Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A New Art

A few weeks ago I came across a recipe for Chili con carne from my mother's collection. I didn't get to try it until last Friday morning when I made it for a wedding shower. It took about 30-45 to get the ingredients assembled and ready to simmer. The directions called for one hour of simmering. It came out pretty good! But when I got home my Dad commented on how he didn't get any of the chili. So I decided, since it was rather easy to prepare, to make it again for this week for my lunches. I set some aside for my Mom and Dad to try. They loved it! I actuallly like it much more than last time because it was less watery and therefore more rich in flavor. Yum! I had it simmer for 1.5 hours and that made all the difference. I used only one can of kidney beans the second time, despite the recipe calling for 3 cans. Way too many kidney beans in my opinion, but there isn't an indication of what size can. I told my co-worker about my success and she said that she would like to try it. So I brought in extra and 3 co-workers tried it and all of them thought it was delicious. I love when I have successes like this! I'm thinking of entering a chili cook off sometime. Chili is somewhat of an art i think with the ways in which you can be creative with it. Also, I am excited to experiment and make it my own. It is great to keep a family recipe alive. Now to think up that secret ingredient...

Here's the recipe after my changes:
Chili Con Carne
Saute: 2 medium onions, 8 cloves of garlic 2-3 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
Add: 1 lb hamburger (cook lightly)
1/2 c. catsup
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsps of chili powder
1 can of kidney beans

Simmer for 1.5 hours stirring periodically and draining excess liquid

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who's Johnny?

A few months ago I pulled aside a bunch of recipes from my mother's box that I intended to make for the first time. I came across one called "Johnny's Favorite Rice Dish". I have yet to figure out if it is, in fact, a reference to my Uncle John, my mother's brother. So I have technically made the recipe twice; the second time I doubled the recipe since I had twice the amount of meat left over from before. Anyway, the recipe called for raw rice. Weird, huh? So I followed the directions adding a cup of raw rice all the while wondering if the rice would soften. Basically I this dish is like a casserole. It was basically two main components combined, the meatballs and the rice and vegetable combo. I made meatballs out of beef, catsup, and flour. The rice was combined with onion, stewed tomatoes, peppers, and seasoning. I didn't properly cover the pan before placing it in the oven (I didn't have tin foil) and therefore the rice didn't get to steam like it needed to. It wasn't a distaster but the rice was a little more hard than it should have been. The second time I made this dish, I got tin foil to cover it with and I used minute rice. I think I will drain the tomato juice out more next time because the dish was still too wet, but overall it tasted great. I love when I make something yummy! I can certainly see why this dish is Johnny's favorite!

Johnny's Favorie Rice Dish
1 cup raw rice
add salt
1 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper
1/2 cup green pepper
salt and pepper
1 large can tomatoes

In separate dish mix:
1 lb. hamburger
4 tsp. catsup
3 tsp. flour
1 tsp salt and pepper

Make into little balls and put in casserole first. Dot with butter. Add rice, etc. Cover dish. Bake 1 hour at 400 degrees.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tribute to Mormor

Recently I've tried a few new recipes that are amazing! First, I made a carrot cake for my Mom using the recipe of my friends whose mother/grandmother passed away, a lovely lady nicknamed Mormor which is Swedish for "mother". She had the best stories and was a real "go-getter". A year and a half ago I had the opportunity to go with my friend Kate, her grandaughter, to visit her in Rhode Island. Her house is next to a pretty lake and has a lovely deck outside to take in the scenery. It's quite picturesque. Later that day as we ate dinner I asked her if she had any advice on finding love. I figured one who had been married for over fifty years would have a treasure chest of insight and advice. Well, Mormor proceded to tell me her story with all it's struggles and fond moments. What a beautiful story, really. It felt like I was in a movie, a little like "The Notebook". The main piece of advice she gave to me was to marry your bestfriend. So I look for my partner in crime :) Anyway, this is a tribute to a person who loved God, her family, and life. Here's her recipe:
Carrot Cake:
1 8oz pkg carrots
4 eggs
1.5 c. oil
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. chopped nuts
3 c. flour
2 teas. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook, mash and cool carrots (I just shredded the carrots and put them in raw, which turned out fine). In large bowl, beat eggs and mix with oil, carrots, and chopped nuts (I suggest walnuts). In a separate bowl mix together dray ingredients. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in cake pan at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

How did my creation turn out? It was good...I added a medley of spices (orange, cardamon, cinnamon). I think I'll stick to just cinnamon next time. Then for the frosting I cheated and used store bought cream cheese frosting. I think next time I'll make the frosting using a Philadelphia cream cheese recipe that I found on-line. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to share, but I'll be sure to take and post one next time. Adjö´ så lä´nge! (Swedish for "so long")

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time to make the...muffins

I have to say I took on homemade muffins and they came out pretty well. Yes! They were actually delicious. I've made muffins now three times, each time tweaking the recipe a little. The second time was the best because I doubled the oil in the recipe. I haven't actually used chocolate chips because I gave up chocolate for Lent. I actually made the recipe more healthy by adding raisins and almonds which gave the muffins more texture, too. Ideally I want my muffins to be very moist, almost like cake. I recommend this recipe and the muffins can be eaten with coffee for breakfast or as a snack. Here's the recipe:
~Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins~

3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes
Ps. 34:4

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wow! Over two months since I blogged. I became busy and put off blogging which is not good. I did make wonderful Christmas cookies. They were a lot easier than the year before because I learned to use wax paper in between the cookie dough and the dough pin. The dough sticks less this wax. I decided not to use frosting but rather just have icing and green and red granulated sugar to decorate them. They were cute. What else have I do? Hmmm. I made Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies. I'll post the recipe below. They were really good. Kate got me a cookie recipe book which rocks! I have made the almond cluster cookies. They left a little to be desired. I actually ended up adding almonds to the Thumbprint cookies and that was delicious! Also, I made these amazing stuffed dates for a date at Gouveia Vineyard. The recipe remains, but the boyfriend does not :( Life. I'm so glad to have baking and cooking to vent my creativity and fulfill me! I want to try some more of my mother's recipes (the recipes below were all found on-line). I have a Rice Casserole dish that is calling my name as well as a Sweet Potato Casserole to try :)

Raspberry and Almond Shortbread Cookies~
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small hole in the center of each ball, using your thumb and finger, and fill the hole with preserves.
Bake for 14 to 18 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar, 3/4 teaspoon almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese~
1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half
1 pound pitted dates
4 ounces blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Slice dates in half, and open them up. Pinch off pieces of blue cheese, and place them into the center of the dates. Close the halves of the dates, and wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside. Secure each one with a toothpick. Arrange in a baking dish or on a baking sheet with sides to catch any grease.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bacon is crisp. Turn dates over after the first 20 minutes for even cooking.