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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Nov 26, 2015

Fig and Pepper Bread

Have you ever read a book that referenced a recipe that sounded wonderful - and mentioned it A LOT?  I had that recently when i read First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen.  Luckily, at the end of the book, there was a recipe.  The recipe pictured a fresh fig, but did not specify fresh or dried in the list.  I used dried - it still turned out well, but I will try again with fresh, when they are in season.  When using dried figs, add at the same time you add the flour to allow them to be mixed in more consistently.  Also, I did not have unbleached flour, so I used regular.

2 Cups Wholegrain Spelt Flour
2 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Figs
2 Tsp Course Black Pepper
2 Tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 1/4 Tsp (1 Packet) Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Cups Warm Water

Whisk flour, salt, pepper and yeast until blended.  Add olive oil and warm water.  Knead for 10 minutes (or use mixer dough hook) for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and springy.

Oil a large bowl, place dough inside and cover bowl with a damp hand towel.  Let sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Softly knead in the chopped figs, shape into an oval and place on a baking sheet.

Snip three shallow lines into the top of the dough with scissors then lightly dust the bread with flour.

Set aside to allow to rise a bit more, turning the oven to 350 degrees.  Once the oven is hot, place tray in oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is slightly brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the underside.

Nov 25, 2015

Blueberry Cream Pie

This pie can be made with frozen blueberries (thawed and drained well) - so it is a nice option for a taste of summer in the dead of winter.

3 Cups Blueberries
9 Inch Deep Dish Pie Crust

1 Cup White Sugar
1/3 Cup Flour
1/8 Tsp Salt
2 Large Eggs, Beaten
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place blueberries in pie crust and set aside.

Custard:  In a small bowl, combine the custard ingredients and mix well.  Our over the blueberries.

Streusel:  In another bowl, combine streusel ingredients.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or pastry fork until mixture resembles course meal.  Sprinkle over the sour cream mixture.

Bake pie for 50 to 55 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire rack.

Nov 24, 2015

Tortellini with Asparagus and Bacon

Can be made in one pan, what could be an easier dinner for two?

4 Slices Bacon
1 Container Fresh Tortellini - 2 servings, if you can find it.
1 Cup Asparagus Slices - 1 Inch
1 1/2 Cup Marinara Sauce
Parmesan Cheese

In a large pot, cook bacon until very crisp.  Put on paper towels and set aside.  Wipe out pan, fill with water and put the pot on to boil.  The Asparagus will need to cook for four minutes, find the cook time for your pasta.  Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta/asparagus at times that it is done at the same time.  For example, the fresh pasta I used needed to cook two minutes.  I added the Asparagus first then added the pasta when two minutes remained.

Drain the pasta/asparagus and return to the pan.  Add sauce and head through.  Divide between two bowls, top with crumbled bacon and parmesan cheese.

Nov 23, 2015

Coconut Cream Pie

Toast your own coconut, stir it into thickened creamy goodness, refrigerate and enjoy!

1 Cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
3 Cups Half and Half
2 Large Eggs, beaten
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp Coconut Extract (If you don't have coconut, used more vanilla)
1 (9 Inch) Pie Shell (baked)
Whipped Cream

Heat a large skillet over medium low heat.  Add half the coconut to the pan, stir until toasted.  Remove to a bowl, repeat with remaining coconut.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, eggs, sugar, flour, salt and mix well.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until very thick.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut as well as the extracts.  Pour filling into a pie shell and chill until firm.  Top pie with reserved coconut.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Nov 22, 2015

Apple Butter English Muffins

Making English Muffins at home is quite easy.  Top these with more apple butter, jam or nothing at all.

1 3/4 Cup Warm Milk (110 to 115 degrees)
3 Tbl Butter, Softened
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbl Sugar
1 1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Yeast
2 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Apple Butter
Cornmeal for dusting

Combine all ingredients except cornmeal in a large mixing bowl.  

Using a stand mixer, beat the dough using a flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl and it is smooth and shiny - about 5 minutes (NOTE:  This dough is very soft).

Scrape the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with a towel and let raise until puffy, 1 to 2 hours.  

Line a cookie sheet with cornmeal, set aside.  Divide dough in half.  Divide one half into 8 pieces, shape each piece into a bowl and gently flatten until the are 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place muffins on sheet, sprinkle with additional corn meal.  Cover with a towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

Put skillet or large griddle over medium low heat.  Heat oven to 400 egress.  Repeat dough process, above, with other half of dough.  When first 20 minutes are up, increase pan to medium.  Line pan with corn meal.  Place muffins in pan, cook for 4 minutes and turn.  Temp a muffin - if not 200 degrees, put in oven for another 5 minutes.

Repeat with second batch of dough.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Nov 21, 2015

Rogelach - LHJ

Again, hubby gets home and asks what the yumminess on the counter was - it was Rogelach.  He then asked - okay, what is this yumminess on the counter...he had never heard of it.  This is a traditional Jewish cookie, sometimes made with poppy seeds, but this recipe uses raisins and walnuts.

1 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
6 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 3/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Seedless Raisins
1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbl Butter, melted

In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter, cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add flour and salt, continue to mix until well combined.  Wrap and chill dough for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a food processor, combine raisins and walnuts, pulse until chopped.  Add sugar and pulse a couple more times to combine.  Cut dough into 9 equal pieces.  Put on one a flat surface and refrigerate remaining dough.  Roll dough into an eight inch circle, sprinkle with some sugar mixture.  Cut into 8 pie shaped wedges and roll to the point.  Place point side down on an uncreased cookie sheet.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Nov 20, 2015

Lemon Cherry Cookies - LHJ

These cookies are similar to a thumbprint but topped with a candied cherry instead of jam.  The faint lemon flavor would allow transition to a thumbprint with your favorite jam.

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg, separated
1 Tsp Grated Lemon Peel
1 Tbl Lemon Juice
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
24 Candied Red Cherries

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk, lemon peel and juice - beat until well blended.  Gradually add flour and beat until well mixed.  Wrap and chill for at least three hours.  

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Divide dough into quarters.  Divide each quarter into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball, dip into slightly beaten egg whites and then into nuts.  Place onto a cookie sheet.  Insert a cherry into the center of each.  Bake 15 minutes or until lightly brown on bottom.  Cool on wire racks.