Friday, February 22, 2008

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake


cup butter


tablespoons shortening


cup masa harina


tablespoons cold water (may add more to reach consistency of cookie dough)


ounces frozen corn kernels


tablespoons cornmeal


cup sugar


tablespoons whipping cream


teaspoon baking powder


teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whip butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy.
  3. Add Masa harina slowly and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add water until cookie dough consistency and mix.
  5. Blend in corn kernels.
  6. Mix cornmeal, sugar, whipping cream, baking powder, and salt separately in a large bowl.
  7. Add masa harina mixture and mix until blended.
  8. Grease an 8x10 square pan and pour mixture into pan.
  9. Cover pan with foil and bake.
  10. Bake 40-50 minutes at 350 until it is consistency of custard.
  11. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Chili's Grill & Bar Chicken Mushroom Soup

How often does it happen that my favorite item on a menu ends up being discontinued? Are my tastes that obscure? Am I so out of the mainstream? Obviously the menu makers liked it enough to put it on the menu, but then no one ordered it. Either they never tried it or the mushrooms scared them. Or they loved their other soup so much they never bothered to try anything else. (I am guilty of that sometimes too.) Either way, it was a sad day when they no longer featured this soup. But Happy Day: I found the recipe online and it makes the most glorious soup. Creamy, but not thick. Smooth, with a kick. As soon as I am done here I am shopping for the ingredients. It is raining right now and this soup is sounding so good I am itching for it.

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) margarine
1/4 cup diced yellow onion (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
1/4 cup diced carrots (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
1/4 cup diced celery (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
3 cups sliced mushrooms (about one 8-ounce package, cut into 1/8-inch slices)
1/2 cup flour
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
Pinch of dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 pound diced cooked chicken

Melt margarine in large heavy pot. Add vegetables and saute until tender over medium-low heat. Slowly sift flour over vegetables and let cook briefly, stirring regularly. Do not let flour brown. Slowly add chicken broth to vegetable-flour mixture, stirring constantly. Add herbs, pepper sauce and parsley and stir well. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in half-and-half, lemon juice and chicken. Bring to simmer and cook 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 3 quarts.

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on January 9, 1999

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cornflake Hollies

I have been making these for over twenty years. My best friend in high school loved them so much that all she wanted for Christmas was a box of these. You can make them as wreaths or holly leaf clusters (much easier) and decorate with cinnamon candies, red m&m's, or even strawberry jam. They are ALWAYS on the Christmas Cookie Plate (shown below) and I always make an extra batch for the family, because they all love them.

1 bag marshmallows

1 cube butter or margarine

4-6 drops green food coloring

6 cups cornflakes

Red hot candies

In a large pan, melt the marshmallows and butter. Add food coloring and stir until smooth. Add cornflakes and gentle mix in until well coated in the marshmallow mixture. Working quickly, with well-buttered teaspoons, drop by small clusters onto wax paper. Put two to three red hots onto each cluster. Let cool. Yield: 4 to 6 dozen, depending on the size of each cluster.

BYU Mint Brownies

This brownie packs more pounds on BYU co-eds than anything else (well maybe the fudge does a little more damage.) But that only because the fudge is in a more public place. You have to know where to go to get the mint brownies. Once you discover them, they are addicting. BYU published this recipe in their magazine a while back and I have been making them ever since.

WARNING: Make them for an event, not just to munch on. You will eat until they tray is gone. Plan to share them, unless of course, you WANT to eat the whole pan.

Use your own favorite brownie recipe (or mix) and about 12 oz. of your favorite chocolate frosting.

5 Tablespoons margarine

Dash of salt

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

2 1/3 cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon mint extract

2 drops green food coloring

3 Tablespoons milk

Bake brownies as directed in a 9 x 13 pan. Cool completely. Prepare mint icing: Soften margarine. Add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.

Spread mint frosting over brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for a short time to stiffen the icing. Remove from the freezer and carefully add a layer of chocolate icing.

Here is the original brownie recipe as well, although any recipe works well. The key is the mint.

PREP AND COOK: 90 min. COOL: 1 hr.

1 c. margarine
1/2 c. cocoa
2 Tbsp. honey
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour

1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped walnuts
12 oz. chocolate icing (Use your own icing recipe or purchase some chocolate frosting. You can also search the Internet for chocolate icing recipes.)

Kirsti's Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my friend Kirsti's recipe. Everyone who knows Kirsti knows that she makes the best cookies ever. When we lived near each other, I never bothered getting the recipe because she would bring them to everything. She must make a couple batches a day. Honestly, everyone loves these cookies. The secret is not the ingrdients, but the technique. I made these over and over before I finally got the technique right. The hand mixing is crucial. Many people have this recipe, but if you do not follow the details, they will not turn out right.

1 cup margarine, softened (you CANNOT used butter)

1 cup sugar

1 cup DARK brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons baking soda

A pinch of salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Mix BY HAND (this is a must) the margarine and sugars, until just blended. Mix in one at a time until just blended with each addition, do not over mix: vanilla, soda, salt, flour, chocolate chips.

Scoop in half-a-golf-ball size balls and place 12 on a cookie sheet with either a silpat cover or a single sheet of paper bag or parchment paper. Do not bake directly on cookie sheet. Only bake one sheet at a time on the top rack. Bake at 340 for 13 minutes. Yield: about 4 dozen

Classic Sugar Cookies

This recipe makes good, solid cookies for decorating. They taste very good. The advantage of this recipe is because of no soda or powder, they do not rise at all. So if you have a detailed cookie cutter that you want no change in the shape, while baking, this is a good recipe. Still tastes as good but no change of shape and not quite as soft, so they will withstand any type of frosting or glaze you can throw at them. Adapted my myself, from a Southern Living "Cookies" cookbook.

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla, beating well. Gradually add flour, salt, and nutmeg beating until blended. Divide dough in half, cover and chill 1 hour.

Roll each portion of dough to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with desired cookie cutters. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

This is another old timer. I love the pink color. I love the rich butter taste and the texture. And of course, the cherries and chocolate are a classic combination. I usually overdo it on the chopped cherries, because I love the flavor burst from the chunks.

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons maraschino cherry liquid

¼ teaspoon almond extract

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

A very generous ½ chopped maraschino cherries

Granulated sugar

48 milk chocolate kisses

Beat butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat till combined. Beat in cherry liquid and almond extract till combined. Beat in flour until smooth; add cherries and mix in with a wooden spoon.

Shape dough into 48 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325 for 14 minutes. Remove from oven; press an unwrapped candy kiss into each cookie. Transfer to wire racks; cool. Yield: about 4 dozen

Molasses-Sugar Cookies

This is another recipe that I adapted from the Southern Living "Cookies" cookbook. I added nutmeg (a common theme in my cooking) and changed out the shortening for butter. Butter, shortening, or margarine all work well in this recipe, but it will change the texture slightly. Try all three to see which one you prefer.

¾ cup butter

1 cup sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 large egg

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup sugar

Melt shortening in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in 1 cup sugar, molasses, and egg.

Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; gradually add sugar mixture, beating at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.

Shape dough into 48 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Egg Braid

This recipe was shared by Andrea Carter, Indio,CA at an enrichment cooking activity. She claimed it was no fail so I tried it and she was right. You can also vary the filling by adding other flavors, fruits, or even going for savory, like garlic and cheese.

Source: Family Circle

Prep: 30 minutes
Rise: 1-3/4 to 2 hours
Bake: 30 minutes



2 cups bread flour

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 envelope active dry yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up

1 cup water

3 large eggs, slightly beaten


6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 ground ground nutmeg


1 large egg, lightly beaten


1. Dough: In large bowl, mix 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar and salt.

2. In saucepan, melt butter in water. Let cool to 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F on instant-read thermometer. Add to flour; beat with spoon until combined. Stir in eggs. Stir in remaining bread flour, then all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time.

3. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth, 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour if needed. Place in greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 hour.

4. Filling: In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and nutmeg until smooth. Set aside.

5. Punch down dough; let rest 5 minutes.

6. Divide dough in half. Cover one half. Divide remaining half into thirds. Roll out a third into 15 x 5-inch rectangle. Spread with 3 tablespoons filling. Roll up from long side. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces.

7. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Braid 3 ropes. Tuck ends under. Place on baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic.

8. Repeat with other half of dough for second loaf. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

9. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover loaves. Brush with egg glaze.

10. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to rack; cool. Makes 2 loaves (12 servings each).

Nutrition facts per serving:
calories: 168
total fat: 6g
saturated fat: 3g
cholesterol: 57mg
sodium: 180mg
carbohydrate: 24g
fiber: 1g
protein: 5g

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Passed from Priscilla Long to Diane Caress to Lisa Caress.

When we went to Europe to visit Tom & Diane (they were living there for Tom's work) we had an incredibley long flight from LAX to London and then we took the train from London to Brussels. We met Diane in the train station and then got our rental car and drove to their house. We had two young children (McKayla, 4 and Madison, 2) in tow with their car seats and all our luggage. It felt like the longest day of our lives. We were tired and hungry. Diane made this soup and served it with a perfect baguette she bought down the street. It was so good. At that moment it filled our tummies with warmth and peace. Never had anything ever tasted so good. Every time I make this, I think about that dinner and how good this tasted to us. It will never taste better, but always brings us to a happy place.

4 cups water
6 cubes instant chicken bouillon
1 pound chopped broccoli (originally called for frozen, but I like fresh)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cube margarine

Combine until all in a pot and bring to a boil.

In a blender, mix together:
1/2 - 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. mustard
2 cups evaporated milk
pepper (to taste)

Add to mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Scallion Pancakes (Tsung You Bing)

Makes 6 pancakes, cut each in 4 to 6 wedges.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting the board
1/2 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp cold water
4 to 6 scalolions (white and green parts), thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 to 4 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the boiling water until well blended; then add the cold water. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is firm and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, dust it flour, wrap it with plastic wrap, and let it rest on the surface for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels and set aside.
Divide the scallions into 6 equal portions. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough into a 7 1/2 inch circle. Spread 1/2 tsp. sesame oil on the dough to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle with a scant 1/4 tsp. of salt and one portion of the scallions; them lightly press the salt and scallions into the dough. Fold the dough in thirds, pinch the ends closed, and roll the dough up loosely from one short end like a jelly roll. Turn the coil round side up, dust a little flour on it, flatten it slightly with your fingers, and roll it into a 5 inch circle. Repeat with the remaining dough and fillings.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. oil. When it is almost smoking, place one pancake in the skillet, and cook it for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning it once, until golden brown. Transfer the pancake to the baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven while cooking the remaining pancakes. Add oil to the skillet for each pancake. Cut each pancake into 4 to 6 wedges. Serve hot.

Filipino Lumpia

recipe from Jean Ginther, Indio, CA

Sweet Chili sauce (mae ploy -see below)
1 lb. pkg. egg roll wrappers (Menlo -see below)

1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, chopped finely
1 white medium onion, chopped finely
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 eggs
salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Make a tiny hamburger and fry it to check the seasonings BEFORE you fill the wrappers.) Wrap in the size and shape of a cigar and deep fry in oil until golden yellow. Drain, standing up, in a colander lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with dipping sauce

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

Serves 8


ears fresh corn, shucked


cup extra-virgin olive oil


tablespoons sherry-wine vinegar

Pinch sugar

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


large yellow tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice


large red tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice


cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped


avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice


cups arugula (3 bunches), stems removed


ounces ricotta salata cheese

1. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Cover, and bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat. Add corn, and let simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the corn, and transfer to the ice-water bath. When cool, remove from the ice bath. Using a large knife, remove kernels; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine corn, tomatoes, and basil. Drizzle with half of the dressing, and toss to coat. Gently fold in the diced avocado.

3. Place arugula in a medium bowl. Drizzle with remaining dressing, and toss to coat. Transfer to a large platter. Arrange vegetable mixture over arugula. Shave ricotta salata over salad. Serve immediately.

All-American Meatloaf

Serving: Serves 6

3 white bread

1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1 celery, strings peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic, smashed and peeled

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves, loosely packed

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons ketchup

4 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

8 ounces ground pork

8 ounces ground veal

8 ounces ground round

2 large eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more needles for sprinkling

2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, cut into 1/4 inch-thick rings


Preheat oven to 400 degrees;. Remove crusts from bread, and place slices in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fine crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Transfer breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl. Do not substitute dried breadcrumbs in this step, as they will make your meatloaf rubbery.

Place carrot, celery, yellow onion, garlic, and parsley in the bowl of the food processor. Process until vegetables have been minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. (Chopping vegetables this way saves time and ensures that vegetables will be small enough to cook through and not be crunchy). Transfer vegetables to bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Add 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, pork, veal, beef, eggs, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and rosemary. Using your hands, knead the ingredients until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. The texture should be wet, but tight enough to hold a free-form shape.

Set a wire baking rack into an 11-by-17-inch baking pan. Cut a 5-by-11-inch piece of parchment paper, and place over center of rack to prevent meat loaf from falling through. Using your hands, form an elongated loaf covering the parchment.

Place the remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup, remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard, and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the glaze over loaf. Place oil in a medium saucepan set over high heat. When oil is smoking, add red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden in places. Add 3 tablespoons water, and cook, stirring, until most of the water has evaporated. Transfer onion to a bowl to cool slightly, then sprinkle onion over the meatloaf.

Bake 30 minutes, then sprinkle rosemary needles on top. Continue baking loaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees;, about 25 minutes more. Let meatloaf cool on rack, 15 minutes.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

For the Magical Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry Ice-Cream:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups diced strawberries
For assembly:
6 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Peanut butter chips or chopped peanuts, optional
For the Magical Peanut Butter Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, dipped in sugar to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar. Cool slightly before removing from pan.
Strawberry Ice-Cream:
In a small bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Puree the strawberries in a food processor and add to cream mixture. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. After freezing in the ice cream maker, transfer to a container and place in the freezer, to freeze solid, for 6 hours before serving.
For assembly:
Spread the strawberry preserves on a peanut butter cookie. Top with a small scoop of strawberry ice cream and cover with another cookie. Roll sides in peanut butter chips or peanuts, if desired.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Waldorf Astoria Red Cake

1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs

2 oz. red food coloring
1 c. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa
2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

W.A.R.C. Frosting:
3 Tbs. four
1 c. milk (cool)
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. margarine
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake Instructions:
1. Make past of cocoa and coloring.
2. Cream shortening, sugar and eggs. Add cocoa & coloring. Mix well.
3. Add buttermilk with vinegar and flour with salt alternately.
4. By hand, fold in vanilla and baking soda.
5. Grease and flour cake pans. Makes 3 layers.
6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Frosting Instructions:
Cook until thick- flour and milk. Beat until creamy - shortening, margarine, sugar, vanilla. Mix together and add milk and flour mixture a little at a time and beat well.

Chess Bars

This recipe is from Jennifer Frank, Indio, CA.

1 stick margarine (softened)
1 box yellow cake mix (or be creative and try your favorite cake mix, yellow is the one we like best)
1 egg

Stir and pat into a 13x9 inch pan

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese (softened)
1 box Powdered sugar
2 eggs

Mix until smooth. Spread over bottom layer and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool and then chill.