Monday, September 17, 2018

Delicious Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

One of the things I have enjoyed most since switching my blog to all recipes, is during the process of deciding which recipes to include, I often run across old, old ones and think, "Now how could I have forgotten about THIS one???"  That is the case with this one.  I haven't made it in years but I still remember how delicious it is.  Serve this one to guests to make a big impression!  Although I have two tube pans, I like to use my Lodge cast iron tube pan when the recipe calls for one.  The cake just falls out easily with no crumbling and it is easy to clean.

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Beat together the first five ingredients until blended.  Combine and add the remaining ingredients and beat until nicely blended.  Don't overbeat.  Spread batter into a greased 10 inch tube pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan.

When cool, remove from pan and frost top and sides with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (below).

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together chocolate and butter until blended.  Bear in sour cream and powdered sugar until blended.  Beat in vanilla.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A different kind of snack

I admit it.  I'm a chocoholic.  When I come home, hungry and sometimes stressed out, I grab something sweet. . . chocolate or whatever sweet I can find.  Yes, I know better.  That's when I looked for something different.  Something that would satisfy my hunger and also be nutritious.

I don't recall where I heard about this idea or maybe I dreamed it up.

Combining several varieties of dried beans, soaked and cooked, with my "old stand by" sauce that I use for stir frying, I came up with a pleasing quick snack.

Here's how to prepare it:

Choose 3 or more types of dried beans.  Go for variety in color and size, such as kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and maybe cannellini or other white bean.  Use equal amounts of each.  After soaking, cook until tender, but not mushy.

While they are cooking, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.  Now you are thinking, 'okay, but what amounts?'  That is a matter of taste!  Start with half cup olive oil, a little less lemon juice, and salt.  From there, adjust to your own taste.

Combine beans and the sauce, just enough to coat the beans but not so that they are drowning in the sauce!

This keeps in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.  I call it my guilt-free snack!

I always have a large supply of a variety of dried beans on hand.  I should own stock in Bob's Red Mill!  I use them in soups, salads, and other recipes.  My Adzuki Bean casserole is a real winner!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A new smoothie recipe

I make a lot of smoothies.  I do it to get more nutrition.  After all, you probably wouldn't sit down to eat a large bunch of spinach or kale, an apple, a banana, a couple of kiwi fruits, an orange. . . But put them in a Vitamix and blend and you have a tasty, highly nutritious drink.  For the most part, I don't follow smoothie recipes.  I just throw in whatever fruits and vegetables I have laying around.  I've never been disappointed in taste or nutritional value.

But I ran across this recipe recently and it caught my attention.  It's great!  It has a mild, sweet taste and is packed with vitamins.  Try it!

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Confetti Chowder

Even though it is still hot and humid here in Western New York State, my thoughts are slowly turning to my favorite fall and winter recipes!  This one is a sure winner.  It comes from my 10,000 Tastes of Minnesota cookbook, copyright 1990, published by the Women's Club of Minneapolis.

3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz) package frozen peas, thawed
2 (11 oz) cans corn
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or few dashes powdered thyme)
2 cups shredded cheddar

Cook and stir cabbage, carrots, celery and onion in butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven until crisp tender.  Add peas, corn, milk and seasonings.  Simmer over low heat about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In a food processor, blend about 2 cups of hot milk mixture and cheese until smooth.  Return this to the pan;  mix well.  Adjust seasonings.  Heat thoroughly but do not boil.
6 servings.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Apple Nut Dessert

I have probably made this one dozens of times over the years.  It is delicious and easy to make.

1 egg beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped, peeled apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beat together the egg and sugar.  Add the dry ingredients.  Add remaining ingredients in order given above.  Stir thoroughly.  Pour into greased pie pan.  Bake 30 minutes at 325.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Cheeseburger Chowder

Here is another old favorite from my kitchen.  It comes from the Better Homes and Garden All Time Favorite Recipes cookbook, copyright 1979.

1 lb. ground beef
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbs. green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbs. instant beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs. flour
1 cup shredded Cheddar

In 3 quart saucepan brown beef.  Drain off excess fat.  Stir in potatoes, celery, onion, pepper, bouillon granules, salt and 1 1/2 cups water.  Cover and cook till vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Blend 1/2 cup of the milk with the flour.  Add to saucepan along with remaining milk.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Add cheese; heat and stir just till cheese melts.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Apple-Cranberry Casserole

How could I forget about this one?  I used to make it a lot.  This one comes from my Junaluska Joy cookbook,  copyright 1982.

Combine the first four ingredients and spread into a buttered oblong baking dish.

3 cups chopped, unpeeled apples
2 cups whole cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Combine and sprinkle the following over the fruit mixture:

1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups oatmeal, uncooked
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 chopped nuts

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The right wood for smoking meat

I've been smoking meat now for five seasons.  I did my research and considered myself quite skilled.  In the dozens of times I've fired up my smoker (a Weber Smoky Mountain), I've never ruined  any of the meat and have been pleased with the results, as have those who I served.

I bought bags of chipped wood at either Lowes or Home Depot but recently decided to go with wood chunks.  The chunks don't have to be soaked, as the chips do, and they last longer during the smoking process.

Then I discovered a website when I was searching for an online vendor for buying wood chunks in bulk.  Man!  Did I have a lot to learn! sells several unique types of wood chunks, ones I can't find locally.  One example is wood from barrels of whiskey from Kentucky distilleries.  This is an excellent choice for beef and pork.  Then there is peach wood, hickory, and apple.

I learned their wood is stored indoors in a climate controlled building, rather than outside.  Storing the chunks outside exposes the wood to bugs, critter feces, and other unpleasant things.  Indoors, in a cool, damp room protects the moisture content, which in turn, means better smoking.

Uh, well, mine have been stored in a big plastic tote in my three season room off my living room.  That means it is hot, really hot, in the summer, and freezing cold in the winter.

There really IS a difference in this wood and the smoked meat.  Check out this website and let me know if you use any of their wood.  I have noticed a big improvement in my meat!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A great, quick barbeque rub

A typical scenario at my house.  I remember to take meat out of the freezer to cook on the grill, but forget to check for an appropriate rub or marinade in the pantry or fridge.  This recipe to the rescue!  This one comes from Steven Raichlen's Barbeque Bible, copyright 2006.  I can mix it up in no time with ingredients I usually have in stock.  It's good on all meat but I particularly like it on steak.

1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Thoroughly combine all ingredients together.  Store in a jar, away from heat and light.  The rub will keep for several months.  Makes 1 cup.

I don't have to worry about how long it lasts!  It doesn't last more than a month in my house!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pasta with Spinach and Apricots

I'm a big fan of the Moosewood cookbooks and own several.  This is a quick and easy, yet very delicious recipe.  You can find it in the The Moosewood Restaurant Table, copyright 2017.  You'll find lots of other tempting recipes you'll want to try in this one!

3/4 cup sliced or chopped dried apricots
3 tablespoons minced garlic
11 oz baby spinach (8 cups packed)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 pound farfalle or other short pasta
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, thinly slice or finely chop the apricots and set them aside in a small bowl.  Mince the garlic and rinse the spinach in a colander.  Crumble the feta cheese and set aside.

When the water is boiling, ladle out enough water to cover the apricots in the bowl.  Stir the pasta into the boiling water and cover the pot so it will quickly return to a boil.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large heavy skillet.  Saute the garlic just until golden.  Add the spinach with any water clinging to the leaves.  Fold the spinach over itself until it is all wilted but still bright green.

When the pasta is al dente, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.  Place the pasta in a serving bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Stir in the feta and enough of the hot pasta water to make it saucy.

Stir in the spinach mixture and the drained soaked apricots.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Toss everything together.