Monday, December 12, 2016


adapted from Mrs. Lord's 7th Grade Home Economics Class
(ounces) = weight

1. Bring 2 large eggs to room temperature.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk 2¾ cups (13¾ ounces) all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons cream of tartar,           1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Heat oven to 400°F. Cream 1 cup (7 ounces) shortening with 1½ cups (10½ ounces) granulated sugar until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, until mixed thoroughly. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon fiori di sicilia*. 
Stir in flour mixture until well combined. 

4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls (5/8oz or 18g each), and roll in red and green colored sugar. Place 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating half-way through baking, until cracks
in cookies appear dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cookies from sheets and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 54 cookies

*Fiori di Sicilia
This stuff is amazing, and absolutely worth
ordering online at

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sesame Chicken with Broccoli and Red Pepper

Sesame Chicken with Broccoli and Red Pepper

1. Cut 1 pound chicken breast tenders into 1-inch pieces. Cut 1 pound broccoli into small, bite-size florets, and peel and slice stalks 1/4-inch thick. Stem and seed 1 red bell pepper, and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks. Mince 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger. Toast 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 3 Tablespoons soy sauce*,
1 Tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil. In a large bowl, whisk together
1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil; toss with chicken         to coat.

3. Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, until just smoking. Brown chicken, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent loosely with foil.

4. Add broccoli and 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth to now-empty skillet and cook, covered, until broccoli begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Add
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil and bell pepper and cook until spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk sauce to recombine and add to skillet with chicken and any accumulated juices. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds; add
salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice.

*I use Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crunchies

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crunchies

1. Combine 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips* and 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter in a large bowl; microwave, stirring occasionally, until melted, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold in 2½cups cornflakes until evenly coated.

2. Drop heaping Tablespoons of mixture onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and garnish with nonpareils or sprinkles. Refrigerate until set, 30 to 35 minutes.

*My favorite chocolate chips.

S'mores Blossom Cookies

S'mores Blossom Cookies
from Cook's Country Magazine
(ounces) = weight

1. Soften 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, and bring 1 large egg to room temperature. Crush 
8 whole graham crackers into fine crumbs (1 cup), halve 12 large marshmallows crosswise, and unwrap
24 chocolate Kisses.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 1¼ cups (6¼ ounces) all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in bowl.

3. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, 1/2 cup (3½ ounces) sugar, and 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined.

4. Place remaining 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs in shallow dish. Working with 1 tablespoon
(3/4 ounce) dough at a time, roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Toss dough balls in graham cracker crumbs to coat. Space them evenly on prepared sheets, 12 per sheet. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until just set and beginning
to crack on sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes.

5. Adjust oven rack 10 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place 1 marshmallow half, cut side down, in center of each cookie. Broil cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until marshmallows are deep golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds, rotating halfway through for even browning, if needed. Transfer sheet to wire rack and immediately place 1 Hershey’s Kiss in center of each marshmallow, pressing down gently. Repeat with remaining cookies, marshmallows, and Kisses. Let cookies cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Soft and Chewy Dinner Rolls

Soft and Chewy Dinner Rolls

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 200°F and turn it off. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease a large, clear, straight-sided container. Heat 1¼ cups water to 110°F. Bring 1 large egg to room temperature and beat lightly.

2. Whisk water, 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon sugar in a large liquid measuring cup until sugar dissolves. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup instant potato flakes, 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast and 1½ teaspoons salt until combined. With mixer on low, slowly add water mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Continue to mix on medium speed until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form a smooth, cohesive ball. Transfer dough to prepared container and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

4. Gently press down on dough on lightly floured counter. Divide dough into quarters and cut each quarter into 3 equal pieces. Form each piece into rough ball by pinching and pulling dough edges under so that the top is smooth. On clean counter (not floured), cup each ball with your palm and roll into smooth, tight ball. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and let rest in turned-off oven until doubles in size, about 20 minutes. (Unbaked, formed rolls can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

5. Remove unbaked rolls from oven and discard plastic. Heat oven to 400°F. Brush rolls with egg and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake until golden brown and 200°F in the middle, about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Cool rolls on sheet for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Thai-Style Chicken Soup

Thai-Style Chicken Soup

1. Mince 2 onions, 6 garlic cloves and 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger. Trim off and discard all but the bottom
5 inches of 2 stalks of lemon grass; bruise 5 inch pieces with the back of a chef's knife. Peel 2 carrots and slice 1/4 inch thick. Tie 10 cilantro stems together with twine. Trim 8 ounces white mushrooms and slice thin.

2. Microwave onions, garlic, ginger, and 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.

3. Stir 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 14 ounces canned coconut milk, lemon grass, carrots,
1 Tablespoon fish sauce, and cilantro stems into slow cooker. Season 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender,
4 to 6 hours on low.

4. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces. Let soup settle for
5 minutes, then skim fat from surface using a large spoon. Discard lemon grass and cilantro stems.

5. Stir in mushrooms, cover, and cook on high until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 15 minutes. Microwave
14 ounces canned coconut milk in a bowl until hot, about 3 minutes, then whisk in 2 Tablespoons fish sauce,
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste to dissolve.

6. Stir hot coconut milk mixture and shredded chicken into soup and let sit until heated through, about
5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced scallions.

Canned Coconut Milk
(2 cans needed for this recipe)

Thai Red Curry Paste

Fish Sauce

Lemon Grass

Friday, October 7, 2016

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll
(ounces/grams) = weight

1. Bring 5 large eggs to room temperature. Sift 1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 18 x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet and line with parchment paper; grease parchment.

2. Whisk cake flour, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs with 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar until pale yellow and thick, 6 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup (244g) canned pumpkin puree, and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in flour mixture until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and bake until cake is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes.

3. Before cooling, run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, and turn it out onto a clean sheet of parchment paper that has been dusted with confectioner's sugar. Gently peel off parchment attached to cake and discard. Roll cake and fresh parchment into a log and cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. To assemble, gently unroll cake and spread with 3 cups cream cheese frosting (recipe follows), leaving a 1-inch border at edges. Re-roll cake snugly, leaving parchment behind. Wrap cake firmly in plastic wrap and chill completely, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days. Remove plastic, dust with confectioners sugar, and garnish with toasted/spiced pecans.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Soften 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter and 8 ounces cream cheese; cut into 4 pieces. Sift
 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioner's sugar.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese one piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix until no lumps remain. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pecan-Crusted Trout with Creamy Lemon-Garlic Sauce

Pecan-Crusted Trout with Creamy Lemon-Garlic Sauce

1. Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 minced garlic clove in a small bowl. Chill until ready to use (up to 3 days).

2. Process 1 cup pecans and 1/4 panko bread crumbs in a food processor until pecans are finely chopped and mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer to a shallow dish. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Whisk 1 large egg,
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a second shallow dish.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200°F. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Pat 6 boneless trout fillets (from 3 fish) dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Working with one fillet at a time, dredge flesh side of trout in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Dip egg coated side of trout in pecan mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer trout , pecan side up, to a large tray and repeat with remaining fillets.

4. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, until shimmering. Place 3 fillets in skillet, pecan side down, and in alternating directions to fit. Cook until pecan coating is browned and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Using 2 thin spatulas, carefully flip fillets. Continue to cook until skin is browned and trout flakes easily with a fork, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer trout, pecan side up, to wire rack and keep warm in oven.

5. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Repeat step 4 with remaining 3 fillets and 2 Tablespoons oil. Serve with lemon-garlic sauce.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cross Stitch Gifts

Grumpy Cat throw pillow.
(Adapted from this pattern.)

A bookmark for a friend (named Becky!), who loves to read.

Carnitas Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Cumin Lime Cream

Slow Fried Pork (Carnitas)

1. Trim extra fat from a 3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, and cut it into 2-inch chunks. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon ground cumin with 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 375°F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, and season with the salt and cumin mixture. Transfer pork to a large Dutch oven. Add
4 cups peanut oil, 1/4 cup Coca-Cola, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 bay leaves. Juice 1 lime directly
into the pot, then add the spent lime halves.

3. Bring the oil to a simmer over medium-high heat, then transfer the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the edges of the pork are well browned and the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork,
2½ to 3 hours.

4. Remove the pot from the oven and, using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a colander set over a bowl;
let drain about 10 minutes (discard the oil). Shred the pork and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pico de Gallo

1. Core 1½ pounds tomatoes. Remove seeds and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Put in a large bowl.
Stem, seed, and mince 1 large jalapeño chile, and mince 1 small garlic clove.

2. To the diced tomatoes, add 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and the minced jalapeño and garlic. Stir in 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and
extra lime juice to taste.

Cumin-Lime Cream

1. Mix 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin         in a medium bowl.

For Tacos: Layer Pork, Pico de Gallo, and Cumin-Lime Cream on warm corn tortillas (I toast them over the flame on a gas stove). Add cheese and extra cilantro, if desired.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

All-Purpose Cornbread

All-Purpose Cornbread
(ounces) = weight

1. Set 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels on the counter to thaw. Melt 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter and set aside to cool. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F. Generously grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish with vegetable shortening. Whisk 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour,
1 cup (5 ounces) finely ground cornmeal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and
 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl until combined; set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender, process 1/4 cup (1¾ ounces) packed light brown sugar, 1 cup buttermilk, and thawed corn until combined, about 5 seconds. Add 2 large eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

3. Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour buttermilk mixture into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine. Add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and smooth surface.

4. Bake until cornbread is deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack; turn right side up and let cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer, and serve. (Leftover cornbread can be wrapped in aluminum foil and reheated in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

North Carolina Lemon Pie

aka Atlantic Beach Pie

North Carolina Lemon Pie

1. For the crust, adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Melt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter. Combine 6 ounces saltine crackers and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs (~15 pulses). Add melted butter and 1/4 cup light corn syrup to processor and pulse until crumbs are broken down into oatmeal-size pieces (~15 pulses). 

2. Transfer saltine mixture to a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Using bottom of a dry measuring cup, press crumbs into an even layer on bottom and sides of plate, using your hand to keep crumbs from spilling over plate edge. Place plate on baking sheet and bake until light golden brown and fragrant, 17 to 19 minutes.

3. For the filling, whisk 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 4 large egg yolks1/4 cup heavy cream,
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in bowl until fully combined. Whisk in
1/2 cup lemon juice (from ~3 lemons) until fully incorporated.

4. With pie plate still on baking sheet, pour filling into crust (crust needn't be cool). Bake pie until edges are beginning to set but center still jiggles when shaken, 15 to 17 minutes. Place pie on wire rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate until fully chilled, about 4 hours.

5. For the topping, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, on medium-low speed, to whip
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream with 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until foamy (~1 minute). Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread whipped cream over top of pie. If you want to pipe on the whipped cream, as in the above photo, quadruple the whipped cream ingredients.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies
from America's Test Kitchen
(ounces) = weight

1. Adjust oven to middle position and heat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Microwave 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter in a medium bowl until melted. Add 
½ cup (1½ ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 2 Tablespoons molasses and whisk until combined. Whisk 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a bowl.  Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) softened unsalted butter and
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.  Add cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Add 1 large room-temperature egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, slowly add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

3. Spread ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar in a shallow dish. Working with 1 Tablespoon (7/8 ounce) dough at a time, roll into balls, then roll balls in sugar and space 1½ inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake one sheet at a time, until cookies have puffed and cracked, and centers are just set, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Beef, Green Bean, and Scallion Stir-Fry

Beef, Green Bean, and Scallion Stir-Fry
from America's Test Kitchen

1. Whisk 1/3 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup oyster sauce, 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce),
 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

2. Prep stir-fry ingredients: Halve a 1-pound flank steak lengthwise, then slice thinly against the grain;
trim 1-pound green beans and cut into 2-inch pieces; cut 1 bunch of scallions into 2-inch pieces;
mince 6 cloves of garlic; and mince or grate 1 Tablespoon of fresh ginger.

3. Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 4-6 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet. Add half of beef and cook, about 1 minute per side, until browned. Transfer beef to bowl with green beans and repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.

5. Add 2 teaspoons oil and scallions to skillet and cook until scallions are browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return green beans, beef, and any accumulated juices to pan. Add broth mixture and cook until thickened. Serve with rice.

Corn and Bean Salsa

Corn and Bean Salsa
from Grandma Suzie

1.  For the vinaigrette*, mix 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar and 1/4 cup dijon mustard in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a slow stream with the blender on, mixing until emulsified.  Pour into a large container and whisk in an additional 1 cup oil.  Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together 1 15-oz can kidney beans (rinsed), 1 15-oz can corn (rinsed)**1/2 of a red onion (minced), 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper (minced), 1 jalapeno (seeded and minced), 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (minced), and the zest and juice of 1 lime.  This can be prepared a day or two in advance.

3.  Just before serving, add in a diced avocado and as much of the vinaigrette as desired.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with Tostitos Scoops.

*This vinaigrette is very versatile.  If I make it for salad, I like to add 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh basil and 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme.  Switch out different oils and vinegars to your heart's content.

**You could probably cook up some fresh corn when it's in season and use that.  I've never tried it that way, but I bet it's delicious!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sesame-Lemon Cucumber Salad

Sesame-Lemon Cucumber Salad
from America's Test Kitchen

1. Peel, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds from 3 cucumbers. slice 1/4-inch thick on bias (diagonally).

2. Toss cucumbers with 1 tablespoon salt in a colander set over a bowl.  Weight cucumbers with a water-filled 1-gallon zipper-lock bag for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 hours. Rinse cucumbers under cold running water and drain well. Transfer cucumbers to a medium bowl.

3. Whisk 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice,
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes together in a  medium bowl.  Add to cucumbers and toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled.