Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Genesee Valley Apple Crumb Pie

Another dish I made for Thanksgiving. This apple pie was really good. Everyone who tried some loved the pie. I felt it was a fairly simple pie to make and an added bonus was I didn't have to roll the pie crust out. The pie crust is a pat into the pan recipe.

Genesee Valley Apple Crumb Pie
Junior League of Rochester Cookbook

2/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups flour

Cream shortening with salt.
Add boiling water and mix.
Add flour.
Press crust into 9 or 10 inch pie plate.

6 apples, pared, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Fill crust with apples.
Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and salt on apples.

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour

Cream butter with sugar and flour.
Spoon mixture on top of pie.
Place pie in preheated oven 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Short (2 inch) straws inserted in the pie will keep juice from running over.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I made these for Thanksgiving, again sorry for the delay but between illness, the holidays and a birthday I've been busy. These were a hit with everyone. I can't even begin to explain how tasty these were. They were also really simple to make although it did take some time. These mashed sweet potatoes are also a much healthier alternative to regular mashed potatoes. I've been too chicken to give these a try but now that I have I see myself making these more than I do regular mashed potatoes.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Cooks Country Magazine Dec/Jan 2007

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pounds sweet potatoes, (2 large or 3 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Combine butter, 2 tablespoons cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sugar, and sweet potatoes in large saucepan. Cook, covered, over low heat until fall apart tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Off heat, add remaining tablespoon cream and mash sweet potatoes with potato masher. Serve.

This recipe can be doubled and prepared in a dutch oven but the cooking time will need to be doubled.

This recipe can be prepared up to 2 days in advanced. Mash the potatoes as directed in step 2 but hold off on adding the last tablespoon of cream. When you want to serve the potatoes, cover them with plastic wrap, microwave them until hot, and then stir in the remaining cream.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mongolian Beef

This was a great meal that was loved by all who ate it. Not only was it super quick to make but it was a healthy meal to boot. Including prep time this recipe took about 25 minutes to cook. I served this dish over wide rice noodle but rice or regular noodles would work too.

Mongolian Beef
Cooking Light December 2009

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons dry sherry (didn't have so I just used beef broth)
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste with garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced across the grain
16 medium green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces

Combine first 8 ingredients, stirring until smooth.

Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add minced ginger, minced garlic, and beef; saute for 2 minutes or until beef is browned. Add green onion pieces; saute 30 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly.

This makes 4 servings. A serving size is 1 cup.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Busy Busy and what I've been doing

Sorry this month has been so slow with recipes. I've been crazy busy with the twins birthday and making my very first decorated cake. Besides working on this cake we've been battling illness in our house. I should be back up posting recipe daily in the next week or two. Meanwhile I'm sharing the cake I made. Please be very kind it was my first attempt at decorating a cake. The twins wanted a Lego Gotham city with batman and others. They were very happy with my end result and they've been showing it off to every visitor we have.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seasoned Crackers

These turned out to be even better tasting than I thought they could be. I was so worried they would be soggy and just not very appetizing but I'm addicted to these now. I think I'm going to try this with oyster crackers just cause I think it would mix up a little better that way. I've been using a plastic bag although the recipe calls for a container with a lid that you can stack the crackers in. I'm adding these to the goodie basket for the neighborhood Christmas gifts.

Seasoned Crackers
adapted slightly from the Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook

1 full box of saltine crackers (or use oyster or something similar)
1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup oil
red pepper flakes to taste (my first time I used only 1/8 of a teaspoon and you could barely notice the second time I used 1/4 teaspoon and you could taste)

Place the crackers in a container or bag, stacked so all get coated well. Sprinkle ranch mix over the top and sprinkle the red pepper flakes over the crackers. Pour the oil over and shake the bag or container well. Flip container over 3-4 times over the course of the next 2 hours. Crackers are ready after sitting for 24 hours.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chocolate Babka

Who doesn't remember the Seinfield episode with the chocolate babka? Elaine and Jerry forget to get a number at the bakery and as a result lose out on the chocolate babka. One of my favorite episodes of the series. This bread is worth the time involved to make it. The smell is wonderful and the flavors are just as wonderful. It's a very rich bread but one that's worth the calories. I've given these as neighbor gifts in previous years and every single neighbor asked for the recipe. I love the cinnamon and chocolate blend plus the streusel puts it over the top. This is a must make recipe every holiday season for me.

Chocolate Babka
Smitten Kitchen

When shaping the babka, twist dough evenly throughout the length of the roll a full 5 to 6 turns. The babka can be prepared up to step 8 and frozen for up to a month before baking. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.

Makes 3 loaves

1 1/2 cups warm milk, 110 degrees
2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped*
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Streusel topping (below)

1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks butter, and beat until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

5. Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter until well combined; set filling aside.

6. Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon cream; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.

7. Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.

8. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

* After chopping the chocolate into moderately sized chunks, I used the food processor to pulse the rest of the chocolate in two batches to small bits. It saved a lot of time!

Streusel Topping

Makes 3 3/4 cups.

1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pork Scaloppini

This was a very quick and easy meal from Cook's Country. My husband loves pork chops and I'm not a huge fan. This recipe calls for a tenderloin cut into 4 equal pieces and then pounded thin. Well I'm too lazy and my husband had bought thin cut pork chops so I just pounded those pork chops a tad thinner to use in this recipe. Turned out well and everyone loved the dish. The noodles are what took the longest to cook in this dish. I used egg noodles but rice pilaf would work well too.

Cook's Country
December/January 2010

Pork Scaloppini
4 thin cut pork chops pounded to 1/4 inch thick (if needed) or 1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 pound) cut into 4 equal pieces and pounded 1/4 inch thick
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (or you could use fresh tarragon, chives, or basil for a different flavor)

Pat cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 cutlets until golden brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and tent with foil. Repeat with additional 1 tablespoon butter and remaining cutlets.

Add garlic and additional 1 tablespoon butter to empty skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, lemon juice, sugar, and any accumulated pork juices and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in parsley and remaining butter. Pour sauce over cutlets and serve.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pinto Beans

I love using beans for a frugal dinner. You can make beans with or without a flavoring of meat which makes for a meal that feeds a large family pretty cheap. I like hitting the Mexican markets for cheap dried beans. Even the local health food stores sell beans cheap in bulk. I've never paid more than 75 cents a pound for beans. As an added bonus beans freeze well so they can be made in advanced and cut down on cooking times on busy nights.

Pinto Beans
Pioneer Woman

4 cups Pinto Beans
4 slices Thick Bacon (can Also Use Salt Pork, Or Ham Hock, Or Diced Ham)
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper

Rinse beans in cool water; pour into a pot, cover with water by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Add water to pot as needed. Beans should have a thick broth. Toward end of cooking time, add salt and pepper and season to taste. Don’t over-salt. For a variety try adding chili powder, garlic or Tabasco. Serve in a bowl with cornbread. Can serve with small bowls of grated cheese, chopped onions, chopped fresh jalapenos, sour cream, and/or cilantro.

I served this serving of beans with pico de gallo and sour cream.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Diner Style Pancakes

The kids love pancakes at the little mom and pop restaurants we frequent. I asked once how they make their pancakes as my kids usually just pick at my homemade ones and was told they add malted milk powder to the pancakes. Luckily for me the King Arthur Bakers Companion book had a good recipe for making these. Not only did the kids love these homemade pancakes they beg for them at least every other day.

Diner-Style Pancakes
King Arthur Baking Companion cookbook

2 large eggs
1 1/4 (10 ounces) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup malted milk powder

Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla until light and foamy, about 3 minutes at high speed of a stand mixer. Stir in the butter.

Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and milk powder. Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter relax while the griddle is heating (or overnight in the fridge). The batter will thicken slightly while resting.

Grease and preheat the griddle. The griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately; if you have an electric griddle, set the temperature between 325-350 degrees F. Drop 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form and break, then turn the pancakes and cook the other until brown. Turn only once. Serve immediately.

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