Sunday, December 21, 2008

Anna's minestrone

1 lg can white beans, drained
3-4 strips uncooked bacon
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, diced
crushed garlic
2 Tbsp chicken bouillon
1 potato, cubed
1 zucchini, diced
1 lg can whole tomatoes

Cook bacon in a large frying pan. Set bacon aside once crispy. Keep the drippings in the pan. Add 1 Tbsp oil and heat to medium. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic cooking until just browned, about five minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it starts browning.

Add 4-5 cups water, chicken bouillon, potatoes, zucchini and canned tomatoes. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Purée half the white beans using a stick blender. Stir the purée and whole beans into the soup. Simmer five minutes. Taste and season as needed. (More salt, papper, bouillon or tomato paste?)

Serve with Parmesan.

Friday, December 19, 2008

All-bran muffins

This one even got a nod from Jonathan. But there's no photo because it is impossible to photograph a bran muffin and make it look appetizing.

2 cups All-bran cereal
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water then drained

In a large bowl, soak All-bran in milk for five minutes. Add egg and oil, mixing well. In another bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, then stir into All-bran mixture. Fold in raisins.

Pour batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven at 350° until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lemon yogurt cake with cranberries

This cake recipe, 'gateau au yaourt', is often taught to French children who are just learning to cook. It's very much like a sour cream pound cake, but you can play with the flavors by using different fruited yogurts.

Pour 1 pot of lemon yogurt in a mixing bowl. Now use the yogurt cup as your measuring tool.

2 yogurt cups flour
1 1/2 yogurt cups sugar
1/2 yogurt cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp alomond extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water then drained

In a large bowl mix together yogurt, sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs and stir in lemon juice and almond extract. In a small bowl mix flour and baking powder. Stir it into the yogurt mixture. Fold in zest and cranberries.

Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Roasted fennel

I'd been told fennel tasted like celery and licorice. It does - but it's so much better than that sounds! It's now on our 'to be eaten once a week list'.

2 fennel bulbs
1 tsp olive oil
splash balsamic vinegar (opt)

Slice fennel into wedges and place in baking dish. Brush with olive oil and vinegar. Roast in 400° oven for 15-20 minutes, until the fennel is cooked through and starts to caramelize on tips.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Apple pie with streusel topping

1 prepared pie crust
4-5 apples, peeled and sliced
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp butter
2 tsp cinnamon (divided)

Roll the crust out into a pie pan.

In a large bowl, toss together apples, 2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Pour into pie crust pie.

In a small bowl mix remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Mix until blended
and crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until apples are soft and crust browns.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flaxseed and oatmeal bread

2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
3 Tbsp flaxseed
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
Oil for bowl

Pour water into a large microwave-safe bowl and heat to 120° (test it with your pinkie - it should be hot, but not so hot that you can't keep your finger in it). Stir in the sugar, then add yeast. Let sit a few minutes until foamy.

Heat the oven to 450°. Put aDutch oven, ceramic or stoneware baking dish/loaf pan in to heat up with the oven. Otional: place a cookie sheet in the bottom of your oven. You'll see why later.

Add 3 cups of the flour, oatmeal, flaxseed, salt and vinegar to the yeast mixture and mix well with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and stir in as much as possible. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be smooth and elastic, not sticking to your hands, but maybe to the counter still a bit.

Oil the microwave-safe bowl and place the dough in it, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and microwave on high for 25 seconds.

Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes.

Microwave for another 25 seconds, then remove.

Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.

Optional: While waiting, pour 1/2 cup water into the cookie sheet in the bottom of your oven. Be careful - steam is what you're after and it can burn you! The steam will help form a nice crust on the bread.

Gently shape into a ball and place carefully into the hot pan. Quickly cut two or three slashes on the the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature is 200°. (You can add another 1/2 cup of water about 15 minutes into baking, if you want.)

Breakfast casserole

1/2 pound Country sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 batch Southern Girl's Biscuits
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Gouda cheese

Spread biscuit dough evenly in baking dish. Top with crumbled sausage, then cheese. Pour eggs over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm and golden. As it bakes, the egg mixture will sink and the fluffy biscuit dough will rise the the top!

Friday, December 05, 2008


Blend all ingredients well, then chill before serving.

2 eggs, well beaten
3 T sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c milk
splash of cream
1⁄2 t cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
sprinkle of ground cloves

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hot chocolate

1-2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
dash salt

In a small saucepan combine cocoa, sugar and salt. Add a splash of milk and stir until blended. Add another splash and stir. And again. Now add the rest of the milk. Heat over med-low, stirring often. Once steam begins to rise, pour into a warmed mug.