RSS Feed

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

There’s been a small container of pumpkin in the freezer and I wanted pancakes, so this worked out rather well. These have lots of fiber and Vitamins A and C. They taste slightly sweet with no added sugar, are low fat, and are easy to mix up. Serve them with sautéed pears and cottage cheese, yogurt, or sour cream, or syrup and jam.

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not “pumpkin pie filling”)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or cake flour
  • 1/2 cup raw unprocessed bran
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons mixed warm spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice)
  • 1- 1/4 cups buttermilk (or milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar stirred in and allowed to sit 5 minutes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In one large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. In separate bowl, beat eggs to break yolks and mix with whites, then add other liquid ingredients and whisk thoroughly.

Add liquid ingredients to dry mixture and mix with wooden spoon so that no dry pockets of flour remain. Add more buttermilk if batter seems too thick.

Heat griddle over medium heat until drops of water sizzle immediately. Oil the griddle with neutral oil. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto oiled grill, spacing pancakes about 2 inches apart. These will puff up and need to cook slowly so that the center gets done without the outside burning. Adjust heat so they don’t cook too quickly and get brown too fast.

Remove pancakes to a warm plate as cooked; keep warm in oven that was briefly heated, then turned off.

Makes about 12 3-inch pancakes.

SAUTEED PEARS

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When butter is melted and starting to brown, add two thinly sliced Comice pears (no need to peel) and cook, turning as needed, until lightly caramelized and tender.

YOU HEARD THE KREPLACH JOKE?

YOU HEARD THE KREPLACH JOKE?
Image by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

“Once upon a time there was a little boy who hated kreplach. Every time he saw a piece of kreplach in the soup he screamed, ‘Aaaaah, kreplach!’ So his mother decided to teach him not to be afraid of kreplach. She took him into the kitchen and rolled out some dough. ‘Just like a pancake,’ she said. ‘Just like a pancake,’ said the little boy. Then she took a piece of meat and rolled it into a ball. ‘Just like a meatball,’ she said. ‘Just like a meatball,’ said the little boy. Then she rolled up the meat in the dough and held it up. ‘Just like a dumpling,’ she said. ‘Just like a dumpling,’ said the little boy. Then she dropped it into the soup and put it in front of the little boy, and he screamed, ‘Aaaaah, kreplach!'” – Nora Ephron, Heartburn

(If you need to find out more about kreplach, see Tori Avey.)

As Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike and Brad’s Drink became Pepsi-Cola, sometimes a name change is for the best. Witness:

I posted on Facebook that I was making Apricot-Whiskey Cake. “Do you ship?” “Are you taking early orders?”

It’s really fruitcake with a prettier name. If I’d said, “I’m making fruitcake!” the response wouldn’t have been nearly as enthusiastic. So it goes.

APRICOT-WHISKEY CAKE

  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 2 cups golden raisins, unsulfured
  • 2 cups whiskey like Jack Daniels plus more for the baked cakes
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 5 cups flour
  • 5 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Rinse both apricots and raisins in boiling water to remove any sulfur (used to keep dried fruit tender but which tastes terrible and can cause allergic reactions). Using scissors, cut each apricot into many tiny small pieces.

Combine apricots, raisins, and whiskey; let stand overnight.

Beat butter with mixer until fluffy, then gradually add both sugars, beating on medium speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Then add egg yolks and beat until well blended.

Toss 1/2 cup of the flour with the walnuts. Mix the remaining flour with nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Switch to a large wooden spoon and add the drained fruit & whiskey and the flour mixture alternately, along with the vanilla, to the butter-egg mix. Then add the walnuts with their flour coating.

Thoroughly wash and dry the beaters to remove all grease. Beat egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff. Fold into the cake batter and blend until there are no streaks of egg white. This is a heavy mixture so a rubber spatula won’t cut it. Use a strong wooden spoon.

Grease 4 loaf pans and line with parchment paper, then grease the paper. Divide batter among pans. Bake at 275 for 2 hours.

Alternately, prepare a 10-inch tube cake pan in the same way and pour the batter in; bake at 275 for 4 hours. Let cake(s) cool on racks for 2 to 3 hours. Remove cakes from pan and discard parchment paper.

Lay a sheet of foil about 24″ long on a table, then a piece of cheesecloth large enough to wrap the cake on top of the foil. Place the cake on the cheesecloth and wrap it around the cake. Drizzle wrapped cake with a few tablespoons of whiskey, then wrap completely with aluminum foil.   Every couple of weeks add a couple more tablespoons of whiskey. Let them age at least a two weeks before slicing and serving. Serve with a slice of sharp aged cheese or some blue cheese.

These will keep pretty much forever if kept wrapped and doused occasionally.

OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST

OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST

Another recipe I am moving to this site. From 2006. Make it tonight and have it tomorrow.

Slice some French bread into about 1/2″ slices. Spread one side of bread rather thickly with raspberry or other favorite jam. Put into buttered casserole, about eight or nine inches square or round. Top with another layer of similarly-jammed bread. Top with third layer of unjammed bread.

Beat four eggs, 1-3/4 cups milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, dash of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder together, and slowly pour over jammed bread. Kind of mush the bread into the milk. Cover and put in fridge overnight.

In the morning, take the cover off, and stick casserole in oven. Turn oven to 375 degrees, and let bake for 45 or 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes.

Eat with powdered sugar, maple syrup, fruit, bacon or sausage. Pick at remains in casserole the rest of the day.

Stolen from Al Roker.

Photo by Kristin Hillery on Unsplash

CHICKEN WITH MUSTARD AND PANKO

CHICKEN WITH MUSTARD AND PANKO

There are several recipes like this floating around out there. This one started out at Bon Appetit, I think. I made some adjustments that I like better and are less fussy. Prepared this way, chicken is always tender and moist. It does not taste overtly mustard-y. It’s currently my favorite way to cook chicken pieces.

CHICKEN WITH MUSTARD AND PANKO

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces (drumsticks, thighs, wings, each breast half cut into thirds) or about 4 to 5 pounds chicken thighs and/or drums, skin-on and bone-in
  • 2 cups panko or 1 1/2 cups panko + 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • seasoning to taste
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • vegetable or olive oil spray

Mix the mustard and mayonnaise and add whatever seasoning you choose, i.e. thyme, garlic, Italian herbs, tarragon, poultry seasoning, garam masala, whatever. Perhaps 2 teaspoons total. Stir together and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.

Lightly salt each piece of chicken all over. Lightly oil a rimmed cookie sheet. with olive oil.

Coat each piece of chicken all over with the mustard; this will involve getting your hands messy. Then roll each coated piece in panko to completely coat. As each one is coated, place on a rimmed cookie sheet. This can all be done up to 1 hour ahead of baking.

Lightly spray each piece with oil.

Bake at 350 until panko is browned and chicken is cooked all the way through and is at 165 on a thermometer, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Remove chicken to serving platter. If needed, cover with foil and then wrap with a towel to keep warm up to 30 minutes. You can choose to make gravy from the lovely crunchy bits on the cookie sheet, or furtively stuff them into your mouth. Your choice.

Photo by Ke Vin on Unsplash

APPLE AND GINGER JAM

APPLE AND GINGER JAM

I am trying to move some recipes from one place to another (here). I made this in 2006 and have no idea where it came from.

The only thing I can add to this now is – go to your local farmers market, which is likely overflowing with apples right now, and buy some heirloom varieties to keep them going. On Saturday I bought some apples called Ashmead’s Kernel:

Ashmead’s Kernel is an old apple, found in a garden in England in the mid-1700s. Short on shine but long on flavor, this apple takes its name from the English physician who originally grew them. A squat, round apple, it has firm, crisp flesh. Its strong, tart flavor is almost sour when first picked, turning sweet, juicy and aromatic within a few weeks after harvest. Especially good for cider. (From https://redtomato.org/produce/heirloom-apples/)

They were amazing and worth saving for future generations.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

APPLE AND GINGER JAM

Peel and core six pounds of apples. Roughly chop the apples and put them in a pretty big pot along with 4 1/2 cups water, the juice & zest of four lemons, and two teaspoons powdered ginger. Put the apple peels & cores on a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up with string and put it in the pot also.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer about 10 minutes, until apples are tender. Remove cheesecloth bag and throw away.

Add 12 cups sugar and stir until dissolved, then raise the heat and boil rapidly 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger. Skim off scum. Fill sterilized jars with apple jam and seal.

Supposed to make 12 cups of jam, but in my case it made 18 cups. How did that happen?

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

…to think about fruitcake.

Now, stop making that face.

Why fruitcake? Why does it exist? Though no single point of origin exists – no record of a Celtic Grandma who thought to toss some fermented fruit into her bread – it probably arose due to increased availability of dried fruits and spices in Medieval times, the same as the British plum pudding, dried fruits being the only kind available in winter. Liquor increased its lifespan. Hence, fruitcake.

Many people hate fruitcake because all they’ve had is terrible fruitcake. But there’s no rule that says fruitcake has to include those weird little green bits. Any dried fruit can be substituted, and any liquor (rum, brandy, whiskey, liqueurs, scotch) can stand in.

This is a recipe an old friend gave to me. It came from one of those community cookbooks and the instructions were all borked but I’ve got it straightened out now. I always used Amaretto in place of bourbon but my tastes have changed and I think I would prefer it with whiskey or bourbon instead. But that’s an individual taste.

BOURBON-PECAN FRUITCAKE

  • 2 cups candied cherries, unsulfured
  • 2 cups golden raisins, unsulfured
  • 2 cups bourbon (need not be the good stuff)
  • 1 lb butter, softened
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 5 cups flour
  • 5 cups pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp nutmeg

Combine cherries, raisins, and bourbon; let stand overnight. Drain bourbon and set aside.

Beat butter with mixer until fluffy, then gradually add both sugars, beating on medium speed until blended. Then add egg yolks and beat until well blended.

Toss 1/2 cup of the flour with the pecans. Sift the remaining flour with nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Switch to a large wooden spoon and add the drained fruit and the flour mixture alternately with the reserved bourbon to the butter-egg mix. Then add the pecans with their flour coating.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the cake batter and blend until there are no streaks of egg white.

Grease 4 loaf pans and line with parchment paper, then grease the paper. Divide batter among pans. Bake at 275 for 2 hours.

Alternately, prepare a 10-inch tube cake pan in the same way and pour the batter in; bake at 275 for 4 hours.

Let cake(s) cool on racks for 2 to 3 hours. Remove cakes from pan and discard parchment paper. Wrap cakes with cheesecloth and saturate with bourbon, then wrap with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store until ready to serve.   Occasionally add more bourbon to the cake. These keep pretty much forever if wrapped tightly.

Image by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

EGGPLANT & RED PEPPER DIP

EGGPLANT & RED PEPPER DIP

This came about when I was making baba ganoush and the eggplants didn’t seem to have as much content as they first appeared. I had red bell peppers in the refrigerator and they were called into service. Necessity is the mother and all that, you know.

EGGPLANT AND RED PEPPER DIP

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 large-ish red bell peppers
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 large cloves garlic or more
  • olive oil
  • 1 sun-dried tomato
  • cayenne
  • salt
  • pepper
  • smoked paprika (garnish)
  • chopped parsley (garnish)
  • chopped cilantro (garnish)

Give each eggplant a few stabs with a knife, place them on a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper, and stick them in a 375 oven for about an hour, or until they are collapsed. They will be hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell. Carefully put them in a colander and remove the skins, leaving the still-hot pulp to drain about 10 minutes.

Roast the red peppers over a gas flame, under a broiler, or on a barbecue until blackened all over. Stick them in a paper bag and let them steam about 10 minutes, then remove blackened skins under cool running water. Cut them open and remove the seeds.

Put the eggplant, roasted red bells, lemon, tahini, garlic (cut into small bits), some olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup), the sun-dried tomato (cut up), big pinch cayenne, salt, and pepper into a food processor and blitz, using the pulse function, until pureed. It will not be perfectly smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Scrape into a serving bowl. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika, and top with parsley and cilantro. Cover and let sit a couple of hours before serving.

Serve with raw vegetables, pita, or crackers like Wasa.

HEALTH-IER PANCAKES

HEALTH-IER PANCAKES

A few months ago I posted a recipe for fluffy pancakes.

Since then, I have had to adjust my diet to exclude things like sweets and white flour products due to slightly elevated blood sugar.

I won’t go into all the details; the information is out there on the internet if you’re curious about the foods that are recommended and not recommended, though I will say I have seldom encountered so much conflicting and confusing data in my life. I decided to not make myself crazy over minutiae and just make the best decisions I could. I am hopeful that more exercise and a changed diet will lower the numbers. Not that my diet was bad before but it’s much better now.

It could be worse. Some people have rotting plumbing or sinkholes or are Arizona Diamondbacks fans.

I put low-fat yogurt or low-fat sour cream plus berries on pancakes now. No judgement if someone wants syrup, though.

HEALTHY PANCAKES

  • 1 cup whole wheat cake flour (sometimes called pastry flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup raw unprocessed bran
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3+ cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine them thoroughly. In small bowl beat egg with oil and vanilla, then add to the flour mixture along with the buttermilk, and mix until all dry ingredients are moistened and there are no raw flour pockets in the batter. You may need more buttermilk.

Grease frying pan or griddle with oil and heat until drops of water sizzle and evaporate quickly. Spoon batter onto pan in 1/3 cup portions and cook until slightly bubbly. Flip each pancake once and when both sides are browned, remove to warmed plate. I put a plate in the oven, turn the oven on for 20 seconds, and put the pancakes on there as they are cooked, leaving the plate in there until all pancakes are done.

This makes enough batter for four servings.  Extra batter stores well, covered, in the refrigerator for about five days. It will darken but is still perfectly good. 

This also makes good waffles.

Photo by Adam Bartoszewicz on Unsplash

STUFFED SHELLS

STUFFED SHELLS

Photo by Max Griss on Unsplash
Photo by Max Griss on Unsplash

I am putting this here not because I think it’s breaking any new ground, but because my husband is absolutely raving about it and I need to remember what I did so I can make it again. I made it last night and he is just now finishing the leftovers. He raved about it so much he went out and bought another box of jumbo shells even though we already had one, just in case they stop making it, I guess.

  • 1 box Ronzoni jumbo shells
  • 1 pint fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 pound chicken-basil sausages from the co-op
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • very large pinch cayenne or berbere spice (Penzey’s)
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free Italian seasoning (mix of basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • shredded cheese such as mozzarella, jack, provolone
  • 1 quart best-quality marinara sauce, more or less

Remove the casings from the sausages and sauté in a little olive oil until cooked all the way through, breaking up into small bits.

Chop the spinach and parsley and mix with cottage cheese, fennel, nutmeg, cayenne, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan. Mix in the cooked sausage.

Mix 1/2 cup sauce and 1/2 cup water and pour into a 9 X 13 baking dish.

Stuff the raw uncooked shells with the filling. Don’t bother with a spoon – just use your hands. Place each filled shell in the pan on top of the sauce. Fill the pan with the shells.

When you run out of filling, dribble some marinara over the shells but don’t smother the whole thing with sauce. Then sprinkle some shredded cheese over – again, don’t completely cover with loads of cheese. Less is more.

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Let sit, covered, 10 minutes before serving. A mixed salad with fresh sliced pears goes very well with this.

Leftover raw shells: put in a ziplock and next time you make chicken noodle soup, break them up and add them.

HOME CANNED SALSA

Posted on
HOME CANNED SALSA

There are many, many, many recipes out there for salsa, containing everything from tomatoes and tomatillos to mangos and avocados to clams (yes, mine eyes actually saw such a recipe). I think when most people say salsa they mean a mix of tomatoes and/or tomatillos with chilies and sundry other ingredients.

That’s what we have here. This started out as a recipe I found and made a couple of flavor adjustments. I went to the guy at the farmers market who makes and bottles hot sauce for an assortment of chilies, got a good deal on fresh tomatoes, and went to work.

As in every other home canning recipe, follow safety guidelines such as found at National Center for Home Food Preservation. Do not increase the amounts of vegetables (onions, peppers) as that could make this unsafe. You may add less. You may also add or subtract spices to taste. I do not recommend adding fresh cilantro; it does not look attractive when canned. Add fresh chopped cilantro when you open a jar to eat.

I chose a variety of hot chilis including Fresno, Jalapeno, poblano, and a couple of others that I don’t remember the name of. I used 1 cup chopped assorted hot peppers; a sweet red bell pepper made up the remaining 1 1/2 cups. Remove seeds if you don’t want excess heat. Chiles do not need to be roasted and peeled for this recipe.

To peel tomatoes, carefully drop them into a pan of boiling water; after 30 seconds transfer them to a bowl of cold water. If skins haven’t already begun to remove themselves, cut a little slit in the skin and it should pull right off.

This was made much easier with a food processor but can be done with a sharp knife.

TOMATO-CHILI SALSA

  • 9 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (if you run out, you can use canned tomatoes)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh chilis and/or peppers
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1 12-ounce can tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons non-iodized salt (such as sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

Combine all ingredients in large nonreactive pan (such as stainless steel or enamel), bring to a boil, and reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Hot pack into hot sterilized canning jars, apply lids and rings, Process in hot water bath 30 minutes (both 8 ounce and 16 ounce). Makes about 7 pints.

%d bloggers like this: