Monday, October 24, 2016

Hard Boiled Egg Bake

Ooh, this is an ugly recipe, but it sure tastes good!  This could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  The recipe is from AllRecipes.
 
Hard Boiled Egg Bake
 
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 C milk
1 C chicken broth
dash poultry seasoning
dash cayenne pepper
seasoned salt to taste
1/2 C grated cheddar
 
Preheat oven to 450 and grease an 8 by 8 baking dish.  Arrange eggs in dish.
 
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir constantly until golden, about two minutes.  Stir in milk about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until smooth between additions.  Stir in chicken broth and seasonings.  Pour over eggs and top with grated cheddar.  Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Serve over toast.
 
Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Flaky Buttery Biscuits

This recipe is from Martha Stewart and it makes 9 big, fluffy biscuits that were a perfect pair with the apple pie jam I made.  I've only made these biscuits once, but the recipe is good enough to replace my old biscuit recipe.  My only changes were that I didn't need all the milk (no surprise there, since you aren't supposed to just dump in all the milk with any biscuit recipe unless it's drop biscuits), and I chose to make square biscuits.  It's just simpler and faster that way and minimizes how much the dough is handled, but you're welcome to roll the dough out and cut it into rounds if you want.
 
Flaky Buttery Biscuits
  
1 3/4 C flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold butter
about 3/4 C milk
 
Preheat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
 
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into small cubes and immediately add to the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like a very coarse cornmeal.  Pour in 1/2 C milk and stir lightly with a fork, just until the dough comes together.  If it's too dry, you can add the rest of the milk a tablespoon or two at a time.  Knead gently just until the dough looks uniform (this should only be 15 seconds or so), be careful not to over work it.  You want a dough that's just a little tacky.  
 
Dump the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and gently form it into a square about 3/4 inch thick.  Use a knife to cut the square into 9 biscuits.  Leave them touching on the baking sheet, and bake until golden, about 13 to 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.
 
Yield: 9 large biscuits

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Apple Pie Jam

My husband and I went to a you-pick apple farm last month and came home with 8 lbs of apples.  It was the very last day the farm was open, so many of the apples left were extremely tiny (some were as small as cherries) and very, very sour.  We ate the bigger ones as is, but I knew I had to do something involving a lot of sugar with the tiny ones!  So I hit Google and found Apple Pie Jam.  This is actually a combination of two recipes from Taste of Home and Food.com, plus my own inevitable twists.  The basics came from   The original says to peel the apples, but no way was I peeling cherry sized apples.  There would have been nothing left.  A hit with the immersion blender after the apples softened in the pot took care of the skins, and the rosy skins made the jam a lovely color.  
 
And how was the jam?  Great!  Very similar to apple butter, but definitely not the same.  It's kind of hard to describe, but if you like jam and apple butter, you will love this.  One batch of this wasn't actually enough to use all of the tiny apples, and I'm probably going to make it again later this week.
 
Apple Pie Jam
 
6 C chopped apples, with peels
1/2 T pumpkin pie spice (from my own blend)
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 C water
1 packet powdered pectin (I used Ball, this was 6 T from a larger canister)
3 C white sugar
2 C dark brown sugar
 
Place apples, spice, lemon juice, and water in a large pot and cook over medium until apples are tender.  Puree with immersion blender.  Stir in pectin and bring to a boil while stirring.  Stir in sugar.  Raise temperature to medium-high, or whatever temperature is needed to maintain a rolling boil.  When the jam is boiling hard enough that stirring doesn't make it stop boiling, set a timer to 1 minute and cook, stirring constantly.  
 
When the minute is up, immediately remove the pot from the heat and continue to stir until it stops boiling.  Fill jars with hot jam.  Allow to cool, then put the lids on.  Refrigerate until chilled, then put any jars that you won't use right away in the freezer.  Refrigerated jam stays good for a week or two.  Just thaw jars as needed in the refrigerator for a day or two.
 
Yield: 5 or 6 pint jars

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Lemon Vanilla Salad Dressing

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog Shockingly Delicious.  Shockingly Delicious is written by a woman named Dorothy who is a writer, long time cook, and mom.  Dorothy has so many amazing looking recipes on her blog!  I had such a hard time choosing one because the recipes look so interesting.  I considered Vegetarian Chard Soup, Slow Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pork, Hot Gooey Caramel Pie, and Rustic Herbed Stuffing with Greens.  I'll probably make the stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving because it looks so good.  We don't even normally have stuffing at Thanksgiving because my family can take it or leave it, but that one looks too interesting not to try.
 
Anyway, I chose Lemon Vanilla Salad Dressing.  What unique ingredients, I've never seen vanilla in dressing before.  Though I was a little suspicious of how it would turn out, I'm happy to say it's quite good.  Unique and tasty, the flavors totally work!  My husband liked it, too, and he has pretty traditional tastes when it comes to salad and dressings.  I'm having flashbacks to his horror when I served a kale salad with chopped apples, walnuts, and dried cranberries topped with an avocado lemon dressing.  Usually he loves what I make, but he still talks about how bad that was.  I liked it...  Point is, even he enjoyed this dressing, unique and dare I say "girly" as it may be.

I served the dressing over plain bagged salad from the grocery store, but added some of the last of my baby tomatoes and peppers from my garden.  I meant to give the salad a sprinkle of dried cranberries, too, but forgot.  Oops!  What I can say for sure is that I'll definitely make this dressing again.  It would be great in the summer since the flavors are so light, or in the dead of winter to perk things up a bit.  Thanks for the awesomeness, Dorothy!
 
One last thing: I received a sad e-mail saying that November would be the last month of Secret Recipe Club because they're closing up shop.  I remember how excited I was to join 2 1/2 years ago.  The rules were that you had to have 100 recipe posts WITH pictures, and a recipe index, so I spent quite a while building up my collection of recipes with photos (it isn't second nature of me to take a picture of what I cook!) and making the index before I applied.  How disappointing for it to be over.  
  
I'll still lurk around some of my favorite blogs that I found through SRC, like Making Memories with your Kids, Chef in Disguise, Mother Would Know, The Pajama Chef, and BCMom's Kitchen, but it won't be the same.  All of the blogs I've been assigned to have been great though.  Many of the SRC recipes I've made are ones I still make, and I've tried a lot of recipes that I never would have tried. and I've thoroughly enjoyed the past two and a half years of Secret Recipe Club.  Does anyone know of other cooking blog groups like this?
   
  
  Lemon Vanilla Salad Dressing
 
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (I used Nielsen-Massey brand, yum!)
pinch salt
 
Place all ingredients in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender for about 30 seconds or until all ingredients are combined and the dressing has thickened slightly.  Alternatively, you can mix it up in a blender.
 
Yield: 1/2 C dressing