Friday, March 30, 2007

Miss Debbie's Creme de Menthe Brownies

We always make these at Christmas. They are wonderful and moist. They also freeze well.

Step One
For Brownie:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 16 oz. can Hershey Syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Step Two
Mint Filling
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. green creme de menthe liquor

Step Three
Chocolate Glaze
1 6 oz. package chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter

Step one
Melt butter and add sugar, salt, hershey syrup and eggs, and vanilla, mix well. Add flour and mix well. Put into greased 13 x 9 pan, lined w/ "Release" aluminum foil or parchment paper. (Let the aluminum foil extend over 2 sides so you can use it to lift the brownies out.) Bake for 30 mins. in 350 oven. Remove and LET COOL.

Step Two - Mint Filling
With an electric mixer beat butter with powdered sugar and creme de menthe until smooth. Spread over COOL brownies.

Step Three - Chocolate Glaze
Melt over low heat (or in microwave) chocolate chips and butter. Mix and let cool slightly before spreading over mint filling. Chill in fridge for a few hours. Remove from pan and cut into 1" squares. (Trim the edges first for really neat brownies). Place on cookie papers to serve.

Katherine Hepburn Brownies (Ama B's recipe)

These are our favorite brownies.  They are SO EASY, I don't know why anyone
would use  a mix.  Delicious! I usually double this recipe and cook in 9 x 9" pan.

2 oz dark chocolate (I like Lindt dark)
1 stick Unsalted butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tbl instant espresso powder (optional)
1 Cup chopped toasted pecans or chopped chocolate (optional) (I like either Ghiradelli chocolate chips or another Lindt chocolate bar broken up.)

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan
w/ "Release" aluminum foil and butter. Let the foil extend over 2 sides and you can use it
to lift the brownies out of the pan.
In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate with the butter over low heat, stirring until
completely melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.  Add the eggs and
vanilla beat well.  Stir in the flour, salt and pecans or chocolate and mix well.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool and lift
out of pan, using the aluminum foil to lift it.  (or turn pan upside down on board)
To make a super-neat brownie, trim the edges and then cut into squares.

Pavlova by Nigella Lawson

This is for Katie, who adores the merengues from Mexico. I haven't tried this, but it sounds easy and delicious.

4 egg whites at room temperature
1 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
few drops pure vanilla extract
1 Cup heavy cream, whipped till firm
pulp of 10 passion fruits (or other chopped & sweetened fruit)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and draw a 20-23cm circle on the paper. I often don't, and just imagine what size the circle should be as I dollop the meringue on. This seems to work fine.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in the sugar, a third at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly. Mound on to the paper on the baking tray within the circle, flatten the top and smooth the sides. Place in the oven. IMMEDIATELY reduce the heat to 300 and cook for 1 hour . Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in it to cool completely.

Invert the pavlova on to a big, flat-bottomed plate, pile on cream and spoon over passion fruits scooped - pips and all - from their shells. Don't be tempted to add other fruit.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Low-Cal Mashed Potatoes

6 servings

6 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 C skim milk
Butter Buds
salt & pepper

Put potatoes into a pan of cold water, bring to a boil, lower heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes.

In a blender or using a stick blender, process cottage cheese and milk until smooth.

Mash potatoes with a potato masher or ricer and add 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture. Mix and add more if potatoes are too dry. Add Butter Buds to taste. Add pepper. You probably will not need salt as cottage cheese and Butter Buds are salty.

Shepherd's Pie

I made this with leftover leg of lamb, but you could use leftover pot roast or even ground beef. Adjust everything to the amount of meat that you have.

1 tbl olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 cups of chopped, leftover beef or lamb
3 tbl flour
1 can beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1/2-1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp rosemary (for lamb)
1-2 tbl worstershire sauce
1 tbl dijon mustard
2 tbl tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste
mashed potatoes

In the olive oil, saute onion & carrots with a pinch of salt until onions are translucent. Add the garlic & some of the thyme & saute for a minute. Turn up head and add the meat. Season with remaining thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper and cook til no longer pink. Add the flour and cook 3 minutes, browning the flour. Add the beef stock and the wine, stirring until thickened. Add the bay leaf, worstershire sauce, dijon, tomato paste; partially cover and cook about 20 minutes,stirring occassionally. You may need to add water or stock if it starts to stick. Taste & adjust seasonings. Put in a greased casserole dish, top with mashed potatoes. (You may refrigerate at this point) Bake at 350 until hot, bubbly and browned, about 20-30 minutes. If you refrigerate it first, bake about 45 minutes.

LINGUINE WITH CHILE, CRAB, AND Parsley

The idea for this recipe came from Nigella Lawson, but I've changed it so much that it no longer resembles her recipe. This is a nice recipe for summer or any quick supper.

Makes 4 servings

2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp hot chile flakes
8 oz container precooked, homogenized crabmeat
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 1/2 lemons
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1//2 pound of linguine
Big Handful fresh parsley, chopped

Boil 5 quarts water. With a mortar and pestle, grind garlic, chili, and salt into a smooth paste (or mix in a bowl). Add crabmeat Pour in oil. Add lemon juice and zest. Beat with a fork. Boil pasta according to package directions until al dente and drain. Top with crab sauce and toss. Add parsley and tomato. Boil pasta according to package directions until al dente and drain. Toss with sauce. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt.