Monday, June 30, 2008

Barbecued Spareribs

5 lbs. baby back spareribs

Ingredients for dry rub:
2 T paprika
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Combine all ingredients but the pork for the rub.

If you wish, remove the papery skin from the back of each rack by pulling it off with your fingers or just slit it with a knife.

Spread the rub generously on both sides of the ribs. Allow the ribs to sit in the refrigerator for up to eight hours or at room temperature for one hour. For the fire, use charcoal and wood chips.

Cook over direct heat until the ribs are browned. Lower the fire and place the charcoal and wood to each side. Place a large drip pan under the ribs in the center. Continue cooking the ribs over indirect heat until the ribs are done. How long depends on your grill, your fire, distance from fire, etc. To test, cut into the ribs in the middle: The meat should not be pink. Use vents to regulate the heat.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Light Buttermilk Pancakes

1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ T melted butter plus more for cooking
1 egg beaten lightly
2 cups buttermilk

maple syrup and jam for serving

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine 1 ½ tablespoons butter, the egg and buttermilk in a bowl. Whisk in the dry ingredients until batter is just smooth. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Lightly brush a nonstick skillet with butter and place over medium heat. Ladle ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet, spreading it out a bit; cook until the pancake is golden and small bubbles form on the top, about 40 seconds. Flip and continue cooking until golden, about 40 seconds.

Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter as needed to the pan. Serve the pancakes as you make them, with syrup or jam; or keep them warm, loosely covered with foil, in a 200 degree F oven.

This recipe yields about 10 4-inch pancakes to serve 4 or 5.

Per serving (based on 4, without syrup or jam): 290 calories, 43g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 8g fat, 70mg cholesterol.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Almost Homemade Cappuccino Crunch Muffins

1 (15.4-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Nut Quick Bread & Muffin Mix
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 T instant coffee granules or crystals, or instant espresso
coffee granules
1 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup buttermilk (substitute 1 T vinegar or lemon juice with enough milk to make 1 cup, let stand at room temperature for one hour before using)
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 14 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In
large bowl, combine quick bread mix, contents of nut packet, cocoa and coffee granules; mix well. Stir in toffee bits and chocolate chips. Add buttermilk, oil and eggs; stir just until dry particles are moistened. Divide batter evenly into lined muffin cups.

Bake for 19 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan. Serve warm or cool.

Makes 14 muffins


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

1 1/2-2 lbs. butternut squash
4 T unsalted butter
nutmeg, to taste
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4-1 cup pastry flour (makes for lighter gnocchi)

1 recipe brown butter with pine nuts and parsley (see below)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Spread 1/2 tablespoon butter on each half of cut squash and sprinkle with a touch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender, about 45 minutes.

When cooked, peel the squash and work through a food mill. Spread the squash evenly, not more than 1/2 inch thick, on a sheet pan, and return to the oven. Bake the squash until it is very dry, but not crusty, about 1 hour. If not dried enough, if damp, the squash will absorb more flour and become gummy.

Transfer to a bowl.

Brown the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and add to the squash. Add the pastry flour and work gently to form a dough. Drop a small spoonful of dough into boiling, salted water and cook just until it floats. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Dust a cutting board with a little pastry flour and gently roll out the dough evenly about 1/2 inch high. Cut thin strips, 3/4-inch wide, and form into a sausage-like roll. Slice the rolls into 1/2-inch-wide diagonal slices.

At this point, cook the gnocchi or hold them in the refrigerator covered with a dry towell or freeze them.

To cook, heat a large pan of boiling water, add salt and then add the gnocchi. Boil only until they rise to the surface, 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss the gnocchi in brown butter sauce to heat thoroughly.

Serves 8 as a first course, 4 as an entree

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brown Butter Sauce

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup vegetable broth or stock
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

In a hot pan, melt the butter until it begins to brown. Add the pine nuts and parsley and swirl pan. Add broth before butter becomes dark brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked gnocchi and heat through, swirling several times. Serve with grated parmesan cheese (optional).


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chocolate Coffeecake

Ingredients for the cake:
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients for the filling:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for the topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 T butter
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Preparing the cake:
Combine yeast and 1 1/2 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, butter, evaporated milk and salt. Heat just until warm; add to yeast mixture. Add egg yolks.

Beat at low speed 30 seconds; beat 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in 2 1/2 cups more flour. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to coat surface of dough. Cover; let rise until double, about 2 hours.

Punch down; turn onto floured surface and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, for the filling, in a medium saucepan combine chocolate morsels, evaporated milk, sugar and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts; cool.

Roll dough to an 18-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. Spread with chocolate mixture; roll up from long side. Seal and join ends. Place seam down in a greased 10-inch tube pan.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter; stir in the chocolate morsels and chopped nuts. Sprinkle mixture on dough. Let rise about 1 1/4 hours. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan.

Serves 12 to 16.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quesadilla Triangles with Smoky Shredded Chicken

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half (about 6 ounces), washed and patted dry
2 T vegetable oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
½ pound finely chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato puree, or use 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from above
½ teaspoon sugar
salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 flour tortillas (6 inches in diameter)
oil for brushing on the tortillas
6 T grated Gruyere cheese
2 green onions, washed, ends removed, finely chopped
1/3 cup sour cream
24 cilantro leaves for garnish

Place the chicken in a pan with cold water to cover. Cover and simmer it gently over low heat, being careful not to boil, until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the size and thickness.

Cool it in the cooking liquid, then drain. Shred the chicken.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it is softened and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, chile, tomatoes, tomato puree or adobo sauce, and sugar. Cook until the mixture is thickened, abut 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool; stir in the shredded chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat a grill pan (or regular skillet) over medium heat. Brush one side of the tortilla with oil. Place the tortilla, oiled side down, onto the pan, pressing lightly with a spatula. Pan-grill for 1 to 2 minutes or until the tortilla softens. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place half of the tortillas on a baking sheet, grill marks down.

In a small bowl combine the cheese and green onion.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cheese-onion mixture over each tortilla. Evenly divide the chicken mixture and place it on top of the cheese-onion mixture. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining cheese-onion mixture.

Top with the remaining tortillas, pressing down slightly. Bake until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut each quesadilla into 8 wedges. Top with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with a cilantro leaf.

Makes 24 wedges.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Bruschetta with Olive Oil Crushed White Beans and Wilted Greens

For white beans:
12 ounces cannelini or great northern beans, soaked overnight in cold water
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 sprig fresh sage
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the gremolata:
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
zest of 1 lemon

For wilted greens:
2 bunches of spinach, escarole, kale or broccoli raab washed and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon

For crostini:
1 loaf artisanal bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 T extra virgin olive oil

Preparing the beans:
Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a small pot along with the garlic cloves, the sprig of sage and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface and turn the heat down to low. Cook at a gentle simmer for about an hour until the beans are tender. Add the salt during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Preparing the gremolata:
While the beans are cooking, make the gremolata. Finely chop together the parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Drain the beans, saving the brother, and remove the garlic cloves and sage. Crush the beans with the olve oil, gremolata and enough broth to make the mixture smooth enough to spread, then reserve.

Preparing the greens:
Saute the greens in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the minced garlic over high heat. Season with a squeeze of lemon.

Preparing the bruschetta:
Toast the bread on both sides under a broiler or on a grill. Gently rub with the clove of garlic and brush with the remaining olive oil.

To Serve:
Cut into serving portions, spread with the crushed white beans and top with the wilted greens.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Preserved Lemons

12 or more unblemished lemons, preferably Meyers, scrubbed
sea salt
fresh lemon juice as needed

Pat the lemons dry.

Cut a thin dime-sized piece from both ends of each lemon.

Set a lemon on one end and make a vertical cut three quarters of the way through the fruit, so that the two halves remain attached at the base. Do not cut in it half.

Turn the lemon upside down and make a second vertical cut at a 90-degree angle to the first, again three quarters of the way through fruit.

Fill each cut with as much salt as it will hold.

Place the lemon carefully at the bottom of a sterilized wide-mouthed quart glass jar. Proceed in the this manner with the remaining lemons, compressing them in the far until no space is left and the lemon juice rises to the top. Seal and seat place on the kitchen counter.

More lemons may be added in the following days as the lemon rinds begin to soften.

Make sure the lemons are covered with juice at all times adding fresh lemon juice if necessary.

The lemons are ready to use when the rinds are tender, in 4 to 6 weeks. Rinse them lightly and discard the seeds before using.

Refrigerate after opening. Preserved lemons will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Note: Mold may form when the lemons come in contact with the air. If this happens, remove the mold with a clean utensil. Besure the lemons are always completely covered with lemon juice.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hot Chocolate

Use a heavy pot when melting the chocolate, or it may burn.

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, in pieces
1 T light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups low-fat (1%) or whole milk

Combine the chocolate, sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of the milk in a small, heavy saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat to melt the chocolate until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Then slowly pour in the rest of the milk, whisking until warmed through.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, or marshmallows, and/or an ounce of vanilla liqueur. Dress this up at the holidays by serving with candy canes as stirrers.

Serves 2


Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuffed Red Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes
(for filling baby potatoes)
4 russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled
1/2 cup cream or half & half
1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter
salt and white pepper, to taste

Roasted Potatoes
18 baby red potatoes
olive oil

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 ounces New York cheddar, grated
2 T chives, chopped

Preparing the mashed potatoes:
Push cooked potatoes through a sieve or whip in electric mixer. Add butter and cream. Season with salt and white pepper, set aside.

Preparing baby red potatoes:
Cut potatoes in half and hollow out middles (to make room for the stuffing). Toss the potatoes in olive oil and roast in oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes, until just done, and set aside.

To assemble:
Using a piping bag or small spoon, fill the hollowed out roasted potatoes with mashed potatoes, top with assort cheese and bake until melted and golden brown.

Serve warm.

Serves 10-12


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Schrafft's Butterscotch Cookies

Serve these old-fashioned treasures with fresh fruit or berries.

2 T butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 T nonfat dry milk
1 T vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.

Combine the butter and shortening in a bowl and beat for a few seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the egg, dry milk and vanilla and beat until light.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Stir with a fork to mix and lighten. Add to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in the pecans and mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto the baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a 3-inch diameter drinking glass into flour and use it to press the dough into a circle of the same dimension. Dip the glass into flour after each use.

Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and gently lift the cookies onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Makes about 30 cookies.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic, Mascarpone, and Caramelized Leeks

3 T butter
4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed, chopped (about 5 cups)

1/2 cup (or more) whole milk
12 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

3 3/4 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese (about 6 ounces)

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and stir to coat. Cover and cook until leeks are golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Combine 1/2 cup milk and garlic in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook until garlic is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using back of fork, mash milk-garlic mixture to paste. Set aside.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Return potatoes to same pot; mash until almost smooth. Add mascarpone and milk-garlic mixture; mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring and thinning with milk by 1/4 cupfuls if dry.) Top with leeks.

*Italian cream cheese; sold at many supermarkets and at Italian markets. If unavailable, blend 3/4 cup cream cheese with 3 tablespoons whipping cream and 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

Serve this over rice, or polenta, with simply dressed salad greens.

2 T olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cups coarsely chopped green pepper
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small eggplant, unpeeled, cut in 1- to 2-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Saute onion and pepper until soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, mushrooms and eggplant. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is softened but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives chickpeas and rosemary. Simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley. Sprinkle feta cheese over the stew just before serving.

Serves 6

Nutritional analysis per serving: 191 calories, 9g fat (1g saturated), 5.6g protein, 24g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 507mg sodium.

A Mediterranean diet can relieve arthritis symptoms. Jean Carper writes:

Osteoarthritis (OA):

Best-bet supplements:
Both glucosamine (derived from crustacean shells) and chondroitin (derived from animal cartilage) relieve pain and improve knee function in OA patients and are extremely safe, according to a major new Belgian study. Glucosamine equals or surpasses conventional drugs -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, including aspirin -- and can even reduce cartilage loss and slow the progression of OA, says John Klippel, M.D., medical director of the Arthritis Foundation. In another study, taking 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine daily for three years reduced arthritic knee pain and disability 20% to 25%. Glucosamine and chondroitin often are combined, but Klippel says there is no proof they are more effective together than alone.

Glucosamine sulfate (500mg three times daily) also relieves the pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, a kind of osteoarthritis of the jaw that often strikes young people.

In many studies, the natural sulfur compound SAM-e (S-adenosyl L-methionine) was as effective as NSAIDs. Recommended dose: 600mg to 1,200mg a day. Use only under a doctor's supervision.

Not recommended:
Although MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is widely used and promoted, no controlled study shows that this sulfur compound relieves OA in humans.

Research increasingly finds that vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C, protect against OA, Klippel says. Losing weight dramatically cuts the risk of OA in the knees and hips. Overweight middle-aged women who lost 11 pounds over a 10-year period halved their risk of knee osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Best-bet supplements:

Fish oil, a powerful anti-inflammatory, relieves pain, swelling and stiffness, studies have shown. Taking fish oil enables from 50% to 100% of RA patients to discontinue NSAIDs. Expect improvement after 12 weeks. The usual dose is high: 3,000mg of EPA/DHA (fish oil's active ingredients) daily, taken under a doctor's supervision because it can thin the blood and react with medications.

Other good supplements:
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). This fatty acid is in evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage oil. In one study of 56 RA patients, those taking GLA daily for six months had significantly less joint pain and stiffness and better grip strength. Check labels of oils for the amount of GLA. The usual dose is about 1,800mg daily. To get it, you would need eight 1,000mg capsules of borage oil, each containing 240mg GLA. Be sure to tell your doctor; like fish oil, GLA can thin the blood and react with drugs.

Vitamins/minerals. A Mayo Clinic study found that older women who took vitamin C, vitamin E or zinc were 30% to 60% less likely to develop RA.

Not recommended:
Cat's claw is a popular herbal remedy with anti-inflammatory activity in animals, but no studies show it helps humans.

In a new Swedish study, RA patients who ate a Mediterranean diet (rich in olive oil, cereals, legumes, fish, fruits and vegetables; low in meat) for three months had less pain, better joint function and more vitality than did eaters of a typical Western diet. One reason: Olive oil, fish fat and produce have anti-inflammatory or antioxidant activity.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meyer Lemon Cake

Ingredients for the cake:
8 T unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice
Grate all the lemon peels - put 1/2 the amount into the cake and save the other half for the glaze
2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the glaze:
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
The rest of the grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Cool and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks with 1 cup of the sugar until thick and light in color, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the buttermilk, Meyer Lemon juice and zest. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and the salt. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Then add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Alternately, fold one half of the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture, followed by one half of the egg whites. Fold carefully so as not to deflate the batter. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg whites. Take about 1 cup of the batter and stir it into the melted butter. Gently fold the butter into the cake batter. Pour into a buttered and floured 9 inch cake pan or Bundt pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze. Combine the 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice and the confectioner’s sugar in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the lemon peel. Set aside until the cake is done.

When the cake is finished, cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Turn the cake out of the pan and invert on to a cooling rack. With a long toothpick or skewer, poke the tip of the cake to make many small holes. Slowly spoon the warm glaze over the cake. Allow the glaze to sink into the cake before adding more. Poke more holes if necessary. Use all of the glaze. Cool the cake completely and serve with crème Chantilly, if desired.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Creme Chantilly, one way:
1 cup creme fraiche, well chilled
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream until doubled in volume and soft peaks have formed. Fold in the sugar and vanilla.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Creme Chantilly, another way:
2 cups heavy cream
2 T granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together on high speed until soft peaks form in the mixture. Chill any unused Chantilly cream.

Makes enough cream for one average-size cake or pastry recipe.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins, Lightened

Nutritional analysis for these muffins is at the end of the recipe, which can make 8 large-size or 18 regular-size muffins.

For cream-cheese filling:
3/4 cup light cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 T granulated sugar
3 T Splenda
1 large egg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, optional (Adding chocolate chips will add 20 calories and 1.5g fat per muffin to regular muffins and 45 calories and 3.5g fat to large-size. Adding almonds will add 12 calories and 1g fat per muffin to regular muffins and 27 calories and 2.5g fat to large-size.)

For chocolate batter:
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
5 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 T canola oil
3 T fat-free sour cream
1 T vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sliced almonds, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 regular or 8 Texas-size
muffin cups with baking cups, or coat the pan with canola cooking

To prepare filling:
Combine cream cheese, vanilla, sugar, Splenda and
egg in a small mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate
chips; set aside.

To prepare batter:
Combine flours, sugar, Splenda, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; beat on low until well mixed.

Add water, canola oil, sour cream, vinegar and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beaters after 1 minute.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with chocolate batter. For regular-size muffins, top each with 1 tablespoon of the cream-cheese mixture. For Texas-size muffins, top with 3 tablespoons cream-cheese mixture. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake until muffins are cooked through and the middle springs back when pressed lightly, about 18 to 20 minutes for regular size and 25 to 30 minutes for Texas size. Let cool completely. Store in refrigerator.

Per regular size muffin: 137 calories; 4.5g fat (29 percent calories from fat); 1.5g saturated fat; 17mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 21g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 190mg sodium.

Per large-size muffin: 308 calories; 10g fat (29 percent calories from fat); 3.5g saturated fat; 38mg cholesterol; 9g protein; 47g carbohydrate; 4.5g fiber; 428mg sodium.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Luxurious French Toast

4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 T sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt, to taste
3 teaspoons unsalted butter, more if necessary
8 slices challah (or brioche or other egg bread), 1-inch thick

maple syrup and jam for serving

Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

Melt a teaspoon of the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Soak 2 slices of bread at a time in the batter for about 1 minute, pressing down on the bread so that it absorbs the batter.

Cook in the skillet until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately with syrup or jam or keep warm, loosely covered with foil, in a 200 degree F oven while cooking the remaining slices.

Serves 4


Thursday, June 12, 2008


2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt, to taste
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 T grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

In a bowl, combine the oats, bran, coconut, almonds and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

Combine the oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small saucepan and cook over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Toss well with the dry ingredients.

Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown.

Return granola to the bowl; combine well with the remaining ingredients. Cool completely; pack into airtight containers for up to two weeks.

Makes 6 cups.

Nutritional analysis, per 1/4-cup serving: 150 calories, 17g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 9g fat, no cholesterol.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

IHOP Harvest Grain 'N Nut Pancakes

Ingredients for the waffle mix:
7 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cup Quaker quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cup corn meal
l cup wheat bran
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cup finely chopped pecans
5 3/4 T baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/3 T dry malt*
1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.

Preparing the batter:
1 3/4 cups of buttermilk (use 2+ cups for pancakes)
2 extra-large eggs
2 cups of the waffle mix
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 T butter
1 teaspoon water

Put buttermilk in bowl and whisk in eggs. Whisk in Harvest Grain waffle mix. Melt butter in microwave with 1 teaspoon of water and whisk into batter.

* - Dry malt is available from home-brew stores or "scratch" bagel bakeries.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Fresh Lemon Meringue Pie

1 9-inch baked pie crust

3-egg meringue (see below)

Ingredients for lemon curd filling:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 T cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 egg yolks, well beaten
2 T butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups boiling water
grated peel of 1/2 lemon
2-3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

* * * * * * * * *

Ingredients for 3-egg meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 T granulated sugar

Preparing the lemon curd:
In a saucepan, thoroughly combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
Gradually blend in the cold water and lemon juice. Stir in the egg
yolks. Add the butter and boiling water. Bring to a boil over
medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and boil
for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon peel and food
coloring. Pour into baked pie crust. Top with 3-egg meringue,
sealing well at edges.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Cool for
2 hours before serving.

* * * * * * * * *
Preparing 3-egg meringue:
In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream
of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff
peaks form.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Simple Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients for huevos rancheros:
1 T corn oil, more if necessary
4 corn tortillas (4-inches to 6-inches in diameter)
4 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh salsa (recipe below)

1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

* * * * * * * * *

Ingredients for fresh salsa:
6 ripe plum tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lbs.
1 green jalapeno pepper, halves lengthwise, seeded and minced
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) red onion
1/4 aspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt, to taste
1 T chopped cilantro

Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and warm each of the tortillas for about 2 1/2 minutes per side, or until they start to color and soften, adding more oil as necessary. Drain on paper towels.

Place a tortilla on each of 4 dinner plates.

Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter is foaming, break an egg into the skillet and fry it sunny-side up - Don't flip the egg. Cover the skillet during the last 1 1/2 minutes to set the egg white. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the egg on top of a tortilla.

Repeat with the remaining butter and eggs.

Top each egg with 1/4 cup of the fresh salsa and 1 tablespoon of cheese.

Serves 4


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins, Lightened

Nutritional analysis at the end of the recipe, which makes 12 muffins.

canola cooking spray
6 T plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided (1/4 cup Splenda plus 1/4 cup granulated
sugar can be substituted for the 1/2 cup sugar used in the batter)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat milk
3 T canola oil
3 T fat-free sour cream or vanilla yogurt
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 T margarine (transfat-free with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the inside of each muffin cup with cooking spray. Mix 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat milk, oil, sour cream, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill each prepared muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool slightly, then remove from the pan.

Melt margarine in the microwave. Brush melted margarine onto the top of each muffin and immediately roll in the reserved cinnamon-sugar.

Per Serving: 215 calories; 7.5g fat (31 percent calories from fat); 2.5g saturated fat; 18mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 34.5g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 234mg sodium.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lamb Shanks Tagine with Olives & Preserved Lemons

4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 T crushed black peppercorns
1/4 cup and 2 T olive oil
4 lamb shanks, the white fell and outer fat removed
2 yellow onions, minced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 T crushed coriander seed
3/4 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
8 preserved lemon wedges

Several hours or the night before serving, crush the garlic with the kosher salt in a suribachi or mortar and pestle until it is nearly liquid. Add the saffron (and its liquid), ginger, paprika, cumin, black peppercorns, and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using your hands, rub some of the spice mixture into each lamb shank, place in a
large container, cover, and let sit several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large, ovenproof pot, heat the remaining olive oil, add the onions, and saute over medium-low heat until soft and fragrant, about 7 to 8 minutes; add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the lamb shanks and brown evenly all around. Add 1 1/2 cups water, cover the pan with its lid or aluminum
foil, and bake until the lamb falls off the bone, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of the shanks. Check occasionally and add additional water if it seems to be dry. Remove the cover for the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Cut four of the preserved lemon wedges into thin slivers. Place the lamb shanks on a serving plate and place the pot on a medium-low burner. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, reduce it until there is about 1/2 cup. Scrape to loosen any particles that might stick. Fold the sliced olives and slivered lemons into the pan, pour the sauce over the shanks, garnish with the wedges of preserved lemons, and serve immediately.

Serve 4


Followers of The Cook In The Family::

  © Blogger template 'Isfahan' by 2008

Back to TOP