all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm Taking a Break



Due to family concerns, I will be taking a break for several weeks.  


I will miss you but I will be looking at your blogs from time to time.  Here's wishing you all the best.


Happy blogging and Happy Halloween!


Till later...
Pam







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Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Lemon Pound Cake ~ I’m Telling You the Truth!






On my September 27th post, I told you I would be baking the Lemon Pound Cake recipe from the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook that Bill had been yearning for.  I finally got around to baking it and now I’m trying to figure out what took me so long…





You know how foodies say, “I swear, it’s the best I’ve ever eaten?”  Sometimes I try the recipe, sometimes I don’t.  Everyone’s taste is different and you just never know; however, I can honestly say, “this Lemon Pound Cake is the best pound cake I have ever eaten in my life.”  And Bill echoes the same.  NO LIE!!!  It is outstanding!!!

Here’s what Kathleen King, the owner and founder of Tate’s Bake Shop, says about her cake, “The lemon flavor really comes through in my lemon pound cake.  It keeps well and freezes well, and is exceptional on its own or with fresh berries and cream.”






Here’s what I say about it:  Enjoy it on its own!   If you love lemon and love pound cake, you will fall hard for this one!  It’s so good that after having a slice of it, I gave samples to family and neighbors, and had to lock the rest away to keep it out of my hands.  It has a tantalizing tart/sweet thing going on ~ an amazing tangy lemon favor with just a little bit of sweetness!  It is the absolute perfect combo of ingredients and 4 days later, it was still as fresh as the first day and then it was gone…  







Lemon Pound Cake                             

Ingredients:

2¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
½ cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons

                        ~ ~ ~               ~ ~ ~               ~ ~ ~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan with lots of pan spray and sprinkle it with granulated sugar.  (Flour will leave an unattractive residue on the cake.)

To make the cake:

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and lemon zest, mix them together.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mix sour cream and lemon juice together.
Add flour and sour cream mixture alternately, finishing with the flour.
Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Lemon Glaze:

½ cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water

To make the glaze:

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir.
Cook over low heat without stirring till the sugar dissolves.
Turn heat up to medium and cook mixture until it becomes syrupy.
Don’t overcook it or the syrup will start to turn brown.
When the cake is baked, cool it for 10 minutes in the baking pan and invert it onto a plate.  (Place the plate against the bottom of the pan and turn it over.)
Slowly pour the glaze over the cake and let it cool.

It is the best pound cake EVER and will be on my holiday dinner table!!!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and recipes. 


By the way, I received no compensation for posting this.  It’s just my opinion; it’s a wonderful cookbook with the best pound cake recipe ever.







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Friday, October 21, 2011

Crusty Cheddar Garlic Pepper Biscuits my Way






Biscuits aren’t fancy but believe me, these biscuits are as about as flavorsome as you can imagine a biscuit would be ~ crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside.  Over the years, I’ve tried many variations of this biscuit and never achieved a “great” crusty top layer until by accident recently.  Here’s how it went:

Normally, in recipes for cheese-garlic biscuits, the biscuits are baked and then brushed with the garlic butter when they come out of the oven.  But, one evening in a rush, I brushed them with the butter mixture when I realized they needed more baking time ~ they just weren’t the golden brown they should have been and I was afraid they may not be baked through on the inside.  So back in the oven they went and when they came out and I bit into one, Voila!  I was shocked!  They were a beautiful golden brown, tender inside with a very crusty, cheesy, garlicky top!

We swore they were the best!  Make the batter, drop the biscuits and bake a while.  Pull them out of the oven; brush with a butter, garlic, pepper and parsley mixture.  Then return the biscuits to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or so.  They’re perfectly delicious and you won’t be able to stop at one!




Cheddar Garlic Pepper Biscuits

For biscuits:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons butter, cold
1¼ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk OR ½ cup sour cream whisked with ½ cup milk

For basting:

2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Dash salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Mix flour, baking powder, garlic powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Cut in the shortening and cold butter into the flour mixture using a fork, pastry blender or your fingers until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.
Mix in cheese.
Stir in buttermilk until just moistened.  Do not overmix.
Drop dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about ¼ cup for each biscuit.  Or, use a kitchen tablespoon and heap it extra large.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Stir together melted butter, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley in a small bowl.  With a light hand, brush over warm biscuits.

Bake for another 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve immediately
Makes 12 biscuits


They are so crunchy delicious that they will become your “go-to” biscuits like they are mine!!!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and recipes. 






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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crunchy Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia plus… a Surprise Visit from Fairy Hobmother





I used to be leery of eating fish way back when and only ate fresh bluegills that Dad and friends caught at the lake.  With time, I tried more varieties.   So, I was pleased to have my first tilapia experience at a restaurant with my boss and co-workers when I was in the working world not so long ago.  I saw tilapia on the menu but had never heard of it.  I was curious and then thankfully someone before me ordered it.  I was saved a lot of embarrassment as I would’ve definitely called it “till-up-eeee-uh!”

This dish is delicious with a capital “D!”  The crouton crumbs are crunchy to begin with and combining them with the cheese and cayenne pepper makes a perfect crunchy topping for the slightly firm flaky texture of the tilapia.  It’s a quick dish to prepare that we really like.  It’s a winner!  And I hope you will try it and think so also!


Crunchy Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia

Ingredients:

4 tilapia fillets
¾ cup finely crushed garlic-flavored croutons
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons dried chopped chives
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons each, olive oil and melted butter

Method:

Combine croutons, cheese, chives, chipotle seasoning and salt.
Set aside.
Coat tilapia fillets with butter and olive oil mixture on both sides.
Lightly coat both sides of tilapia in the crouton mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until tilapia is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.

ENJOY!


One thing I’m not leery of is the Fairy Hobmother ~ you’ve probably seen her sprinkling her fairy dust like crazy all over the web lately! 

Recently, I left a comment on my friend Linda’s, My Kind of Cooking, great blog and soon after, was happy to see the Fairy Hobmother’s dust had landed in my email ~ in the form of an Amazon gift card for $25.    The funny thing is, I had just been looking at Amazon, considering something I can’t tell you about now for a Christmas gift.  So, Woo Hoo!  I’ve started my Christmas shopping early for a change!

If you too would like a visit from the Fairy Hobmother, simply leave a comment here on this post and you never know…   Fairy Hobmother just might visit you with an Amazon gift card of an undetermined denomination!





Good Luck to you and thanks again, Fairy Hobmother, for your generosity!  





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Monday, October 17, 2011

Skillet Spaghetti Squash






I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think spaghetti squash is just a bit bizarre!

You cut it in half, remove the seeds and roast it in the oven.  Then you pull it out and rake a fork across it.  It ends up in a heap that somehow looks just like spaghetti.  I’m just saying…bizarre? 






Bizarre or not, it’s delicious in this dish.  The original recipe is Paula Deen’s but since I’m a seasoned pepper addict, I added more of it and garlic also.    The spaghetti squash is combined with onion and bell pepper along with the seasonings.  It’s good! 

And since I don’t want to really diss spaghetti squash, I have to say it’s the most fun vegetable I’ve come across!


Skillet Spaghetti Squash
Adapted

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
½-1 teaspoon seasoned pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut squash in half.
Discard seeds and place on a baking sheet, cut side down.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until fork tender.
Remove from oven and using the tines of a fork, scrape flesh of squash to make strands and lay on a plate.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Remove from skillet and set aside.
Melt butter in skillet.
Add spaghetti squash strands.
Sprinkle with salt and seasoned pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until squash is slightly browned.
Sprinkle with onion mixture.
Serve immediately.
4-6 servings



I bet even your family member who hates squash, will dig this!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes. 





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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

German Breslauer Steaks with Egg Noodles and a Fine Midwest Cookbook





Oh my gosh!  We flipped over this dish, big time!  It was a beautiful cool fall day yesterday and Bill was busy working up an appetite burning brush in the back yard.   Much later, he was one happy man when I served him this incredibly delicious hearty dish for dinner. I was happy with it too!  Woo hoo!

The other day, I had a great surprise when I read an email.  Travis, at The Harvard Common Press, had contacted me and asked if I would like a review copy of Prairie Home Cooking by Judith Fertig. He explained as a way of celebrating a growing focus on regional American cooking, The Harvard Common Press has re-jacketed its classic America Cooks series, including this cookbook by Fertig.

Travis further stated that Patricia Wells praised it as “pure inspiration.”  That really drew me in as I’m a huge fan of Wells and have a lot of her cookbooks.  Here’s what Patricia went on to say about the cookbook:  “For those of us who grew up with cherry trees and fresh raspberries, corn and tomatoes fresh from the garden, bushels full of peaches and apricots from the farmers’ market, and all those homemade layer cakes, pies, and yeast rolls, Prairie Home Cooking is much more than a nostalgic journey.  It is pure inspiration, encouragement to head back into the kitchen and recreate the bliss of our childhood."





Prairie Home Cooking is truly a great collection of tasty American Midwest recipes and is no small book.  There is nothing fancy about it, no glossy food shots in color. But, it does contain a plethora of old-fashioned recipes and new ones too, informative cooking tips and heartwarming, charming stories about the people and places of the heartland; an area that has sadly been overlooked by both the east coast and west coast food writers.

Fertig’s cookbook is chock full of comfort food dishes; the ones just like my Grandma used to fill her table with.  I’m a breakfast lover and by coincidence that is the section I first opened the cookbook to ~ St. Louis Gooey Butter Coffeecake.  That’s definitely a gooey St. Louis standard and one of my favorites to bake and enjoy.  Move on to Old Country Sour Cream Breakfast Crêpes, or how about Amish Friendship Pancakes slathered with melted butter and maple syrup, or maybe a couple of spoonfuls of Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Herb Bread Pudding or a savory Ohio breakfast of Smoked Turkey Hash.

Dinner would be mouthwatering with Old-Fashioned Pan-Fried Chicken with Gravy or Prairie-Style Hay-Smoked Grilled Steak; even Fish Schnitzel or Bill’s favorite, Rich and Creamy Oyster Stew.  And at last, on to dessert:  a couple of dainty Thumbprint Cookies, a slice of Lemon Verbena Pound Cake with Lemonade Glaze, Blitz Torte, Honey Custards with Warm Spiced Berries or one that sounds just like my favorite cake from childhood that Mom baked:  Black Walnut Applesauce Cake.  YUM!  The trick for me now is finding someone wanting to share a stash of black walnuts!



Judith Fertig

So, as you have probably surmised, this excellent cookbook of Ms. Fertig’s is just like the people of the Midwest ~ a melting pot; a beautiful mosaic of German, French, Polish, Dutch, Scandinavian, Italian, Czech, Russian, just to name a few heritages. 

Whether you are:   From a farming family which produces harvests of crops for the “breadbasket” section of the country, a gardener with a green thumb, someone who is fond of lake-caught delicacies, or maybe a Michigan cherry lover like me, or a Spam lover like Bill, or if you’re someone who is curious about Midwest cooking and traditions, or maybe you are just a person who likes to eat delicious robust and comforting food ~ this is the cookbook for you to peruse.  As I’ve said a myriad of times (see my sidebar profile), “I have a weakness for cookbooks and read them like many women read a romance novel, always looking for new creations and interesting facts.”  Prairie Home Cooking is not only packed with delicious recipes that will excite your taste buds, it’s a good read!

There are so many outstanding recipes in Prairie Home Cooking that I will be trying, and posting for you in the future, with the following being the first one I made:  German Breslauer Steaks with Egg Noodles.  I’ll let Judith Fertig describe it for you:  “Brought by northern German immigrants to Iowa and Nebraska, this dish is a cousin of Swedish meatballs; in both dishes, nutmeg flavors the meat among other similarities.  Serve with a steamed green vegetable or a simple green salad, either of which will provide a break from the heaviness of this dish.”

Believe me ~ this dish is mouthwatering delicious to say the least and the cookbook is a wonderful thing.  I’m not saying this just because Travis kindly offered the cookbook to me:  anyone who knows me, knows I am not afraid to voice my opinion and my opinion is exactly what I think.  You should be adding Prairie Home Cooking to your collection soon!  For me, it’s like my new best friend!

Enough said for now!  Here’s the recipe:


German Breslauer Steaks with Egg Noodles

Ingredients:

1 recipe Homemade Egg Noodles (page 259), or 12 ounces packaged egg noodles
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1/3 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ pound mushrooms, sliced thin
¾ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Method:


If you are using homemade noodles, prepare them up to the point at which they are ready to be cooked.

Mix together the veal, pork, chives, onion, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl.
Shape the mixture into 4 large or 6 medium patties. 
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Pan-fry the patties for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through.  (cut to the center of a patty with a knife to see that there is no pinkness left in the meat).
Transfer the patties to a plate.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings left in the pan.
Add the mushrooms, and sauté them until they begin to brown and give off their juices, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock and cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, transfer the steaks back to the pan and simmer gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles in a pot of boiling water, according either to the recipe for homemade noodles or to the package directions.
Drain them in a colander, run them under cold water for a few seconds, and transfer them to individual plates.
Top with the steaks, spoon the mushroom sauce over all, garnish with parsley and serve.


ENJOY!!!


Excellent explains it all!  Thank you again, Trevor and The Harvard Common Press and Judith Fertig for a fine cookbook!







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Monday, October 10, 2011

Marinated BBQ Pork Chops






I hope you all had a good weekend and enjoyed the warm weather like we did.  Our yard is now being blanketed with leaves and we've been having exceptionally nice weather for the last week ~ weather like we should’ve had in June!  It’s absolutely gorgeous out there this fall with all the different colors of leaves on the trees.

But now for the reason of this post:  saucy pork chops.  We really like pork chops and I prefer mine thick and juicy; saucy and tender.  Pork is leaner and healthier than it used to be but may not contain enough fat to remain succulent ~ this is when marinating comes to the rescue.  This is a simple marinade that is not too sweet.  It’s easy to make with ingredients you most likely have on hand.    

This BBQ marinade makes some sticky and delicious chops.  I bet your palate will fall in love with these saucy chops!


Marinated BBQ Pork Chops 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon celery seed
4 (6-ounce) pork chops
                
Method: 

Stir together first 10 ingredients and mix well.
Place pork chops in a plastic bag and spread sauce over all sides.
Marinate in refrigerator for1 hour or overnight.
Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Drain and reserve marinade.
Place chops in skillet and brown on both sides.
Add reserved marinade.
Cover pan and simmer on low heat until chops are cooked through, about 30 minutes.


ENJOY!!!


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes. 





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Friday, October 7, 2011

Cube Steak with Diced Tomatoes and Mushrooms







Once in a blue moon, we like cube steaks and I wanted them prepared some way other than being smothered in gravy ~ you know:  chicken fried steak. That’s when Rotel tomatoes with green chiles came on the scene.

First, here’s a little Rotel tomato trivia: 

Carl Roettele, a Texan and a vegetable packer in the 1940’s, started canning his own version of tomatoes, green chiles and spices.  He decided on the name “Ro*tel” as he thought no one would ever be able to remember or pronounce his real name if printed on the label. 

Mr. Roettele’s tomatoes were an instant hit; appearing on supper tables all over Texas and by 1956 had spread to supper tables in Arkansas and Oklahoma.   In 1992, American Home Food Products bought the Roettele family’s business and ten years later; in 2002, Con Agra became the owner of Rotel tomatoes.  It’s still the same product as when Carl started production of it and if you’ve never tried it, it’s the perfect ingredient to include in a recipe like this one.  It gives the cube steak and mushrooms a zesty, spicy tomato flavor.

See if this doesn’t become a family favorite in your house!



Cube Steak with Diced Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Canola oil
4 beef cube steaks
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 (10-ounces) can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 onion, chopped
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch

Method:

Pour oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
On a plate, combine flour salt and pepper.
Dredge meat in flour mixture.
Brown cube steaks for a minute or two on each side.
Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
Add tomatoes, onions and mushrooms to skillet and cook until onion is tender, about 2-3 minutes. 
Add corn starch to the water and pour into tomato mushroom mixture in skillet.
Bring to a boil for a minute, stirring constantly.
Lower heat to medium-low.
Return cube steaks to the skillet, top with the sauce and cover with a lid.
Simmer until meat is tender and sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles.


It’s quick, it’s good and it’s easy!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes. 




P.S.  I'm not "pushing" Rotel; just my opinion.


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Roasted Italian Sausages with Grapes







I always knew good things come from Ohio (I did, tee hee!).  I came across this recipe in the little cookbook Farm and Foods of Ohio by Marilou Suszko and have also seen many variations of it over the internet.  Ina Garten even cooked it on the “Barefoot Contessa.”

Italian sausages; hot or sweet, are delicious things ~ combine them with some luscious grapes and you have a mouthwatering dish.  The grapes pop and burst their sweet juices as they cook slowly scattered around the sausages.  The sauce is excellent, but there’s just not enough of it so I doubled it and it could even be tripled.  I mixed red and green grapes ~ don’t bother; you won’t be able to differentiate the colors or taste after cooking.

This is a delicious dish that I’m glad I finally tried and you should try it too!  It contains the simplest of ingredients which yields the most amazing flavor you can imagine!




Hot             and            Sweet



Roasted Italian Sausages with Grapes

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds hot Italian sausage
1-1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-1/2 pounds red or green seedless grapes, stemmed (6 to 7 cups)
8 tablespoons dry red wine
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Prick the sausages with a fork and add them to the boiling water.
Boil gently for 8 minutes and drain.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large roasting pan over low heat.
Add the grapes to the pan and toss to coat them with the butter.
With tongs, transfer the parboiled sausages to the pan and push them down into the grapes so that the sausages will not brown too quickly.

Roast the sausages and grapes in the preheated oven, turning the sausages once, until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausages and grapes to a heated serving platter.

Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium-high flame and add the balsamic vinegar. Stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and cook the vinegar and juices until they are thick and syrupy.

Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately, accompanied with mashed potatoes.


This is unique and delicious!!!  A keeper!!!




Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and recipes. 







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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Tate's Bake Shop Winner Is...



Thanks so much to all of you who entered the contest!  To select the winner, I used Random.Org and:


The winner of the Tate's Bake Shop Giveaway is....



Be sure to visit her "yummy" blog ~ she definitely knows her way around the kitchen!


Kim, please email me at mzpst@att.net and the wonderful Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook and 3 bags of Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies will be yours!




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