Snickerdoodles, My Favorite

Sticky

Deveau Girl Cousins, it’s like a sorority of it’s own.  These girls are spread out all over the country and are aged from adults to those still in school.  They still manage to stay in touch through all kinds of social media.  When they get together–look out.  I could write a book on all their antics, maybe later.

They have tons of traditions a special song at weddings, they perform plays, dance and they make up songs.  That’s where the “Snickerdoodle, My Favorite” came from.  The song was a little ditty about a construction worker who was cramping the style of the family with 5 girls while redoing and reducing the number of bathrooms.

I don’t know if I am allowed to share all the words of the song, and they are ridiculously hilarious, but one of the verses had the snickerdoodle phrase.

Some of these girls are now mothers and they have taught this song to their girls.  One day, my grandson Abbott, piped up with “”Snickerdoodles”  My favowite.”  He just wanted to be one of the gang.

I have attempted to make snickerdoodles many times.  I was ashamed to say with bismall results.  In my quest to contribute to the group, I finally found an easy, uncomplicated recipe that turns out every time.  So thank you Emily, Jenni,Claire, Jessica, Jamie, Jaclyn, Janelle, Isabella, Francesca, Josie and Gianna for the inspiration.  And yes, Abbott the cookies are in the mail.

SNICKERDOODLES

Ingredients:

2 – 2/3 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 – 1/2 cups sugar

1 cut of butter flavored vegetable shortening

2 eggs

2 Tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl place flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and whisk until well combined.
  3. Cream shortening and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer gradually increasing speed until smooth, light colored and fluffy.
  4. Add milk, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in a scoop at a time, on a low speed so it doesn’t blow alll over.  Mix well
  6. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 Tbsp cinnamon  in a small bowl.  Form 1″ balls of dough and roll in sugar mixture to coat.  Place them 2″ apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake 8 minutes,  or long if you like them crispier.  Cool on baking sheets for 2″.  Remove to rack until totally cooled.

Couple of hints:

  • Don’t put raw cookie dough on warm cookie sheets.  They should be room temperature.
  • If the cookies spread too much when baked, put the pan with raw cookies on in in the refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes before baking.

Eat up and let me know how you like them.

IMG_1308   IMG_1309 (2)

IMG_1314   IMG_1315

Sweet or Savory Galettes — oui oui!

Standard

Galette:

noun

any of various thin, round cakes or free form pastries, often with a filling or topping: a for example an apple galette glazed with blackberry jam; a cabbage and cheese-stuffed galette.

I go on these cooking crazes.  A few weeks ago I made oh, 8-10 cakes for various people and occasions.  Then there was the cookie phase, and the pie phase. . .

My latest kick has been galettes.  Why?  Because they are absolutely delicious, easy to make and can be the solution to food cravings whether savory or sweet.

Savory – tomato, ham, cheddar and green onion galette

stock photo, baking, pastry, raspberry, homemade, almonds, galette   These Peas are Hollow: Mini Stone Fruit Galettes

 Raspberry-almond     Mini stone fruit galettes

How are they made?  Let me explain.  I start with a rolled out pie crust.  You can buy a good one from Pillsbury (they are tasty!) or prepare your own.  I make pastry in batches and freeze them to use when I need them.  I like my pastry thin so I roll them thin.  If you are using purchased pie crust you should roll them a little thinner any way.  Move it to a baking stone or a simple cookie sheet.  No need to prepare the cookie sheet.

Now the filling.  You can brush the bottom of the sweet galettes with jams, jellies, curds, honey — whatever sounds good to you.  Savory galettes could be brushed with olive or another savory oil, a little balsamic — you get the gist.

Layer the sweet, savory or a mix of what you want for a filling. Leave a 2-3 inch edge all the way around the pastry.  You can top it with all kinds of stuff too, nuts, glazes, jams, syrups.

Finish by folding up the side, over the galette (so some of the filling is under the pastry crust) and pleating where necessary.  You can also glaze or sugar the edges of the crust.   Bake it for 45-50 minutes at 350  degrees until the crust is browned.  It’s a work of art and anything goes!

IMG_1738

Let me give you an example of the last two I made:

Apple Amaretto Almond Galette

On the pastry- 4 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced, dotted with some craisins, spread out some preserves on the top (I used a peach almond amaretto which was amazing!), a teaspoon of butter cut up and dotted on the top and a handful of sliced almonds.  When I rolled up the sides I used the bake of a spoon and spread more of the preserves on the crust so I would get a nice shiny glaze.  Baked it at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes — until the pastry looks done.  It got several thumbs up at the party.

As you are reading this you are probably thinking of all the fun flavors you could make.  Sometimes I just open my fridge and grab.

Tomato Ham Cheddar Galette

I made this tonight.  So, on the pastry, rolled out thin I lined the bottom with sliced tomatoes.  Again, keeping a 2-3 inch border around the pastry.  I topped that with ham (I did thin strips) and cheddar cheese.  I sprinkled a little bit of chopped basil on top and a dash of balsamic and baked it for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.  When it came out of the oven I sprinkled thinly sliced green onions to the top.  It was delicious.  After dinner I was thinking that sour cream might also be good on top after it was out of the oven.

I love to experiment.  I usually make fruit galettes because they are easy, great looking desserts in a rustic “oh this was nothing” kind of way.

Here are some of the other toppings I have used:

apple caramel
raspberry almond
mini marshmallow, crushed graham crackers, mini chocolate chips
nutella with almonds and coconut – I know, stop it, please stop it
peach, nectarine and plum
apple, pear and dried cranberries

The list goes on.  I’m just getting into the savories but the possibilities are endless.

ground beef, carrots and onions (prebrowned and drained) like an open face pasty (you “yuppers” know what I mean.)

ham and swiss cheese

corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.

Serve with whatever condiments you like.  Drop me a comment and let me know what you have tried.  Trust me it’s worth it!

Lettuce Wraps – Sweet and Spicy . . .

Standard

IMG_1584. . . and so easy!

A group of friends all decided to challenge ourselves.  We were all going to a wedding and we wanted to look good.  The deal was that whoever lost the most weight won the jackpot (We all put in five bucks!).

 I took this pretty serious, and I won 1st place.  The best part of this whole experience is that it motivated me to eat healthier, exercise and to put some thought into healthy recipes.

This one is my favorite.  It is easy, quick and I’m guessing you have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand in your pantry.

By the way, the wedding was a blast.  It was beautiful and we all were too!  So shout out to Kelly, Sue, Julie, Barb, Heather, Kathy, Lori and Tracy!  You girls rock.

Now, back to the lettuce wraps.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon oil

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 lb. ground meat (my favorite is pork, chicken and turkey would work too)

1/4 cup hoison sauce (available in my grocery stores)

1 carrot , cut into matchsticks

2 green onions sliced (if you like you can also cut larger pieces on a slight – spicier!)

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Lettuce

Directions:

Using a medium size skillet, heat the oil on medium.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds – minute, being careful not to burn the garlic (worst taste ever).  Add the meat and cook until all the pink is gone.

Take off heat, add the hoison sauce and stir till meat mixture is covered.  Toss on the carrot sticks, green onions and sesame seeds.  Toss lightly.  Serve on lettuce.  I use romaine because I like a sturdy wrap — but any lettuce you like will do.

That’s it.  Don’t look for more.  There isn’t any more ingredients, work or directions.  Just eat ’em up and enjoy.

Sometimes I just eat the filling out of a bowl — true confession.

Enjoy.

Cabbage Soup – Best Soup Ever – No really, seriously. . .

Standard

Cabbage soup 1

I live in Michigan.  It’s cold here.  Soup comforts me.  So I make soup.   I have to say, this is one of the best soups I have ever, ever had.  Made it in about 20 minutes and cooked it in my instant pot for 2 hours.

I have also made it in my slow cooker and on high it cooks for about 4 hours.

I got an instant pot just before Christmas.  I have made soups, desserts, tapioca pudding and for New Years Eve I made Chinese spare ribs.  But this soup beats all.

Best thing about it?  It is Low calorie, Gluten free, Paleo, Celiac, Dairy Free, Plant based Vegan, and Vegetarian.  But it doesn’t have to be.  One time I substituted the Vegan Apple Sage Sausage links with Italian sausage.

Give credit where credit is due, I originally got the recipe from my new friends at:  https://recipes.instantpot.com/recipe/best cabbage-soup-ever/

Cabbage Soup – Best Ever

Ingredients

3 potatoes rough diced

IMG_1012

2 large carrots diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1 small onion diced

1/2 to 1 head green cabbage rough chopped

1 can diced tomatoes with juice (about 14.5 ounces) ( I use a quart of my home canned whole roma tomatoes and dice them).

2-4 Vegan Apple Sage Sausage links chopped (I like lots of sausage in mine)

1 quart of vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper ground

1/2 – 1 tsp. Grains of Paradise (optional) but I just LOVE this spice.  It is available on Amazon.

Instructions for instant pot:

  1.  Place all the ingredients in the instant pot.
  2. Cover the with the lid and turn the lid clockwise to lock into place.  Align the pointed end of the steam release handle to point to “Venting.”
  3. Press “Slow Cook”,  adjust the heat to high then change the time to 2 hours.
  4. When time is up, open the lid of the instant pot.
  5. Serve with whole grain bread, crackers or whatever your specific diet allows.

Instructions for slow cooker:

  1.  Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker.
  2. Cover with the lid and turn on high.
  3. Cook for 4 hours or until the vegetables are as tender as you like.

Note:  I don’t like to leave this to simmer all day.  Personal preference.  I don’t like mushy cabbage.

Try different sausages if you are not vegetarian.

Message me or comment please.  Is this not the most wonderful soup in the world?

 

 

 

 

Beef Barley Soup a.k.a. “Butt Noodle Soup”

Standard

Butt noodles.  When my kids were little they called barley — butt noodles.  Come on, think about it.  Don’t they look like little tiny tushes?  Anyway, it’s one of my favorite soups.  Here’s my advice on making a heavenly pot of deliciousness.

Beef Barley Soup

Ingredients:

8 quarts of beef broth

2 lbs. beef cubes

3-4 carrots cut into small pieces

1-2 onions – chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 to 1 cup red wine

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. grains of paradise (optional)*

1 bay leaf

1 whole clove of garlic

1 tsp. dried thyme

Directions:

  1.  Prepare broth.  I usually use a soup bone but you can use a can of beef brother just as easily.
    1. if using bone:  in a large stock pot place water, the soup bone, a clove of garlic, bay leaf and thyme.  Bring the water to a boil and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for two hours with the lid on.  At the end of two hours you can add a little  beef flavoring  if the stock seems to “thin” tasting.
    2. If using stock from can:  Use two large cans/cartons of beef broth, add enough water to equal 8 cups.  Add a clove of garlic, bay leaf and thyme and 1 tsp. of beef flavoring and simmer  for about an hour.
  2. While broth is simmering prepare the beef cubes.  Salt and pepper beef. In a large frying pan heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Place the beef cubes (leave them large so they don’t dry out while cooking) in the pan and brown.  Do not crowd beef.  Do it in several batches if you need to. (Crowding does allow the meat to brown, it steams it and leaves an ugly grayish color)  See pictures above. As meat browns remove from pan and place on a large plate.
  3. Next add a little more olive oil if needed and brown the onion and carrots.  About 2 minutes or so to caramelize and give it that nice roasted flavor.  Remove from pan into a bowl and let sit until ready for them.
  4. Keep the heat on and add the wine to deglaze the pan.  Make sure to scrap up the goodies from the bottom of the pan.  Pour wine into the stock pot.  Remove bone and cut any meat off and put back into pot.  I then cut the browned meat into small bite-size pieces and add to the pot.  Make sure you add all those flavorful juices. Add diced tomatoes.  Now, taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  If you have it and if you like it, add the grains of paradise.  Simmer for about an hour.
  5. Now add vegetables and 1 cup barley and simmer for an hour (The reason for delaying the vegetables until now is so they don’t overcook and get all mushy.)
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

*Grains of Paradise – commonly referred to as alligator pepper or melegueta pepper.  They are grown in Africa and provide a warm, spicy bite with slightly bitter overtones.  Available at Amazon.com — buy in a grinder (like salt).  under $5.

This takes a little more time then opening up a can and heating it up but, definitely worth it.

Meatloaf – My comfort food!

Standard

I’m a retired teacher now.  Wow that was weird to say.  Some of the best times in my class working with the kids involved food.  We would make cook books, write essays, make things.  They were my guinea pigs — testing my recipes — even making suggestions.  We learned how to format columns and search for symbols in word processing.  We used spreadsheets, statistics and graphics to take polls, expand recipes and calculate costs of food.

I remember one of my students, when asked to write a short warm up about their comfort foods, raved about his mom’s meatloaf.  He almost got teary eyed mentioning it.  “Bryan, I’m going to need that recipe in order for you to pass this class,” I joked.  I got it the next day.  He was right.  Angela Stolz, you do make great meatloaf.  Last night I needed some comfort food and I couldn’t find the recipe she had written neatly on a recipe card.  I panicked and messaged her.  She was quick to reply and soon my house smelled amazingly delicious — and I was comforted.

Here’s the recipe:

Angela’s Amazing Meatloafimg_0930

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground sausage

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 medium onion

3/4 cup of milk

1 egg

1 tsp. worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepperimg_0933

Directions:  

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place meat in a large bowl and gently mix.

Place remaining ingredients in a blender. ( I use a Vitamix.). and blend well.  Pour over meat, mix well.

Shape into a loaf.  Place in a loaf pan and bake for 1 hourimg_0934

 

  *This is Angela’s recipe verbatim.  I add ketchup to the top of the meatloaf because in my house meatloaf isn’t meatloaf unless it has ketchup, baked and gooey on top.

Thanks Bryan and Angela.

We love mashed potatoes and creamed corn with our meatloaf.  Share with me what your meatloaf secrets and combinations are.

Christmas Toffee

Standard

I can’t remember a Christmas of late that hasn’t included chocolate toffee.  It started when I was first married.  Eager to prove I was a grown up and a successful entertainer.  When my parents agreed to come to Delaware to spend Christmas with us I went nuts.  I am sure I made fiftimg_0769y kinds of cookies, fudge, bars, candy, you name it.  So much so that my dad and his sweet tooth were overwhelmed.  Normally a very sensible man, he was mesmerized by so much confection . . . he ate it all.  He liked to tell people that he was not a real “sweets person” but those of us who knew him knew better.  A trip to the ER with stomach pains inspired us to give lots of treats to neighbors, friends, homeless people, etc.

I have calmed down a bit after that year but one thing that never goes off the list is my homemade chocolate toffee with almonds and pecans.  It took a few years to perfect it.  The toffee was too grainy.  The chocolate didn’t harden.  Nuts were not delicious (toasted nuts are much better).  Now after about 35 years later I think I have it down pat.  Just don’t eat it all in one setting.

The hardest part of this recipe is the patience and getting use to watching the different stages of toffee.  Is it ever going to get the amber color?  Is it suppose to get this thick?  Why does it separating?  Be patient.  I tried to include some pictures of the stages the confection will go through.  Literally times no time at all to complete.

OMG CHOCOLATE TOFFEE

INGREDIENTS

 

 

1 1/4 c. unsalted butter

1 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of kosher salt

2 c. semisweet mini chocolate chips (if all you have is regular chips that is fine)

1/2 c. toasted chopped almonds

1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans

Sea Salt to top

DIRECTIONS

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toast and chop your nuts.  By the way you can sub almonds and pecans for other nuts, but why would you?

In a heavy duty saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly with a wood spoon.  Continue cooking after the butter melts.  You will go through several stages of color and texture.  The continuous stirring keeps the butter and sugar from separating.

img_0746

img_0753

img_0756

img_0762-1

img_0762

img_0767

Let butter melt and then cook, stirring constantly with a spatula (so the butter and sugar don’t separate!), until mixture turns a dark amber, 15  to 20 minutes, maybe even more. If it takes longer than this you may not you may not have the heat hig enough so turn it up and keep stirring.  Always stirring.  Some prefer to use a candy thermometer to determine whether it is done.  If so you should shoot for 288 degrees or the hard crack stage.) This mixture should be amber in color.

Pour toffee mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately spread out the chocolate chips evenly on top of the toffee mixture. Let it set a minute to melt and using a spatula spread the melted chips evenly over the toffee mixture.

img_0768

Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the top.  Lightly press down on the toffee with your hand to embed the nuts.  Top with sea salt.  I like the flaky kind.

img_0770

Refrigerate until set, about 2 or so hours. Then cut or break into pieces.

Enjoy!

 

Hint:  I store the leftover crumbles, from the breaking and cutting in a container to serve over ice cream.