Saturday, September 27, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

My sister Leslie gave me this recipe for the Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350
Mix together:
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups chunky peanut butter.
I use any organic - just nuts, salt and oil
Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper- bake 12 minutes.
Cool- there you have it.
No flour- no baking powder - no nothing else-
You can add chopped nuts or chocolate chips if you like.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bright Carrot Slices

I find I am quite lazy when it come to veggies and carrots are high on that list.
I like carrots eaten raw the best- but some days it seems you should be able to do wonderful things with them. This is a recipe found in Barbara Kafka book on Roasting at high temps.
I have made a few changes- but this is really good and once you get started easy.

Bright Carrot Slices -adapted from-Barbara Kafka book-Roasting

2 Tbs. Butter
2 pounds carrots
trimmed peeled and sliced into ½ slices.

¼ cup fresh orange juice (or frozen if you live where I do with no grocery within a 25 minute drive).
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice. ( this should be fresh)
2 Tablespoons. sugar
1tsp grated ginger ( I like to throw in some pickled sushi ginger)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cumin

Heat oven to 500*
Steam carrots until just tender. (2-3 minutes)
Drain well-
Place in a 14x12x2 inch pan-
Toss with melted butter
Roast 10 minutes-
Pour glaze mixture on top and roast until all is absorbed in.
At least another 10 minutes, but could be more.
Serve as a side

Mushrooms Berkley

Mushrooms Berkley:
1 pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half
2 medium peppers, red and yellow or orange, cut in 1 inch chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbs. butter and some olive oil in a non-stick pan
Sauce:2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbs. brown sugar
3/4 cup mellow red wine
salt & pepper

Sauté Onion, add mushrooms and peppers.
Mix sauce in small bowl wisking well.
Add as mushrooms begin to cook down.
Simmer about45 min.
This is one of Mark's favorite recipes and one I have made for most of our married life.
It is full of good memories and we have served it alone or with beef or chicken.
If you are a mushroom fan like we are- this is the best!
Can be doubled- is good leftover-

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Roasted Squash

This is good day one and better day two!

Roasted Squash:
Cut up 2 pounds of yellow squash
Trim squash cut in half lengthwise and cut again.
Scoop out seeds and slice about 2 inches.

Marinate squash overnight in plastic bags- or save the world and use pottery bowl or glass.
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh parsley or mint

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Place oven rack into the very top position.

Put squash into a 14x12x 2 inch roasting pan.
Roast for 15 minutes, stir and roast for another 15 minutes, stir and roast 15 more minutes.
The trick is to absorb all liquid without going to far to burn- just keep a close eye and nose as yoy are going along.

Can be served hot or room temperature.

I think it is better at room temperature.
It gives the squash time to rest and absorb flavors.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ada Darling's Skillet Pineapple Upside down Cake

This was giving to me by my husband's grandmother.
It does not get any better than this. Use real butter! Go for it.
The cake batter made with good local organic eggs turns a beautiful yellow color.
I also use this cake batter to make a cake for berry shortcakes. alone ,with no fruit, bake in a 8X8 non- stick pan for about 20-25 minutes. ( or be sure to grease and flour your pan)
It is better than any store bought cake you will every buy and very easy! Just layer with berries and whip cream.

Use either a good seasoned cast iron skillet or I use a rectangular glass baking pan.

Ada Darling's Skillet Pineapple Upside down Cake
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 can of pineapple rings, drained
Batter- just beat this all together- one egg at a time- until nice and creamy:
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pineapple
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in cast iron skillet or glass pan, add brown sugar melt.
Place pineapple rings over melted butter and sugar.
Pour cake batter over the pineapple mixture.
Bake 30 to 40 min in a 375* oven.
Turn over on to platter to serve.
It is tricky to turn this over as it should be done while still hot or not complete cooled.
Be careful it is hot!

Burgundy Oven Stew

Burgundy Oven Stew
2 pounds chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium stalks celery, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
½ cup barley
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme and basil
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 16 ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
1 cup dry red wine
Mix beef, carrots, celery, onions, barley and mushrooms in a
4-quart Dutch oven or casserole. Mix flour, salt, herbs, mustard, and pepper; stir into beef mixture.
Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and bake 325*about 4 hours.

NOTE: I add potatoes to this but cook them separate and add in the last 30 minutes of cooking. I find the potatoes cook through and hold better when reheating.
This can be doubled.
We make this on New Years day for family and friends

Tomato, Barley, Chicken Soup

Tomato, Barley, Chicken Soup

Serves 4 - 6 Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 11⁄2 hours

Combine in large pot.
3 cups chicken broth
Bring to boil.
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, with juice, chopped
Turn heat down, cover pot, simmer
2 cups diced carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp peeled, grated, ginger root
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp crumbled oregano
1 tsp prepared hot Chinese mustard
6–8 chicken legs, skinned or whole cicken cut up or thighs- I prefer thighs.
1⁄2 cup barley
1 cup dry white wine - optional
1⁄2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
or until soup is thickened. Turn heat lower(or even off). Transfer
the chicken to a platter and let cool. Strip meat from the bones and
cut into bite size pieces. Return chicken to the pot and reheat soup
if necessary.

Serve with good bread and a good salad.

Notes: I put most of my soups in the oven these days- the gas stove top cooks too hot and does not allow a nice simmer. I can put a soup in the oven at lunch time on a low heat and it will be ready for dinner- better than a cock-pot- which I have never mastered.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

End of Summer Ratatouille

Anne down at StarWorks has a garden going and Mark called with the good news she was selling veggies at bottom price.
Bring home whatever she has.
Basil, tomatoes and eggplant.
I am a big eggplant fan- this was good news.
I use to garden on a large scale, but have not done much the last several years. So I now buy from folks who still garden. Our favorite is our good customers Rick and Henrietta. Rick grows the best -save your own seeds- vegetables I have had since my youth. The tomatoes-brandy wines- are sinful and with some sharp cheese...... whoops off the subject.
Back to the eggplant: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
I like to cut up some onion, red pepper, mash some garlic, peel and slice the eggplant, clean and slice some mushrooms - I am throwing all of this in a rectangular glass baking pan- why glass I am going for high heat-
I peel and slice the tomatoes placing them in a colander to drain before adding them to the pan.
How many, well like the peaches- as many as you like- but don't go overboard.
I then add 1/4 cup good olive oil and some splashes of balsamic vinegar.
Salt pepper, fresh basil and oregano.
Cover the pan tightly with foil and Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, stir and bake 20 more minutes.
Now if you want to add some squash you can do that at the 1/2 way point.
Make sure you stir a time or two, keep a close check and turn down the oven to 400 degrees or less if needed and you can bake longer- don't burn. If it is a bit runny add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste.
When you are done you will have the best Ratatouille.
It is so creamy.
You can serve as a side, on top of pasta or with some really good bread.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp or any crisp is my favorite quick dessert.
In the summer I use fresh blueberries.
Or fresh peaches or both.

When Anna was home I had some peaches and the last few handfuls of blueberries from our garden.
The peaches were not as ripe as I liked and as I peeled them for just eating a plan started.
I layer them in a bowl and threw on 3 tablespoons of triple sec and a tablespoon of sugar.
What the hey- I have maybe two cups blueberries- in they go.
On top of the peaches.
Oh, you want to know how many peaches-
well as many as it takes to fill up the pie plate I was using.
The topping:
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup old fashion oats
1/2 stick butter- you can use more if you like- but I try to use a Little less if I can.
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
and cinnamon of course- do you really need me to tell you how much???
As much as you like!
Place this all in a bowl and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour/oats/sugar
throw in 1/2 cups nuts - we used almonds because I had them.
I also like walnuts or pecans.

Throw the whole mess on top of your fruit and bake 350 for about 35-45 minutes.
Serve slightly warm with ice cream.
Go for it after all it's dessert.

In the fall I use apples.

Our Favorite Banana Nut Bread

A quick sweet bread that I made for years when the kids were young.
We love this toasted- with butter or if you are feeling really decadent.
peanut butter!

Our Favorite Banana Nut Bread
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
beat in one at a time:
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
Sift and add
2 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda, dissolved in 3 Tbs. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pecans
Bake 1 hour at 325 * check with toothpick
Makes two small or 1 large loaf

Whole Wheat and Rosemary Focaccia Bread

This is such a quick bread.
I don't get the time to bake bread like I use to.
And- I don't eat it as much as I use to.
In my family bread was king. We love the smell the taste the butter.......warm.
Sigh, we love bread.
My father was convinced that white bread was an abomination.
And would compare it to eating Library paste.
He thought that the peasants were lucky to have the whole grains while the royalty ate the processed stuff. He was a real snob when it came to food. He never ate fast food. He thought a piece of cardboard was better then a burger from McDonald's.
I begged him when McDonald's first opened to take us there. I was positive it would be great. He would say. " Just let me put Catchup and Mustard on a piece of cardboard, it will taste the same".
My mother finally took us to McDonald's and My thought was , "he is right"! I never developed a taste for fast food.
thank Goodness

Whole Wheat and Rosemary Focaccia Bread
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 envelope dry yeast ( ¼ ounce)
Place warm water in a large bowl along with sugar. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes.
Stir in:
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 cups white flour
½ cup whole wheat
1 tsp. salt
knead until smooth –but soft

place in oiled bowl -cover with towel and let rise in warm area for about 1 hour.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried
1 glove garlic finely chopped
heat oil and throw in garlic and herbs- cook quickly- but don’t let it burn.

Punch down dough and put on baking sheet- make about a 12” circle.
Top with garlic-herb oil.
Bake in 400 degree oven close to bottom rack for 15-20 minutes.
Cool a bit and cut and serve.