Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best Corn Bread

This is, thus far, the uncontested best cornbread recipe I have had, I put it that way because I am always open to new bread recipes. These corn muffins had great flavor, rose and baked light and airy.
 1 2/3 cups fine stone ground corn meal
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan or muffin pan (I used paper liners this time). Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Mix wet ingredients then add them to the dry.
Stir until just combined, don't over mix or the bread will be tough.
Pour batter into greased pan or fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
I served these with honey butter. Wow. 
Honey Butter:
1 stick softened butter
6 tablespoons honey
Stir together well.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie Bites

 These were delectable and devoured.
Creamy, rich, chocolatey cheesecake in a sweet bite sized cookie. Can you eat just one? Neither could any of us.
This makes on 8x8 inch pan cut into small squares or any size you feel like cutting.
1 cup flour, I used spelt, but all purpose works the same
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup real butter, cold, cut in small bits
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
4 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, optional
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, place all the crust ingredients except the butter.
In retrospect, the pecans should have been chopped and added after the butter but either way works. Mix all the dry ingredients
then add the butter bits
and cut together as a pie crust. Should look like course crumbs. Very important, set aside a scant ( just less than) cup of the crumb mixture.
 Line an 8x8 with parchment paper so you can lift this out easily after it is cool. Then press the crust onto the fitted paper with your fingertips.
Bake at 350F. for 12-15 minutes or until edges are starting to turn golden. While it is baking, put all the cheesecake ingredients into the mixing bowl
and beat well.
This is the crust just out of the oven.
Now pour the cheese mixture onto the warm crust,
and spread evenly.
Then sprinkle the remaining crust crumbs on the top. You did save the cup of crumbs didn't you?
Bake at 350F. for 35-40 minutes. Should still jiggle slightly but not look loose or liquid.
Allow to cool for 25 minutes then refrigerate for an hour until well set and chilled.
Loosen edges and lift by the over lapping paper onto a cutting board. Here's a hint: if you trim the edges, no one will know you tried them before cutting and serving. Or if you serve them on a pretty plate who's to know if one is missing or not. I like hints and tips, how about you?
Additional thoughts:
You could substitute the coffee granules for a teaspoon of raspberry flavor or orange...mint? hazelnut...
Let me know if you try a different flavor!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grammy's Secret Recipe Potato Salad

I've been told that my Grandmother made the best potato salad ever, however, she didn't like children in the kitchen with her so I really only have a few tips that leaked out in hushed tones.
Fresh and creamy tasting with the light crunch of fresh celery and sweet onion, it's sure to be a hit at your next picnic or family meal.
These are rough measurements because my idea of a medium potato might not be your idea of medium, so you might need a tad more or less dressing. 
First tip, use fresh potatoes and quality ingredients.
6 medium potatoes, russet or yukon gold are good choices
1 small sweet onion, chopped approx. 1/2 cup
2 stalks celery, diced approx. 1/2 cup
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1/3 cup Gulden's mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
Wash and boil the potatoes until they are just fork tender (tender when poked with a fork). Drain and cool until you can comfortably handle them.
While you are waiting for the potatoes to cool slightly, mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
In a large serving dish place the onion and celery,
mix in the dressing.
Second tip, mix while potatoes are still slightly warm so they absorb more of the flavors.
Peel and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add to the serving bowl and toss gently until coated.
Now taste.
If you think it needs a little salt or more mustard then it probably does--it's your potato salad.
I'm usually not brand conscious, however, this is one of those times when it has to be Hellmann's and Gulden's.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Creamy Lemon Bars

Our friend Mike was disappointed last time he was here for a picnic. I almost always put out these simple lemon bars and he was definitely expecting them. My family just calls this "lemon dessert" because the first time we had it my Aunt Retha's mother, Grandma Engle, made it for a casual dinner in the summer and this is what she called it. I have the recipe Aunt Retha wrote out for me on a small card in red ink, one of those things I will probably have forever.
Here you go Mike, you can make them any time you want now! 
1 stick real butter, cold, cut into small bits
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup all purpose flour, I use spelt and no one can tell the difference
Layer 1:
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Layer 2:
1 can lemon pie filling
Layer 3:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving excess over the sides for lifting the bars out later.
In a small bowl, stir together the dry crust ingredients
then cut in the butter.
Until it looks like course crumbs.
Press into the lined pan

and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.
Set aside to cool.
In a small mixing bowl, beat together the layer 1 ingredients and spread onto the cooled crust.
Open the can of lemon pie filling and spread it on top of this.
Beat the layer 3 ingredients until fluffy. By the way, cream, sugar and vanilla is commonly referred to as Chantilly cream or just "yummy goodness"! Spread the cream mixture on top of the lemon.
Chill in refrigerator. Lift out and cut into squares. 
I have made this same recipe with blueberry pie filling or chocolate pudding with great results but nothing tops the lemon for a warm summer picnic.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Creamy Potato Gratin

These creamy potatoes are so rich and flavorful you won't have any leftover, absolutely incredible, divine. I'm wishing I had some right now.
Serves 6
2 cloves garlic, one halved and one minced
3 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 large, russet potatoes or yukon gold
Working quickly so the potatoes don't turn brown, very thinly slice the potatoes.
They are almost shaved, they are so thin.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Rub the inside of an 8 inch square pan with the cut side of the garlic then using 1 tablespoon of butter grease the pan.
In a large sauce pan, combine the milk, cream, minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.Add the potatoes.
 Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and arrange in buttered pan. Pour the milk mixture over the potatoes.
Cover with buttered foil, bake 40 minutes then uncover and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes until golden around edges. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Your family is going to love this.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Herb Roasted Chicken

This is one of our "old stand by" recipes simply because it is always tender, juicy and full of flavor. The lemon inside adds the much needed moisture to the meat and all the fresh herbs give a subtle, irresistible aroma. Serve with rice, potatoes or simply a salad and buttered rolls.
This list of ingredients is brief, 1 whole chicken, 1 large, fragrant lemon, 4 tablespoons butter, and a fist full of fresh herbs, I use sage, thyme, rosemary and oregano because I keep them growing year round in a pot in the kitchen.
Rinse the chicken inside and out. 
Then separate the skin from the flesh against the breast meat.
Cut butter into small bits and shove 3/4 of it under the skin,
 then arrange 1/2 the herbs under the skin, just cram them in or arrange in a pretty pattern because they will show through.
  After you have 1/2 the herbs under the skin put the rest into the cavity.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze 1/2 or the juice over the top of the chicken.
Put both halves into cavity.

Place small bits of the remaining butter on top of the chicken and cover with foil or lid. 
Bake at 425F. for 1 hours, then continue baking uncovered for up to 1/2 hour more, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat should read 190F. when fully cooked.
Very pretty. After all those raw meat photos this one looks pretty good.