Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Pearl Barron portrait September 23, 1944Editor’s note: I inherited my grandmother’s recipe box when she died. Instead of finding recipes for the family favorites we loved to eat, I found instructions for foods most of us had never eaten. I’ve decided to try some of these recipes as I have time for a new series I’m calling “Pearl’s Kitchen.” I think Minnie Pearl Reeves Barron would approve of my kitchen adventures. 

IMG_3980

To say I was excited to find a recipe for Butterscotch Cookies was an understatement. Cookies that tasted like butterscotch pudding? Those delightful little hard candies? The ice cream topping?

Count me in.

Alas, they ended up more teacake than butterscotch, but there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re softer than the teacakes I grew up with, and pretty satisfying with a cup of coffee (I also imagine they’re a pretty good accessory for a glass of milk).

A note on the “nut meat” question: This recipe seems to come from a time before we had access to any number of nut species from around the country. I split the dough in half and used chopped walnuts in one half and chopped pecans in the other. (Pecans readily grew close to the part of Mississippi where my grandmother lived, so I assume that was probably her nut of choice, and walnuts are readily available in Costco, so that’s my nut of choice.) Both were delicious, and made little difference in flavor. I may lightly toast the nuts before adding them if I make these again.

 

IMG_4004

Butterscotch Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tbsp. boiling water
2 eggs, well-beaten
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup nut meat (chopped nuts of your choice)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar, and add boiling water. Add eggs. Sift flour and add the baking powder. Sift again, and add this to the first mixture. Add nuts and vanilla.

Form into rolls and roll in wax paper; store in refrigerator until ready for use. Slice and bake on greased (I used parchment paper) baking sheet at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. (My oven had them ready at 9 minutes – they didn’t get very brown on top, but the bottoms were starting to brown, so watch them carefully.)

I froze one roll for a week; after thawing, I sliced and baked and the cookies were as good as they were the first time. So these could be a good make-ahead cookie.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo courtesy of Budget Bytes

That was fast.

Just a week after I took up the pursuit of an easy homemade alternative to store-bought pasta sauce, I think I’ve found my go-to recipe.

Over at Budget Bytes, Beth posted a recipe for a slow cooker marinara sauce in November (gotta give kudos to Pinterest for helping me find it). She noted that the long, slow cooking process (eight hours on low) carmelizes the sugar in the crushed tomatoes. Carmelization gives the sauce a depth of flavor that jarred pasta sauce simply cannot replicate. It’s got the hint of sweetness that a good tomato-based sauce should have without the artificial, overpoweringly syrupy sweetness offered by most manufactured sauces these days.

It was a cinch to make, too. I diced an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic the previous night and dumped everything into the 4-quart slow cooker crock the next morning. The husband texted me at lunch to let me know that it smelled delicious.

I browned a little ground beef to make a simple meat sauce and served it over two small servings of penne. (And while I’m talking about pasta, let me recommend that you cook half the recommended serving size listed on the box. The suggested serving sizes are obviously calculated to make you buy more pasta, not maintain a healthy weight.)

I might add some crushed red pepper next time for a more piquant sauce, but other than that, I’m very satisfied with this recipe. Like other tomato-based sauces, it’s going to freeze well, meaning that I’ll now have ready-to-serve pasta sauce in the freezer instead of the pantry.  It’s going to be versatile, too: Besides meat sauce, it’s going to be a great topping for ravioli and a good dipping sauce for the husband’s homemade calzones.

Next goal: A go-to, not-too-salty soup recipe to keep in the freezer.

Read Full Post »

So I’m told by people who know such things that I’m actually getting the most difficult part of pecan pie right. Apparently it can be quite a feat to get the filling to set up correctly.

Who knew?

I got my recipe for the filling from Baking Illustrated, a book published by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. I don’t know what part of the recipe holds the mojo, but it’s been foolproof so far.

Here’s the recipe, complete with my notes. I would have posted it last night, but my 14-year-old, somewhat standoffish cat decided to dole out some affection, and you just don’t turn that kind of thing down.

Toast the pecans while you’re waiting for the oven to reach the baking temperature to partially bake the pie crust. This should take about seven to 10 minutes; watch the pecans carefully and stir a couple of times to prevent burning. Wait until they cool off before you chop them up or they’ll crumble. (Toasting nuts is nerve-wracking; I’ve found it’s best to undertoast rather than risk overtoasting.

You’ll want to have the pie filling mixture ready to go the minute the partially baked shell comes out of the oven. (This bit of timing might be the secret to the recipe.)

Pecan Pie

1 unbaked pie shell
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped into small pieces

Follow the directions for partially baking the pie crust until it’s light golden brown.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt with a wooden spoon. Beat in the eggs, then the corn syrup and vanilla. Return the bowl to the heat. Stir and cook until the mixture is shiny and registers about 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans.

Remove the prebaked pie shell from the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 275 degrees. Pour the pie mixture into the hot pie shell.

Bake on the middle rack for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pie looks set but still soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed with the back of a spoon. Place the pie on a rack and let it cool completely, for about four hours.

Read Full Post »

Editor’s note: Here’s the link to the post outlining the filling recipe for this pie.

Here’s my official contribution to Mrs Dragon’s Pi Day celebration: pecan pie.

I used a Cook’s Country recipe for the pie crust this time. It made a “pat-in-the-pan” dough that allowed me to skip trying to roll dough into a circle.

I’m not good at making pretty foods, like perfectly rolled pie crusts.

The new recipe worked out well, although I didn’t get it patted down into the pan as evenly as I would have liked, and therefore ended up with a few underbaked spots.

Still delicious, however. The husband walked in and, smelling pie, looked puzzled. I said, “It’s Pi Day. 3-14. Get it?” He noted that he loves math, yet never knows the date. So it goes.

If I really wanted to impress you, I’d wait until the pie had been refrigerated overnight to shoot this photo, but here it is in all its crumbly glory.

Read Full Post »

I made our annual king cake today with a recipe from Southern Plate that called for frozen bread dough. It was a cinch to make compared to my traditional recipe, which calls for making the dough, letting the dough rise, punching down the dough, letting the dough rise yet again, rolling and shaping the dough, letting it rise again, baking the cake, and finally decorating the cake. If it sounds like a ton of work that takes all day, you are correct.

This recipe calls for adding lemon extract to the cream cheese filling; I associate king cakes with a light cinnamon flavor, so I substituted cinnamon for the lemon. How much cinnamon? A few shakes. This was a cooking-by-taste experiment.

If I made it again, I would skip the cream cheese filling altogether and simply coat the dough with butter and cinnamon sugar before rolling it up. Simple is better when it comes to king cakes.

Like Southern Plate’s Christy Jordan, I couldn’t find purple sugar at the grocery store, so I ended up with hot pink. I’m pretty sure the cake glows in the dark; I really need to go downstairs and check before the cat freaks out.

The ring obviously did not maintain its shape during baking, but it didn’t totally stick together in the middle.

The husband’s verdict: It’s OK, but not as good as the make-king-cake-all-day version.

My verdict: It’s definitely got a shot without the cream cheese filling.

Read Full Post »

The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 62: I think we all saw this coming. I decided that, indeed, I hated the vase/glass pebble look I put together recently. The brown pebbles seemed to be the biggest part of the problem, so I ditched them (hopefully, some lucky shopper at the New Leash on Life Market Place has more love for brown than I do) and replaced most of them with some clear pebbles that were hanging out in the garage. It’s still not one of My Favorite Things, but it’s definitely making me happier.

Previously:

Day 56: Planned to move a small shelving unit to a more effective place in the garage. Got hit in the head with an errant surfboard. Yes, a surfboard.

Day 57: Got the husband to help me pick a spot for the wall hanging, since he’s the one who brought it home as part of a package deal when he bought a Volkswagen bus. We didn’t get to hang it, however, since the neighbor’s dog barked from literally 7 a.m. until we fled the house at around 2 to seek peace and quiet in the movie theater.

Day 58: Hung the toilet paper roller AND the towel holder in the downstairs bathroom. Epic.

Day 59: Tossed a pile of recipes that I had cut out from newspapers and magazines. It seems like all people who like to cook have one of these piles of recipes that they go through a couple of times a year, yet never manage to pull anything out and actually make it. Not anymore. They’re in the recycling guy’s hands now.

Day 60: Swept out the garage, or at least the parts I could get to with a broom.

Day 61: Nada. I did schoolwork and worried about my mom and her sick dog.

Read Full Post »

About 10 years ago, my husband brought home a small bag of quinoa from the local health food store. I don’t remember if he called it a superfood, but he did note that it was packed with fiber AND protein, making it a rare grain indeed.

The problem was that we had no idea how to make it edible. We learned the mechanics of making quinoa pretty quickly: Rinse it thoroughly before cooking, and then simmer it like you would rice.

Our cooked quinoa was bland, however. We added broth. We salted. We oversalted. We added herbs. We added spices.

We gave up.

Fast forward to 2008. Quinoa is officially a superfood, and recipes abound. It’s also more readily available, so no more trekking to the health food store for expensive 8-ounce bags of grain.

I finally got my act together with quinoa last year, after I found a couple of basic recipes and started experimenting.

My first discovery: You REALLY need a well-made strainer with tiny holes to properly rinse the grains. Covering the quinoa with water and then pouring it off just makes a huge mess, no matter how careful you are. Just pour the dry quinoa into the strainer and turn on the tap for a minute or so, making sure the water runs over all the grains.

I adapted a Rachael Ray recipe as my go-to quinoa dish, cutting it in half and making a few tweaks. The original calls for a blend of cilantro, basil and parsley. I NEVER have parsley in the house, and I rarely have cilantro AND basil. Her recipe also called for a mixture of black olives and green olives; the husband determined that he preferred the dish with green olives only.

Splurge for the pine nuts: They MAKE this dish. I toast mine in a skillet over low heat until they’re slightly fragrant and starting to tan and I’m a little freaked out that I might burn them. So they’re probably under-toasted, but delicious nonetheless.

I get most of my quinoa at Costco, which sells it in 4-pound bags, and augment it with a pricier red quinoa from the bulk bins at Earth Fare. I don’t think the red quinoa changes the taste much, but it does make the dish more colorful.

The husband prefers quinoa as the base for chicken, but I eat the leftovers meat-free.

Quinoa with Herbs and Olives

(Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Quinoa with Herbs and Mixed Olives)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup pitted and thinly sliced green olives
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup cilantro or fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

    Stir in 1 1/8 cups water, season with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let the quinoa stand for 5 minutes. Add the olives, pine nuts and herbs and toss with a fork to combine. Season with salt to taste.

    Read Full Post »

    Older Posts »

    %d bloggers like this: