Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jack Daniel's meatballs

1 pound pork sausage
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup apple jelly
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
hot pepper sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all meatball ingredients. Form into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet & bake about 30 minutes or until browned & cooked through.

Combine all sauce ingredients in a large skillet. Add meatballs and coat with sauce. Cook until sauce thickens slightly. About 5 minutes. 50 meatballs. Serve with toothpicks

Baked Artichoke Squares

3 tbls olive oil
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup shredded cheddar (about 4 oz)
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack (about 4 oz)
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn oil
1/4 Cup milk

For filling: Saute mushrooms, celery, & garlic in oil until celery is tender. Remove from heat & stir in artichokes, green onions, & herbs & spices. Add cheeses & eggs & mix well. Set aside.

For pastry: combine flour & salt in medium mixing bowl. Mix oil & milk in measuring cup and add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until mixture forms a ball. Press dough in bottom and slightly up the sides of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, sprayed with Pam.

Spread cheese mixture on crust; bake 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool slightly & cut into 24 squares. Serve warm.

Horseradish Sauce for Standing Rib Roast

You can add more or less horseradish depending on how hot you like it.

3/4 Cup Hellman's mayonaise
1/4 Cup sour cream
1 Tbl dijon mustard
1 Tbl creole mustard
2-3 Tbl horseradish
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper

Mix all together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Super Easy Foccacia

I make this to go with anything that requires bread on the side.

Fresh Pizza dough from the supermarket

Rosemary (dried or fresh)

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Roll/press the pizza dough onto a cookie sheet like you were making a pizza. Let the dough rise about 30 to 45 min. After it has risen a bit, push your fingers into the dough making little dimples. Brush the dough with olive oil (it will puddle in the dimples, Yum), sprinkle with rosemary (crush it with your fingers to bring out the flavor) and sea salt.

Bake in a 375 degree oven about 15-20 min. until golden. You can freeze the leftovers.

Really easy and yummy. A variation is to add some truffle oil also. But just a little it overpowers quickly.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mississippi Mud Ice Cream Pie

This is a great recipe because you can do so many things with it. Your imagination is the limit. It's make ahead, easy to do, what more do you want?

1 chocolate cookie crust (Make it or buy it)

3/4 pkg Nabisco chocolate wafers (They're always with ice cream cones and such), ground into crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted
Mix together in an 9" pie plate and press to form a crust

1/2 gallon of coffee ice cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (optional, the filling will freeze harder without it)
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 can Hershey's chocolate sauce
1 jar of caramel sauce
Chocolate chips, nuts, or candy

Beat (using cold beaters in a cold bowl) whipping cream to soft peaks Let ice cream soften and add Kahlua. Fold whipping cream into ice cream. Layer in crust with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, nuts, or candy. Freeze until hard about 2 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving and slice while still frozen.

For Peanut Butter Pie: Beat about 1 cup of creamy peanut butter into vanilla ice cream. Use Frangelico or Amaretto liquor. I think it would also be fantastic to fold in chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups.

Beef Braciole

I got this recipe from Bon Appetit. It's from a restaurant in Charleston called the Oak Steakhouse.
This was absolutely fabulous. I changed it a little, because I thought there was too much liquid.
I also used only 2 Italian sausages rather than 4. I didn't think that the flank steak would roll up.

We ate this with a CASA SILVA QUINTA GENERACION 2003 (A reviewer said, "A Bordeaux blend — Chile style — with cabernet sauvignon, carmenere and petit verdot. Wild blackberry punctuated with pine and cedar on the nose. In the mouth it all comes together with dark fruits, wet forest, chocolate and expresso to go with a lingering finish.") which was delicious with it. I made pasta rather than polenta, but mashed potatoes would also be good.

Have the butcher butterfly the steak for you.

1 flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds), butterflied
4 tbl olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbl chopped fresh oregano
1 tbl chopped fresh thyme (I used 1 tsp dried)
1 tbl chopped fresh sage ( I had a little fresh and added 1 tsp dried)
1 3 ounce pkg pancetta, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup golden raisins
4 whole sweet Italian sausages (I used 2)

3 Cups beef broth (I used about 1 cup)
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine (I used about 1/2 a bottle)
1 26 ounce bottle marinara sauce

Open flank steak and sprinkle with salt & pepper, and rub w/ 1 tbl olive oil, parsley, oregano, thyme, & sage. Arrange pancetta sliced atop herbs. Sprinkle with pine nuts and raisins. Arrange sausage down the center of the steak. (In the same direction as the grain of the meat.) Roll meat up and tie at 2 inch intervals. (Can be made ahead & refrigerated)

Preheat oven to 325. Heat remaining 3 tbl olive oil in a wide ovenproof pot. Add steak and brown all over, about 2-3 minutes per side. Add beef broth, wine, and marinara. Bring to a boil. Cover and bake in oven for 1 hour, 45 minutes. Remove meat and cover to keep warm.

Boil sauce in pot until reduced to 4 cups, about 15 minutes. (Since I used half the stock, it only took 5 minutes or so.) Slice braciole into 1 inch slices and arrange on platter. Top with some sauce. (Any leftover sauce is great on pasta.)

Twice baked potato casserole

This is Miss Debbie's recipe, although it's not really a recipe. You can make these lower in calories, by substituting low fat sour cream and using less butter. I like Parmeseano Reggiano cheese in these, but you can use any flavorful cheese. Use your imagination, if you like it on baked potatoes, it'll be good in this.

I usually use about 1 largish baking potato for each person I'm serving. All the amount are approximate. The only way you can mess this up is to make it too soupy. If that happens, cook some more potatoes, mash them, and add to the mixture to thicken.

Serves 6

Optional: Chop 3-4 slices of bacon, fry til crisp, remove to paper towels. Reserve bacon & fat for later.

6-7 baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1+ Cup sour cream
3+ tbl butter
1/2 + Cup parmeseano reggiano cheese, grated
milk, cream, or half & half: enough to make the mixture like mashed potatoes
salt & pepper to taste

Topping: Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, drizzle with bacon grease.

Place potatoes in a pot, cover w/ cold water, season w/ tbl or so of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook til very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Mash with potato masher and then use the electric mixer to break them up. Add sour cream and butter and continue to beat with mixer. Add parmeseano and beat. Add enough milk or cream to thin to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Salt, pepper, taste & correct seasonings. Place in ovenproof casserole dish. Top with cheese and bacon. (This can be made ahead completely 1-2 days before. Reheat to room temp in microwave and then finish in the oven. ) Bake covered about 30 minutes, uncover and bake another 15-30. You can also heat them in the microwave and then just run them under the broiler for 5 minutes to finish.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


This is the "blonde" version of "Chocolate Crinkle" cookies. When I was a little girl and baked cookies at home, these were my brother David's favorite cookies.

1 c. shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon

Mix shortening, sugar & eggs thoroughly. Measure flour and sift. Blend flour, cream of tartar,soda & salt and mix into shortening mixture. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking shhet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Crinkles

This is one of my favorite all-time cookie recipes. Of course, I love chocolate and do not like nuts or fruit. These cookies are for the chocolate purist!! This recipe came from a very old Betty Crocker's children's cookbook. I probably started making this recipe and the recipe for Snickerdoodles from the same cookbook when I was very young.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup confectioner's sugar
Mix oil, chocolate and sugar in bowl with mixer. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture. Chill dough for several hours.
Heat over to 350. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into the confectioner's sugar. (I put the confectioners sugar into a pie plate. Shape the spoonfuls of dough into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Should make about 6 dozen cookies.

The Best Brownies

Ama B gave us this recipe for brownies. She found it in a magazine years ago and they said that it was Katherine Hepburn's favorite recipe for brownies. I don't know if they were her favorite but it makes me smile every time I make this recipe. I close my eyes and see Katherine Hepburn in an elegant white shirt and man-tailored trousers, eating a whole pan of these brownies.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
if desired:
add 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans;
or 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and 1/4 cup broken pieces of good quality bittersweet chocolate

Line a 9x13 pan with Release aluminum foil and spray with Baker's Secret or Pam.

Melt 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate and two sticks butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add the eggs , 2 at a time; stirring just until mixed. Add vanilla.

Stir in the flour and salt. Add nuts, if desired, chocolate morsels and bittersweet chocolate.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes. If you test with a toothpick, it will not come out perfectly clean, but they will be done with a soft fudgy center. Let cool in pan for a few minutes but cut while still somewhat warm. If knife blade is sticky, wipe with a clean dishcloth dipped in warm water after each cut. Place brownies in cupcake liner for ease of handling. (Ama B is now using heavy stoneware pan from Pampered Chef and finds that it works really well for these brownies and does not let the edges get to dry.)

You can double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.

Chocolate Peppermint Creams

These taste like a "York Peppermint Patty"

This makes about 48 candy creams. Place 48 small paper or colored-foil candy cups on cookie sheets and set aside. Use good chocolate!

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pound imported white chocolate (such as Lindt), finely chopped
1 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candies (about 7 ounces)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract (not peppermint oil)
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 1 pound white chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in crushed candies and peppermint extract.
Working quickly, spoon mixture into pastry bag fitted with medium round tip. Pipe mixture into candy cups, filling about 3/4 full. Wet fingertips and press down on candy mixture to smooth tops. Refrigerate until set; about 15 minutes.
Place bittersweet chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set over saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from water. Spoon generous 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate on top of each candy cup. Shake cups gently from side to side to smooth tops. Chill candies until set. (Can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Place in airtight container and keep refrigerated). Serve them cold.

Gingerbread Cookies

If you love the tradition of having Gingerbread cookies for the children to decorate, this is one of the most fabulous gingerbread cookie recipes you will ever make. The dough takes some time to make and can be a little difficult to work with but it is worth the effort. You can adjust the seasonings if you like, but I find the recipe to be pretty perfect. Cut into any shape you like and decorate as you please.

3 Cups flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfered molasses
1 egg

In medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, soda cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In mixer bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Beat in dry ingredients just until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Grease cookie sheets. Divide dough into quarters. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll one piece of the dough 1/4 inch thick; refrigerate remaining dough. With floured 2-inch cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough. Decorate as desired.

Jorge Rodriquez's Chimichurri Sauce

My friends, Kathy and Jim, loved to eat at Argentinian restaurants in New York while their son was at Fordham. They love Chimichurri sauce. I saw this recipe in an airline travel magazine.

3 Tbs. kosher salt
1 cup warm water
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2 Tbs. sweet paprika
2 Tbs. fresh oregano
2 Tbs. dry oregano
1 Tbs. dried and crushed red pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1. Whisk together the salt and warm water; this is called the salmuera. Set aside to cool.
2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, garlic and olive oil. Pulse several times. Now add all the other ingredients, and process until they are well combined, but the sauce is still somewhat chunky.
3. Transfer the sauce to a mixing bowl, and whisk the cool salmuera into it. Chimichurri sauce, tightly covered will stay good in your refrigerator for weeks.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Red Velvet Cake-From The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

I have had so many disappointing red velvet cakes--oil-based cakes with little flavor.  I
will definitely try this one. It sounds fab.

Makes one 2-layer, 9-inch cake; enough for 12 people
Time: 1 1/2 hours

For the cake:
2-3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted cake flour or 2-1/2 cups sifted bleached
all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pans
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder such as Hershey's
1 ounce red food coloring
1-1/2 tablespoons water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1–2 oranges)
1 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk

For the icing:
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 pound cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1 pound (4 cups) sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, if needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-by-2-inch cake pans
or line their bottoms with greased, floured waxed paper.

2.Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together twice. In a
small mixing bowl, whisk the cocoa, red food coloring, and water to a smooth
paste, about 1 minute, and reserve.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 cup butter with an electric mixer until
creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating about 15
seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if
necessary, until the mixture has lightened in color and become fluffy, about 2
minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, the vanilla, and orange zest, beating for 15
seconds after each addition. Add the red cocoa paste and mix until evenly

4. Add the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture in thirds, alternating
with 2 additions of half the buttermilk. To avoid overworking the batter, gently
mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition, until the
ingredient is just incorporated. Once all ingredients are incorporated, beat the
batter 10 to 12 strokes with your spoon or spatula if using cake flour, 2 to 3
strokes if using bleached all-purpose flour.

5. Divide the batter between the cake pans and spread the tops evenly with the
wooden spoon or spatula. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick emerges clean,
about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in their pans on a
rack for 10 minutes, then slide a thin paring knife around the edge of the pans
and invert the cakes. Lift away the waxed paper, if using. Cool the cakes
completely on a rack, with their tops facing up.

6. In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup butter with the mixer until creamy, about 30
seconds. Add the cream cheese and beat until the mixture is fluffy, white, and
very smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time,
beating for 30 seconds after each addition, until the mixture is creamy, fluffy,
and smooth. If the frosting is too stiff, beat the milk into it to loosen it.

7. Gently ice the cake layers generously. Spoon 1 cup of icing in the center of
the first cake layer. Working an icing or rubber spatula in gentle swirling
motions, spread the icing from the center toward the edges of the cake until it
forms an even layer 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick (if you need to add more icing, add it
to the center and work it out toward the sides).

8. Carefully set the second cake layer on top of the first and ice the second
layer in the same manner, beginning with a dollop in the center and working it
out to the sides. Then ice the sides of the cake. (If you prepared your pans
well, the sides of the cake should have pulled away from the pan and baked to a
firm, flat surface. But if the sides are crumbly, brush excess crumbs away and
place a thin layer of icing on the cake to seal the crumbs in. Refrigerate for
30 minutes, then apply another, thicker layer on top of the first.)

9. Store the cake at room temperature, beneath a cake cover. If you don't plan
to eat it for 24 hours, put it on a plate, tent it with plastic wrap, and store
it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remember to remove the cake from the
refrigerator 1 hour or more before serving to take the chill off. Serve with
glasses of cold milk.