Sunday, November 28, 2010

Key Lime Pie

I was totally craving key lime pie so I made one to go with the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. I ran out of pie plates so I did this one in a springform pan. It worked fine but spread the filling a little thinner than it otherwise would have been. It was really delicious though. I did use key limes because they were cheaper - go figure. But regular limes would work just as well. Thanks for the recipe Mal!

9 graham crackers (5 oz), broken into rough pieces
2 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

4 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 cup strained fresh lime juice
4 large egg yolks
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Make the graham cracker crust by food processing the graham crackers. Pulse with the sugar, then the melted butter. When well mixed, press into a 9" pie plate. Bake 15-18 min at 325'. Cool completely.

While crust is cooling, make filling by beating egg yolks and lime zest in a glass bowl for 2 minutes, or until yolks begin to tint green. Add the condensed milk and then the lime juice and beat well. Set aside to thicken for 30 minutes.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 325' for 15-17 minutes or until the middle is set but still 'jiggly'. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold - at least 3 hours. May be made the day before. Top with sweetened whipping cream to serve. May garnish with lime slices dusted with powdered sugar.

Crescent Rolls

These rolls are also from V's family. I did a double batch for our Thanksgiving. They're so pretty and consistently turn out well.

5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups very hot milk
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
¼ cup warm water
2 TB dry yeast
pinch of sugar

Place 3 cups of the flour, 2 tsp salt, and ½ cup sugar in a small mixing bowl. Place hot milk and butter, thinly sliced in large mixing bowl. While the butter is melting in the hot milk, combine warm water and dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a measuring cup, let stand until frothy. Add the dry ingredients from the small bowl to the large bowl.  Mix until blended, then add frothy yeast mixture.  Stir in another 2 cups of flour, then knead in enough more flour until a medium stiff dough is formed.  Let rise in an oiled bowl (prefer­ably a tupperware with a sealing lid) until double in bulk.

To form into crescent rolls, divide the dough into 3 equal sections.  Pat them out, one at a time, on an unfloured surface (the oil keeps them from sticking), into about a 14 inch circle.  Using a pizza cutter, cut as you would for pizza into 8 wedges.  Carefully elongate each wedge of dough to make it about 8 inches long.  If the bottom edge is too wide, tuck the bottom center to make it narrower.  Roll them up from the wide end to the point, making sure the point is underneath the roll.  Curve into a crescent shape and place on greased cookie sheet so that they don't touch.  

Let rise about 15-30 minutes, or until nearly double in size.  Bake at 375 for about 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. May rub tops with butter while hot, if desired.

Ribbon Salad

There is nothing 'real food' at all about this jello salad. It's a standard for V's family holiday dinners though so I thought I'd share the recipe. I always forget how much it drives me crazy to make. I could never do one of those 12 layer ribbon salads. This one takes me all day as it is. Not hard to do, just takes all day.

1 (3 oz.) pkg. Red fruit
1 ¾ c. boiling water
1 (3 oz.) pkg. Lemon jello
1 c. boiling water
½ c. sour cream
½ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. chopped nuts
1 (3 oz.) pkg. lime jello
1 c. boiling water
1 (8 ½ oz.) can crushed pineapple

Dissolve cherry jello in 1 ¾ cups boiling water.  Pour in 8 inch square pan.  Refrigerate until set.  Dissolve lemon jello in 1 cup boiling water; add undrained pineapple and refrigerate until slightly set.  Carefully pour over cherry jello layer.  Refrigerate until completely set.  Carefully pour over lime jello layer.  Refrigerate until completely set.  Cut into squares and serve.

Note: I doubled the recipe for the 9x12 pictured. Remember to use an 8x8 for the original recipe.

Standard Pumpkin Pie

I made pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and ended up using my mother-in-law's recipe. I just wasn't feeling up to trying to make it real food since we were going to someone else's house. So here is our home's standard pumpkin pie recipe. It turned out really well and even looked pretty since V did the crust.

1 29 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 12 oz. cans undiluted evaporated milk
Pastry for 2 9-inch, 1-crust pies

In a large mixing bowl, add and beat the eggs, stir in pumpkin.  Add sugar and salt, then spices, blend well.  Add milk last and mix well.  Pour into 2 9-inch pastry lined pie pans.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, then at 325 for 1 hour and 15 more minutes or until center is set (test with knife). 

Note: our's took about an extra 30 minutes to finish baking with two pies in the oven. Then again, our oven is kind of lame.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Leftover Egg Scramble

I put the leftover sweet potato hash in our eggs for breakfast with some bacon, green onions and a little cheddar on top. It turned out really well. I was surprised how well the combination worked. It was great.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sweet Potato Hash

We had this at a friend's house and I bugged her for the recipe because it was so good! You can basically use whatever you have on hand for it too so I'm excited to add this one to our rotation.

1 buttercup or butternut squash
1-2 sweet potatoes or yams
2-3 regular potatoes
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1-2 cloves garlic
fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Skin and dice all of the vegetables. Heat some oil in a large saute pan. I used coconut oil but olive oil could work too - just use a lower temperature while sauteing. Add onion and saute 2 minutes to give it a head start (optional). Add squash, yams, potatoes and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Leave the lid off and stir minimally to avoid scorching. Add garlic and fresh thyme when everything's getting soft and saute another 5 minutes.

Notes: In the top pictured hash, I used 3 small white potatoes, 2 medium garnet yams, 1 small onion, 1 red pepper, and 1 garlic clove. The picture served with sausage above used 1 garnet yam, 1 small onion, and 2 small potatoes. The total cooking time will vary depending on how small you diced your vegetables. I think mine average 35 minutes. Also, I recommend adjusting the volume of the recipe to fit your pan. If the pan is too full, the squash will steam instead of saute and could get mushy. Other suggestions from MM - allspice and coriander, seasoning salt, dill, for heat - try a serrano pepper or red pepper flakes, add ground meat for a one pot meal. Thanks for the recipe MM!

Deviled Eggs

These are so good but I always forget about them as an option. They seem too simple to warrant an actual recipe so I'll just write down the steps involved.

Boil eggs by covering eggs with warm water in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Turn down the heat and boil for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and shell. Put in fridge for a few hours to cool down or soak in ice water for a bit unless you don't mind hot deviled eggs.

Slice cold boiled eggs lengthwise. Scoop out yolks and place whites on a plate. Mash yolks and mix with mayonnaise, mustard, and salt to taste. Refill egg whites with yolk mixture and sprinkle paprika on top. Serve as an appetizer or for lunch with salad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Here's an updated picture with the full-sized cheeseball. This one is rolled in pecans.

8 oz cream cheese
5 oz flavored, soft cheese (see note)
2 cups shredded cheddar
seasoning salt to taste, opt.
pecans, green onions OR bacon for garnish

Mash the cream cheese, fancy cheese and cheddar together. Be very thorough. You may even use a stand mixer to whip it. It helps if the cream cheese is soft. Taste and add seasonings as desired. Round into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and put into fridge to harden, at least 4 hours - overnight is better. Prepare garnish by toasting pecans and then crushing, chopping green onions finely OR frying bacon and crumbling. Roll hardened ball into garnish, forming a crust. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge again. Take out to soften about 30 min before serving. Serve with crackers. Thanks MJ!

Note: Originally, this recipe called for a small can of Kraft processed, flavored cheese. I used to use the bacon flavor and then roll it in bacon - delicious. Since that's not exactly real food, this time I found some nice flavored cheese at Costco that doesn't have any artificial ingredients in it - the boursin pictured above. It is very flavorful so I didn't end up adding any seasoning salt at all. You could probably also substitute with 5oz more of cream cheese and simply add your own additional ingredients like garlic powder and chives or some other flavor combination.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foofy Ketchup

This is the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, page 104. Well, I cut it in half because we don't go thru a lot of ketchup around here. I don't really like ketchup in general but this stuff has so much flavor, I find myself figuring out ways to use it. It goes really well with kale hash.

1 1/2 cups canned organic tomato paste
2 TB whey
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch cayenne pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup fish sauce, Thai Kitchen brand is good

Mix all ingredients well. Place in a pint sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Leave some head space in the top of the jar. Leave at room temperature, covered loosely for about 2 days. Transfer to refrigerator. Keeps for 2-3 months.

French Onion Soup

This recipe comes from Julia Child's The Way to Cook, page 19. It's a great use for a homemade broth from a left over pot roast bone. I always wish I'd doubled the recipe because it reduces quite a lot.

1/2 cup butter
8 cups or 2 1/2 lbs onions (3 huge ones)
1/2 tsp rapadura or sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TB flour
2 1/2 qts homemade beef stock
4-5 TB Cognac
1 cup dry white French vermouth

Thinly slice onions. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add onions and cover for 10 minutes or until translucent. Add salt and sugar, raise to med-high, and let onions brown, stirring frequently, 45-60 minutes or until dark walnut colored. Sprinkle in flour and stir 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. Bring to a simmer and add the rest of the stock, brandy and vermouth. Cover loosely and simmer 1 1/2-2 hours, adding a little water if necessary. 

Serve with french bread or gratine by topping soup bowls with toasted french bread slices and Swiss or Parmesan cheese and then putting under the broiler until cheese starts to brown. May substitute Cognac with peach juice and vermouth with apple cider or substitute both with apple juice mixed with a little bit of lemon juice and water. I do the later usually.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The waffle iron died this weekend. It just gave out. Luckily, it happened on the last round of a successful recipe trial. We actually both like this one - it's been a bit of a search. This is a modified version of the one in Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen. We've used it for pancakes too.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or whole milk plus 1 tsp vinegar)
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
2 tsp rapadura or sugar

If soaking, combine flour and buttermilk and let sit on the counter overnight, covered. In the morning, stir in egg yolks, butter, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Add sugar, then whip until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter and cook on greased waffle iron.

If not soaking, mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Separate eggs and begin whipping egg whites with mixer. Meanwhile, stir together egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter or oil. When egg whites are at the soft peak stage, add sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in egg whites and cook on greased waffle iron.

If you don't like the buttermilk flavor, use regular milk, increase the baking powder to 1 TB and do not use any baking soda. I'm not sure how you could soak this version though. Replacing the milk with yogurt and water or kefir would still give you the tangy flavor so you may as well use buttermilk. If you want to make the batter the night before and put it in the fridge, just wait until morning to add the baking soda and do the egg white whipping step.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sprouted Wheat

I experimented with sprouting wheat a while back and am finally getting around to posting about it. I want to use sprouted wheat flour instead of the soaking method for some of my recipes like pizza dough and pie crust so this is the first step in that quest. First, fill a quart mason jar 1/3 full of whole grain or legumes (mine was hard white wheat), fill the rest of jar with filtered water, top with some screen material or cheesecloth, screw on the regular ring lid and let it sit on the counter overnight.

In the morning, drain the water out by tilting them upside down in the sink with the lid still in place. Fill with more filtered water, shake and drain. Do that a couple of times and then place the jars tilted diagonally in a dark place so they can drain slowly. Rinse about 3 times a day for about 3 days or until the sprouts are desired length. For wheat, they should be about 3/4" when they're done.

Honestly, the hardest part was making myself think about how to keep them tilted like that and in the dark. This container worked pretty well except the towel in the bottom got soaked. I found this post after the fact and think I'll try it in a loaf pan next time.

After the first 24 hours, mine already had little sprouts coming out. They're ALIVE! Three days later, they were fully sprouted. At this stage, there are options. You can rinse one last time, shake well and then store in the fridge with a regular lid if you want to eat them straight with some salad dressing (thanks GC!), or you can add them to sandwiches etc. Sproutpeople is a website that sells sprouting kits and has a lot of ideas of different types of legumes and seeds to try sprouting with - some are better than others for salads (I want to try lentils).

I chose to put mine in the dehydrator so I could make flour out of it. Grinding the flour turned out to be really problematic though because all the little sprout parts would gum up in my grinder. They didn't work in the electric at all and V ended up brute forcing them thru the hand crank one. I am interested in trying again with a one-day sprout in hopes that the shorter sprouts will work better for grinding. We ended up making pizza out of the sprouted flour and it seemed to work the same as normal flour. Overall though, it was way more work than the overnight soaking method. I'm actually wondering if buying the flour pre-sprouted is actually worth the cost after all.