Friday, June 29, 2007

More comfort food
--Porcupines



Porcupines
Betty Crocker’s 4 in 1 Cookbook Collection Copyright 1980
(Betty Crocker’s Hamburger Cookbook Copyright 1977, 1973)

1 pound ground beef
½ cup uncooked regular rice I used Uncle Ben's
½ cup water
1 small onion, chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix meat, rice, ½ cup water, the onion and seasonings. Shape mixture by tablespoonfuls into 1 ½-inch balls.

TO COOK IN SKILLET (I used this method): Cook meatballs in large skillet over medium heat until brown. Add remaining ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes.

TO COOK IN OVEN: Place meatballs in ungreased baking dish. 8x8x2 inches. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over meatballs. Cover and bake in 350 degree oven 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.

Makes 4 or 5 servings.
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I've made porcupines previously. This recipe was a bit more flavorful but also a little harder to work with using the skillet method, since the meat mixture is very tender. I lost a lot of rice into the sauce which may have been because I used Uncle Ben's which doesn't have as much sticking power as regular rice but it was all I had besides brown rice.

I don't know why I don't make porcupines more often because I really like them and they're so simple to make. They are definitely a nostalgic food for me, since they remind me of stuffed cabbage filling.

This cookbook is a collection of Betty Crocker cookbooks bound into one book. The books are Cooking American Style, Salads, Hamburger, Do Ahead. That makes it a bit confusing as there is no consolidated index. I picked this up at the auction. I didn't buy any cookbooks last week. The bookman I was doing business with isn't really much of a businessman. Two weeks in a row I came by and bought several cookbooks, and both times he told me about the cookbooks he has in the truck that he needs to bring out but does he ever bring them out? No! He probably doesn't have anymore. Those two weeks I would walk up to the table and he would tell me that 'all those books are $1' but as I pick them up to look at them he starts with 'well, that one's Martha Stewart so I'll need $2 for that one' and 'that one has a lot of stuff in it so I'll need $2 for it', and so on with every book I touch LOL. So every book's a dollar? The man only has two small tables of books and some other junk.

Ah, the weekend is just about here. I have to make banana cake and another chocolate refrigerator cake for a 4th of July celebration (being held on June 30th). It's nice that people like certain recipes and want them again but it's a bit boring when I don't get to try something new.

Blast From The Past: Ditalini With Zucchini from February 2006. I know a lot of people are looking for zucchini recipes right about now.

Question of the Day: Have you ever tired of making something that people kept requesting?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Save this one for after Thanksgiving
--Turkey Bolognese


Turkey Bolognese
Giada’s Family Dinners Copyright 2006

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 ½ pounds coarsely shredded cooked turkey (preferably dark meat)
6 cups marinara sauce she suggest her recipe but I used jarred Bertolli Organic
1 cup water
2/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot, and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the turkey and sauté 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and water. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 25 minutes, stirring often, to all the flavors to blend. Stir in the basil. Season the sauce generously to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in a very large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes, Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat, add enough of the reserved liquid to moisten as needed. Serve with the Parmesan.
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I had three turkey legs in the freezer that wouldn't have made much of a meal on their own but they were perfect for this recipe. I cut it in half. I wasn't exact about it but I doubt Giada is very exact when she cooks for her own family either.

I cooked the turkey legs in the crockpot for a few hours on high and then I removed the meat and went from there. I loved this. I think poultry goes so well with an Italian seasoned tomato sauce (I love chicken cacciatore). My son scarfed this down too, always a plus.

I love Giada's cookbooks. I don't have Everyday Pasta yet but I'm sure I'll get my hands on it someday. I've run out of room for cookbooks again so I've been trying not to buy any. Oh, and they have the road in front of the library closed, making it quite tricky to get into the library. I need to get over there to take the edge off!

Don't forget, only a few more days to get in on this month's cookbook giveaway. You might be the lucky winner.

Blast From The Past: Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings from February 2006. These were really good, especially the blue cheese sauce.

Question of the Day: Do you visit a library regularly?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I hope there's a statue of this woman someplace
Ruth Wakefield’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Ruth Wakefield’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion Copyright 2004

2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks, 5 ¼ ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2 ¼ cups brown sugar
3 large eggs

I added some vanilla, about 1 tsp
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips I used a mixture of regular and mini-sized semi-sweet chips
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans I omitted these

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan, 1 14-inch deep-dish pizza pan, or similar sized pan. I used a 10x15-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture, then the chocolate chips and nuts. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the bars for 24 to 26 minutes, until their top is shiny and golden. Don’t overbake, or the bars will be dry; a cake tester inserted into the center will not come out clean. Remove the bars from the oven and cool to room temperature before cutting.

Yield: 35 bars. Per bar: 198 cal, 9 g fat, 3 g pro, 8 g complex carbs, 19 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 28 mg chol, 77 mg sodium, 118 mg potassium
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It's time like this when I think I could be tempted to sell my soul for a faster metabolism. These are basically chocolate chip brownies. They have the flavor of a chocolate chip cookie with the fudgie texture and crackling top of a brownie. At the moment, I'm thinking these are way better than a chocolate cookie.

The recipe didn't call for vanilla but I added it anyway. I found myself wondering if these bars needed the vanilla or not. I certainly don't think it hurt them. I thought they could have used a dash more salt, just a tiny dash more.

If you didn't know, Ruth Wakefield was the owner of the Toll House Inn. She invented the chocolate chip cookie - invented the chocolate chip cookie! How great is that? It's a very special thing to be known as the inventor of a recipe since while it's not that difficult to actually put the ingredients together, it's quite difficult to actually lay claim to a recipe.

I made these because my husband likes to have a couple of cookies after dinner. I usually buy Oreos (since they don't tempt me) but I knew I had a surplus of baking ingredients and the weather was cooler this weekend. The advantage of the bars is that the oven only has to be on about 30 minutes and the bars are taken out and cooled in the pan. No multiple batches of cookies, standing near the oven, and removing cookies from hot baking sheets.

I can pass up Oreos, but I can't pass up these bars!

Blast From The Past: Big Chocolate Chip Cookies from July 2006, if you're a chocolate chip cookie purist.

Question of the Day: Have you ever made the Toll House Cookie recipe straight off the bag of Nestle chocolate chips?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I finally canned something
--Easy Dill Pickles


Easy Dill Pickles
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Copyright 2006

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 ¼ cups water
1 ¾ cups white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon salt I used pickling salt
8 kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise into spears
1 cup chopped fresh dill I didn't have that much

1. Toast the mustard and fennel seeds in a large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, vinegar, sugar, garlic and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Combine the hot brine, cucumbers, and dill in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and flavorful, about 10 hours. Drain well before serving.

The pickles can be refrigerated in their liquid, in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks.
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I finally took the plunge and started canning. I started with two pickle recipes. It will be a few weeks before the verdict is out on those recipes but in the meantime, I used the leftover cukes and dill and made these refrigerator pickles.

These are so good! Just like a pickle from a jar after only sitting overnight. I think my canned pickles may be a disappointment after these, since I'm sure they won't be as crisp.

Anyone can make refrigerator pickles. You don't need and fancy equipment or jars. The disadvantage is that they don't last as long as pickles processed in a water bath but oh well, that's the trade-off.

Overall, it wasn't that expensive for me to start canning. I got a canner for $18, jars for $7, a utensil kit (wide-mouth funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, etc) for $9. I had to buy the ingredients. I bought $7 worth of cucumbers that made 12 pint jars of pickles and a good-sized batch of refrigerator pickles. I'm sure it's not cheaper than buying pickles on sale but I know what's in my pickles and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I made them myself.

This is my contribution to Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays (although she has just moved so I'm not sure if she'll be posting this week). I just did a brief check of their nutritional value and I was surprised and pleased to see that they're high in molybdenum. I've been taking another supplement and I recently read I should be taking molybdenum along with it. I had no idea where I could buy molybdenum in supplement form but I guess I'll just keep eating these pickles.

Blast From The Past: Grilled Cuban Sandwiches from June 2006. A quick recipe that uses pickles.

Question of the Day: Do you like pickles?

Monday, June 25, 2007

I finally made ice cream again
--Strawberry Ice Cream


Strawberry Ice Cream
Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker Instruction/Recipe Booklet Copyright 1999

1 ½ cups strawberries, washed and hulled
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
I added a dash of salt

Finely chop strawberries in a food processor; reserve. (This will yield 1 cup of chopped strawberries.)

Combine cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until mixture almost boils, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl until light yellow and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons hot cream/milk mixture and stir until combined. Gradually add egg yolk mixture to warm cream mixture, stirring continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened and mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes. Cool completely (covered in refrigerator overnight or over an ice bath for 30 minutes). When cool, add reserved strawberries and stir until well combined. Pour into freezer bowl, turn the machine on and let mixture thicken 20-25 minutes. If desired, transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer until firm, about 2 hours.

Makes 10 ½ cup servings. Per serving: 216 cal, 15 g carbs, 3 g pro, 16 g fat, 95 mg chol, 33 mg sodium
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Since I decided not to make the shortcakes last week, I had a carton of heavy cream that needed a job. I also had some leftover strawberries. I've been wanting to drag out my ice cream machine (I haven't used it in at least two years) so I came to the obvious conclusion and made strawberry ice cream.

I followed the directions and 'finely chopped' the strawberries, although my instinct was to purée them. I wish I had followed my instinct. Chunks of fresh fruit in homemade ice cream tend to get a bit icy and that was the case here. Otherwise, this was very good but the icy bits in there really bothered me. I can't wait to try some other recipes now that I have the machine out.

I tend to defer to the recipe booklet that came with my machine since the Cuisinart ice cream machine makes smaller batches than a traditional ice cream machine and most ice cream recipes I come across are just too large. It's a small booklet but it does have a good selection of recipes in it.

Oh my did I spend a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend. It was slightly cooler this weekend so maybe that had something to do with it. I made this ice cream, I baked, I pickled and I made part of tonight's dinner. Stay tuned for details.

Blast From The Past: Homemade Noodles from January 2007. The days are starting to get shorter in this part of the world. That depresses me. I'm trying to remember that there are good things about cold weather, like homemade soup.

Question of The Day: What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Friday, June 22, 2007

A very special meal
--Stir-Fried Pork with Sweet Onions



Stir-Fried Pork with Sweet Onions
How To Cook Everything Copyright 1998

1 pound pork tenderloin, fresh ham, loin, or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat I used tenderloin
3 cups peeled and sliced onions
2 tablespoons peanut or other vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce I used low-sodium
Juice of ½ lime
I used more soy sauce and lime
½ cup minced scallion or ¼ cup minced chives for garnish

1. Slice the pork as thinly as you can (it’s easier if you freeze it for 15 to 30 minutes first). Cut the slices into bite-sized pieces, about the size of a quarter.
2. When you’re ready to cook, have all ingredients ready, including a serving dish and rice, if using. Preheat a wok or a large, heavy skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Immediately add half the oil and the pork. Cook, stirring occasionally (not constantly), until pork browns and loses all traces of pinkness, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a bowl.
3. Add the remaining oil to the wok. Swirl it around and add the garlic and onions. Cook the onions and garlic, stirring over medium-high heat until they soften and begin to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
4. Add the pork and stir for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and lime juice*, stir, turn off the heat, garnish and serve immediately.
* he says you can add ¼-1/2 cup of water or stock if you want more liquid
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Lime juice in stir-fry is just pure genius! My free-styled stir-fries usually seem a bit flat but I can see now that a bit of lime juice would perk them up. This was so simple yet so good. I would have prefered it 'juicier' since I served it with rice but I didn't want to dilute the flavor with water or stock as was suggested. I added more soy sauce and a bit more lime juice and that's it.

This was a variation of Stir-Fried Pork with Spinach. Other variations are suggested too.

Don't forget that I'm giving this cookbook away this month to one lucky winner.

What was so special about this? I didn't have to wash every dish by hand afterwards! My new dishwasher has been installed. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

Blast From The Past: Spicy Orange Beef from July 2006. That's another favorite stir-fry of mine.

Question of the Day: I can't think of one so you can have the day off.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A little strange looking but delicious
--Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Sauce


Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Sauce
Betty Crocker’s New Eat and Lose Weight Copyright 1996

1 package (16 ounces) fettuccine
1 small onion, chopped (about ¼ cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2/3 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves I used dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon freeze-dried chives I used dried
2 teaspoons sugar this was too much
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 ½ ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained I used diced canned tomatoes

Cook and drain the fettuccine as directed on the package. While fettuccine is cooking, spray 3-quart saucepan with nonstick spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in saucepan, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients, breaking up tomatoes.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly. Add fettuccine to saucepan; toss with tomato sauce.

Makes 5 servings. Per serving: 360cal, 4 g fat, 80mg chol, 180 mg sodium, 68 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 16 g protein
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I was in the mood for a creamy tomato sauce, without the guilt. This wasn't the most attractive looking sauce but it was tasty, albeit a bit too sweet. I would leave out the sugar next time. I've seen Giada make something like this but I couldn't find a recipe in her books that I own. It might be in Everyday Pasta which I don't have yet.

I served this with some tomato, basil and mozzarella chicken sausages from Costco. They're light (in fat and calories, not sodium) and they're not bad but I'm just not sure they're worth the price (I think it was $12-$13 for 2 or 3 pounds). They were definitely more flavorful than the turkey sausage they sell in the grocery store. That brand is rather bland and unfortunately it's the only brand of turkey sausage I can get locally.

My new dishwasher is coming today! I finally bit the bullet and bought a nicer (i.e. more expensive) one to replace that piece of garbage. Do not buy Frigidaire! And while we're at it, don't buy those ez-up tents they sell in Dick's either. More garbage. Our second one broke and I looked on their website and there were almost 30 people saying their's broke too - almost everyone of them on the third use. For a $100 item, that's just ridiculous.

I've been doing dishes by hand for months and I can't tell you how sick I am of it.

Blast From The Past: Chicken and Linguine in Creamy Tomato Sauce from October 2005. This was a recipe that was better leftover than it was when I originally served it. Cooking pasta right in the sauce is always tricky.

Question of the Day: Are there any products or companies you would like to warn the rest of us to avoid?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Good, but I'm still looking for something better
--Simple Butter Dinner Rolls


Simple Butter Dinner Rolls
Easy Bread Machine Recipes Copyright 1997

2 ¼ C all-purpose flour
½ C milk
3/8 C water
1 T sugar
½ tsp salt
3 T butter, plus melted butter for brushing on top
1 ½ tsp yeast

1. Load the bread pan with all the ingredients except the extra butter; select the dough setting.
2. When the beeper sounds, remove the dough to a bowl. Cover. Rest the dough in the refrigerator until needed, or overnight.
3. Shape into rolls (cloverleaf, split top, knots, etc). I just lined them up in a 9-inch baking pan.
4. Sprinkle water on top and let the rolls rise at 90 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
5. Brush the top of the rolls with the extra butter; bake at 360 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Serve hot or cold.
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This was the third dinner roll recipe I've tried. I don't think I blogged the other two since they were for Thanksgiving dinner and I was busy blogging about pies around that time. This was probably the best recipe so far. I don't think it's exactly what I'm looking for in a dinner roll but I think this recipe would be good made larger and used for burgers or steak sandwiches. These had a little more body than the other sandwich rolls I've made a few times. I think the ultimate dinner roll I'm looking is a bit sweeter, and probably has egg in the recipe.

I tried another nitrite-free hot dog, Nature's Promise. That's a store brand from Giant Foods, well, the store brand for their organic, natural foods. They were really, really good. The other ones I tried, Applegate Farms, were bit different tasting but these tasted just like a good regular hot dog. Unfortunately I think they had a lot of fat too but I forgot to check the package. I'm seeing several brands of nitrite-free hot dogs in the store now. They're all pretty expensive but I was able to get these marked down to $2.99. I think they're regularly marked around $5.

Blast From The Past: Broccoli Salad from September 2005. I've been craving this but I like the full-fat version and I'd end up eating it all.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite brand of hot dogs?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fast and delicious
--Weeknight Skillet Fajitas


Weeknight Skillet Fajitas
The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Copyright 2006

1 (1 ½-pound) flank steak, trimmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced thin I used red, green, yellow and orange
1 red onion, halved and sliced thin I used sweet onion
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Tabasco
½ teaspoon cumin
12 (6-inch) flour tortillas

1. Pat the steak dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the meat on the first side, about 5 minutes.
2. Flip the steak over and continue to cook to the desired doneness, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and drizzle with the lime juice. Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers, onion, water, chili powder, Tabasco, cumin and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
4. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Heat in the microwave until soft, and hot, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
5. Slice the steak very thin across the grain. Arrange the beef on a platter and serve with warm tortillas, vegetables, and any desired accompaniments. Let everyone assemble their own fajita at the table.
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I had a smaller flank steak left in the freezer and I thought fajitas would be a good way to stretch it out. These didn't take much effort to prepare and they hit the spot. I was afraid of being disappointed again, since I have high expectations when paying so much for this cut of meat, but I was pleased. And even though the flank steak rubbed with Pickapeppa sauce was a bit disappointing last week, I used the leftovers in place of chicken on a bbq pizza and it was really good.

Since I used quite a few peppers and onions, this recipe is perfect for Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday. I'm really trying to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables I eat. I always eat at least one vegetable with dinner but I realized I wasn't fitting in too many of them earlier in the day but I'm trying to change that. I have no excuse not to, with the great prices I've been getting at the 'auction'.

This cookbook is really one of my favorites. It's definitely a great one to give to anyone just starting out.

Blast From The Past: Burrito Burgers from June 2006. I made those on the GF grill - I should try them on the outdoor grill.

Question of the Day: Can you name every fruit and vegetable that you ate yesterday?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Not my idea of perfection
--Perfection Pound Cake


Perfection Pound Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours Copyright 2006

2 cups all-purpose flour or 2 ¼ cups cake flour I used the cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan or an 8 ½ x 4 ½ -inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or two regular baking sheets stacked on top of each other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you’re working, scrape down the bowl and beaters often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated – don’t overmix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you’re using a 9x5-inch pan, you’ll need to bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes.

Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.
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I pretty much followed this recipe to the letter but I wasn't pleased with the results. I found the cake to be too dry. The flavor was great - it tasted like shortbread - but I like a moister pound cake. Maybe I just have the wrong idea of pound cake. I didn't use the fancy butters suggested by Dorie but I think she suggested those more for flavor than moistness. I really like those pound cakes made with cream cheese or sour cream but I chose this one at the last minute because the other recipes I had chosen were larger and I decided I only needed one loaf instead of a tube pan full of poundcake.

I served this with strawberries, whipped cream and ice cream so that helped. No one ate it plain. Thank God or I may have had to perform the Heimlech maneuver.

Luckily I also made the modern version of Chocolate Refrigerator Cake that's been going around. I saw it over at Dine and Dish. Mine was not nearly as pretty looking but it was a huge hit. I made it at least once, in the traditional roll form, when I was young. My husband's mother and grandmother had never heard of it! I was already asked to make it again.

So the Father's Day cookout is over and it went pretty smoothly. I made rolls, pasta salad and the desserts ahead of time. The chicken was marinated overnight and I put together a relish tray in the morning and then shucked the corn. I only had to grill the chicken and kielbasis and cook the corn to put it all together. Easy-peasy but between cooking and cleaning I was going for two days straight.

No Blast From the Past today. I'm just feeling too lazy.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had Chocolate Refrigerator Cake (made with Nabisco Chocolate Wafers)?

Friday, June 15, 2007

One hit, one miss
--Grilled Flank Steak with Pickapeppa Mayonnaise



Grilled Flank Steak with Pickapeppa Mayonnaise
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining Copyright 2006

Two 1 ¼-pound flank steaks
2 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce

Fire up the grill for a two-level fire capable of cooking first on high heat and then on medium heat.

Grill the steaks uncovered over high heat for 2 ½ to 3 minutes per side. Move the steak to medium heat, turning it again, and continue grilling for 2 ½ to 3 minutes per side for medium rare. The steaks should be turned at least 3 times, more often is juice begins to form on the surface.

Let the steaks sit loosely with foil for about 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain and serve with Pickapeppa Mayonnaise.

Pickapeppa Mayonnaise

Mix ¾ cup mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons or more of Pickapeppa sauce.
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Well this was a part disappoinment, part wonderful discovery. First of all, I really prefer flank steak marinated. I was leery of trying this recipe with such expensive meat but I feel that I need to take chances sometime and I had just picked up a new bottle of Pickapeppa sauce. It may have been much better but a storm blew threw and I ended up having to broil the steak which just isn't the same. It's much harder to judge how a steak is cooking when it's under the broiler. You can just stand there and poke it without removing it from the heat source like you can when you grill it.

As disappointing as the steak was (and really, it was still good steak, just a bit plain), the Pickapeppa Mayonnaise was quite delicious. Very nice, simple combo that would make a nice dipping sauce for chips, chicken strips, fried zucchini, etc. I could have eaten it with a spoon but that's pretty much true of plain mayonnaise with me.

My grocery store is trying to drive me insane. They switched their sale period from Sunday-Saturday to Thursday-Wednesday. The past two weeks I couldn't figure out why the prices in my circular at home didn't match what I was seeing in the store. I'll have to pay more attention to the dates.

Blast From The Past: Creamy Italian Pasta Salad from April 2006. I'm thinking about making a pasta salad on Sunday. I can't decide. I have no idea what I'm making for our Father's Day cookout yet.

Question of the Day: Would you prefer strawberry shortcake or strawberries over homemade pound cake?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm in love
--Chicken with Vegetable Sauce



Chicken with Vegetable Sauce
Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter’s Cookbook Copyright 2003

2 tablespoons flour
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds total)
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 large)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained I used good, organic diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano I used dried
Dash black pepper
2 teaspoons drained capers or 2 tablespoons chopped, pitted ripe olives I used capers
2 cups hot cooked couscous
¼ cup sliced green onions (2)
½ teaspoon shredded lemon peel

1. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in flour to coat. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, cook chopped onion in hot oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; push onion mixture to the side of skillet. (You may want to remove this and then add it back after browning the chicken otherwise it's difficult to get the pan hot enough to brown the chicken without burning the onion mixture.) Add chicken. Cook about 4 minutes or until chicken is browned, turning once. Add undrained tomatoes, artichoke hearts, broth, dried oregano (if using), and pepper; stir just to combine.
3. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove chicken; cover and keep warm. I forgot to remove it and continued cooking the chicken with the sauce.
4. Simmer tomato mixture, uncovered, about 3 minutes or until reduced to desired consistency. Stir in capers or chopped olives and, if using, the fresh oregano. To serve, toss couscous with green onions and lemon peel. Serve chicken with couscous mixture. Spoon tomato mixture over chicken.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 366 cal, 6 g fat, 82 mg chol, 676 mg sodium, 35 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 39 g pro
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This stuff was sooooo good. I mean, the couscous I could live without. And the chicken, while I'm sure it added a richness to the sauce, it wasn't the star here. The sauce, the sauce is what I'll be dreaming about for quite some time.

I don't think I'll be revisiting couscous. I've tried it several times and while it's perfectly edible, there are plenty of other starches I'd rather spend my calories on. If I'm going to eat pasta, I'd prefer some other form of it. Whole wheat egg noodles would have been good with this, as would rice, or some good bread. I made Cheese-Garlic Biscuits with this also and I think I could have just eaten the sauce over the biscuits.

I like that this recipe has lots of vegetables but it's basically a pantry meal. I usually keep just about everything on hand to make the chicken and sauce except the artichokes . Yes, I finally broke down and bought another bottle of capers after smashing the last one I bought before I even opened it.

Another plus is that the vegetables are part of the main dish. When I serve them as sides, my husband doesn't always eat them - he might not put them on his plate at all. He's more likely to eat vegetables if they're part of the entrée itself.

Blast From The Past: Beef Kabobs With Oriental Sauce from June 2006. I have meat for those in the freezer. They'll definitely be on the menu sometime in the next few weeks.

Question of the Day: In general, do you prefer pasta or rice?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 2007 Cookbook Giveway





This month I'm giving away Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. I just got my hands on a copy myself and so far I've only made Strawberries with Swedish Cream and Lemon Rice but this book has been around long enough and won enough awards for me to give it away confidentally even without personally trying many of the recipes. I have seen a food blogger or two swear by this cookbook.

This isn't an exciting cookbook visually but it's a good one to have in your collection for the basics and for small twists on the basics. I don't know if you can actually learn how to cook everything from this book but it does a good job of covering a large variety of foods. Mark Bittman is know for his minimalist style but that doesn't mean that all of the recipes are plain and unexciting. I've bookmarked quite a few of them already.

This is the 10th cookbook giveaway. There wasn't a huge amount of interest last month (only 10-11 people) but that just makes the odds better for those who do sign up.

This is how it works - just leave a comment on this post. I just need an e-mail address (if your profile links to an e-mail, you don't need to type it out, I'll find it). Entry is open until the last day of the month. First chance I get after that, I'll draw the winner. Then I'll contact the winner for a mailing address and then I'll mail the book! I'll pay the shipping, of course (I'll probably send it media rate - postal rates have gone up again). I'll open this to everyone - in or out of the U.S.

I've received some some weird hits, resulting from queries on common e-mail extensions, hitting the cookbook giveaway posts. Probably someone trolling for e-mail addresses so feel free to modify your e-mail address when you leave it, using 'at' instead of @ and 'dot com' instead of '.com', etc.

Good Luck!

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The winner is Sugar__Mama!

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Simple but delicious
--Lemon Rice


Lemon Rice
How To Cook Everything Copyright 1998

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (preferred) or extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 cups cooked rice, made by any method
Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Juice of 2 lemons, plus more if needed
1 lemon, quartered

1. Heat half the butter or oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet; when butter foams or oil is hot, spoon in the cooked rice, tossing and stirring.
2. Season with salt to taste, lots of pepper, the garlic and most of the lemon juice. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until hot. Stir in the remaining butter or oil and cook for 1 minute.
3. Remove the rice from the pan to a platter, add the remaining lemon juice and serve, with lemon quarters.

Makes 4 servings.
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I'll have to be honest - I was really loosey-goosey with this recipe. I used a bit of canola oil and a bit of butter, and only one lemon (but it was a monster). I've been looking for simple ways to perk up plain rice and I know that I'll be making this again.

I bought a big bag of lemons at Costco so that's one down, a lot to go!

I'm going to do a Father's Day cookout. I have no idea what to make. There are just too many things to choose from. I want to keep it simple and somewhat light. I love having an extra occasion to cook for.

Blast From The Past: Chicken Piccata from March 2006. I'm definitely going to make some Chicken Piccata with my surplus of lemons.

Question of the Day: Do you have any Father's Day plans?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My new favorite flavor combination
--Spicy-Sweet Pork Tenderloin


Spicy-Sweet Pork Tenderloin
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006 Copyright 2005

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh ginger I used my garlic press and squished a few cloves
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 (3/4-inch-thick) slices
1/3 cup bottled salsa
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry preserves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro I didn't use this


Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Flatten each pork piece to 1/2-inch thickness using your fingertips. Add pork to pan; spoon soy sauce mixture evenly over pork slices. Cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn pork over; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

Add salsa and preserves to pan; increase heat to medium-high. Cook 30 seconds or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve pork with salsa mixture, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 3 pork slices, about 1 tablespoon salsa mixture, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro)


Nutritional Information
CALORIES 169(28% from fat); FAT 5.1g (sat 1.4g,mono 2.4g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 24.4g; CHOLESTEROL 74mg; CALCIUM 15mg; SODIUM 285mg; FIBER 0.4g; IRON 1.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 5.3g

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This tasted so familiar when I started eating it that I wondered for a moment if I had already made this recipe. I then realized that it tasted very similar to the Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Strips I made back in March. This flavor combination is so good! The ginger goes so well wih the spicy tomato salsa. This recipe had a bit more depth that the other one. My only complaint was that there really wasn't much 'sauce'. There was enought to glaze the meat and put a dab on top but it's so good, I wouldn't have minded a lot more of it.

I'm rarely disappointed by a Cooking Light recipe. The annuals seem to have the best recipes but because they're organized by magazine issue, it's difficult to manuever through them unless you know exactly what you're looking for however it's still better than looking through a pile of magazines.

The man at the book stand at the auction last week tried to give me a bunch of cooking magazines for free but I refused them. I could see some old Cooking Light's in the pile and I'm sure they had great recipes but my illness has to stop somewhere. He even offered to trade books with me. Trade? Give up some of my cookbooks for his? GIVE UP some of my cookbooks????!! I nearly fainted at the thought.

They did a story on the news this morning, about the rising costs of groceries. As if anyone who buys groceries hadn't already noticed. They claim that prices have gone up 4 percent in just the past year but it seems like more to me. I went to Costco on Saturday and pork loin wasn't 1.99/lb anyore. I can still get it on sale in the local grocery store for 1.99/lb so I bought the pork tenderloin again. There wasn't much of a price difference in Costco between the two.

Blast From The Past: Apricot Pork Chops from January 2007. Another quick and easy pork recipe from Cooking Light.

Question of the Day: If grocery prices continue to rise will you buy the same groceries, buy less (and eat less) or shop for less expensive substitutes for what you usually buy?

Monday, June 11, 2007

'Tis the season
--Strawberries with Swedish Cream


Strawberries with Swedish Cream
How to Cook Everything Copyright 1998

1 cup heavy cream
½ cup sour cream I used lite sour cream
Sugar or honey to taste I used sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, Amaretto, or other liqueur, optional I didn't use this
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled and left whole

1. Whip the sweet cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold in the sour cream; add sugar to taste and liqueur if you like.
2. Place the berries in four to six bowls or stemmed glasses and top with the cream.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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I got the cutest local strawberries at the auction. The would have been perfect for a strawberry tart and I looked over several recipes but in the end, I just didn't have the time, nor could I afford to have a strawberry tart sitting around and tempting me. I actually quartered this recipe and made myself a single serving.

The sour cream adds a slight bit of tang to the cream. There's really no reason to dress up great strawberries any more than this. This picture doesn't do those strawberries justice. They were the best looking strawberries that I've seen in years.

So my cookbook guy did leave the auction like he told me he was going to but, I found another guy on the other side. He had better prices too. I got Martha Stewart's classic Entertaining for 2 bucks (no dust cover). I doubt I'll be trying many recipes from that book but it's fun to look back at the 80s.

Blast From The Past: Whole-Wheat Strawberry Muffins from September 2006. These were great muffins but would I dare use my best strawberries in muffins?

Question of the Day: What's your favorite strawberry recipe?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Not great
--Orange Chocolate Float



Orange Chocolate Float
Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook Copyright 1992

½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Hershey’s syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
Crushed ice
Whipped cream
Orange slice (optional)

In blender container, combine orange juice, syrup and sugar; cover and blend. Pour over ice in glass; top with whipped cream. Garnish with orange slice, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.
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I've found myself with a surplus of Hershey's syrup and while looking for recipes to use it up, I noticed this one. It didn't make much of a dent in my supply but I had all of the ingredients so I figured I'd try it. I don't consider myself a fan of chocolate mixed with fruit yet when I have the combination I'm often surprised that I really do like it.

Well, this time I found myself surprised that I really didn't like it. I mean, it was okay but I generally don't drink beverages with calories unless they're really worth it (taste-wise or health-wise). The most caloric drink I imbibe regularly is coffee with milk and I've cut myself down to 1/2 - 1 cup per day. Otherwise, I drink water, seltzer water, unsweetened iced tea, unsweetened hot tea and an occasional artifically-sweetened beverage.

It didn't help that I was sharing this with my son and he was hogging all of the whipped cream. He seemed to like it. I think if this had been a creamy drink with ice cream or milk, I would have liked it better. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have blended it with the ice and made it into more of a smoothie. Could I have added milk or would it have curdled from the orange juice?

It's supposed to be 96 degrees today. I want to pick up produce at the auction tonight but I'm not sure now. I found it unbearable to walk around there the past two Fridays and it wasn't nearly as hot. Inside the actual building was like an oven last week. I can't imagine how the people standing by the pizza ovens and cooking over the stoves in there manage not to pass out.

Blast From The Past: Blueberry & Buttermilk Falls Drink from January 2007. Now that was worth the calories.

Question of the Day: What beverages do you drink on a regular basis?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rachael Ray didn't invent these
--Meat Puffs



Meat Puffs
Our Favorite Meats Favorites From Home Economic Teachers Copyright MCMLXVI(1966?)

¼ c. chopped onion
1 tbsp. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 lb. ground beef
½ c. fine dry bread crumbs
½ c. chili sauce
1 tsp. salt I just used a sprinkle
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¾ c. milk

Cook onion in butter for 3 minutes. Combine eggs, beef, crumbs, ¼ cup chili sauce, salt, Worcestershire sauce and milk with cooked onion mixture. Mix well but do not knead (knead? ha! This was almost like pancake batter). Place in greased muffin pan and spread with remaining chili sauce. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Yields 8 puffs (I got 9).
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I've made mini-meat loaves (or meat muffins as Rachael Ray calls them) plenty of times in the past. I like how much faster they cook than a regular meat loaf. I've never seen them called 'meat puffs' before but my husband seemed to get a kick out of the name.

I got distracted and forgot to add the last three ingredients at first. I had to put the meat back in the bowl and mix them in, even though I knew I would end up with goop. I knew from experience, however, that the more liquid you can get into meatballs or meatloaf, the more tender they usually end up. So I had faith and scooped the goop into the muffin pan. They came out firm yet tender. They stuck just a bit to the muffin pan but I managed to get them all out in relatively one piece. There were no leftovers.

This is one of the cookbooks I picked up at the auction. It contains over 2000 recipes from home-ec teachers across the country. My alma mater wasn't even in existence in the 60s when this book was compiled but I did find a recipe from a woman who taught at it's predecessor. It was for orange-glazed pork chops which sounds good until you see that there are 10 whole cloves thrown in and never removed (unless you're just supposed to know better). Can you imagine biting into a clove? Yuck!

I got a kick out of reading the old-fashioned names in the book. The Board of Advisory Editors had two Dorothys, two Ruths, one Imogene (among others). I'm sure these names will come back in fashion someday.

I don't remember too much about home-ec. I wasn't crazy about sewing. The only recipes I remember making as a class were a vegetable dip (dry salad dressing mixed with mayo and/or sour cream) and a strawberry whip pie in a chocolate crust (meh). I never took the cooking elective they offered in high school. I was cooking dinner every night at home so I guess that satisfied me.

What's really sad is that a few years ago my nephew made this really nice gym bag in home-ec. I guess more boys now take home-ec (or whatever it's called these days), either by choice or it might be required. That bag was much nicer and well-made than either of my sewing projects (letter pillows that spelled out your name and a make-up bag). Oh well, he has wonderful artistic talent, something I lacked back then and still now.

Blast From The Past: Brown Sugar Meat Loaf from October 2005. That's a favorite meat loaf recipe of mine but it may be competing with this recipe from now on.

Question of the Day: Did you take home economics in high school? Did you learn anything?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I need to have more faith
--Pork with Glazed Onions


Pork with Glazed Onions
Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter’s Cookbook Copyright 2003

1 12-ounce pork tenderloin
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced and separated into rings I used one large sweet onion
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar I used balsamic
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Hot cooked orzo (optional)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

1. Trim fat from pork. Cut pork crosswise into ½-inch slices. Lightly coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork to the hot skillet; cook about 4 minutes or until pork is cooked through, turning once. Remove pork from skillet. Repeat with remaining pork.
2. Carefully add oil to skillet; add the onions. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 13 to 15 minutes or until onions are tender. Uncover; stir in brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are golden.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the water, vinegar cornstarch, salt and pepper; carefully stir into onion mixture in skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Return pork to skillet; heat through.
4. If desired, serve the pork and onion mixture over hot cooked orzo. Sprinkle with parsley.

Makes 4 servings: Per serving (without orzo): 185 cal, 5 g total fat, 50 mg chol, 186 mg sodium, 12 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 21 g pro
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I thought this was going to be a dud right up until the end. I thought the flavor was going to be too harsh but after adding the pork and juices back to the pan and finishing off the cooking, everything mellowed out. I thought this was great over lightly buttered orzo. It's key to use a good vinegar here, not an expensive one, but one that isn't too harsh. I know, I always say that when I make something with vinegar but I remember how many times I made something using a harsh balsamic vinegar and didn't like it and I didn't realize it was the vinegar.

I need to start planning my summer cookout today. I keep saying telling myself that I need to do that but I haven't yet. I hate picking the date because then that means I have to start worrying if it's going to rain on that date.

Blast From The Past: Tiramisù from last year's cookout in August. That's been a staple recipe at my cookouts but last time I ate tiramisu in a restaurant was the day I had that allergic reaction. I'm not sure how I feel about eating it again even though I don't really think I would have a reaction to my own recipe.

Question of the Day: Do you have any ideas for warm weather family activities?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Flat-chested chickens
--Broiled Deviled Chicken Breasts



Broiled Deviled Chicken Breasts
365 Easy Low-Calorie Recipes Copyright 1990

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 7-ounce chicken breast halves, skinned I used boneless skinless breasts

1. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine oil, water, vinegar, chili powder, mustard, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Blend well. I let it sit for a few minutes to marinate the meat. Add chicken pieces and turn to coat.
2. Preheat broiler. Set chicken, bone side up, about 6 inches from heat. Broil 10 minutes. Turn and baste with seasoned oil. Continue to broil 10 to 15 minutes, until chicken is white throughout but still moist. I cooked the boneless breasts much less, of course.

Makes 4 servings. 214 calories per serving.
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I wasn't expecting much from this recipe but I enjoyed it. The seasoned oil added nice flavor but it wasn't overpowering, like a barbecue sauce. My 3 1/2 year old scarfed this down. You can make this as 'deviled' as you like by adding more hot sauce or even a bit of cayenne.

I've been buying the frozen chicken breasts at Costco. I used to buy the tenders because they were easier to portion out but since Costco switched suppliers, the breasts aren't as large. They're so thin, they often look like flounder or sole on the plate. I like them because they cook up so quickly. For those of you who have been turned off by the flash frozen chicken in the supermarket, the chicken at Costco contains less than half the amount of added solution than the chicken in the grocery store, even the same brand (Purdue). The grocery store version has 15% added solution, the Costco version only 7% I believe (before Costco switched to Purdue, I swear the percentage was even much less). I really don't like that there's anything 'added' but it's so convenient to be able to pull out just the right amount of chicken that I need for a recipe, or even a single breast when I need it (for a barbecue chicken pizza).

I didn't forget about the May cookbook giveaway. Okay, yes I did, but I'll get to it today. I'll probably pick up a book for June this weekend.

Blast From the Past: Baked Lemon Chicken from just last month. I don't want to forget about that recipe. It was one of my favorites.

Question of the Day: What your easiest, most-used chicken recipe?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Worth turning on the A/C for
--Cinnamon-Apple Cake



Cinnamon-Apple Cake
Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts Copyright 2004
(This recipe is from Hostess House in Portland, Oregon)


1 ½ plus ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup (6 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups chopped, peeled apples (about 2 large) I used a mixture of Gala and Fuji apples

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat 8-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Beat 1 ½ cups sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla at medium speed until well blended, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat at low speed until blended. Combine remaining ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture with apples and stir apples into batter. I goofed and added all the sugar and cinnamon to the apples. I mixed up more sugar and cinnamon for the top. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool cake on wire rack and, because cake is so tender, cut with serrated knife.

Yields 12 servings.
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Okay, baking a cake for an hour and fifteen minutes on a hot and humid day probably isn't the best idea but I did it and it was worth it. I did goof up a bit and ended up with more sugar and cinnamon in the cake than it should have had but it was still very good. This is a very moist cake, full of apples. I liked the fact that this recipe used fat-free cream cheese instead of all butter or oil, as most of the other recipes I checked out use. I think there's room to lighten it up even more, cutting down on the sugar, subbing whole-wheat flour for some of the AP flour and maybe even using 8 oz of fat-free cream cheese and only two oz of butter.

I really wanted to make Dorie's Apple Turnovers but I couldn't bring myself to use that much butter and sour cream in a recipe. Not right now. Someday.

This is my contribution to Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday this week, even though it's only Monday. I usually try to post something appropriate right on Tuesday but I can't always get my act together.

I love this cookbook. It has no pictures and the index isn't very good but it's full of great recipes, mostly for brunch-type foods. It claims over 1500 recipes but there are repeats. It's set up by state and then by inn or B&B. The index isn't the best so it can be difficult to find a recipes in it but the recipes are worth the hassle.

I think I now understand the lure of bed & breakfasts. It's for the food - there just isn't enough room in our daily lives to fit in all these great brunch recipes.
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I went to the auction of Friday. The bad weather held off. I'm glad I went because as the cookbook man was bagging my books, he told me that it was his last day. His wife wasn't doing well and he wasn't making any money there (it's a one day a week thing and he has a table full of used 'stuff' so I'm not surprised). Oh well, I'm actually relieved not to be tempted by his cookbooks every week. There are other booksellers there so the temptation isn't completely gone.
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I've joined the Foodie Blogroll started by Jenn over at The Leftover Queen. As you can see if you look at it on my sidebar, something is amiss and the font is too small to read here. The problem seems to be my problem and I'm working on it. If anyone has any clues on a fix, I'd appreciate it. I think the Foodie Blogroll is a great idea. I like having a huge list of food blogs at my fingertips.

Blast From The Past: Washington State Granny Smith Apple Pie from September 2006. Apples are great!

Question of the Day: What's your favorite eating apple?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Comfort food
--Salisbury Steak Deluxe



Salisbury Steak Deluxe
Taste of Home The Complete Guide To Country Cooking Copyright 1998

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted I used the 'Healthy Request' version
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 egg
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley I sprinkled a bit of dried parsley flakes on top

In a bowl, combine the soup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish; blend well. Set aside. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of the soup mixture. Add beef and mix well. Shape into six patties.

In a large skillet, brown the patties in oil; drain. Combine remaining soup mixture with water; pour over patties. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until meat is done. Remove patties to a serving platter; spoon sauce over meat. Sprinkle with parsley.
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My last attempt at Salisbury Steak was okay but nothing that had me rushing out to make it again. I'm glad I finally made a second attempt because I really liked this version. It isn't exactly what you might expect - I'd say the sauce is more like a stroganoff sauce than the typical brown gravy you usually see with Salisbury steak. It was really flavorful and the patties were nice and tender. The one problem I had is that the patties were a bit delicate. I managed to keep them together but I did need to use kid gloves when manipulating them in the pan.

My son loved this. He was more interested in the meat than the noodles which is unusual for him. He didn't even ask for ketchup!

I didn't buy any produce last night and now they're calling for storms this afternoon so I may not get to the auction tonight. Maybe I'll finally get over to the indoor farmer's market in the next town. Unfortunately, the book man won't be there.

Blast From The Past: Jalapeño Chicken from November 2005. I just read that post again and saw that I fed my son beans. I've had a fear of making anything with beans for dinner because of his peanut allergy (peanuts and beans are both legumes) even though I knew there was a good chance that he wasn't allergic to beans. I couldn't remember if I had ever fed him beans but now I know that he has eaten them.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite 'comfort food'?