Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Azuke Bean and Spinach Soup

This delightful soup is from one of my Moosewood cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health.  If you are not familiar with the Moosewood restaurant and their many cookbooks, you are missing a lot!  The Moosewood restaurant is in a small town in upstate New York and over the years, they have published numerous cookbooks that are just fantastic.  I have at least half a dozen of them in my collection.

This recipe calls for using vegetable broth.  Not being a strict vegetarian, I use chicken broth.

1 1/2 cups dried azuke beans
1 quart vegetable broth
4 cups water
5 cups chopped, fresh spinach
1/2 cup diagonally sliced scallions
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

In a large pot, bring the beans, broth, and water to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer with the pot lid slightly ajar for about 50 minutes.

When the beans are soft and tender, but not falling apart, stir in the spinach, scallions, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.  Add more water or broth for the consistency you like.  For the best color and freshest flavor, serve this soup as soon as the spinach is wilted.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Oatmeal Muffins

One of my newer cookbooks, The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, has many wonderful recipes of cookies, cakes, muffins, pies, and other sweets that has quickly become one of my favorites.  This recipe is a sure winner!   I encourage you to get a copy of this cookbook.  The Magnolia Bakery was started in New York City by two young women who were unhappy with their day jobs and had a passion for fine baking.  It became an instant success.

2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease well a 12 cup muffin tin (although I got 16 muffins!)
In a medium bowl, mix the oats and the milk and set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, making a well in the center.  Stir in the liquid ingredients and the oatmeal mixture until just combined, being careful not to overmix.  Batter may be lumpy.
Fill muffin cups about three quarters full.  Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until lightly golden.  Don't overbake.

Success tips:  All ingredients should be at room temperature before mixing.  Use large eggs.

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!