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Saturday, July 31, 2010


News about a new cookbook...
At Our Table:  Favorite Recipes to Share With the People You Love

While searching the web I discovered that one of my favorite cookbook series has a new addition. I will order it as soon as I finish this post. I recently posted information about one of the cookbooks in this series...see post: Just a Matter of Thyme. As soon as I receive this newest addition, I will choose a recipe from it and post about it. Can't wait until the UPS guy arrives at my house this next week.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The CRUST needs a filling!

CHERRY PIE... Here is part two of my previous post - PIE SUCCESS. 
1 to 1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 cups fresh, jarred or canned sour cherries (drained if jarred or canned)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 unbaked double pie crust
1 tablespoon water

1.  Adjust oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and heat the over to 500 degrees.  Mix 1 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in the cherries and almond extract.  Add up to 4 more tablespoons of remaining sugar if the cherries taste tart.  Spread the cherry pie filling in the unbaked pie crust bottom.
2.  Place the top crust over the top (see note below), seal and crimp the edges.  Lightly brush the top crust with water and sprinkle with the remaining  1 tablespoon sugar.
3.  Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 424 degrees.  Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature again to 375 degrees and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving. 

- After rolling top crust, use mini cookie cutters or sharp knife to add vent holes. 
-Design a lattice top crust when your heart desires.
-Even though many cookbooks suggest a glass pie plate - I prefer tin! 
-It's important to track down sour cherries for a great-tasting cherry pie because sweet cherries lose their flavor once cooked.
-If you are using frozen cherries - make sure you thaw completely and drain before preparing your filling.  If you don't do this...your pie will be too runny.
-TO MAKE AHEAD:  This pie can be stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, for up to 2 days.  It's actually better if you let it set for at least 24 hours before baking.

A MUST! - Find a good cherry pitter. Mine is a dandy! Bought it at a farmer's market.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pie Crust Success!

I bought the most amazing cherries at the Amish market the other day!

I pondered..."Do I make a cherry pie?" "Should I freeze them to use later?"
 or "Make jam or jelly?"

The cherry pie idea won the debate!  I don't make many pies. When I do...I often buy the purchased crust, either the kind you roll out and cut yourself or the ones already in a pie pan...ready to fill. Today, though, I decided to make it from scratch. This choice is not always a good one for me.  I have several pie crust recipes in my collection. Some are passed down from mom and grandma. Friends and other family members have shared theirs. Some have been successful - some not. But today I'm determined to be successful.

When I want a safe recipe, one with thorough directions, I turn to  The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. When I think of the old standby Betty Crocker cookbook I have on my shelf, I also turn to this one for no-fail recipes.  The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook includes amazing tips on making the dough which includes detailed pictures. Ingredients and tools are tested and results shared.

(MAKES enough for one 9-inch pie)
PREP TIME:  5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes (includes one hour chilling time)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces/chilled
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces/chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1.  Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.  Scatter the shortening over the top and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.  Scatter the butter pieces over the top and using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses.  Transfer to to a bowl.
2.  Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture.  Stir and press the dough together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
3.  Divide the dough into two even pieces and flatten each into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out and fitting it into a pie plate. 

Source:  Double-Crust Pie Dough. "The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook."
America's Test Kitchen, 2005. 667-669.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Both Bradfords

We love to go to Branson and stay at Bradford Inn!  There is also a Bradford House where we have stayed many times.  Both places are owned by the same family and can be summed using two words - CHARMING AND DELICIOUS!  I give both cooks and each place 100% credit for the recipes I'm sharing today.  If you happen to visit either place, make sure you pick up recipe cards for these and other recipes made at a delicious breakfast at Bradford Inn and Bradford House. 

I have put together the waffles from the Inn and the syrup from the House to make one of our family favorites for breakfast today - or should I say brunch since it was 10:30 a.m. before the guys came in from fishing to eat. 

Our family first stayed at Bradford Inn when we decided to change our lodging arrangements after arriving at a hotel booked for us by one of those time share companies.  We quickly discovered it was not a place we wanted to stay.  That's a long story I will keep in the family. -:) but  I'm sure if you ask one of my children they will share this memorable story with you. We took a drive and found a charming bed and breakfast high above Branson.  We fell in love with Bradford Inn as soon as we saw it.  Bradford Inn quickly became a yearly Christmas family tradition and will always be our first choice of lodging when we travel to Branson. 

One of the many amenities is a home-cooked breakfast from Bob each morning.  He makes the most amazing waffles.  In fact...we stopped at a kitchen store at a local outlet mall to buy a Belgian waffle maker on our way home after our first stay at Bradford Inn.  My husband and I still use it every time we make these delicious waffles.

Westfall Waffles (Bradford Inn)
2 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups milk
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
-Mix and sift dry ingredients.  Combine beaten egg yolks, milk and oil; add to dry ingredients; beating until smooth.  Fold in stiff beaten egg whites.  Pour a spoonful of batter into hot waffle iron.  Bake until brown. 

Fruit Syrup (Bradford House)
2 cups white Karo syrup
1/2 cup sugar
dash of almond extract
fruit of choice
-Mix white syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and lower heat quickly.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add fruit of choice (see notes below) and almond extract.  Keep warm on lowest heat until ready to serve.

Waffle Notes...
-I always have the box mix on hand.  Aunt Jemima is the best!
-Bob mixes his batter in a large pitcher.  Makes pouring into waffle iron easy!
-Best when batter is prepared the night before making waffles.  Store in the refrigerator.
Syrup Notes...
-Peaches are a must!
-I freeze fresh fruits when in season, pop them out of the freezer, run some warm water over a handful and put into syrup.
-My choice - peaches, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries
-The frozen mixed fruit you buy in the freezer section at grocery stores works nicely.
-Have fun - use your imagination/ add a different variety of fruits each time you make this syrup! 
-Keep left-over syrup in jar in refrigerator for up to one week. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poppy Seed Bread

This week I've been in the bread making mood and have made several of our favorites in the little bit of time I have found in my busy summer days.  What a great treat to freeze and have available for those spur of the moment needs.  Easy to make...

Poppy Seed Bread
3 cups flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons almond extract
Mix all ingredients in mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Flour and grease 2 baking pans.  Fill each pan evenly.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Cool 5 minutes.  Remove bread from pans onto wire racks.  Pour the following glaze over each loaf.

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Sharing a recipe from a cookbook I received as a birthday gift from a co-worker in 1979 is on my agenda today.  When working at a bank I made a wonderful friend in a sweet lady named Ruth. When we were not busy or at lunch our conversations mostly centered around my new married life which included the topic of cooking meals for my new husband.  I have made many recipes from this cookbook which is was compiled from ladies from the Salisbury American Business Women's Association.  There are many stains on this cookbook and the spine is coming apart as you can see from the photographs.  I'm not sure if it's proof that I made lots of messes when I was a new cook or it's evidence of the continuous usage, but one thing is for family and friends have enjoyed the many wonderful recipes through the years. 

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini 
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1/2 cup nuts of choice
1/2 cup raisins (optional) 

Sift dry ingredients together (excluding sugar).  Mix first 5 ingredients well, then add sifted ingredients.  Mix well.  Bake in greased and floured loaf pans at 350 degrees for 1 hour (watch).  Add nuts or raisins, as desired.  (source:  Sally Guilford)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

For our grandchildren

This is a familiar recipe to most of you.... but I had to share this for my grandchildren.  My husband and I kept them for a weekend recently and we spoiled them, as usual.  The oldest loves to get in the kitchen and cook with us... he especially loves to help Pa Pa with breakfast.  One of the things we made with both was "Muddy Buddies."  They both helped and had a blast!  The oldest didn't think he would like this treat when he first saw the chocolate mixture.  In fact, his exact words were "YUCK, YUCKY!"  Soon after he spoke those words... I caught him licking the spoon.  Then his spoken words were... "YUM... That's good!!"  The littlest one was at the opposite side of the kitchen island throwing a fit because she wanted her hands on the spoon and a taste!  I let her shake the bag after adding the powdered sugar.  She thought that was a lot of fun!.  Both grandchildren took a bag of their homemade treats home with them the next day.  We had fun!  I encourage you to make these "Muddy Buddies" with someone you love! 

Muddy Buddies (aka... Puppy Chow)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
9 cups Chex cereal (any variety)

Measure cereal into large bowl; set aside.  Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine in 1-quart microwavable bowl, uncovered on high for one minute; stir.  Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in bowl, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into large plastic food-storage bag; add powdered sugar.  Seal bag; shake until well coated.  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator.  Makes 9 cups snack mix.

We make clean-up easy by pouring our cereal mix in a large freezer bag (gallon) and pour the melted chocolate in and mix.  We then put a little of the powdered sugar in the bag after the cereal is coated with the chocolate...toss until the chocolate coated cereal is completely coated.  Then transfer the mixture to a clean bag, pour the remaining powder sugar and toss until powder sugar coats the entire mixture.  We put this bag in the refrigerator to store.

We have used a couple of other types of cereal.   Crispix is one of our favorite ones!

Source: (General Mills' Chex Cereals)

Question to all you grandparents out there -
 What is one of your favorite things to make with your grandchild(ren)?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Simple Pleasures

TACO SALAD... With a Twist
There was once a wonderful little tea room and store in Moberly named "Simple Pleasures."  It was a place to shop and a place to enjoy some of the best scones you'll ever find anywhere!  The merchandise sold in this store was very unique and fun.  I purchased this cookbook "The Pastors Wives Cookbook." right before Simple Pleasures closed. 

Having a pastor's wife as a dear friend... I'm aware they are often called upon to entertain on a moment's notice.  Contributed by pastors' wives from across the country, the delicious recipes contained within this cookbook can be prepared with ingredients most cooks stock in their kitchens.  "Pastors Wives Cookbook" also Includes menus for entertaining at any time of day, party fare and an extensive sweets section from puddings to pies to pastries.  Many of the recipes you'll find tucked between the front and back covers of this cookbook are ones some of us enjoyed at those after church meals or at community events. You might be looking for one of those recipes so I encourage you to check out this delightful cookbook.

For years, my sister has made a wonderful Taco Salad that is also unique and fun to serve.  It's one of those recipes that doesn't sound good when you look down the list of ingredients ...but it's a nice surprise when you take that first bite.  I have my sister's recipe in my collection but it can also find it in "The Pastor's Wives Cookbook." Try this Taco Salad - with a twist... and share with us what your family and friends thought of it when they took their first bite.

Taco Salad
1 head lettuce, broken in bite-size pieces or shredded
1/2 point Cheddar cheese, grated
1 15-ounce can chili or kidney beans, washed and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 Taco seasoning package
1 8-ounce bottle Catalina dressing
1/2 bag Fritos or similar chips
Taco spice
3/4 cup water

Brown ground beef, drain and cool.  Season with Taco spice.  Add 3/4 cup water, Taco seasoning package and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.  Layer ingredients.  Sprinkle Fritos on top.  Serves 6-8 people.  NOTE:  Omit hamburger meat, if desired.

- I leave the Taco spice out.... the taco seasoning package adds enough taste
-Taco spice can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores
-Don't let too much time lapse before serving this...assemble just prior to serving as chips get soggy
-Plan to eat it all - does not make good left-overs.  If you think you will have some left-overs, I would suggest putting the lettuce, hamburger mixture, beans, tomatoes, onion, salad dressing, chips and cheese in separate containers and let everyone assemble their own salad.  The kids actually prefer this method.

Source:   "Taco Salad." The Pastors Wives Cookbook. Memphis: Wimmer Cookbooks, 1978. 111.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July


Here is a recipe I first had a few months ago at a school event in which our PTO (Parent/Teacher Organization) parents carried in a meal for teachers.  When I was thinking this past week what to make for our annual 4th of July barbecue ... I thought this would be the perfect dish to make because it is red, festive and fun to eat. When I took the first bite of this Raspberry Dip I quickly feel in love with the taste.  It's unusual and very addictive so be careful not to overeat. -:) Several who were together when the first bites were taken were saying things like..."Wow - this is delicious!"... "What is in this?"... "Who made this?"  We were all trying to figure out what ingredients were included.  Some said... cheese (that was the obvious one).  Someone said, "I taste onion," and another person said "It's raspberry preserves on the top."  With further investigation the recipe was tracked down and I have made it several times since.  No doubt - You will be as surprised I was when I saw the ingredients contained within this recipe.  

3 cups finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 cup chopped pecans
1 bunch green onions
1 jar raspberry preserves

Mix cheese with mayonnaise, pecans and however much green onions that you like. Use the green stem of the green onions to add the green color.  Spread in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Top with raspberry preserves and refrigerate.  Serve with crackers of choice.  If you want to make ahead of time, make the bottom layer and refrigerate.  Then spread the preserves on the top right before serving.

(from the kitchen of Bobbi and Bonita)

For fun....use a cookie cutter, cut into the shape of a star (or shape of your choice) to serve.

QUESTION:  What do you think?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cucumber Salad

Remember the side dishes we had with our grilled hamburgers a few days ago?  Here is the recipe for the Cucumber Salad.  Leftovers of this salad are actually in our refrigerator as I write.  This salad keeps for several days and even gets better with time.  The recipe was one passed down to me by my mother.  I added a few seasonings to taste that she didn't include.  Wish I could share this with her today!  She would be delighted to hear how I make her Cucumber Salad.  She would say "Wonderful!"  Mom often made this salad during garden season, but it can be made anytime of the year.  This makes not only a delicious salad but it's simple and elegant at the same time.  Serving it in a vintage bowl or a canning jar with a lid are two ways I prefer to present this salad at our dinner table.  I hope you enjoy this cucumber salad as much as we do! 

Cucumber Salad
3 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced (see note below)
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
dash cayenne pepper, ground
dash dried parsley flakes
dash dried leaf basil

Combine all ingredients, except cucumbers, to a pan and heat until sugar melts.  This takes just a very short amount of time and medium heat seems to work well.  You don't want the liquid to boil.  Pour over cucumbers.  Chill.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

*After peeling cucumber, I like to run the tines of a fork down the length of the cucumber to make straight lines.  I do this all the way around and then slice.  This technique makes the dish a little more attractive. 

*When I have vidalia onions...slicing these and adding them to the salad is a nice addition.  I thinly slice the onions and separate them into hollow rings. 

QUESTION... When you see the word "dash" in a recipe - What does a dash mean to you?  (Comment below)