These are recipes for simple, easy, homemade dishes. I make no promises about portion size or fat content, etc., but they are dishes that I have prepared and liked. I don't post pictures because I don't have fabulous lighting, nor a great camera. I can promise that I haven't just made things up without trying the recipe and this is all stuff other people have tried and no one spit anything out in disgust. Not yet, anyway! I don't take cool supporting photos of the steps along the way (but wait, are you telling me you are going to cook those nuts in the microwave in that METAL bowl?) but these are real recipes that a regular cook/baker should be able to figure out. I love the work of Deb at Smitten Kitchen - she provides the whole package!!! Good food, witty comments and lovely photos. If you want to see a REAL food blog, check her out.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Fish-Taco-At-Home Brainstorm

I love fish tacos, especially the Baja style from Chicks'n'Salsa.  Which are not too cheap and nowhere near home.  I've been noodling around with how to replicate that at home, but a little more easily.  I don't want to bread and then deep fry fish, just for starters. I tried the Gorton's way, but that was... icky.

Pan-fry the fish, marinated and no breading, then throw a few Durkee onions on the taco (with chipotle mayo, shredded cabbage and cucumber) to replicate the breading crunch, flavor, saltiness and unctuousness!  You'll never know if it's bad because I'll delete this post right after I try it for lunch today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rhubarb Custard Pie

This is the best pie ever.  Really.

1 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 t nutmeg
Dash salt
3 eggs, beaten
4 c rhubarb, 1-inch dice
2 T butter

Mix dry ingredients, add eggs and then the rhubarb (if using frozen, don't thaw first, just increase baking time by 5 minutes or so).  Pour into a pie shell, add a lattice top and dot with butter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

Pecan Pie

One of the biggest reasons I am so thankful that I am no longer allergic to nuts!  And easy, too.

3 eggs
2/3 c sugar
Dash salt
1 c dark corn syrup
1/3 c melted butter
1 c pecan halves

Mix all but nuts until well combined.  Add the nuts and pour into a pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted to halfway between center and edge comes out clean.  Serve at room temperature.

Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie

I had no idea.  A little like a custard pie but with no eggs, so also a little like a pudding, too.  Warm, room temp or cold, this pie is wonderful and rich!

2 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 t vanilla
2 T butter cut into pieces

Combine the cream, sugar, flour and vanilla and whisk until well mixed.  Pour into a crust and dot with the butter.  Dust lightly with nutmeg.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until the crust is browned.  Since there is no egg involved, a slightly wiggly center is no problem.

Mock Mince Meat Pie

I have no idea how this came to be mock minced meat, because it has no meat and should be called apple-raisin or something.  Yummy warm or perhaps even for breakfast?  A la mode definately.  I think the ingredients can be tweaked it almost any direction and a top crust would be a fine addition.

4 apples, peeled, cored,diced
1-1/2 c raisins
1 orange rind
Juice from one orange
3/4 c sugar
1/4 t clove
1/2 t cinnamon
Crushed crackers

Put the apples, raisins, orange zest and orange juice in a pan.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples are soft.  Add juice as needed to create a sauce.  Add the sugar and spices.  Add enough cracker crumbs to slightly thicken the juice.  Pile into a pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Shoofly Pie

There are wet versions and dry versions of this pie.  The wet is rather like pecan pie without the pecans.  The dry is almost like a coffeecake in a crust.  This version is somewhere between.

1 c flour
3/4 c brown sugar
2 T butter, softened
1 egg
1 c molasses
1 t baking soda
3/4 c boiling water

Mix the flour and sugar.  Mix in the butter well.  Reserve 2/3 c for the top.  To the rest, add the rest of the ingredients.  Pour into a pie shell and sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until firm and gold.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Eggnog Hard Sauce

I was happily surprised by how good this sauce is.  I am somewhat familiar with the "hard sauce" recipes out there that are really just soft butter and powdered sugar.  This sauce is WAY better.  This is a doubled version of one I found on Taste of Home.  It makes about 3 cups.  I served it warm, in a pitcher, for folks to drizzle over a fruitcake and a pear gingerbread (recipes to follow).  Since it is essentially a thin pudding, you'll want to prevent a skin from forming if you don't use it right away.  Mine stayed warm, so I just put a smidgen of butter on top and let it melt over.  If you were to refrigerate it, that would leave an unsightly film, unless you plan to re-heat the sauce.  I would also consider different spices, perhaps an apple pie spice mix, or lots of ginger?

2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t allspice
2 c water
1/4 c butter (salted)
2 t vanilla
1/2 t rum extract

Mix the sugar, flour and spices in a medium saucepan.  Slowly add the water, whisking until smooth.  Heat while stirring, to boiling, then simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the butter and extracts and stir until incorporated.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pie Crust

I totally stole this from the Thanksgiving issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  I have been on the prowl for a exceptional pie crust recipe for a while now.  I could make a decent non-flaky one, but I wanted a truly flaky version and so far, this takes the cake pie.

2 C regular flour
1 T sugar (certainly could leave this out for a savory version)
1 C salted butter (I know, I know)
1/4 C water
1/4 C vodka

The key to all of this is CHILLED.  Everything.  I put the flour and sugar in the processor bowl and put that in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour.  {I'd store the vodka in the freezer full time, but I'm afraid my son would sneak some out and cut it with water!}  Chilled water from the fridge.  Cut the butter into little bits and put them back in the fridge.  Mix the water and vodka and put back in the fridge.  Once they're all chilled, pulse the butter into the flour just until you have pea-sized lumps.  Drizzle in the liquids pretty quickly with the motor on.  You don't want the dough to get over-worked.  When it just starts to come together, stop.  Pull the dough into 2 baggies, shape into disks and get then back in the fridge for another 1/2 hour or so.  (Clean up, watch TV, prepare cooked filling, etc.)  Take one out and roll it out using as little flour as possible.  Fit it , without stretching, into the pie pan.  Trim the edges a little and put it back in the fridge for another 1/2 hour or so.  Prepare the other round similarly.  Fill and bake, or dock, bake and fill - ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cinnamon Scones

I think I finally have this recipe nailed down.  I really like the scones from Panera, but they are too expensive and taste of too much baking powder.  I tried using Hershey's cinnamon chips, but they taste too... Hershey's-ish.  The basis for this comes from America's Test Kitchen via Smitten Kitchen.

1 T cinnamon
1/2 T cream
          add just enough cream to make a very thick, dry paste, then set aside
2 c flour
1/4 t salt
3 T sugar
2-1/2 t baking powder
          mix together in medium bowl
5 T salted butter
          cut in flour mixture to the size of small peas (or freeze and use a grater to add)
1 c heavy or whipping cream
          stir in until just combined, then knead in the bowl with your hands just until the mixture starts to form together.  Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the dough and knead three more times to distribute the spice.  Form a disk one inch thick.  If you like, spread with an egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar and additional cinnamon.  Cut into about 8 wedges, set at least one inch apart on an ungreased sheet.  Bake at 425-degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apple Sharlotka

From Smitten Kitchen

This was an interesting dessert.  Sort of a cross between a cake and a pie.  I suggest a mix of tart apples with some that cook softer.  3-Grannies and 3-Macs?  Make sure you beat the eggs long enough to create the foaminess that will bake into an interesting sugary shell over the top, with the insides steaming together.  My Russian coworker made this in the old country, sometimes with different fruit or raisins.  Walnuts would be nice (if they didn't give me hives, that is!)

6 Granny Smiths, 1/4 "dice
3 eggs
1c sugar
1t vanilla
1c flour

Preheat 350 degrees. Line 9" springform with parchment and butter well.  Put diced apple evenly in pan.  Mix eggs and sugar and beat til thick, yellow and foamy.  Mix in vanilla and then stir in the flour.  Pour over the apples and spread to cover all pieces.  Bake about one hour.  Cool in pan for ten minutes.  Remove ring, flip onto plate, remove bottom and peel off parchment.  Place serving plate onto the cake and flip back right side up.  Serve warm with cinnamon and powdered sugar dusted over it.