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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Christmas Eve Gingerbread

So, this one has a story. Growing up, my mum always served a very sweet, beautiful cake called pavlova on Christmas Eve. I love pavlova. When I got married, I made pavlova, until 4 years in he told me, "I'm not a huge pavlova fan. I mean, it's alright, but I'd rather have something else." Well, his something else was peppermint ice cream roll, which is what his mum made for Christmas dinner. And her mum. Don't get me wrong, ice cream roll is cake and ice cream rolled together and it's good. But it's also just cake and ice cream. And, unlike my husband, although I will eat ice cream any time of year, it's not the first treat I think of in the dead of winter. So here we were at a standstill. What to make?

Gingerbread. But not just gingerbread. Warm, moist, delicious gingerbread.

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a loaf pan.

1 1/2 c. water
1 c. molasses
1 t. baking soda

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in molasses and baking soda. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, dry whisk:

2 1/2 c. flour
3 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 T. baking powder (I know. But it's accurate.)
1/2 t. salt

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine and beat on medium high until fluffy:

1/2 c. butter, room temp.
1 c. brown sugar

Add 1 large egg. Beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with molasses mixture. Mix well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes.

We've served ours with whipped cream or with custard cream if you want it really rich. When I'm eating leftovers, often I'll just eat it with a little cool milk poured over the top of it. I like mine warm, but you can serve it at room temperature too. It would also be good with vanilla. Really, it's pretty hard to screw it up when it comes to serving options.

(This is a slight variation on another recipe. Frankly, the small changes I've made improve the outcome more than "noticeably." But if you want the original, here you go.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Last Request Ribs

Yup.  That's right.  Any last requests?  This might very well be it.  Be sure to make these on a day when you're super busy so everyone will think you're a bona fide miracle worker!  Photos, although a true representation, are taken from the internet. 

ribs (Baby-back or St. Louis style)
dry rub
barbecue sauce

1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
2. Remove the membrane that covers the rack side by sliding a table knife or back of a spoon underneath to loosen until you can grab it with a paper towel.  It should pull off in one sheet.  To see a demonstration, look here.
3. Rub all over with dry rub.
4. Line baking sheet with foil.  Place ribs meat side down and then cover with foil and pinch closed around the edges.
5. Place ribs in preheated oven for 4-6 hours.
6. Remove ribs and carefully flip over using two spatulas so the meat side is up.  Be careful--they may fall apart.
7. Slather ribs with barbecue sauce and return to oven uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes.
(NOTE:  I used 1 3-rack pack of St. Louis-style pork ribs from Costco, Kirkland-brand Sweet Mesquite seasoning for the dry rub, and Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce.   I have 2 ovens, but you can put two racks of ribs in one oven and save the other rack for...probably the very next day.  :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Best Pancakes I Have Ever Had, Anywhere, Ever

I have found I'm a bit of a picky pancake eater. I mean, I'll eat almost any pancake--and trust me, I've eaten some nasty ones 'cause I've been reluctant to waste the ingredients in my experiments. But I have finally landed upon THE PERFECT PANCAKE. It's not too fluffy--I like my pancakes soft but not overly-bready. It's not too thin--floppy pancakes=gross. It's sweet enough to eat with no syrup, but it's not so sweet you couldn't put some on if you wanted to. It's truly perfect. So, here we go!

Enough for 6 pancakes.

1/2 c. flour--I used 1/4 white and 1/4 almond meal
1/2 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/3 c. whole milk ricotta
1/3 c. sour cream
1/8 c. honey
1 1/2 t. vanilla

1. Mix first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Beat within the well without mixing in dry ingredients. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir with a spoon to combine--don't over mix.

2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter until sizzling. Pour batter into pan using a large serving spoon. Cook until browned, then flip and cook until browned on the other side. (Total cooking time for 1 pancake was about 4-5 minutes). You will know when they're ready to flip because, hey! you'll be able to flip them!

I dropped some fresh cranberries onto my pancakes after I'd poured a panful. They were delicious! Other add-ins that sound awesome to me:

blueberries, obviously
chopped strawberries
coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Seriously, I didn't even put syrup on mine at all. They were just so good. My son did want some honey on his, and they were great that way too!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grammy Boone's Donuts

For your eating pleasure here is my grandmother's recipe for her wonderful donuts.  These are old-fashioned cake-type donuts, not the raised, glazed kind and trust me, they are mmmm-mmmm good!
You'll notice that the two recipes are slightly different, so you'll need to experiment to see which one works best for you.  I love that I have one from the local paper complete with photo and one she wrote out herself for my old recipe binder.  :)

I should put in a qualifier here that although Gram taught me to make these herself ("you can tell when the dough is right if it feels about like a young girl's breast" !!!Grammy!!!), I haven't made them in years.

I'd love to see comments from anyone who gives this recipe a try.  Get it Gram-Boone-right and you'll be in donut heaven!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Killer Granola

A variation of the recipe used at the Cheese Board in Oakland, California that I got from my son-in-law. I know when it's just right when I can't stop nibbling at it!
I usually quadruple this recipe.

2 Tbs butter
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts 
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 to 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbs seeds (i.e., chia or sesame)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the chopped nuts, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Add the honey and reduce the heat to low.  Stir until melted and combined.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, and seeds.  Add the honey/nut mixture and toss until the oats are coated.

Spread granola evenly on the prepared pan.  Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake in 10 minute intervals, stirring after each 10 minutes, until golden brown.  I usually put it in 3-4 times.  

Let cool completely on the baking sheet.  Store the granola in an airtight container.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Hearty Egg Drop Soup

When I was a kid, my mum made egg drop soup when we were sick, which makes sense. It's a very mild soup with, at it's essence, nothing but vegetable broth and eggs in it. I was feeling in the mood for some last night--I haven't had it in years--but I knew that the only way it would fly with Mike was if there was a lot more than broth and eggs. So I scrounged the fridge and came up with carrots, cabbage, and green onions, which was lucky 'cause I don't typically have green onions on hand. So, here's a heartier version of the typical soup.

Serves 4

2 T. oil
4 small carrots, diced
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
7 c. vegetable broth (or chicken--I didn't have any broth or base, so I had to make my own a little earlier in the day and I only had veggies)
3 or 4 eggs--I like a lot in mine so I used 4, but you could just use 2 or 3 I guess.
4 green onions, diced

1. Put oil in the bottom of a medium to large sauce pan, warm over medium heat. Add diced carrots and cook covered until carrots are tender. Add cabbage and cook, stirring frequently until cabbage is tender.
2. Add broth and turn up high. While the broth is warming, beat eggs until well mixed. When broth is at a rolling boil, slowly pour the egg in a thin stream into the broth. (You could also use a fork to stream it in, but I get impatient with that.) Be careful not to let the soup boil over while you're adding the egg. It will start foaming, so stop pouring, give it a gentle stir, and continue. You can also turn the heat down if you need to, but it need to keep boiling to cook the egg.
3. Serve warm and garnish with green onions.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Consolidated Meeting Schedule Rolls

Back in the days of oil shortages and long gas lines our church went from a schedule of meetings spread throughout the week to a 3-hour Sunday block--it was a big change for a lot of people!  This recipe was probably created around that time in order to be able to leave for 3-4 hours and have rolls ready to pop into the oven as soon as you got home.

This has been our Thanksgiving roll recipe since my cousin's wife gave it to me years ago.  It is easy, delicious and we still love it!

Consolidated Meeting Schedule Rolls-

2-Eggs (beaten then add remaining ingredients)
1-12 oz can evaporated milk or 1 1/3 c regular milk
1-cup hot water
1 table spoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2-Tablespoons yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
About 6-cups flour (probably more)

1- Knead well
2- Divide into 4 sections
3- Roll out into a circle and butter top with melted butter
4- Cut into 8 wedges (I use a pizza cutter)
5- Roll up like a croissant 
6- Cover with dry towel and let rise 31/2 to 4 hours
7- Bake 8-12 minutes at 400 degrees.  
8- Remove from oven and brush tops with more melted butter.