Thursday, May 30, 2013

PECAN BISCOTTI


My daughter took me to a 'Beth Moore' Bible study when I was in NY.
On this occasion Lisa brought the snack and it was this
lovely biscotti.  I was hoping the ladies were concentrating on
the presentation and no one was keeping a tally of the
number of slices the guest was enjoying.
It is one of those morsels that are not too sweet, delightful to snack
and you just can't seem to keep from reaching for just one more!


Lisa was glad I liked them so well and was happy to share the
recipe.  Hers were made with walnuts which I did not have today.
I used pecans and this picture is a reminder not to copy what I did.
The nuts were coarsely chopped but they should be chopped much
smaller like Lisa's were.


These are the roughly shaped logs of dough on parchment.


They puff and rise very nicely.  I believe I ate one of the ends
at this time ...  I couldn't resist.


Lay them out on the parchment and bake again.  On this picture
I had flipped them over and baked for a final time.


I used about ½ cup of melted while chocolate to made the drizzle pattern.
If you were to dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate
you would need about 1 cup.


Cookies layered in container with waxed paper in between.


PECAN BISCOTTI

½ cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time
beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Combine dry ingredients; gradually beat into creamed mixture just until blended.
Stir in pecans.  Divide dough in half.  Form each half into a 2 -inch wide log and
place on parchment lined baking sheet spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Place pan on wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Slide logs onto cutting board.  Using a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise
into ½-inch thick slices.  Place cut side down on same baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes; remove from oven and turn slices over.  Continue baking
for an additional 12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

If you like, dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate or drizzle
with melted chocolate. Let harden on waxed paper.  Store in airtight container
at room temperature for up to a week or in freezer up to one month.
Yield: about 16 biscotti

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TIRAMISU DESSERT


I love desserts with cake and pudding when the weather is
warm and Spring is blooming with fresh glory.
My friend Ruth Ann had this dessert at a wedding in
Ephrata, PA and is happy to share the recipe with me.
And in turn I am happy to pass it along to my readers.
It simply hit the spot with the people I shared it
with today out on my deck.


Excuse the pickles .. they were not meant to be in the picture.
I had a little visitor who was watching and while happily munching on dills.
The beating noise got to her so went into the next room to paint.
Meanwhile the egg whites were beaten to a glossy form.
I could have used a white cake mix for this recipe but I am not
a mix kind of cook.  So I opted to make a sponge cake but another
kind of white cake will work.


The egg yolks need to be beaten until they lighten in color.


On this picture you can see the egg yolk batter is very
thick and fluffy.


Gentle folding is the method to blend the 3 mixtures into one ..
no beating allowed.


Cool cake for a few minutes on a rack after baking.


I froze the cake for a time so it would be easier to cut.  After I removed it
from the freezer I was distracted by another detail.  The cake thawed, I cut
and got some crumbs .. but that's alright.  I forgave myself.


Loosen the cake cubes from the parchment paper with a metal spatula.


In my haste to finish, I managed to take only one picture of the creamy
mixture as I am about to do a final beating before folding in the whipped cream.
This is when you would add more powdered sugar if you want it sweeter.


The designer part ... layer upon layer .. something like good, better, best.
Chill well ... enjoy!



TIRAMISU DESSERT

Grease 10 x 15-inch baking pan.  Line with parchment paper.

3 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually
add sugar, beating well after each addition until meringue is stiff and glossy.

3 egg yolks
1½ tbsp. water
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In another mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until light and lemon-colored.
Add water, sugar and vanilla; continue to beat until thick and fluffy.
Gently fold into egg whites.

½ cup + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

Blend dry ingredients.  Sprinkle over egg mixture, folding in with rubber
spatula just until blended.

Spread into prepared pan; bake in preheated 375 degree oven for
11 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
Set cake on wire rack to cool.
When cool, cut cake into ½ -inch cubes.
(freezing cake for about 1 hour makes it easier to cut into cubes)

2 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup spiced rum (Captain Morgan)
(or if you prefer, use 1 tsp. rum flavoring)
1¼ cup whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup strong coffee, chilled
Shaved bittersweet chocolate

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy; gradually beat in
sweetened condensed milk, then rum.
Whip cream to soft peaks; add powdered sugar and beat until blended.
Fold into cream cheese mixture.
Spoon small amount of the creamy mixture into each of 12 dessert cups;
top with a handful of cake cubes.  Sprinkle with about ½ tsp. coffee.
Repeat with another layer of creamy mixture, cake cubes and a sprinkling
of coffee.  Top with more creamy mixture and shaved chocolate.
Chill for several hours before serving.
Yield: 12 servings

Monday, May 20, 2013

CHICKEN POT PIE CRUMBLE


I haven't any idea why my computer will download pictures one day
and refuse to do it the next day.  In the meantime I tried a new chicken pie 
that was recommended by a friend on facebook.
Today I can share it, pictures included.
My version is based on Mel's Kitchen Cafe with a few changes.
Unlike Mel, I love chicken pies in many forms but I will concede that
the crumble topping on this one sends it over the top!


For the chicken in this recipe, I like to bake boneless,, skinless chicken
breasts in the oven.


I drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season it generously with
'Spike' and seasoning salt.  In my opinion, the flavor is far more tasty than
simmering the chicken on the stove top.


I prepare the filling in a jumbo non-stick frying pan ...
If you can pick out the onions, you will note they are sauteed ...
always sauteed for that extra special flavor.


Stir it altogether and it is ready for the crumble.


I mixed the dry ingredients and butter in a food processor
and tipped the mixture into a bowl before adding the liquid.


The instructions were to crumble the mixture into irregularly shaped
pieces.  I sort of tore the dough apart in hopes that I was doing it right.


My misgivings evaporated as I pulled the crumble out of the oven
and sprinkled it over the chicken filling. 
It is most delicious, crisp and tasty!


When dipping a serving out of the baking pan, the crumble gets
dispersed among the filling and it loses some of the colorful appeal as it first 
emerges from the oven, but the crunch is all there in the yummy mix.

CHICKEN POT PIE CRUMBLE

5 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
( or enough to make 3 cups cubed chicken)

Rinse chicken, trim fat and pat dry with paper towel.
Place in baking dish; sprinkle with olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper and seasoning salt and any other seasonings
you prefer such as Spike, poultry seasoning and parsley flakes.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.


FILLING

½ cup water
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery

In a saucepan, combine water, carrots and celery; simmer until
tender, about 10 minutes.  Do not drain.

1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. olive oil

Saute onion over low heat in olive oil, stirring occasionally until tender.
Set aside.

¼ cup butter or margarine
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk

Melt butter in large saucepan or frying pan over low heat.
Blend in flour and seasonings, stirring until mixture is smooth.
Gradually add broth and milk stirring with a whisk until smooth.
Heat to boiling, stirring constantly until thickened.

3 cups cubed chicken
2/3 cup frozen peas

Stir chicken, peas, onions and vegetables into sauce.  Pour into greased
9 x 13 -inch baking dish.

CRUMBLE TOPPING

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
dash cayenne pepper
4 tbsp. cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream

In mixing bowl or food processor, stir together dry ingredients.  Cut in butter
with pastry cutter or pulse in processor until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.
Add the cream and stir just until combined.
Crumble the mixture into irregularly shaped pieces onto a baking sheet
lined with parchment paper.  Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven and turn pieces over.  Return to oven and continue to bake
until starting to brown.
Scatter crumble topping evenly over the filling.  Bake at 400 degrees until
the topping is well browned, about 15 - 20 minutes.
 Yield: 6 to 8 servings









Monday, May 13, 2013

A FOREVER FEAST, BOUQUET FOR MOTHER


I am late with my post because the past several days
have been extremely busy with a flurry of activity plus my
computer is not cooperating.
I had to go into my archives for the above picture.
Because of technical difficulties I am not able to download a
picture of my beautiful Mother's Day potted miniature rose.
Coming from Dutch Growers in Saskatoon makes it special
but even more so because it was hand delivered.
That was the first bouquet of the weekend ... then came many ..
many more ... from John .. Karen .. Kyrie .. Aly ... Jodie.
Love in action ... appreciation in the tangible.
Trees were pruned .. sticks picked up .. trash disposed of .. grass mowed ..
dirt shoveled .. basement swept ... on and on it went for two very
warm days as temperatures rose to 86 degrees F.
Working, eating, visiting, laughing and playing ... it was so much fun!
Then it was time for a change of pace. 
Spending a quiet Sunday morning in worship and reflection on Mothers,
 followed by a nice lunch felt so refreshing after all the toil.
My heart is filled with gratitude to God for the gift of motherhood .....
 for the privilege of being a grandmother to seven precious children ....
 for a wonderful weekend of memories.

'The Lord will guide
you always...
you will be like
a well-watered garden'...
Isaiah 58:11 NIV








Saturday, May 11, 2013

CROCK POT SESAME CHICKEN


Fix-it and Forget-it ... that is such a nice phrase after
fixing something that is easy, quick and doesn't
need much attention after that.
And when that 'something' is as tasty as this chicken,
I call it a winner and a keeper.
Try this delicious chicken ... I think you will agree!


CROCK POT SESAME CHICKEN

5 chicken breast halves, skinless, boneless
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup chopped onion, sauteed
(OR 2 tbsp. dried onion)
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Place chicken breasts in crock pot.
Heat honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil and garlic in small
saucepan, stirring until combined.  Pour over chicken.
Cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours or on High for 1½ to 2 hours
or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from crock pot.
Leave chicken whole or cut into smaller pieces.

3 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water.
Sesame seeds

Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into crock pot.
Replace lid and cook sauce for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Return chicken to crock pot and simmer on low until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Yield: 5 servings

Thursday, May 9, 2013

CHEDDAR AND ONION BUTTERMILK BISCUITS


One day this week I needed a quick bread to go with beef barley soup.
I decided to add cheese and onion to a favorite buttermilk
biscuit dough and the results were amazing.
Tender, quick, and easy to make biscuits .... bursting with flavor!
My guests loved them!


Stir cheese and onion into the dry mixture before adding buttermilk.
For additional flavor I added a tsp. of parsley flakes.


The dough is quite moist so it is dipped out with a scoop or
using a measuring cup, ¼ cup size.


In this step, rolling the dough in flour might seem bothersome but it
really works well without being too messy.


After the dough is shaped and placed into the baking pan,
the biscuits are brushed with melted butter.


Notice the two different baking dishes ...
they are so good I made them twice this week.  I chose a larger
casserole dish the second time because the biscuits rise
considerably.



CHEDDAR AND ONION BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 small onion, sauteed
1½ cups cold buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl or food processor.
Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
If using food processor, tip mixture into mixing bowl.
Add cheese and onion and stir to mix.
Add buttermilk; stir just until blended.  Dough will be moist.

¼ cup flour
1½ tbsp. melted butter

Spread ¼ cup flour into shallow pan or small bowl.  Drop ¼ cup
biscuit dough onto flour and roll to coat.  Shape piece into a rough ball,
shaking off excess flour.  Place in 9 or 10-inch deep dish greased baking
pan. Continue with remaining dough.
Brush tops with melted butter.
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until
golden brown.  Cool for 2 minutes; remove from pan and serve.
Yield: 9 to 10 biscuits

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A FOREVER FEAST, UPSTATE NEW YORK


I caught sight of this moon sliver this morning at 4:28 am and
rushed for my camera.  It looked like a brilliant orange segment
against the black sky ... so worth getting up for!


There is a place high on a hill in upstate NY that is very dear to
my heart.  The view from the top is beautiful in all the weather forms
that graced the weeks of April that I spent there.


I loved seeing the cardinal pair on the foggy and rainy days
they decided to visit the bird feeding station.


Early in the morning my first thoughts were to check out the
tree for the birds.


Even with snow showers, one of the signs that Spring was coming were the
tiny red beginnings on the maple tree.  That made it so easy to spot
this classy male my grandson loves to capture on camera.


When I leave home I have every good intention of keeping current
with my blog but alas .. there are too many other fun things going on
around me.  My little granddaughter and I watched her dad
and three brothers flying kites on a windy Sunday afternoon. When she
tired of that she wanted to 'hoops' (jump) on the trampoline or
walk to see the baby chicks.  And that also included a visit to the chicken
coop to check for fresh eggs.  While there we could count on the cocky
rooster strutting about and lifting his head for a long crow.


How much diversion is there up on that hill!!  Damming the creek and
getting wet and oh so muddy is all in the game.  They had to show
me their project and find an easier place for me to cross so I could
amble through the woods with them.


Fun time .. not checkers or Connect 4 but water fights with
huge bottles and water balloons.


Do you see what I see?  We got out of there ...fast!
Then we slowly walked around the yard away from the
upstairs windows and the possibility of a drenching.


'Reading, writing and arithmetic' for the older three but hey,
play dough needs a lot of concentration too!
We made so many memories .. birthday celebrations, stories, games,
batting balls, playing piano, drawing birds, going to a fishing store ...
I even tied my first fly thanks to Brendan's tutelage.
Did we take time out to cook and eat?
Do 3 growing boys and their dad need food?
Yes, we did a goodly amount of cooking and enjoying
great meals.  It seemed we were always in a hurry to get to the
next thing and I did not have the time to put recipes on my blog.


Now that I am home and watching this leisurely pair having a lively
exchange on the rooftop I can view the days more leisurely as well.
And be more consistent in my postings.
I am so grateful to the Lord for family and grandchildren and the
joys of loving and bonding with them.

'So I commend the enjoyment of life,
because nothing is better for a man under the sun
than to eat and drink and be glad.
Then joy will accompany him in his work
all the days of the life
God has given him under the sun.'
Ecc. 8:15 NIV

Friday, May 3, 2013

CARROT CAKE WHOOPIE PIES


These cakey cookies are a wonderful substitute for carrot cake.
They are soft and puffy with a generous amount of shredded
carrots.  The cookie is great on its own but paired together with
cream cheese icing creates a deluxe treat.


The recipe calls for a spice cake mix which I was unable to find
in the grocery stores where I shop.  I chose a yellow cake and
added cinnamon for the spice.


The batter is quite thick which is necessary to make a cookie.


There is no mistaking the taste of carrot in the cookies.


A small cookie or ice cream scoop works so well at making the
an even size.  Otherwise use a heaping tablespoon measure.


A golden cookie, nicely rounded on the top
 makes a perfect whoopie pie.


CARROT CAKE WHOOPIE PIES

1 pkg. spice cake mix (2 layer size)
(if using a yellow cake mix, add ½ tsp. cinnamon)
1 pkg. vanilla flavor instant pudding (4 serving size)
2 cups finely shredded carrots, about 3 large carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Prepare cake batter as directed on package except reducing
water to 1/3 cup.  Stir in dry pudding mix, shredded carrots and
nuts.  Drop batter with a small cookie scoop onto parchment lined
baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake in preheated 350 oven for 15 to 16 minutes or until wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes.
Remove to wire wrack to cool completely.
Put cookies together in pairs with Cream Cheese Icing.
Refrigerate or freeze.
Yield: about 20 sandwich cookies

Cream Cheese Icing

4 oz. cream cheese softened
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in bowl until fluffy.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth.
Yield: about 1¼ cups