Thursday, October 4, 2007 in food

Cream Cheese Brownies

Cream cheese brownies

Mix in a small bowl –
4oz cream cheese (half a brick)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBSP flour
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, cut up and well drained

Beat cheese and 1 egg well. Blend sugar and flour in gradually until well blended then stir in cherries. Set aside.

Mix in a bigger bowl –
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Beat the 2 eggs until frothy and add next 4 ingredients. Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Add to the egg/sugar/flour mixture. Stir well.

Spread a scant 2/3rds of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of a well-greased 8×8 pan. Carefully spread or drizzle the cream cheese & cherry mix over top. I used a spatula and let it drizzle off the edge in small doses, moving it back and forth. Spread or drizzle remaining chocolate batter over top as best you can.

Bake in 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes – it should show signs of pulling away from the edges of the pan. Let cool. Theoretically, you can cut it into 25 measly pieces.

Monday, September 24, 2007 in country living, gardening

It’s potato harvest time!

I live in the land of potatoes now, if you didn’t know already, and last week and this one is Potato Harvest. The kids even get two weeks off school, as way back when (within the last generation even) everyone – even kids- helped with the harvest. Trucks and equipment are not only in every field I can see (which is a lot), they are all over the road (more so than usual). There is a distant hum in the background – machinery going back and forth across the fields digging it all up.

It’s kind of fascinating, in a way – it’s pretty slick seeing how they control the harvest and get it into storage barns, all in two weeks. Some will be bagged and shipped to stores everywhere, some will head off to the factory to become fries and other potato products.

Dust is kicked up everywhere. Traffic warnings are on the radio, reminding motorists to be aware of extra equipment on the road and (this makes me giggle) to watch out for falling potatoes. The field near us is being done today, and I am told we can wander over when they are done and gather up any they missed.

Potato harvesting Potato harvesting

There’s a nice collection of harvesting pictures here, if that floats your boat. Modern farming involves a lot of driving around on heavy equipment and not much digging in the dirt.

But then we get to eat them. 😀

We’re in love with mashed potatoes and with a little help from Paula Dean, came up with one of the best mashed potato recipes there is.

Peel and *slice* the potatoes, 8 to 10 – or I do whatever half-fills my big pot. Paula showed me how slicing the potatoes instead of quartering them, made them cook faster and mash easier. Cook & drain, then mash well. Add a stick of butter/margerine and some milk, like a half cup. Beat with the electric mixer, but not too much.

Heaven. Paula adds sour cream, too.

I didn’t find any unit studies on potatoes, but it sure would be a yummy and interesting one.

Thursday, July 5, 2007 in food, pictures included

Cinnamon Twists

cinnamon biscuits

2c flour
3tsp baking powder
2TBSP white sugar
1/3 shortening
1 egg
2/3 c milk

Put baking powder & sugar in flour. Cut in shortening. Beat egg & milk. Mix with flour. Roll dough out – it’ll be sticky so flour or grease.

Spread 1 TBSP butter or marjarine (soft works well) on dough and sprinkle with 1/2 c brown sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon. Roll up and slice. (I roll it out to around 8×12 and cut 12 rolls. The secret is to not roll out a huge rectangle.) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

A thirty year old recipe still tastes as good today. 🙂 In the picture above, I put each one in a muffin cup instead of flat on a pan. It held the sugar in more so there wasn’t burnt sugar all over my pan as much. Ron says it makes them easier to eat on the drive to work, too.

Friday, April 13, 2007 in food

Barbours cook books

I have been well enough the past couple of days to wander into the kitchen and get my own food. Last night, I was even restless and peckish, so I made a batch of onion rings. As I was flipping through one of my many trusted old cookbooks, I realized that maybe not everyone cooked like I was used to, and how I was taught.

My first copy of the East Coast famous Barbours cookbook was one I pilfered from my mother-in-law. She had a couple, so I took her older one. I still have it, even though it is falling apart. The edges are in extremely worn and ragged condition, most of the pages are outright greasy (mostly in the cakes and cookies sections), there’s no cover to speak of, and it’s hard to tell where the book starts, given it is open and folded over to whatever page someone needed at the time. If it wasn’t packed up somewhere, I’d take a picture, you know it.

In my experience, these are the best cookbooks to have around. I finally got a newer copy, not as new as the ones being sold now (what with the chapter on microwave cooking), but in more… shall we say.. pristine condition, comparatively speaking. And with a cover. The recipes inside are identical to the original, and are the kind I like to cook from. You know, the ones that start something like “take butter the size of an egg, cream with a teacup of sugar” and finish with “bake in a hot oven till done”. Yeah, I love cooking from books like that, I really do.

It’s not so much the figuring out what everything means, no. It’s more like using it as a guideline as I remember my grandmother (and my other grandmother, a couple great-grandmothers, adopted grandmothers and even the MIL) showing me how it’s done.

*This* is butter, size of an egg; this here is a teacup of sugar. Here’s how hot a hot oven is, can you feel it? This is how you tell it is done.

It’s not quite something you can learn from a book, but the book still helps with amounts.

Onion Rings
Cut 2 or 3 onions in 1/4 inch slices. Divide slices into rings, dip in batter and fry in deep fat.
Batter: 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp Acadia baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 egg, 2/3 c milk.
Sift dry ingredients together, add beaten egg and milk. Beat until till smooth.

And this one:

2 lbs ripe tomatoes, 2 onions, 2 apples, 2 lbs sugar, 1 qt vinegar, some mixed spices (in a bag) to taste.

Yeah, that was it. But my brain recognizes what needs to be done there. Each recipe is followed by the name of the contributor, usually in the form of Mrs. Husband’s-Name and dozens of old-fashioned monikers, with some highly recognizable surnames. I wonder if their granddaughters or sons use this cookbook. I’d like to think some of them do.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 in Uncategorized

Won ton sticks

Won ton wrapper snacks

Need a fast and tasty appetizer? Well, look no further. I didn;t search to see if this was already out there in the great WWW, but I’m gonna write it anyway. I got the idea from our local Chinese place because whenever I get chow mein, the “noodles” are actually just really thin strips of fried wonton or eggroll wrappers.

Yeah, I don’t get the chow mein much. They have another item on the menu that is the exact same dish (I asked) without the little bag of strips. (I refuse to call them noodles.)

Anyway. This is the easiest thing ever. You need:
– won ton or egg roll wrapers
– hot oil (BE CAREFUL)
– common sense
– a big knife
– paper towels
– big slotted spoon

Cut the wrappers into strips. They are already stacked in the package, so dump them on the counter and get a big knife. I cut the wonton ones into fourths.

When the oil is hot enough, drop some in carefully and let bubble around until they get golden and crispy. This takes about 30 seconds, no lie. Any longer and your oil is a bit cold and they will soak it up, and if they go brown or black really fast, please turn off the pot and back away.

Take them out of the oil with the slotted spoon and let drip on paper towels.

When coled a bit, place on a serving dish or cup alongside little bowls of your favorite dipping sauce. We tried sweet and sour, pineapple, thai, spicy orange, plum, and even honey. Basically anything in the fridge we thought would taste good, and it did.

Meaghan says the honey was the best though. These would aslo look cute served in Chinese take-out boxes. Template here if you want to make your own.

Monday, November 20, 2006 in Uncategorized

Cookies ‘n cream fudge

This tastes just like Hersey’s Cookies ‘n Creme chocolate bars. We got the recipe from the Kraft Canada magazine, but here’s our slight adaptation for ingredients and measurements.

2 small bags white chocolate chips (225g each)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
A row and a half of oreo cookies

Heat up the condensed milk in a saucepan on low heat and stir in the chips till all melty. You can microwave this too. Crush the cookies up a bit. Stir it all together and pour in a foil or plastic wrap lined pan. Let set in fridge. Cut and serve.

These are really rich, so make small pieces. Blame Meaghan for this. 😀