28 January 2018

Pot Roast

I got the recipe for this pot roast marinade out of the St. Louis Post Dispatch years ago. 

Mix together 4 C water, 2 C vinegar (I use cider vinegar), 2 bay leaves, 12 whole cloves, 12 whole peppercorns, 1 T salt, 1 T brown sugar. Pour over pot roast (approx 4 lb rump roast, chuck roast, etc.) and let marinate overnight.

Lift meat out of marinade, setting the liquid aside. Dredge the meat with flour, and brown in hot fat in a heavy pot. Strain the marinade liquid and add 2 C of it back to the pot with the meat. Cover and bring to boil, then turn down heat and slowly simmer for 2 hours. Add vegetables: 1-2 onions (sliced), carrots (1-2 per person, peeled and sliced), potatoes (1/2-1 per person, peeled and quartered). Continue simmering until meat and vegetables are tender, approximately another 2 hours.

16 January 2018

Cardoon Soup

I found this recipe when I googled "Traditional Italian Christmas Dinners" this past Christmas.  I had never heard of cardoons before.  They are related to the artichoke and are native to Italy and other areas along the Mediterranean.  The hardest part of this recipe is cleaning the cardoons!  The soup itself is pretty easy to make. 

1 bunch of cardoons (also called cardones), 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large onion, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Add the lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water.

Clean and trim the cardoons.  You need to remove the leaves along each side as well as the "strings" along the back.  There are several videos on YouTube that show you the best way to clean cardoons.  Cut the cardoons into 2-inch pieces, immediately putting the cut pieces into the acidulated water.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion pieces and sprinkle them with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt.  Cook until the onions are translucent and begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain the cardoons and rinse them slightly.  Add the cardoons to the pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.  Give the pan a good stir to mix everything up and then add the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to maintain a steady, lively simmer.  Partially cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, until the cardoons are very tender.

Remove the pot from the heat and, working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (I tried to use an immersion blender the first time I made the soup but ended up getting on the regular blender, which worked much better).  The cardoons are very fibrous, so after each batch is pureed, pour it through a sieve into another large pot. Using a large spatula, press down on the fibrous strings to extract all the liquid and then discard the fibers.  Continue pureeing and straining the soup until it is all finished.  The soup can be made up until this point and stored in the refrigerator or even frozen.  When ready to serve, proceed as follows.

Return the strained broth to the heat.  Stir in the heavy cream and heat over medium heat just until the soup is hot (do not let it boil).  Serve immediately.

28 December 2017

Cinnamon (or Pistachio) Pinwheels

Another of the Joys' favorite Christmas cookies. I usually make the cinnamon version, but the pistachio ones are quite tasty, too. To make them, use the amounts and ingredients in parentheses.

                                                                                                    Makes 4-1/2 Dozen

Combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside.
Finely grind 1/4 cup cinnamon imperials (chop 1/2 cup pistachios). Set aside.
Cream 3/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Beat in 1 large egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla (1-1/4 tsp almond) on low speed. Gradually beat in flour mixture; blend well.

Transfer 1/2 of dough to small bowl; knead in candies(nuts) and red(green) food coloring.

Roll cinnamon (pistachio) dough between 2 20-inch sheets of waxed paper into a 15"x10" rectangle. Do the same with the plain dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or so.
Remove top sheet of waxed paper from each rectangle. Place plain rectangle, dough-side up, on work surface.
Invert second rectangle on first, lining edges up. Remove top sheet of paper.
Roll dough tightly, beginning on long side, in jelly-roll style, off of remaining paper.
Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze at least one hour, until firm enough to slice.

Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut log into 1/4-inch slices and place on sheet, about 1-1/2 inches apart.
Bake for 14 -5 minutes, unti set and slightly browned.


Holiday Pound Cake

 A delicious and moist pound cake that we have enjoyed every Christmas morning for many years. One of Mom's recipes.

Cream 1lb butter very thoroughly. Gradually blend in 2 cups sugar, beating well. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract.

In second bowl, beat 8 - 10 room-temperature eggs until light and fluffy. Add to butter alternately with 4 cups of all-purpose flour that has been sifted with 1-1/2 tsp salt.

In third bowl mix 8 oz glazed cherries; 2 cups walnut meats, chopped; 1-1/2 cups dried currants.

Grease and flour pans. Sandwich 3 layers of batter and 2 layers of filling.

Bake at 325.
10" tube pan - 2 hours
2 loaf pans - 90 minutes
3 small loaves - 75 minutes

Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.

My notes (not written on Mom's original recipe card):
  • I use unsalted butter and 10 extra-large eggs.
  • I cut the cherries in half as it makes it easier to distribute them in the layers
  • I find that the cake stays more moist in smaller pans; the biggest pans I use are  1-1/2 quart loaf pans. They measure 7"x3".  The recipe makes 2 cakes this size.

26 November 2017

Trisha's Pecan Pie (Food Network Magazine)

I made this for Thanksgiving and my pecan-pie-loving husband said it was the best-ever! I loved that the pecans on the top stayed nice and crunchy. 

9-1/2" deep-dish pan, lined with your favorite pastry
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups pecan halves, 1 cup chopped and 1cup left whole
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp whole milk
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 Tbsp white rum (my addition)

Preheat oven to 325.
In large mixing bowl, whisk the sugars and eggs until creamy. Add the chopped pecans, melted butter, milk, flour, extract, and rum and stir to combine.

Pour mixture into pie shell. Arrange pecan halves on top in a circular pattern.

Bake for about 55 minutes. Check for doneness by shaking the pan slightly; the pie should be firm with a slight jiggle in the center. Let cool on a rack, about 2 hours. Serve topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

09 September 2016

Watermelon Salad

Toss together:
1-2 C. lettuce
1-2 C. arugula
1/4 C. chopped mint leaves
Add on top:
4 C. seeded watermelon chunks
1 C. feta cheese
1/4 C. olive oil
zest and juice of 1-2 limes
2 T. white vinegar

24 July 2016

Most Moist Pumpkin (or Banana) Bread Ever

Stir together:  1 1/2 C flour, 1 C sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp soda

Add: 1 C pumpkin (or for banana bread, 3 soft bananas), 1/2 C olive oil, 2 beaten eggs.

Add (if pumpkin bread, but omit for banana bread): 1/4 C water, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 allspice.

Butter a loaf pan. Add batter. Cook at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

05 June 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Dumplings

I devised this recipe myself, based on things I had eaten before. Variations: You can use all strawberries or all rhubarb, but I usually use a combination. Also you can make dumplings from scratch (use 2 C flour) but I usually cheat and make them with Bisquick. 

2 C chopped rhubarb
1 C hulled strawberries
1 C sugar
1 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C Bisquick mix
1 T sugar
2/3 C milk

Preheat oven to 425. Prepare fruit and place in large casserole or 13x9 baking dish. Combine sugar and water in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat and add vanilla extract. Pour over fruit. Mix remaining ingredients to make dumplings. Place large spoonfuls of dumplings over fruit. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes.

01 May 2016

White Lasagna

I came up with this recipe for a friend who can not eat tomatoes. She said she was thrilled to eat "really good " lasagna again.

Heat 5 cups of milk until it just begins to bubble at the edge.
Meanwhile, melt 1 stick of butter over low heat.
Blend in ½ cup flour, stirring vigorously.
Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the hot milk ¼ cup at a time, allowing   
               it to be completely absorbed each time.
When all the milk has been absorbed, return the pan to the heat.
Season with 1-2 tsp salt, ¼ tsp white pepper, ½ - 1 tsp nutmeg.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

32 ounces ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan
3 Tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

In addition, you need approximately1 pound lasagna noodles (I use Barilla non-curly-edge and do not pre-cook them); ½ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced; and 1/2 -3/4  pound smoky provolone, thinly sliced.

In a 9x13 pan:
Spread some sauce that has been thinned with a little milk to cover the bottom of the pan.
Place one layer lasagna noodles over sauce. Cover with ½ the slices of prosciutto, ½ of the ricotta mixture, and a little bit less than ½ the provolone, so that you have some for the top.
Cover all with sauce and repeat layer.
Cover the second layer with sauce, then one layer of noodles, sauce and provolone.

Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook 10 more minutes, or until cheese starts to brown.

21 April 2016

Macaroni and Cheese

Jimmy's favorite! 

Cook 1 lb. pasta and drain. While pasta is cooking, make cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce: Melt 1/2 C. butter over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 C. flour. Slowly whisk in 4 C. milk. Add 1 lb. grated cheddar cheese (or mixture of cheddar and jack or swiss -- whatever you like) and stir until it is nearly melted. Add 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. white pepper, 1 tsp. dry mustard, a little cayenne (to taste).

Put drained pasta in 13x9 inch baking casserole. Pur cheese sauce over and mix together well. a Sprinkle little chopped parsley and a little paprika on top. Bake at 350 x 30-40 minutes, until top is a little crusty. 

24 March 2016

Clam Fettucine (Red Sauce)

Here's Mom's recipe for Clam Fettucine. Thanks, Denise!

1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tsp. flour
1 tsp. each sugar, oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1 can (16 oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato sauce
2 (or more) 6 oz cans minced clams, drain 1 can
1/4 cup sliced olives
4 cups cooked noodles
1/4 cup parmesan 

Melt 2 tbsp. margarine in pan. Add onions and cook. Mix flour, sugar, oregano, salt & pepper into onion mix. Add tomatoes, sauce, clams and olives. Cook until sauce thickens.

Combine hot noodles, 2 tbsp. margarine & cheese. Toss until evenly coated. Pour sauce over noodles.

17 January 2016

Pumpkin Ravioli

A favorite of Joey and Vince.

2 C pumpkin (fresh or canned)
3/4 C crushed amaretti cookies (or you can use the Stella Doro breakfast cookies)
1 C grated Romano or Parmigiano cheese
1 beaten egg
4 T soft butter
1/4 C finely minced figs
Sea salt and white pepper to taste
A pinch of allspice

2 packages wonton wrappers
1 beaten egg, mixed with 1 eggshell of water

4 T butter
4 large sage leaves, finely shredded
Sea salt to taste
1/4 C crushed amaretti cookies

Combine the ingredients for the filling. Lay 10 or 12 the wonton wrappers out at a time. Brush a bit of the egg mixture around the edges of half of the wonton wrappers using a pastry brush. Place approximately a tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture on each of the wrappers with egg around the edge. Place a second wrapper on top and press the edges together, getting rid of any air in the package as you do so. Set aside on parchment paper sprinkled with flour and let dry for a few hours. Repeat until you have used up the wonton wrappers and the filling. Ravioli can be refrigerated or frozen at this time if desired.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan, add the chopped sage and salt, and simmer. Cook the ravioli in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until they float to the top of the water. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Place on plate and drizzle the sage butter over the top. Sprinkle with a small amount of the crushed cookies.

18 November 2015

Soft Molasses Cookies

These cookies stay soft. They are really yummy with a cup of tea or coffee.

Preheat oven to 325

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar                    Cream all together
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg

2-1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon                                 Stir into creamed mixture
1 tsp ginger                                                    Blend well
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Roll into 1-1/2" balls. Dip tops lightly into granulated sugar and place sugar-side up on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 13-16 minutes, until set but not crispy.

24 August 2015

Fruit Crumble

2 C. fresh fruit (e.g., strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, etc.)
2/3 C. sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
1 T. flour
1/2 C. butter
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. flour
1 C. oats
1/4 tsp each baking powder and baking soda and salt

Combine fruit, sugar, and 1 T. flour in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring often, until thickened. While the fruit is cooking, prepare the crust: Melt the butter, add the dry ingredients and mix. Pat half into a 9x9 baking pan. Pour the fruit mixture over it. Cover the fruit with the rest of the crust mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

21 August 2015

Summer Eggplant

This is great as a first course and makes a beautiful presentation, but you can also serve it as a side dish. 

1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
a few tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tomatoes
1 eggplant
approximately 1/4 lb. ricotta cheese
small chunk Romano cheese
a few fresh basil leaves

To cook: Slice onion, chop garlic, and saute in 1 T. olive oil over medium heat until onions are clear. While the onion and garlic are cooking, chop the tomatoes in large chunks. When onions are clear, add the tomatoes to the pan, along with a little more olive oil, and some salt and pepper, and let simmer over low-medium heat.  While the tomato sauce is simmering, peel an eggplant, slice in half, brush with olive oil,  sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set on hot grill, 5 minutes per side. By the time the eggplant has finished cooking, the tomatoes should have cooked into a nice sauce.

To assemble: Cut eggplant into large chunks and arrange a few chunks on each plate. Cover with tomato sauce. Add a dollop of ricotta cheese just to the side of the eggplant. Grate Romano cheese over all, and sprinkle a generous helping of shredded basil leaves on top of that.