Friday, February 26, 2010

Cookbooks are fun.

I have always had a thing for cookbooks. My mother had a few but she kept them in the drawer beneath the stove. Now that I think about that the smartest place to keep something so flammable?

Anyway, I used to sit on the kitchen floor as a little girl and haul them out to look at them. I think this is where my food obsession started.

I never ended up with any of my mothers cookbooks, just some of her recipe cards. So I have started my own collection and I love it.

There are a handful that I use ALL.THE.TIME. The rest I refer to once in a while. Most used: Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, Bread Baker's Apprentice, Better Homes and Garden (my mother had the old old old version of this), and my binders.

This is what I like to do when I have a bad day; pull out an arms load of books and binders, make a nest, watch TV and make lists of stuff I want to try. Below you will see the binders. One is for anything not dessert/sweet. These are main dishes, breads, sides and salads, ect. The other binder is all sweets; cookies and bars, cakes, pies and tarts, ect. THEN, I have two folders, one of things to make in the near future, and one of things to be filed. It is quite the system I have going!!

Boyd likes cookbooks too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Isabelle's Cookies

I think I've mentioned before that we have a little cookbook that my mother started and my sister and I finished it after she died. It is full of family recipes and stories and jokes. I love it. I was looking for a recipe when I saw a recipe that I had never tried, Isabelle's Cookies. It included this note from my mother, "Isabelle was our neighbor when we were little kids, living on Kinderhook Street. These are delicious ginger snap type cookies." Now, I mentioned this to my father and he claims that HIS mother made Isabelle's cookies. I don't know who she is or which town she lived in...but she made some gooooood cookies.

Isabelle's Cookies
Source: Isabelle (whoever she is)
Yield: 2 dozen

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg
4 T molasses
1 t cloves
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
2 cups flour
2 t baking soda

Mix together to form a smooth dough. Form into balls. Roll in sugar.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good For You Cookies

I take one bite of these cookies and I am 7 again. I've just gotten off the school bus. My mother is standing in the sunny kitchen and the house smells homey, like cookies and Pine Sol. I get really excited that there are fresh cookies and she says I can, "have one for each hand." I ask what kind they are and she says, "good for YOU cookies" with the accent on YOU. I take two, sit on the couch and watch the Jetsons. Life is good.

Why my mother put the accent on YOU, I have no idea. Anyway you want to say it, these cookies are awesome. I think she called them "good for you" because of the oats, raisins, and peanut butter. It makes sense...right?!

Good For You Cookies

Source: Mummy
Yield: 2 dozen

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1 t. baking soda
2 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, followed by vanilla, peanut butter, and baking soda. Stir in oats, chips, and raisins. Place 1 inch balls on cookie sheet, flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm sorry this photo kind of stinks. I'm really looking forward to the long sunny days when I can rely on natural light. Don't get me wrong...I love my external flash...but there is nothing like lush natural light.

I've been making this focaccia for years. My father used to work with this woman who baked a lot of bread and she sent this home with him one day. I think I was around 17 or 18 at the time. I had to have the recipe and I'm so glad she gave it up!

This bread is so flavorful. The salt, garlic and rosemary on the top is awesome. Oh, and of course the olive oil. I normally halve this recipe and we eat half of it right out of the oven, then the other half we use for sandwiches. Enjoy!!

**American Steel, Mean Streak** "I like you 'cause you're like me, We both act miserably, It must make us happy"


Source: Lady from my Dad's work from years ago. :)
Yield: 2 rounds

2 packages of active dry yeast
2 T sugar
4 T olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 t salt
2 cups warm water
5 1/2 cups flour

3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T rosemary
1 T kosher salt

Dissolve the yeast in water. Add sugar, oils and salt. mix in 3 cups flour and whip until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl (about 10 minutes).

Mix in the remaining flour by hand or with a dough hook and knead the dough until it is smooth. Allow the dough to rise twice right in the bowl and punch down after each rising.

Oil 2 baking sheet or use baking stone. Divide dough between the two pans. Using your fingers, press the dough out to the edges of the pans. Cover and allow to rise for about 30 minutes and brush with the crushed garlic mixed with the oil for the topping. Sprinkle with the rosemary and salt. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Repeat the brushing if needed (I usually do).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Bestest Banana Bread

Sometimes I hear people asking for a banana bread recipe. I never listen to what people give for answers because I have one tried and true recipe that I've been using since I first learned to bake.

I have quite a few recipes in my arsenal that I've decided are "the one". I have stopped looking for a better recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Cupcakes
No Bake Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Black and White Cookies
Sugar Cookies

And I'm always trying to narrow down the field for others. I want to be sure that the recipe I am using is going to result in the BEST product. One that I can make when I'm 80.

This banana bread is moist, sweet, and a cinch to make. Sometimes when my sister comes up to visit she will use my father's rotten bananas to make a loaf. It lasts about 10 minutes.

Banana Bread
Source: Marge Standish
Yield: 1 wonderful loaf that you could eat in one sitting.

1/4 cup shortening
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 t baking soda
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour

Cream shortening, add salt. Add sugar and then eggs. Sift flour and soda. Alternately mix in bananas and flour mix to the egg mixture. Pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pumpkin Penne

I'm going to talk about copyrights for a second.

I'm lazy and didn't want to transcribe this whole recipe so I googled it so I could copy and paste. A few bloggers mentioned that they won't post recipes that come from published cookbooks because of copyright infringement. So, I went to the US Copyright Office and looked into the law on recipes. It appears that if you are just listing ingredients then you are fine. When a recipe goes into detailed directions then it gets tricky.

The purpose of a food blog, I think, is to share the love of food and recipe. So I am going to continue posting recipes even if they are from a cookbook. I own this cookbook, Veganomicon, and I think that ANY vegan or vegetarian would get a lot from it. Actually, you probably already own it because it is super popular. And awesome.

This dish is AH-MAY-ZING! The "ricotta" made of tofu, cashews, and garlic is so good I'd eat it as a dip. You would never know it was vegan...and not ricotta. Actually, it's better than ricotta.

Don't be scared that this has pumpkin in it. You can't really taste lends sort of a sweetness to the dish. Plus nutrients!

Enjoy this one my friends! It is definitely a winner!

Caramelized Onion and Sage Pumpkin Penne Pasta
Source: Veganomicon
Yield: 8 servings

1 pound uncooked ziti or penne
2 onions, sliced very thinly
3 T olive oil
1 recipe cashew ricotta (follows)
1T brown sugar
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
White pepper and cayenne
2 c or 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1/4 c. vegetable broth

Cashew ricotta (makes 2 cups):
1/2 c. cashew pieces (approx. 4 oz.)
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil
2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
1 lb. firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1-1/2 t. dried basil
1-1/2 t. salt

Sage bread crumbs:
2-1/2 c. bread crumbs, preferably freshly made
1/4 c. olive oil
2 t. dried, rubbed sage
1/2 t. ground paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9×11 or 9×13-inch lasagna pan with olive oil. Prepare ziti according to package directions. Drain, rinse, drain again and set aside.

While ziti is cooking, make the caramelized onions: preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute onions in oil until some onion bits are very brown and caramelized, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Make the cashew ricotta: In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in batches if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt.

Place cashew ricotta in large bowl and fold in pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, and vegetable broth. Add the cooked ziti and the caramelized onions. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and level with a spatula, pressing slightly.

Make the bread crumb topping: Melt margarine or heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs, dried herbs, and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and spread over pasta mixture.

Bake 28 to 30 minutes, until the top of the ziti is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Maple Syrup Pancake Muffins

Brilliant!! A muffin that tastes like a pancake smothered in sticky syrup. Yes, please!

My only gripe with these is how expensive it is to make them. The topping calls for 3/4 cup of pure maple syrup. WHY is something so delicious and natural SO expensive?? I got a smaller jug of syrup for $6 and it is almost gone. OK...not just from the muffins but from waffles and pancakes too.

Now that I've said that, you have to make these at least once. They are so worth it just for that wonderful taste. I've never made brown butter before but it gives these a deep and caramel flavor. And then the topping is sticky and gooey and wonderful. I could not keep my hands away from these little gems.

You can add anything to the batter that you would normally add to a pancake. I added chocolate chips to a few of them. Then I shared them with my friends.

Maple Syrup Pancake Muffins
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 12 muffins

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the Maple Glaze:

3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin tin.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.

Whisk milk, egg, yolk, maple syrup, and vanilla until combined. Add the brown butter and stir to combine.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine.

Divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

While the muffins are baking make the maple glaze.

In a small saucepan simmer maple syrup and lemon juice, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick (thicker than maple syrup) syrup. This will take about 15 minutes over a low flame.

Remove from heat and wait for the muffins to finish baking. When muffins are out of the oven and cool enough to handle, poke a few holes in the muffin top with a toothpick and dip each muffin top in the maple glaze. After dipping all twelve muffins, start with the first muffin you dipped and dip each muffin again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drunk Mussels

These pictures make me drool!

I first had "drunken mussels" at one of our favorite spots, The Liberal Cup. They are known for their home brews and of course they cook their mussels in the ale with some tomatoes, onions, and herbs. SO good. I do think that the mussels at Slates have them slightly beat. I think Slates cooks theirs in white wine. It's a tough life when you have to compare mussels cooked in beer vs white wine. I'm a lucky gal!!

Mussels are dirt cheap right now so I bought two pounds, scrounged around in the fridge to find an old IPA, and made a great meal.

I thought these turned out great. My favorite part is sopping up the juices with a nice crusty bread. Enjoy my friends!

**Lily Allen, Smile** (of course sung with a thick British accent at the top of my lungs) "At first when I see you cry, it makes me smile."

Drunk Mussels
Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine
Yield: 4 servings

1 Tbs Olive oil
2 ea Shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ea Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1/4 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
2 lb Mussels, rinsed, debearded and scrubbed
1 pint Grape tomatoes, cut in half
8 oz Beer
1 tsp Minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup Chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs Fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbs Unsalted butter

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until shallots just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add mussels, tomatoes, beer, and thyme and stir to combine. Cover and simmer until mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that don't open.

Divide mussels among 4 bowls. Return sauce to heat and stir in cilantro, lime juice, black pepper, and butter. Pour sauce over mussels in each bowl and serve with bread.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rose's Vinaigrette

Martha. You may be a jail bird but I adore you. Yeah, you come off real snotty sometimes...but so do I. Plus I think your daughter is a riot. So, we're cool.

I like to make my own salad dressing. It allows me to control the amount of fat but more importantly, the amount of garlic. I believe I've mentioned how much I like garlic...yes? Well it is true. I like things garlicky and salty.

I had been making an ordinary dressing of EVOO, white wine vinegar, garlic, dry mustard, any herbs I had kicking around, and S&P. Then I saw this recipe in Martha's holiday issue. Very similar to what I was doing but it has a bit more flavor. I make this full recipe and keep it in the fridge. Yum.

Rose's Vinaigrette
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 1 cup

1 tablespoon minced shallot or garlic (sometimes I use both or just double the garlic)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a clean jar, mash together the shallot, mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour in the vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Cover tightly and shake well to combine and emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of my vices. I have many. All food related.

I saw Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls on her site and decided I should give them a whirl. After looking at the recipe and nearly keeling over, I decided to halve the recipe. That crazy woman wanted me to put 9 cups of flour into this?? And she claims it would feed 8 people. Um. No.

So I halved it. Thinking it was going to make 4 cinnamon rolls.

It made 4 cinnamon rolls the size of my hand, not curled into a fist, wide open...jazz hands.

Later in the week my husband and I were at Barnes and Noble and I peeked in her book. Yeah, in her book she uses the same recipe and says it will make 24. MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

I thought these were decent. I loved the icing on the top. My main complaint was that the cinnamon and sugar on the inside sort of disappeared into the dough after baking. You didn't get that traditional swirl of a cinnamon roll where you can unravel it and devour the middle.

Still, I would make these again knowing that I could halve the recipe and make 12 cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls

Source: Pioneer Woman
Yield: 24 servings

1 quart Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
Plenty Of Melted Butter
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon

1 bag Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
½ cups Milk
¼ cups Melted Butter
¼ cups Brewed Coffee
⅛ teaspoons Salt

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fake and Cheese Bomb

As vegetarians we still want to eat the good stuff like a steak and cheese, although the thought of eating red meat makes me want to throw up. I threw these together one Sunday night. Perfect for watching my boy Rajon Rondo in high def.

You still get the feeling you are eating a steak and cheese but I subbed the meat for marinated and grilled portabello mushroom. On top is sauted onions and peppers and on top of that is cheese. Now, I'm sure you have noticed that the cheeses are different. My husband will only eat fat free cheese. I think it takes like rubber and I love full fat cheese. I had swiss. He had rubber.

Fake and Cheese Bomb
Source: ME!
Yield: 2 bombs

Awesome rolls
2 portabello mushrooms (marinated in soy sauce, garlic, EVOO, Worcestershire, S&P)
1 onion, sliced
1 pepper, sliced

Grill the mushrooms and slice very thinly. While the mushrooms are cooking, saute the onions and peppers in a bit of EVOO. Pile it all high on the roll and top with cheese. Pop it under the broiler for a minute or two.
Oh yeah.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Husband Made Me Dinner.

Waaaaay back in the winter of 2007 my husband cooked for me for the very first time. He made a citrus marinated and baked tofu with roasted vegetables. And a really big mess. The second meal he made for me was a vegan spinach lasagna. Very good, both meals.

I was quite surprised to come home from work last week and see him in the kitchen. He had made dinner! He made veggie fajitas with meatless meat. He even cut the avacado correctly! It was awesome. I had never had that soy meat stuff before and I loved it!

Nice job Sefffff!