Friday, April 30, 2010

Hummus with Red Pepper

Quick, easy, and no-cooking involved. You'll need a food processor or stick blender for this recipe. Serve this with pita chips or crudites.

1 fat clove garlic
1 can drained chick peas
1-2 roast red peppers in olive oil
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
1-3 tbl olive oil or 2-3 tbl nonfat yoghurt
2 tbl feta cheese
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt, pepper

In a food processor, puree the garlic, add the beans and process until smooth. Add the red peppers and process. Add 1/2 the lemon juice and olive oil or yoghurt, feta, salt, and peppers. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kathy's Apple Cake

I don't remember where I found this recipe.  I think that I started making it when we lived in Atlanta some 20 odd years ago.  This is an easy recipe that makes a nice,big, not too sweet cake.  It's very moist and great for
a brunch dessert. Tip:  the more finely you chop the pecans and apples, the easier this cake will be to serve.  You don't want the pecans to be powder or the apples to be mush, but finely chopped is better than a course chop.
Serves 12-14

Preheat oven to 350
Generously Grease & flour 10" tube pan

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups  fresh apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Chop pecans in the food processor. Remove and set aside.  Chop apples in the food processor. Sift dry ingredients together twice.  Beat eggs and sugar until creamy.  Add oil and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in apples and pecans.  Pour into a greased and floured 10" tube pan.

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bao (Baked rolls filled with Asian-style barbecue pork)

This was Kim Mitchell's recipe.  Her son, Roddy, and my older son, Patrick were friends. This is a great party recipe that you can do ahead, and freeze and bake the day of the party. 

Makes 125 rolls

Frozen rolls (We always used Rich's Rolls, but any soft dinner roll will do) - buy HALF as many rolls as you want to make because they'll be cut in half

2 lb pork tenderloin, roasted and chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbl olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bottles Chinese BBQ sauce
2 bottles Hoisan sauce
Soy sauce to taste
Worcestershire to taste
Brown sugar

Saute garlic and onions.  When translucent, add sauces.  Stir and taste, and add soy sauce, Worcestershire, and brown sugar to taste.  Add chopped meat.  Let cool.
Thaw rolls for 30 minutes.  Cut in half.  Roll out to a 4" round and fill with about 3/4 tbl of barbecue.  Wet sides and pleat and twist to seal barbecue.  Place sealed side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Let rise lightly covered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Bake 13-15 minutes at 350.  Can be frozen either baked or unbaked (before they rise).


Ama B's Roquefort Cheese Dip or Spread

I haven't tried this, but how could it be bad.  It's a great way to make any blue cheese go farther. You could serve this as a dip with vegetables or , by adding less milk, with crackers as a spread.

 Have all ingredients at room temperature.

6 oz cream cheese
3 oz Roquefort cheese
Milk (enough to achieve desired consistency)
dash tabasco or cayenne pepper

Beat cheeses & tabasco together and add enough milk so that you can dip or spread it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chocolate Butter Nut Sauce

Mom found this recipe in Gourmet magazine years ago. It became a big favorite. Who wouldn't like to have this in the fridge to fancy up some vanilla ice cream. It's quick, easy, do-ahead, and yummy. Because of all the butter, this sauce hardens and forms a shell on the ice cream. It makes a lot, so you can cut the recipe in half or have fabulous left-overs. Feel free to substitute bar chocolate if you don't have chocolate chips. I sometimes change the chocolate from semisweet to dark. Just break up the bar. Also, I prefer pecans to walnuts, but use whatever nuts you like.


2 sticks butter
1 (12 oz) pck semisweet chocolate bits
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a double boiler, over not in simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate.  Stir in nuts.  Serve slightly warm over ice cream.

Although this recipe calls for a double boiler, you could easily do this in the microwave. I would melt the butter and the chocolate for 2 minutes at a time on power level 5, stirring after each round until melted.  Then, stir in the nuts.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Greek Potato Salad

This recipe comes from the beloved, but now gone, Pappas' restaurant in Tarpon Springs. You don't have to have all the ingredients to make this salad.  I don't usually put on green pepper, anchovy, or shrimp.

Potato Salad:
6 baking potatoes
4 whole green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons dressing
Salt to taste

Greek Salad:
1 medium head iceberg lettuce
3 cups potato salad
2 ripe tomatoes cut into 6 wedges each
1 cucumber, peeled and cut lengthwise into 8 fingers
Juice from 1/2 lemon
4 (3-inch-square) portions feta cheese
1 green bell pepper, cut into 8 rings
4 canned beet slices
4 large shrimp, cooked and peeled

12 Greek olives
12 Greek Salonika peppers (from a jar) or pepperoncini peppers
4 to 8 radishes, cut into flowers
4 to 8 whole green onions
anchovies
Dressing
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 tsp or so of Oregano
1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground black pepper


Make potato salad (makes 3 cups): Cook unpeeled potatoes in unsalted water until tender, about 20 minutes; cool until you can handle them. Peel potatoes; cut into chunks in large bowl. Sprinkle with dressing; add chopped green onions; toss. In small bowl combine parsley, mayonnaise and salt. Add to potatoes; mix well.

Line large platter with outside lettuce leaves; mound potato salad in center. Shred remaining lettuce; place on top of potato salad. Place tomatoes around the outer edge, with a few on top. Place cucumber wedges between tomatoes. Arrange feta on top of salad; place green pepper rings, beets, shrimp and anchovies on top of feta. Place olives, Salonika peppers, radishes and green onions around the edge. Sprinkle with dressing. Serve at once.

Easy Do Ahead Italian menu for a summer evening



Greek Potato Salad (You won't need a vegetable since this is dressed with tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, etc.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Big Mama's Raisin Spice Cake

Another recipe from my father's mother.  I've never made this. It's from my mom's recipe box; however, if Big Mama made it, it is sure to be good. 

Preheat oven to 350

Grease and flour a loaf pan.  I like to line it with Release Aluminum foil also.

1 cup seedless raisins
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I like White Lily)
1 tsp soda
1 tsp each ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Simmer raisins in the water for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add shortening and stir until melted.  Cool to room temperature.  Sift together sugar, flour, soda, and spices.  Add nuts, stirring to mix.  Add all to the raisin mixture.  Pour into loaf pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes.  Let cool on rack.

Mimoi's Applesauce Cake

This recipe came from my mother's mother, Flora Irene Riley Jordan.  She taught me to make pie crust, dumplings, fried pies, and so many other old fashioned, Southern dishes. She was the second to the youngest of 8 children, born in Oak Grove (now Birmingham), Alabama, in 1908.  Her daddy owned a dairy, but died when she was very young. She was always frugal and hated to waste anything.  Her oldest son, Jimmy, had an old crab apple tree in his yard, and every year he would pick all those little apples up and bring them to her in paper sacks.  Mimoi would peel and slice all those apples and make homemade applesauce.  She would use that applesauce to make this cake.  It's like a fruitcake in texture--very dense and rich.  It keeps a long time. 
Aunt Ellen posted this comment: I think Mimoi also would soak cheesecloth in Bourbon and wrap this cake in it, like she did fruit cake. It kept it delicious and moist.
 
Preheat oven to 275

Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.  (I like to line them with Release Aluminum foil. Just place 1 sheet in the pan so that the 2 long sides & the bottom are covered with the foil. 

2 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
4 cups flour
3 tsp soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1 lb. raisins
pinch salt
1 tsp each, cloves and cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Cook applesauce, sugar and butter until butter is melted.  Sift together flour,soda,salt,cinnamon, and cloves. Add nuts and raisins to dry ingredients.  Add butter mixture, stirring to combine.  Pour into prepared loaf pans.
Bake 2 1/2 hours.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hank's Favorite Cheesecake

This is my dear friend, Debbie's, recipe, and this is her husband's favorite cheesecake. The recipe makes a dense and luscious, New York-style cheesecake with a pastry crust.  It is fantastic served with fresh berries, but it is wonderful without any topping as well.  According to Debbie, the crust is a little temperamental.  Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect, just patch it as necessary.  Once the cheesecake is filled and baked, no one will know the difference. 

Preheat oven to 400.

Take all the cold stuff out of the fridge and let it come to room temp.

Crust:
1 Cup flour, sifted
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1/4 Cup softened butter

Filling:
5 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 3/4 Cup sugar
3 tbl flour
a few drops of lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream

Make Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and vanilla.  Add egg yolk and butter.  Mix with fingertips until combined and dough sticks together.  Form into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour. 
Lightly grease bottom and sides of 9" springform pan. Disassemble pan. 
Roll 1/3 of dough directly onto the bottom of the pan and trip even with the edge. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden; cool.
Divide remaining dough into 3 parts. Roll each into a strip.  Assemble pan and press strips to sides of pan to line completely.  Trim to 3/4 the height of the pan.  Refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 500.
Make Filling: Beat until combined- cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla.  Add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.  Beat in cream until just combined.  Pour into pan.
Bake 10 minutes. 
Reduce temperature to 250 and bake 1 1/2 hours longer.
Cool in pan on wire rack.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours.


German Chocolate Cake (from Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate)

As a child, this was my favorite cake.  My mom always made it for my birthday.  I still love it, although I don't make it often.  This recipe is right off the German's Sweet Chocolate package.

Preheat oven to 350.

Take everything out of the fridge, so that it can come to room temperature.

Prepare 3-9" cake pans:  *Cut 3-9" rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of your pans. If you don't have parchment paper, use Release Aluminum Foil or wax paper. Don't skip this step! Spray your pans with Baker's Joy or butter & flour them.  Then place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.  Then spray it with Baker's Joy. *To cut the rounds--tear off a piece of paper large enough to cover your pan. Fold in 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, then 1/16.  Set the point in the middle of the pan and eyeball where you need to cut. Crease to mark it and then cut. Unfold, and --this always seems like a miracle to me--you have a perfect circle.  If it's too big, refold and cut it a little smaller.

Melt in double boiler, over not in water:
4 oz (1 pkg) Baker's German's Sweet chocolate
remove from heat and let cool.

Sift before measuring:
2 1/2 cups cake flour 
Resift with:
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Sift:
2 cups sugar

Beat until soft:
1 cup butter (preferably unsalted)
Add the sugar gradually.  Beat until very light and creamy. Beat in, one at a time:
4 egg yolks

Add:
1  tsp vanilla  and melted chocolate

With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:
1 cup buttermilk

Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.  Whip until stiff, but not dry:
4 egg whites
Fold them lightly into the cake batter.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake about 30-35 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the cake pans to a rack and let cool before turning the cakes out on to racks to finish cooling.  Don't try to ice them until they are thoroughly cool, otherwise your icing will melt and slide off.

Coconut Pecan Frosting (Frost the tops of the cake layers)
Cook in a saucepan  over medium heat until thickened (about 12 minutes):
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

Stir in:
1 1/3 cups Baker's Angel Flake Coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Cool until thick enough to spread, beating occasionally. Makes enough to frost tops of 3 layers.

 


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Papa Joe's Favorite Pineapple Icing

This recipe originally came from my grandmother, Ruby Collum Bratton. We called her Big Mama, a name that suited her to a T. She was from Jemison, Alabama, and she was one of the most extraordinary cooks I've ever known.  Lunch, or dinner as she would have called it, was a pull out all the stops affair. It would typically include chicken and dumplings, pot roast, green beans, fried corn (creamed corned if you're from the North), fried okra, greens, a sweet salad like Heavenly Hash, a combination salad (lettuce & tomatoes dressed with mayonnaise),  various pickles and relishes, and of course corn bread and rolls. Dessert would depend on the season, but would usually include a cobbler and a cake.  In July she would always have peach cobbler, along with a poundcake and fresh peaches. The pineapple cake could be made anytime since it uses canned, crushed pineapple.  My grandmother gave this recipe to my mom, and Mama always fixed this for Daddy's birthday. 

This icing is not very pretty.  If you're one of those people who wants everything to look perfect, do not use this recipe. It's sloppy, runny, and fantastically delicious. Don't worry if it looks a little broken, that's just the way it is.

1 small can Dole's crushed pineapple
1 stick butter
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat the butter and add the sugar, creaming until smooth.  Add the can of pineapple, along with the juice.  Mix thoroughly.  It will be runny.  Fill and ice a yellow cake.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Four-Egg Cake from Joy of Cooking (1-2-3-4 Cake)

I realize that hardly anyone bakes anymore, but I have to post this cake recipe. It's Mom's recipe for the old 1-2-3-4 cake. This was always her go-to recipe. It's the recipe she used to make Daddy's favorite pineapple cake. She shared it with our cook, Oliva, in Mexico, and she made it all the time.  Eventually, she quit working for us and opened her own cake business in Hunucma. It's an easy and reliable yellow cake that you can use with any icing--it's great with coconut icing.

Preheat oven to 350.

Take everything out of the fridge, so that it can come to room temperature.

Prepare 3-9" cake pans:  *Cut 3-9" rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of your pans. If you don't have parchment paper, use Release Aluminum Foil or wax paper. Don't skip this step! Spray your pans with Baker's Joy or butter & flour them.  Then place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.  Then spray it with Baker's Joy. *To cut the rounds--tear off a piece of paper large enough to cover your pan. Fold in 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, then 1/16.  Set the point in the middle of the pan and eyeball where you need to cut. Crease to mark it and then cut. Unfold, and --this always seems like a miracle to me--you have a perfect circle.  If it's too big, refold and cut it a little smaller.

Sift before measuring:
2 2/3 cups cake flour
Resift with:
2 1/4 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Sift:
2 cups sugar

Beat until soft:
1 cup butter (preferably unsalted)
Add the sugar gradually.  Beat until very light and creamy. Beat in, one at a time:
4 egg yolks

Add:
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract

With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:
1 cup milk

Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.  Whip until stiff, but not dry:
4 egg whites
Fold them lightly into the cake batter.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake about 30-35 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the cake pans to a rack and let cool before turning the cakes out on to racks to finish cooling.  Don't try to ice them until they are thoroughly cool, otherwise your icing will melt and slide off.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Butter Cream Frosting from Julia Child's Kitchen

 Let me start off by saying that this frosting is not quick and easy.  It is luscious, creamy, delicious, and once you taste it, you will never want that butter and confectioner sugar icing ever, ever again.  Julia says that you can do this by hand, but I wouldn't recommend it.  All you need is a hand mixer to make this successfully.  Don't be afraid--it may sound intimidating, but it's really pretty easy.

For about 2 cups (enough to fill & frost a 9" cake)
2/3 cup sugar and 3 tbl water in a small saucepan with cover

1 egg and 3 yolks in a stainless saucepan

2 sticks soft, unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 oz melted chocolate

Beat the egg yolks in the saucepan until they thicken and lighten in color.

Shaking pan gently by handle, bring sugar & water to boil over high heat;  when liquid is perfectly clear, cover for a minute, until bubbles have begun to thicken.  Uncover, and boil to the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees.
Immediately, begin beating hot syrup into egg yolks, being careful not to hit the beaters with the syrup (You can do this in a blender if you prefer.). 

Set the pan over barely simmering water, and beat slowly until the mixture is too hot for your finger, and has thickened enough to form a fat ribbon when lifted.  Remove from heat and beat over cold water until cool.  Beat in the butter by 2 tbl bits, add the vanilla and the chocolate.  Beat over ice until of spreading consistency.
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Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne from Joy of Cooking

My favorite chocolate cake, hands down. This is the quintessential American chocolate cake that you want for your birthday. The recipe is word for word from Joy of Cooking, although I have added a few tips of my own, like lining the pans with parchment paper.  Don't be tempted to skip this step. It ensures that your cakes will come out of the pans without any problems. Why go to all this trouble and then leave half the cake stuck to the pan--never a good thing. I always top this with Julia Child's buttercream frosting. 

A reader posted the following about cupcakes-I made the Cockaigne cake last night as cupcakes. Mine were made in standard muffin tins, but with extra tall liners I get at Hobby Lobby (Crafts Etc.). I baked mine at 350 for 20 minutes and they were perfect. Made 15, but I should have used less batter and made about 17. Bake time would have decreased a little. My Joy has both this recipe and the cocoa recipe. The cocoa recipe is also called Devil's Food, but doesn't have the Cockaigne term in the name. on Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne from Joy of Cooking

Preheat oven to 350.

Take everything out of the fridge, so that it can come to room temperature.

Prepare your cake pans:  *Cut 2-9" rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of your pans. If you don't have parchment paper, use Release Aluminum Foil or wax paper. Don't skip this step! Spray your pans with Baker's Joy or butter & flour them.  Then place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.  Then spray it with Baker's Joy. *To cut the rounds--tear off a piece of paper large enough to cover your pan. Fold in 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, then 1/16.  Set the point in the middle of the pan and eyeball where you need to cut. Crease to mark it and then cut. Unfold, and --this always seems like a miracle to me--you have a perfect circle.  If it's too big, refold and cut it a little smaller.

Cook and stir in a double boiler--over not in--hot water:
4 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 cup milk (not skim)
1 Cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg yolk

Remove from heat when thickened. Sift before measuring:
2 cups cake flour
Resift with:
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Sift:
1 cup sugar

Beat until soft:
1/2 cup butter (preferably unsalted)
Add the sugar gradually.  Beat until very light and creamy. Beat in, one at a time:
2 egg yolks

With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Stir the batter until smooth after each addition. Stir in the chocolate custard.  Whip until stiff, but not dry:
2 egg whites
Fold them lightly into the cake batter.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake about 25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the cake pans to a rack and let cool before turning the cakes out on to racks to finish cooling.  Don't try to ice them until they are thoroughly cool, otherwise your icing will melt and slide off.
 

Ama B's Sesame Chicken Salad

 This was one of Ama B's church lady recipes.  She used to make this for church receptions, but I think that it would be good for a cool supper in the summer.  It would also be good with grilled salmon.  If you want to make this a quick and easy recipe, buy a roast chicken at the supermarket. Remove the breasts and slice them.

Serves 6-8
1 16 oz pkg. Spaghettini or vermicelli, broken into fourths
3 raw chicken breasts, boned and cut into 1/4" strips
2 tbl. vegetable oil
1/2 C. scallions, finely sliced
1/4 C. sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1/2-1 C. snow peas, blanched 
1 C. whole cashews, lightly salted
4-5 lettuce leaves

Dressing:
3 tbl Kikoman soy sauce
3 tbl sesame oil
1 tbl rice vinegar
1 tbl sugar
2 tsp hot chili oil

Cook and drain pasta, rinse in cold water until chilled.

If snow peas are large, cut in half. Blanch snow peas in boiling water, 1-2 minutes.  Plunge into ice water, drain, and pat dry.  

Make dressing: mix all dressing ingredients together.

(Optional:  Marinate chicken in 1 tbl. soy sauce, 1 tbl oil; 1 tbl dry sherry; 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated; 1 glove garlic, minced; 2 tsp cornstarch)

Saute chicken strips in oil until just cooked, remove and cool.  Add chicken to pasta, scallions, sesame, snow peas, and cashews.  Pour dressing over all and toss.  Chill 3 hours or more and serve on lettuce leaves.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Key Lime Pie

This is just the recipe for Lemon Ice Box Pie, but it uses lime juice. My friend Mary Beth doubles this recipe and makes it in a spring-form pan.  Then, she tops it with whipped cream instead of meringue.  That's a great idea for a large party or buffet where you want to serve more than 8 people.

It's hard to say how many limes you'll need.  So often limes are almost dry.  To get as much juice as possible, microwave each lime for 20 seconds and then roll on the counter. (Be sure to grate the rind before you try to juice them.)  Also, don't worry about finding Key limes--the Persian limes are much easier to deal with and the taste difference is imperceptible.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 Cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbl sugar
1/3 Cup melted butter

Mix together and press into a pie plate. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Let cool.

1 can Eagle brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup lime juice (FRESH!-about 5 limes)
grated  rind from 2 limes
3 egg yolks

Mix all together and pour into pie plate. Top with merengue

Merengue
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
4 tbls sugar

Beat egg whites with salt until soft peak, add sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks form.
Top pie filling with merengue, being sure to seal to crust. Bake at 325 about 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool and refrigerate until well chilled.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Cornish Game Hens with Almond Sauce

When my sister, Ellen, and I were growing up this was always our main course for Christmas dinner.  Now, I make it more often, but I still think that it's special. I know that a sauce made with canned soup sounds pretty awful, but try it.  This is delicious.  I have also made this by starting this with a homemade chicken veloute sauce (Make a roux with butter and flour, and add chicken stock). It's probably a little bit better, but more work. This sauce is very good on roast chicken if you want a more economical meal.

For the hens:
I usually estimate 1/2 hen for every woman and a whole hen for every man. You might want to cook 1 extra for seconds.

Ask the butcher to split the hens in half and remove the backbone. 
Preheat oven to 400.  Pat hens dry and place on an oiled broiler pan or roasting pan. Sprinkle inside and out with salt & freshly ground black pepper.  Brush with a mixture of melted butter, lemon juice, and a little water.

Bake 30-45 minutes, brushing with butter mixture every 10 minutes.  Roast until skin is golden and juices run clear. If not brown enough, run under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to get them nice and brown.

Almond Sauce

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 stick of butter
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup dry sherry
juice of 1 lemon or to taste

Saute almonds in butter.  Remove almonds from pan, but leave butter. Add soup.  Heat gently, whisking until smooth.  Add the sherry and lemon juice. You can make ahead to this point.  Reheat, taste and add more lemon juice or sherry if necessary. If sauce is too thick you can thin with a little water. Stir in almonds.

Serve each game hen with a spoonful of sauce and serve the rest in a sauceboat.

John Will's Dry Rub

When Jim and I lived in Memphis we ate regularly at John Will's Barbecue. The restaurant is closed, but when I saw this recipe in Southern Living, I copied it down.  I use this seasoning mix for lots of things--baked beans, cole slaw, and of course barbecue. 

1/4 cup paprika
1 tbl + 1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tbl black pepper
2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery seed, ground

For barbecue, I like to rub it all over the meat first and let it marinate for 3-4 hours (or overnight) in the fridge.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Ham and Cheese Feuilleté

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's Entertaining cookbook.  I haven't made it for years, but it is a yummy and delicious appetizer. The big change that makes this recipe easy is using frozen puff pastry.  Martha may have time to make puff pastry, but I don't know anyone else who does. If you haven't worked with puff pastry before, make sure you keep it cold.  The warmer it is, the harder it is to work with. If you start having problems, stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes.

1 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, defrosted according to pkg directions
1/8 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 lb thinly sliced, flavorful boiled ham
1/4 lb thinly sliced Gruyere cheese

2 eggs mixed with 2 tsps heavy cream or water for glaze

On a floured board, roll a piece of puff pastry into a rectangle approximate 12 inches by 16 inches. Place
it on a 12 x 16 baking sheet.  Spread it with the mustard, leaving a 1 inch board all around.  Layer the ham and cheese on top of the mustard.  Fold the borders up over the filling and brush with cold water, so that the pastry top will adhere. 

Roll the other piece of puff pastry out to the same size as the bottom (approximately 10 x 14) and place directly on top. Trim the edges if needed and, using a fork dipped in flour, press down around the edges to seal. 

You can use any scraps to make decorative leaves, flowers, whatever strikes your fancy.  Adhere them to the top with water.  Chill for at least 1/2 hour.  Well wrapped, this can stay in the fridge for 2 days.

Preheat oven to 450.  Brush egg glaze over top. Make 2 or 3 vent holes and put in a hot oven.  Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares.  This is best served immediately.