Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gingerbread

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

CHOCOLATE GANACHE ICE CREAM

***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).

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

Crust:

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

Custard:

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.

Filling
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


Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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


Ingredients

  • 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


Directions

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


Ingredients

  • 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
Directions

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




INGREDIENTS:
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


DIRECTIONS:
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.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
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)

INGREDIENTS:
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


DIRECTIONS:
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.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions

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 www.elpasochile.com (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