Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oatmeal Fruit-Nut Drop Cookies

This is a recipe from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook, with changes based on advice from King Arthur Flour. When measuring the flour, just scoop the cup into the flour container and level off.
1 cup soft shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup dates, chopped
½ cup cut-up nuts
In a bowl, sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In large mixer bowl combine thoroughly the shortening, sugar, and egg. Stir in the buttermilk. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients. Add the oats, dates, and nuts. Stir until completely combined.
Drop by cookie scoop onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned in a preheated 400 degree oven about 10 to 11 minutes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dinner-Size Texas Chili Cheese Fries

Bart had fun cooking today. He made us this fabulous dinner. A couple of weeks ago he made something similar to this using canned products. This recipe is worth the little bit of extra time it takes over using frozen French fries and canned chili! The salad was a refreshing side dish. This meal is from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book (in the chapter entitled “A Little More than 30 Minutes…but Worth It”).
4 BIG Idaho russet potatoes, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges each
2 tablespoons McCormick’s Montreal Steak grill seasoning
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 2 ½ pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Hot sauce (we used a dash of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups beef or chicken stock
Cheese Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 cup milk (warm)
1 cup chicken stock (warm)
1 ½ to 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 seedless cucumber, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the grill seasoning and give with a good drizzle of olive oil; toss to coat. Roast the potatoes until crispy golden brown, about 40 minutes, turning them once halfway through the cooking time.

While the potatoes are roasting, place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook until brown, 6 to 7 minutes, using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces as it cooks.

Push the meat to one side of the pan and add the onions, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, and cumin to the pot. Cook until the veggies soften, 5 to 6 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for about 1 minute, until it smells sweet and has caramelized slightly. Add hot sauce to taste, the Worcestershire sauce, and the stock. Bring everything up to a bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer the chili until thickened, about 10 minutes.

While the chili is simmering, melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook it for about a minute, stirring. Stir the mustard into the roux, then whisk in the warm milk and chicken stock. Continue whisking the sauce until it has thickened up, then remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese in a figure-eight motion until it melts. Season the cheese sauce with salt and pper and set aside.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil along with the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Add the lettuce and cucumber to the bowl and toss to combine. To serve, divide the fries among 4 plates and top each serving with some chili and some cheese sauce. Serve the salad alongside.

Serves 4 (generously).

Baked Oatmeal

Here is another recipe for Baked Oatmeal—Bart made this for our breakfast this morning. I have discovered I really like oatmeal when it is baked—I like to have an identifiably chewy texture to the oatmeal. This recipe makes a HUGE batch of oatmeal—you can reheat individual servings for breakfast for a few days. And since it makes a basic oatmeal, you can customize it differently every day so the leftovers will be exciting and new. This recipe is adapted from My Kitchen CafĂ©.

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups milk
4 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and set up.

Serve warm as desired (with fruit and milk or with chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, and ice cream).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Best Blueberry Muffins

One advantage to having afternoon church is the time it provides to bake fresh muffins for breakfast. This is what we had this morning. I used fresh blueberries and the streusel topping option. The muffins have a light, cake-like texture with intense bursts of blueberry throughout. They were a hit! This recipe is from the May/June 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated.

2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 ½ cups (12 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray standard muffin tin with Baker’s Joy. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1-1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle with topping of choice (see below).

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 15 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Lemon-Sugar Topping:
Stir together 1/3 cup (2-1/3 ounces) sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon) in small bowl until combined; set aside. Sprinkle evenly over muffins before baking.

Streusel Topping:
Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, pinch salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablepoons (3 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Proceed with recipe as directed, sprinkling streusel topping over muffins before baking.

Orange Glaze:
Follow recipe for muffins, adding 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest to egg mixture. Proceed with recipe as directed, sprinkling 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar over muffins before baking. While muffins cool, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 ½ tablespoons orange juice until smooth. Drizzle each cooled muffin with 2 teaspoons glaze before serving.

Almond Crunch Topping:
Combine 1/3 cup finely ground almonds and 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar; set aside for topping. When making muffins, add 1/3 cup finely ground almonds to flour mixture and add 1 teaspoon almond extract with vanilla extract. Sprinkle almond topping over muffins before baking.

To use frozen blueberries:
Substitute 2 cups frozen berries for fresh. Cook 1 cup berries as directed. Rinse remaining cup berries under cold water and dry well. Toss dried berries in flour mixture before adding egg mixture.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lemon Spaghetti

This meal is much easier for me to make than in-the-box-macaroni and cheese. My family loves it when I prepare this meal for them with fresh basil from our garden and extra lemon juice. I hope you all will try this super easy Italian pasta!

1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (You can usually get this from about 2 to 3 lemons)
3/4 teaspoon salt and more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound dried spaghetti
1/3 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to blend. Set the lemon sauce aside. (You can make the sauce for up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refridgerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite (about 8 minutes). Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid. Add the spaghetti to the lemon sauce, then toss with basil and lemon zest. Toss the pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Seasonthe pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowls and serve.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Muddy Buddy Chex Mix

Everyone in my family enjoys this mix (though I think my mom loves it the most). This is my mom’s all-time FAVORITE snack mix. Every time I’ve made it, she has it with every meal. It’s a really fast and easy recipe, and it usually takes me 15 to 20 minutes to make a batch.

8 cups Chex cereal (I have used corn, rice, and wheat Chex, and it has turned out each time. If you have only a little bit left of each type, it also works to mix the cereals together.)
2/3 cups peanuts
1 heaping cup of chocolate chips
2/3 cups peanut butter (or 6 3/8 ounces)
About 1 ½ cup powdered sugar (I usually eyeball this)

Optional Ingredient (I recommend adding this):
½ cup raisins

1- In a large bowl, combine the cereal, peanuts, and raisins.
2- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and the chocolate chips (you don’t need to stir them together.)
3- Put the bowl containing the chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave from 1 to 1 ½ minutes, then stir them together until they form a sauce.
4- Pour the mixture into the bowl containing the cereal and combine until well-coated.
5- Put the powdered sugar into a 2 gallon bag.
6- Add the cereal mixture to the bag and shake until each piece is coated with powdered sugar.
7- After the cereal is coated, lay a sheet of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet, then pour mixture onto the sheet.
8- Let the mix cool, then store in an air-tight container. You can store the mix in the refrigerator or in a cupboard.
9- Enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peach Smoothie

I decided to make a smoothie for dinner one evening. Josh helped me make it, and we made enough for three people. When we found out my dad was awake, my mom wanted to try and make a smoothie herself. She's always told me how important it is to use a recipe, yet when she made this, she didn't even glance at the recipe. Oddly enough, our entire family liked her smoothie better. The one I've published is my mom's "thrown together" version.

Peach Smoothie Ingredients:
Banana-Pineapple-Orange Juice
Orange Sherbet
Frozen Peach Slices

Peach Smoothie Directions:
Fill the blender about half full with frozen peach slices. Add about 1/2 cup juice. Fill the rest of the blender with orange sherbet. If you want a thinner smoothie, add more juice. Blend well and enjoy!

Paula Deen's Mississippi Mud Cake

This is a really sweet, delicious cake. The "cake" portion is like a very moist and tender brownie. The additional marshmallows and chocolate topping guarantee this to be a recipe everyone will enjoy! This cake received rave reviews from the Gardners.

2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bag miniature marshmallows

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespooons milk
1 lb confectioner's sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13" x 9" baking pan.

Combine the sugar, salt, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Bring butter, oil, cocoa, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add to the flour mixture.

Beat together the eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well, and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the icing by melting the butter in the cocoa and milk over low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in the confectioner's sugar. Slowly mix in the nuts and the vanilla.

Take the cake from the oven, and when it cools a bit, cover it with miniature marshmallows. Pour the warm icing over the cake and the marshmallows. Cool the cake before serving.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

My mom and I made this meal for my dad. He really loved it, and I was impressed that the gravy turned out (Valerie baked the biscuits and left the gravy up to me). This is my first time entering a recipe, so if there are any flaws, let my mom know and she will give you the correct recipe. Sorry there's no picture, but I'm still figuring this out. I'll post one as soon as I can figure this out!

Biscuits Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, whisk one tablespoon lemon juice into 1 1/4 cups of milk and let it stand until slightly thickened-about 10 minutes)

Biscuit Directions:
1- Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, and shortening in food processor until mixture resembles course meal. Transfer to large bowl.
2- On lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, 8 to 10 kneads. Pat dough into 9-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Use a 3 inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out rounds of dough arrange on prepared baking sheet. Gather remaining dough, pat into a 3/4-inch-thick circle, and cut out remaining biscuits. (You should have 8 biscuits total.)
3- Bake until biscuits begin to rise, then rotate pan and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown (12 to 15 minutes) then transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Gravy Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage
3 cups whole milk

Gravy Directions:
1- Combine flour, fennel, sage, and pepper in small bowl. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking up meat with wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour mixture over sausage and cook, stiriing constantly, until flour has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Serve gravy over biscuits.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Black Bean Chili

Bart made this for dinner tonight—even in the middle of summer, we enjoy soup! He said the chili was fast to put together. The consistency was just right—not too watery or too thick. The flavor was nicely balanced as well.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (we had some in our garden, but you can use 1 tsp dried oregano leaves if you don’t have fresh)
2 cups (4 ounces each) chopped mild green chiles
3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Lime wedges

Heat vegetable oil in large pan or Dutch oven. Add onion. Season with some salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and begins to turn golden brown. Add tomato paste and heat through. Stir in cumin and cayenne pepper. Add water, apple juice, oregano, and chiles. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in black beans and red bell pepper. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until beans are hot. Stir in cilantro and squeeze some lime juice in if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top each serving with cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges if desired.

San Antonio Barbecue Chicken

This was dinner tonight. I grilled the chicken and did pretty good at not having too many black edges, thus Paige was willing to eat it. We also had Valerie's Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes with it. They were yummy. We like the crispy top part of the potatoes, too, just like Valerie.

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
2 pounds chicken pieces (I cut the chicken breast into strips for quicker cooking and because my children like chicken tenders)

Combine liquid ingredients and seasoning in a gallon-size bag to create marinade. Mix well. Place chicken in bag and seal. marinate in refrigerator 2 hours or overnight. Drain chicken and discard marinade. Grill, bake, broil or saute chicken as desired until fully cooked. Makes 4-6 servings.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Layered Mexican Party Salad

This is the salad that Bart and Valerie made for Boyd's Birthday dinner. It was served with corn chips and was really tasty! Then we had Frosty Strawberry Squares for dessert!

1 box Betty Crocker® Suddenly Salad® classic pasta salad mix
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15 oz) Progresso® black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (15.25 oz) Green Giant® whole kernel corn, drained
4 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 container (12 oz) refrigerated guacamole dip
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend (6 oz)
3 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
3 cups nacho-flavored tortilla chips

1. Empty pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered until noodles are al dente (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
2. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In medium bowl, stir together seasoning mix, oil, water and cumin. Stir in pasta, beans and corn.
3. In 4-quart glass salad bowl or 13x9-inch glass baking dish, layer lettuce and pasta mixture. Spread guacamole evenly over top. Sprinkle with cheese and tomatoes; top with olives.
4. Just before serving, arrange chips around edge of bowl. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.

Beautiful Burger Buns

This is the bun recipe we make the most often (Bart made the buns pictured for our 4th of July dinner). The buns have a fabulous texture and the onion powder adds a subtle flavor that goes very well with burgers and hot dogs. To shape the burger buns, I've found it helps to use a rolling pin to flatten the balls. For hot dogs buns, I like to shape the dough into little cylinders (like mini-French bread loaves) without flattening them.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion.

1 cup (8 ounces) water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter
1 large egg
3 ¼ cups (13 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional—but I always add it)
½ teaspoon dried minced onion (optional—I don’t use it)

Combine half of flour with remaining dry ingredients and mix. Add all liquid ingredients and beat together at medium speed for 2 minutes. Then add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough and knead until dough is velvety (about 5 minutes). Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 8 or 9 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Then use a rolling pin to flatten the ball until it is about ½-inch thick. Place the buns on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re quite puffy.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the buns with egg wash made by beating 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water. Sprinkle buns with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. Bake the buns for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool them on a rack. Split and use for burgers or sandwiches.

Makes 8 or 9 buns (8 hamburger buns or 9 hot dog buns).

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

Joshua and I have had fun cooking our way through the free Betty Crocker 2009 calendar we received. This is the recipe for June—with our adaptations. We used our favorite homemade brownie recipe instead of the mix called for in the original recipe. Bart brought some of these brownies to work, and he was told he is not allowed back to work unless he brings the recipe for these brownies with him!

Brownie Base:
One 13x9-inch pan prepared brownies (see recipe below or use a mix)

½ cup (4 ounces) butter, softened
½ cup (4 ¾ ounces) creamy peanut butter
2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk (if needed to get proper consistency)

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup (2 ounces) butter

Prepare brownies as directed below. Cool on a rack until completely cool (at least 1 hour).

In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over brownies.

In small microwavable bowl or in top of double boiler, melt topping ingredients; stir until smooth. Spread over filling. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set. For brownies, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Brownies (adapted from On-the-Fence Brownies from KAF Cookie Companion)

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups (15 ¾ ounces) sugar
1 ¼ cups (3 ¾ ounces) Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (6 ¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional—but I like to add them)
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips (optional—but I like to add them)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or spray with Baker’s Joy) a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan.

In a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to heat just briefly to help dissolve a little more of the sugar (don’t keep it over the heat very long at all).

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, stirring just until each egg is mixed in. Do not over mix (over mixing will create a thick hard crust on top of the brownies). Then add the flour, nuts, and chips, stirring just until mixed in. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted between the center and edge comes out clean or with moist crumbs. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.

French Onion Dip

Bart made this dip to serve with our 4th of July dinner. It is the best French Onion Dip ever—very smooth, creamy, just the right consistency, and super delicious!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion (avoid red onion—it will turn the dip murky brown)
Salt and pepper
1 cup cottage cheese
¼ cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream (Daisy brand is our favorite)
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

To caramelize onions: Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are deep golden brown and tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree cottage cheese and boiling water in blender until no lumps remain. Add half of caramelized onions and blend until completely smooth. Transfer to medium bowl, then whisk in sour cream, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and remaining caramelized onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Serve.

Poppy Seed Coleslaw

I love to try different variations of coleslaw. We made this version as a side dish for our 4th of July dinner. It has a light, slightly sweet dressing. We all really enjoyed it. Joshua particularly prefers this version over the standard mayonnaise-based dressing. According to the recipe, you can substitute 2 tablespoons minced red onion for the shallot (we used a shallot, though).

1 medium head green cabbage, quartered, cored, and shredded (I used my 4 mm food processor slicing disk—coarsely chop with a knife if you have pieces that are too long after processing)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon honey

Toss cabbage and salt in colander set over bowl. Let stand until wilted, about 1 hour. Rinse cabbage under cold water, drain, dry well with kitchen towel, and transfer to large bowl.

Toast poppy seeds in skillet over medium-high heat, shaking skillet (or stirring) frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let pan cool 5 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over cabbage and toss to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Serve. (Slaw can be refrigerated in airtight container for 1 day.)

Hot and Cold Sesame Noodles

I know I’ve included this recipe in our family newsletter before, but I wanted to post it here as well. We served this along with Thai-Glazed-Chicken Lettuce Wraps to the missionaries for dinner yesterday. They really enjoyed the entire meal—they went back for seconds of everything (then again, it was Fast Sunday). We also served fresh fruit (watermelon, honeydew, blueberries, and raspberries). For dessert, I made fresh home-made ice cream cones that we filled with our strawberry ice cream (already posted on this site). They both said that the strawberry ice cream was the best strawberry ice cream they had ever had—and once again—they had seconds.

1 pound spaghetti
¼ cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
¼ cup (2 ½ ounces) smooth peanut butter, softened in microwave 15 seconds on high
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (original flavor)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 cups shredded cabbage and carrot mix
1 cup bean sprouts (available in produce department)
3 scallions, chopped on an angle
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Additional green onions, sesame seeds, and peanuts for garnish if desired

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Add salt, then pasta. Cook to al dente (with a bite to it), then cold-shock to stop the cooking process by running pasta under cold water in a colander. Drain the pasta very well.

To a large bowl, add tamari and the softened peanut butter. Whisk together until peanut butter and tamari are totally incorporated. Add the vinegar, hot sauce, and sesame oil and whisk into sauce. Add noodles, cabbage and carrots, sprouts, and scallions and toss to combine and coat evenly with sauce. Sprinkle sesame seeds throughout the salad and serve. May garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and peanuts of desired.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Banana Crunch Cake

I was in the mood to bake today and had bananas to use up. So I used them in making Valerie's Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (though I made some High Altitude changes and they turned out even better than last time) and this Banana Crunch Cake from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking cookbook. You can see both of my efforts in the picture. I did make the following High Altitude changes: add 1 Tbsp. flour, change baking soda to 3/4 tsp., subtract 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, and add 1 1/2 Tbsp beaten egg. I baked it in a 9" round cake pan at 375 and it took about 40 minutes. I also used the bake-even cake strips around the cake pan. I used wheat pastry flour and you can make the oat flour by putting quick or old fashioned oats in a blender or food processor and processing until it is flour. Here's the original recipe. I thought it was pretty tasty and was just sad we didn't have any vanilla ice cream to go with it.

Cake batter
1 cup (3-1/4 oz) oat flour
1 cup (4 oz) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup (5 oz) packed light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 oz) mashed banana (2 large or 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup (4 oz) plain yogurt, non-fat to full-fat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (1-7/8 oz) chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup (6 oz) chocolate or toffee chips (optional)

Crunch topping
3/4 cup (2-5/8 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (2-1/2 oz) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (1 oz) chopped pecans or walnuts

Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the cake batter: Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions. Mix in half the dry ingredients until moistened, then mix in the bananas, yogurt and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the remaining dry ingredients and the nuts and chips, if using, mixing until evenly moistened. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
To make the topping: Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the melted butter until the moisture forms large crumbs; stir in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
Bake until the edges pull away from the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 20 minutes before serving warm, with ice cream, or cool completely for later use. Yield: 16 servings