Monday, November 27, 2006

Caramel popcorn

Voted number one midnight snack at the Masson house!

1 batch sauce caramel
1 large bowl popped popcorn, in buttered bowl
peanuts (opt)

Carefully drizzle warm caramel over popcorn. Stir gently with wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Sprinkle with salt and peanuts, if desired.

Let cool until hardened. Dig in!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rosemary green beans with mushrooms

In my ideal world, this would be "Rosemary mushrooms with green beans," but I know I need my green veggies. It's just that the rosemary-mushroom combo is so good!

3 handfuls fresh (or frozen) green beans, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 handful sliced fresh (or frozen)button mushrooms
1/2 tsp beef bouillon
1/8 tsp rosemary
2 dashes garlic powder
salt and pepper
sprinkle of water

Put all ingredients in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until desired doneness. We like ours crunchy and bright green.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Southern girl's cornbread

I rarely wear my 'Southern Girl' badge as proudly as when there's cornbread in the oven. This recipe came from my mom, and really can't be beat.

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (or plain milk, if you don't have either)
2 eggs, beaten

Mix the dry. Mix the wet. Pour wet into dry and stir til just mixed. Pour into cast iron skillet. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm, drizzled with honey or with a big scoop of chili or chicken a la king over it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Winter squash soup

Just the right amount of savory and sweet, with loads of vitamin A and beta carotene. Freezes and reheats well.

3 cups winter squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp butter
1 apple, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth OR 2 cups water + 2 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary

Saute squash, onion, and celery in butter for 10 minutes or until just softened. Add apple, broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until apples are soft.

Using a stick blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Serve with cream on top.

Note: the original recipe called for 1/2 cup apple cider added with broth. The apple taste was good, but we both thought it was too sweet. Do what you want!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dessert crêpes

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp oil

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk, stirring to mix. Add the salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let the batter sit one hour, then whisk again before cooking.

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Cook the crêpe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot, with filling. As a general rule, dessert crêpes are folded in half twice to make a triangle. Savory crêpes are rolled.

Filling ideas: Nutella, granulated sugar, maple syrup, fruit, whipped cream, peanut butter (very American, but good on French crepes!), jam, etc...
This recipe makes about 8 crêpes. See recipe for savory crêpes here.

French hot chocolate

This recipe makes 4 small cups, but as it is so rich and heavenly, a small cup is just right.

2 cups milk
5 ounces dark chocolate (ideally at least 70 % cocoa), finely chopped
a few grains of salt

Heat the milk in a saucepan. As the milk warms, whisk in the chocolate and salt, stirring until melted and steaming hot. The hot chocolate actually improves if made ahead and allowed to sit for a few hours. Simply reheat slowly before serving.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pepperoni & mushroom pizza

We figured out that this homemade pepperoni-mushroom pizza costs just under 3 euros (about $3.75) to make.

1. Prepare crust.
2. Make sauce.
3. Roll out dough. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.
4. Top with sauce, toppings, then cheese.
5. Bake 30 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.


2 tsp honey
2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

Dissolve honey in warm water. Add yeast. Let sit ten minutes or until foamy. Whisk well. Add 2 cups flour, wheat germ, and salt. Mix until dough pulls away from edge of bowl. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead well, mixing in the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size. You'll know the dough is ready when you poke it with your finger and the indention stays.

Roll the dough out onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Brush the top with milk. Put it in a cold oven. Turn it on to 350 degrees. Bake 15 minutes.

Marinara Sauce:
3 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup Italian Seasoning mix
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Papa's Coleslaw

I know this sounds weird, but the cabbage at the market has been beautiful lately. I'm not usually a huge cabbage person, but last week they were just so pretty - light green with perfectly formed tight leaves. I couldn't resist.

So here's the first recipe I made. This coleslaw recipe came from Jonathan's dad. It's just the right amount of sweet and tangy, creamy and light.

Cabbage coleslaw

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients well. Pour over one bag of coleslaw mix, or do what I do and shred 1/2 head cabbage and 2 carrots. Let sit at least 2 hours before serving.

Cabbage 2: Immune-boosting soup

This soup is great on a cold day, but not just because it warms you up. It has loads of vitamin C, vitamin A, and even a natural antibiotic from the garlic. Based on the ingredients, I thought it might be bland, but it was very good!

1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2-3 carrots, shredded
1 onion, chopped
3-6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups water + 2 tsp chicken bouillon
freshly ground pepper
herbs of your choice (I like rosemary)

Optional: chopped green pepper, chopped celery, sliced mushrooms cut green beans, can crushed tomatoes, 1 package onion soup mix...

Place vegetables in a large saucepan and cover with broth. Boil until cabbage begins to wilt. Remove from heat and add herbs and pepper. Cover and let cool. Reheat just before serving. Better the secodn day. Freezes well in Ziploc bags.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Country sausage

I've been hoping to find a recipe for pork sausage seasoning that a) had ingredients available here, b) tasted like American sausage. Here it is! I was afraid it would be too spicy, but turned out just right.

1 1/2 lb boneless pork roast, cut in one inch cubes
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Place half of pork in food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Put in a large bowl. Repeat with other half. Add remaining ingredients. Mix very well until blended. Refrigerate overnight.

Shape into patties. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until completely cooked. Can also be frozen in bulk or patties.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Molasses bread

1 c very warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 c molasses
2 tsp yeast
1 egg
1/6 c oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cooked bulgur
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
3-4 cups flour

Dissolve molasses in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast. Stir once, then wait 5-10 minutes until yeast begins "exploding" into foamy bubbles on the surface. Add eggs, whisking well. Add oil and salt, whisking again. Stir in 2 cups flour, wheat germ, and bulgar.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking too much. The dough will become smooth and elastic, without "rips" in the surface.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it holds finger indentions when you poke it, probably about 45 minutes.

Punch bread down with your fist. Shape into a loaf and place in loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until one inch above pan.

Remove plastic wrap and place in oven. Turn it to 350 degrees. Bake until crust is brown and it sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Brush top with milk to make a nice crust. Remove from pan and let cool before slicing...if you can wait!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Jonathan's spinach Florentine

2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 cup cream
4 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt

Mix spinach, cream, and seasonings. Pour into a flat ceramic backing dish. Using a spoon, shape four indentations in the mixture. Crack an egg into each hole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are just set. Serve with toast.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chai tea

1 black tea bag
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1/2 mug water
1/2 mug milk

Heat water, milk, cinnamon, and cloves on stove until barely steaming. Add tea bag and let steep five minutes. Remove from heat and pour into mug. Add sugar to taste.

This recipe is posted in honor of my tea-guzzling sister-in-law, Kate. Mugs up!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Americana meatloaf

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp Worchestershire
2 dashes liquid smoke
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup tomato paste
1/8 cup water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ground cloves
2 tablespoons vinegar
Mix together, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

To make meatloaf, mix all ingredients in a bowl with 1/4 cup ketchup. Using hands, mix well. Place in a cast iron skillet and shape into a loaf. (Or put in a loaf pan.) Spread remaining 1/4 cup ketchup on top. Bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing.