Saturday, July 30, 2011

Antique cooking gadgets: small strainer

You can never have too many strainers, at least one in every size!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tomato-mozzarella salad

One of my all-time favorite summertime salads - tomato, mozzarella, and basil - easy to put together for a crowd!  Next time, I want to try making the mozzarella cheese myself...I hear it's really easy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coconut cream sheet cake

Cream of coconut!  How delightful.  Don't buy coconut milk by mistake...this is the thick gunky stuff that you have to mix before using.  Gunky.  That doesn't sound very appetizing, does it?  Trust me, this cake is amazing, even with the gunky stuff added!  Add angel cream frosting if you want to make this into an authentic Pennsylvania Dutch experience.

Coconut Cream Sheet Cake

1 egg plus 5 more egg whites
3/4 c cream of coconut
1/4 c water
1 t coconut extract
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/4 c cake flour 
1 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 T) butter, slightly softened

Preheat oven to 325 with rack in the lower-middle.  Spray or grease a 9 x 13 cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  In a large glass measuring cup, beat the eggs through the extracts with a fork until thoroughly mixed.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour through the salt.  With a mixer on low speed, add the butter 1 T at a time until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  With the mixer running, add half of the liquid to the flour mixture, increasing speed to beat until light and fluffy.  Add the rest of the liquid slowly with the mixer still running.  Mix at medium-high just until all ingredients are combined and smooth.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes and test with a toothpick.  The cake should be golden brown and slightly pulled away from the pan sides.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.  

Angel Cream Frosting with Toasted Coconut

1 cup shortening
2 cup confectioners sugar
2 c shredded coconut (sweetened is fine)

Spread out half of the coconut on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown in a 325 oven.  It should take about 15 minutes.  Stir several times while toasting.

Whip together shortening and sugar until creamy (about 10 minutes with an electric mixer).  Stir in half the coconut (a mixture of toasted and untoasted).  After spreading the frosting, top with the remaining coconut.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mother's Potato Salad

This recipe came from my Aunt Joanne, who was the wife of my mother's brother.  So this is her Mother's potato salad!

Mother's Potato Salad

4 large potatoes, peeled, cubed, and cut into squares
5 stalks of celery, chopped
Onion, chopped fine
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

1 egg, beaten
1/2 c sugar
1 T flour
1/2 c water
1/2 c white vinegar
2 T butter
Salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes until just tender and the eggs until hard.  Mix the potatoes with the celery, onion, and eggs in a large serving bowl and set aside.  Make the dressing by mixing the beaten egg through the salt and pepper in the order listed, stirring over heat in a saucepan.  Boil until thick; cool before adding to the salad. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Antique cooking gadgets: nutmeg grater

Doesn't everyone need an antique nutmeg grater, even if you never grate nutmeg?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grilled chayote squash

When we were in Guatemala the last time, we enjoyed some forms of squash (or maybe gourds, I'm not sure) that we'd never had before, including guisquil, aka chayote.  Recently, our local market was able to get chayote, so we experimented with grilling it.  Super easy and very tasty!

What we did was to slice and grill it for 5 minutes on each side just plain, and then add a mild vinaigrette and grill for an additional 5 minutes per side.  Perfect!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Turkey salad with roasted beets

This is a great salad to make with either left over turkey, or with a thick slice of deli turkey.  I only recently discovered how much I like fresh roasted beets...if you've only ever had the canned ones, those are NOT beets, so don't say you don't like beets until you try fresh ones!  The recipe for this salad and a tasty raspberry vinaigrette dressing comes from Fresh magazine.  It's easy and fast, other than pre-cooking the beets.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Antique cooking gadgets: ironware skimmer

Unfortunately, someone decided to try to patch up the chipped enamel on this ironware skimmer and didn't even match the colors properly, but it's almost impossible to find these without some chips.  It's signed, which almost makes up for it.  Since I bought it to use, not to put into a museum, I might try to fix the fix some day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Matzo toffee

Everyone has a version of this toffee candy treat that they make, usually involving saltine crackers.  We prefer ours on matzo, however, with big grains of kosher salt to bring out the delicious toffee flavor.

Matzo Toffee

1-1/2 sticks (3/4 c) butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed light brown sugar
12 oz (2 c) dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 275.  Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Place the matzos in a single layer on the pan.  I find that I can fit around 4 by breaking them into appropriate pieces.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and reduce the temperature to low. Stir constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved and beings to bubble. Pour and spread the toffee over the matzo using a silicone spatula.

Bake for about 5 minutes, until the toffee bubbles slightly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand for a few minutes and spread out the melted chocolate with the spatula. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and salt.

Chill for a couple hours in the refrigerator before breaking into pieces.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rebecca makes butterbeer!

In honor of the last Harry Potter movie, of course! She shows you how to make it for kids, and what to do for a grown-up twist ;-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Springtime greens soup

This is a terrific soup that you can make in order to use up any greens that you've got around.  Although the recipe calls for spinach, I used a mixture of spinach, arugula, and beet greens.  Go crazy!  You'll find the original recipe in Fresh magazine, but it's so simple to make you hardly even need a recipe.  I used vegetable stock that we brewed up, and I used regular milk instead of evaporated.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jalapeño poppers revisited

 Bacon poppers with jalapeños and sweet peppers

 Crescent roll poppers with jalapeños and sweet peppers

We love jalapeños just about any way they are served, but some of our friends feel differently.  Some love the cream cheese and bacon, but can't take the heat.  Others are vegetarians and love the heat, but don't want the bacon.  So I made about four different batches recently, with every permutation I could think of: jalapeños vs sweet baby peppers, bacon vs crescent roll mix.  Yup, something for everyone!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Antique gadgets: souvenir spoon

These little metal spoons were handed out with ice cream instead of the plastic ones you get today.  Does anyone remember when you'd get a little wooden do-hickey along with your Hoodsie?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Peanut butter chocolate bark

Oh goodness...this is so good!  My mind is spinning, thinking about what other types of cookies I could crumble up and insert in place of the Oreos.  But trust me, the Oreos are great...

I originally saw this recipe on I made mine really all depends upon how liquidy you get the chocolate as you're melting it. I didn't want it to lose temper, so I didn't melt it quite as thoroughly as the originator did.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coconut-crusted chicken

Coconut and lime together has always been a combo that I love, so when I came across a recipe for coconut-crusted tofu, I figured it wouldn't be too hard to make it better.  Mike really doesn't like tofu too much, especially when it's being used as a meat-substitute, so I decided to do boneless chicken thighs.  You are welcome to do tofu or fish (or maybe even pork?) instead if that's what you like!

Coconut-Lime Batter for Chicken, Fish, or Tofu

1/2 c shredded coconut
1/4 c flour
1 T cornstarch
1 egg
Zest and juice from 1 lime

Mix all the ingredients together through the lime juice.  Add just enough water to make the batter thin enough to dip pieces into.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Antique cooking gadgets: cornbread pan

A recent acquisition that I can't wait to use!  All it needed was a bit of steel wool and seasoning with some oil in the oven and it now looks as good as new.  This photo was taken before I cleaned it up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Crab do you like 'em?

We did a taste test recently.  The biggest surprise actually had nothing to do with the taste, but rather with the way they were folded!  Which do you like better...bird shaped or four-cornered?