Jun 30, 2009

French Swiss Cookies

I have no idea why these are called French Swiss Cookies, but this recipe has been one of my favorites since I was a child. French Swiss Cookies taste kind of like a cinnamony shortbread that is topped with chopped walnuts. This recipe is both delicious and easy.

1/2 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk (save egg white)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar (I often find it easier to simply melt the butter) and then add the remaining ingredients. Press approximately half the dough into the bottom of a cookie sheet (about 1/8 of an inch thick). Beat egg white until slightly frothy and then brush lightly on the top of the dough (you don't need to use all of the egg white; just until the dough's surface has a thin coat). Sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Cut into individual squares. You can also roll this dough into small balls, flatten the balls with the palm of your hand, brush with egg white and sprinkle with chopped nuts, and then bake.

Jun 29, 2009

Mary Alice’s Lemon Mousse Mold

This recipe comes from my friend and former neighbor, Mary Alice Collins. I know many people look down on Jello salads these days, but not me, at least not if such salads are prepared in an appetizing way. This Jello salad is summery and delicious when served with fresh fruit.

1 large package lemon Jello
2 cups boiling water
¾ cup sugar
dash of salt
1 6-oz can frozen pink lemonade
1 pint whipping cream, whipped

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Add sugar and salt, stirring until dissolved. Then add lemonade and chill mixture until partially set. Fold in whipped cream and pour in mold. Chill until set.

Jun 27, 2009

Angel Biscuits

These biscuits are light and delicate in texture. Put butter and apricot jam on these, and you're in heaven.

1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and then cut in shortening. Add buttermilk and yeast mixture. Work dough only until well moistened and then cover and refrigerate until needed. It's best to refrigerate the dough for at least several hours before it is used. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Jun 24, 2009

Chicken Curry with Cashews

This recipe comes from Gourmet Magazine, but it's easy to make, and I've adapted it to my tastes.

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I prefer less heat, so I’d add about 1/8 teaspoon)
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces (I use boneless, skinless chicken and cut it up into bite-sized pieces)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes (I usually use 2 cans)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup cashews (1/4 lb) (I sometimes include some cashew pieces)
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I usually substitute coconut milk for this)

Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. (If making ahead, see cooks' note, below.)

Just before serving, pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground, then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice or pasta. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Curry, without yogurt and cashews, can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt and ground cashews.

Jun 23, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a number of chocolate chip cookie recipes that I like. This recipe is probably the one I make most often. These cookies are somewhat crisp on the outside and soft on the inside--what for me is a classic chocolate chip cookie.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix (I usually use one pkg. vanilla and one pkg. butterscotch)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Jun 20, 2009

Pescado Zarandeado (Tossed Fish)

I love this recipe! So simple and yet so delicious! And I use whatever vegetables I have on hand. I've substituted carrots, broccoli, red pepper, etc.). I also drizzle a bit of olive oil on the veggies and fish before I close the foil. Oh, and I haven't ever used the cilantro, which I don't care too much about one way or another.

6 18 x 12-inch squares of aluminum foil
½ cup butter, melted
6 6-ounce salmon fillets
½ of an onion, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
3 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
Lemon pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced

Lay foil pieces on counter. Brush each with melted butter. Place salmon fillets in the middle. Distribute vegetables evenly on top of fish. Season with lemon pepper and garlic. Fold foil over fish and vegetables to make a pouch. Make sure the top and sides are sealed tightly to prevent juices and steam from escaping. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes (or place in a cooler until you arrive at your picnic site with a portable grill; cook pouches on a grill heated to 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until salmon is fully cooked). After removing pouches from the oven, let rest for several minutes. Be careful of hot steam when opening pouches. Makes 6 servings.

Jun 18, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

It's homemade ice cream season again, and I love my Cuisinart counter top ice cream maker! It takes just a couple of minutes to whip up the ice cream mixture and then a little over twenty minutes to freeze a batch of ice cream. So it's really easy, and the end result is fabulous!

I love the Ben & Jerry's recipe for fresh strawberry ice cream. I've made it twice this week. A friend suggested that I buy strawberries when they are on sale and then cut them up and mix them with sugar and lemon juice (according to the Ben & Jerry's recipe) and put the mixture in freezer bags in just the right proportion to make batches of ice cream. After that, I pop the bags in the freezer. Then whenever I'm in the mood, I can just take a bag out, thaw it, and whip up a batch of delicious strawberry ice cream.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Sweet Cream Base (see below)

Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Prepare the Sweet Cream Base. Mash the strawberries to a puree (I puree them with a hand blender) and stir into the cream base. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

Sweet Cream Base
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

Makes 1 generous quart.

Jun 16, 2009

"Ham" Loaf Hawaiian

Let me be perfectly clear here. I'm not recommending that anyone make this recipe (though I'm not necessarily morally opposed to SPAM either, like some people). I'm posting this more as a cultural artifact from my life. When I was a kid, I had a Betty Crocker's Boys and Girls Cook Book that my parents gave to me. It helped pique my interest in cooking at an early age. This recipe was in the book, and it was one of the few main dishes I tried to make (only once, if I remember correctly). If you can believe it, I thought that creating something like this made me more of a gourmet cook.

1 12-oz. can SPAM
2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
8 whole cloves
2 rings canned pineapple, drained
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cutting a little more than halfway through, cut the SPAM loaf into 8 sections. Make sure you don't cut all the way through the loaf. You just want sections that you can spread apart with your fingers.

Starting with the first cut, spread 1/2 tsp. of the mustard in every other cut.

Cut the pineapple rings in half to form four half-circles. Stick two whole cloves in the rounded edge of each pineapple ring half. Tuck the pineapple ring halves into the mustard-coated cuts, rounded sides up. Sprinkle brown sugar over loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until sugar is melted and SPAM is heated through.

To serve, slice through the loaf at every other cut so the pineapple is in the middle of each serving. Make sure you don't eat the cloves! Serves 4.

Jun 14, 2009

Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing

This dressing is great on fresh pears or tomatoes, as well as on a traditional tossed salad.

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons onion, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of garlic powder
3 oz Bleu cheese, crumbled (vary amount according to personal taste)

Thoroughly combine all ingredients except cheese. Blend in Bleu cheese. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and the flavors have blended. Yield: 2 cups.

Jun 11, 2009

Banana Cake with Caramel Nut Frosting

This recipe offers a delicious way to use overripe bananas. And this cake freezes well, too. So I often make this cake when I have the bananas and then put it in the freezer for later. Then, when I need a quick dessert, I pull the cake out, thaw it, and frost it either with the caramel nut frosting below, penuche frosting, vanilla cream cheese frosting, or brown sugar whipped cream.

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs. Stir sifted dry ingredients in alternately with the buttermilk. Blend in the bananas with the last addition of flour. Add vanilla. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

3/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons canned milk
1 cup chopped nuts

Beat together and spread on warm cake. Put under broiler until topping browns just slightly (Not too long!).

Jun 10, 2009

Sweet and Sour Spareribs

2 pounds pork spareribs (I usually use boneless country-style ribs)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 piece crushed, fresh ginger root
Cooked rice
Canned pineapple chunks

Cut ribs into bite-sized pieces and brown well in a large pan. Pour off excess fat. Mix other ingredients and pour over ribs. Simmer until tender (about one hour). Stir occasionally. Remove ginger root and serve ribs on a bed of rice, with pineapple chunks arranged around the edge. Serves 8.

Jun 7, 2009

Grilled Salmon

This recipe comes from allrecipes.com and had gotten very good reviews. I don't have a grill, so I cooked my salmon in the oven. I wrapped the fillets in a foil packet and cooked the fish at 425 degrees until it was done. Though the recipe didn't wow me (and it may be because I didn't grill the salmon), I did like the end result, and it definitely is simple. I'll continue to tinker with this.

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil

Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and olive oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large re-sealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat grill for medium heat. Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Jun 6, 2009

Egg in a Basket

Okay, so this is so simple that it's more of a meal idea than a recipe, but I eat this dish for dinner as well as breakfast.

2 slices sandwich bread
2 teaspoons olive oil (or butter)
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper

Cut a hole in both bread slices. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread slices side-by-side. Carefully crack an egg into each bread hole (some white will remain on top). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until eggs are somewhat set and bread is browned on one side, then flip over and cook the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Try topping with salsa or shredded cheese.

Jun 4, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies

Many years ago, my parents got this recipe for oatmeal cookies at the Utah County Republican Convention, and because of that, they always referred to these cookies as "Republican Oatmeal Cookies." However, since I'm a Democrat, I prefer a less partisan title. But regardless of your political persuasion, this recipe could well become your oatmeal cookie recipe of choice. These delicious cookies are crisp and light, with a hint of cinnamon. Mmmm!

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream sugars and shortening. Blend in vanilla and eggs. Then add dry ingredients, oats, and nuts. Roll in balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Note: Instead of rolling the dough in balls, I often shape the dough into rolls, wrap the rolls in wax paper, and then refrigerate or freeze them. Then I just cut the rolls into slices and bake them. It's an easy way to have home-baked cookies ready at a moment's notice.