Sunday, November 30, 2008
This last year I took the easy way and bought Marie Callender's cornbread mix. It used to be so good, practically cornbread cake. But several months ago I baked a batch and it was not good--even bitter. Then I bought a another mix thinking it would improve if I added a can of creamed corn. Slightly better but still not good.
I found this recipe in a magazine--can't remember which one--but the chef is a Southern cook named Crecent Dragonwagon--isn't that a great name? And this recipe is in her book, The Cornbread Gospels.
I didn't have a cast iron skillet and secretly alway wanted one (I'm not a camper so where was my excuse to purchase one?) Target had the brand I wanted--Lodge Logic--so I bought a 10-inch skillet for around $14.
The cornbread was excellent--crunchy on the edges and not real sweet. And the stone ground corn meal is worth looking for. I found a good brand, Bob's Red Mill, at Whole Foods but I know it's at Sprouts, too.
Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread
vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In a smaller bowl, stir the baking soda into the buttermilk. Whisk in the sugar, egg and vegetable oil.
4. Put the prepared skillet over medium heat, add the butter, and heat until the butter melts and is just starting to sizzle. Tilt the pan to coat the sides and bottom.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine quickly, using as few strokes as possible.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cornbread is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.
Friday, November 28, 2008
By the way, Phyllis just celebrated her 80th birthday! Her party, hosted by her three daughters, included darling hats and hand-made boas--it was great fun.
½ c granulated sugar
1 ¼ c dark Karo syrup (spray measuring cup with Pam, tip from Phyllis)
4 T melted butter
1 t vanilla
1 c pecans (heaping)
Cook sugar and syrup until mixture thickens—cook on high, then reduce to medium and cook 5 minutes (sugar will be dissolved, syrup consistency)
Beat eggs well
Add hot syrup slowly (or eggs will curdle), while continuing to beat
Add melted butter, vanilla, salt, and nuts
Pour into pie shell; bake in hot oven at 450° for 10 minutes, turn oven down to 300° for 35 minutes
Makes 1 9” pie
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
May your day be filled with family, friends, good food, and an acknowledgement of all the many blessings received.
Here are a few blessings on my gratitude list:
My fun family
Every single one of my precious friends
My glorious job
My comfortable home
The rain this morning
Living in beautiful Arizona
Enjoy this lovely Thanksgiving weekend...
Sunday, November 23, 2008
cake for my niece, Ellie, I decided to honor the recipe and make three layers.
Garnish:1 cup halved fresh strawberries
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Lightly grease three 9-inch round cake pans with spray vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.
Place the cake mix, strawberry gelatin, flour, oil, sugar, milk, eggs and strawberries and juice in a large mixing bowl and blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The strawberries should be well blended into the batter. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and place them in the oven. If your oven is not large enough, place two pans on the center rack and place the third pan in the center of the highest rack.
Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger and just start to pull away from the sides of the pan, 33 to 35 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the layer on the highest oven rack. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes more.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Five weeks ago we planted our two vegetable gardens--seeds, no transplants.
As you can see everything is coming up as it should. But, boy is it slow! They sprouted up so quickly that it seemed we would be eating our organic vegetables in a few weeks. But apparently that is only a tease--I can't imagine we'll be eating anything from our garden very soon.
We have the trellis up ready for the sugar snap peas (top row) to start climbing. I have a small fence now in place around the two gardens to keep Kipling from nibling or trampling on the plants.
Two weeks ago I started thinning. Pulling out perfectly healthy teeny tiny plants felt criminal. The picture above shows our sugar snap peas, mixed lettuces, radishes, carrots, and napa cabbage. So you can see why I think it's going to be a while before we actually can taste any goods from our miniscule plants!
Monday, November 17, 2008
The air was crisp (you know, how Fall it suppose to feel like?) and the sky was a beautiful blue. The lodge supplied bikes so we rode up and down the dirt roads and along the main road checking out the area. The leaves had already dropped off the Quaking Aspens and the Maple trees so the landscape looked even more wintery.
Night time temperatures were around 30 degrees--yeah! Finally, some cold air! And the stars were brilliantly splattered across the sky.
In the evenings we saw a family of racoons and in the mornings a couple of deer. I finished two books and caught up on a bunch of magazines. For two mornings we had the best pancakes ever at Rendevous Diner in Greer.
We took that beautiful drive between Alpine and Hannigan Meadow. Eastern Arizona is my favorite part of the state. All the Colorado Blue Spruce and Engelmann Spruce look like perfect Christmas trees. The elevation is around 9000 so it is even colder than Greer.
Greer Lodge is running some great specials--so if you can take a little time off check out Greer Lodge.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
After reading John Adams, 1776, and Benjamin Franklin, this book continues my ongoing effort to refresh my knowledge of American history. These books remind my why American History class was one of my favorite high school classes (taught by the tough Dr. Shapiro).
It is an exciting period to read about. Creating and organizing this great country was serious business and we know each of the participants paid a price. I am happy to know that leaders such as John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, knew they had a large role to play but each really wanted to be home tending to their farms. They sacrificed time with their families to do their duty.
Each of these gentleman are quoted at various times acknowledging the hand of God throughout the process of crafting language. This is back in the day when leaders openly acknowledged His hand in all things. No one decried this.
The only downside of listening to this book on tape is the narrator--he has the most boring voice. It would be deadly to listen to his voice if I were driving at night. It's a good thing the subject is so good.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
This is my favorite pumpkin muffin. Up until this recipe, I had never tasted the combination of pumpkin and chocolate so I wasn't sure how it would taste. But it sounded so good that I went ahead and baked a batch. Love them!
I think muffins are so pretty anyway and these are extra pretty with the color of pumpkin, the dark chocolate chips, and the sliced almonds that peek out the tops and sides. The combination of these rich flavors make it the perfect muffin for November.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite little cookbooks by Elizabeth Alston.
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
12 Regular or 48 miniature muffins (make one or two days ahead for best flavor.)
1/2 c (1 1/4 ounces) sliced,unblanched Almonds - toasted
1 2/3 c All-purpose flour
1 c Granulated sugar
1 tb Pumpkin pie spice
1 ts baking soda
1/4 ts baking powder
1/4 ts salt
2 lg Eggs
1 c Plain pumpkin (half of a1 lb Can)
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
1 c (6 ounces) chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 F.
Grease muffin cups, or use foil or paper baking cups.
Thoroughly mix flour, sugar, pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Break eggs into another bowl. Add pumpkin and butter, and whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds. Pour over dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cool. Wrap in a plastic bag and keep for 1 or 2 days. Reheat before serving.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Here is another reason why I love belonging to the Bountiful Baskets Co-op: it forces me to find recipes with ingredients I wouldn't normally purchase--like collard greens. I remember my mom making collard greens once when I was a kid. She was from Texas and so fried them with butter--yuck!
So this past Saturday guess what was in my basket? Collard greens. I knew my sister Lori wouldn't want them so I said I would keep them and try to find a good recipe. Love the Internet! I just used GoodSearch dutifully entering Southwest Shakespeare as the designated charity (see Leslie for further information) and found this recipe from Epicurious. It was really good. And believe me, it is not easy to find a healthy recipe using collard greens. Because it is such a southern food it is usually fried or sauteed in butter--lots of butter.
The original recipe called for ham but I made it with some pork my friend Jana bottled for me. And I added 3 cloves of garlic instead of 1 clove and added an extra cup of chicken broth. I would definitely make this again.
Ham and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collard Greens
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove (I used 3 cloves)
a 4-ounce piece cooked ham
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound collard greens
1 cup chicken broth (8 fluid ounces) (I used a whole 15 oz. can)
3 cups water (I used 2 cups of water)
a 16-ounce can black-eyed peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Chop onion and garlic and cut ham into 1/4-inch dice. In a 3-quart saucepan cook onion, garlic, and ham in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale golden.
While onion mixture is cooking, discard stems and center ribs from collards and finely chop leaves. Add collards, broth, and water to onion mixture and simmer until collards are tender, about 20 minutes.
Rinse and drain black-eyed peas. In a bowl mash half of peas with a fork. Stir mashed and whole peas into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and stir in vinegar.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wild Rice Chicken Artichoke Soup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar of marinated artichokes, drained