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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cannoli

One of my sister's favorite desserts are cannoli. So this Christmas, after seeing a semi-homemade version, I called my Aunt and got our grandmother's cannoli filling recipe.

1 container ricotta (don't drain it like the link says. My Aunt was shocked!! She said if you drain it, you'll break the cheese up to shit) plus 1 cup powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla.... then with an electric mixer "whip the hell out of it. The more you whip it the fluffier it will get". Then fold in mini chocolate chips. 

Do not fill the cones until you are about to eat them Otherwise the cones/shells will get soggy. 

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Gummy's Molasses Cookies


This molasses cookie recipe has been in  my family for generations. It's not Christmas without these being made...even if it is the day after Christmas. 

When my cousin was stationed in Afghanistan we would pack up a care package with unfrosted cookies in them and a note saying "Share". (haha)

The one (unique) thing about these cookies is it uses BACON GREASE as the shortening. I know it sounds strange but trust me.

Ingredients:


1 C Sugar
You can see it's a well loved recipe. 
1 C Bacon grease, melted
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 C molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 C hot coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 C flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*


1. Cream together sugar, grease/shortening and eggs

2. In separate bowl combine molasses and baking soda, set aside until it doubles in size. Once doubled add sugar/shortening mix into molasses. 
3. Add cinnamon, cloves and ginger into flour
4. Mix vanilla into hot coffee. 
5. Alternate mixing flour mix and hot coffee into molasses mixture (ending on flour mix: flour, coffee, flour, coffee, flour)
6. Drop large spoonfuls onto cold/room temperature cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes. 

Let cool. Eat with Royal Icing or unfrosted. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Meatballs

hamburger, italian sausage, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, milk, salt & pepper
I had to split off the casings - couldn't find ground sausage
grate 1/2 an onion into the hamburger & sausage
add egg and dash of milk
Mix in salt, pepper and a few handfuls of bread crumbs
(also parmesan cheese which I forgot this time)
Roll into golf ball size mound and place on ungreased cookie sheets
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - let cool slightly
Place into stew pot and add favorite spaghetti sauce.
Let simmer additional 20+ minutes.


Memphis Mafia Banana Bread

Memphis Mafia
So this banana bread has peanut butter and chocolate chips in it. Reminds me of the Voodoo Doughnut Memphis Mafia banana fritter (chocolate and peanut butter drizzled banana fritter). 


The first time I heard of this banana bread combination was from a friend (and fellow blogger) Marni

I had a White Elephant and Potluck party at work and with so many bananas in my freezer I figured there was no better time than now to give it a try.... and I turned mine into muffins instead of a loaf.

Here's the recipe I used but I altered it some (because of what was or wasn't in my cupboards):

ignore the baking powder above....it snuck into the picture
1 1/2 C ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 C cream cheese, softened
1/2 C peanut butter, creamy
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips




Preheat oven to 400*

Cream bananas, cream cheese, peanut butter, butter and egg. 

Add sugars. Mix well. 

Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Blend well. 

Fold in chocolate chips. 

Spoon 2 TB worth of batter into papered muffin tins. 

Bake for 25 minutes. Yields 2 dozen. 



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Soft Ginger Cookies

So Betty Crocker sometimes is the best way to go
when you're rushed and busy with holidays, etc.
Just follow the directions and mix up all the ingredients
This time we turned "gingerbread" into soft/chewy ginger cookies.
Rolling them in sugar added a fun and festive sparkle to the cookies
Yum. Yum.

Arrzo con Chorizo

Cook chorizo
Dice onions
Add onions and mild green chilies to par-cooked chorizo
Finish cooking thoroughly
Serve on rice and enjoy

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mexican Wedding Kisses

Mexican Wedding Kisses are a MustHave around my house during the holidays. We've already make Fyne Cakes and Dream Lover's Cookies so last night was Wedding Kisses time.

Some people may also know them as Russian Tea Cakes.

Ingredients:

1 Stick Butter
3 TB powdered sugar
1 C flour, sifted
1 C finely chopped pecans
extra powdered sugar for rolling in


Directions:
Heat over to 350*
Cream butter and sugar together.
Add flour.
Fold in chopped pecans.
Make 1 inch rolled balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet (they do not spread much at all so go ahead and put them close together).

Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
Roll cookies in powdered sugar.
Let finish cooling and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fudgie Pie


My mother found this recipe this year and it reminded her of a fudge pie her grandfather used to make. It's not exact but for this chocoloholic it's good enough. ;)


Fudgie Pie

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust (I used Pillsbury)
1 C packed brown sugar
1/2  C unsweetened cocoa
1 T all-purpose flour
3/4 C milk
1/3 C light corn syrup
1 T butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 C frozen whipped topping (Cool-Whip)
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges. Place pie plate in freezer until ready to use.

3. Combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa and flour in a large bowl.

4. Combine milk and next five ingredients (milk through egg whites); stir with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to brown sugar mixture; stir until combined.

5. Pour mixture into crust. Bake at 350* for 40 minutes or until just set.

6. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover; chill at least 4 hours.

7. Spread whipped topping evenly over filling; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, if desired.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mixed Berry Pie Bars

I found this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker and while I may have done something slightly wrong (I couldn't get the bottom cookie-like crust out of the pan easily) it got HUGE raves at tonight's family Thanksgiving!! It was super yummy it was the only dessert we brought back home and didn't leave for the host family. Haha





For the Crust and Topping:
Zest of 2 lemons (I'm not a fan of lemon zest so I used about 2T lemon juice)
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

For the Blackberry Filling:
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
6 cups fresh blackberries (I used a combination blackberry, strawberry, raspberry mix)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and the lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until all of the sugar has been moistened. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the lemon sugar, all-purpose flour and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the pieces of butter are no larger than the size of peas, about 10 to 12 pulses.

3. Measure out 1½ cups of the crumb mixture to use for the topping and put it in the refrigerator until needed. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.

4. To make the filling, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, sour cream, flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the blackberries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust and make sure all of the blackberries are in one layer and not sitting on top of one another.

5. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ajiaco - Colombian One Pot Wonder

(Found this recipe on NY Times...going to try it out very soon)

Colombian-Style Chicken, Short Rib and Potato Stew
Adapted from Ana Jovancicevic
Time: 31/2 hours

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
1 pound beef short ribs, rinsed and patted dry
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bunches cilantro, with roots if possible
2 russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1 1/4 pounds small Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large ears of corn, husked and cut into 1-inch rounds
3 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped scallion
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 habanero pepper, plus more to taste
5 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup capers with brine
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced, for serving
Sour cream, for serving.

Directions:

1. Season the chicken and beef all over with salt. Let stand 15 minutes. In a large pot, combine the chicken, beef, onion, dried oregano and 2 teaspoons salt. Rinse away any grit from the cilantro (do not trim), tie one bunch with kitchen twine and drop it into the pot. Pour in enough cold water to just cover the meat (about 12 cups). Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large platter and let cool.

2. Stir in the grated potato. Continue to simmer until the beef is meltingly tender and the potatoes have melted into the broth, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the meat to a platter. Once cool enough to handle, shred the beef and chicken, and discard the bones, skin, fat and gristle.

3. Stir the chopped potato and corn into the pot. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, shallots and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Chop 1/3 cup of cilantro leaves from the remaining bunch and stir into this salsa. Wearing gloves, remove and discard the habanero seeds; finely chop the habanero and add to the salsa.

5. Return the chicken and beef to the pot. Stir in the spinach, capers and black pepper. Cook until the meat is warmed through and spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Ladle into bowls, topping with salsa, avocado and a dollop of sour cream.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

The Genius Behind Pok Pok

I was browsing the NY Times Travel section when I came across an article (excerpts below) about the NY Times traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand with Portland creative genius, chef and restauranteur Andy Ricker.

"Mr. Ricker, a 47-year-old, six-foot-tall native Vermonter now based in Portland, Ore., has become an unlikely ambassador for Thai food in the United States. Your only visual clue that he is someone who knows his nahm phrik noom from his nahm phrik ong is a glimpse at his right arm, which is tattooed with a mortar and pestle, bird’s eye chiles, and the holy trinity of northern Thai herbs — cilantro, green onion and phak chi farang (the last often known in the West as sawtooth)."

I have been to 3 of the 4 restaurants Ricker has developed here in Portland (Ping, Pok Pok and the Whiskey Soda Lounge) and while being a lover of Thai food I can't help but agree with the author of this article that until I went to Ping I hadn't experienced the vast universe that can be (and is) authentic Thai.

"I was struck by his refusal to pander to Western tastes. Instead of pushing pad thai and peanut sauce, he serves hoy thawt, an egg-and-mussel crepe found at Thai night markets, and northern-Thai-style laap. Rather than the tart, spicy minced-meat “salad” from the northeast that most adventurous American eaters recognize, this version is spiked with blood and offal, and fragrant dried spices that give it a beguilingly bitter edge. Mr. Ricker now presides over a mini-empire in Portland with four restaurants (including Ping and Whiskey Soda Lounge) that serve food you rarely see outside of Southeast Asia."

The first time I went to Ping was with my coworkers in a celebration of the holidays and my boss's 5 year anniversary with the company. I blogged about it here. I feel so in love with the cuisine that when a friend came up from the Oakland area we went right from the train station to reservations at Ping. I've only been twice but it's always on my radar for possible dining options. 

During that same out-of-town visit, the friend and I went to Pok Pok for lunch (my first time there even though it's only a few minutes down the road from where I live). We sat at the counter and was helped by a knowledgeable bartender who helped me select the perfect drinking vinegar to compliment my Khao Muu Daeng. 

A few months later I figured I had to complete the Holy Trinity (this was before Pok Pok Noi opened) and when another friend came into town we headed to the Whiskey Soda Lounge for some drinks and bar snacks. (Warning: Beware the Miang Kham! I can do spicy but these little chilies scorched my mouth. Iron taste buds needed).

I've always had a desire to go to Thailand...and perhaps someday I'll make that dream come true...for now I'll settle for the flavors Andy Ricker offers.

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