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You know my friend Kelly is doing a very cool thing on her blog – Blue Plate Mondays.  If you havent ventured over…do it!  You won’t be sorry.  She has a beautiful blog and wonderful recipes!

Here’s my contribution for today: Pot Roast

I used a eye of round roast. About 4 pounds for our family. It was a very lean cut of meat…not my favorite but I knew Husband likes this cut.  You will also need ground cayenne pepper, a large white onion, salt and black pepper to taste, plenty of fresh garlic, fresh carrots and potatoes…whatever is needed for your family – or whomever you are serving.

Here’s how I make a roast:

Preheat your oven to 325. Be sure your roast is completely thawed. You will need 8-10 gloves of garlic, one large white onion and ground cayenne pepper. Be sure and pour some pepper into a ramkin or small bowl, you dont want to contaminate your pepper shaker by dipping a meaty knife in it! Discard your left over pepper when finished. DUH!

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Stick your very sharp paring knife into the roast and make Xs. Cut your garlic into strips that will fit in the Xs. Use all the garlic, which will make about 20 Xs

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Then dip your knife in the cayenne pepper and stick the meat – say 20 or so times.

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Put just enough oil in a skillet to coat the bottom and heat it for a few moments…of course not TOO hot…dont want a fire! Then place your roast in it, turning and browning it on all sides.

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Remove it and place in in a roasting pan with a lid -spray both pieces with cooking spray. Slice your onion into fairly large pieces and saute in remaining oil in skillet just until becoming transparent. Add to the roasting pan.

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Add 2 cups water to roaster. Cover and place in your preheated oven and cook for 2 hours. Check periodically to be sure it hasnt dried out. Scrub fresh carrots and new potatoes (these are from our garden…arent they beautiful!?) and set aside.

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When your roast has been cooking 2 hours, add your carrots and potatoes. Salt and black pepper to taste. I just snip the ends of the carrots and put the potatoes in whole. If you have to use larger bought potatoes, cut them into 2-3 inch pieces…same for bought carrots. Cover again, return roaster to oven to cook an additional hour or until potatoes are done – not mushy…still firm but cooked through. There you have it! Easy as pie! Oh heck, you need a pie recipe too! Maybe later in the week!

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Pain de Maïs d’Herbe de Fromage de Jambon now doesn’t that look and sound better?!  But really what I made was buttermilk cornbread with herbs, cheese and ham.

Start with 4 large eggs, beaten.

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Add one cup cultured buttermilk.

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Add 2 TBSP melted butter.

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Add about 1/3 cup olive oil.

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Mix well and add  2 cups cornmeal (yellow only please! – you do not want anemic looking cornbread!) ,

cornmeal1 1/2 cup all purpose flour,

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and 1 TBSP baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda

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Salt and pepper to taste…

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Mix well and add 1 cup graded cheese – whatever kind you like.   This is cheddar and jack.

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Dice a “hunk of ham” -whatever you think is enough…this ended up being probably 2 cups.

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Add herbs of your choice, I chose chives…cause I love ’em!

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Pour into a HOT, greased cast iron skillet or other prepared baking dish.  I prefer cast iron for cornbread.  And if you heat it before pouring in your batter, it gives you that crunchy dark crust on the bottom and sides!

Bake at 400  for about 30 minutes or until it tests done.  And Viola!! Supper! Quick and easy and yummy!

done


Update on Husband: He landed in Paris, is on the way to his hotel and will call when he gets there and give me all his ticket information.  I believe I can get him on an earlier flight home tomorrow and that would be great!



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These are a favorite at our house. My Ganky (my mom’s sister) made THE best. This is a slight variation on her original recipe. We thoroughly enjoyed these. I always wonder why I don’t make them more often. Let me know if you have any other questions. Or if you think I misspoke or left something out.

NOTE: The pastry cutter I used in the picture below can be purchased here.  I honestly don’t think I paid that much for mine, so you might check at your local kitchen stores before ordering.  It got one bad review on amazon but I have really loved mine.  I think maybe the person reviewing it was a bit rough with it!  I have had no problem whatsoever.

Your dumplings can be made way ahead and frozen. But make them at least a few hours before so they will be very well chilled if not frozen.

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Stir together and set aside.

  • 1/2 cup all vegetable shortening ( I know lard would be amazing but I have never tried it -quite sure my Ganky used regular Crisco)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 large egg, well beaten

Put the shortening in a heat proof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir to melt the shortening. When it has melted pour this into your flour/salt, stir a couple of times, then add the egg

Stir with a fork until well blended. Then give it a little beat with a wooden spoon to be sure you get all the flour off th bottom of the bowl.

Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

On a well flour cloth with a well floured rolling pin, roll out the dough using a approximately 1/4 of the dough at the time.

Cut into strips or squares using a knife or pastry cutter.

Layer on a parchment or waxed paper lined cookie sheet, putting parchment or waxed paper between the layers of dumplings.

Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper over the last layer and then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer while you prepare your chicken. If however you are making these days or even weeks before you intend to use them, they freeze very well. Simply allow them to become completely frozen and then remove them from the cookie sheet and put them in a zipper freezer bag, label them with the date and return them to the freezer, using them within 3 months.

I have a large white enamelware pot I make dumplings in. But a dutch oven or soup pot with a good fitting lid will do.

Boil a chicken or enough chicken pieces to make a rich broth in enough water to cover the chicken well. Salt and pepper to taste. You certainly may need to add more water as the chicken cooks. But keep it well covered with water. After chicken is completely cooked remove from the broth to cool and when cool enough, pick meat off the bones and return it to the broth. To the broth add 2 (16 ounce)cans chicken broth, 2 chicken broth cans of water and 2 cans cream of chicken soup. Bring this to a rolling boil and stir so the cream of chicken soup is well incorporated.

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Drop the still VERY cold or frozen dumplings into the boiling pot one at a time, shaking to move the dumplings around so they don’t bunch together but DO NOT STIR.

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When all your dumplings are added to the boiling liquid. Turn the heat down to simmer and put the lid on your pot. Cook undisturbed for 25 minutes. If you like add a little more freshly ground black pepper to the pot.

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Serve right away while piping hot! We usually do not have any sides with this – just dumplings…and more dumplings.

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A plain and simple meal. And I told you, they are easy!!!

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Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted  butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift both flours, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, at medium speed, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and lightened slightly in color (about 1 minute).  Stope the mixer and scrape the sides.  Add the vanilla and mix until blended.  On low speed add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated and smooth.

For each cookie, roll a level teaspoon in to a smooth ball.  pLace the cookies on the parchment lined baking sheet spacing them two inches apart.  Use a fork and gently flatten the cookies into a 1 1/4″ disk.  Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and the cookie bottoms are slight browned – about 30 minutes.  The tops of the cookies should not color.  Repeat with the second pan.  Cool on the pan 10 minutes and them using a wide spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling: In a medium bowl use a wooden spoon to stir the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth.  Stir in chips.

Turn half of the cookies bottom side up and using a thin spreader, smooth a rounded teaspoon of filling gently and evenly over each one.  Place the remaining cookie halves right side up on the filling and press VERY gently.

What a sandwich cookie!! The name just popped out of Rachel’s mouth when we asked her what they were.  The do resemble the lovely and delectable French Macarons we made earlier in the year.

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Crust

2 refrigerated pie crusts, softened to room temp or make your own pie crust (enough for a double crust pie ~see below for recipe)

Filling

  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)~ like to use Granny Smith
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom. In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; If using a pie bird here is where it comes in! See directions below. If not using a pie bird proceed with the following:

Spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.

How To Use a Pie Bird

(1) Place your unbaked crust in your pie plate.

(2) Put the Pie Bird in the center of your crust.

(3) Pour your pie filling in the crust evenly around the Pie Bird.

(4) Cut a small slit in the top crust.

(5) Gently place the top crust over the pie, easing the Pie Bird through the slit. Let it rest on the “shoulders” of the Pie Bird.

(6) Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute.

(7) Bake per pie directions.

(8) Remove the Pie Bird when you cut the first piece of pie.

Gently clean your pie bird with mild dishwashing liquid ~ do NOT place in dishwasher.

My Best Basic Pie Crust

No-fail. Works every time. You will find other crusts throughout this book…but as far as a basic unsweetened crust good for general pie making…you won’t do better than this one! It can be prebaked for cream pies or used unbaked for filled pies. I even use it for pot pies.

This recipe makes enough dough for four 9” pie shell bottoms for cream or meringue pies or two pies with top and bottom crusts such as an apple pie.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening (chilled)
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 TBSP vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten

Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the chilled shortening into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The resulting mixture should have fat lumps no smaller than peas.

Pour the cold water, a small amount at a time, into the dry mixture; mixing gently with a fork until the dough is wet enough to be packed into a ball. ball. The dough should be handled as little as possible to prevent the blending of all of the fat lumps, as a crust with no fat lumps will be dense and hard. Split the dough into four equal amounts, roll them into balls and wrap them in plastic before placing them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Chilling will prevent the fat from absorbed by the flour and give a lighter texture to the crust when it is baked.

Generously dust a clean, dry surface with flour and remove one of the packages of dough from the refrigerator. Flatten the dough slightly and dust the dough’s top before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin . Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards. Some people prefer do this between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap because it makes clean up and rolling easier.

Quickly roll the dough into a circle 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. The size of the circle should be about four inches wider in diameter than the pie pan.

A trick for getting the dough positioned in the pan correctly is to fold the dough in half and then into quarters. Gently pick it up and place it into the pan so that the center point is in the center of the pan.

Unfold the dough into the pan and it should be perfectly centered. If the dough cracks a little during this process, press it back together with your fingers or patch the cracks with a bit of dough from the outer edges.

At this point you can fill your crust according to your recipe or you might want to consider freezing the crusts for later use. I roll out my circles place them individually between sheets of waxed paper and gently fold in fourths. I then place them carefully in zipper plastic bags and lie flat to freeze. When a crust is needed, take it out leave it in the bag to come to room temperature and then proceed with recipe.

PS If you need a pie bird (or two) click on him and it will take you to my etsy!

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