Thursday, December 27, 2007

Revel Bars...

1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 14-ounce can (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until well mixed. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another large bowl stir together flour and baking soda; stir in oats. Gradually stir dry mixture into beaten mixture. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan combine the reserved butter or margarine, the sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate pieces. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and the 2 teaspoons vanilla.

3. Press two-thirds (about 3-1/3 cups) of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture over the oat mixture. Using your fingers, dot remaining oat mixture over the chocolate.

4, Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate mixture will still look moist). Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 2x1-inch bars. Makes about 75 bars.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Giada's Cinnamon Syrup

This was poured over a bread pudding . . . I think it'd be every bit as good on a plain old french toast.

1 cup water
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine 1 cup of water and brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon. Keep the syrup warm. (The syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Re-warm before serving.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Parmesan Potato Pancake

I've always had trouble with a latke . . . I'm hoping Giada's hint to squeeze out the water from the shredded potatoes (wrapped up in a towel) is the key.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch diameter) nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, about another 2 minutes. Season the onion
mixture with salt and pepper. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Reserve the pan.

Meanwhile, grate the potatoes in a food processor using the grating attachment blade. Use a kitchen towel to help squeeze out the water from the grated potatoes. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add the Parmesan and the basil. Stir to combine and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Warm the remaining olive oil over high heat in the same pan that was used to cook the onions. When the pan is hot, but not smoking add the potato mixture. Use a spatula to press the mixture down into the pan firmly and evenly. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the potato mixture until the bottom is golden brown and the pancake can move in the pan, about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low if the pancake is browning too fast in places. Place a large plate on top of the pancake and flip the pancake out of the pan. Turn the heat on the pan back up to high. When the pan is hot slide the pancake back into the pan and cook until the bottom is golden and is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a serving platter, slice, and serve.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Antonia's Cheesecake"

I know there are a million cheesecake recipes out there, but this one is my favorite. So much so that when I misplaced it I grovelled to my New York friend to write it down for a second time for me. This is the one true cheesecake.


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 T. sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

In medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar and add melted butter. Stir to combine and press crumb mixure into a 9" springform pan. Chill 30 minutes.


5 8-ounce packages softened cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 T. all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl beat cream cheese for two minutes; add sugar and gradually add flour. Mix until combined. On low speed beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla until blended. Pour into crust and bake 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cool before removing from springform pan.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cannoli Filling

2 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla

Fill each shell with cheese mixture using a narrow spatula or knife. Dip ends of filled shells in chopped pistachio nuts or miniature chocolate bits. Dust with powdered sugar.

You can buy cannoli shells at Cost Plus ready for filling . . .

P.S. I don't ever remember tasting cinnamon in cannoli filling, so I will go extra light with it the first time I mix this up.

Clam Chowder

3 oz. salt pork, minced
3/4 cup butter
1 cup onion, chopped finely
3 cups clams (minced)
3 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups clam juice (canned or bottled)
1 1/2 cups light cream
ground pepper

Fry salt pork over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Add butter and cook without browning the butter for 1 minute. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes (don't brown). Add clams, cook 3 minutes. Add potatoes and clam juice, bring to boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Add cream. Add pepper to taste.

Float 1 t. butter on top of each bowl. Serve with soda crackers/chowder crackers.

The notation next to this recipe says "from Margaret".

Canadian Pork Pie

You've probably never tasted this. I can only say that since finding this recipe it just may be Christmas Eve dinner for the rest of my life.

3 lbs. ground pork
2 large onions, sliced thin
6 medium potatoes, sliced thin
2 cups water
2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
Pie crust for 2 9" pies

Combine pork, onions, potatoes and water. Bring to boil and simmer for one hour. Pour off liquid and excess fat. Return 1 cup liquid to meat mixture. Add seasonings and mix well. Cool an divide in halves and put into pies. Have crust thicker than usual. Bake in oven 30-35 minutes at 425.

Grasshopper Pie

A favorite of mine ever since I was a kid on Cape Cod. Lot of memories associated with this one.

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/8 t. salt
2 eggs separated
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 t. peppermint flavoring
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Green food coloring
Whipped Cream

Mix gelatin, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in medium saucepan. Beat together egg yolks and milk; stir into gelatin mixture. Place over low heat; stir constantly until gelatin dissolves and mixture thickens slightly, about five minutes. Remove from heat; stir in peppermint flavoring. Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from spoon. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until very stiff. Fold into gelatin mixture; fold in whipped cream. Add enough green food coloring to make delicate green shade. Turn into Chocolate Crumb Shell. Chill until firm. Garnish with whipped cream.

Chocolate Crumb Shell

1 1/4 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Combine ingredients and press into bottom and sides of 9" pie plate. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes. Cool.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Here's what I know . . .

"Just as there are parents to greet a newborn on earth, the scriptures teach that caring family members greet the spirits in paradise and assist them in the adjustments to a new life (see Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33)".

My mum passed away Tuesday morning. Sunday morning she opened her eyes, looked at me and very clearly said "My dad is coming to get me". A blessing and a privilege it was to know her, to love her and to be with her this last week.

I will miss her...

post signature

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Mum's Chicken a la King Recipe

1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup butter
3 T. flour
2 cups milk
1 beaten egg yolk
2 1/2 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 T. finely cut pimento

Lightly brown mushrooms and green peppers in butter. Add flour and blend. Add milk and seasonings and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Stir some of the hot mixture into the egg yolk and add that mixture to he remaining hot mixture. Continue cooking 10 minutes. Add chicken and pimento. Serve on biscuits or hot buttered toast.

P.S. My mum served this on Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Buttercream Frosting

I'm posting this recipe because I've never seen anything like it. I watched that Ina lady (yawn) make this yesterday . . . she basically makes a meringue or that seven minute fluffy white frosting . . . and then adds FIVE STICKS OF BUTTER. She calls it a buttercream (you sure?) and mentioned she's used this recipe many times for wedding cakes. FYI, when she spread it on the cake she took her knife and ran it under water before going over it for the last time. It gave it a shine.

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 pounds (5 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Triple Sec or other orange liqueur (optional - you can use orange flavoring or omit completely)
1 tablespoon of food coloring (optional)

Combine the sugar with 2/3 cup water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and, without stirring, bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and allow the mixture to boil until the sugar dissolves. Uncover and continue boiling until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour the syrup into a heat-proof measuring cup.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs form stiff peaks. With the mixer on high speed, slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites. Continue beating on high speed until the mixture is absolutely at room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and then add the vanilla and liqueur. (If the mixture becomes runny, the meringue was too warm and the butter melted. Chill slightly and beat again.) Add the food coloring and combine.

Yield: 6 cups

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Matchstick Potatoes

Peanut or canola oil
2 large oval Idaho potatoes, peeled
Sea salt or kosher salt
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour at least 1-inch of oil into a deep pot and heat it to 350 degrees F.

Slice the potatoes into thin matchsticks (1/8-inch thick) with a vegetable slicer or mandoline (THANK YOU, KIDS), dropping them into a bowl of cold water as you cut. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Drop the potatoes in batches into the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pot with a wire basket skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the potatoes.
Sprinkle the potatoes with parsley, if desired, and serve hot.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fusilli with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Artichokes. Sun Dried Tomatoes. I'm in. I saw Giada make this and it's extra simple. I could easily be talked into leaving out the sausage. She also swears by the frozen artichoke hearts . . . good tip. I like fusilli because the shape of the pasta holds onto the flavors so well.
3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tablespoons of oil reserved
1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed
2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
16 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
8 ounces water-packed fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fusilli in boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse). Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Caramel Apples

Another Fall treat. Anyone remember the time I made hundreds of these for the Octoberfest at the Whiffle Tree? They were in boxes all over the house. This recipe is a good one . . . make your own caramel. It's worth it.

1/2 cup butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
Dash salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 tart apples, washed, dried

Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (10 to 12 minutes). Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball or candy thermometer reaches 245°F (20 to 25 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
Dip apples into caramel mixture and place onto buttered waxed paper.
Makes 10 apples.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jimmie Cake (sometimes called Jimmy Cake)

Today was the 4th Friday of Seminary ... it was time to introduce the Jimmie Cake. That and why they are never allowed to call jimmies 'sprinkles.' We definitely reached an understanding. They loved this cake, just like everyone does.

I've been making this cake for almost 25 years now and I'm embarrassed when people ask me for the recipe because a monkey could make it. You get your best Jimmie Cake when the outside has a sugary crunch to it. And today it did.

1 yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup water
1/3 cup jimmies (approximate)


1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 T. jimmies

Pour batter into greased tube or bundt pan and sprinkle topping over top before baking at 350 until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean and the cake starts to move away from the sides of the pan. Make sure to let this cake cool for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto a plate . . . you will have a melted chocolate mess if you take it out of the pan too early.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guacamole . . .

Ever since Labor Day in San Diego I can't get enough guacamole . . . in case you didn't get this from various posts from our weekend, we had GREAT food on that trip. I like this recipe because it's chunky.

4 ripe Haas avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes Tabasco sauce
½ cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Coconut Cake . . .

I am crazy about the coconut cake I've been making for years, but this was breathtaking. Cream cheese frosting is different on a coconut cake to me . . . check back for reviews on Sunday.

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Ina continues to be my hero.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"Long Live Clafouti"

I love Spago. The food is great and it's one of the best places in Vegas to people watch. Wolfgang Puck has always had a great pastry chef there ... for a long time it was Mary Bergin. A few years ago she left Spago and opened a tiny restaurant near my office - and I loved it. There was a small counter for lunch specials and a tiny bakery in the front of the cafe full of all kinds of delicious treats. I would stop in once a week or so . . . one afternoon she had a fresh berry clafoutis on the menu. It was so delicious I couldn't stop thinking about it. When I'd see her I always mentioned what a fan I was of her clafouti and let her know I wondered when she'd make it again. Months later she autographed her cookbook for me . . . inside it says "long live clafouti". Here's an adapted version of Ina's recipe. Substitute pears with the traditional cherries, or make it with plums or apples.

Pear Clafouti

1 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 t. almond extract
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Confectioners' sugar
Whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a 10 by 3 by 1 1⁄2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs and the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and almond extract. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and with whipped cream.

Monday, August 27, 2007

That Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing . . .

That Cafe Rio thing has become a favorite of "ours", particularly that sweet pork they put on their salads. Their salad dressings are homemade and I'm partial to the Cilantro Lime one . . . I only want a salad there just because this dressing is so delicious.

1/2 c olive oil
1 lime, juiced
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c cilantro
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t. sugar
1/8 t. salt

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro leaves, and black pepper. Process until smooth. Add sugar and salt to taste. Makes 1/2 cup.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mini Brioche Rolls

Brioche always intimidated me until I saw Ina make it recently. A visual can sometimes really help me out. She served them with a homemade strawberry jam she quickly cooked on the stove. I'm in.

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
1 package dried yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it's at least 110 degrees F when you add the yeast.) Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Still on low speed, add the soft butter in chunks and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down the beater, until well blended. With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Grease 2 sheet pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough into 20 (1 3/4-ounce) balls (rolls) and place on the sheet pans. Cover the pans with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the rolls have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Angel Food Cake

I prefer a plain angel food cake with a hot fudge sauce. My husband likes berries with his. . . and in New England many bakeries sell angel food cake with a rich chocolate frosting. Yes, I miss you Yum Yum Bakery. You and your Parker House Rolls. Give Ina's angel food cake a try.

2 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times. Set aside.

Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour by fourths by sifting and folding until it's all incorporated.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool.

Add 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons) if you prefer a Lemon Angel Food Cake.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Carrot Orange Ginger Dressing

I love Every day they send me an email with all their good and healthy "food finds" and recipes for slimming down fat filled things I love. I paid attention to this one, first, because I love ginger. More is better. Second, zero Weight Watchers' points. Free food. Gotta love it.

1 cup freshly grated carrot
1/2 cup orange juice
2 T. pickled ginger, roughly chopped (sushi ginger)
salt and pepper to taste

Place carrot and ginger in a blender and cover with orange juice. Blend at slow speed until mixture is pureed. Increase blender speed until dressing is smooth. Makes six 2-tablespoon servings.

(2 tbsp: 20 calories, 0g fat, 75mg sodium, 5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 3g sugars, 0g protein = 0 WW Points)

Nana's Chili Sauce

Makes me smile to add this recipe. It conjures up a real memory for me. My grandmother lived with us . . . and this was a signature recipe of hers. And nothing smells as good on a stove as this recipe simmering. Don't let the name fool you . . . it's more of a relish. And it's fabulous on chicken or fish . . . anything. It's worth the chopping for the smell alone.

6 14.5 oz. cans tomatoes
3 large green peppers, chopped
6 large onions, chopped
2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 T. salt
1 t. cloves
1 t. allspice
1/2 t. cinnamon
red pepper to taste
Cook till soft

This is as specific as it gets, which is funny to me. Live a little. Give it a try.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

Yikes. This cream sauce (not usually my thing) is SO flavorful. Garlic and lemon . . . and simple. I had no broccoli and no grape tomatoes . . . I added a few sun-dried tomatoes instead and a little more cheese. The secret is in that garlic lemon sauce, for sure.

This just further reinforces my need to have heavy cream in the fridge at all times.

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch broccoli
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Daffodil Cake . . .

I'm not going to kid you here . . . this is a really difficult cake. It's a combination of chiffon cake and angel food cake and I believe it's disappearing from pastry chef culture . . . you never hear about it anymore. This is my mum's favorite . . .

10 egg whites
1 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups sifted flour
6 egg yolks
1/2 t. orange extract
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Wash tube pan in hot soapy water to ensure it is totally grease free.

Whip egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and salt and continue to whip. When whites form soft peaks gradually sprinkle in sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Remove half of whipped egg whites to a separate bowl.

Fold 3/4 cup of cake flour, orange extract and egg yolks into one half of the egg whites until evenly blended. Fold remaining 1/2 cup cake flour into other bowl of egg whites, along with the vanilla. Spoon 1 cup of batter at a time, alternating colors, into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes and reduce heat to 325. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when pressed. Without removing cake from pan invert it onto a wire rack to cool.

Golden Vanilla Layer Cake

This is from Gale Gand's Chocolate and Vanilla (see previous post below).

3 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour walls of two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottom with circle of parchment paper.

Sift flour and baking powder and set aside. In mixer beat butter with sugar until blended. One at a time add eggs. Whip in vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake until golden and firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans.

One note: if you're adding almond with vanilla it HAS to be good. Anything is better with almond extract.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pavlova . . .

4 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sweetened Whipped Cream

1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
Triple Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)

Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat!

Yield: 1 cup

Triple Raspberry Sauce:

1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur (I omitted)

Place the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Yield: 2 cups

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Deep Chocolate Shortbread

I read a recent review of this cookbook, Chocolate and Vanilla by Gale Gand*. I had to read it. Immediately. Thank you (once again) local library. The review mostly made me interested in the recipe for Deep Chocolate Shortbread . . . it raved about this dense cookie and labeled it a definite keeper.

Just a few ingredients (ones you typically have in your house) and it was extra simple to make. They'd be pretty packaged in a clear cellophane bag tied with twine.

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 3/4 cups plus 2 T. flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and add vanilla, flour, cocoa powder and salt until just blended.

Dust work surface with flour and turn dough out onto it. Knead dough by hand enough to form it into a smooth ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into 1/4" thick square. Transfer dough to parchment lined cookie sheet by rolling it up around the rolling pin and then unrolling onto the paper. Roll dough a little bit more once it's on the cookie sheet to make it slightly thinner. Using a fork prick the surface of the dough all over. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake shortbread until firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately cut shortbread into 24 rectangles. Let cool before storing in airtight container at room temperature.

*Interestingly enough I enjoyed the vanilla recipes in her cookbook even more than the chocolate. The older I get the more I appreciate the vanilla flavor, even more than chocolate. That's something I never thought I'd say. One half of this cookbook features vanilla recipes. You turn it around to read her chocolate recipes. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Almond Bars


1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt


1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and almond and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

You can substitute pecans . . .

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Chocolate Frosting

6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 t. pure vanilla
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Chop chocolate and place in bowl over pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 more minutes. Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add chocolate and mix until blended. Spread immediately on cooled cake.

Lauren, Katie and Tamara say this is a keeper.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Mustard Sauce from Joe's Stone Crab

3.5 t. Coleman's Dry English Mustard
1 c. mayonnaise
2 t. worcestershire sauce
1 t. A-1 sauce
1/8 t. salt
2 T. light cream

Mix all ingredients except cream and beat slowly. Gradually, while beating constantly, add the cream. Beat at slow speed until sauce thickens. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.