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Showing posts from January, 2011

As Comforting as Comfort Food Gets!

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Shoot, who doesn't love a perfect golden crusted grilled cheese sandwich? There's even a Baltimore based restaurant chain dedicated to the joys of every mom's fall back dinner special.

With a big flavor boost from homemade lightly herbed bread sliced thick, the classic grilled cheese sandwich is still the perfect partner for a bowl of homemade tomato soup. Both recipes below are easy and delish.

HERBED GRILLED CHEESE BREAD
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon finely grated cheddar
1 teaspoons fresh ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried winter savory (or oregano)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon very warm tap water
1 quarter ounce package quick rise dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey

Combine flour, milk powder, cheese, salt and herbs in food processor with a dough blade attachment. In a small bowl mix warm water honey and dry yeast. Allow yeast mix to sit 3-5 minutes.

Using 1 tablespoon oil, grease a large bowl, set asid…

Chase Away Snow Blues Cookies

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Yup, it's another day of no school, skeleton crews and shoveling here in western Massachusetts. This time, I'll be watching for the plow guy and ready to run out in my penguin pants, furry jacket and morel boots holding my snow shovel and looking as pitiful as possible so he'll not dump the entire street full of snow bank in front of our house!

It's also a perfect baking day.  What could possibly be better on a cold snowy evening than a cup of hot cocoa and a citrusy sugar cookie? These crunchy treats are made with ingredients from favorite vacation spots: reminders of pleasant sunny beach days to come. I should call them Cape Cod Key West Hawaii Cookies!

CRANBERRY MACADAMIA LIMEYS
1 cup sugar (I like to use Florida crystals but any sugar will do.)
3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 large egg
2 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur makes this, but all-purpose flour will do)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (Hawaii)

Even Carnivores Will Like It.

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Friends come in all shapes and sizes, ethnic and lifestyle varieties. Makes life and dinner conversations lively and interesting.  But when it came to dietary preferences, especially when vegetarians and meat eaters sit at the same table, a menu that satisfied without someone feeling odd man out was a challenge.

And then I found a recipe for mushroom leek pie: a big success at an informal buffet as a choice but not quite ready for a sit-down dinner party. So me being me, I fiddled around and came up with this super healthy and elegant adaptation at 220 calories per serving. Open with a flute of champagne, add a mixed green salad with your favorite dressing plus a fabulous dessert like Bananas Foster... who could complain??? 
SUPPER STRUDEL 1 cup thinly sliced leeks 1/2 cup canned vegetable broth 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms (any kind will do, but we like Baby Bellas best) 8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 ounces Chevre (mild goat cheese) 1 teaspoon poppy or …

Best Blizzard Line of the Day

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"I am off to get my supply of bread, eggs and milk for the level three French toast warning. And some brandy in case things get really bad," courtesy of friend and fellow foodie, Janet Beyer.

Here is a basic French toast recipe. Perfect or a snowbound morning. While you're at it, check this site out: French Toast Weather Report!

BASIC FRENCH TOAST
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sugar
Dash of salt
8 slices bread (I love love love challah French toast)
Butter favored cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter
Maple syrup

Break eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate; beat lightly with a fork. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk. Over medium-low heat, heat griddle or skillet coated with a thin layer of cooking spray.

Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate, letting slices soak up egg mixture for a few seconds, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Soak/coat only as many slices as you will be cooking at one time. Transfe…

Chocolate pudding, plain, simple, good.

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Most of last week I was down for the count with the head cold from hell. Too sick to eat never mind cook but everyone else still wanted supper. For the most part, they manage pretty well on their own at my house, right down to dessert.

And that dollop of whipped cream isn't from a store bought aerosol can. We aerate our own cream, and add flavors like chocolate syrup, vanilla and even spiced rum or ginger brandy with a great gadget - an iSi whipped cream dispenser.
SIMPLY YUMMY CHOCOLATE PUDDING 3 cups skim milk
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flour
Beat egg yolks in saucepan. Add three cups milk and stir well.  In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, sugar, and cocoa.  Add cocoa mixture to saucepan ingredients.  Cook pudding over low heat and whisk constantly until it comes to a low boil and the consistency thickens. Remove saucepan from heat and add vanilla. Pour into individual serving glasses while still warm. Cool before serving. …