Monday, May 28, 2012

ITALIAN HAZELNUT COOKIE


Do you want something you can whip up in no time using only
three ingredients?  Do you love the flavor of hazelnuts?
This flourless, butterless, dainty wafer will rise to the occasion.
They are delicious and addicting! 


Toast and skin the hazelnuts .. pulse with sugar.


Pulse until it turns into finely ground meal.


Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.


Gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture.


Snip the corner off a small plastic bag and place into a drinking glass.
Fill with batter.


Pipe tiny 1-inch circles onto parchment-lined baking sheet.


Bake until golden brown.


Enjoy plain ... sandwich two together with Nutella ..
or eat with strawberries and ice cream  .. yum!
recipe, courtesy of The Purple Foodie

ITALIAN HAZELNUT COOKIES

1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skinned*
½ cup sugar
2 large egg whites
pinch salt
½ tsp. vanilla

Pulse nuts and sugar in food processor until finely ground.
Scrape into a mixing bowl.
Beat egg whites and salt with electric mixer on medium high until
stiff peaks form.
Carefully fold egg whites into nut mixture with a rubber spatula. 
Add vanilla; mix gently until thoroughly combined.
Transfer mixture into a plastic bag or disposable piping bag.
Snip off tip.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Pipe batter onto parchment in small circles about 1-inch in diameter
and an inch apart.  Tap baking sheet on counter to help spread cookie.
Bake in center rack of preheated 325° oven until golden brown for
5 to 7 minutes.  Watch carefully as they can go from golden to
 brown very quickly.
Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to
cool completely.  Store in airtight container up to a week.

Note: I had to bake my cookies for 10 to 12 minutes.  Every oven is
different so you will have to experiment to find a baking time that
works for you.  Cookies should be crisp when cool.

* Peeling hazelnuts: spread hazelnuts evenly on ungreased shallow pan.
Bake in 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring or shaking often.
Spread toasted hazelnuts on one half of tea towel. Fold other half over
to cover nuts.  Rub vigorously back and forth for 1 to 2 minutes, pressing
 down until almost all skins are removed.
You many not be able to remove all skins, but outer paper skins
 should come off.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, SKIES AND EARTH


A glorious canopy of puffy clouds filled the skies one day this week.


There were so many the heavens appeared crowded with throngs of
ever-changing and moving formations.


From one horizon to the other billows and puffs of white splendor
jostled for position against the azure backdrop.
Welcome rain was coming.


After the rain, the earth sprouts a beauty all its own.


... wild and pretty in a field of natural prairie grass ...


.. vibrant color alongside the gray pebbles ...


These miniature individual blooms were so tiny I wished for a microscope.


.. the white tuft is exquisite ...

Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40: 5




Friday, May 25, 2012

APRICOT CREAM CHEESE DROPS


Apricot jam gives these cookies just the right amount of flavor
and sweetness.  They are soft and taste like little cakes while still
warm from the oven.


I used a cookie scoop to drop the dough onto parchment paper.
Dough does not spread so on the next sheet I put the mounds closer together.


Here they are all baked but needing the finishing touch.
They set but do not need to be golden brown.


Draped with icing and sprinkled with nuts ... so pretty!


Just perfect for a tea party!

APRICOT CREAM CHEESE DROPS

½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. milk
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup apricot jam
¼ tsp. almond extract

In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and milk until
well blended.  Add brown sugar, jam and almond extract; continue
beating until smooth.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Blend dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix until well
blended.  Stir in nuts.  Drop dough by cookie scoop or rounded
tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto parchment paper or greased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 14 minutes or until set and firm.
Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to cooling rack.
Cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup apricot jam
1 cup powdered sugar
Finely chopped pecans, toasted

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth; beat in jam.
Gradually add powdered sugar beating until smooth.
Spread frosting over cooked cookies.
Sprinkle finely chopped pecans over frosting, if desired.

Yield: about 30 cookies

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BEAN BAKE


Big crowd coming? 
My friend Flo brought a bean bake to compliment grilled burgers
and hot dogs at recent event.  The dish received rave reviews
 and she graciously shared a favorite family recipe to pass along.


Baking time is two hours but the preparation is quick and easy.
Layer beans, onion rings and seasonings in a casserole dish.
Top with diced bacon and ketchup ... pop into the oven and wait for
the delicious aroma while you tend to other things.


Today, beans in this form were a great accompaniment to
grilled ribs and baked potatoes.



BEAN BAKE

1½ cups thinly sliced onion rings
2 cans (14 oz.) cans vegetarian baked beans
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
6 strips bacon, diced
½ cup ketchup

Layer half onion rings in 1½-quart casserole dish.
Spread one can beans over onions.
Combine brown sugar and mustard; sprinkle half mixture
over beans.  Repeat with remaining onions, beans and sugar mixture.

Spread diced bacon over beans.
Alternately: saute` bacon until half cooked; drain and spread over beans.
Spread with ketchup.
Cover and bake in preheated 325° oven for 1½ hours.
Uncover and continue to bake for an additional ½ hour.
Yield: 6 servings
Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hot Dog or Sub Sandwich Buns


It's the season for picnics and backyard barbecues which will
 include hot dog roasts. Not surprisingly I am a great fan
of homemade hot dog buns because they are superior in many ways.
I had my favorite method of forming the buns for hot dogs
until I saw another method which appealed to me.
This is not a recipe but rather a picture demonstration.
of both techniques.


Roll out a portion of your favorite yeast roll dough into a
rectangle about 14 x 18 inches, and ½ - inch thick.


Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise then into approx. 2- inch wide strips.


Pinch long sides together to form long roll.
On this picture, the rolls appear to be a foot long .. don't follow
this picture ... make them  a decent 7 inches.
If you need to scrunch up the dough, do it ... you are
in charge .. the dough will cooperate.


Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.


These are the result of the first method.


Here are a tray of rolls using the second method.
The dough is from the recipe for Cheesy Onion Sandwich Buns
that I posted earlier under 'Yeast Breads'.


Shape dough into large smooth balls about 2½ inches in diameter.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.


On lightly floured surface, flatten piece of dough to ½ inch thick.


Fold one half slightly over center.


Fold opposite edge over to make a snug long roll.
Seal edge by pinching together.
Gently roll back and forth to make a 7-inch roll.


Place seam-side down on on greased baking sheet.


These rolls were just a bit wider than the hot dog rolls I made
earlier but they would serve the purpose perfectly.
I like this size and shape for many kinds of sandwiches.


This roll was split and spread with chicken salad and slices of dill pickles.
I have also used the rolls to make a meatball sub sandwich.
The possibilities are endless.

Monday, May 14, 2012

BACON ONION CHEDDAR BISCUITS


If you love bacon, onions and cheddar cheese, these hearty
stick-to-the-rib biscuits are for you.
They were part of the meal-to-the-field this evening along with
BBQ ribs, twice baked potatoes and green beans.


If you want to make these up in a hurry, do some preparation ahead
of time. The bacon and onions can be cooked and refrigerated a day
ahead.  Cut the bacon slices into ½ - inch pieces before frying
because they crisp much quicker and more evenly than
frying whole strips.  Use a food processor to combine the
dry ingredients with the shortening.  When you are ready to bake,
whisk the wet ingredients and all is ready. 


Gently stir the wet and dry ingredients just until blended.
Stir in the three stars ... bacon, onion and cheddar.


Scoop into greased muffin cups and bake.


They are yummy .. I will certainly make them again!
Recipe, adapted from pioneer woman.

BACON ONION CHEDDAR BISCUITS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly using pastry blender or
food processor. 

½ cup + 2 tbsp. milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Whisk milk, oil and egg; add to dry ingredients stirring just
until blended.

10 slices bacon, diced and fried until crisp
1 cup diced onions, sauteed until soft
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Stir in bacon, onions and shredded cheese just until mixed.
Spoon into 12 large greased muffin cups.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until
lightly golden.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, MOTHER'S DAY 2012


An ambitious group of ladies took the time to create this beautiful
 mural on an old shed setting just off the highway on our farm.
The prominent size and perfect wall for a terrific sign is hard to resist.


Many groups have painted various messages over the years.
Most wait for a moon-lit middle of the night. At times 
 ugly thoughts had to be turned into something nice with paint of my own.
This was done with permission ..  it rocks ... and can stay there for a long time.


May I make a switch to some exquisite natural beauty.
I brought these inside as soon as they were ready to open .. they
have blessed me all week and today for Mother's Day.

 

 Last fall we moved some soil which must have included a tulip bulb.
 I love surprises ... even little ones .. like a flower growing in an unexpected place.
I kept a careful eye on it as it  grew and budded.
On the day I planned to cut the first bloom of the Spring, I looked outside.
It was gone ... the deer had found it just that morning.
I saw the hoof prints.
That spurred me on to barricade my other clumps of tulips.
There is so much grass in the yard .. why do they want my flowers?
I call to the herd that wander through the yard and tell them not
to come to the house.  My niece said to me, 'deer can't talk'.
I still like to ask them politely to stay in the pasture.


Is this luminous center the heart of the tulip?
I compare it to the inner heart and highlight of my life ...
 being the mother of my two daughters.
That blessing is bubbling over with the lives of my grandchildren.

May mothers everywhere find much joy .. fulfillment ..
and beauty ... in their role.



Mothers are  ...

'like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions'.
Deuteronomy 32:11