Monday, November 26, 2007

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

2 and 1/2 cups White Lily® Enriched Bleached Self-Rising Flour (10 ounces)
1/4 cup lard
3/4 cup milk
a generous 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Place flour in bowl and cut in lard with pastry blender or two knives until the fat is the size of very small peas.

Stir in the milk and the cheese, stirring just until the dough leaves the side of the bowl and is holding together. The mixture should be slightly sticky but not "wet". If it is wet, add a Tablespoon of flour, if too dry, another Tablespoon of milk. Weighing the flour really helps get the proportions just right.

Drop by a big tablespoon until a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray.

While they bake, mix in  a microwave safe cup in microwave -
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4  teaspoon garlic powder
a pinch of Penzey's Tuscan Sunset or your favorite blended Italian seasoning

Nuke 15-20 seconds, until the butter is melted and stir.  In a separate dish measure out 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of dried parsley.

Brush butter mixture over biscuits as they come out of the oven.

Sprinkle with  parsley and serve warm.

Makes 10-12 biscuits

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blueberry Tart with Almond Streusal Topping

1 1/2 cups flour (with extra for dusting the work surface)
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
yolk of one large egg
3 tablespoons of cold heavy whipping cream

In a mixture or food processor, mix flour, sugar and butter until mixture looks like sand.  Add in egg yolk and cream and mix gently JUST until a dough forms.  Shape ino a thick disk, wrap in cling wrap and stick in fridge for an hour.

On lightly floured clean surface, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick and about a 11 inch round.  Wrapping it loosely around your rolling pin, transfer to a 9 inch non stick tart pan.  Trim edges and freeze for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Remove tart pan from freezer and line with foil (or parchment paper) and place some dried beans (to act as weights) on top and bake until the crust is dry and just barely golden (about 15 minutes).  Remove foil/paper and beans and bake until it's  golden (not brown) but cooked through (about 10 minutes, it will bake further with filling so you don't want the edges turning brown).

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup finely diced almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
drop of Mexican vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Mix with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Blueberry Filling

3 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp tapioca
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Increase oven temp to 350 F.  Mix all ingredients just until combined and distribute evenly in the cooked tart crust. Sprinkle with streusal topping and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the streusal is browned and the juices are bubbling up.

Bacon Quiche with Hash Brown Crust

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Hashbrown crust -

3 1/2 cups shredded potato (can use  thawed hash browns) moisture removed (use a salad spinner or blot with paper towels).
a few grinds of pepper
a shake or two of sea salt
1/2 cup stick butter melted.

Mix and pat in a large pie pan and bake at 450 F for 22-25 minutes until edges are browning up.   Remove and lower oven temp to 325. (if you want the bottom a little crispier, put some foil gently around the edges and cook an additional two minutes).

Cook 8 pieces of bacon, drain,

Chop and toss with 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup.

Mix in large bowl:

the bacon
1 and 1/2 cup slightly steamed broccoli
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon of  smoky hot sauce (I strongly recomment  the "Singing Smoke" sauce from Scoville Brothers 

In small bowl mix:

4 eggs whisked
1 cup half and half. 

Pour over veggies/bacon.

In a cereal bowl toss:

1 cup of  Italian  blend cheese (Asiago, Romano, Mozzerella, Parmasan)
1 Tablespoon of flour.

Gently stir into quiche filling in the large bowl.

Gently ladle into crust and cook in 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.  Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Angel Food Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups Castor sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 12 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste (on line or find at Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
    If you can't find Castor (super fine sugar) put regular sugar in the food processor and pulse on and off for a minute or two (no more).
    In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar and the cake flour. Put that aside for after you beat the egg whites. In another small bowl, put the rest of the sugar in another little bowl and have it handy near your mixer.
    You will  have one bowl that is JUST sugar, and one that is flour/sugar, do NOT mix them up.
    In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites on medium low until frothy, the add cream of tartar and salt.  (plastic bowls can retain some oil on their surface, which inhibits the eggs beating nicely, so if using one, clean in super hot water with lots of soap first).

    Beat until fully incorporated then begin to add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, 1-2 tablespoons at a time. When sugar has been added, beat egg whites on medium speed to soft peaks.  Soft peeks look like gentle waves and as you lift the beaters up from the eggs they will gently fall down. If your batter drops like ribbons, it needs a bit more time but you want to stop before you have stiff (think hair gel) peaks, so stop and check it every 15-20 seconds. Soft peaks should take 2-3 minutes.
    With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in half the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form soft peaks, another 2  to 2 and a half minutes. Add the vanilla paste, lemon juice and almond extract and beat on high for 30 seconds.

    Resift the flour/sugar mixture that you put aside and spoon it over the egg whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time, folding in gently with a large spatula.

    Gently scrape batter into an ungreased tube pan with a removable bottom, smooth top with spatula, and give the pan a couple of gentle raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles in the batter. (if yours does not have removable bottom, line with parchment paper, do NOT grease).

    Bake on lower-middle rack at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until cake is golden brown and top springs back when pressed firmly.

    After removing from oven, invert tube of pan over neck of bottle (or two stacked wire cookie cooling racks) so air can circulate all around it. Cool 2 to 3 hours.

    Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom of the pan to release the cake when you are ready to serve it.
    Serve with fresh fruit or lemon curd or cube and serve with ice cream, strawberries and a drizzle of honey in a champagne class.

    World's Fluffiest Pancakes

    Take 3/4 cup milk and egg out of fridge and let sit until about room temperature (15 minutes minimum, 30 is even better, go walk the dog, brew some coffee)

    Then, mix ix in a small cereal bowl:

    The room temperature 3/4 cup milk
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice

    While that sits for 10 minutes, mix up the flour in a medium bowl and set aside:

    flour mixture:

    1 cup all purpose flour (use spoon to carefully drop flour in cup, don't shake, then level with knife)
    2 Tablespoons sugar
    1 tsp baking powder (check date, make sure it's not expired)
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt

    After the 10  minutes is up for the milk mixture, whisk the egg into it well, then add 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla and 2 Tablespoons melted butter (nuke in a cup in the microwave for about 20 sec.), whisking well as the butter is added.

    Immediately dump the milk mixture into the center of the flour mixture and stir JUST until combined, about 10-12 gentle stirs, scraping up along the bottom to get all the flour.  It will  quickly bubble up as you stir and look almost puffy/spongy. DO NOT mix further, this is what makes them so tall and light. Bubbles are good! Batter that looks like "the Blob" is good.  The magic of kitchen chemistry. 
     click on photos to enlarge

    Let the batter then  sit about 15 minutes (don't stir again), then cook quickly on a oiled grill, handling the batter as little as possible (I used a 1/4 cup measure to carefully withdraw batter to pour on the grill). The batter is a lot thicker looking than you're likely used to and doesn't make a perfect round , but as it cooks it will spread out some.  The batter does thin on handling but do as little of that as you can.
    Infused with vanilla and butter, they cooked up tasty, tender, light and well. . . fluffy!  (makes about 8  medium pancakes)

    Guinness Molasses Cake

    Richer than gingerbread, more dense than regular cake, it's perfect with a soft whipped cream frosting, not too sweet, intensely satisfying.

    Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass pan.

    Set aside in cereal bowl -

    All Purpose Flour - 2 cups

    In small saucepan on low, heat the following until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, then set aside to cool:

    Sugar - 1/2 cup plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons
    Butter - 1/3 cup
    Molasses (extra dark full flavored) -1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons

    While molasses cools, mix together in cereal bowl and let set 5 minutes (it foams up so use a larger bowl)

    Guinness  - 1 cup
    Baking Soda - 1 tsp (check your expiration date for maximum rise)

    Stir into cooling molasses mixture:

    Cinnamon - 1 tsp
    ginger - 1 tsp.
    salt - 1/4 tsp
    finely ground coffee - 2 generous teaspoons (regular coffee, just whirred a bit more in a blender)

    In a large bowl whisk:

    Egg - 1 Extra large (use an egg that's at room temperature)
    Vanilla - 1 tsp.

    In a very slow and small stream, stopping to whisk, pour molasses mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly and vigorously so egg does not cook. Add in Guinness mixture and blend.

    Add flour, a bit at the time, continuing to whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth and just starting to look a bit shiny (3-5 minutes by hand)

    Bake at 350 F for 38-42 minutes (toothpick in center should come out clean).

    Cool 20 minutes and frost with the following:

    1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
    1 and 3/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
    1 and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while the bake bakes. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl and whisk on medium-high speed until it just starts to thicken. Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour in the sugar, whisking until soft peaks form.  Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. (4-5 minutes with a chilled bowl)

    Add the vanilla extract and continue to whisk by hand until the cream is smooth, and stiff peaks form
    Sprinkle on some espresso sugar or serve as is. Best fresh, but will keep refrigerated.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Bacon! - Mom's Baked Beans Made Even Better

    1 large (28 ounce) and 1 medium sized can Bush's regular baked beans  or 3  -15 ounce cans pork and beans  
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 green pepper, chopped
    1  and 1/2 teaspoons chopped minced garlic
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    2/3 cup pineapple tidbits, all juice drained
    3 Tablespoons A-1 Steak Sauce
    1 Tablespoon course spicy mustard
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (smoke without a lot of heat)
    1 package smoked kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
    1/2 package smoked  high quality bacon

    3/4 cup tomato sauce
    2 Tablespoons molasses
    2 Tablespoons honey
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (Use Braggs, it's worth the effort to find in  the health food section)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain the liquid off the top of the cans of beans (you want just enough where they are  dripping wet but not enough that they are sitting in a little lake of sauce). Place in a big bowl and mix with onion, green pepper  pineapple, brown sugar, steak sauce,  red pepper and ancho chili  pepper,  mustard, and kielbasa in a large bowl. If you don't have ancho use a dash (or to taste) of your favorite smokey hot sauce like mine, Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke).

    Mix tomato sauce, molasses, honey and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl.

     Pour mixture into a non-stick sprayed 9×13 baking dish then lay bacon strips across the top. Spread tomato sauce mixture on top of the bacon and  bake for an hour and 30 minutes or until the top is deeply caramelized. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    These beans are perfect for serving over cornbread (baked or pan fried) or corn waffles with hot sauce on the side and a tall frosty beverage.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Blue Cornbread

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a medium bowl mix:

    3/4 cup milk plus 2 Tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice)

    Let sit while you mix the following in a large bowl

    1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
    3/4  plus 2 Tablespoons blue cornmeal
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 1/8 teaspoon Baking Powder (there is usually not a 1/8 measure, use the 1/4 and fill it up halfway).
    1/4 t. plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 t. plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
    two small shakes or a pinch of cayenne (red) pepper

    To milk mixture whisk in

    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
    2 eggs (if using extra large or jumbo, use just 1)

    Add wet and dry ingredients (yes, it's going to look like you're making gravel)

    Fold in 3/4 cup fresh or roasted corn kernels. (now it looks like gravel with corn in it, yummmm)

    Bake in greased 8 x 8 pan for 28-34 minutes. It's hard to tell doneness by the color as only the edges golden up, so use a toothpick inserted into center to tell if it's done.

    Serve with butter and maple syrup or molasses. By itself or with a couple of eggs and venison sausage, this makes a dandy breakfast.

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Sour Cream Pancakes

    Sour Cream Pancakes

    In a bowl mix 3/4 cup milk and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.  Let sit 10 minutes

    In a larger bowl mix
    1 cup flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1  teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    pinch of cardamon (or nutmeg).

    After the 10 minutes is up, whisk into soured milk mixture until smooth:
    1 large egg (at room temperature)
    1/3 cup sour cream
    1 tsp. Mexican vanilla
    2 tablespoons melted butter

    Combine wet and dry ingredients  mixing ONLY until flour is incorporated (mixture will have small lumps).  Bake on hot oiled griddle until golden brown.

    Homemade Syrup

    Better than store bought and seriously cheaper than pure maple syrup.

    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 cup white sugar
    •  1 cup cup water
    • 1 Tablespoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
    •  a pinch of sea salt
    Bring sugars and water to a boil, cook and stir for two minutes. Once the sugar is dissolved, stir in butter, 1 teaspoon of no alcohol vanilla extract or maple extract and a pinch of salt.