Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Cake

Preheat oven to 350; grease and flour rectangular pan. If you want to use a square brownie pan, make just half the recipe.

Peel six medium apples and cut in small dice

Put apples in large mixing bowl and add:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 eggs

Mix together:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Add dry ingredients to apple mixture and mix well. Can add chopped walnuts if desired.

Bake 30 to 40 mins. at 350
Cut in squares when cool, and serve as you would brownies. Really moist, good snack cake.

Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque

2 Tbsps. (1/4 stick) butter
10 oz. fresh crabmeat
1 large tomato or several plum tomatoes chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tsp. fresh minced garlic from jar)
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 cups clam-tomato juice (Use bottled Clamato)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce or tabasco
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (RealLemon)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 of crabmeat, 1/3 cup of basil, and garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Whisk in flour; stir 2 minutes. Whisk in clam-tomato juice and next five ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Cool soup slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth. (Be careful not to put too much hot soup into blender at a time. Put about two ladles of soup into blender at a time, then put pureed soup into bowl until all is pureed and then return to pan. Or skip blender and use immersion blender, pureeing all while in the pan -- carefully).

Return soup to pot, stir in water and lemon juice, return to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Makes six servings. Garnish each bowl with basil and reserved crabmeat.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Margaritas (recipe from Kevin Hoffman and Mercury parties of old)

1 large can frozen limeade
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup triple sec
A little sugar if desired
Put into electric blender and fill blender with crushed or small cubes of ice.
Blend until smooth and frosty.

Put margarita salt (kosher salt works just as well) on a paper plate. Take a slice of fresh lime and coat the rim of a glass, then turn the glass upside down and coat the rim in salt on the paper plate. Fill with margarita and last put the slice of lime of the edge of the glass.

Non-alcoholic version: Substitute Sprite for tequila and triple sec. Use more sugar and a splash of lime juice to increase flavor.

Nectarine Daiquiris (the most refreshing summer drink ever)

2 to 3 fresh nectarines, peeled, pit removed and cut into pieces -- try to cut over the blender so the juice goes into the blender
1/2 cup light rum
1 1/2 Tbsps. sugar
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 cup lime sherbet
A splash of Sprite or water if it seems too thick

Mix all ingredients except sherbet in electric blender until frosty and smooth. Add sherbet and blend just lightly -- best if there are still some chunks of sherbet when you pour it. Makes four 4-oz. servings. Garnish with nectarine slices or sprigs of fresh mint.

Non-alcoholic version: Substitute orange or pineapple juice for rum.

Summer Fruit Salad Dressing (a March picnic crowd pleaser)

This is the "juice" that goes over melon balls for picnics.
One watermelon, two cantalopes, one honeydew -- cut, cleaned and "balled" into one huge plastic bowl. Then top with this dressing, stir well, chill in refrigerate until serving.

2 Tbsps. lime juice
2 Tbsps. lemon juice
2 Tbsps. orange juice
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar

Whisk together in large measuring cup and pour over fruit.

Fourth of July Pasta Salad

1 bag frozen tri-color tortellini(14-16 ounces)
1/2 box rotini pasta (8 ounces)
1/4 pound small sliced pepperoni (fresh pepperoni from deli)
1 bag cheese crumbles (cheddar and monterey jack)or 1 Cracker Barrel white cheddar block cut into small pieces (8-12 ounces)or 1 block of medium provolone cut into small pieces (I like provolone; Mandy likes cheddar)
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes
1 bottle of Italian dressing (16 ounces)
Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional) -- the real cheese, not the powdery stuff

Cook pastas, drain and rinse with cold water. Chop pepperoni randomly into smaller chunks. Cut tomatoes in half and sprinkle tomatoes generously with kosher or sea salt. Put all ingredients except dressing and parmesan in large bowl. Pour about 1/2 bottle of dressing over salad, mix well and refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour. Remove from refrigerate and add more dressing -- you won't need the whole bottle, but you will use a good portion of it -- and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least one more hour before serving. Stir again before serving and add more dressing if it seems dry. Last, sprinkle fresh grated parmesan over top if desired.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bon Appetit Potato and Sausage Roast (a recipe that evolved to become potatoes that go with fish)

1 3/4 lb. small red potatoes cut into 1-inch dice
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 1-inch dice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1 lb. chicken or turkey sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine first five ingredients in 2 large baking pans. Mix to coat with oil. Season with salt and generous amounts of pepper. Bake 20 minutes. Divide sausage between two pans; bake until potatoes are tender with crusty outsides and sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes more.

Pat's Version

1 3/4 lbs. potatoes, red russet or Yukon gold, cut into 1-inch dice
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
1 or 2 large sweet onions, quartered and cut into wide slivers
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

Seasonings: I've used lemon pepper and garlic salt with a little paprika for color; Old Bay Seasoning can be added for a bit of a bite; Emeril's Essence, Original Flavor, is great. And I always use a generous amount of fresh-ground pepper.

Spritz the pans with no-stick spray and follow baking directions above. If using glass (Corning or Pyrex) baking dish, lower heat to 375F and allow extra time for potatoes to brown.

My version of just the potatoes without the sausage

8 potatoes (2 for each serving desired), peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
Half a large sweet onion, cut into slivers
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Arrange all in shallow baking dish and mix to coat with oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a generous sprinkling of Emeril's Essence, Original Flavor, on top. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes, turning potatoes with spatula halfway through baking. Potatoes should be brown and stick easily with fork.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chocolate ice cream (recipe from Mom-Mom -- need I say more?)

You first need to invest in an electric ice cream maker and remember to have plenty of ice cubes on hand -- about six trays -- or a small bag of ice cubes from convenience store.

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Salt -- takes about a half carton.

Mix all ingredients (except salt) together in electric blender and blend until smooth. Pour the chocolate liquid into ice cream maker container and start ice cream maker. Alternate layers of ice cubes, salt, ice cubes, salt to the top of the ice cream maker. It takes mine about 30 minutes to churn one batch of ice cream.
When finished, pour into eight small plastic containers with lids and freeze.

To vary the recipe, substitute fresh sliced peaches for cocoa and double the vanilla. Or strawberries, or just vanilla.

Breaded Chicken (any thin pieces?)

Technically, this is not a recipe, just instructions on how to make good breaded chicken that beats in taste, nutrition and price any frozen ready-made breaded chicken from a grocery store.

4 pieces, boneless breast of chicken, cut lengthwise into thin slices OR Perdue Perfect Portions, trimmed of veins and cut thin. Buy Perdue boneless chicken breasts, Harvestland or other organic brand, or thin sliced Perdue (no need to slice it) or Perdue Perfect Portions. Don't buy store brand chicken.

Progresso Italian or Herb bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs
One egg
Olive oil

Remove all fat and veins from chicken, then pound between two slices of wax paper till very thin. Coat bottom of heavy fry pan with olive oil. Put egg into shallow bowl and whip with fork until frothy. Dip chicken slices first into egg, then into bread crumbs to coat. Saute chicken in oil over medium-high heat, turning until golden brown on all sides.

Be careful, thin slices burn easily.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Margherita Chicken (because every menu needs an Olive Garden dish)

Margherita Chicken

4 chicken breasts cut into 1- to 2-inch slivers
4 plum tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
2 packs of fresh basil, cleaned and chopped fine
Olive oil
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
Flour, salt and pepper
Mozzarella or parmesan cheese

Use one chicken breast for each serving. This serves four -- one for one serving, two for two servings, etc. Reduce liquid ingredients proportionately for number of servings.

Coat pieces of chicken in flour mixture in a plastic bag. Shake to thoroughly coat chicken. Brown chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large fry pan. Add basil and stir till chicken is brown on all sides.

Add wine and scrape browned bits off bottom of pan with wooden spoon or spatula. Reduce heat to low and add broth. Cook for a few minutes (5-10) then add chopped tomatoes and stir. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is bubbly and tomatoes are soft. Last add cream, stir, and turn off heat. Cover and let simmer a few minutes. Serve over pasta and top with cheese.

Sherried Chicken (the dish commonly known as 'Fettucini')

4 boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon paprika
3/4 cup sherry cooking wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup light cream (or heavy cream if you want it super-rich)

12-16 ounces of linguini or fettucini, cooked
1 stick butter (not margarine, only butter) melted
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup heavy cream

Combine flour and paprika in shallow bowl or plastic bag and dredge chicken pieces in mixture so that chicken is thoroughly coated. Melt butter or margarine in shallow saucepan on medium-high heat. Add flour and stir till pieces are lightly browned on all sides. Add sherry and scrape pan so that browned pieces combine in sauce. Add broth, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat or reduce to very low and add cream. Stir until blended.

Meanwhile, cook pasta. Drain and combine in bowl with melted butter, parmesan and cream. Toss till pasta is coated and creamy. Serve in bowls, top with chicken in sauce.