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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry Pecan Coconut Cookies

The "kids" are going to visit their other parents on the "right coast" by train. So The grandsons and I have been making goodies for the trip. First we made the original  Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie just reducing the fat to 1/2 cup, adding one-half cup of chopped pecans and substituting allspice for the cinnamon (allergy). They are good cookies but nothing to rave about. They might be better if Quaker told us to rehydrate the raisins before adding them to the dough. I suggest a bit (1/2 cup) of white grape juice, wine, or even plain water. Just let them soak while you prepare the the cookies and add the drained raisins when it calls for them.

Daughter wanted some with craisins instead of plain raisins so last night we made these.

Preheat oven to 350 F
In a small bowl measure
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white grape juice (or wine, apple juice, water)
Let soak while preparing cookies


On wax paper, or in adequate sized bowl combine:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground Allspice (or cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

In Large Mixer bowl beat until creamy

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Dairy free margarine (butter)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Add:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Beat well, scraping down bowl often.
Add flour mixture carefully. It may be advisable to do this in two or three moves depending on your mixer. Mix well but do not over mix.
  • Drain the cranberries and Add them to dough with:
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, almonds)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Mix it up. (I hit "Rock and Roll" on my big Kitchen Aid Mixer once but it's better if you mix the cranberries, nuts and coconut in by hand)
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. (I use a cookie scoop and have silpats on my wish list. Parchment parchment paper is cheap and almost everybody sells it now.)
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Watch the cookies not the time. This last batch took 13 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered
These may not make it to the train.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Soba Noodles with my Teriyaki sauce

The other day our oldest daughter and I were in the health food  section of our local upscale supermarket and she found some Organic Soba Noodles on sale.  Normally we would have just purchased the not-cheese, not-sour cream, not-ice cream that we were there to buy, but buckwheat noodles just sounded yummy.

Last night our son-in-law and I made a chicken stir fry that used up almost all the fresh veggies in the house and that I'm having a hard time resisting the leftovers as I wait for the hours to tick down on a 12 hour fast.

The noodles are very starchy so they boiled over FAST.  Also they cook rapidly, so don't over do it.  And yes they do need to be rinsed or they clump.

I believe that meat is an ingredient not an end product.  If you think you need more meat in your stir fry, go ahead.

Sauce:
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons  Sesame Oil
2 rounded teaspoons pureed Ginger (I get mine in a jar from the grocery)
Combine in a jar and shake.

Noodles:
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boiil in a large pot. Add
3 bunches (about 9.5 ounces) Soba
Cook about 3 minutes. drain and rinse.


Meat:
Slice thinly
1 pound (3 or 4 small) Chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
Sprinkle with
3/4 teaspoon Grill Mates® Montreal Chicken Seasoning

Vegetables:
Wash and prep veggies.  Our son-in-law uses a large bowl to hold all the veggies until he's ready to cook.
1 head broccoli, chopped (the stem is good eating peel it and slice it thin.)
2 Bell Peppers, sliced thinly
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
4 ribs celery, sliced thinly
8 ounces sliced Crimini Mushrooms (Baby Portabellas)
1/8 head green Cabbage, sliced very thin
Prep off to the side:
4 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup fresh Thai Basil shredded  (We have plants)

In a very hot wok swirl about one tablespoon oil (we used extra virgin olive oil)  add 4 cloves crushed  garlic and the chicken..  Stir and toss until meat is done.  You want the meat to have some brown color but don't burn the garlic.  Add the sauce and bring it to a boil. stir well.  Transfer the chicken, sauce and all to bowl and return the wok to the heat.

Swirl in another tablespoon of oil.  Add all the vegetables.  stir and toss until until crisp tender.

Add back in the chicken and sauce.  Add the Soba and Thai Basil.  Stir and toss (a large fork with your spatula or using a salad set helps here) until everything is warmed through and well coated.

This fed three hungry adults and three boys with at least one serving left over.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Roast Pork Loin with Blueberry Sauce

Claire Robinson did her version on Food Network.  I saw a rerun recently and thought it sounded tasty.  Reading through Claire's recipe I knew I had to make some changes for this group.  The boys don't do spicy and I don't do pectin.  We were out of oranges and the loin Athena bought was over three pounds.  The grandkids seem to think I'm an Iron Chef.

Blueberry Sauce:
In a large saucepan (3-4 quart) over medium heat combine:
1/3 cup  Maple syrup
2 cups    Frozen Blueberries
2 peeled and seeded Tangerines, split into segments  (clean all the pith off!)
2 tablespoons Stone ground mustard (with horseradish)
Simmer for an hour or more until reduced by half more or less

Roast Pork:
Spray rack of broiler pan with cooking spray for easier clean up and non-stick cooking.
Trim any excess (more than 1/4 inch) fat and silver skin from pork loin Remove that plastic popup meat timer!
Rub entire surface of  meat with about 1 of Dijon mustard, sprinkle with salt, and dust with fresh ground black pepper.  (this can be done on broiler pan)

Broil on HI for 5 - 6 minutes (watch it carefully) with the meat about 6 inches from the heat source.  Flip it and broil the other side for 5 - 6 minutes.  Both sides should be beautifully brown.
Reduce oven temp to 350 F and insert meat thermometer.  Bake until internal temperature reaches 165 F.  Remove from oven, cover and let rest for at least 10 minutes.  Slice and serve with Blueberry Sauce.

I have a grandson who hates mustard and he ate thirds of the blueberry sauce.  I served this with a couscous pilaf that was more pilaf than couscous -- lots of veggies.  I want to try the sauce on chicken and turkey.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Secret Recipes and training

Our youngest daughter asked me for my/our potato salad recipe this evening. I said I'd blog it and she got upset because it's our family recipe. She said it should stay in the family.

There's nothing really secret about the recipe some of it I stole from my mother-in-law, some of it is just trial and error that worked out over the years. I finally wrote it down when the kids got old enough to leave home so that they could have the blueprint. I make it a bit differently every time.


We have several "secret recipes" some I haven't written down yet. After some five decades of cooking, I don't know what was my idea and what I took from another cook. I learn new tricks all the time. I can't teach what I do to everyone because I don't what it is that do.

Cooking is an art. The secret is there is no secret. It is all training, practice, and a bit of talent. I've said that wrong. If I compare cooking to painting-- anyone can be taught to smooth paint onto a flat surface, but once in a while someone comes along who can create a three dimensional view with the same paint on the same flat surface. In cooking, anyone can be taught the basics but sometimes there are people who can create substance from nothing. I'm not saying that I'm an artist in the kitchen (Grandma Moses) but I just do what I do based on instinct more than training.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Honey Dijon Chicken

Made this for the Fourth. It was too yummy. Use Glass if possible. I used a 4 cup liquid measure to boil the water with the sugar and salt in the microwave. I then used a 2 gallon zip bag sat in a 13 X 9 pyrex baking dish to hold the chicken during the process.

Brine:
Dissolve:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup table salt
in
2 cups boiling water

Add:
2 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos (or Light Soy Sauce or Tamari)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (This is for flavor)
1 tablespoon McCormick Perfect Pinch® Mediterranean Herb Seasoning

Stir and cool slightly

In a 2 gallon zipper bag resting in a 13 X 9 baking dish:
3 pounds Ice (equals 6 cups cold water)
Carefully add hot mixture. Jiggle the bag to mix the brine and melt most of the ice. Seal bag while prepping chicken.

Prep Chicken:
carefully trim away any extra fat, sliver skin, and gristle from 3 - 5 pounds of boneless chicken breasts.

Unseal bag and place chicken pieces in the bag. Seal bag. carefully squeezing out extra air. Lay bag in baking dish and place the whole thing on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Honey-Dijon Sauce
mix together
1/2cup each Clover Honey
Dijon Mustard
Lemon Juice (out of the bottle is fine just cut the salt)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Sage
1 tablespoon Dill weed
Salt(to taste)
1teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Onion powder

Mix together in a glass bowl heat in the microwave and stir well.

Putting it all together:

Remove chicken from brine and give a quick rinse with cold tap water. Let air dry in for a bit in the refrigerator lightly covered.

Choose a cooking method.
Grill:
Over medium coals cook chicken to 145 F brush with Sauce. continue cooking to 165F.

Bake:
Heat oven to 350F. Toss chicken in sauce. Place in sprayed baking dish. Cover lightly with foil. Check temp after 30 minutes. Uncover and cook to 165F.


Chocolate Pudding

So my grandson wanted pudding he and I could eat. I got out the old standby Betty Crocker Cookbook as my starting point. The recipe only makes a pint. We need at least six servings. Daughter said make a half-gallon so we can make pudding pops.

Here we go:

In large pot:
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup cocoa power
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk until well blended and all the lumps are out of the cocoa.
Add mixing well:
8 whole large eggs
8 cups Almond milk (could use Soy, Rice, or even Cow's milk)

Whisk over medium high heat until it bubbles. Cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Whisk in:

8 Tablespoons margarine (1 tablespoon at a time)
8 teaspoons vanilla

Pour into smaller containers cover and cool.

Serve with berries, cookies, marshmallows, cake, or eat plain.

You can also pour cooled pudding into popscicle molds and freeze for a cool summer treat.