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Monday, January 17, 2011

The New Blog!

Wondering where we've all gone to? We've started a new blog with even more cooks! Visit us at Reviving Cookery.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Website Coming Soon!

2010.52.3 is moving to a new website that should be going live sometime this week. So don't despair, loyal readers! We will be back soon with a modified format!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jennifer's Week Fifty-Two Recipe: Make Ahead Minestrone

So, I ended the year on a good note in my drive to serve more meatless dishes to my carnivores. Chad and Erik approved of this soup! Chad declared that it be added to the rotation. Great Success!

Make-Ahead Minestrone

You can serve this meatless soup immediately, but chilling the soup allows the flavors to blend... which I did not do.

3-14 1/2 ounce cans beef broth
1-15 1/2 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1-14 1/2 ounce can low-sodium stewed tomatoes
1-11 1/2 ounce can vegetable juice (V8)
1-6 ounce can low-sodium tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 1/2 cups loose-pack frozen mixed vegetables (such as an Italian blend)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into strips
2 cups cooked pasta (1 cup uncooked), such as small shells or mostaccioli
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. In a large kettle, combine beef broth, beans, stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice tomato paste, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Bring to boiling. Stir in the mixed vegetables. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; cool. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours. (Or, to serve immediately, stir in the spinach and cooked pasta. Heat through.)

2. To serve, reheat the soup over medium heat. Stir in the spinach and cooked pasta. Heat through. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings.

Success! ... if a bit late with the postings. I'm looking forward to 2011!

Jennifer's Week Fifty-One Recipe: Polenta with Tomato Mushroom Sauce

I did not forget! Ack! Really! Here I am! Traveling and sickness and forgetting to post the recipes (not forgetting to make them!) caused the delay. But here I am posting the recipes and ready for 2011. Those who follow this blog, keep posted for our new blog coming by the end of the month if all goes to plan.

My last two recipes (technically, there are 3!) come from Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of Healthy Family Dinners, a $10 bargain book I purchased years ago and it was well worth the $10 investment!

Polenta with Tomato Mushroom Sauce

2 cups water
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated Asaigo or Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
1 recipe Tomato-Mushroom Sauce (below!)

1. For polenta, in a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water to boiling. Combine the cornmeal, the 3/4 cup cold water and salt in a bowl. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture returns to boiling. (And for the love of all things holy, watch for splattering polenta! Ouch!) Reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in the 1/4 cup grated cheese.

2. Spread in an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish. Cool slightly. Cover and chill about 30 minutes or until firm. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven about 20 minutes or until heated through. Cut into 6 rectangles; cut each rectangle in half diagonally to form 12 triangles. Serve immediately with Tomato-Mushroom Sauce.

Tomato-Mushroom Sauce
In a medium saucepan cook 2 cups sliced mushrooms; 1 small onion, chopped; and 1 clove garlic, minced, in 1 teaspoon hot cooking oil until tender. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place one 16-ounce can whole Italian-style tomatoes in a blender container or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Stir blended tomatoes and 1 teaspoon sugar into mushroom mixture. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired consistency. Stir in 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed; 1/8 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper.

This recipe was really underwhelming, both the polenta and the sauce. That's the problem with this cookbook: some recipes are awesome and others seemed to sacrifice flavor for fewer calories. Wasn't awful, but I doubt I'll make it again.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tricia's Week 52 Recipe: Soda Bread

Wow.  A New Years Resolution I didn't break!  (To qualify, I made a second resolution in 2010 to make and eat more ice cream and failed miserably.)  I have made it, 52 recipes of things I have not made before.  Very proud of myself.  I realize, looking back, that there are things I lean on as my stand-bys, but some of these new recipes will start to fill in as standbys, I think.  It is fitting that my final recipe for this blog is something Irish, soda bread.  It is also fitting it is posted after the first of the year.  However, it is Still week 52... :P  Click here for source.

Sage and Pepper Soda Bread Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling

  • 2cups all-purpose flour
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 2teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter, in small bits
  • 1teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1cup buttermilk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl or processor. Blend in butter by machine or with fingertips for a mealy texture.  Mix in the sage and pepper, then lightly stir in the buttermilk until the mixture forms a soft dough, which can be gathered together. Knead it briefly, then shape it into a round about two inches high.  Put loaf on a baking sheet. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut a deep cross on top of the loaf, making the cuts nearly all the way across.  Put it in the oven and bake until nicely browned, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.
Yield: 1 loaf.

I will make it again, but it suprised me.  It's moister than I imagined for soda bread, but the flavor is a bit weird.  I don't know what I did.  I guess I'll just have to keep experimenting.  It's not so weird that I won't share it w/ people, though, and I'm bringing it to share to work tomorrow.  I guess I've always made 'soda' bread w/ beer or soda rather than baking soda and buttermilk :P

Tricia's Week 51 Recipe: Fudge

I have never made a 'candy'.  Well, I guess if you count the sugar 'crystals' we grew in science, or the lollipops we made in chemistry class, I've made a few.  But never any in MY kitchen.  So, i decided to make fudge.  I picked up a 7 oz container of marshmallow fluff, some evaporated milk, and away I went.

  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 5 oz. can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
  • 1 Jar (7 1/2oz) Marshmallow Fluff
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 12-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I shaved 12 oz of Bakers chocolate instead of using morsels)
Line a 9X9 baking pan with foil.  (I didn't have one, so I used 8X8 which makes VERY thick fudge...) Combine first four ingredients in a sauce pan and heat til boiling and about 230 degrees.  If, like me, you don't own a candy thermometer, this took about 5 minutes once a slight boil started.  Stir constantly. Remove from heat, add fluff, vanilla and chocolate.  Stir til smooth, pour into foil lined pan and chill til set. 

I have never made fudge before, and am not an expert on fudge, but everyone I talk to says this is very good fudge, so I must have done something right.  Now, to do something about the VERY large quantity it makes...I'll have to bring some to work. 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Karin's Week Fifty-Two Recipe: Gratin de Pommes de Terre Crecy

Wow, I can't believe that I made it through the entire year with a new recipe a week! I've definitely broadened my cooking abilities and use more of my cookbooks more often. I've found that I am actually making more than one new recipe a week in some weeks, and even those weeks I only got in my required one, I was still looking for others to try. Thanks to Tricia, Chris and Jenni for letting me be the "foreign" correspondent - it was alot of fun to see what everyone else was cooking up, and how it turned out.

For my last weekly recipe for 2010, I ended up making a recipe out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I was asked to bring a potato/starch dish to a holiday dinner at the in-laws house. In looking at what I had on hand, I knew I could definitely do potatoes (we have a 10 lb bag as a result of lefse baking), and thought it would be nice to also put a veg in. As always, Julia to the rescue with Gratin de Pommes de Terre Crecy, or Scalloped Potatoes and Carrots with Cream.

Gratin de Pommes de Terre Crecy

2 c carrots, sliced 1/8" thick
1/2 T butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 T finely minced shallots or green onions (I used Penzey's Freeze-Dried Shallots, and put them straight into the pot)
3/4 C water

Boil the carrots slowly with the butter, salt, shallots or onions, and water in the covered saucepan for 20-30 min or until liquid has evaporated and the carrots are tender.

4 T butter
2 lb potatoes, sliced 1/8" thick (6-7 cups)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 c grated Swiss cheese
1 1/4c whipping cream.

Preheat oven to 300deg. Smear 1T of the butter in a 10" fireproof baking dish, 2" deep. Arrange layers of potatoes in it, seasoning each layer with salt, pepper, cheese, and dots of butter. Alternate potato layer with a layer of carrots. End with a sprinkling of cheese and butter dots. Pour on the cream and bring slowly almost to the simmer on top of the stove. Then place in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 1-1 1/4 hours, regulating oven heat throughout baking so that cream never quite bubbles. The gratin is done when the potatoes are tender and have absorbed the cream, and the top is lightly browned.

This was very tasty, and an easy dish to make ahead. I was a bit worried that the carrots would be overdone, but they were still slightly crunchy even at the end of the entire cooking time. It also reheated well for leftovers. Having the carrots in made me feel a bit better about all of the butter and cream in the recipe. It was a big hit at the family dinner, and I think I would make it again.

Happy New Year, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we cook up in 2011!!

Karin's Week Fifty-One Recipe: Mom's Carmel Corn

For this week's recipe, I decided to attempt making my mother's carmel corn recipe. It is the week of Christmas, and she always makes carmel corn for our Christmas gatherings. I will confess, I have participated in making this recipe before, but never have I done it completely on my own. Both Nate and I love carmel corn, so we decided to see if we could manage to make it taste just like mom's.

Mom's Carmel Corn

20 cups (5qt) popped corn, put in roaster pan*

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white syrup (Karo)
1 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda

*I did have to consult on the amount of unpopped corn to equal popped, and was told that this is how much fits in her roaster, about 2-3 poppers full. Also, an air popper for the corn is essential, as the microwave variety just doesn't turn out right.

  1. Combine sugar, butter, syrup, salt in a large saucepan. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in soda. (This will foam up and is very hot.)
  2. Pour over popped corn.
  3. Bake in 250deg oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  4. Spread on foil to cool. Store in airtight container.
It worked! My carmel corn tasted just like Mom's! Even without supervision, I managed to make this recipe. It was much easier than I had thought. And it was rather like high school science class with the baking soda foaming up. An additional tip is to use a heat resistant silicone spatula for stirring, as the carmel doesn't stick to the blade.

Karin's Week Fifty Recipe: Orecchiette al Pomodoro Fresco e Carne Magro

I needed something hot, filling, and relatively fast. I also had a 1lb hunk of ground beef that had been defrosted with the intent of making stroganoff. However, I did not have all of the ingredients, and thus needed something else to do with this defrosted meat. After looking through a variety of cookbooks, I settled on this recipe from Cucina Italia:

Little Ears with Fresh Tomato and Lean Beef Sauce

3/4 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2.5 lb ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
1 lb orecchiette pasta (little shells)
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped**
Grated Romano cheese

*I used home canned tomatoes in juice
**I used Penzey's dried basil as I didn't have fresh on hand

Place 2T of the EVOO in a large saute pan. Add the ground beef and cook over low heat until the meat loses its raw color. Drain off excess fat and season with salt to taste. Put the remaining 4T of EVOO in the saute pan. Ad the garlic and cook over low heat for a few minutes until garlic turns opaque. Add the tomatoes, season with salt to taste, raise heat to medium high, and cook until the tomatoes lose their excess juice and break down into a sauce, about 15min. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente and drain well. Place the pasta in a serving bowl, toss with the sauce, chopped basils, and about 1/4 cup of cheese. Serve immediately.

I really liked this sauce. It was very simple and tasty and went together very quickly. Nate also agreed that this can go into the quick meal list. Even with the modifications, it had a lot of flavor, and I'm sure it would be even better with fresh ingredients.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chris's Week Fifty-Two Recipe: Amish Breakfast Casserole

Can you believe it's been a whole year since we started this blog? Thanks to Tricia for coming up with the idea; to Jenni for convincing me to play along; to Karin, our foreign blog correspondent; and to Linda, Judy, and all our other guest contributors!

I hosted the annual Jacobs/Brown and now Sala holiday gathering this year and decided to serve something new for brunch. I found this recipe and decided to use Italian sausage instead of bacon.

Amish Breakfast Casserole

Brown together

1 to 1-1/2 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the sausage and onion with

6 eggs, slightly beaten
4 c frozen hash brown potatoes
2 c shredded Cheddar
1-1/2 c small curd cottage cheese
1-1/4 c shredded Swiss

Pour ingredients into a greased 9x13" pan and cook for 50-60 min at 350F or until set and bubbly. (Note, if you actually thaw the hash browns, which the original recipes calls for you to do, it should take 35-40 minutes. But I forgot to thaw the hash browns!) Let stand about 10 min to 'set' properly.

Would I make this recipe again? An emphatic yes! It got the thumbs up from all the assembled diners. Linda said it could be a little more moist, but honestly I thought it was good because it was not runny. I served this with sauteed mushrooms on the side and I have never seen a dish of mushrooms vanish so fast in my life!

Jennifer's Week Fifty Recipe - Cranberry Macadamia Bark

So, it's the holidays. Well, at least, it was. I had been hoping to use up my last recipes of the year making new and (maybe) exciting things for holiday gatherings. Due to a blizzard, one of my four Christmases was pushed back to January, so those new and exciting recipes have to wait. However, one I happened across could not wait. It sounded just too delicious and was incredibly easy to put together.

Cranberry Macadamia Bark

1 pound white confectioner's candy coating (or white "chocolate")
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, divided (one whole package of Craisins)
1 cup macadamia nuts

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 70% power in 30 second increments, stirring after each time, until smooth. Mix in one cup of the Craisins and the nuts. Spread the mixture evenly on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining Craisins on top. Cool in the fridge until set. Break into bite-sized pieces.

I brought this to MHS Press shortly before the holidays to rave reviews. I brought in a batch on a Monday and they were gone by Wednesday morning. Comments along the lines of "I forgot to eat breakfast yesterday, so I had that! It has fruit in it, so it's healthy, right?"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Nine Recipe - Zucchini Bread with Pineapple

When I was little, we had a babysitter who used to make the most fabulous zucchini bread. I happened to have some zucchini leftover from a recipe and decided that zucchini bread was the answer. I do have the recipe for my babysitter's zucchini bread... somewhere. I remembered that it had raisins and pineapple in it and I found the following recipe.

Zucchini Bread with Pineapple

3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixer, beat eggs. Add oil, sugar, and vanilla; continue beating mixture until thick and foamy. With a spoon, stir in the zucchini and pineapple.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A third at a time, add dry ingredients into wet and gently stir (by hand) after each addition. Add the walnuts and raisins, blend gently.

3. Divide the batter equally between 2 greased and flour-dusted 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

While this recipe was pretty good, it was not the same. Next time I may skip the nuts and add more raisins. This was also another battle in the War Against the Oven. I took the bread out 10 minutes early and it could have come out even earlier than that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tricia's Week 50 recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

This week was Trev's b-day, so I wanted to make him a cake that I'd not made before.  The following was found when searching the internets for a suitable recipe:


  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-inch Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour (even nonstick pans) and set aside.Or, if you do not have such a wonderful invention as baking spray (which I wish I did), laboriously spray and flour your pan.  
In large bowl combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and 1/3 cup peanut butter and beat on low speed until combined; then beat three minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon batter into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes until set, brown, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (except some chocolate might stick to the toothpick). Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then loosen edges and turn pan onto serving plate. Cool completely, then frost.
In small saucepan, melt 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/3 cup peanut butter. You can also melt these two ingredients in a small bowl in the microwave oven for 2 minutes at 50% power, stirring until smooth. Spoon over cake.

This cake really is like a giant peanut butter cup as a cake.  It's very rich, and I think I cooked it about 4 min too long, b/c it seemed a bit dry to me.  I'm still learning the intricacies of my bundt pan.  Still, it's very nummy with vanilla iced cream, and I think my coworkers will thank me for sharing some with them.  Or maybe Trev's coworkers, as it was for his birthday.  Also, I made fudge this weekend that I haven't even tried!  

Chris's Week Fifty-One Recipe: Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

You were expecting something other than cookies at this time of year?

This recipe is from my trusty 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook. The only changes I've made are lowering the amount of salt and using cocoa powder instead of 2 melted squares of unsweetened chocolate.

Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

Cream together:

1 c shortening (I used butter)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs

Sift together (I always whisk together!) and stir in:

2-3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
scant teaspoon salt
3 T Dutch-processed cocoa

Mix thoroughly. Shape into a 2 to 2-1/2" diameter log and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate several hours (or overnight). Cut into 1/4" slices and bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes. (I used parchment paper on the cookie sheets. The cookies come right off!) When thoroughly cool, dust with a little powdered sugar.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Would I make this recipe again? Yep! The cookies have a definite, but not overpowering chocolate flavor. I know... some of you think this is bad, but most of my family are milk chocolate, not dark chocolate fans.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chris's BONUS Week Fifty Recipe: Spicy Kalamata Sauce

I had leftover kalamata olives from our department potluck this week, and I decided I wanted to use them in a pasta sauce. This sauce is really a modified puttanesca sauce without anchovies or capers. The amounts on the spices are approximate.

Spicy Kalamata Sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1-28 oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 t crushed red pepper
3/4 c chopped kalamata olives

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients. The longer you let this simmer, the better it's going to taste.

Would I make this recipe again? I certainly would, but I wouldn't serve it to my mother, not with all that garlic!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tricia's Week 49 Recipe: Leftover BBQ soup

What do you do when you have a few cups (maybe a lb) of leftover raspberry something pork loin, some celery that is threatening to wilt, and more snow in your driveway than you can shake your shovel at?  You make up a soup recipe with what you have in the house, and hope it works!  I  had an idea of making a navy bean type soup with the pork instead of ham, but couldn't find a recipe I liked.  So, I made up a soup recipe - 'How hard can it be?', I thought to myself.  You need a broth, some veg, some meat, and then a noodle or bean or rice.  So, this is what I came up with:

Leftover pork BBQ soup.
6 stalks celery
8-10 baby carrots (b/c that is what was in the house)
1 can kernal corn
1 can great northern beans
leftover pork loin (about 1 lb)
5 cups chicken broth (made with chicken stock from Penzey's)
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (sweet baby rays)
10-12 shakes BBQ 3000 (from Penzey's)
5-6 shakes Italian Seasoning (from Penzey's)
1 garlic clove

Start with your celery.  Take all stalks left that can be used (in this case, perhaps 6), and cut up. Mince your garlic clove.  Saute with olive oil and granulated onion (since we don't use a lot of real onion in my house, you'd use a small white if you used real onion), and BBQ 3000 seasoning from Penzey's.  I didn't measure, but I'd say I used 6 shakes BBQ 3000.

While this is thinking about itself, cut up carrots and put them in crock pot. (I used my middle sized crock pot.  Not the dip one, and not the giant one.)  Also cut up the pork into bite sized chunks, add to pot.  When celery is nicely sauted, add to crock pot.  Open, drain, and rinse both the corn and beans, and add those.

Add the chicken stock (if Penzey's it's about 1/2 to 3/4 tsp to each cup hot water )to the gravy-shaker thing (Tupperware brand, as a top and a little plastic ring/cross thing inside).  Add hot water.  My gravy-shaker thing does two cups at once.  I did two cups and added it, then I did one cup and added 1/4 cup BBQ sauce to the shaker and shook that, and added it, and then I made the final two cups.  This was all my crock pot would hold with all the veg and meat in the soup already.

Stir up and add a few more shakes of BBQ 3000 and 5-6 shakes Italian Seasoning.  Turn crock pot to high for about 1 hour and then to low. 

Taste as it goes along to see what you might need to add for the broth. I added a bit of crushed red pepper about an hour in to give it a bit of kick.  Serve when hungry.

Yay! This soup was a winner.  It has a nice broth with a bit of a kick to it, and plenty of veg.  The meat wasn't too tough (was a bit worried about that leftover pork loin, but simmering the soup for 3 hrs did the trick).  I will definitely be exploring in the world of soup more this winter!

Chris's Week 50 Recipe: Cardamom Cookies

Last Thursday's edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had a recipe for cardamom cookies on the front page of the food section that just begged to be this week's recipe. I can't ever remember making sliced refrigerator cookies and now I'm sorry that I waited so long. These were really easy!

Cardamom Cookies

1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t ground cardamom
3/8 t salt
1-1/4 c flour

Cream together butter, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat in the egg yolk. Stir in the cardamom, salt and flour. Divide the dough into halves and roll into 1 inch diameter logs. Wrap the logs in wax paper and refrigerate until firm. (Editors note: I refrigerated mine overnight. The recipe says you can also freeze the logs until you want to use them.) Cut into 1/4 inch slices and place cookies on parchment paper-lined sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 min at 375F. If desired, cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Would I make this recipe again? Heck yah! They're delicious, especially with a nice cup of tea!

NB: the recipe says this makes 3 dozen cookies. I wound up with over 6 dozen! Either that was a misprint or I was cutting my cookies extra-small. In any event, they baked up great!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Karin's Week Forty-Nine Recipe: Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I had a craving for something sweet, but when I investigated my sweet-making ingredients, I found that I only had 1 egg. This drastically cuts down on the sweet-making options. Off I went on a quest for a recipe that was sweet and only used 1 egg. I looked through my cookbooks and found a cupcake recipe in my 2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes. I got this cookbook as a bridal shower gift the year I got married, and had yet to try anything out of it. As a bonus, I had a lot of cream cheese in the refrigerator due to a special at the grocery store, and Chocolate Cream Cheese cupcakes sounded right up my alley.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

1-8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1.5 c sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp salt, divided
1 c (6oz) semisweet chocolate chips

1.5 c flour
1/4 c baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 T white vinegar

3.75 c powdered sugar
3 T baking cocoa
0.5 c butter, melted
6 T milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey's Double Strength, full amount)

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 c sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and 1/2 tsp salt until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and remaining sugar and salt. In yet another bowl, whisk water, oil and vinegar; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Drop filling by heaping tablespoonfuls into the center of each. Bake at 350deg for 24-26min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10min before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, combine frosting ingredients in large bowl and beat until well-blended. Frost cupcakes.

These cupcakes were VERY well-received by Nate's work mates. He even got messages on the portable computer saying how good they were. He's been told that he can bring these in anytime he wants to, and already has requests. I thought they were pretty tasty, even the next day, although the frosting is unbelievably sweet. And, the recipe said it made 20 cupcakes. I got 18 cupcakes plus 1 "filling" cake, with quite a bit of frosting leftover (enough to frost an 8x8 cake). I think I will be trying out more recipes from this cookbook based on the response I got from this one.

Karin's Week Forty-Eight Recipe: Duck Noodle Soup

As a result of the leftover duck from last week, I've been looking for something to use up the last of the duck meat. As the temperature here finally dropped down into wintry weather, I had been thinking about making some soup, when the title of the children's book popped into my head, Duck Soup. I remember reading this picture book to several wee ones when it came out.

Duck Soup

1-2lb cooked duck meat, or remains of 1-6lb roasted duck
1 carton chicken broth
4 medium carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 small onion, chopped
4 sprigs sage, leaves only
1 T minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 bag egg noodles

Place everything except noodles into large stockpot. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10-12 minutes, or until vegetables start to get soft. Add noodles and boil for another 5-8 minutes until noodles are cooked through. Serve hot.

This was a great way to use up the leftover duck meat. And, both Nate and I agreed that we actually liked the duck better in soup, than we did just after roasting. If I happen to have leftover duck meat again, I will probably be making this soup or a version of it.

Karin's Week Forty-Seven Recipe: Caneton Poele aux Navets

As both Nate and I had to work all of Thanksgiving weekend, we were not going to go anywhere for the Thanksgiving celebration. Knowing this, I decided to be adventurous and try and roast a duck for dinner. I figured that as a duck is smaller than a turkey, it would be just enough for the two of us. And, as I'd never cooked duck before, I decided to go to the authority on such things, Julia Child. This recipe is from Volume One of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and in English means, Casserole-roasted Duck with Turnips.

Caneton Poele aux Navets

1-5.5lb duckling, ready to cook
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 T rendered fresh pork fat or cooking oil (I went with the oil)
1 very large casserole, ovenproof and stoveproof

Preheat oven to 350deg. Season the inside of the duck with salt and pepper, truss it, and preick th eskin around the thighs, back and lower part of the breast. Dry thoroughly. Brown slowly on all sides in hot fat in the casserole. Pour out the browning fat.

1/2 tsp salt
1 medium herb bouquet - 4 springs parsley, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme tied in cheesecloth.

Salt the duck and place breast side up in the casserole. Add the herb bouquet, cover the hot casserole and place it in the middle level of the oven. Roast for 50-60min regulating heat so the duck is always baking quiet cooking noises.

2lb turnips
medium pot

While duck is cooking, prepare the turnips; peel and cut into 3/4inch dice. Drop into boiling, salted water and boil slowly for 5min. Drain.

After duck has roasted for 50-60min, degrease the casserole with a bulb baster. Arrange the turnips around the duck, cover the casserole and return it to the oven. Baste turnips occasionally with juice in the casserole. Cook duck for another 30-40min.

2-3T minced parsley

Drain duck, and place on hot platter. Remove turnips with a slotted spoon and arrange around duck. Sprinkle with parsley. Degrease cooking juices and serve as gravy.

The amount of prep time took about the same amount as cooking a turkey, but resulted in a smaller scale dinner. The duck had good flavor, but we both agreed that the turnips could've had additional seasoning. There was definitely enough for leftovers. I think if I did this again, I'd try out some different seasonings.

Karin's Week Forty-Six Recipe: Squash Soup

In my house, squash is only enjoyed by one member of the household, so I don't get to cook it very often. At a dinner outing in the past, the other member of the household was served squash soup, and he liked it, as it didn't have the texture of cooked squash. I had two squash to cook, one a butternut, and the other a random white squash from someone at work's garden (free for the taking from the break room).  The recipe came from The Occasional Vegetarian cookbook.

Roasted Winter Squash Soup
1 large acorn squash (about 2lb), or other winter squash
1 medium leek, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh sage, or 1 tsp dried
1/8 tsp five spice powder
4 cups vegetable stock, or stock of your choice (I used chicken)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 small to medium apple

Preheat oven to 375deg. Halve and seed squash. Place cut side down on cookie sheet and bake until tender, 45-60min. Meanwhile, in heavy-bottom pot, saute the leek in the olive oil 1-2min. Add the sage and five spice powder. Cover and cook until leek is soft, about 10min. (Note: this will make the leek stick to the bottom of your pan. I recommend stirring occasionally, or adding more oil) Add the stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer, then uncover.

Peel, core, and dice the apple. Add it to the simmering stock and cook until soft, about 15min. Remove squash from shell and dice. Add to pot and simmer for a few minutes. Puree soup using food mill, blender, food processor, or stick blender.

This recipe was very tasty, even reheated the next day. And, Nate will eat it! Finally a way to make squash palatable to the entire household. If I have extra squash in the future I will be trying to make this again.

Karin's Week Forty-Five Recipe: Stovetop Fish Boil

This week I was trying to make something tasty and quick without going to the store for new ingredients. I had some frozen haddock that I could use, and Nate said, hmmm what about a fish boil? Now, I have had fish boil up in Door County, WI and it involves a great fire about 6 feet across and giant flames shooting 8-10 feet in the air and a humongous pot. None of these are feasible in my village backyard without involving all sorts of permits. So, what to do? We adapted a few different fish boil recipes to fit into our pot on the stovetop. Here is what we came up with:

Stovetop Fish Boil

1-2lb white fish of your choice (we used haddock), cut into bite-sized chunks
4 large potatoes, with skins on, cut to approx same size as fish pieces
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1/4c salt
1/4c Old Bay Seasoning (we did not have this, so see below for homemade version)
2-3T lemon juice
1/4c melted butter

Old Bay Seasoning (homemade) adapted from here
1T celery salt
1tsp paprika
1/4tsp black pepper
1/8tsp cayenne pepper
1/2tsp ground mustard
1/2tsp garlic powder
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
pinch ground cardamom
pinch ground clove
pinch ground ginger
2 bay leaves

In large kettle (preferably one with strainer insert) bring 2 gallons water to a boil. Add in salt and wait until it dissolves. Add in potatoes and boil for 8-10min. Add in onion and boil a few minutes longer. Add fish and spices. Stir to mix thoroughly. Boil for approx 10min more. Using strainer, remove fish, potatoes, and onions from water. Place into serving bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve with melted butter to taste.

We will definitely make this again! It was very yummy and easy to make when you need a dose of Door County. It was very flavorful and is a one-pot meal. The only downside is that it takes quite a bit of scrubbing to clean out the pot and strainer insert. Well worth it though!

Karin's Week Forty-Four Recipe: Sunchoke Mushroom Saute

This week one of my neighbors came over to see if I wanted any sunchokes from his garden, as he had too many. I said yes, even though I wasn't really sure what exactly they were. I figured here's an idea for my recipe this week. After looking around online, I read a bit about what a Sunchoke is, and found that it seems rather like a potato in its cooking. It did take a bit to figure out what to do with it, as there are not that many recipes out there for them. This one had ingredients that were easily available and wasn't too fancy in preparation. The recipe came from My

Sunchoke Mushroom Saute

2 lb assorted mushrooms
0.5 lb sunchokes
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 c thinly sliced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 T chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or 3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c dry sherry
salt and pepper

Clean mushrooms and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel and coarsely chop the sunchokes. In a large pan over high heat, combine mushrooms, sunchokes, olive oil, butter, shallots and garlic.Stir often until mushroom juices evaporate and veggies are brown, about 15 min. Add herbs and sherry; stir until sherry evaporates, about 2 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Interesting, but most of the flavor comes from the mushrooms and shallots. I didn't think the sunchokes added much flavor, and they are a pain in the you-know-what to peel. Unless I come across some sunchokes again, I don't think I'd go out of my way to make this again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tricia's Week 48 Recipe: Irish Stew

Starting very soon at work, a group of us will be doing "soups and stews" Mondays for lunch.  The idea is that each week someone will bring a soup or stew, and the fixins, and everyone else will bring a bowl and spoon, and we will share a nice warm lunch together.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to bring for "my" stew.  I finally decided that Irish Stew was the way to go, but I needed a test run.  I scoured the internets, and found this recipe and also this one.  Mainly sticking with the former, but adding some bits from the latter, I produced my first Irish Stew.

Irish Stew
1ish lbs lamb* cut into 1-1/5 in pieces
4 large carrots
1.25-1.5 lbs baby red potatoes
1 small white onion (or in my case, enough granulated onion to be the equivalent)
2 cloves garlic (spanish) minced
1 can beef broth (about 16 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 bottle Guiness (12 oz)
Olive Oil
Water (cold)
Worsestershire Sauce
Italian seasoning mix
Fresh Parsley

Find stew pot big enough to hold the above.  Peel and cut carrots into one inch chunks, and place in stew pot.  Cut potatoes into one inch (ish) cubes and place on top of carrots.  (I left skin on after washing b/c I like the skin, you may choose to peel).  Chop onion or add onion granules.  Mince garlic and add to pot.  In a seperate bowl combine broth and paste and mix until smooth.  Add this and beer to stew pot.  Begin heating.  While that is heating up, take cubed lamb and lightly flour.  I did this by adding flour to a zippy bag and shaking a bunch.  Brown in skillet w/ olive oil.  Brown on all sides.  Add to stew pot. Bring to light boil, then turn to 3ish on your oven so a nice heavy simmer is occuring.  Simmer for 40 min-1 hour.  Add water to sauce if becoming too thick (or more broth if you still have some).
-- The sauce wasn't quite right, so I added, and again, Tricia's patented not remembering to measure the spices occured, so I will estimate:  3-4 shakes worsestershire, 3-4 light shakes thyme, 6-7 generous shakes italian seasoning (until there was some over every sq inch of the top of the pot, but not TOO much), and 3 sprigs parsley from my parsley plant..equivalent to about 1 handful fresh chopped parsley.
--Right before serving, mix 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp cold water until smooth, and add this to the pot to thicken (adjust depending on how thick you like your stews)

This is a work in progress.  It tastes good and I'll definately make it again, but it is not AS good as some I've had. This bothers me - I'm Irish.  I now have a quest to create a very delicious irish stew.  I think I needed a bay leaf.  Also the original recipe called for a crock pot.  Also the second recipe above calls for Guiness AND wine.  I think that must be what I was missing :)  I shall continue at my quest - and I think I need some field research.  Anyone up for The Liffey or Kierens sometime very soon???

*A note on the lamb.  I used it because I like lamb, but in going to the store I realized how expensive it is.  I also realize not everyone likes lamb.  Beef could be substituted, but I recommend finding a good marbled small roast or steak or something, vs just stew meat, to try to keep it tender.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Nine Recipe: Chick Pea & Tomato Curry Bites

This recipe is Tricia's fault.

Really it is! She's the one who introduced me to Tasty Bite Indian entrees. Why, I thought, couldn't I make some quick-serve meals of my own?

Chick Pea & Tomato Curry Bites

In a large saucepan, saute:

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped fine


28 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
25 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 t ground cumin
3/4 t ground turmeric
6 shakes Penzey's Black & Red (or more if you want spicy!)

Simmer for at least 1/2 an hour to let the flavors marry. Cool and scoop into freezer bags. At about 1-1/2 c per bag, this makes three quick meal pouches. Freeze and pull out when you need something tasty and nutritious to eat!

Would I make this recipe again? The formulation needs work, but I think I will.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tricia's Week 43 recipe: Bat's Brew

Why not craft something delicious and themed!  Trev and I went to a mixed drink tasting and thought this beverage would be perfect for our halloween party.

Bat's Brew:
750ml Bottle BACARDIÃ’ Gold Rum (or superior rum)
1 L Cranberry Juice
2 L Ginger Ale, Chilled
8 ounce Orange Juice
1 ounce Lime Juice
1-1/2 ounce Lemon Juice

It was quite delicious and I intend to make it again next time I have a gathering. We halved the recipe based on the size of the party.