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Friday, December 4, 2020

Uncle Sam's Cincinnati Five-way Chili (Skyline-style)

Here's a yummy and hearty recipe from my brother and Betsy's uncle.  




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Cincinnati Five-way Chili (Skyline-style)
guest post by Uncle Sam


Souce: a pamphlet from the American Heart Association years ago
Serves: About three

Ingredients:

1 lb. hamburger (lean for healthy, fatty for tasty)
2 medium onions, diced (one onion to cook, one to serve raw as a garnish)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teas chili powder (or 1/2 teas red chile flakes) 
1/2 teas ground cumin
1/2 teas ground cinnamon
1/4 teas ground allspice 
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz. can, NOT drained)
1 can kidney beans (14 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
3 T apple cider vinegar
2 T (heaping) semisweet chocolate chips
Grated cheddar cheese (as a garnish)
1/3 lb. spaghetti 


Brown the hamburger and sweat about half of the diced onions in a large pot. Bloom the minced garlic (heat directly against a cleared portion of the inner surface of the pot) for about two minutes. Bloom the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice in the pot for about one minute. Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, vinegar, and chocolate chips. Simmer (the longer the better, all day if you have time, adding water if necessary). Cook the spaghetti to al dente in a separate pot about 15 minutes before serving. 

Serve in bowls, placing the chili directly on top of the spaghetti. Garnish with diced raw onions and grated cheddar cheese.

Note: the proportions of beef and bean can be  modified (if you don't have enough beef, use another can of beans). 



Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pecan Bars

I've been a long-time fan of pecan pie but I may come to prefer the buttery, nutty flavor of these bars, especially once I detach myself from the sentiment resulting from years of gooey, oversweet pies at holiday meals.



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Pecan Bars

Makes a 9X13 pan, about 24 bars

High altitude (4300-5300 ft) advice:  Check to see if bars are done at least 5 minutes before the recommended time. Mine were rather like hard butterscotch on the edges and they were baked for the lower amount of  time. 

For the crust:

8 T unsalted butter, melted
6 T granulated sugar
1/2 teas salt
1 3/4 AP flour

For the topping:

3/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
7 T unsalted butter, melted and hot
1 teas vanilla extract
1/2 teas salt
4 c (1 pd) pecan halves, toasted
1/2 teas flake sea salt (optional)

First toast the pecans. Recipe authors recommend you don't use pecan pieces.  If you can't find halves or can't go shopping use what you have (you could even use walnuts.) I had on hand New Mexico-grown pecans which come in rough quarter pieces and I used about half a cup less since I was afraid the butter mix wouldn't cover everything.

Make the crust:

Place the oven rack on the lowest position and preheat to 350F. Prepare a 9X13 pan by making a foil sling, generously lining your pan with foil and leaving extra over the narrow sides for removing the cooled bars. Push the foil into the corners as fully as you can without tearing it. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray. 

To save on clean up, melt the butter in a medium glass bowl in a microwave. Mix in the salt and granulated sugar; stir, and then mix in the flour and stir until a dough forms. (If you prefer to melt your butter outside of the microwave, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl of any kind and pour the butter over.) You will likely need to use your hands to get the flour to mix in completely. It is ready when you squeeze a little of the dough in your hand and it remains in place and no streaks of flour remain. Take rough walnut size pieces of the dough and place over the bottom of the prepared pan. Press them together using your fingertips and palms. Smooth the dough as well and as evenly as you can. It's best not to have holes. 

Make the topping:

Wipe out the bowl you've already used with a paper towel and add the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk together for about 20 seconds; at first it will look like is won't come together but keep stirring. Fold in the pecans until nuts are all coated evenly.

Use a spatula to pour the nut mixture over the crust; it will be easier if you pour some near the corners. Spread it evenly over the crust and lightly push some nuts into each corner and to all edges. The recipe authors said there might be inconsequential bare patches but I had no problem with this. Place in the oven  and bake until the topping is even over the top and is rapidly bubbling over the entire surface, 23-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 90 minutes. This may be hard to do but let them sit at least an hour so you can get them out of the pan. More importantly, let them cool so you don't end up with what my dentist calls "pizza palate."


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Lemon Dijon Green Beans

Most summers I grow more green beans than I can eat and then I don't eat them again until the next summer. Because this recipe doesn't take too long, it fits nicely into my rotation so I don't get bored dealing with the overabundance.






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Lemon Dijon Green Beans


This dish is meant to be eaten at room temperature or cool. But I'm sure you could eat it hot.
 
Serves 2-3

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed (or use yellow wax beans or dragon tongue beans)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 T Dijon mustard
1/4 teas salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teas agave nectar
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 teas chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 T fresh parsley or dill)

Cook beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes or so until crisp-tender. Drain the water and shock the beans with cold water.

Mix together the lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, agave, and garlic in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in while continuing to whisk it all together. Stir in the tarragon and toss this mixture with the beans. Serve immediately or reheat in the microwave if you prefer to eat the beans warm.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Peach and Celery Salad with Pistachios

I had hoped to sneak one more peach recipe in before it became time for pumpkin and winter squash recipes. Didn't make it. However, there is always next year. Just don't forget;  this unusual combination of ingredients works very well together. 




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Peach and Celery Salad with Pistachios


Adapted from: Cooking Light
Serves 3-4


2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 teas kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teas freshly ground black pepper
3 c diagonally sliced celery
3 c sliced peaches
3 c baby arugula
1/4 c basil, cut in chiffonade (thin slices)
1/4 c chopped salted pistachios

Whisks the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bottom of a medium sized bowl. Add the celery and stir to make sure celery is completely coated. Gently stir in the peaches and arugula. With another gentle stir, add the basil. Top with the pistachios and serve.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Brown Sugar Peach Muffins

Here's one more yummy peach recipe while it's still fall. Although very tasty, the peach butter definitely gilds the lily but it does add extra peach flavor (and will use up peaches if you have that need--how I wish I had that problem this year).


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Brown Sugar Peach Muffins


Source: Washington Post 
Yield: about 20

4-5 fresh peaches, preferably ripe
4 c flour, you can use some wheat flour if you like
2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
1 teas kosher salt
2 T baking powder
1 teas baking soda
1/4 teas ground allspice
2 large eggs
2 c regular or low-fat sour cream (no nonfat sour cream here)
1/2 c vegetable oil
sugar for sprinkling--Swedish pearl sugar, or demerara, something that won't melt while baking is best


Peach Butter

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teas kosher salt
1/2 teas ground cinnamon
1/4 teas ground cardamom
1/4 teas vanilla extract
1 teas maple syrup (optional)


Set your oven to 400F and preheat. Place paper baking cups in standard size muffin pans. If you have only one pan, you can bake the extra batter after the first batch comes out of the oven.

Remove pits from the peaches. You may peel them if you like but it isn't necessary. Cut the peaches into half inch chunks, or chop to that size, although you'll likely have less uniform bits. Save one generous cup of chopped peaches for the butter, if you are going to make it. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and allspice. Move mixture to the sides of the bowl to make a well.

Mix together the eggs, sour cream and oil in a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl, and pour into the well. Stir until just moistened, forming a lumpy, rather firm batter. 

Use a large ice cream scoop or a measuring cup to fill the paper baking cups, filling them to the top or mounding the batter slightly. Sprinkle with the sugar of your choice and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

In the meantime make the peach butter, if desired:

Place all ingredients except maple syrup in a mini food processor, or use a stick blender in a bowl. Puree all together until mostly smooth. Taste the butter and if you want it a bit sweeter, add some of the maple syrup.

When the muffins are finished (use a toothpick to test that there is no wet batter) place them on a cooling rack using tongs. If you used only one muffin tin, divide the remaining batter among paper cups, sprinkle with sugar, and bake the rest.

Serve the muffins while warm with the butter if you made it.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Peach Poundcake

I know it's October, but it is still firmly harvest season for me, and I'm nursing a few more peach desserts out of the quarter bushel of peaches slowly going bad in my fridge. Here was a decadent one I tried recently. The simple peach glaze on this cake is out of this world. Judging from the picture on the original recipe, I need to make more of it next time. 



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Peach Poundcake

Yield: one 9X5 cake

The recipe specifies red-hued peaches. The bolder the color of the peaches you use, the more blush will color the glaze will have. However, if you are bothered by tiny flecks of skin you can peel the peaches. Don't let current shopping difficulties keep you from trying this cake. You can even use frozen peaches.

To bake at altitudes around 5000 feet, make these changes:
add 2 1/2 T flour
remove 1 1/2 T granulated sugar

1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks) melted and cooled to room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 1/2 c all purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3 medium, ripe, red-hued peaches (about a pound)
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten
1 1/2 teas vanilla extract
1 c unsifted confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 1/2 teas baking powder
3/4 teas kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9X5 loaf pan by lightly buttering and flouring it.

Dice 1 peach into 1/3-inch pieces. Use a paper towel to pat them dry and set them aside. 

Place the remaining 2 peaches in a food processor or blender and purée them by running on high. Place 1 level cup of the purée into a mixing bowl followed by the butter, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Combine with a whisk.

Scrape down the sides of the processor or blender and make the icing with the remaining peach purée. Add 1 c confectioners' sugar to the purée and blend on high until well mixed. The glaze should be thick but a consistency that can be drizzled. To adjust add more sugar or water. Set aside, covered, until time to glaze the cake.

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the peach mixture to the flour mixture and whisk or stir well until well combined. Fold in the diced peaches. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use the spatula to even out the top of the cake. Move to the oven and bake until the cake is crusty and golden brown about 75-80 minutes. Text by inserting a toothpick in the center. It should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven. After 10 minutes cooling in the pan invert the cake and carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a cooling rack . 

While the cake is still warm, stir the icing one more time and spread or drizzle it over the top of the cake. Allow the extra to drizzle down the sides. 

Completely cool the cake and slice and serve. You can gild the lily by serving with peaches and cream.

Tightly wrap the leftovers and store on the counter for no more than 3 days if it makes it that long.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Melanie's Green Chile Stew

Late summer and early fall bring an unmistakable and delicious aroma to New Mexico when the chile harvest is roasted in gas cylinder roasters at roadside stands, markets, and supermarkets. It's one of the best things about living in New Mexico and I've missed it this year since I'm home more. However, I was able to purchase chile curbside from a grocery store and roasted them on my grill so I didn't totally miss out on the pleasant smell of roasted chile. This soup is from my sister-in-law who is a native New Mexican with special thanks from my brother Sam who gave me his copy of the recipe. 



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Melanie's Green Chile Stew


This is one of those home recipes with a good deal of latitude about ingredient amounts, especially with the green chile. Chile can come mild, medium, or hot and people come with varying abilities to tolerate the heat. The original recipe calls for at least a cup and a half of chopped green chile. While the heat is an important aspect of this soup, the flavor of the chile is paramount in my mind. If you are like me, a bit of a wimp when faced with high heat, you should look for mild chile. Stir in a little at a time and taste as you go. I know from experience there's nothing quite like the dismayed look on the faces of a table full of hungry folks who can't eat what you cooked for them. 

 As for potatoes, I think a waxy potato is best, but if you don't mind a russet falling apart while cooking go ahead and use a baking potato. 

2 pds ground beef
1-2 onions, depending on size
salt and pepper to taste
several cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 quarts chicken broth
4-6 potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
green or Hatch chile, see note above--stir in a little at a time, tasting as you go
1 T ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
mexican oregano
bay leaf

Brown the ground beef with the onions. When the onions are translucent and the beef is browned, add the garlic and cook for just a minute. Add the broth. Stir in the potatoes, chile, spices and herbs. Cook until the potatoes are done. Serve with flour tortillas, or corn, if you prefer. Chopped epazote as a garnish is delicious but not everyone can lay their hands on it.

Note: 

I suppose you could substitute poblano chile for the Hatch, or New Mexican chile and this would still be good but it wouldn't be quite the same. New Mexican chile is becoming more available all the time and I've heard of it being sold in Utah, Colorado, and Virginia, so I imagine it is being introduced other places as well. Hoping you can try it with the real thing sometime.  

Grilled Corn Salad

Although this was featured on the Mexican cooking show, Pati's Mexican Table, it doesn't seem exclusively Mexican. I'm certain this salad could be used for a number of other cuisines by changing the herbs or adding other vegetables. I think this would be great with basil or oregano to accompany an Italian meal  The next time I have it with Mexican, I'm going to use epazote or Mexican oregano  instead of the mint and chives.






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Grilled Corn Salad


Adapted from Pati Jinich's recipe
Serves 6-8

4-6 ears of corn (I found 4 large ears to be sufficient) equaling 6-7 c of corn kernels
10 scallions (or substitute yellow onion slices, chop after grilling)
5 T olive oil
1 1/2 pds cherry tomatoes
1 teas kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T red wine vinegar
1/4 c chopped or torn mint
1/4 c chopped chives, garlic chives if you have them


Remove the husks from the corn and rinse and dry. Heat a grill or a cast iron grill pan on your stovetop. When warm, cook the ears of corn for about 20 minutes until they are charred and cooked through. Remove from the grill and add the scallions and grill until charred. Watch these carefully or consider turning down the grill heat since they can over cook easily. Set aside.  When you are able to handle the corn, cut the kernels off each cob and cut the scallions in one-inch pieces. Place in a salad bowl. These can be refrigerated for a couple of days before you serve the salad if needed.

Place the 5 T olive oil into a large skillet and heat over medium high to high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes have released some of their juices and, if you like, continue cooking until the tomatoes have begun to char. I didn't do this because I wanted all the released tomato juice and didn't want it to burn in the skillet.

 Stir the vinegar into the corn and scallion mix. Add the tomatoes and the juice and oil to the salad. Stir gently. Add the mint and chives and stir once more. Serve.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Chicken with Black-eyed Peas and Cherry Tomatoes

As we approach the end of summer, my garden-based meals start to reflect heartiness often found in fall and winter dishes. I credit the harvest of my black-eyed peas. This recipe is one that can be enjoyed all year round. 



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Chicken with Black-eyed Peas and Cherry Tomatoes


Source: Christian Science Monitor which adapted a Bon Appétit recipe for sausage
Serves 6-8

4 pieces bacon, cut in quarter inch slices
8 bone-in chicken pieces (if using breasts, cut them in half)
salt and pepper
1 rounded teas dried thyme, divided (or 1 T fresh thyme)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c dry white wine
1 11-oz or 12-oz frozen shelled black eyed peas, thawed (about 2 cups)
8 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
8-10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved if large

Place the bacon into a nonstick skillet or saute pan and cook until the fat is rendered and it is as crisp as you like. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon and hold until later.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and half of the dried thyme. (If you're using fresh thyme don't add it at this point.) Place the chicken in the pan and cook over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on both sides. Move chicken to a plate or half sheet pan. Remove some of the bacon fat leaving a couple of tablespoons in the pan. 

Cook the onion slices until translucent. Add the garlic and the rest of the dried thyme and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil and add the broth. Stir in the black-eyed peas until combined.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan as well as the juices that accumulated while set aside. Reduce the heat and cover the pan and cook until the black-eyed peas are beginning to become tender, around 15-20 minutes. Stir in the green beans and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until heated about 5 more minutes. The tomatoes should begin to split and the broth should be thickening, If you are using fresh thyme, now is the time to add it. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper if necessary.

While the black-eyed peas and vegetables are cooking, it's a good idea to check the temperature of the chicken pieces. With a probe thermometer make sure the breast pieces are at 165F and the thighs and legs are at 175F. If the chicken reaches the target temperatures, remove and set on a plate while everything else cooks. Replace in the pan and warm the chicken before serving with the chicken placed on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the reserved bacon over all. 

Serve the chicken on top of the vegetables and black-eyed peas.

Notes: 

You can shell your own black-eyed peas in season if you wish. Aim for about 2 cups of fresh shell peas.

If you prefer to skip the wine, increase the broth to 3 cups and just before serving the dish stir in a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar.

If you are cooking this when available green beans are substandard, I think you could experiment with subbing other vegetables, such as halved brussels sprouts (although you might need a larger pan since they don't have the slim lines of a green bean). 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Peach Drop Biscuits

I look forward to Saturday mornings this time of year. Usually I forgo sleeping in to visit two local farmers markets, and upon arriving back home I gleefully show my purchases to my family. They are typically unimpressed. In fact, only a few people understand the joy that big farmers' market hauls bring to me--but that doesn't lessen my delight one bit!

This year, though, I have opted to stay home to avoid crowds. I have discovered a couple of workable alternatives, and between my half-CSA share, a farm stand, and a weekly farm delivery order option I have managed to enjoy many of my normal harvest-time fruits and veggies. I visited the farm stand about a week ago, and came home with a half-bushel of peaches, a quarter-bushel of pears, and an eighth-bushel of pluots. It was too much, really, but I just couldn't help myself. So, I was suddenly baking peach goodies whenever I had time. 

The texture of this "biscuit" is lovely. Crusty on the outside but tender on the inside. I even used it as a base for peach shortcake one night. 


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Peach Drop Biscuits

Yields 12 biscuits (I doubled it for my big family, so halve it if you don't need this many)
Adapted minimally from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1021175-strawberry-drop-biscuits

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
8 teas baking powder
12 T cold salted butter, but into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/3 c peaches, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 c heavy cream, divided
1/2 c powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 425F, and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Stir the pieces of butter into the mixture, just to coat the butter. Then work the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the pieces of butter are no larger than a pea. 

Add the peaches, and stir gently. Add 1/2 c cream and 1/2 c water, then toss with a fork until the dough is just wet. If the dough is still too dry, add a couple of teaspoons water. 

Drop the dough in generous 1/3 c amounts onto sheets, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches of space between each mound. Brush the tops with 2 T cream before baking for about 15 minutes. The biscuits should be golden brown. Place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool.

As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, whisk the powdered sugar with the remaining 2 T cream. This should make a thick icing. Drizzle the icing over the warm biscuits, and enjoy. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Pork Chops with Salted Plums

One of the best things about summer is having fruits with meat. This summer has been more challenging for getting fruits and sometimes what I get is less that the best. This recipe is a good one for plums that come from a grocery store instead of a market or a backyard.



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Pork Chops with Salted Plums


Source:  Alison Roman in New York Times Cooking
Serves 4

Since I'm currently not going to my regular butcher and instead take what I get in a curbside pickup, I learned this recipe works with a thinner pork chop, too. I didn't brine the thinner chops but I was careful not to overcook them--I had to ignore timing recommendations. Thin chops might benefit from a brine, especially if you keep the salt and fish sauce lower in the plums. I did not slice these chops but served them whole.


2 bone-in thick pork chops (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick, about 1 1/2 pounds in weight)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pd medium  slightly under-ripe plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c unseasoned rice wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, plus more, if needed
1/2 teas fish sauce (optional, but tasty)
1 T vegetable oil
1 c fresh mint leaves
olive oil, for drizzling

Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place the plums and onion slices in a bowl and toss with the vinegar and fish sauce. Add a bit of salt and pepper and taste a plum. It should taste tangy and salty. If it doesn't, add more vinegar and salt. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the pork chops when hot and cook. Keep the chops in place for 4-6 minutes and don't move until well browned. Flip the chops and continue to cook until this side is browned about 3-5 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer you may want to use it here. I found that these recommended times resulted in quite pink meat. USDA and the National Pork Board recommend cooking to 145F in addition to a 3-minute rest. 

Remove from heat and place the chops on a cutting board. Allow them to rest while you briefly cook the plum and onions in the same skillet. Toss the mix and try to scrape up the fond and cook only long enough to wilt the onion. 

The author of this recipe instructs cooks to slice thick pork chops and serve with the plum mixture, topping the pork slices with the mint and drizzling with olive oil just before serving. This works tolerably well with very thick pork chop but it leaves the bone and bits of the chop languishing on the cutting board. But, as I mentioned above, thinner chops can be substituted. 

Peach Cobbler with Hot Sugar Crust

This recipe uses a technique which was new to me, except in hot pudding cakes. On first glance it appears it won't work. But this cobbler sports a lovely, crisp topping.





Unless you are serving a large group, I recommend you half this recipe and bake in an 8X8 pan. The cobbler is best right after baking and for a day or two afterwards; any longer and the topping will lose its crunch.

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Peach Cobbler with Hot Sugar Crust


No modifications were made for altitude and it turned out great.

Adapted from Food52.com
Serves 10 or more

10 large ripe peaches (about 4 1/2 pds), pitted but not peeled and cut into chunks about an inch in size
1 large lemon
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
2 c sugar, divided
1 1/2 c AP flour
2 teas baking powder
1 teas kosher salt (or 1/2 teas table salt)
3/4 c whole milk
1/2 c hot water
Heavy cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350F with a rack in the middle

Place the peaches in a buttered 9X13 baking dish. Using a microplane, zest the lemon evenly over the fruit. Squeeze the lemon and drizzle 1/4 cup of the juice over the fruit as well.

Cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar on medium for a minute or so, until it is creamy but sandy. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and on medium speed, beat until incorporated and all is crumbly (30 seconds or more). Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Slowly pour in the milk while the mixer is on low speed. Beat a couple of minutes until the batter is light and fluffy.

Use a large spoon or the rubber spatula to drop 6 large portions of the mix over the peaches. (Make sure you get all the batter.) Carefully spread the batter with an offset spatula so that all the fruit is covered. Try to spread it evenly so that it is all about 1/2 inch thick overall.

Take the remaining half cup of sugar and sprinkle it evenly over the batter. In a small stream, drizzle the sugar topped batter with the hot water which will melt the sugar.

Place the pan on top of a large baking sheet and place both in the oven. Bake the cobbler until the top is crackly and golden brown, about 70-80 minutes. Use a toothpick to test; it will come out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Check in several spots.

Allow the cobbler to cool for about 30 minutes. Serve it warm with the cream poured over the top. If you have leftovers, cover and refrigerate.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Ratatouille

This vegetable stew is one of my favorite things to eat in late summer when I have an abundance of vegetables in my garden. But it can be cooked any time if you choose to use canned tomatoes.

The author of this recipe utilizes a method that keeps all the flavors fresh tasting by keeping the parts separated a bit while cooking so it doesn't turn into a mushy mess.

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Ratatouille


Source:  The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook by Kim O'Donnel
Serves: 6

1 large globe eggplant (about a pound) or 3 thinner Asian eggplants
salt for leaching eggplant
5 T olive oil, divided
2 medium onions sliced thinly (about 2 cups)
3 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and julienned (about 2 1/2 c)
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow or green zucchini, cut into half moons (about 2 1/2 c)
ground black pepper
6 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 3 c) or 1 (28-oz) can plum tomatoes
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teas dried
1 teas dried oregano
chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Dice the eggplant into half-inch cubes (about 5-6 c). Sprinkle with salt and place on a rack or in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. (This leaching step is not required but it will reduce liquid.)

With a towel pat the eggplant dry. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 T of the olive oil. Toss and spread into a single layer. Put the eggplant in the hot oven and roast for 15 minutes until the eggplant browns and shrinks substantially. Take it out of the oven and set aside.

You'll need a large skillet as well as a large lidded saucepan or Dutch oven which you can keep on a burner on the lowest warm setting.

Heat another 2 T oil in the skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions until tender and stir in the peppers with a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the peppers are soft.

Add half the garlic and stir for a minute and transfer all from the skillet to the Dutch oven (or saucepan).

In the skillet heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat and add the zucchini and some salt and pepper. Cook until the zucchini is tender but still retains its color. Add the remaining garlic; cook for a minute and then add the mixture to the Dutch oven. Stir the vegetables together.

Chop or mash the tomatoes with a potato masher so they are broken up. Add them to the vegetables along with the thyme and oregano. Stir in the eggplant. This mixture will be thick but as the tomatoes release liquid it will loosen up. If it remains thicker than you like add a few tablespoons of water. Raise the temperature to medium-low and mix the ingredients well. Cover and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes until heated through. Taste for seasonings and remove herb sprigs. Serve.

This can be served with couscous, quinoa, or orzo. Crusty bread would be great, too.

Note:

If you can't entertain the idea of heating your late summer kitchen with a 450F oven, you can pan-roast the eggplant before you start cooking everything else. Heat the olive oil in your large skillet (can be nonstick if you prefer) over medium high heat and cook the eggplant after leaching and patting dry. Stir from time to time so it doesn't scorch and cook until browned and tender. Set aside in a bowl. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and begin cooking the onions as instructed above.

If I'm in a rush, I'll employ more than one skillet and cook onions and zucchini at the same time but in separate pans and you'll be able to control how "done" each vegetable becomes. This will speed preparation somewhat but will make for more pans to wash, of course.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Second Best Pesto Method


Most of the experts I read indicate they think the best way to make pesto is in a mortar and pestle. 


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Second Best Pesto Method 


The source is an article written by Ella Quittner in Food52.com in which she reports on testing she undertook to find the best method to make pesto. She based her recipe on one found in a book published last fall Pasta Grannies by Vicky Bennison. (I just love the title of that book!)

Yields about 1/3 c or enough for 3/4 pound of pasta depending on your preference.


1 clove garlic
1/2 teas salt (rock salt can provide grinding traction, but coarse kosher is fine, as is table salt but use less table salt)
3-ish cups basil leaves (tender, young leaves if possible unless you grow your own)
3-ish T Italian pine nuts, untoasted, or chopped walnuts since true Italian pine nuts are expensive and you may not have them in your pantry
1/3 c mildly flavored extra-virgin olive oil
a heaping 1/3 c grated cheese (can be a mix of parmigiano reggiano and pecorino romano)



Put all ingredients minus the cheese and olive oil, into a wide jar (a quart-size container or quart mason jar or a pickle jar; anything slightly wider than the immersion blender). With the immersion blender, blend as finely as possible. Stop and scrape the sides and the inside of the blender occasionally. You'll end up with a paste (I guess that's where it gets its name). 

Drizzle the olive oil in as best you can while still running the blender (or simply pour it in and then run the blender). Add the cheese and continue blending. I ended up with a nearly smooth product. 


Notes:

I found it simpler to blend when I coarsely chopped the basil leaves and used something wider than a quart mason jar. Even a saved quart yogurt container works here and it's much easier to scrape out the finished pesto. When I tripled the recipe, I did it in a medium sized bowl.

I once saw a suggestion for using pecans. I haven't tried that yet but I liked walnuts more than I thought I would. 

I wanted the pesto to stay a bit greener so I added a half cup of parsley to the basil. I didn't notice much change in flavor.

I have enough basil I will need to freeze some of this for the winter. When researching, I found both pros and cons for freezing it with the cheese already mixed in. I ended up freezing mine without cheese and will just stir it into the pasta when I mix in the pesto. I find it easy to freeze in a quart-size freezer bag and then I can break off what I need.

White Grape Jelly

In the Ball canning book this recipe calls for scuppernong grapes. I don't grow those, nor do I know where to get them. I use a variety of white seeded grapes that was planted by a previous owner of my home. 





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White Grape Jelly


Source: The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving
Yields about 6 half pint jars (I get 7 consistently)

3 2/3 c white grape juice obtained by your favorite method, see below
5 1/2 c sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 (3-oz) pouch liquid pectin

Prepare jars for canning by washing and heating in very boiling water in your canner. Also wash and prepare lids and bands. Place the lids in a bowl of boiling hot water and let sit until you top the jars.

Combine grape juice, sugar, and lemon juice in a Dutch oven or very large saucepan or pasta pot. The jelly will boil up and a large pot will help contain it. Over high heat, bring the ingredients to a full rolling boil that can't be stirred down. Stir frequently, especially as the bubbles rise.

Stir in the pectin, all at once, squeezing the packet to get all of it out of the pouch. Keep the jelly boiling hard while stirring constantly for one minute. Turn off the heat. Skim foam, if necessary.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle the hot jelly into the jars leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Clean the  jar rims with a clean wet paper towel and set lids on top of each jar. Put the bands on and tighten with your fingertips. Place jars in the canner and ensure they are covered with water to an inch above the tops of the jars.

Process 10 minutes (sea level) and adjust for altitude:

1,001-3,000 ft--5 additional minutes
3,001-6,000 ft--10 additional minutes
6,001-8,000 ft--15 additional minutes
8,001-10,000 ft--20 additional minutes


When finished, turn off heat and allow jars to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and set where they won't be disturbed for 24 hours.

Check seals; lids should be indented and you shouldn't be able to move them.

Wash jars, label, and store in a cool dry place for up to a year,



Notes:

I use a steam juicer. If you don't have one use this method for removing juice from grapes:

Wash 5 1/4 pounds grapes, remove and discard stems. Bring grapes and 1 c water to a boil in a pasta pot or Dutch oven, stirring often. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring frequently or until most of the seeds have been released from the pulp. Mash the grapes with a potato masher to slip seeds from pulp

Line a large wire-mesh strainer with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth. Place over a large bowl and pour grapes into the strainer. Let drain at least an hour to get required 3 2/3 c juice. Discard solids.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Sheet Pan Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs with Red Cabbage

Early in the stay at home orders caused by the pandemic of 2020, Betsy and I chatted and learned that we had both made this recipe within the same week without having told one another of our interest in it. It's a very yummy dish.

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Sheet Pan Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs with Red Cabbage


Source:  Washington Post, January 16, 2020
Serves:  4-6

I haven't done it, but I believe green cabbage may be substituted for the red if that is what you have. If you do use green I suggest you substitute a yellow onion for the red. However, a red cabbage results in an extraordinarily attractive dish.

2 1/2 T grainy mustard
3 T maple syrup, divided
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 pds skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
8 c thinly sliced red cabbage, about 1/2 a medium head
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly into half moons
5 T apple cider vinegar, divided
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 teas caraway seeds
1/2 teas kosher salt; add more to taste

Note: the more thinly the cabbage is sliced, the more quickly it will cook.

Place the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 450F.

Mix the mustard, 1 T of the maple syrup, and 1/4 teas of the pepper into a small bowl.

Put the chicken thighs on a lightly oiled large rimmed baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels. Pour the mustard mixture over the thighs and rub it all over the skin. Arrange the thighs skin side up and place in the oven; roast for 20 minutes or so, until the skin has started to crisp up.

Remove the baking sheet and reduce the heat to 375F.  Remove the chicken from the sheet to a plate and discard accumulated fat.

Toss the cabbage, onion, 4 T of the vinegar, onion, oil, and remaining 2 T of the maple syrup as well as caraway seeds and salt plus the remaining 1/4 teas of black pepper. Dump the cabbage mix onto the baking sheet, spreading it evenly. Nestle the chicken with the skin side up into the cabbage and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Roast for 20-25 minutes until the cabbage has softened somewhat and the thighs are measuring 170F on a meat thermometer. If the chicken is done before the cabbage, pull the thighs off the pan and keep warm on a platter, covering with foil. Return the cabbage to the oven covered with foil until it has reached the tenderness you desire. Remove from the oven.

Use the remaining tablespoons of vinegar to drizzle over chicken and serve with cabbage.

Buttercup Cookies

A year ago this month, we joined family members in Iceland for the burial of our little grand daughter Sóley. Recently I've comforted myself when marking anniversaries of the loss of loved ones by cooking something they enjoyed eating. I'm unable to do that so I found a recipe that represents a buttercup bloom to me, for that is what her name means in Icelandic.  



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Buttercup Cookies


Cook's Country (Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses)
20-24 cookies

altitude changes for around 5000 feet:

add 1 T flour
decrease the sugar by 1 teaspoon

(Once I baked these and forgot to make altitude changes. They were still good, although slightly more fragile.)


1 c AP flour
3/4 c hazelnuts or pecans, toasted
pinch salt
8 T unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teas vanilla extract
approximately 1/2 c lemon curd (purchased or homemade)
1/4 c confectioner's sugar, optional

Make the dough:

Set oven racks to upper- and low-middle. Preheat oven to 350F. Place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets. Place flour, nuts, salt in a food processor and grind until finely ground.

Place butter and granulated sugar in a bowl (either stand mixer or otherwise) and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating until completely mixed in. On a lower speed, mix in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

Roll  dough into a 1-inch balls and setting each on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Grease a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon and use it to make an indentation in the center of each ball. You'll probably have to grease the spoon repeatedly. Bake about 10 minutes until just set.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and gently press the measuring spoon into the existing holes to reinforce the existing indentations. Return to oven and continue baking, rotating and switching, until the cookies begin to brown around the edges (around 10 minutes, depending on altitude). On cooling racks, cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then move each cookie the the rack until they have cooled completely. The cookies can be stored for 2 days at room temperature; they can be frozen, too, if you keep them in a single layer.

Once you have determined how many cookies you are serving, fill the imprint in each cookie with a teaspoon of lemon curd. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.
Remaining cookies can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days until you are ready to fill and eat them. If you prefer, you may store them in the freezer but they tend to survive better if frozen in a single layer.

Place the lemon curd in the fridge until you serve the remaining cookies.

Cook's Country's instructions vary considerably from my own. The curd is baked in their version. Here are instructions for the process:

When the cookies have been baked the first 10 minutes. remove from the oven and deepen the imprints. While the cookie is still hot, fill each dimple with half a teaspoon of lemon curd. Return the sheets to the oven and bake for around 10 minutes until they have browned at the edges. Follow the advise above for rotating, removing, and cooling. Allow to cool before serving and sprinkle with  confectioner's sugar, if you like. This version can be kept at room temperature for a couple of days. I've cooked this version so rarely that I cannot advise about freezing.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Mix-ins

These cookies deserve a better name, I know. But here's the story, so you'll know where the name comes from. Lately at the grocery store I've been browsing a bit more, grabbing things that I might want when they're on the shelves, instead of counting on the store being fully stocked all the time. Once, when I couldn't find the mini chocolate chips I was looking for, I grabbed a bag of peanut butter chips, thinking they would be good in a chocolate cookie. After researching my options, and waiting for a price-gouged bag of dark Reese's peanut butter cups to be delivered, I tried and enjoyed the inspiration recipe. But I wanted something with a bit more dark chocolate flavor, so I used a tried-and-true chocolate cookie recipe and added some of the peanut butter mix-ins. In a side-by-side taste test, I found the cookies from the inspiration recipe a bit crumbly, and their chocolate flavor paled in comparison. So while these cookies have both dark chocolate and peanut butter flavors, there isn't any peanut butter in the cookie so I can't call them chocolate and peanut butter cookies, because I didn't like the cookies that actually had chocolate and peanut butter both! Semantics? Probably. Delicious anyway? You bet. 



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Dark Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Mix-ins


Adapted from https://www.lovefromtheoven.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cookies/ and http://www.piecrustcookies.com/2015/12/chocolate-peppermint-cookies.html
Yields about 3 dozen

To bake at altitudes around 5000 feet, make these changes:
add 2 T flour
remove 2 T granulated sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
3/4 c Dutch-processed cocoa
1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
1 c light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teas vanilla 
1 c dark chocolate chips
1 c peanut butter chips
10 Reese's dark chocolate peanut butter cups, frozen and roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter and sugars in a mixer until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate everything. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and mix until combined. Then add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa and mix briefly until almost combined. Finally, add the both types of chips and the candy. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are set but still soft in the center. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack. Enjoy with a glass of milk! 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Turkish Flatbread

The only thing to say about this recipe is that it is the main reason I recently bought an overpriced block of yeast from a specialty store online. 

After reading about conserving yeast here, I tried halving the yeast and the dough still doubled in an hour. That might be a high altitude issue, but next time I'm going to reduce the yeast even more and see what happens. Can't burn through that overpriced brick too fast! 

Note that this stack is a portion of a doubled recipe


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Turkish Flatbread


Yields 6 flatbreads

250 g all purpose flour
250 g white whole wheat flour (or just another 250 g or all purpose, if you prefer)
5 fl. oz. warm milk
5 fl. oz. warm water
1 teas salt
2 T dry yeast
3 T olive oil, plus more for brushing on 

In a mixer bowl  fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, and yeast for 10 seconds or so, until combined. Then add the warm milk and water and process just until the liquids are incorporated. Add the olive oil and run the mixer for 5 minutes or so. 

Form the dough into a ball, and place in a large bowl. Spread a light layer of vegetable oil over the top of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

Place a cast iron pan over medium heat. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll out each dough ball with a rolling pin, then cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Brush each hot flatbread with more olive oil, and enjoy.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Pantry Crumb Cake

Like many other across the country, I'm baking more than normal these days. It's more for comfort and less out of boredom in my case; the current situation is providing a new test of my limits. I'm working from home, overseeing schooling for two older boys, caring for a toddler and a preschooler, and helping everyone deal with their emotions while also feeling quite a few emotions myself. So every comforting banana muffin helps.

Among the multiple recent batches of banana muffins are almond joy rice krispy treats, rice krispy treats with peppermint marshmallows, chocolate bread pudding, and this new-to-me pantry cake. A commenter on the original recipe suggested renaming it Covid Comfort Cake, so I'm not the only one who has enjoyed it. I hope it's comforting to you!



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Pantry Crumb Cake


1  8 or 9-inch round or square cake
Source: New York Times Cooking https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020946-pantry-crumb-cake

To bake at altitudes around 5000 feet make these changes to the cake amounts:
add 1 1/2 T flour
remove 1/2 T sugar

For the topping:

1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c oats
1 teas spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg in any combination; I used 3/4 teas cinnamon and 1/4 teas cardamom)
1/2 teas salt

For the cake:

1 1/2 c flour
1 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 teas vanilla
2/3 c sour cream, yogurt or nondairy yogurt, buttermilk, crème fraîche, or milk acidified with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
½ cup fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries, grated apple or pear, chopped pineapple (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and butter your cake pan. This will work in an 8- or 9-inch round or square pan.

Mix all the topping ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

The original recipe was fiddly about combining ingredients. Here's my lazy version: beat the butter and sugar in a mixer for several minutes until fluffy and light. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl a couple of times. Mix in the sour cream fully, then add the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix until just combined. If using, fold in the zest and/or fruit by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Stir the topping mixture so it breaks up into crumbs and then sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the batter. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean, and let the cake cool in the pan. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pumpkin, Cranberry, Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

A couple of weeks ago I made this for breakfast on our first morning of social distancing. It's healthy and it's comfort food, although chopping the oatmeal and stirring in chocolate chips makes it seem quite like a dessert. Maybe that's not a bad thing at the moment.


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Pumpkin, Cranberry, Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal


Source: Food52
Serves: 6-8

2 c rolled oats
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 T unsalted butter
1 teas cinnamon
1 teas ground ginger
1/2 teas salt
1 teas baking powder
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1 T grated orange zest
1 T lemon juice
1 teas grated fresh ginger
1 c milk, (any variety)
1 teas vanilla
1 egg
3/4-1 c coarsely chopped fresh cranberries (or dried, see note below)
1/2 c chocolate chips, semi-sweet, dark, or white
1/2 c toasted pecans or walnuts
cream, or milk for serving

Heat the oven to 375F. Butter or spray a 9-inch pie plate or round cake pan.

Place the oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a processor and run it for a few seconds until blended. Drop the butter in the processor and run it until it is completely mixed into the oat mixture.

Add the pumpkin puree, orange zest, lemon juice, fresh ginger, milk, vanilla, and egg and pulse a few times until well blended.

By hand stir in the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts. Place the mixture into the prepared pan and move to the preheated oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the oatmeal begins to brown on top and a testing toothpick comes out with no liquid.

While hot, cut into wedges or serve with a large spoon and pour milk or cream over each serving. It's also tasty with yogurt.

Notes:

The use of the food processor to chop up the oatmeal results in texture more like a shorter sweetbread. The next time I baked it I used only half the oatmeal in the food processor and added the rest when I stirred in the cranberries, etc.

This recipe originally called for soaking dried cranberries in brandy but I couldn't bring myself to ignore the fresh berries I still had in the fridge. If you want to bake this when cranberries aren't in season take a look at the original post on Food52. Or if you don't have or want to use brandy, use a bit of boiling water to re-hydrate the dried cranberries.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Coconut Cream Pie

This pie is a dream come true for this coconut-lover. And not just for me--it was the first of three pies to disappear at Thanksgiving. Each layer has coconut in it, so the coconut flavor is strong (but not overpowering). And it comes together fairly quickly, with the cookie crust.


Recently I was reminded of my great-grandmother Lydia Savage Peterson and her pie making. At age 51 in 1943, she was widowed and had four sons (ages 9-16) to care for. She commuted from Snowflake, Arizona to Flagstaff during the work week, leaving her sons while she prepared to become a teacher. The boys' adult half-siblings were nearby in town, so they weren't entirely on their own, but Lydia would bake 9 pies every weekend for her boys to eat during the week. Usually fruit pies. My grandfather had a lifelong love of apple pie, probably from this period in his life. When I make pies, I often feel connected to my pie-baking predecessors, on both sides of my family, though I have to admit I feel a special connection to Lydia, who also raised a bunch of boys. 

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Coconut Cream Pie


Source: slightly modified from Cook's Country 
Yield: one 9-inch pie

Crust:

2 c ( 4 1/2 oz) Nilla Wafer cookies (34 cookies)
1/2 c sweetened, shredded coconut
2 T sugar
1 T all purpose flour
1/4 teas salt
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

3 c whole milk (separated)
5 large egg yolks
5 T cornstarch
1/4 teas salt
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teas vanilla extract

Topping:

1 1/2 c heavy cream, chilled
2 T sugar
1 teas vanilla extract
1/4 c coconut, toasted (either sweetened, shredded or unsweetened flakes will work)

Planning: cool the crust for at least 30 minutes before you start the filling. And the filling needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours before you add the cream and serve.

To make the crust: Heat oven to 325F. Add cookies, coconut, sugar, flour, and salt to a food processor, and run until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and pulse about 6 times, until the mixture is combined. Then add the crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate; use your fingers or the bottom of a dry measuring cup. Bake until fragrant and set, 18-22 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling: whisk 1/4 c milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. Add sugar and remaining 2 3/4 c milk to a large saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.

Next, temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly whisking in half of the hot milk mixture. This brings the eggs up to temperature without forming yucky clumps.

Add milk-yolk mixture back to the remaining milk in the saucepan. Whisk constantly and cook over medium heat until custard is thickened and registers 180 degrees. This may take only a minute or two, or a few minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust and spread into an even layer.

Spray a piece of parchment paper with vegetable oil spray and press it down onto the surface of the custard. It should be covered completely. This will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold and set, 3-24 hours.

To make the topping: whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed for a minute or so, until foamy. Then increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream evenly over the pie. Sprinkle coconut over the top, and enjoy.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Sheet Pan Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

This is one of those recipes that hits all of the dietary needs in our family: low carb options, deconstructable for picky eaters, a healthy meat, and delicious on top of it all. If you shred the sprouts in a food processor, it's not bad on time, either.



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Sheet Pan Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

1 pd (or more) brussels sprouts, trimmed
3-4 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts thinly sliced (about 1/2 c), optional
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (about 1/4 c), optional or to taste
2 T toasted sesame or extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
4 (6-oz) skin-on salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
1/4 freshly squeezed lemon, lime or tangerine juice
2 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
Honey, to taste, optional

Prepare your sprouts. You can either slice them thinly (which is about 4 1/2 c) or you can shred them in the food processor. Though I prefer the slices for eating, I'm going to use the processor in the future for time's sake.

Heat oven to 400F. On a large sheet pan, mix the sprouts, scallions, jalapeno, and oil, then spread over entire pan.

Pat the salmon dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place them on the sheet pan amongst the brussels sprouts. Roast until the salmon measures at least 120F on an instant read thermometer, about 12-15 minutes.

While the fish and brussels sprouts are roasting, mix together the juice, vinegar, and soy sauce, along with 2 T water.

Drizzle the sauce on your own serving of fish and brussels sprouts, according to preferences. Serve with a side of basmati rice and enjoy. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Chili

This is simply a basic meat and bean chili and the recipe served me well for many years.


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Chili                                 



Adapted from an old recipe shared decades ago by a friend named Joyce from our first Air Force assignment
Yields a Dutch oven full of chili.

For the beans:

2 cups pinto beans, sorted and brined overnight in 2 quarts of water and 1 1/2 T salt
1/2 onion
1 carrot cut into 2 inch chunks
1 stick of celery cut into 2 inch chunks
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
Water

Before cooking, drain the beans from the brine and rinse in a colander. In a large saucepan (I used a 4 quart pot) place the beans and the vegetable aromatics (onion half, carrot and celery chunks, garlic) and bay leaf. Cover generously with water (an inch or two above the level of the beans) and bring to a boil, watching so you avoid a boil-over. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for several hours until beans are done (the amount of time this will take depends on the age of the beans but mine took about three hours).

The rest of the ingredients:

1/2-1 pound of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 teas salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teas pepper
2 T chili powder
1 can tomato paste
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
1 (4-oz) can of diced green chiles or 1/2 c frozen chopped chiles, or to taste
1 cup water.

In a Dutch oven cook the ground beef, onions, and salt together until browned. Add the garlic and cook for half a minute or so until fragrant. Move the mixture to the edges of the pan and place the spices in the center of the pan and toast for a minute. Stir the spices into the meat and add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until the paste has darkened. Pour in the liquid from the whole tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in the blender or food processor and place in the skillet. Stir in the green chiles and water. Bring to to strong simmer and then lower the heat and simmer for a couple hours stirring occasionally. If it gets too thick add some more water or some of the bean broth.

Note: To streamline this process you can worry less about building flavor. Add the garlic, spices, and tomato paste together. Then stir in a can of crushed tomatoes and the green chile. Continue with the recipe.

When the beans are done and are beginning to break apart remove some of the bean broth (hold a generous amount in reserve) and all the spent aromatics. Drain most of the remaining liquid, if needed. Pour the beans into the meat mixture in the Dutch oven. Stir well. Add some of the reserved bean broth until the chili is the consistency you prefer. Stir again and cook together for an hour at a low simmer. Check the consistency again and add more bean broth if needed. Taste for seasonings and add salt. If you like spicier chili add more chiles or stir in a bit of powdered cayenne. Serve with warm cornbread.