Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Made Chai Krumkake, Date-filled Oatmeal and Gingerbread cut-outs(decorated with apricots, raisins and mini chocolate chips), plus Cherry-Coconut Bars today with Edith.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Warming Up!

So, we're all better and back on track with some holiday cheer. I wrapped some presents yesterday, and went in to work today (didn't want to infect anyone earlier in the week), but when I got home we had an excellent lunch and then made gingerbread houses with the kids. You can get gingerbread-flavored graham crackers this season... I think the brand is Honeymaid... Madeline and Gavino did a great job decorating with just a little help from the Mamas "gluing" with icing (Wilton ready-made baby!) Oh, and they both ate a decent quantity of candy too. Two-year olds are so fun, and creative, and... always full of surprises!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Happy Birthday Grammy!

Today was my Lil' Grammy's birthday—I know I've posted this pic before, but it's one of my favorites, and she was (and continues to be) one of my favorite people ever. She did things from teaching me cool words like "davenport" to how to really have fun. She also did crazy things like driving herself to the hospital while in labor (but she had to since no one else was handy-Grampa was working). She's dearly missed, but Madeline's definitely got her spunk, and will learn lots of cool things about her as she grows up. Here is her excellent recipe for fudge. Mmmmm...

Grammy's Fudge

3 c. sugar
3 T. cocoa
1 t. salt
1 c. whole milk
1 T. butter
1 t. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients well, dry mashing out lumps. Add 1 c. whole milk and boil, but don't stir, until it forms soft ball in cold water. Remove from heat. Add 1 T. butter and 1 t. vanilla. Cool just until you can stick your finger into it. Stir until it loses its gloss. Spoon on a buttered plate and spread fast with a knife.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Love Your Veggies

I found organic heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joes today, and although I'm certain that they can't be local, I couldn't resist making the salad from the Best of The Harvest cooking class I took several weeks ago. I did use organic rosemary from my backyard for the rub on the eggplant though...

I also had some good little helpers in the kitchen tonight, especially Sophia who helped make the salad dressing, and learned how to chiffonade basil—she seemed impressed with my knife work and the "rainbow tomatoes".

Roasted Eggplant Tomato Salad

3 T. finely chopped, fresh rosemary
3 T. olive oil
1 t. kosher sea salt
1 medium eggplant, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 large or several small tomatoes, sliced
8 oz. mixed greens
2 T. toasted pin nuts

Mix rosemary, oil and salt, then rub on both sides of eggplant rounds. Roast on cookie sheet in 375-degree F oven, flipping once. Cook until golden and soft. (If eggplant is old, salt the slices first and let rest on the counter. Towel off the moisture that's drawn out. This draws out bitterness.)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove finely minced garlic
3-4 T. chopped fresh basil
2 t. prepared dijon mustard
1/2 t. kosher sea salt
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. champagne (or tarragon) vinegar
2 t. agave nectar (or honey)

Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. Toss greens with dressing and immediately serve.

To plate, put a handful of greens on plate, one or more eggplant slices (depending on size) and tomato. Top with toasted pine nuts if desired.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blissed Out

This recipe is a "cover" of Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bars, and I think it's actually better. There's more cake and less frosting (making them not so excessively sweet), and both the cake and frosting layers are lighter. The orange-flavored cranberries are the perfect crowning touch, plus I added cardamom and a little excellent Penzey's Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, making the cake layer far more interesting.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cake Layer
2 sticks softened butter
1 and 1/4 c. brown sugar

3 eggs
1/2 t. finely ground cardamom
1/4 t. Penzey's Cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 c. flour

1/2 T. dried orange peel (or fresh zest from one orange)
1/3 c. finely chopped dried orange-flavored cranberries
1/4 c. coarsely chopped Ghirardelli white chocolate

Frosting Layer
2 T. softened butter

4 oz. softened Nuefchatel (light) cream cheese
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

To Finish
1/3 c. finely chopped dried orange-flavored cranberries
1/4 c. melted Ghiradelli white chocolate chips mixed with 1 t. cream

Bake in 350-degree F oven in greased 9x13 pan. Beat butter and sugar together, add eggs and vanilla beat until light and fluffy. Add all dry ingredients (except crans and choc) and beat well. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate, spread evenly in pan and bake about 25 mins or until golden. Cool cake completely, then spread with frosting, sprinkle with crans, drizzle with melted chocolate (use a plastic Ziploc with corner snipped off or a pastry bag), cut and serve!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Little Turkeys

This idea is adapted from the Family Fun website: we used cranberry orange muffins instead of cupcakes, and Stretch Island (real) fruit leather instead of "fruit product" Fruit Rollups. The bodies are still Nutter Butter cookies and the eyes mini chocolate chips (and we used chocolate frosting as they did). We used the toothpicks for the fruit leather as Family Fun did, but with the Stretch Island fruit leather, you don't really need them—it's so thick you can just poke it directly into the muffin. M & G did a great job with assembly, and as for the eating... they loved 'em.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Madeline helped make Pain Au Chocolat this morning... and did a pretty fine job. She said, "Mama I love the Puh Shockka Lakka!" Even the ones she rolled fairly wonky baked up gorgeous.
Anyway, not exactly a "recipe"—just refrig crescent dough filled with about 8 Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa chocolate chips (we did 6 chips, but 8 would be a tad better) and baked at 350 until golden. Enjoy with some Cafe Au Lait and a good buddy—like Aunty Karen who hung out with us today!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What Kind of Cheesecake Are You?

You Are a Chocolate Mocha and Orange Cheesecake

Enthusiastic and intense, there's so much you love in the world... it's hard to do it all.
You are good at getting things to mix - friends, flavors, hobbies. You're the master of fusion!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Vegan Cookies?

Yes, vegan. And, yes, they are fabulous! Egg-free, dairy- and animal-free and tasty as can be. Jamie and I used to buy these at the co-op in Bellingham across the street from the Y after working out... I asked for the recipe at the Swan Cafe (the cafe in the co-op) and RuthAnne Muller from Member Outreach gave it to me! It was scaled for about 12 dozen cookies, so I divided it (which is why the measurements are a bit strange). If not making it strickly vegan, you can sub butter for soy margarine and regular or brown sugar for the cane crystals.

Swan Cafe Trail Cookies

Whisk together:
1-1/2 T.
EnerG Egg Replacer
1/2 + 1/8 c. water

Beat until creamy:
2 c. soy margarine
2 c. Florida Crystals cane sugar
2 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla

Blend liquids with margarine and sugar mixture.

Mix together:
2 c. organic pastry flour
1/2 + 1/8 heaping T. baking soda
1/2 + 1/8 heaping t. baking powder
1 t. sea salt
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
4 c. rolled oats
4 c. corn flakes type cereal
1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Combine dry and liquid ingredients and mix well. Using a #10 scoop (about 1/4-1/3 c.) or a generous standard ice cream scoop, place dough on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350-degrees F until cookies develop cracks and are solid in the middle.

This recipe makes about 3-dozen 4-inch diameter cookies.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Best of the Harvest

Took a cooking class "Best of the Harvest" with Margo this afternoon. It was so amazing. The chef was great, and I'm excited to try the recipes in my own kitchen soon! Just need to pick up some ingredients (although not squash, thanks to Peggy and Ken)! And, I learned about a new natural sweeter with a low-glycemic index (even OK for people with diabetes) - blue agave syrup and she used Nutiva coconut oil in the dishes today, and it turns out coconut oil is not bad for you - it lowers cholesterol, is shelf-stable, has a high burn point and helps speed up metabolism (because it's 50% lauric acid - a rare fatty acid found in breastmilk). Also got good pointers on sea salt/Kosher salt and really, really good olive oil, and a tricky fast way to juice a lemon... stay tuned for the dishes!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wicked Corn!

The most excellent caramel corn ever. Easy and delicious—the quintessential Fall treat!!

Wicked Good Caramel Corn

3 bags popped SmartPop! 97% Fat Free Kettle Corn popcorn
1 cup sliced almonds (or your favorite nut)
1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (see why you need the fat free popcorn?)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Scoop the popped popcorn off the top of the bags so you get all popcorn and no unpopped kernels (it's a pain to pick them out later and even worse to bite into one!) into your largest baking pan. I use a roasting pan, but you could use two pans as well. Add the nuts to the popped corn, and put the pan(s) into a preheated 300-degree F oven for about 2-3 minutes while you measure out the ingredients to make the caramel. (This toasts the nuts a little and keeps the popcorn crisp). Then remove pan from the oven.

Stir together the syrup, sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and bring to boil. Once boiling, cook and stir constantly for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla then the baking soda. The caramel will go lighter and foa up. Pour over the popcorn in the pan(s), and stir to coat as well as you can (as you bake it you'll be able to cover more of the corn).

Bake for about 45 minutes stirring the corn every 10-15 minutes. Pour out to cool on counter on freezer paper, grocery bags or waxed paper. Store in Ziploc bags to keep corn crisp (otherwise it'll get soggy and sticky!)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What Dessert Are You Most Like?

You Are Tiramisu

Light and lovely, you pack a punch.
You never overwhelm... but you always leave a lasting impression.

Just for fun... Apparently, I'm tiramisu (excellent, since I love tiramisu)! Got this quiz on Jerrie's site.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pretty Sweet...

I'll admit that I'm usually fairly snobbish about buy-and-bake cookie dough. Much of it is not worth the money, and tastes fake and chemically (one exception is Tom's Cookie Dough—really good). I'm loving Pillsbury's Sugar Cookie Dough Sheets for Halloween. They are great (I found them in the fridge section by the eggs at QFC). We did some with Aura and Miki on Friday and more today with Grammy and Ukki. No rolling, no mixing, easy with kids, very tasty, and they come with good white and orange icing (in bags that you just snip the corners off of to pipe!). Two sheets to a package—about $3.50 for two (or more) dozen depending on the size of cookie you make. "Scraps" from cut-out cookies can be rolled into balls to bake. You'll have way more time and energy to get into decorating if you don't have to make dough or do the clean up!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


So, maybe my propensity for "cooking by feel" is genetic. My mom is constantly altering recipes, making them amazingly better, and then having to recall what she changed. And I catch myself doing the same thing all the time. Sometimes because I don't have the "proper" ingredients for a recipe (or more likely, just can't find them in my pantry) and sometimes just because I feel like it. There's a scone recipe in The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook that I have never made exactly according to the recipe... and they're always great. Anyway, Great Gramma Sartor's "recipe" for corn bread reminded me of this particular trait I share with mom...

Corn Bread
Dehlia Sartor

I don't have a regular recipe for cornbread just do it from scratch. This is what I do. Beat 1 egg, add tsp salt & 1 cup milk then sift 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/4 cup white flour and mix all together. I melt about 1/2 cup margarine and bacon fryings in the pan I take it in and pour that in your cornbread mixture. Mix well & bake between 1/2 & 3/4 hr. in a 350 oven. Wish you were close so I could show you don't know if I make it plain in writing. Good Luck. Mom

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Mom brought "Pooh bear's Pumpkin Cookies" up yesterday, and the group devoured them—kids (including Erik) and adults alike. She's getting me the recipe, but in the meantime I found this recipe on Allrecipes (I changed a bit), and gave it a go. It's a keeper! As M says, "These are dee-licous cookies Mama!"

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Penzey's Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon
1 teaspoon Penzey's Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 t. cinnamon
grated fresh nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

In Kitchenaid, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Scoop onto cookie sheets with 1 T. scoop.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze onto cookies.

To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Grammy's "Pooh's Pumpkin Cookies"

Soft, delicious, and not too sweet. Kids love them AND they are low in sugar and jam-packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene!

Pooh's Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. pumpkin
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
and, cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top before baking

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F and grease cookie sheets or use parchment or Silpat. Cream butter and sugar, than add pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix into pumpkin mixture. Drop by 1-Tablespoon scoopfuls onto cookie sheets, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake 10-15 mins. or until lightly browned.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

This is a tasty spread that tastes a lot like pumpkin cheesecake, with a lot less fat, calories and carbs! Easy to make too.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

1 8-ounce tub light whipped cream cheese

1/2 c. pumpkin

1/2 t. vanilla

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. pumpkin pie spice

Mix the sugar into the pumpkin and vanilla first so the sugar dissolves. Then, beat all ingredients in Kitchenaid mixer on medium until blended. Cover and refrigerate.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Susan House's Smokey Oven Barbecue Ribs

This recipe is from the Cooks! cookbook that our company created as a fundraiser. Susan House is a kindred spirit who loves good food and good company. This is one of the many great recipes I got from her recipe box (although as a short cut you can use an equal amount of bottled barbecue sauce to cook the ribs in):

Smokey BBQ Ribs

3 lbs. boneless ribs
2 T. Liquid Smoke
1 c. ketchup

1/4 c. Worcesterhire sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 t. salt
1 t. chili powder (Penzey's chipotle is excellent)
1 c. water
1 t. celery salt

Place ribs in shallow pan, brush both sides with Liquid Smoke, and roast in a very hot even (450-degrees F) for 30 mins (turning once). Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer while ribs are roasting. Pour sauce over ribs, reduce overn to 350-degrees F and bake for about 1-hour, basting occasionally (every 20-30 mins).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Easy Peasy...

When you've got excellent ingredients, it's "easy peasy" (as Jamie Oliver would say) to throw together gorgeous food in a hurry. We've got beautiful red leaf lettuce, tomatoes and cukes from our new organic box.

Throw that together with leftovers (salmon from dinner Tuesday and rice from Indian takeout), dressed with Wishbone Asian Silk Salad Spritzers. Easy, fast, and delicious. Oh, yeah, and wicked healthy too.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


This recipe is from Rochelle's cousins, who were visiting from Kentucky when we made it at a dinner party years ago... and we dubbed it "Bourbolicious" because it wasn't as Bourbon Slush-y as it was supposed to be when dinner was ready (but still delicious).

Actually, when I make this, I usually double the batch because it disappears so quickly at a party—even people who usually don't like bourbon or mixed drinks still love this particular concoction.

(or Bourbon Slush x Two - this recipe is for a DOUBLE BATCH!!)
2 12-oz. cans lemonade

1 12-oz. can orange juice
2 c. sugar
3 c. bourbon (go ahead, use the Knob Creek)
4 1/2 c. brewed black tea (add sugar to it while it's hot to melt sugar)
12 c water

Mix together and freeze in plastic container(s). Best to freeze overnight. You can mix in a little ginger ale if serving in a punch bowl.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dressing Up

This week I have a recipe from one of the Sartor womens' men—my grampa, Arthur Freed. The story he told was that he got this recipe from a drunk guy in the lounge of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Seattle (built in 1928, became the Westin in 1948 and was demolished in 1992). Grampa used to make it and keep it in a corked Old Grandad bottle in the fridge. He liked it so well, he figured that he could've sold it to Nalley's...

Art's Salad Dressing

1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. vinegar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. dry mustard powder
1 t. grated onion
1 clove crushed garlic

Mix it all up and dress up your favorite green salad!

Images— L: Vintage postcard from the Benjamin Franklin HotelR: Arthur & Doris Freed on their wedding day, July 13, 1940

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Grammy's Red Devil's Food

This was the standard birthday cake for the Freed kids (there were five)—so a recipe that Grammy baked often—always frosted with Seven-Minute Frosting. My mom says

Red Devil's Food Cake

1/2 c shortening or margarine
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c sour milk or buttermilk
1 heaping t. baking soda dissolved in 2 T. hot water
2/3 c cocoa powder in 1/2 c boiling water
2 1/3 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
dash salt

Mix in the order given. Grammy notes that this is actually one of her mom's recipes. Bake at 350-degrees F until done.

Seven-Minute Frosting (a great one from Good Housekeeping, since I don't have her recipe)

1 egg white

3/4 c sugar

1/4 c water

1 1/2 t. light corn syrup

pinch salt

1/2 t. vanilla

Beat everything but vanilla in medium stainless steel bowl on low speed to blend. Place bowl over medium saucepan with 1-inch simmering water (don't let bowl touch water). Beat mixture on high speed for 7-minutes or until mixture stands in soft peaks and temp reaches 160-degrees F on candy thermometer.

Remove bowl from pan and beat mixture 3-5 mins longer or until cooled slightly and stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in vanilla until blended.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Candy Sushi

This recipe is originally from Rachael Ray, although I (of course) modified it. The green and red rolls are her recipe, which uses green fruit roll-ups and cherry Twizzlers. I also tried real dried cherries and melted dark chocolate, and orange/cherry/lime Sunkist fruit gel centers with dark chocolate "nori". They are all fun to make, fun to eat and great when you can't eat real (or at least raw) sushi. I made three batches tonight for Jamie... now I just need to figure out how to get them over to her before she heads home!

Candy Sushi

4 large marshmallows
1 T. butter
1/2 c. Rice Krispies cereal
2 green Fruit Roll-ups
1 cherry Twizzler, cut in 1/2

Melt marshmallows and butter in micro or in saucepan until smooth, then stir in cereal. Let cool slightly, divide in 1/2 and spread out on Fruit Roll-ups. Put a Twizzler in the center of each roll and cut to fit. Roll up. Chill slightly, then slice.

If using chocolate for the candy "nori" divide Krispie mixture and spread out on the Fruit Roll-ups paper (makes perfect template). Put dried cherries or other candy of choice in center and roll. Then, roll in melted dark chocolate, transfer to plate and chill slightly in fridge before slicing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

From The Sartor Women...

So, this weekend Erika told me that I "...make baking look so easy," because we had two pies in the oven before the guys knew what happened. My Mom says that people used to say about my Great Gramma Sartor—"She can make a pie while other people are just talking about it." She made amazing pies, and took joy in baking although I'm betting that two of her greatest joys are the girls in these photos—her daughters: Alma and Doris (or Dode). They were both accomplished bakers as well.

Doris was the younger of the two and was my grammy. Just thinking about her makes me smile. She was an amazing woman who raised four boys and one girl (my mom)... and perhaps her biggest challenge—my Grampa (who was quite a handful in his earlier years...). I could go on for quite awhile about all the Sartor women, but this post is to introduce a couple of their recipes. Each week I'll post another (Alma's divinity, Grammy's red devil's food cake with 7-minute frosting, etc.)

This week, we'll begin at the beginning with "Mom" Sartor's pie...

Mom Sartor's Banana Cream Pie

1/3 c flour
2/3 c sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 c milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla

Whisk in saucepan and cook until thickened.

Top custard with meringue. For meringue whip to stiff peaks:
3 egg whites
6 T. sugar

Bake your pie shell, slice 2 bananas into the bottom, top with cooked custard, then meringue and brown in oven.

And, the much coveted recipe for her pie crust...fairly straightforward, but she baked with love which always adds a little something.

Dehlia Sartor's Pie Dough

Again I do it from scratch. For 1 pie

1 cup flour
3/4 cup Crisco or shortening whatever you have I like Crisco best.
1 tsp salt and just enough cold water to make it stick together. Mix shortening & flour & salt together first then add water and roll out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Lemon Jello Cake

This cake always reminds me of summer, and of being at my great-gramma's house in Port Orchard wandering through the garden eating a slice right out of my hand... Coincidentally, my friend Janelle made this cake for Miki and my "double" baby shower!

1 package yellow cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package lemon Jello
3/4 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
3/4 c water
1/4 t. lemon extract or zest of one lemon
1 c powdered sugar
4 T. fresh lemon juice

Combine gelatin mix and cake mix. Mix well. Add next 4 ingredients—oil, eggs, water and lemon extract or zest and combine. Bake according to instructions on back of cake box in a bundt or a 9x13 pan.
To ice, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Pour over hot cake after you remove it from the oven.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Homemade Sweet Cream

This recipe is both creamy and light. No cook and no raw eggs! Absolutely delicious and great with summer pie!
1 quart half-and-half
1 quart 1% milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1T. vanilla extract
2 t. Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon
1 pinch salt

Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, vanilla and spices in freezer container of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just Plum Good!

We've got great Italian Plums on a tree in the back, and I've been looking for a good little recipe for them for awhile... this one does the trick. It's pretty easy, very tasty and oh, so summer-licious! It reminds me of something you'd get from a little patisserie...

Rustic Plum Tart

Single-crust pie dough (your favorite recipe)
5 oz. almond paste
9-10 smallish Italian plums, sliced
about 3 T. sugar (depending on tartness of fruit) mixed with
1 t. finely ground cardamom

Put the rolled out pie dough on a cookie sheet (about 12-inch circle), then roll the almond paste into an 8-inch circle between plastic wrap. Lay the almond-paste circle on top of the pie dough—centered—then start arranging the sliced plums however you'd like. Fold up, and crimp, the sides of the dough (brush the edges of the dough with milk if you'd like) then sprinkle the cardamom sugar over the fruit and a little on the edges of the dough.

Bake at 425-degrees F for 10 mins. then reduce temp and bake at 375 for about 20 mins or until fruit is soft and a little juicy. Cool on rack and eat warm or at room temp. Excellent with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mama Mia!

Erik saw me mixing up pizza dough tonight and was very interested, so I let him help. He dove right in and kneaded a little himself (and tasted it) too.

Jiffy makes a pretty respectable pizza crust mix (I'd usually use Steve's recipe, but I was in a hurry tonight). Kneaded it in rye flour, brushed with EVOO, sprinkled with chiffonade of fresh basil from South 47's herb garden, layered on sliced fresh tomatoes, sliced Sweet Pesto Turkey Sausage (from TJ's) and goat cheese (TJ's also). Baked about 16 mins. at 425 F. Bloomin' brilliant! And, our little man agrees.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tres Leche Cake

Delicious. Make it: But, for your health at least sub out the whole milk for 1% and the sweetened condensed with nonfat sweetened condensed milk. Tasty and better for you!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fairy Cakes

In the UK (and other places with such an influence, like South Africa) cupcakes are lovingly referred to as "fairy cakes". A much better name than calling cookies "biscuits". Anyway, for Madeline's 2nd birthday I was inspired to find an "official" fairy cake recipe. This gloriously simple, but delicious one lives up to the name—light, delicious and magical. I, of course, messed with the recipe a little adding coconut extract and lime zest. And of course orange icing and blueberries for M. Happy 2nd to our little Wood pixie!

Brickles Fairy Cakes

1 cube butter (at room temp)
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
pinch salt
lime zest from one lime
1/4 t coconut extract

1 c sifted Powdered
Juice of a lime
orange food coloring

Blueberries to decorate

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy in Kitchenaid. Add eggs one at a time, then extract and zest, and beat on high until blended. Gently fold the flour into the butter mixture until combined. Scoop batter into 7 or 8 standard-sized fairy cakes. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack while preparing the icing. Add drops of coloring to the lime juice, then slowly add juice to sugar until spreadable but still fairly stiff. Drop on each cake and let spread out. Top with berries, and enjoy with a wee person...or at least someone with a twinkle in their eye...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Want More Sushi

And, sometimes Katrina doesn't cook. With the heat lately, we've been doing a lot of salads, bbq, etc. and often having "Pickies" for lunch. My mom served pickies a lot when I was a kid—almost like Bento boxes—a bunch of different little choices for your meal. We were allowed to use toothpicks as utensils...and pick what we wanted, hence the title of the meal. Works great for kids because they get to choose what they eat...from a variety of things that you want them to have. I'm usually surprised by what M chooses, and she always eats really well this way. Plus, I usually clean up a lot of the little dabs of things left in the fridge.

With cut-up fruit and veggies from the organic box, hummus and pitas from our favorite little Greek place, tidbits from the bbq, and nibbles from the deli, we're set. M loves the Milano salami from the deli and the brown rice California Roll too. Pair that with homemade lemonade and fresh (whole) raspberries popsicles for dessert. Summer's pretty tasty!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some Like It Cold

I like cold-brewed coffee. I've been told that something like 90% of the caffeine (and all the good flavor) is retained, while only about 15% of the usual acid is present. And, fewer oils. So, it's easier on your stomach, and I think it tastes better—more like coffee smells. It strongly concentrates the coffee flavor of coffee, makes the coffee up to twice as strong, but the overall brew has far less acidity and no "burnt" taste.

It does take more time to brew without the heat, although the resulting brew lasts up to two weeks in the fridge. Mine never lasts that long.

I use my French press to make my cold brew since you steep the coffee in room-temp water and then need to strain the grounds off later:

Basically, the ratio is 4:1 water to coffee. Measure a 1/2 cup of coffee into the brewing container. Add about 2 cups of room-temperature water. Stir the mixture up. Cover the container and let it sit a minimum of 4 hours or ideally, overnight. It can sit up to about 12 hours, but less time works too—it'll just be slightly less concentrated. Strain (French press comes in handy here) and pour into a jar for storage in the fridge.

Mix your cold-brew concentrate with water or milk to taste. It makes great iced coffee, is also good nuked by the cup, and is equally good leaded or unleaded. Especially helpful if you only have one coffee drinker in your household.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday Morning Puff Pancake

This recipe is so great. Easy, tasty and helps season your cast iron pans! I vary the recipe all the time—add a little sugar, pumpkin pie spice or Chinese Five Spice... nutmeg, vanilla, almond—you get the picture. Delicious topped with fresh fruit, nuts, cream, yogurt or made savory with cheese and ham, etc.

Saturday Morning Puff Pancake
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
dash of salt
2 Tbsp. butter

Heat the oven to 450F and put a large cast-iron skillet in to heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs, flour, milk, and salt together. It's important to mix all the ingredients together at once, otherwise your pancakewon't puff. The more air you beat into the batter, the higher it will rise in the oven.

When the oven is hot, toss the butter into the hot skillet and let it melt. Pour the batter into the skillet and return it to the oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pancake is puffed and golden. Cut it in half and serve immediately with warm maple syrup, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fast Slow Food

Pulled pork sandwiches are a favorite of Joel's. Actually, I love them too, but they take awhile. Enter the crock pot. I forget to use my crock pot because I'm more of a see-what's-in-the-fridge-and-make-up-something-for-dinner gal. Either that or I plan something fairly elaborate and new. But, the crock pot is one of those great tools that does work for you while you do more interesting things. Other tools I love for this are the dishwasher, wash machine and dryer, microwave, self-cleaning oven, etc. If I had something that could mop for me that would be amazing. Ooh, or a self-cleaning toilet. Now, that would rock!

So, in the spirit of ease (and because I forgot to pick up a couple ingredients in the original recipe, which basically made homemade bbq sauce) here's my new Pulled Pork recipe (modified greatly from Cooking Light):

2 lbs. pork sirloin roast (cut into three slabs)
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. ground chipotle chili (Penzey's)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup Guinness barbeque sauce (had it in the fridge)
A couple squeezes of ketchup
1/2 Tbs. cumin
1/2 Tbs. dry mustard powder
1 clove crushed garlic
Several glugs of malt vinegar
Several glugs of Worchestershire
3 T. molasses

Coat the pork in the chili and sugar. Add all other ingredients to the crock pot, stir and add the pork on top. Cook on high setting for about an hour, then on low for 7 hours. When done, shred pork with two forks and stir into the sauce in pot. Pile on good crusty rolls with your favorite toppings (Sliced red onion, pickled peppers, etc.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

We make this often in our ice cream freezer. It's delicious, really easy, and great for lactose-intolerant folks! I've always used "light" coconut milk and had great results. I also save the toasted coconut for garnish and serve with fresh fruit. Pretty good drizzled with toasted almonds and dark chocolate syrup too!

3 cans unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup superfine sugar or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
(Get real extract at Uwajimaya-smells like toasted coconut-product of Thailand. Imitation smells like Hawaiin Tropics suntan oil...not what you want in ice cream!)
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, optional
1/4 cup toasted coconut, optional

Combine the coconut milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the extract and the coconut flakes (optional - I usually leave out). Chill in the freezer, stirring occasionally until hardened, or prepare in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Magical Corn Moussaka

I love this recipe. Joel's mom makes it and it's glorious. I call it magical because it's so versatile, comforting and delicious. Good when you're feeling crummy, good when you're feeling great, it's fast, tasty, packed full of protein and a little starchy veg. Excellent comfort food. (hmm...the date I wrote on my recipe card says June 1995 so I at least had the restraint to wait until we were married to raid the family recipes...)

Whip up a pan. Heck, whip up two and freeze one for later (heat longer if frozen):

1 (17 oz) can corn (drained)
1 1/2 pnds hamburger
1 Tbs. flour
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/4 c. grated Paremesan cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarela

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spread corn in 8x8 pan. Brown hamburger and drain. Add flour, cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings, then pour over corn. Mix eggs and cottage cheese together and pour over meat mixture. Top with parmesan and mozzarela. Bake about 25 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Apple Of My Eye

I love this apple bread. Jen gave me a small loaf of it last winter and it was the one thing that I had a really hard time resisting while on the GDM diabetic diet. I made muffins with the recipe and had to give most of it away. It's pretty quick and very tasty. Moist, dense and apple-icious, and a great way to use our apples from the tree in the backyard! Try it:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mom's Best Peanut Butter Cookies

Hmmm...maybe I should call this blog "Katrina Bakes" — so far there are a lot of cookie and treat recipes...

These cookies are my mom's recipe. The peanut butter cookies I remember as a kid. They are fabulous. Perfect texture, flavor, and excellent with a tall glass of milk.

I actually don't make these very often because they're too tasty to resist. I do bake them 2-4 minutes less than mom so they are crisp outside and soft in the center, rather than dunkers, but if you like them more firm for dunking, you can bake them 10-12 like Mom's recipe. I don't bake longer than 8 minutes.

1 cube butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butters and sugars, add egg and mix. Sift all the dry stuff through a sieve into bowl and mix. Scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with a 1-inch scoop and flatten with the tines of a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake at 375-degrees F for 7 minutes (8-minutes max). Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

From The Heart

My most treasured recipes are both delicious and tied to wonderful memories. I love to cook excellent food, and more than that, I love to cook for the people I love. I got to do that this weekend in Jamie's glorious kitchen (convection oven, gas stovetop...ah...) — here are three of the recipes we enjoyed:

BBQ Baked Lentils
My first year at college, Jamie and I were roommates and we tried our hand at being vegetarians. Many delicious (omnivorous) years later, this recipe is still one of our favorites:

Bring to boil (in about 4 quarts water) 2 1/3 cups lentils, then add 2 tsp. salt. Simmer for 30 mins, drain, then mix into a large, covered casserole dish with the following:

15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbs. minced onion
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. molasses
1 Tbs. Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbs. vinegar
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

Bake at 400 degrees F for 45 mins. Makes 8 generous servings.

Katrina's Crepes
This is an adapted Swedish Pancake batter recipe. Along with John's glorious biscuits and gravy, these crepes are a late breakfast favorite. This is a double batch — they freeze beautifully.

3 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla paste (or extract)
6 eggs
4 c. milk
2 T melted butter

Combine the dry, mix in the wet. Cook in medium-hot skillets (sloped sided cast iron pans are great, or medium sized non-stick), and stack 'em up until all the batter is gone. Tease Joel when he asks when it'll be time to eat. Serve with bacon, some fruit and good coffee. Squeeze a lemon or lime wedge over each crepe, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then a spray of whipped cream. Roll up and enjoy!

Christmas Gingersnaps
The original recipe is either from my great grandma Sartor or her daughter Alma. As usual, I've adapted it a little. Jamie and I have made these every year on the first weekend of December for the past six years. It all started with the Sauk Mountain Invitation-only Pottery Sale and some holiday baking at our house in 2000. Things change a little each year, and now we cruise a local sale for our holiday pottery shopping, but we always make these cookies. This is also a double batch (makes about 11 dozen), because we always make a bunch to share. They freeze like a dream too.

1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 c. all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ginger

Bake at 350 degrees F. Cream the wet ingredients, add the dry. Scoop onto parchment-covered cookie sheets with a 1-inch scoop and bake for about 8 mins for chewy cookies - 10 mins for crispier "snaps". You can roll the balls of dough in sugar before baking, but we've found that they taste better (and are better for you) without!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Got Milk?

Strangley, I crave chocolate chip cookies when I'm nursing. Not each time the baby eats (thank goodness), but during the months I'm feeding a little nursling. I think it's my friend Shelly's fault for bringing us a heaping, glorious plate of chocolate chip cookies when M was a couple days old. Instant association. Lucky for me, I like chocolate chip cookies, but don't seek them out with such fervor when my body stops burning those 500 extra calories/day to make milk. (Yes, E's shirt does say, "Breast - the original white milk")

The following recipe is amazing, and we got it from the Toyota dealership - they sent us a tin of these delicious morsels and (thankfully) the recipe. The secret to really excellent, soft cookies is to not overbake them - I stick with 8 mins for these and they are great. My other secret is to coursely chop really good dark chocolate bars and throw them in the dough in place of standard chocolate chips.

Great Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ½ c. butter flavored shortening
2 ½ c. packed brown sugar
4 T. milk
2 T. vanilla
2 eggs

3 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. baking soda
2 t. salt

2 ½ c. chocolate chips

Preheat to 375-degrees F. Combine shortening, sugar, milk & vanilla. Beat at medium until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine dry ingredients & add to creamed mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 8-10 minutes for chewy cookies and 11-13 minutes for crispy cookies. Do not overbake. Makes about 6 dozen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Glass Full of Sunshine

Orange Julius recipe from Lora. Joel & I used to make these in college. They're guaranteed to make you smile.
1/2 can frozen OJ concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
Ice to thicken

Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tee's Chewy Cookies

Update: 6/1/2010... I made these with my kiddos today (hence, the 3.5 yr-old photo of the boy I've added), and we dubbed them "Scooby Snack Cookies." They love 'em! I did cut them a lot smaller after this plate, as they're sweeter than I remember!

My grandparents used to call me "Tee" and this recipe was one that I remember making by myself in Hawaii when I was about 6 years old. Yes, it really doesn't have any fat in it except from the nuts. Really good, gooey brownie-ish bar cookies - without chocolate. They'd be great with dark chocolate in them, or sub in pecans for the walnuts. Originally from my Mom's friend Belinda:

Mix together by hand (if you're a little kid) OR with a mixer:
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

Add the following then combine well and pour into greased 8-inch square pan:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

Bake 20 mins at 350-degrees F. Cut and serve to grownups or kids alike - all love 'em! These are especially great for tea-party treats.


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