Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Aunt Helen’s Almond Torte

I’ve been enjoying this cake my entire life.  It was a family standard, introduced by my great-aunt Helen.  She probably started making it some time in the 1940s.  It is a beautifully elegant, light cake.  Perfect for summertime or to follow a heavy meal.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds*
1/2 pint heavy cream
2 heaping tablesppons cinnamon sugar

Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans** with butter or shortening.

Sift flour together with baking powder. Set aside.

Seperate eggs and set aside. You can add vanilla and milk to the yolks to save trouble later, because they go into the batter together.

Cream butter. Beat in sugar and salt. Add egg yolks, vanilla, milk, then sifted flour mixture. The batter will be very thick. Don’t be alarmed. Spread it divided between two round greased cake pans (it will just cover the bottoms of the pans, don’t worry).

Beat egg whites until just stiff. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time without stopping the mixer until it holds a stiff peak. Spread on unbaked batter in both pans.

Sprinkle each pan with 1/4 cup of almonds and 1 heaping tablespoon of cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar makes a lovely crackly surface after baking.

Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans.

Whip the cream with your preferred amount of sugar and vanilla extract.

Put together, with whipped cream between the two layers.

NB: Cakes may be frozen individually.

*Really, any sliced almonds will do, if you don’t happen to have blanched sliced almonds on hand, as I often don’t.

**Eight-inch pans are probably better but 9-inch will work.

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Thompson Falls Hydroelectric Project, Chicken House, On island between Forebay Channel & ClarkFord River, Thompson Falls, Sanders County, MT

Thompson Falls Hydroelectric Project, Chicken House, On island between Forebay Channel & ClarkFord River, Thompson Falls, Sanders County, MT

CHICKEN COOKED WITH YOGURT (as adapted from one of Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks, it’s been so long I’ve forgotten which)

Serves 4

1 whole chicken breast, bone in, skin removed.
l/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
5 medium size onions
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, about 1-inch cube, peeled and coarsely chopped
7 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Skin the whole chicken breast (two sides) and cut into four pieces. Pat the chicken dry and set aside.

In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup yogurt with 3/4 cup water, a little at a time, beating with a fork to fully incorporate.

Peel the onions. Cut 4 in half, lengthwise, and slice into half rings, about 1/8 inch thick. Chop the other onion coarsely.

Put the chopped onion, garlic and ginger into food processor with 6 tablespoons of water, blending into a smooth paste.

Heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a 10-inch pot over medium heat. Add sliced onions and fry them, stirring, 8 to 10 minutes, until they have turned dark brown at the edges but are still limp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot, bring the heat to medium-high and brown the chicken in shifts (do a few pieces at a time so as to not overcrowd the pan), removing to a plate to hold in reserve.

Turn heat to low and carefully pour onion/garlic/ginger paste into the pot, averting your face as it will pop and splatter somewhat. Scrape the bottom of the pot for browned meat juices and mix in scrapings with the paste. Raise the heat to medium and fry, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon yogurt, scraping bottom of pot and continuing to fry and stir another minute. Add 1 more tablespoon yogurt, stirring for another minute.

Put the chicken pieces, yogurt/water mixture, salt, cayenne pepper into the pot with the cooked paste. Stir and bring to a boil, then cover it, lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

After it has simmered for 20 minutes, raise the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes to boil down some of the liquid, turning the chicken pieces carefully. You should be left with a thick sauce.

Add in the reserved fried onions, and continue cooking at medium heat for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with rice. As a side dish, serve cucumber and tomato with lemon juice.

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The very idea of granola always turned me off.  The word conjured visions of unwashed people eating wood shavings. And then I discovered home-made granola.  O.M.G.  It is incredible.  And really easy to make.  Adding to the basic joy is that you can adapt the recipe to suit your personal likes.  Breakfast (and snack time) has never been so delicious.  I basically doubled the recipe I adapted, so this should be split and cooked on two 13×18 sheet pans so it toasts properly.

Here we go:

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1-1/2 cups slivered almonds

1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1 to 1-1/2 cups dried fruit (I like dried cherries but chop them to get better distribution)

* * * * * * * *

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.

Toss the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.

I like to cut down on the number of dishes to wash by using the same 4-cup measuring cup used to measure the oats to measure and combine the coconut oil and maple syrup. If you have never used coconut oil, you might think it would impart a strong flavor.  It does not.  It is solid when cold, like slush at 75F degrees, and liquid at 90F degrees.  You can use butter or your preferred oil instead but I really like the coconut oil.

Since the coconut oil will go chunky when you add cold maple syrup (or depending on the temperature of your house it may be solid in the jar), you’ll want to stick the syrup/oil mixture into the microwave for 30 seconds (possibly twice or three times) so it can be whisked to combine.  Stir in the almond and vanilla extracts, then pour the whole thing over the oats mixture, tossing to thoroughly coat the dry ingredients, and then spread evenly, all the way to the edges, onto two 13×18 half-sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Bake for 15 minutes, stir the granola around, bake for another 15 minutes, stir again, then bake for another 15 minutes, for a total cooking time of 45 minutes.

After it has cooled on the counter (about half an hour), mix in 1-1/2 cups of whatever combination of dried fruits strikes your fancy.  I really like candied ginger but because it is so strong, I wouldn’t recommend using more than 1/2 cup. Chopped dried cherries are my current favorite.

Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks, although I doubt you’ll have any around that long.

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Servings: makes 4 servings


Plain Greek yoghurt
Crushed garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
Splash of lemon juice

Mix together and refrigerate.   Sauce will develop flavor, so making this a day in advance makes it extra delicious.


2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

1 red onion, cut into pieces that will stay on a skewer.

4 pieces of pita bread
Red leaf lettuce
Sliced tomato
Crumbled Feta cheese

Mix lemon juice/zest, yogurt, oil, seasonings together in a sealable container along with the chicken; marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to overnight.

Skewer the chicken pieces and onion, grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Warm the pita bread.  Assemble sandwiches – tzaziki sauce on the bread, lettuce, chicken, onions, tomato, feta cheese – and enjoy!

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Mmmm, custard … with corn!

I’ve watched a bunch of the Food Wishes videos, and now it’s time to hit the grocery store.

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Mmmm ... bread!

Young woman removing loaf of bread from oven; presumably advertising Born Range Co., Cleveland. c.1909 (Library of Congress)

This bread looks so damn good.

I have the Dutch oven needed to bake it, but my house is nowhere near 70 degrees so I’m not sure how well I could get the bread to rise.

I guess this project will have to wait for warmer weather. Too bad as it would be just the thing to have with soup on a cold winter day.

Thanks, Busted!

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By the time I remembered to take a picture, I had already eaten the clams ... delicious!

By the time I remembered to take a picture, I had already eaten the clams ... delicious!

I stopped by the fish market and bought some little neck clams to make one of my favorite meals. This can serve from two to four people, or more, depending on how much pasta you cook.

  • olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces before cooking
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced (I use the jarred minced garlic — at least a tablespoon)
  • 8-12 clams per person (you wouldn’t want more clams than fit easily in one layer in the pan you are using)
  • 1 bottle of clam juice (1 cup)
  • 1 cup dry vermouth (or, if you have it, dry white wine)
  • dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 box dried thin linguine or spaghetti
  • big bunch of chopped fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese

As you are you getting the water boiling for the pasta, sauté bacon in a large deep frying pan, stirring occasionally, until golden.

When water is ready, throw the pasta in, cook till al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, add the diced garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan with the cooked bacon bits. After about 30 seconds, add the clam juice and vermouth/wine, increasing the heat to bring it up to a simmer.

Add clams and cover, allowing it to simmer until the clams open, about 4 to 5 minutes (discard any clams that do not open after 6 minutes).

Once all the clams are open, turn the heat down, put the clams in a separate bowl and remove shells, or don’t if you like them on your pasta in the shell.

Drain pasta and put it in the sauce so it can absorb some of that delicious flavor. Chop the parsley and throw it in with pasta and sauce, give it a stir or two.

Drizzle with olive oil (to taste — I put on a fair amount, probably 4-5 tablespoons).

Plate the pasta with reserved clams. Add Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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