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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recipes Of Our Mothers - Barbara Darmstadt's Pound Cake Recipes

Some deliciousness from my friend Frank!

"When I was little my mother and Nanna encouraged me to learn how to cook for myself and to do other things in the kitchen such as doing the dishes (and putting them away!) and keeping things clean. These chores were not just chores as such but also ways to create a foundation of independence for myself. If I was hungry, cook something! If the dish is dirty, clean it and put it away! And if you invite someone over to your home, make sure you know how to make him or her feel comfortable, like back at home. I will always be grateful for that from two of the most important women in my life."

Regular Pound Cake
2 ¾ cups, sifted flour
2 ¼ teaspoons, baking powder
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups, sugar
1 teaspoon, salt
1 cup, butter, melted or very soft
¾ cup, milk
1 teaspoon, vanilla
4 eggs, unbeaten
1 cup, chopped nuts
Confectioner's sugar (optional)
10-inch tube pan
PAM or additional flour and margarine to grease pan

Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, butter, and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes. Add eggs. Beat 2 more minutes. Pour mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Spread nuts on bottom of pan. Pour the batter in the pan (batter will be thick) and bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Optional: when cake is cool, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Sour Cream Pound Cake
¼ pound, butter (very soft)
1 cup, sugar
2 eggs
2 cups, sifted flour
1 teaspoon, baking powder
1 teaspoon, baking soda
½ pint, sour cream
1 teaspoon, vanilla
A mixture of ½ cup, chopped nuts
1 teaspoon, cinnamon
½ cup, sugar
Bundt pan
PAM or additional flour and margarine to grease pan

Cream butter. Add sugar and eggs and mix together. Add sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda; alternatively with sour cream and vanilla. Spread half the batter in a bundt pan that is already greased and floured. Sprinkle a little more than half of the “nuts” mixture evenly onto the batter. Add the remaining batter and sprinkle the rest of the “nuts” mixture and 1/2 cup sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. The batter should be thick enough to spoon it into the bundt pan and spread it all around evenly.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steak and Stilton Pie

When Baby returned from London after an over-extended two weeks away for business, I thought, "What else to do but make Steak and Stilton Pie to welcome him back?" The latest Saveur magazine has had me in fits wanting to make every recipe stuffed into its contents. As this particular recipe is such a part of British tradition neatly tying in to my borderline obsession with making pies of late, I figured it would be just perfect to welcome him back home. I did change it up though: I purchased pastry shells instead of making my own dough or filling a pie tin and topping it with pre-made puff pastry as the recipe suggests. While the cubes of London Broil (instead of beef chuck), chopped vegetables and cheese slowly simmered stove top, I baked the shells in the oven and then covered them with my stuffing. The result? Abso-bloomin-lutely delicious! And it's hearty enough not to require any accompaniment, except for loved ones of course.

Here's the proud London Broil soaking in the seasoning while I chopped the vegetables...

and after too, having gone under my knife, browning in a little olive oil!

The gorgeous latticework of sliced onions with thickly cut carrots, celery, and rosemary stewed things over before the stout beer was poured in, and the beef was added back, simmered with beef stock, dried mustard, bay leaves, quartered browned mushrooms, frozen peas and crumbled Stilton.

Enjoy, mate!

Steak and Stilton Pies
Adapted from Saveur Magazine
Serves 4
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¼ lb. beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 ribs celery, thickly sliced
2 small carrots, thickly sliced
2 tbsp. minced rosemary
1 12-oz. bottle stout beer
¼ cup flour
2 cups beef stock
2 tsp. mustard powder
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
10 oz. mushrooms, quartered
6 oz. English Stilton, crumbled
1 10-oz. package frozen peas
1 14-oz. package puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, 10–12 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add garlic, onions, celery, carrots, and rosemary to pan; cook until soft, 10–12 minutes. Add beer; cook until almost dry, 18–20 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring, until smooth. Return beef to pan along with stock, mustard, and bay leaf; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, covered partially, until beef is barely tender, about 1½ hours; set aside. Heat butter in a 10″ skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until browned all over, about 8 minutes; stir into beef mixture along with cheese and peas.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Divide beef mixture among four 6" pie tins (12 oz. each). Roll pastry into a 14" square; cut out four 6" circles. Brush tin edges with egg; place 1 circle over each; press to seal. Cut slits into pastry; brush with egg. Bake until browned, about 40 minutes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipes of Our Mothers - Mrs. K Writes...

LinkPerhaps you might remember reading about my love of pork pie? I was at a most celebratory wedding reception for my dear childhood friend Tina late this past summer when the mother of the bride happened to tell me of her pork pie recipe, as such things often do come up in cocktail conversation.

As the weather has started to change and we are all dressing for fall, I set out to make Mrs. K's pie while Baby was out of town on business. I already had a ready made crust to use as her recipe suggests, but I also made my Nana's pie crust to drape my pie with a comforting blanket. While I worked on the crust and then rolled out the dough with Baby's great-grandmother's rolling pin (the sole thing she held on to when she escaped from Russia, over a hundred years ago), I wondered what both might have had in their thoughts years ago while baking and turning out dough with such quiet patience.

Alone with my own thoughts, fashioning the pie, I further mused of generations: my old friend rollerskating with me in my parents' basement when we were children, her new husband who is a chef, her mother cooking in the kitchen, my Nana's cradling hands, Baby too far away, and the fleeing image of a woman who left Russia with only a rolling pin smoothly hewn from burled wood. Fine company indeed.

Slowly simmering the ground pork and beef with onions, salt and pepper...

peeling the potatoes before heading to the stove top to boil them for about 45 minutes as the meat cooks...

and here's the meat mixture about to be combined with the potatoes that I mashed once cooked.

Take it away, Mrs. K!

Mrs. K writes, "Here's the Pork Pie Recipe that I use. Got it from my sister-in-law many years ago. It looks complicated, but it is the easiest Pork Pie Recipe that I've ever used."

My comments in italics as usual.

Pork Pie Recipe
(Makes two 9 inch pies)
2 pounds ground pork
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper Lots of it
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. cinnamon I used less
1/8 tsp. ground cloves I would use less or add tarragon as a different spice
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 med. onion chopped fine
2 cups water
3 large potatoes
2 9" pie shells with top crust (I use Pillsbury ready made)

Combine ground pork, beef, onion, salt, pepper and water in a deep fry pan. Mix and cook slowly for 45 minutes. DO NOT DRAIN! Add spices and cook 15 more minutes. Let stand a bit so flavors will blend. Peel and cook potatoes until done. Mash while hot and mix with meat mixture. Let cool about an hour. Place in pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees on the middle rack for about 30 minutes or until crusts are browned. You can prepare pies, but wrap one in Saran Wrap covered with aluminum foil and freeze for another time. Defrost before cooking.

Do enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple and Sage Pork Chops

One afternoon while in the grocery store, I spied a packet of McCormick's Recipe Inspirations. Pre-measured spices are neatly assembled and a recipe for a dish utilizing them is on the back! Too tremendous! All you need are a few additional items, such as in the case of the Apple and Sage Pork Chops, well obviously the apples and pork, but also basic things such as flour, brown sugar and onions that you might already have around the house. I had some apricot wheat beer from the Ithaca Beer Co. and substituted that for the apple juice listed in the recipe below. It turned out to be a grand idea. With a salad of parsley, pancetta, buttermilk and lemon via to start and Ciao Bella's blood orange sorbet to follow our perfect pork chops, there was a ribbon of summery fruit flavors that were evenly balanced with the savory suggestions to welcome the fall.

Apple and Sage Pork Chops
Makes 4 servings.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package McCormick Recipe Inspirations Apple and Sage Pork Chops
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 red apples, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Mix flour, all of the Spices and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the seasoned flour.
2. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add pork chops; brown on both sides. Remove from skillet. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender. Add apples; cook and stir 2 minutes.
3. Stir in juice, sugar and remaining seasoned flour until well mixed. Return pork chops to skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until desired doneness.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jay's Apple Pie

I hated making this apple pie but I sure loved eating it. The whole peeling and coring (without a corer) of eight apples felt like it took hours. There are apples available that are all prepped to pop into a pie, so next time I might just do that when there are a decent variety of these ready-to-go apples on the grocery store shelves. Or proceed as you may. As Jay suggests, I used pre-made dough too which I have also always found to be quite good and certainly less tedious. Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream is quite a good idea, but you might want to try a slice of melted Grafton cheddar on top--or both!

Do enjoy and thanks to Jason 'Jay' Prince for his adaptation of the recipe with his comments--and a shout out to my dear TD for sending this along.

Jay’s Apple Pie
Variation of Joy of Cooking Apple Pie recipe
"I’m too lazy to make a crust by hand, so I just use the pre-made rolled-out crusts. It’s a better pie if you make a real lard crust, but turns out surprisingly well with a store-bought one."

• Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
• Preheat oven to 425-degrees
• Peel, core and slice about 6-8 medium/large apples.

"I like using 2-3 Macintosh cut up into chunks approximately 1/2” by 1.” Macs turn pretty mush but have such a great flavor that I like them in the pie."

Slice 3-4 Cortlands or Braeburns into 1/4” thick, but long slices.

"These keep a good texture in the pie. Fujis and Galas work well, too. I also like a couple of Golden Delicious apples for a little variety in texture."

• Combine the apples in a big mixing bowl with
2/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
• Let everything stand for about 15 minutes to soften the apples so they fit into the crust better. Stir every couple of minutes to keep it all coated.
• Fill the crust and put on 6-8 pats of salted butter before covering with the top crust. Seal the edges and cut several steam vents, then mix together.
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to sprinkle all over the top of the crust.

• Bake the pie for 30 minutes -- "I use a crust-saver ring for the first 30 minutes."

• Slip a baking sheet under the pie and reduce the temperature to 350-degrees for another 30 minutes.
• Cool the pie on a rack 3-4 hours for the filling to completely thicken properly.

"Enjoy with French Vanilla ice cream and to reheat, put the pie in a 350-degree oven for fifteen minutes"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sage's Sweet Sixteen

We try to do what we can, and at best, inspire. When my sweet cousin turned 16, (my, children grow up so quickly, don't they?) she came into town for a visit with her mother and Baby and I threw a party for her all weekend, whisking her about all over the city.

What to do but have a Croquet Lawn Party upon their arrival, even though we don't have a lawn or a croquet set! I had been itching to make recipes culled from a Gourmet magazine issue all the way back from 1994 but never really had the proper moment. So here it was for our celebration: A few pitchers of Southside vodka cocktails with mint were served, but I didn't squeeze my own limes or make simple syrup--adding Simply Limeade did the time-saving trick! We made a dried sour cherry and cream cheese spread with pecans and bought a jar of salmon rillettes (sort of a salmon pate) for starters. Chicken salad tea sandwiches (recipe below) were absolutely fabulous with crushed smoked almonds. Cheddar chutney tea sandwiches and minted radish tea sandwiches with lemon mayonnaise further fed our small crowd.

To celebrate the sweet event, we set a Peppridge Farm lemon cake afire with blueberries, edible flowers and sparklers, as you do. Cheers, girl!

Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches with Smoked Almonds
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
3 cups chicken broth
2 whole boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
24 very thin slices Pepperidge Farm bread
1/2 cup finely chopped smoked almonds (about 2 ounces)

In a deep 12-inch skillet bring broth to a boil and add chicken breasts in one layer. Reduce heat and poach chicken at a bare simmer, turning once, 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and cool chicken in cooking liquid 20 minutes. Discard skin and shred chicken fine.
In a bowl stir together chicken, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, shallot, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Make 12 sandwiches with chicken salad and bread, pressing together gently. With a 2-inch round cutter cut 2 rounds from each sandwich. Put almonds on a small plate and spread edges of rounds with remaining 1/2 cup mayonnaise to coat well. Roll edges in almonds.

Sandwiches may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled.

Makes 24 tea sandwiches.

Shouldn't You Just...?

Spread out gourds and apples on your table in an attractive vessel, befitting autumn's harvest?

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new millennium.