Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Knead Raisin Walnut Bread

This recipe can be found on the very beautiful cooking blog, Shutterbean...... spend time there, she has many wonderful recipes and lots of detailed photos. She is one of my "heroes".

Corn and Blueberry Salad

6 ears fresh corn, husked and boiled, when cool cut corn from the cob

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 small cucumber, sliced (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

2 TBS lime juice

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS honey

1/2 tsp ground cumin

In serving bowl combine cut corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno, (i omit the cucumber and jalapeno). For dressing, in screw top jar combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin and salt to taste (i omit the salt). Cover and shake dressing, add to the salad and toss. cover and refrigerate overnight to let flavors blend. ONLY 152 calories!

Freezing Peaches

Powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C or FruitFresh) sprinkled on peaches or mixed with syrup keeps them bright and fresh looking for recipes or preserving.

•Peach halves or slices packed with sugar or in sweetened syrup remain plumper and firmer than peaches packed without sugar.

•Use medium or light syrup to preserve the fresh fruit taste.

•Frozen peaches make excellent pies or cobblers. When preparing peach pie filling, be sure to account for the sugar added to peaches before freezing.

•Frozen peaches used raw in fruit salad or compotes are best served with a few ice crystals still remaining. If completely thawed, they will become mushy.

•Puree peaches, add a dash of lemon juice, sweeten to taste and freeze in small quantities to be used as toppings for ice cream, yogurt, pancakes or waffles.

•Peaches can be stored in the freezer at 0ºF for eight to twelve months.

•One bushel (48 pounds) of peaches yields 32 to 48 pints for freezing.

the easiest - I learned from my grandfather to just throw the peaches in the freezer whole. You put about a dozen in each bag - take them out as you need them.

Run the peach under luke-warm water and the peel slips off. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, slice the peach and use as you want. You'll be surprised at he consistency - quite nice!

“Keep Your Cool” Peach Pie


One 9-inch  purchased graham cracker crumb crust, chilled in freezer.


1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate

2/3 cup peach nectar*

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (one 8-ounce carton) plain yogurt

2 cups fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

(about 1 pound or 4 medium peaches)

Soften gelatin in peach nectar over low heat. Stir until dissolved. Stir in orange juice and vanilla. Chill until slightly thickened, then whip until fluffy. Fold in yogurt and whip again. Remove crust from freezer and arrange one cup of peach slices on the bottom. Pour in two-thirds of the filling. Arrange the rest of the peaches on the filling and pour in remaining filling. chill until set. Garnish with peach slices.

Makes: 8 servings

*Buy at store, or make at home by pureeing peaches and adding water. Sweeten with a little sugar if desired.

Peach Crunch Bars

If you have homemade granola, use it - it makes these bars exceptional!

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup margarine, melted

2 cups peaches, fresh, frozen or drained canned peaches

2 cups granola (homemade is best!)

Grease 9-inch square baking pan. Combine flours, brown sugar, and granola in a large bowl. Stir in honey and melted margarine until mixture is crumbly. Press half the mixture into the baking pan and arrange sliced peaches on top. Sprinkle remaining mixture on the top. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Cool in pan before cutting into bars.

Makes: 12 bars

Nutella and Banana Galettes ( Great for Girls Night Out)

Nutella, and bananas make a wildly delicious treat. The sliced bananas resist browning after a brief dip in fresh orange juice, so they'll remain lovely until your guests' cravings for sweets hit.

Sweet Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large or 2 small ripe (but not soft) bananas

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup Nutella

2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts

To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has a sandy texture. Add the egg yolks and pulse twice, then add the water and vanilla and pulse a few times to incorporate. Pinch a bit of the dough between your fingers; it should hold its shape without feeling dry. If needed, add another teaspoon or two of water. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set 2 oven racks on the centermost levels.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 14 inches across and 1/8 inch thick (let the dough sit for 10 or 15 minutes if it is too firm to roll right away). Use a 2 3/4-inch round cutter (plain or fluted) to cut rounds from the dough. Arrange them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes, switching the pans about halfway through for even cooking. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer the pastry to a wire rack to fully cool.

Cut the banana into 1/4-inch slices and put them in a bowl with the orange juice. Toss gently to be sure that all slices are fully coated in the juice and let sit a few minutes. Transfer the slices to a piece of paper towel and lightly pat the tops to dry. Top each pastry round with 1 teaspoon of the Nutella and spread it out a bit, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Arrange 2 or 3 banana slices, slightly overlapping, on top of the Nutella. Sprinkle the bananas with chopped hazelnuts and arrange on a platter for serving.

Makes 18 to 20 galettes

Double all the ingredients, making the dough in batches.

Best not to halve. Roll out and use half of the dough, freezing the rest for another time.

Make the dough, wrap well, and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead. Bake and assemble the galettes up to 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blistered Brussels Sprouts

When I was growing up, I turned my nose up to Brussels sprouts. Little did I know that this strong smelling member of the cabbage family was a little gem when prepared properly. I am now a huge fan of Brussels sprouts, and prepare them often when they’re in season, usually in a sauté with prosciutto or pancetta, shallots or onions and garlic.

Blanching the Brussels sprouts and then shocking them in cold water will decrease the time it takes to sauté the sprouts while ensuring they are perfectly tender throughout. I like to blanch the sprouts early in the day and refrigerate them in a zip-top plastic bag. Just before dinner I’ll throw them into a hot skillet with other ingredients, letting the heat of the skillet blister them just a bit on the outside.

The sprouts also can be sautéed indoors or out on your Viking Wok/Cooker. Just follow the recipe as written, but stir your sprouts continuously until they begin to caramelize.

  • 2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots or 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
  • Coarse sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and peeled garlic cloves and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into a colander, drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Slice Brussels sprouts in half and cut garlic cloves into thin slivers.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and shallots or onion and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add prosciutto and sauté 1 minute. Add Brussels sprouts and slivered garlic and shake the pan or stir well to combine the ingredients. Cook, without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Shake or stir the ingredients again, and then cook, without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more, until shallots and Brussels sprouts begin to caramelize. Season to taste with a sprinkling of the coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops with Root Beer Marinade

4 (1-inch thick) pork chops
3 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles root beer
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chipotle-flavored hot sauce
 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch salt, to taste
Place the chops in a baking dish, pour 2 cans of root beer  over the chops. Place in refrigerator to marinate at least 2 hours. Remove the pork chops from the root beer, season with salt and pepper.
In a medium saucepan, combine the last can of root beer, beef stock, brown sugar, hot sauce and W-shire sauce - heat over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup. Set aside.
Preheat the outdoor grill - for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate just before putting the chops on.
Grill chops until the center is no longer pink, about 8 minutes per side.  If you are using an instant read thermometer, it should read 160 degree.  At this point, brush the chops generously with root beer sauce and grill an additional 2 minutes on each side to glaze them.

Remove from grill and place on platter - poor remaining sauce on top of the chops. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Corn on the Cob with Chive Butter

Everything tastes better with fresh chive-infused butter — especially sweet summer corn!

* 12 ear(s) corn, with husks
* 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) butter, softened
* 1/4 cup(s) chives, snipped
* 2 tablespoon(s) fresh basil leaves, chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
* 1 pinch(s) ground red pepper, (cayenne)

In large saucepot or kettle, place corn with husks and enough water to cover.

Let corn soak at least 15 minutes. (Soaking corn with husks in water helps keep husks from burning on grill.)

While corn is soaking, prepare outdoor grill for covered direct grilling over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, with spoon, mix butter, chives, basil, salt, and ground red pepper. Set chive butter aside. Remove corn from water; drain well.

Place corn on hot grill rack. Cover grill and cook 20 to 30 minutes or until husks are charred and kernels are tender, turning occasionally.

To serve, with paper towels, pull off husks and silk. Serve corn hot with chive butter.

There is no reason to remove silk first; it comes off when husks are removed after cooking.

How to Make a Cherry Pitter

In Michigan, Cherry Season is in July - if you don't have a cherry pitter you can make one from a cheap fork.

Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri

1/4 C. Strawberries
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
2 tsp. Sugar
Dash of Grenadine
Combine in blender with ice.

Low Sugar 007 (Orange Rum)

Named after our British friend James Bond for some reason, this is a light and refreshing drink with a hint of orange.

1 ounce Bicardi O Rum (or any orange flavored rum)
Diet Sprite
Splash of Orange Flavored Crystal Light

The original recipe calls for regular sprite and real orange juice - replacedwith the sugar free options and found it to be equally as good. Thank goodness crystal light make their orange flavored drink meant to copy orange juice!

Low Sugar Lemonade Vodka

 This recipe makes two drinks

1 ounce Raspberry Vodka
1 ounce Vodka
Crystal Light Lemonade
Splash of Raspberry Crystal Light

Of course, vodka has sugar so this is not sugar free.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Moist & chewy on the inside - crispy on the outside.

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons hot water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes or until edges are nicely browned. I use Parchment paper but you can just bake on an ungreased pan.

Variation - (kitchen sink cookies) 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup peanut butter chips 1/2 cup skor bits 1/2 cup white chocolate chips 1/2 cup coconut 1/2 cup nuts (any kind you like!)

** Adding 1/2t. cream of tartar to give the cookies a cracked appearance on top