Saturday, September 12, 2009

A different way to make Peach Cobbler

I've enjoyed making this recipe over the years because I love the texture and freshness of the peaches when baked a short time in the oven before the topping is added. The pecans add a special touch to this dessert. It's fresh peach season so make this and enjoy!

Peach Cobbler

Filling: 5 cups of sliced fresh peaches
3Tbsp. sugar 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Biscuit topping: 1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar 1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk ¼ cup pecans
2 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg. Place in a 2 qt. shallow baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, for topping, combine flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in the butter until small particles are formed. Stir in buttermilk and nuts. Drop by large tablespoons onto peach mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until biscuits are golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Being a lover of Lemon Meringue pie, this recipe caught my attention several years ago. It was delicious! I recently had a friend tell me they saw my recipe in the Hershey cookbook and their family was a little skeptical of the sour cream in the recipe. Then she made it and her family loved it too! Give it a try and I bet you will find it a delicious way to end a meal. You could probably substitute a graham cracker crust so you could avoid turning on the oven to bake the crust. I'm planning on trying it as a parfait with no crust at all.

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

1 c. sugar

3 1/2 T. cornstarch

3 egg yolks, beaten

1 T. grated lemon peel

1/2 c. fresh lemon juice

1 c. milk

1/4 c. butter

1 c. sour cream

1 baked pie shell

1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Mix sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, lemon peel and juice, and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Add butter and stir until butter is melted and blended. Let cool to room temperature and then blend in the sour cream. Spread in the pie shell and top with whipped cream. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spicy Beef Tortillas

Now that my garden has yielded onions and is finally giving me some tomatoes and peppers, I thought I would share a long-time family favorite. Enjoy!


4 Large flour tortillas
1 pound ground beef round (extra-lean beef)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons medium hot salsa sauce
Sour cream or unflavored yogurt

Wrap tortillas in foil, heat in 350 degree oven until warm, about 5 minutes or heat in microwave for about 1 minute on high, wrapping them in a paper towel. Cook and stir beef, pepper and onion in a large non-stick surface skillet over medium heat until beef is browned. Stir in salsa sauce, heat until hot. With slotted spoon, place beef mixture in each tortilla. Serve with sour cream or yogurt.
Yogurt further decreases the calories.

This is delicious and doesn't need extra cheese,lettuce, or tomatoes to make it good. An easy way to serve the sour cream or yogurt (both are good) is to spread it on the tortilla with a knife as if you were buttering it before adding the meat mixture. This gives every bite a taste of the sour cream. When my kids were young they preferred these over any other taco. I liked them because they aren't heavy on salt like tacos made from commercial taco seasoning mixes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fresh green beans make a great stir-fry!

Sesame Beef with Green Beans

1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
1 Tbsp oil
3/4 lb. flank or round steak, cut into thin slices
2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
4 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Slice beans into 1 1/2-inch diagonal slices. Parboil four to five minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add beef and stil-fry one to two minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Add beans and stir-fry 30seconds.
Add soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add sesame seeds and toss. Serve hot or cold.
Makes 4 servings.

I discovered this recipe in my early years of doing the cooking spot and it is definitely a family favorite. I've never eaten it cold as suggested but it would be good that way too. I use top round, sirloin tip or sirloin for the beef. I also make it with pork, usually using pork sirloin.

Sesame oil is a great flavoring found in the Oriental foods section of the grocery store and you could skip the sesame seeds but I look the looks of stir fry with the sesame seed accent. Remember the sesame oil is for flavoring, not to use as the oil in the recipe.

I buy sesame seeds in bulk at a health food/natural foods grocery store and then keep them in a container in the fridge. I admit, I don't always toast them, usually just tossing them in just a little earlier when I'm still cooking the stir-fry.

Here's a quick definition of parboiling: To parboil at home, fill a pot on the stove with boiling water and prepare the food you intend to parboil. When the water boils, toss the food in, and cook it until it starts to soften. Drain the food and run cold water over it so that the color will set and the food will not turn to mush. Set the food aside until you are ready to throw it into the primary dish you are cooking, or put it into a storage container if you do not intend to use it right away.

This is almost the same as the blanching method I use to prepare my garden beans for freezing, except the beans are only in the boiling water for 3 minutes. I do freeze a few small batches of my beans to have ready for this recipe after my garden has quit producing. The frozen beans aren't quite as crisp but good all the same. I adjust the quantities up and down depending on how many people I'm serving. It's a great way to stretch a small amount of meat because the beans are so filling and delicious! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Have fun with recipe variations!

Back in my high school years, I would sometimes go with my dad to the grocery store supplier food fairs. The middleman supplier, at that time for us was Fleming Foods out of Lincoln, NE. They would put on these food fairs for the IGA grocery stores. Food company representatives would have booths with giveaways, price reductions on purchases, etc. etc. I would pick up recipe brochures. One I got from Land O' Lakes had a recipe for Heavenly Chocolate Squares. This quickly became a favorite with my family and the pretty tattered recipe is still in my file box. It called for Bakers unsweetened chocolate squares. After I was married, I tended to substitute cocoa as the chocolate source. Anyway, last week my daughter asked me to e-mail her the recipe. Just out of curiosity, I decided to check out the Land O'Lakes website. It took a little looking but sure enough, I found the recipe. It was renamed and it now called for cocoa, but the preparation method and rest of the ingredients were identical. Check it out: Dairy Country Chocolate Sheet Cake. I like this frosting but often I made an easy fudge frosting recipe from a great-aunt. By the way, I've never put nuts in the frosting but it sounds great! I'll include the fudge forsting recipe in my next post.

Ok, so what does this have to do with recipe variations? When I was browsing the Land O'Lakes website, I found a variation for the Mississippi Cornbread Salad recipe that I had in an earlier post. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds delicious. Check it out: Southwest Layered Cornbread Salad. Take out the bacon, make the dressing from sour cream and salsa and add cilantro (I'm not fond of fresh cilantro so I'd skip this).

In 1991, I helped put the Hershey, Nebraska Centennial cookbook together. We had a good sized cookbook with a nice variety of recipes. When we were just ready to send it off for publication, a centennial committee member brought us a large number of additional recipes that she hadn't remembered to give us before. All of a sudden, we had more recipes than the cookbook would hold. We wanted to include the additional people so we had to go back through all of the recipes to see if we had identical or at least similar recipes that could be printed as one recipe with more than one contributor name. We found quite a few with just one or two changed ingredients so we added "variations" to recipes. Ginger cookies was an interesting example. The amount of soda was essentially the variation-more soda seemed to make more of a gingersnap while less soda made a softer cookie.

Ok, I'm stopping before I really get hungry. Enjoy

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cherry Picking Time means Cherry Turnovers

Our cherries are ripe and it looks like a pretty good crop. As always, we have to watch for bug damage and this year we had some early hail. The first few years, I would pick the cherries and then freeze them but I was never happy with the end result. The cherries didn't keep their pretty color and I had a terrible time guessing how much cornstarch to add to the juicy frozen cherries. I was a newbie to processing our produce. Then my son took a Master Canner's class that was offered free to 4-Hers and he brought home a Ball Blue book. That year, he picked the cherries and made a frozen cherry pie filling. I was sold. It looks beautiful from the start and is ready for pies, cobblers and cherry turnovers right after thawing. Cherry turnovers are our favorite so today I'll share the pie filling recipe and turnover recipe.

Frozen Cherry Pie filling

8 cups tart cherries
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch

Wash and pit cherries. Drain. combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in cherries; let stand until juices begin to flow, about 30 minutes. cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. (It doesn't need to come to a boil since you will be cooking the mixture when you bake your pie or turnovers.) I let the mixture cool at this point, not to exceed 2 hours and ladle it into freezer containers or heavy freeze bags-1 quart for a pie or cobbler ( I fill it pretty full.) Label and freeze. Yields about 4 pints.

Now, since I end up discarding some bad cherries after I've measured my cherries, I try and add a few extra at the start. If you go ahead and measure the cherries after you pit them, plan to use about 3 1/2 cups pitted cherries for each 4 cups in the recipe. Don't pack them in when you measure them.

Easy Cherry Turnovers
You can buy filo dough and make very puffy turnovers but we like a biscuit style turnover. These are best made fresh and served that day. I recommend thawing your filling so you don't have to microwave and add hot filling into the turnovers.

2 cups of your cherry pie filling

Biscuit Dough

2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk (approximately)

Mix dry ingredients and then cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the consistency of coarse crumbs. Stir in enough milk for the dough to stick together. If it is too sticky you may need to add a little more flour. Knead the dough about 12 turns on a floured board. I usually divide the dough into four pieces and roll each piece out to about a 8 X 8 square or a little larger. Cut into 4 squares. Place on a large ungreased baking sheet ( I like to line this with parchment paper to ease clean-up.) Place a generous tablespoon of filling on each square. Fold the dough over to form a triangle or a rectangle, press the edges together -I use the tines of a fork- and prick the top of each turnover to release steam-same fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and you should have 16 turnovers. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes until they are just starting to show a little light brown on the top. After they are baked, I like to ice them lightly with almond icing.

Almond Icing-this is approximate- I don't measure

1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 - 2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Cup powdered sugar

I usually start with one Tablespoon of milk or half and half add the flavoring and powdered sugar and then add more milk as needed until the icing is the right consistency. Since I like to make my turnovers right before eating, I keep my icing a little thicker since it melts on the hot turnovers.

Confessions and Tips
I usually don't strive for perfection when making my turnovers so they aren't always uniform in size. I roll my dough out until I know I can cut 4 pieces out so they aren't always square but the taste is what counts, right? I do like to eat these warm but they still taste good later and on the second day warmed up. After that the biscuit part tends to be a little drier. I will make a half-recipe if I have less to serve.

In a hurry-make it in a cake pan
If I am in a big hurry, I don't make individual turnovers. Instead, I roll out 2 pieces of dough and press together into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Spread the pie filling over the dough and then roll out the remaining pieces of dough and carefully place on top of the filling. Prick the top a few times and bake as usual. It might take a little longer. Again drizzle icing on the top. Cut into serving pieces and serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert.

And yes, you could use a can of pie filling since not everyone has a cherry tree. I have made apple turnovers, peach turnovers, as well as my favorite cherry turnovers. Enjoy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cajun Caviar

I actually have to give my niece credit for this one. It's as much a salad as a dip. I saw a variation of this salad that added some fresh green pepper for some more crunch and color. I think I will add that next time I make it. Erica made this for a family party and it was such a winner. I've shared the recipe at work so it has made its way to several other family gatherings. I've also made it using the Good Seasons Italian dressing mix prepared with canola or olive oil. I like to use Tostitos or Fritos scoops when I serve this. Enjoy!

Cajun Caviar
1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
Rinse and combine and then add:
1 small can green chiles, diced
1 small Can black olives, chopped
1 can shoe peg corn
5 green onions, chopped
1 sm. Kraft Italian dressing

Mix and chill for at least overnight so the flavors can marry. Serve with tortilla chips.