Friday, December 21, 2007

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

I made these EXACTLY like the recipe, EXCEPT, I omitted the 2 teaspoons of orange flavoring in the frosting, and instead grated fresh orange rind into it. I did put the 2 teaspoons of orange flavoring in the batter as the recipe specified. I made these in a 9x13 pan - cooked them 27 minutes, just like the recipe said - they turned out perfectly. 4 Stars on these, girlfriends....

I used dried cranberries, instead of Craisins, they are probably the same thing, though...

Lindsay and I took one of my bars to Starbucks and taste tested it next to the real thing - it was really close in taste, except Starbucks seemed to have a bit denser base than mine did. They also tasted a little more orangy, so next time I'll probably do exactly like the recipe says and put the 2 teaspoons of orange extract into the frosting and then grate the peeling on top.

Our version was really yummy, even alongside Starbucks, they stacked up to the originals and were a lot more moist than Starbucks, probably because they were freshly baked...

~ jan

1 cup butter (2 sticks, very soft)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons orange extract

1/4 cup craisins, chopped
1-2 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 for a glass or dark pan). Prepare a 9x13 pan (or 10x15 pan) by lining it with parchment paper or use a non-stick spray.
2. Bars: With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy; add eggs and orange extract and beat until combined.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, and ginger and beat briefly. Add the cranberries and chips, stirring just to blend and being careful not to overmix.

4. Note: You can make these lower-fat by omitting 1/2 cup butter and substituting 1/2 cup applesauce. No one notices the difference! I didn't do this, though, I made the full fat version ~ jan

5. Spread thick batter in prepared pan and bake 350 (25 minutes for 10x15, 27 minutes for 9x13), until the top is light brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Let it cool completely.
6. Frosting: Blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add orange extract and confectioner’s sugar and beat until frosting is fluffy and spreadable (adding 1 t. milk if needed). Spread evenly over cooled bars.
7. Garnish: Use a zester to remove rind from an orange. Chop 1/4 cup Craisins coarsely. Sprinkle this garnish of orange zest and Craisins over frosted bars.
8. For the final topping, mix white chocolate and oil in a glass measuring cup. Microwave 60% power for 1 minute; stir. Repeat 1 more minute at 60% power; stir. Use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate in thin diagonal strips across the bars.
9. Allow one hour for the white chocolate to set before cutting. **To make signature Starbuck triangles, cut jelly roll pan into 20 large squares (5 cuts by 4 cuts with the knife). Then cut each square in half diagonally (see additional photos which show this step

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nisha's Friend Kathy's Lemon Pecan Sticky Rolls

Nisha says these are amazing, and Nish is a great cook, Im sure this one is a keeper, gang. ~ jan

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup Frozen Lemon Juice from Concentrate, or RealLemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 375. In small saucepan, combine sugars, margarine, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute.
Reserving 1/4 cup, pour remaining lemon mixture into 9-inch round layer cake pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Separate rolls into 8 rectangles; spread with reserved lemon mixture. Roll up jellyroll-fashion, beginning with short side; seal edges. Cut in half. Place rolls, cut-side down in prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until dark golden brown. Loosen sides. Immediately turn onto serving plate; do not remove pan. Let stand 5 minutes; remove pan. Serve warm.

These can be made and refrigerated overnight and then baked the next morning...

Lemon Pecan Sticky Rolls

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup Frozen Lemon Juice from Concentrate, or RealLemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 375. In small saucepan, combine sugars, margarine, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute.
Reserving 1/4 cup, pour remaining lemon mixture into 9-inch round layer cake pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Separate rolls into 8 rectangles; spread with reserved lemon mixture. Roll up jellyroll-fashion, beginning with short side; seal edges. Cut in half. Place rolls, cut-side down in prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until dark golden brown. Loosen sides. Immediately turn onto serving plate; do not remove pan. Let stand 5 minutes; remove pan. Serve warm.

These can be made and refrigerated overnight and then baked the next morning...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

No Knead, Refrigerator Bread, can be stored up to 2 weeks....

Five-Minute Artisan Bread

December 15, 2007

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). Copyright 2007 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

Serves 4

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.

* 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
* 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
* Cornmeal

NOTE: I would add sugar to this recipe, as our family always likes bread that has a bit of a sweet taste to it, I would probably add 1/4 cup or maybe even 1/3 cup of sugar to this recipe. ~ jan

In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.

Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)

When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and repeat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it's not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day's storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.

Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, ¼-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mother's Noodles...

We ALWAYS double this recipe, and often TRIPLE it...

I remember the day Mother gave this to me. She actually had no recipe, so we stood in my kitchen, me with a pencil, she making noodles, and I was furiously scribbling what she was doing. I've made these countless times, they are just wonderful. Ahhhh, memories ~ jan

Combine 1 beaten egg, 2 Tablespoons milk (evaporated milk or half and half) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add enough sifted all purpose flour to make a stiff dough - about one cup.

Roll very thin, almost paper thin, on floured surface. Let stand twenty minutes to let the dough rest before attempting to cut them.

There are two methods of cutting them - you can either roll them up loosely in a roll, and slice 1/4 inch wide, or you can cut them into thin strips with a pizza wheel.

Store in covered container if you don't use them immediately.

Drop into boiling broth and cook, uncovered about ten minutes, or until tender. Makes 3 cups cooked noodles.

This is it, the recipe of my childhood ~ jan

2 c. Sun Maid raisins
2 c. water
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. butter
grated lemon rind

Pastry for double crust

Combine raisins and water; boil 5 minutes. Blend sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Add to raisin and cook, stirring until clear. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and butter; cool slightly. Turn into pastry lined pan.

Cut lattice strips and weave into basket weave design as top crust. Seal edges of lattice to bottom crust. Bake at 420 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Key Lime Spritz Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely shredded key lime or lime peel (set aside)
2 teaspoons key lime or lime juice
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Coarse sugar (optional)
Lime Icing (recipe follows) (optional)
Green colored sugar (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, salt and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and lime juice until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the lime peel.

2. Place the unchilled dough into a cookie press fitted with a template. Force dough through cookie press, forming desired shapes, 1 inch apart onto ungreased sheets. If you like sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar.

3. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes, or until edges are firm but not brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. If you like, drizzle with Lime Icing and let stand 20 minutes until set. Or, if you like, dip unsugared tops of cookies in Lime Icing and sprinkle with green sugar. Let stand until set.

Makes about 84 cookies.

Lime Icing: In a small bowl, stir together 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice and enough milk (2 to 3 teaspoons) until icing reaches a drizzling consistency. If you like, tint pale green with food coloring. Makes about 1/3 cup icing.

Nutrition facts per cookie: 41 calories, 2 g fat, 8 mg chol, 9 mg sodium, 5 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g pro.

Source: Midwest Living, December 2007 issue

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pumpkin Raisin Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Bread Pudding
1 loaf raisin bread
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ TBSP pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F.
1.Tear raisin bread into pieces and place into baking dish(mine was a 9 by 11).
2 Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and pumpkin together in a large bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Add the heavy cream, milk and pumpkin pie spices. Whisk until completely incorporated.
3.Pour the custard over the bread. Press down the bread pieces until the bread is soaked with the custard.
4.Place pan into another pan that will hold a water bath. Bake the bread pudding for 45-55 minutes. You may want to check at the 45 minute mark to see if the custard is setting up, if not cook for another 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and serve warm with butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and margarine in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cream and vanilla immediately. Cool; store in the refrigerator.
Stir before serving over ice cream, puddings, or desserts.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of butterscotch sauce.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hawaiian Carrot Cake from Elsah's Landing Restaurant

This is a family favorite. We all love this recipe. If you can let it age for at least 24 hours in a covered container, it really mellows and the flavors are incredible.

~ jan

2 cups sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
1-cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups shredded coconut
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple (drained)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup raisins (optional)
(Preheat over to 350 degrees) In a medium bowl combine sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and mix well. In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Fold in carrots; coconut, pineapple and walnuts mix well. Spoon batter in a 9x13 glass pan bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or in two 9" layer pans.

Let cool before frosting. Frost with cream cheese icing. When I make this in a layer pan, I put a layer of nuts on the frosting between the layers and coconut, and then I put a layer of chopped nuts on top of the frosted cake as well.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons of melted butter
2 tablespoons of milk or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 box of powdered sugar.

Combine ingredients and beat well. I mix mine in the Cuisinart. Spread on cooled cake.

Panera Bread Black Bean Soup

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 large red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 small chicken bouillon cubes
1-1 1/2 cup boiling water
2 cans black beans, undrained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 lemon, juice of
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. In a pot, combine the first six ingredients; simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add half a can of beans, salt and cumin; cook for 5 minutes.
3. Puree soup (I use an immersion blender which makes it easy to do it right in the pot).
4. Add the rest of the beans to the soup.
5. Combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water.
6. Add the lemon and the cornstarch to the soup; cook until thickened.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made were with Alton Brown's recipe. He starts with melted butter and uses bread flour which works well. Try this in your recipe, these cookies don't last very long around here!

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Ice cream scooper (#20 disher, to be exact)
Parchment paper
Baking sheets

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

3 pints Cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Dried basil -or-
3 tablespoons Fresh Basil; Chopped

Rinse, stem and pat dry tomatoes. In a large skillet, melt butter over
medium heat. Add basil. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and
cook, tossing them, for 5 minutes or heated through. Serve immediately. 10

NOTE: Be careful not to overcook as tomatoes will become mushy.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shrimp and Artichoke Casserole

Marti had this at a ladies luncheon, TO-DIE-FOR

Shrimp and Artichoke Casserole

Recipe By : Holy Chow/Best of the Best in Kentucky
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Artichokes Cheese
Company Main Dishes
Mushrooms Seafood
Shrimp Casseroles

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
6 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper -- to taste
14 ounce can artichoke hearts
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated
1 1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp -- cooked/cleaned

Melt 4 1/2 Tbsps. of butter. Stir in 4 1/2 Tbsps. of flour, add cream,
stirring constantly. When thick, add salt and pepper. Set aside. Drain
artichokes and cut in half. Place on bottom of casserole. Place shrimp over
aritichokes. Saute musrhooms in remaining butter. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. flour
over mushrooms. STir, then scatter musrhooms over shrimp. Add sherry and
Worcestershire sauce to cream sauce. Pour over casserole. Top with chees and
paprika. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tahini cookies

Total time: About 1 hour, plus rising

Servings: Makes 24 to 32 cookies

Note: Adapted from Maral's Pastry in Van Nuys. These simple cookies are made with bread dough, and their Armenian name, tahinov hats, literally means "tahini bread." The cookies bake best in a convection oven at the same temperature.

2 2/3 cup bread flour

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup sugar, divided

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3/4 to 1 cup tahini paste, divided

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, yeast, one-half cup sugar and salt. Add the vegetable oil and mix at a low speed to combine.

2. Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1 cup warm water. With the mixer speed on low, start adding the water slowly — just enough for the dough to come together (we used just shy of 1 cup water), neither too wet nor too dry. Continue to mix at medium-low 2 to 3 minutes until the dough is evenly combined and smooth. Be careful not to overmix. Cover the dough with plastic film and allow to rise until doubled, 2 to 3 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (for either a convection oven or regular oven). Divide the dough in half and place one half on a floured work surface. Flatten it gently with the palm of your hand to a general rectangle shape; continue flattening it with a rolling pin until the rectangle is about 18 by 10 inches. Do not worry if the dough bubbles slightly while it is rolled out. Brush 5 to 6 tablespoons of tahini paste all over the rectangle to get a thin layer and then sprinkle 4 tablespoons sugar over the tahini.

4. Roll the rectangle up lengthwise and trim the ends. Cut the roll into 1- to 1 1/4 -inch lengths; you will have 12 to 16 pieces. Place each piece between your hands, cut sides against your palms; press to flatten into a disc (they will look like rosettes).

5. Place the discs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes in a convection oven or 18 to 20 minutes in a regular oven, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.

Each of 24 cookies: 110 calories; 3 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 12 mg. sodium.

Green Goddess Dressing from Williams Sonoma

1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 roughly chopped small dill sprigs
7 fresh basil leaves
2 roughly chopped green onions
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salad greens for serving


Put the parsley, dill, basil and green onions on a cutting board and chop finely.

Using a small spatula or teaspoon, put the mayonnaise in a dressing mixer carafe. Add the buttermilk, honey, lemon juice, chopped herb

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doesn't this sound interesting?

Add lots of finely chopped fresh basil and oregano, chopped onions, and minced garlic to a quart of a very good extra-virgin olive oil. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least two weeks, shaking daily. Strain, then whenever you make a salad, blend the oil with a small amount of wine vinegar for a delicious smooth vinaigrette.

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can V-8 juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta

1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat.
Drain off most of the fat.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts
of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until
pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup.
Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Serves 8.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream
For the caramel praline (mix-in)

½ cup (100 gr) sugar
¾ teaspoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel

For the ice cream custard

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. To make the caramel praline, spread the ½ cup (100 gr) of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, unlined heavy duty saucepan: I use a 6 quart/liter pan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or brush it sparingly with unflavored oil.

2. Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later.)

Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it's just about to burn. It won't take long.

3. Without hesitation, sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon salt without stirring (don't even pause to scratch your nose), then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and lift up the baking sheet immediately, tilting and swirling it almost vertically to encourage the caramel to form as thin a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.

4. To make the ice cream, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they're floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

5. Spread 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, until caramelized, using the same method described in Step #2.

6. Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go.

The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk.

7. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F (71-77 C).

8. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

9. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

10. While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into very little bits, about the size of very large confetti (about ½-inch, or 1 cm). I use a mortar and pestle, although you can make your own kind of music using your hands or a rolling pin.

11. Once your caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pineapple Pie

Whistle Stop's pineapple pie

The Whistle Stop uses lard as the shortening, which makes for a very flaky crust, very easy to roll out. You can use Crisco, or a mixture of vegetable shortening and butter, or use prepared pie crusts.

Pie crust:

1½ cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup lard

¼ cup cold water

Pineapple filling:

1 cup sugar

½ heaping cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

5 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon butter

16-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained


8 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ cup water

3 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust: In a bowl, stir flour and salt together, and cut in lard until the mixture is grainy, with pieces the size of a BB to the size of a pea. Stir in water to form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.

Roll out to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Trim and crimp edges. Prick bottom all over, line with aluminum foil and weigh down with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until it begins to turn a light golden brown, 20 minutes or more. Remove foil and weights, return to oven, and bake another 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

To make filling: Combine sugar, flour, salt and milk together in the top of a double boiler set over boiling water. Stir frequently so it will not get lumpy. When mixture thickens, add beaten egg yolks slowly and cook 10 to 15 minutes. Add vanilla and butter. Fold in drained pineapple.

Pour pineapple mixture into pie shell. Heat oven to 300 degrees.

To make meringue: Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and water in a microwaveable container or small saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.

Beat egg whites with salt and vanilla. When stiff but not dry, add 6 tablespoons of sugar gradually, beating consistently. Slowly add cornstarch mixture; beating well as you do. Cover pie, touching all the edges of the crust with meringue.

Bake at 300 degrees until meringue is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Meringue pies do not keep well; serve soon.

Serves 8.

Nutrition data per serving: 474 calories, 9 grams protein, 69 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 18 grams fat, 323 milligrams sodium.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Nisha's E-Z Springtime Dessert

Nisha, has been making this for years - it's Mandi's favorite, she wants it every year on her birthday. She's eaten it since she was four years old.

Angel Food Cake - deli bought one works fine for this
1 large size box strawberry jello
1 box frozen strawberries in syrup, drain
1 carton Cool Whip

Take a wooden spoon handle and poke holes all over the top of the angel food cake, being careful not to go all the way to the bottom - 2/3 of the way down is what you're aiming for.

Make LARGE Jello,substituting the strawberry liquid for the cold water and only use 1.5 cups of boiling water. You will probably use 2.5-3 cups of liquid all together depending on how much liquid you get from the strawberries.Then put in strawberry to partially jel, then mix in thawed strawberries , and pour it in the holes in the cake. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, covered and then frost with Cool Whip. Store, covered in the fridge.

You want to fill holes all the way to the top, it will look full, but then sink a bit and you refill until they stay at the top. You may not be able to use quite all of the Jello mixture, just refrigerate leftover Jello to eat.

Nish uses food coloring in the Cool Whip to make it whatever colors she wants. She also sometimes puts a glass in the hole in the middle and fills it with fresh flowers, so that it looks like flowers are coming out of the cake.

At Easter she cometimes uses a little coconut nest in the hole, filled with Jelly Beans.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rave Reviews on this one....

Double Chocolate Layer Cake by Ina Garten - The Barefoot Contessa

Ina’s description of it being the “most fabulous chocolate cake that I’ve ever made” had my interest peaked as well. The unique ingredient was coffee…how intrigued I was!

This cake is everything it promises to be… a unique twist on a standard rich and delicious chocolate cake. The coffee in the batter and in the frosting add just enough twist to the flavor of the cake that you will want to be coming back for more.



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules


  1. MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
  4. MAKE THE FROSTING: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 teaspoons of hot water. Slowly beat the coffee and the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.
  6. Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

MAKE AHEAD The frosted cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let stand for 1 hour before serving.

Food and Wine Magazine's Malt Ball Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup instant malted milk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups ice cold water
4 large egg whites, room temperature
Frosting and Garnish
10 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
10 ounces quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch chunks, softened

malted milk balls, for garnish

1. CAKE: Preheat the oven to 325. Butter and flour three 8 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flours with the malt powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the shortening until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches at low speed, alternating with the ice water, occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl.
3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites at medium high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter between the pans, spreading it evenly and bake the cakes for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and let cool completely. Peel off the parchment.
4. FROSTING: Place the chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the corn syrup; immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes until the chocolate has melted, then whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Gradually beat in the butter at medium speed, a few chunks at a time and beat until thoroughly incorporated between additions. The frosting should be smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting just until it is thick enough to hold its shape, 10-15 minutes.
6. Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread 1 1/4 cups of the frosting over the top in an even layer. Repeat to form 2 more layers. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the side of the cake and refrigerate briefly until firm. Frost the side with the remaining frosting. Garnish the cake with malted milk balls and refrigerate briefly to firm up the frosting before serving.
7. The cake and be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature to serve

Saturday, March 3, 2007

I knew this, did you?

When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered
which is the freshest, so you "squeeze" for freshness or softness? Did
you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week?
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different
color twist tie. They are: Monday = Blue, Tuesday = Green, Thursday =
Friday = White and Saturday = Yellow. So if today was Thursday, you would
want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! The
colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow,
Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was
interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have
different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have
different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread
when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Black Bean Salsa


  • 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 ounce) can Mexican-style corn, drained
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped
  • minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lime squeezed over salsa
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, mix together black beans, Mexican-style corn, diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, tomatoes and green onion stalks. Garnish with desired amount of cilantro leaves. Chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Serve with tortilla chips

More tweaks - Ryan said he would add a bit of cumin and some chili powder to this...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Potatoes 101

Q: What is it about Yukon Golds that makes such wonderful mashed potatoes?

A: It has to do with the potato. There are hundreds of types of potatoes, but each falls into one of three types, classified by their starch content.

Starchy potatoes have high starch and low water. Starchy potatoes are great for baking and French fries, and good as mashed potatoes. When cooked in water, they disintegrate but when cooked by dry heat, they become crumbly and fluffy. Russet Burbanks are a popular type of starchy potato. Often russets are called Idahos or Washingtons (these are not varieties, only the farm location). Starchy potatoes can also be purple, like Purple Peruvians.

All-purpose or chef's potatoes have medium starch and medium water. All-purpose potatoes are great in stews, soups, mashed potatoes or for roasting. When cooked, they are at once moist and fluffy: they keep most of their shape in soups and don't dry out when baked. All-purpose potatoes are white, like White Roses, although they are also yellow (Yukon Golds), red (Red Golds), and blue (All Blue). Some all-purpose potatoes are called Maines, Long Islands, and Delawares (again, not variety names, but only the location of the farm). Fingerling potatoes are long, oval-shaped potatoes that have not grown to full size.

Waxy potatoes have low starch and high water. These potatoes stay firm in liquids and moist when roasted. They are good for stews, roasting and potato salads. Waxy potatoes can have red or tan skin, and white, red or yellow flesh. Different varieties include Irish Cobblers, Red Bliss, All Reds, Ruby Crescents and Butterfingers.

By the way, new potatoes can be any texture or type of potato, as long as the potatoes are harvested when the potato plant is still alive and the potatoes skin is still so thin that it can be rubbed off easily. Nearly all new potatoes behave as if they are waxy; that is, they have a low starch and high water content. New potatoes are good roasted, boiled and steamed. Creamers are potatoes that are no bigger than 1-inch in diameter.

- Food Network Kitchens

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Haub House Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Haub House
Bread Pudding

4 cups milk
5 cups dry bread, broken
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons butter

Soak bread in milk, then crush with hands until well-mixed. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla and raisins. Stir well.

Melt butter in a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Pour mixture into the dish.

Bake at 375 degrees until very firm. Let cool, then cut into squares. Place on individual dishes when ready to serve.

Add sauce. Heat under broiler or in microwave.

Whiskey Sauce
5 tablespoons butter
◊ cup sugar
1 egg
2 ounces Yellowstone whiskey
Cream butter and sugar. Cook almost to a boil, then add beaten egg and cook for one minute. When cool, add whiskey.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Oven Baked Donuts from Heidi

Baked Doughnuts
February 12, 2007 | by Heidi

Mention the concept of a baked doughnut to any self-professed doughnut connoisseur, chances are you'll take some heat. The idea that a baked doughnut can match up to its deep-fried brethren is laughable in some circles. I'll concede they aren't the same, but baked doughnuts can be just as delicious - delicious yet different. They get bonus points for being healthier and for not making the house smell like a greasy fry station.

I spent the better part of Sunday trying to get the dough for these yeasted baked doughnuts right. Broadly speaking, if you can make pizza dough, you can make these. The process is very similar. I looked at a broad cross-section of recipes as inspiration and tried to settle on a ratio of sugar to egg to flour to yeast and salt that would yield a tender, slightly sweet, delicious, pillowy doughnut when baked.

Many recipes call for water as the base liquid, I opted for milk (I like the softness of the milk-based rolls I've made in the past) and I baked batches at 375, 400, and 425. On the higher end of the spectrum the bottoms browned too fast. I settled on 375 and a slightly longer time in the oven.

You can glaze these the way you would any other doughnut, but because I knew these were going to be at their pinnacle of taste minutes after coming out of the oven, I opted for a simple, classic, sugar dusting.

Baked Doughnuts

Don't over bake these, if anything, under bake them a bit - they will continue baking outside the oven for a few minutes. You want an interior that is moist and tender - not dry. Also, be sure to cut big enough holes in the center of your doughnuts - too small and they will bake entirely shut. Remember they rise, and they rise even more when they are baking. These really need to be made-to-order, but you can make and shape the dough the night before if you want to serve them for brunch. Instructions: after shaping, place doughnuts on baking sheet, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Pull them out an hour before baking, and let rise in a warm place before baking.

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour (alternately, white whole wheat might work - haven't tried it yet)
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Be sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt - just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. This is where you are going to need to make adjustments - if your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place (I turn on the oven at this point and set the bowl on top), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Most people (like myself) don't have a doughnut cutter, instead I use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes - start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately if not sooner.

Makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen medium doughnuts.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Herbed pan-fried chicken

1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon (freshly ground) pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

If dealing with chicken breast, cut it into serving pieces to feed 4.

Sprinkle chicken all over with salt, pepper and thyme.

Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, put chicken in skillet and cook without disturbing, for about 5 minutes. It should be an appetizing brown. Turn it over, and cook until done, which should be 6 or 8 minutes if the chicken pieces are 4 or 5 ounces and about 1 inch thick. Serve with hot cabbage slaw and baked potatoes.

Serves 4.

Nutrition data per serving: 217 calories, 33 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 382 milligrams sodium.

Source: Louisville Courier

Hot cabbage slaw

4 bacon slices

1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional

3 tablespoons cider vinegar (or any vinegar)

2 teaspoons honey

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon (freshly ground) black pepper

6 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage (or a mix of green and purple)

1 bunch green onions

Put the bacon in a wide, deep pot over medium heat, and cook until it is crisp; set aside on an absorbent surface.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet, and add caraway seeds. Cook, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute, or until aromatic. Add cider, honey, salt and pepper and about half the cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is barely softened, about 3 minutes.

As cabbage cooks, mince green onions (discard root and any wilted tops).

Add remaining cabbage and green onions, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, or until done to desired tastes. Crumble bacon, and stir into cabbage and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutrition data per serving: 198 calories, 6 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 10 grams fat, 542 milligrams sodium.

Friday, February 2, 2007

5-R Chili (Texas Chili Contest winner - 4 times)

2 pounds Cubed or coarsely ground boneless, trimmed beef (chuck or shoulder arm preferred)
1 tablespoon Vegetable shortening
1-½ teaspoon Hot sauce
8 oz. Tomato sauce
2 Beef bullion cubes
2 Jalapeño peppers, skin surface slit
6 tablespoons Chili powder (or to taste)
4 teaspoons Ground cumin
1 tablespoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon White pepper
3/8 teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Oregano
1/8 teaspoon Crushed bay leaf

Cook meat over medium heat in melted shortening until meat is gray in color. Add hot sauce, tomato sauce, bullion cubes, 1 jalapeño and water to cover. Simmer, covered, 40 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed. When jalapeño is soft, squeeze in juice and discard pulp and seeds.
Mix together chili powder, cumin, onion, garlic, salt, white pepper, cayenne, oregano and bay leaf; divide into 3 portions. Add one portion spice mixture and remaining jalapeño. Continue to cook for one hour adding water as needed. Remove jalapeño, squeeze juice into chili and discard pulp and seeds. Add second portion of spice mixture. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes, adding water if needed. Add remaining spice mixture and cook 15 minutes more. (Chili should be kept thick during cooking. Adding too much water keeps the spices from permeating the meat.)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Slabs of buttered warm gingerbread ended a recent supper with friends. Talk about the quintessential dessert for a cold winter night — and buttering the gingerbread the way you would toast gave it just the right homey finish.

Moist, dark, spicy and not too sweet, gingerbread is what I call a "stir and bake cake." No fussing, whipping or fiddling. Black pepper gives a spark to the other ingredients and it was always present in gingerbreads of the past.

Make a batch to bake while you're eating dinner and serve warm with butter, whipped cream, a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, applesauce or poached fruit like pears, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Leftover gingerbread keeps five to seven days, well wrapped, at room temperature and freezes beautifully for up to three months.

Here is my recipe:

Lynne's Dark and Moist Gingerbread
Copyright 2007 Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All Rights Reserved

Makes 9 servings

  • 2 cups, less 2 tablespoons, all-purpose unbleached flour (measure by spooning into cup and leveling)
  • 1 generous teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup very hot water (190 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

1. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In another bowl, beat together the rest of the ingredients except the egg. When almost frothy, beat in the egg and quickly add the flour mixture.

3. Stir only until thoroughly blended. Pour into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack in the pan for a moist cake. For a drier consistency, cool 10 minutes on rack then turn out of pan.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Supposedly the best EVER chocolate ice cream recipe


***NOTE: The recipe fails to list an important step, and that is to strain the custard before adding to the chocolate ganache. I've noted it in parentheses below.

I suggest adding 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. The taste was a little flat without it, and the vanilla rounded it out. (I used 1/4 tsp Penzey's double vanilla, which is equal to 1/2 tsp regular strength vanilla).


6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar


Put chocolate in 2-quart liquid measuring cup or large heatproof bowl.

Bring 3/4 cup cream to a boil. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit a minute, then, using rubber spatula and starting in center of mixture, stir cream into chocolate in ever-widening circles. When ganache is smooth, set aside.

Bring milk and remaining 3/4 cup cream to a boil in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk yolks and sugar together until well blended and just slightly thickened. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/3 of the hot liquid - this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in remaining liquid.

Pour custard back into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; if you run your finger down bowl of spoon, custard should not run into the track. The custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F, on instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove pan from heat, ***(strain it into a bowl), and slowly and gently stir custard into ganache. (I mixed in vanilla extract after stirring custard into ganache).

Refrigerate custard until chilled before churning into ice cream. (I chill overnight).

Scrape chilled custard into bowl of ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Pack ice cream into container and freeze at least 2 hours, until firm enough to scoop.

Serving: If ice cream is very firm - as ice cream made with premium-quality chocolate often is - allow to sit on counter a few minutes before scooping.

Storing: Packed tightly in covered container, ice cream will keep in freezer about 2 weeks.

From "Baking From My Home To Yours" - Dorie Greenspan

** Hot Peach and Ginger Grilling Sauce **

** Hot Peach and Ginger Grilling Sauce **

From time to time, I'll be posting recipes from the greatest recipe site ever, now unfortunately, defunct - Gail's Recipe Swap.

I don't recall who originally posted this at Gail's, but it's a keeper recommended by many of the old timers over the years. :) My favorite for grilling all year long, this marinade is a definite winner! ~ jan

1-2 batches marinade
time to make 5 min 5 min prep

1 cup peach jam
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry wine
1/4 cup green onions, minced
10 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

1. Mince the green onions, garlic, and ginger - this takes me about 5 minutes, but "your mileage may vary".

2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Use as a baste for pork or chicken.

5. This marinade is a definite winner!

6. I originally picked up the recipe at Gail's Recipe Swap, where everybody was raving about it. It's extremely versatile - some folks used it on beef, some on pork, and I've tried it on salmon steaks. It's wonderful on all of them!

7. Note: you can also substitute ingredients, such as apricot for the peach; I've also added a heaping tablespoon full of lemon curd to the recipe, since it was sitting out on the counter at the time.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Homemade bread...

We all adore it, each and every one of my carb addicted girlfriends. "You oldtime readers to my site know that I'm totally besotted with my Zojirushi bread machine. IMO, the best bread machine on the market. But it's also fun to do it the old fashioned way. Here is a great tutorial for making it on a cold January day. And here is a great forum on breadmaking.

And finally, ten tips for better breadmaking. Now get out in that kitchen and make a loaf! And don't forget to call me when it's coming out of the oven. ~ jan

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One of the Louisville Courier's Most Requested Recipes

Egads, no wonder, this sounds amazing ~ jan

Coconut cream tart

Coco Lopez is the "coconut cream" often used to make pina coladas. In the can it separates into the coconut part, which can be hard, and the syrup part, which is clear and liquid. Unless it's a warm day, you might want to heat the can in a pan of hot water before you open it.


7 1/2 ounces shortbread cookies such as Lorna Doone, finely ground (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut (3 ounces)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted


1 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup well-stirred canned cream of coconut such as Coco Lopez
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Cream topping:

1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cookie crumbs, coconut and butter in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. P ulse until the coconut is finely ground. P ress evenly onto the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom. Bake 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove, and cool completely.

To make the custard: Stir together milk and cornstarch until well- blended. Bring heavy cream and cream of coconut to a boil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, whisking occasionally. Whisk cornstarch mixture; add it to the cream in a stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil as you stir. Mix 1/4 cup of the hot custard into the eggs, beat well. B eat the eggs into the pan of custard. Remove from heat, and stir in extract.

Pour custard into cooled crust, and smooth top. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Chill tart until set, at least 4 hours.

To make topping: Beat together cream and sour cream with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Spread cream over tart. Sprinkle with more toasted coconut, if desired, and cut into thin wedges.

Serves 12.

Nutrition data: 380 calories, 32 grams fat, 5 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 120 milligrams sodium.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Marie Calendar's Chicken Pot Pie

Here is the recipe for Marie Callender's chicken pot pie with a homemade crust, courtesy of Vollmer Public Relations for ConAgra Foods, parent of Marie Callender's.

2 cups water
14 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas

Crust (a pre-made crust may be used)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water

To make the filling: In 4-quart saucepan combine water, chicken, carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken bouillon, pepper and butter. Dissolve cornstarch and flour into whipping cream and stir into chicken mixture. Simmer 3 minutes stirring frequently until thickened. Add peas and set aside.

To make the crust: Heat oven to 400°.

Combine flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening until particles the size of small peas form. Sprinkle one tablespoon of water at a time over flour mixture and toss with fork to blend. Add enough water to hold the dough together. Form into 2 balls. Roll out bottom crust on floured surface to 1 inch larger than inverted 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Lift dough off floured surface by rolling onto rolling pin and unroll over pie plate. Ease the dough into the plate loosely and press in place. Trim bottom crust even with edge of plate.

To assemble: Pour filling into bottom crust. Roll out top crust, cut slits for steam to escape. Cover filling with top crust and fold top crust under bottom crust. Seal crust and flute edge. Bake in a 400° oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Apple Cake

This is adapted from Dotty Pascoe, who lives in Leverett, Mass., and works at the town post office. She, in turn, received it from her sister Elaine, who lives in Deerfield, Mass., and who may or may not have found it in a local women's cookbook. For 45 years, Dottie Pascoe was a secretary at the University of Massachusetts; she enjoys bowling and NASCAR.

Makes 8 servings

3 cups flour all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups apples, peeled and sliced or chopped (Russets, Golden Delicious, Granny Smiths, Baldwins and Cortlands all work well)

1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt and baking soda) until thoroughly combined.

Whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, oil and vanilla) and stir into the dry ingredients. Stir to just combine. Fold in apples and pecans. The batter will be quite stiff. Add 1/4 cup water if desired.

Spread the batter into an ungreased tube pan or ungreased 9-inch-by-11-inch-by-2-inch baking dish. Bake 60 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Frozen Key Lime Pie with Crushed Sugar Cone Crust and Macadamia Nut Cream

From A Passion for Ice Cream by Emily Luchetti

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Sugar Cone Crust

12 sugar cones, broken up

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Key Lime Curd

6 large eggs yolks

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup key lime juice (available at specialty shops)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup whipping cream

Macadamia Nut Cream

3/4 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

To make the crust: Finely grind the sugar cones in a food processor. Place them in a bowl with the butter and stir until combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Put in the freezer while you make the curd.

To make the curd: In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs and sugar until combined. Whisk in the key lime juice and salt. Pour into a medium, heavy non-reactive sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat resistant plastic or wooden spatula until thick, about 8 minutes. The curd is done when you can briefly see the bottom of the pan as you stir it. Cool over an ice bath. Whip the cream until soft peaks form and fold it into the curd. Pour the key lime curd into the prepared pie shell. Freeze for at least 4 hours until hard.

To make the cream: In a bowl, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla extract until firm peaks form. Fold in the macadamia nuts.

To serve: Spread the cream over the top of the pie. Serve immediately.

The pie can be made and frozen up to 2 days ahead. Cover well with plastic wrap. The cream topping can be whipped and refrigerated up to 3 hours ahead. Just before serving, rewhip the cream slightly until firm and fold in the macadamia nuts.

Skillet Nachos

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 small zucchini, chopped (1 cup)
1 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1 cup chili beans in sauce (from 15-ounce can)
4 ounces tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces)
Sliced ripe olives, if desired

In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add bell pepper and zucchini; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until

Wipe skillet clean. Arrange tortilla chips in single layer in skillet. Spoon vegetable mixture onto chips. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover and cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives. Serve with remaining 1/2 cup salsa.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving: Calories 360 (Calories from Fat 200); Total Fat 22g (Saturated Fat 9g, Trans Fat ncg); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 850mg; Total Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars ncg); Protein 15g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 26%; Vitamin C 46%; Calcium 36%; Iron 15% Exchanges: 2 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 High-Fat Meat; 2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: nc
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Source: Betty Crocker, You Sweet Talker...

Skillet Nachos

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 small zucchini, chopped (1 cup)
1 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1 cup chili beans in sauce (from 15-ounce can)
4 ounces tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces)
Sliced ripe olives, if desired

In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add bell pepper and zucchini; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until

Wipe skillet clean. Arrange tortilla chips in single layer in skillet. Spoon vegetable mixture onto chips. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover and cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives. Serve with remaining 1/2 cup salsa.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving: Calories 360 (Calories from Fat 200); Total Fat 22g (Saturated Fat 9g, Trans Fat ncg); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 850mg; Total Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars ncg); Protein 15g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 26%; Vitamin C 46%; Calcium 36%; Iron 15% Exchanges: 2 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 High-Fat Meat; 2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: nc
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Skillet Nachos

1tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1small zucchini, chopped (1 cup)
1cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1cup chili beans in sauce (from 15-ounce can)
4ounces tortilla chips
1 1/2cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces)

Sliced ripe olives, if desired

1.In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add bell pepper and zucchini; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in 1/2 cup of the salsa and the beans; cook until hot. Remove mixture from skillet.
2.Wipe skillet clean. Arrange tortilla chips in single layer in skillet. Spoon vegetable mixture onto chips. Sprinkle with cheese.
3.Cover and cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives. Serve with remaining 1/2 cup salsa.

Nutrition Information:

1 Serving: Calories 360 (Calories from Fat 200); Total Fat 22g (Saturated Fat 9g, Trans Fat ncg); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 850mg; Total Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars ncg); Protein 15g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 26%; Vitamin C 46%; Calcium 36%; Iron 15% Exchanges: 2 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 High-Fat Meat; 2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: nc
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Source: Betty Crocker, You Sweet Talker....

Cajun Snack Mix


  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 2 cups bite-size square rice cereal
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup snipped dried fruit


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large roasting pan, combine popcorn, pretzels, cereal, and peanuts; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and Cajun seasoning. Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn mixture; toss gently to coat.

3. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once. Spread mix on a large piece of foil to cool. Stir in dried fruit. Makes about 20 servings.

4. Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the snack mix as directed; cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Source: BH&G

Super Bowl Barbecue with Coleslaw


  • 1 4- to 5- pound pork shoulder roast or pork shoulder blade Boston roast (Boston butt)
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16 kaiser rolls, split and toasted
  • Coleslaw


1. Place meat in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl combine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, red pepper, and black pepper. Pour over meat.

2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.

3. Transfer meat to a cutting board; reserve cooking juices. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bones and coarsely chop. In a medium bowl combine meat and as much of the juices as desired to moisten. Arrange meat on roll bottoms. Add roll tops. Serve with coleslaw. Makes 16 servings.

Source: BH&G

Super Bowl Taco Salad


  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 6-ounce carton frozen avocado dip, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chili peppers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Chopped tomato (optional)
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips

1. In a 2-1/2-quart glass salad bowl layer black beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, olives, and onion.

2. For dressing, in a medium bowl stir together avocado dip, sour cream, chili peppers, milk, garlic, and chili powder. Spread over the top of the salad. If desired, sprinkle with chopped tomato. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

3. Before serving, toss salad together and serve over crushed tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings.

Source: BH&G

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Trish's Great Shrimp Chowder

1 can Campbell's Clam Chowder
1 can Campbell's Cream of Celery Soup
1 can Campbell's Cream of Potato Soup
1 small can of petite shrimp, or clams, whichever you prefer, well drained
small carton of heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper to taste..

Mix together, heat and serve! It's AMAZING!!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

Use a slow cooker for this recipe. Or subsitute a cast-iron pot with a tight-fitting lid and bake at 350° for 2 hours.

Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours if using a slow cooker; 2 hours if using the oven

One 5 1/2-pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
20 whole garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1/2 pound yellow onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 pound red potatoes (about 14), halved
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 cup small green fresh olives (such as picholines), cracked
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Prepare the chicken: Sprinkle the chicken skin and cavity with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and place 10 garlic cloves inside. In a slow cooker, layer the onions and potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining salt, pepper, 1/2 of the oregano and 1/2 of the rosemary. Place the chicken, breast-side down, on top of the potatoes and onions in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and oregano. Add the olives, remaining garlic cloves and lemon juice. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Pull meat from the bones and serve hot with the broth and vegetables.

Based on individual serving.
Calories: 627
Total Fat: 18.0 g
Cholesterol: 291 mg
Sodium: 1,766 mg
Carbohydrates: 19.4 g
Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 92.5

Source: Country Living Magazine, January '07

Banana-Caramel Cake

Banana cake + caramel icing = heaven on a plate.

Yields: 12 servings (one 9-inch 2-layer cake)

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup (about 2 bananas) very ripe, mashed bananas
Caramel Icing

1. Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a small brush, lightly coat two 9-inch cake pans with softened butter or vegetable-oil cooking spray. Dust with flour, tap out any excess, and set aside. Over a surface covered with a large sheet of waxed or parchment paper, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Into a medium bowl, resift the flour mixture and set aside. In a large bowl, using a mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light — about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue to beat for 2 more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition, and mix in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture by thirds, alternating with the buttermilk and bananas and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just enough to blend the batter after each addition.

2. Bake the cake: Divide the batter equally between the pans and bake on the middle rack of the oven until a tester inserted into each cake layer comes out clean — 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the cake pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the cake layers from the pan sides and invert the layers onto the wire rack to cool completely.

3. Ice the cake: Use a serrated knife to trim the mounded side of the cake layers, if necessary. Line the edges of a cake plate with 3-inch-wide strips of waxed or parchment paper and place a cake layer, trimmed side down, on top. Place 1 cup Caramel Icing on top of the layer and spread evenly. Place the second layer, trimmed side down, on the first and cover the top and sides with the remaining icing.

Based on individual serving.
Calories: 528
Total Fat: 23.8 g
Cholesterol: 74.8 mg
Sodium: 291 mg
Carbohydrates: 77.8 g
Fiber: 0.70 g
Protein: 3.5 g

Source: Country Living Magazine January '07

Mexican Potato Soup

I talked to Nish this morning - she made this soup and said it's a keeper.....

1 large potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups Fat Free Half and Half
1 small onion, small dice
1/2 small bell pepper, small dice
2 cup corn kernels
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno, seeds and veins removed
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt, pepper to taste
tabasco to taste
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, optional

Combine potato, onion and bell pepper in 1/2 cup water. Simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Then spoon out half the potatoes, mash them with a potato masher and return to pot, to thicken the soup. Add the rest of ingredients and simmer until hot.

Nisha added a bit of butter to this, and said that if the soup is too thin, you could add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch to 1/4 cup of COLD milk or water, and add it to the simmering soup to finish thickening it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A new twist on an old favorite....

Spaghetti with Stuffed Meatballs

Kids will love to lend a hand—literally—with this recipe. They can mix the meat and other ingredients together, a task best accomplished with their hands. (Be sure they wash their hands before and after mixing!) Children can help roll the meat mixture into balls, then make an indentation in each one and place a cheese cube inside.


1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground veal
1 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more
for garnish
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 lb. mozzarella or provolone cheese, cut into
1/2-inch cubes
Olive oil for frying
About 6 cups tomato sauce (see related recipe
at right)
2 lb. spaghetti, cooked and drained
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving


In a large bowl, combine the milk and bread crumbs. Add the ground pork, veal, beef, the 1/3 cup parsley, the eggs, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix briefly with your hands. Form the mixture into 2-inch balls. Press a mozzarella cheese cube into the center of each ball, sealing it inside.

In a large electric skillet set on medium-high heat, heat 1/2 inch of oil until almost smoking. Add the meatballs and cook until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray.

Discard the oil in the pan. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for 10 minutes more.

Put the pasta in a warmed large, shallow bowl. Top with the sauce and meatballs and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately and pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table. Serves 10 to 12.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Key Lime Margarita Mix

Old El Paso all-natural key lime margarita mix is available at some Williams-Sonoma stores and through the Web site (click on "drinks and snacks").

Mention the word margarita and many baby boomers can come up with at least one college story about the infamous perils of drinking tequila.

Margaritas have always been so bad - too sweet, too sour, too bland, too icy, too stupid to drink unless you have something to prove and unpleasant enough that you're certain to prove it if you throw back a few.

Great margarita's can be made. A bracing lime juice-lime zest concoction with good tequila that's not too sweet can be delicious.

But homemade margaritas are a lot of trouble.

The easier way is to buy a mix. After tasting scores of mixes that come bottled, powdered, frozen and concentrated, I've discovered one that's worth drinking.

The El Paso Chile Company margarita mix makes a fabulous, labor-saving margarita. The lime taste refreshes and there's not too much sugar. Add a squeeze of lime wedge and it tastes homemade.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Paula Dean's Loaded Oatmeal Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting -

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease 1 or more cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixture is light in color. Add buttermilk. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in oatmeal, raisins, walnuts, and vanilla, blending well. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Brown Butter Icing.

Brown Butter Icing:

1/2 cup butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of drizzling consistency. Drizzle on warm cookies.

Yield: enough to ice 5 dozen cookies