Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fresh Egg Pasta

Pasta Fresca

2 cups flour (plus extra for sprinkling)
3 eggs

We mixed this together in the food processor (super easy), adding more flour until it is smooth and not sticky.

Combine the flour and eggs in the work bowl fitted with the metal blade. Pulse briefly a few times to combine the ingredients. Then process using long pulses only until the dough forms a ball around the blade, about 1 minute. Turn the dough out onto a pastry board and knead about 5 minutes.

NOTES: This recipe called for all-purpose flour, but several others called for semolina. We happened to have cake flour (very low gluten) and that worked very well. It was easy to roll out, because the dough didn't have that stretchy quality that bread dough has.

To cook, boil in salted water for about 2 minutes.
Serves 6
Recipe Source: William's Sonoma: Pasta

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Typical Sicilian's Penne Vodka

1 lb Penne
1 lb Cooked Shrimp(they serve them whole, but I prefer to chop them up or use salad shrimp)
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Whole Onion(small), minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Vodka(or white wine for a different taste)
16 oz Tomato sauce
1 cup Cream
6oz Crab meat(1 can)
Fresh Spinach

Boil the pasta until al dente. Saute onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until translucent; add vodka, let evaporate; add tomato sauce and cream; turn heat to low and let simmer. Add parsley and salt to taste; stir in shrimp and crab; tear up a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach an stir in; toss with pasta and serve.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Granny's Sweet Potatoes

3lbs sweet Potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. heavy cream(or milk)
1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 c butter, melted
1/4 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c chopped nuts

Cook and mash the sweet potatoes(I microwaved them for 30 minutes); when cool enough to not cook the eggs, stir in the eggs, sugar, cream, and cinnamon; spoon into an oven-proof dish. Stir together the topping ingredients and spread over the potatoes. Bake at 350 until heated through and bubbly.

Fresh Corn Casserole

8 ears Of Corn (or 1 1/2 bags of frozen)
⅔ cups Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons Butter (salted)
½ teaspoons Salt To Taste
Ground Pepper To Taste

Remove the corn from the husks. In a large, deep bowl, slice off the kernels of corn. With the dull side of the knife (or a regular dinner knife), press and scrape the cob all the way down to remove all the bits of kernel and creamy milk inside.

Add heavy cream, salt to taste, a generous amount of ground pepper and butter; mix well. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Bake at 350º for 30 to 45 minutes or until thoroughly warmed through(or whatever temperature anything else is cooking at).

Risotto of the Gods

2 tbsp. Butter
2 tsp. Garlic powder(or use fresh)
3 slices of Prosciutto, diced
1/2 lb. Arborio rice
1/2 c. White wine(Riesling or Gewürztraminer)

2-3 cans Chicken Broth
1/2 c. Heavy Cream
1 c. Parmesan cheese

Brown butter and garlic powder in a large skillet over medium heat; add prosciutto and rice, toss to coat; add wine and stir. Slowly add chicken broth to cover and simmer, stirring until most of the broth has been absorbed; repeat until all of the broth has been used or the rice is just tender, whichever comes first. Add the cream and continue cooking until just thickened, stir in cheese. The end result should be thick and creamy. Drink the remainder of the wine with dinner.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


This is hardly a news flash, but I did like this recipe. I'm storing it here so I'm reminded to make it from time to time.

3 ripe avocados
1/2 onion, minced
Juice of one fresh lime (or lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
A dash of freshly grated black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Serve with tortilla chips.
  • Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
  • Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more.
  • Keep the tomatoes separate until ready to serve.
Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.

Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.

  • The original recipe called for chilis and cilantro.
  • I used a pastry blender to mash it all up.
  • A little garlic would be good.
  • Yum

Friday, November 27, 2009

Johnny's Thanksgiving Minestrone

2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup sliced celery (or more)
1/4 c minced fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c vegetable oil
5 (15 oz.) cans vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 (8 0z) can tomato sauce or tomato paste
2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
1 c chopped carrots (or more)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. sliced zucchini
1 c fresh green beans (sliced)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup uncooked pasta (I used Creamette's large rings)

Saute the onions, celery, parsley and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cabbage, carrots, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour. Add zucchini and beans.

I cooked the pasta in a separate pan according to directions, but you could just cook it in the soup if you have enough liquid.

Optional: Top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese.

NOTES: It's possible he was trying to suck up or was just being polite, but since Johnny ate 5-6 bowls of this soup this weekend I think he was sincere. Glad you liked it, Gerardi! ;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crispy Baked Pork Chops

Mix 4 cups of water and 1/4 c salt. Soak the pork chops in this brine for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make 3-4 cups of fresh bread crumbs in a food processor. Mix them with 3 tbls. parsley and 4-5 minced garlic cloves. Blend all in the processor and spread on a baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until browned. After you take them out of the oven, mix in 3 tbls. of grated or shredded Parmesan.

Mix 3 egg whites, 3 tbls. mustard* and 6 tbls. flour in a shallow dish, and put about a cup of all-purpose flour in a 3rd dish.

Rinse the chops and dip each in the flour, the egg/mustard mixture, and then the crumbs. Carefully place each on a baking rack over a baking sheet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until internal temperature is 150 degrees.

  • These were excellent and were very moist.
  • The original recipe came from a TV show (America's Test Kitchen?), but there was a charge for getting recipes from their site so I had to fill in a couple details.
  • *I think they used Dijon mustard, but I only had plain yellow. It was fine, but something more interesting might be better.
  • As the source said, "These won't look any better after they're baked, so make sure the coating is perfect and they go in looking great."
  • I think I would try baking them on parchment next time. The rationale for the baking rack was so they'd be crisp on the bottom too, but mostly the bottom coating just stuck to the rack (yes, I sprayed it), and whatever dropped down to the pan just burned there.
  • Really though, between the brine and the coating these were super moist. It would be a nice dish to serve guests.
  • I increased the amount of the egg mixture to make my 7 chops.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cheddar Pepper Biscuits

3 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
3/4 ~ 2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
  1. wisk all dry ingredients
  2. add cheddar cheese
  3. Cut in cold butter
  4. refrigerate dough 30 min
  5. preheat oven to 400
  6. gently stir in buttermilk
  7. gather mixture into a ball
  8. pat into 12 inch disc
  9. cut into 8 pieces
  10. bake 15 to 20 min
NOTES: We did not do step 4 (refrigerate) and we had to add a little more milk to get it to stick together. Becky cut her biscuits into nice little triangles to serve with soup. It makes way more than 8 regular-sized biscuits though.
SOURCE: Matt and Becky Brounstein

Chicken-Peanut Butter Stew

4 c. diced chicken (3-4 large chicken breasts)
1 1/2 c milk
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 sliced onion
1 diced green pepper
6 stalks diced celery
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp pepper or to taste
5 c chicken broth
1/4 c cornstrach
Simmer chicken in 1/2 cup broth until cooked. Saute the onion, peppers and celery and mix them with the chicken. Mix remaining chicken broth, cornstarch, peanut butter, salt and pepper. Stir liquid mixture into simmering chicken. Add vegetables. Cook at low until thickened, stirring often. Serve over rice.

Original recipe (revised because we didn't like the liquid-solid ratio):
4 c. diced chicken (3 large chicken breasts)
2-3 tsp flour (more for thicker gravy)
1 1/2 c milk
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 sliced onion
1 diced green pepper
6 stalks diced celery
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp pepper or to taste
water (enough to simmer chicken)
7 c chicken broth
Simmer chicken in water for approximately 1 hour. Saute the onion, peppers and celery. Mix flour, chicken broth, peanut butter, salt and pepper. Stir liquid mixture into simmering chicken and stir until creamy. Add vegetables. Cook at low heat for 1 hour, stirring often. Serve over rice.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 heaping cup pumpkin puree*
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional!)*
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until all incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins.

Fold gently until mixture is just combined. Pour into greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle generous amounts of cinnamon-sugar over the top of each unbaked muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup softened butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy!

The entire credit for this delicious recipe goes to Pioneer Woman. (Her photos are much more inspirational than mine too.) Next up - her truffle recipe!

  • I doubled the recipe and used one 15-ounce can of pumpkin. A double recipe made 48 mini muffins + 5 regular sized ones.
  • I always have regular raisins, but seldom have golden raisins. This substitution was fine.
  • Since I doubled the muffins, it seemed logical to double the frosting, right? Wrong! The recipe as written would've been more than enough to pipe a generous star on each of my minis.
  • I forgot to sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar on before baking. Also fine.
  • As promised, these were delish for breakfast and dessert. Thanksgiving brunch? Perfect!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pan Fried Chicken Breasts

A Cautionary Tale.
This is what happens when I don't record a recipe right away. I remember how good it was, and how easy, and how fast, but there are a few details that escape me.

Like the ingredients.

I know there were a lot of canned bread crumbs combined with Famous Dave's Chicken Seasoning (and I remember thinking that seasoned salt or any other combo would be a good substitute). There was at least a tablespoon of seasoning.

The chicken breasts were on the thin side (and that allowed them to cook quickly and still remain moist).

There must have been some kind of moisture involved before dredging the meat in the crumbs. Probably milk.

I definitely remember they fried in butter, (It was pretty tremendous!) and it only took a few minutes on each side. I turned them gently and the crumb coating stayed attached. They were pretty.

Was there flour combined with the crumbs? Was there egg beaten in with the milk? Will I ever learn? I do know this is a modified version of something in a cookbook I own. Perhaps I'll find it someday.

Basil Bread

1 tsp sugar
1 c warm water or milk, divided
1 tbls yeast
3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbls butter or marg
2 tbls sugar
2-3 tsp. dried basil
1 c loosely packed fresh parsely (try to avoid adding lots of stems)

  1. In bowl, mix the 1 tsp sugar into ¼ c warm milk/water. Sprinkle yeast on the liquid; stir lightly until dissolved. Let work for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.
  2. In processor bowl fitted with metal blade, put flour, salt, butter, the 2 tbls. sugar, basil and parsley. Blend together with quick on/off turns until blended. Pour in the yeast mixture; blend briefly. With machine running, pour the remaining ¾ c water or milk, little by little, until a ball forms. (All of the liquid may not be needed, but if a ball of dough does not form, add a bit more liquid.) Knead dough by allowing it to spin for about 1 minute.
  3. Knead by hand for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat top of ball, cover. Let rise until doubled (1-2 hours)
  5. Punch dough down; knead and shape into a loaf. (or 2 small loaves)
  6. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes (30 for smaller loaves) until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.
  7. Cool on rack.

Grilled Pork Skewers with Peanut-Basil Sauce

20-30 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup peanut butter*
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbls. soy sauce, more to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled (you know I put more than that in ;-)
1-inch long piece of ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp. red chile flakes
juice of one lime (I used about 1/4 cup lime juice from the bottle)
1/4 tsp salt
1 pound boneless pork shoulder or loin

Marinade: In blender, combine everything but the pork and pro
cess until mixture forms a smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. (Note: Mixture should be salty, spicy, and hot.)
Set aside 1/2 cup to use as dipping sauce.

To marinate pork: Slice pork into 1-inch cubes. Toss with remaining marinade until well coated. Thread meat onto skewers, without crowding.

To cook pork: Heat grill, grill pan, or broiler until quite hot. Cook pork, turning once, for 5-8 minutes or until brown all over.

Serve with reserved marinade. Garnish with lime wedges.

MY NOTES: We all loved the flavor of this recipe!
  • I couldn't really taste the coconut milk, but it's thickness added to the consistency of the sauce. A substitute could be used if it didn't thin the marinade too much.
  • I had a little over a pound of pork roast and really there was enough sauce that I could've doubled that - maybe more.
  • The only down side of this recipe is that the combination of the basil and peanut butter makes the sauce a weird tannish-green color.
*It says "preferable chunky" but I'm not sure why since it all gets blended anyway.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups of peeled, coarsely chopped apples
1 ½ tsp. baking soda

Beat oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs together. In a separate bowl, mix flour with salt, soda and soda. Blend this with the first mixture. Stir in apples. This is a very thick batter. Spoon into a greased and floured 9 X 13 pan.

¾ c flour
½ c brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
Mix flour and brown sugar, cut in butter until you have pea-sized crumbs.

Sprinkle topping on the batter and bake at 325 for 1 ¼ hours.

NOTES: I've also used unpeeled apples. This recipe is a family favorite that I've been using for years. Yum!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grandpa's Frozen Corn

3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
10 cups blanched corn kernals (removed from the cobs)
Boil three minutes and cool. Package for freezing.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chicken Piccata

1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
2 eggs
6 tbls. lemon juice, divided
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 c butter
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 c water

Combine flour, garlic powder and paprika; set aside. In another bowl beat eggs and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then coat with flour mixture.
In a large skillet, brown chicken on both sides in butter over med.-high heat. Combine bouillon, water and remaining lemon juice; pour over chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Yield: 4 servings.

NOTES: Good and moist. This time I used a Famous Dave's chicken spice blend which was also good.

Pesto Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbls. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c shortening
1/2 c milk
1/4 c basil pesto
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan before baking.

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening and pesto until misture looks like fine crumbs.
  3. Stir in the milk until dough leaves the side of bowl. (dough will be soft and sticky)
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured surfacce. Knead lightly 10 times and roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter.
  5. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Good with Italian Wedding Soup!

Italian Wedding Soup

1 whole chicken
1 c. carrots, chopped *
1 c. celery, chopped
1 sm. onion, diced
Seasoned with 4-6 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tbls. parsley flakes, and 1/4 cup chicken soup base. (all are approximate – season to taste)
2 pkgs. chopped frozen spinach, thawed & well drained
1 (1 lb.) pkg. acini di pepe, cooled & drained OR ORZO
Meatballs (see below)

Clean chicken and put in pot with 8 quarts of water; simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked and remove to cool enough to handle, remove meat from skin and bones. Add carrots, celery and onion to broth and cook. In the meantime, cut meat into bite-sized pieces and make meatballs.

1 1/2 lbs. ground round
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or more)
1 c. bread crumbs
1 or 2 eggs (to create a moist but not runny)
Combine ingredients and make small meatballs (about 1/2 - 3/4 inch). Brown meatballs in a skillet. Drain and add meatballs to soup.

Add meatballs and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add spinach and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with acini di pepe and grated Parmesan cheese.

This soup is EXCELLENT! Everyone loved it!
The original recipe called for 1 pkg. 6 to 8 chicken wings + 2 chicken breasts. That would also be fine, but only using boneless chicken isn't a great substitute in any chicken soup recipe.
I usually add the pasta directly to the soup and then regret it when it all turns to hotdish the next day. It's better to keep the pasta separate and just add it to each bowl as it's served. (It just sucks up too darned much moisture as it sits around.)
*I almost always add more veggies than a soup recipe calls for. It's just nice to have more stuff in it, but you be the judge.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Honey Barbecue "Wings" with Blue Cheese Dressing

Serves 3-4.
  • 2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (approx. 1"x 1"x 3")
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk (or enough to cover chicken pieces)
  • 2 T. salt
  • 1 c. flour
Combine salt and buttermilk in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add chicken pieces and allow to soak for about 1 hr.

Heat 1/2" of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or saucepan for about 5 minutes over medium heat. In a shallow dish or ziplock bag, combine flour and a dash each of cayenne, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and fry until browned, turning once. Remove chicken pieces and drain on paper towels.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1-1/2 T ketchup
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp meat tenderizer
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 T steak sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
Combine glaze ingredients. Melt 1 stick of butter in a 9x13" baking dish. Stir in glaze. Add chicken pieces, toss to coat, and arrange in a single layer. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, turning chicken pieces halfway through baking. If desired, serve with blue cheese dressing, below.

Blue cheese dressing:
  • 2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Mash blue cheese and buttermilk together with a fork until mixture resembles large-curd cottage cheese. Stir in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Notes: I'm somewhat torn; the glaze was flavorful enough that the dressing was really superfluous, but it was such a good dressing recipe that I found myself eating quite a bit of it, anyway.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Amazing Cherry Pie Filling

6 cups cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Combine cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl, stir and let sit for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Drain off and reserve cherry syrup.

Combine a small amount of syrup to cornstarch to make a paste, then whisk cornstarch paste back into syrup. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the drained cherries and almond extract.

Makes filling for 1 pie

Friday, April 17, 2009

Emily and Brian's Wedding Cake

55 min | 10 min prep

SERVES 40 -50

2 (18 ounce) boxes white cake mix (Betty Crocker or Pillsbury)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup lemon juice
1 2/3 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons real vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups sour cream
6 whole eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest

Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.
Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour into greased and floured cake pans, filling each pan a little over half full.
Lightly tap cake pans on counter to bring air bubbles to top.
Bake in preheated 325° F oven until cake tests done.
Baking time varies according to the size and depth of pans being used.

I made several batches (maybe 3 - I don't remember for sure) to bake two each 6", 8", and 10" cakes.  I added poppy seeds to 1/2 the cakes and alternated the layers when everything was put together.
The cakes were split with this cake leveler. (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  For under $4 this tool will perfectly and easily split the layers.)

I displayed the cakes on this stand, purchased with a 1/2 price coupon at JoAnn's.

To see options for chocolate cake, for liqueur flavors, berry flavors, or white chocolate, see the original recipe here

The filling between the layers was Dickinson's Lemon Curd, and it was frosted with buttercream.

We made the cakes several weeks ahead of time and froze them, and then assembled everything the afternoon before the wedding.

Cashew Chicken Salad

75 ounces drained canned chicken
24 oz. water chestnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups cashews, chopped
12 stalks celery, finely chopped
6 tbsp. finely chopped onion
juice of 1 fresh lemon
3-4 cups mayonnaise/Miracle Whip
6 tsp dill weed

Combine all ingredients and mix well. NOTE: Everything can be made a day or two ahead of time, but add the cashews at the last minute.

Pate au Choux Finger Sandwiches

These little breads are a staple at our church's annual Mother/Daughter Tea (and the exhausted organizers seem to have established the tradition of eating the leftovers for dinner when they get home later that evening)

1/2 c water
1/2 c flour
dash of salt
4 tbls. margarine
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese (swiss or cheddar)

In a saucepan -Melt margarine in water. Add flour and stir vigorously with a whisk until ball forms or pulls away from sides of pan. Remove from heat.

With an electric mixer, beat in eggs and add cheese.

Beat for about a minute until it looks glossy but no longer wet.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
I used a #60 food scoop, capacity- 1 tablespoon.
You can reuse the same sheet of parchment several times.
Bake at 400 º for 20 minutes.

Cool. Split in half and fill with your favorite filling (ham salad, tuna salad, etc.)
Makes approximately 20.

Notes—bake until thoroughly browned and they will not flatten when cool. They keep their nice texture and height even when made a day ahead of time. I made 7 double batches for the Mother Daughter Tea and the Cashew Chicken Salad recipe. I kept 4 baking sheets going at a time so I always had a cool one to put the next batch of batter onto. These can be made ahead of time and frozen.

To watch Alton Brown's take on a similar recipe go here and here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Triple Ginger Cookies

Quite possibly my new favorite, adapted slightly from here.

1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon star anise, finely ground
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
2/3 sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup crystallized ginger, finely minced
2 limes, zest only

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees - racks in the top and bottom 1/3 of the oven. Line baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a silicone mat, combine the 1/2 c sugar and a bit of sea salt in a small bowl, and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, anise, ground ginger, and salt.
Heat the butter in a skillet until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, 2/3c. sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point, if it is hot to touch let it cool a bit. Whisk in the egg. Now pour this over the flour mixture, add the crystallized ginger (make sure it isn't too clumpy), and lime zest. Stir until just combined.

Scoop out dough in exact, level tablespoons, then tear those pieces half before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. Roll each ball in sugar/salt to heavily coat the outside of each dough ball. Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies puff up, darken a bit, get fragrant and crack.

Makes about 4 dozen bite-sized cookies.