a variety of other flavours - such as chilli, tomato, paprika, curry etc - or you could leave them out and go on to the next step. If you so add an extra flavour, add it, stir it in and make sure it's well incorporated into the other ingredients before going on.
6. Add the meat back to the pot and pour in some stock or water, enough to just cover the meat, a small amount of salt and pepper, stir again, bring to the boil and stir again. Place the lid on the pot and put it in the oven to slowly cook (150C) for about 2 hours.
When it's cooked, taste for flavour. At this point the meat will be tender and there will be a thick sauce covering the meat. Serve with mashed potato and green beans.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Key Lime Cake

1 box lemon cake mix
1 small box lemon instant pudding (3.4 oz)
1 c. water
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. key lime juice (regular lime juice is fine if you can't find key limes)

2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. key lime juice (regular lime juice is fine if you can't find key limes)

Beat cake ingredients together until well blended. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 325* for approximately 50-55 minutes. In the meantime, combine the glaze ingredients. While the cake is still warm, prick the top several times with a fork and pour the glaze evenly over the top.

*I used a mini bundt cake pan and baked at 325 for about 15 minutes. It made 12 cakes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blueberry-Buttermilk Pancakes

1 C all-purpose flour
2 tbs cornmeal
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt1 beaten egg
1 C buttermilk or sour milk* (I used sour milk, see directions below)
2 tbs cooking oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C fresh blueberries or strawberries
  • Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and set aside.
  • In another bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk or sour milk, oil, and vanilla. Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in berries.
  • Heat and grease gridle or skillet. Pour about 1/4 of batter onto hot surface. Cook over medium heat and flip when edges brown and bubbles form over surface. Cook for another two minutes or so. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

*To Make Sour Milk:For each 1 C of Milk, pour 1 tbs of white vinegar into the bottom of measuring cup. Pour in enough milk to equal 1 C of liquid. Set aside for a few minutes for milk to sour. Use in place of buttermilk.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Chocolate Fondue

1/2 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk (I used evaporated milk)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur or vanilla or hazelnut syrup (I skipped this)
2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (I used dark chocolate chips)
2 teaspoons vanilla
whole strawberries, hulled and washed; or assorted sliced fruit, cake, or other berries

In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the cream or milk, salt, and liqueur or syrup, and corn syrup to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the chocolate all at once. Stir until the chocolate is melted. If all the chocolate doesn't melt, return the pan briefly to the heat, and stir until it's melted completely. Stir in the vanilla, then pour the chocolate into the fondue pot. Serve with sliced fruit or chunks of cake. Yield: 1 1/2 cups, 4 to 8 servings.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rosemary French Bread

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 and a half teaspoons)
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon butter, softened
17 tablespoons warm water (1 cup plus 1 T)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer’s directions, start dough cycle. You may have to add up to ½ c. more flour, depending on the humidity in your area and the makeup of the flour. The dough should be in a moist-looking ball while mixing in the machine, pulling away from the sides.
  • When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  • Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half, creating two 8x12 inch rectangles.
  • Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end.
  • Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This brine works well on fillets of tuna, salmon, orange roughy and trout. Brining fish is faster than meats. You need real maple syrup for best results.

1 qt water
2 TBS kosher salt
2 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS brown sugar
1 bunch fresh dill, coarsely chopped (about 1/ 2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 LBs fish fillets, center cuts if possible


  • Combine the water, salt, maple syrup and brown sugar in a large non reactive (glass) container.
  • Stir to dissolve the salt.
  • Add dill, garlic, and pepper.
  • Submerge the fish skin side up in the brine.
  • Cover the container and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours.
  • To cook, remove the fish from the brine and pat dry. Brush or spray with oil. To grill, put on a sheet of foil directly on the grill rack over medium heat (350-400 degrees) for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.