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Another old family recipe that should be added to your family’s recipes.  So easy, so delicious, and despite the copious amount of whipped cream, light and refreshing.

2 packages of (1/2 pound) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate
4 tablespoons of sugar
6 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
angel food/sponge cake

Line bread pan with wax paper.

Melt chocolate in double boiler.

Stir 4 tablespoons sugar and 6 tablespoons cream into the melted chocolate.  Then add 4 egg yolks, unbeaten, one at a time, stirring thoroughly after each.

Cook a minute or two, and set aside to cool slightly.

Beat 4 egg whites until stiff.

Fold beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Cut the angel food cake into thin slices.

Starting with a layer of angel food cake, alternate layers of cake and chocolate. Cover top with more waxed paper.  Chill overnight.

Beat 1-1/2 pints whipping cream. Add 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Remove cake from bread pan, slather with whipped cream.  Serve and enjoy!

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This is another recipe from my grandmother.  She would have friends over to play bridge regularly, and nana would make little sandwiches and a lovely cake for her guests to enjoy.  I love this one.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

CAKE:

1 cup heavy cream 1 cup sugar
2 eggs 2 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp almond extract 1/8 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour

TOPPING:

2 tblspns butter 1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup sugar 1 tblspn flour
1 tblspn cream
Whip cream until it holds stiff peaks.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add almond extract.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into batter.

Pour into creased and floured 8 inch springform pan. Bake 35 minutes, or until lightly browned. (Leave the oven on!)

Combine the topping ingredients in a small pan and stir over low heat until blended. Pour over the baked cake and bake 10 minutes longer.

Cool on a rack (nb: cake shrinks as it cools). Remove sides of pan after 20 minutes.

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This is the recipe my mother used and that I continue to use on those too-rare occasions when I make a roast beef.  I absolutely love this Yorkshire pudding with a slice of very rare roast beef and plenty of gravy.  When it works, it’s deliciously crispy/pudding-ish and a little bit salty.  I say “when it works,” because Yorkshire pudding is a mystery that sometimes does not inflate properly.  It may be that the oven wasn’t hot enough or the batter didn’t sit long enough.  But when it works (which is most of the time, really), there are few better things in life.  Even if it doesn’t inflate, it’s still tasty, so serve it anyway.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk
1 cup cream
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
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Sift the flour and the salt together into a medium bowl. Slowly add the milk, beating vigorously until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition for a minute, to produce a creamy batter. Cover with a cloth and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Place the butter in a shallow baking pan (I use my aluminum 9×13 “brownie” pan.  I’ve never used glass but if you want to experiment …) and set it in the preheated oven to melt and become sizzling hot.  Obviously, don’t leave it unattended, because it will burn quickly in that hot oven.

Beat the chilled batter vigorously a few times and pour it into the hot pan.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.

When the pudding has puffed up, reduce the heat to 375, baking for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the pudding is light, crisp and brown.

Cut the pudding into squares and place them on a hot platter or around the roast.

Original recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook Volume I

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Well, I probably exaggerate but it sure is good.  I have been making a Vanilla Almond Granola from Sally’s Baking Addiction for a while.  It is fantastic!  Recently I discovered her recipe for Maple Pecan Pie Granola.  It too is fantastic!  I love the crunchiness of the second – and the pecans, of course – but it was quite a bit sweeter than I really want for every day.  So I made a sort of mash between the two recipes, and it’s now my favorite.

Serve 1/4 to 1/3 cup of this delicious granola on top of plain yogurt, with fruit or by itself.

2-1/2 to 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar (dark, light, your preference)
1 to 1-1/4 cups of chopped pecans
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line an 18×13 inch sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  I find the silicone mat makes life easier because it stays in place better when you stir the granola during the baking process.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon/pumpkin spice, and salt.  I use three cups of oats, but if you like it a little clumpier, use the smaller amount.  This isn’t going to make a very clumpy granola even with the lesser amount of oats.

In the microwave heat the 1/2 cup of maple syrup in a one-cup glass measure  for one minute.  Add the 1/4 cup of coconut oil and give it a good stir.  If the coconut oil is still partially solid after a good stir, stick it in the microwave for 15 or 30 seconds, and then give it another good stir until it’s well mixed.  Stir the vanilla extract (I recommend Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract – it contains no corn syrup!) into the syrup/oil.

Pour the syrup/oil/extract mixture into the dry ingredients, tossing till all of the dry ingredients are coated.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan, then bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.   You don’t want to overcook it, because the nuts will over toast and the oats will get too brown.  If I’m not right on the timer at the first two 15-minute intervals (sometimes I’m feeding the dog, and we can’t make the dog wait!), I’ll pull the granola out of the oven before the last 15 minutes have expired.  You don’t want to overcook the pecans or let the oats get too dark.  When you pull it out of the oven for the final time, it will continue to cook a bit because of the retained heat.  Let it cool in the pan.  Store in an airtight container.  I have some for breakfast every day when I make it, so I know from experience it can be stored for at least two weeks.  I doubt this will be in your cupboard longer than that.

How many calories does this have?  I have no idea.  I do know that, with yogurt, it is a delicious breakfast that satisfies my stomach until lunch time.   Enjoy!

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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.
IMG_20150503_083139

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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