Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8th Anniversary for Feast Everyday

First post was about the value of good rice

Wow, it has been 8 years ago today that Feast Everyday has been in existence. Started it January 17th, 2009.

It was fun to read the first post and the related comments from Anne and Emily.  Click here:  http://feasteveryday.blogspot.com/2009/01/good-rice-makes-difference.html

706 posts later.  Which means we must have over 700 recipes now available to use.  

Thanks to everyone who has participated.

I hope you will help me keep it going in 2017 by sharing recipes, links, your favorite products and tools, or good stories.

And, a special thank you to my husband, Tom, who has been a good sport and a regular contributor to Feast Everyday.

Happy 8th Birthday, Feast Everyday!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Noosa Yoghurt

Made with A Touch of Honey
Thick and Extra Creamy

I discovered Noosa yoghurt in a grocery store in a tiny town in Iowa when we were on a driving trip across the Midwest to the Dakotas last fall.  It is made in Colorado by a woman who is an Aussie ex-pat and local dairyman.

I felt guilty about liking it so much because Greek yogurt is crucial to our dairy industry here in New York state.  And I thought that it was going to be only available west of the Mississippi.

To my surprise, when we got home, I discovered that Wegman's has it, but it is tucked away, in the corner, far away from my usual brands.

And they have added smaller 4-packs in 2 flavors over the last few months.  

And then I saw it at Target, in some additional flavors, like Passion Fruit and Pumpkin.  

If you go to their website, you can sign up a friend for a coupon for a free sample to try it.  

It is a very cute and fun website, just like the packaging.


Yes, it is a little pricier than the more popular brands, but it is good for you and a real treat.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Molasses Cookies (with Coconut Oil)

Good to know that you can substitute coconut oil for the Crisco shortening in the recipe on the Grandma's jar. Made them twice this way.

The second time, I learned to melt the coconut oil in the microwave before adding, to make the dough easier to work with.
A simple, flavorful cookie.  Dusted them with sparkling sugar for an extra touch. (Instead of sprinkling them with water, as the original recipe suggests.)

Molasses Cookies
(adapted from the jar of Grandma's Molasses)

3/4 cup softened coconut oil (or shortening like Crisco)
1 cup light brown sugar packed (dark works well too)
1 egg (at room temperature)
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
1 t. dried ginger powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe vessel, like a Pyrex measuring cup, soften the coconut oil in the microwave until smooth and almost transparent.  Heat for 10 seconds at a time and check.  You want it to be fluid but not too hot.  Cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar, then add the molasses and whisk, and then the softened coconut oil.  The residual heat from the coconut oil will help with incorporating the molasses into the mixture and keep it all smooth.  But don't worry if you get a few globs.  Do your best to incorporate it all together.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

Gently stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to create a dough.

My dough was ready right away to form into balls.  You can chill it it you want or need to.

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut, and then roll them in sparkling sugar or any coarse sugar, like demerara or turbinado.

Place them in rows on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let them cool for 5 minutes or so, then using a spatula, remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

And they froze well, too.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies by Tom

Recently we were watching " The Great American Baking Show" and one of the contestants was making a chocolate cake flavored with peppermint.  I thought this sounded pretty good and guessed I would be able to find many recipes that used both ingredients in order to make cookies.  I was right! 

But the one I found, and ultimately modified, started off as a gluten-free recipe from Heartbeet Kitchen.  The pictures made their cookies look really good. 

What I am offering today is a modification of the Heartbeet Kitchen gluten-free chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies.  If you want to use the gluten-free recipe, just substitute teff flour for wheat flour.

The finished product was very fudgy and full of peppermint flavor.  This was exactly what I was aiming for.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
(from HeartbeetKitchen.com)

Makes approx. 40 cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
2 large eggs
1 egg white
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark, Dutch processed cocoa powder
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I actually think the recipe would benefit from increasing the amount of flour.  More discussion below.)
1 tablespoon corn starch
pinch of salt
1 drop peppermint oil, or 1 1/4 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
powdered confectioners sugar for rolling the cookie dough balls in

Over low heat, melt the butter and dark chocolate in a small sauce pan.  It is very important to constantly stir the entire time.  Once the chocolate is just melted, remove from the heat and set aside for at least 3 minutes to cool.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, egg white and sugar until light colored and frothy with little bubbles sneaking out of the top.  I found it easiest to do this in our stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment.

Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and continue whisking to incorporate.

Add the cocoa powder and stir.  Next add the flour in two additions.  Then the corn starch, salt and peppermint.  Whisking the whole time until there are no more streaks of flour visible.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

(Baker's note:  Before freezing, the batter will be very loose.  In fact, I think too loose requiring more flour.  Although I did not add more flour this time and the cookies turned out just fine, the cookie batter was extremely hard to work with even after being in the freezer for 20 minutes.  The next time I make these I will add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour to stiffen the batter a bit more.)

When the cookie batter is done in the freezer, use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to make tablespoon sized balls.  Drop the balls in the confectioners sugar and roll around until completely covered.  Place on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and lightly press down to slightly flatten the cookies.

Bake for 11 minutes and take out from the oven.  Cool initially on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack.

The only difficult part of this recipe was actually handling the cookie dough.  It was extremely sticky, and that made it hard to actually roll a ball.  The warmer the dough became, the stickier it got.  So it was important to keep the unused dough in the freezer while a cookie sheet was baking.

But even with this handicap, the cookies tasted great.  I will definitely make these cookies again.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Figgy Date Nut Bread

Figgy Date Nut Bread
A lack of dates to fulfill the recipe led to this tasty combination of figs and dates in this easy, old-fashioned recipe.

The original recipe comes from a really old cookbook we used to use when I was growing up.

Tom says that I am "on to something" with the figs in this bread.  That means he really liked it.

Since I make date nut bread for Tom for most Christmases, I am making the effort to write up the modified, figgy version so I can make it for him again next year.

Here are both the original and the modified versions of the recipe:

Date Nut Bread
(from Madge M. Shaw, Borger H.S., Borger, Texas)

Serves 12

1 package dates (2 cups)
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 t. soda
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 cup nuts

Cut up dates, pour 1 cup boiling water over and soak.  Beat egg and sugar until creamy, add dry ingredients, nuts and dates.   Bake in loaf pan 55 minutes in 350 degree F. oven.

FIGGY Date Nut Bread
(adapted from above recipe)

1 1/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup chopped dried dates, stems removed
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 t. soda
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 cup pecans, broken in to large pieces or chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan generously with butter.

Be sure to remove the stems from the figs.  Cut up dried fruit, then pour 1 cup boiling water over and soak for 15 minutes. Fruit should be soft.   If not, soak longer. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and sugar until creamy.  Add the dry ingredients, then fold in the nuts and the dates.

Pour into loaf pan, and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lemon Sugar Cookies by Tom

Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Sugar Cookies 

What is not to like about a cookie that is both a sugar cookie and a lemon cookie all in one.  Two of my favorite taste combinations in a simple but flavorful cookie. 

In perusing Barbara's new "Dorie's Cookies" cookbook, this was the first cookie that I highlighted to make.  And, although it took me a couple of weeks before I actually got around to making them, I was not disappointed.  I made enough to include in our "cookie packages" for this year's gifts to our neighbors. 


Lemon Sugar Cookies
(from Dorie's Cookies cookbook)

Makes approx. 50 cookies (she says 60)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 or 2 lemons to obtain 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or regular salt)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 drop lemon extract (optional) (my addition)
Granulated sugar, for dredging

Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium size bowl.

Finely grate the zest of one lemon.  Squeeze 1/4 cup of lemon juice using one or both of the lemons.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and the mixer off, put the sugar and lemon zest in the large bowl.  Use your fingertips to mash and rub the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  Next add the butter and salt to the bowl and beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.  This will take about two minutes.

Beat in the egg, the vanilla extract, the optional lemon extract and the lemon juice until well combined.

Turn off the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients.  Mix on low speed until they are almost completely incorporated together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the mixer off, and add the remaining dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed until fully incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

In a separate small bowl, pour in the granulated sugar.  You will use this to coat the cookie dough.

Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, scoop out even portions of the dough and using your fingers make round dough balls.  Drop the dough ball into the granulated sugar and roll it around to coat the balls.  Place on a cookie sheet leaving about 2" between each dough ball.  I was able to place between 12-15 cookies on each baking sheet.  These cookies will spread when baking, so it is important to have some spacing between them.

Bake the cookies for 8-14 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through.  If you bake them for 8-10 minutes, they will be very soft and quite pale.  If you bake them for 12-14 minutes, they will be browned on the edges and the bottoms will be lightly browned as well.  They will be crispier but still chewy in the center.  I opted for about 11-12 minutes.

After you remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool pretty completely on the cookie sheet before you transfer them to a cooling rack.  If you try to transfer them while still pretty warm, they will fall apart.  Never good unless you like to serve broken cookies.

Repeat with the remaining dough always using cool baking sheets.  Takes a little longer, but worth it.

There it is!  Lemon Sugar Cookies.  Easy to make and better to eat.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pecan Bars from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook

Pecan Pie in a Cookie

The two Toms:  my husband, Tom and our nephew, Tom, really liked these pecan bars with chocolate and a shortbread crust.

And I thought they were much easier to make than a pecan pie.  No rolling out the dough.  Just press the shortbread dough into the pan with your hands.  

However, you will need a food processor and have to clean it afterwards.  And pie weights or dried bean/rice for par-baking the crust.

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, Dorie's Cookies, which came out this fall.  My sister-in-law, Laddie told me about Dorie, back in 2009 when I started Feast Everyday.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookie Bars
(from Dorie Greenspans's cookbook, Dorie's Cookies)

Makes 24 bars

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 t. salt (she prefers fine sea salt)
1 stick plus 1 T. (9 T.) unsalted butter, 
        very cold, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

For the topping:
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup or light or dark corn syrup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 T. dark rum or bourbon
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt (she prefers fine sea salt)
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) pecan pieces
3 ounces chopped semisweet or
      bittersweet chocolate OR 1/2 cup chips

Note:  Be sure to grease your pan very well, or use parchment paper.  My bars were difficult to get out of the pan.

Center the rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F.  Butter a 9 inch square baking pan, and butter a piece of aluminum foil to use to cover the crust.  

To make the crust:  Put the flour, confectioners'sugar and salt in a  food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend.  Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely--  don't worry about getting it evenly mixed.  (Mine took 15 pulses)  Stir the yolk just to break it up and add it a little at a time (through the top opening), pulsing after each addition.  Then process in long pulses (I had to do it 6 times) --about 10 seconds each--until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms moist clumps and curds.  Pinch a piece of the dough, and it will hold together nicely.  

Turn the dough out into the butter pan and spread it evenly.  Using your fingertips (I used the back of a measuring cup), press the dough down into the pan so that you've got a compact layer.  Prick the dough all over with a fork.  

Cover with the foil, buttered side down, and pour in the pie weights or dried beans or rice.  Place the pan on a baking sheet. 

Bake the crust for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil and weights, return the pan, still on the baking sheet, to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

Place the pan on a rack and let the crust rest while you make the topping.  (Leave the oven on.)

To make the topping:  Working in a large bowl, whisk the syrup and brown sugar together.  One by one, gently whisk in all of the remaining ingredients except the nuts and the chocolate.  Don't whisk energetically---you want a homogeneous topping, but you don't want bubbles.  Switch to a flexible spatula and stir in the pecans and chocolate.

Pour the topping over the crust and, if the nuts seem to be unevenly distributed, use the spatula to spread them around.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the topping has puffed across the top and set. It shouldn't jiggle when you tap the pan.

Transfer the pan to a rack to cool until the bottom of the pan feels comfortably warm or reaches room temperature.  If you want to unmold the bars, run a table knife between the bars and sides of the pan.  Invert the bars onto a rack and then turn right side up on to a cutting board.  Or work in the pan (carefully, so you don't gouge it).   Cut into 24 bars, each 2  1/4 x 1 1/2 inches.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Two New Favorites

Look for these in the frozen food section

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

We really enjoyed ours, even though it was a condensed version of our normal weekend.

Here are two new favorites that we added to our Thanksgiving table this year, after testing and enjoying them.

In case you haven't tried them, Pepperidge Farm frozen rolls are really quite good!

They are baked while still frozen  --- no need to defrost them --- in a hot oven or toaster oven in 7 to 9 minutes.
And presto, you have almost freshly baked roll!  Crispy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside.

They come in bags of 8 for $3.99 at our Wegman's which is comparable to buying rolls from the bakery section, but these are better.

The white rolls are better than the whole wheat rolls.

The bags are resealable.  You can bake one at a time, if you want.
Look for the Kerry Gold butter in the cheese section

Top it with our other new favorite, Kerry Gold butter and you are in for a real treat.

We have been pleasantly surprised by how good these rolls and butter are...


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall Salad with Spiced Pecans

Shallot-Sherry Vinaigrette goes well with Fall Greens, Pear, Creamy Herb de Provence Sheep Cheese, and Spiced Pecans

I have made variations of this salad for many years  -- with fall greens, a pear or an apple, a soft cheese, and spiced toasted pecans.

It has often been the salad we have with Thanksgiving dinner.

This week we had it when Tom made Jacques Pepin's Spicy Leg of Lamb and also roasted
baby new potatoes with the secret ingredient in Don't Tell Roasted Potatoes.

We have had a touch of fall-like weather, which has been a welcome change after such a long hot, humid spell.

Fall Salad with Spiced Pecans
(adapted from Bon Appetit, August 1990)

Serves 4

4 cups mixed greens, washed and dried, torn in bite-sizes
1-2 T. sherry wine vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, very finely minced, or grated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 ripe pear, diced into cubes (or apple)
2-3 ounces of crumbly cheese like sheep or goat
1/3 cup spiced pecans (see recipe below)

In the bottom of your salad bowl, add 2 splashes (1-2 T.) of sherry vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the finely minced or grated shallot, and about 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Add a little salt, then whisk together until emulsified.  Then adjust by adding a little more olive oil, if it is too vinegary.

On top of the dressing, add the salad greens. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Then, add the diced pear, the crumbly cheese, and the spiced pecans.

Toss together, just before serving to be sure the nuts do not get soggy.  Coat all of the leaves of the greens with the dressing, and then serve.

Spiced Pecans

Makes 1/3 cup

1 T. butter
dash of salt
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
dash of hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1/3 cup of pecans, chopped

Chop the pecans. (Or buy pre-chopped ones.)

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Add the pecans, then the cinnamon, cayenne, hot pepper sauce and salt.  Toss until well coated.

Line the metal tray that comes with the toaster oven, with aluminum foil, then make one layer with pecans.

Very carefully toast the pecans, and stir them along the way to prevent burning.  Mine usually take 3-4 minutes.  Don't turn your back on them.  I have learned the hard way.

Let them cool completely.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Peanut Pasta Salad

An oldie but a goodie  --- from Gourmet, May 1984.

I had forgotten about this recipe until I was looking for something that I could make ahead and serve cold with grilled flank steak.

It makes a big batch so you have to be willing to eat it for several days, or have a big crowd coming over.

Good combination of Asian flavors with lots of vegetables.

Peanut Pasta Salad
(Penne & Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce)
(adapted from Gourmet, 1984)

Serves 12

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup water
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground turmeric
1 lb. penne pasta
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 carrots, halved lengthwise, and sliced diagonally
1 large seedless cucumber, quartered, cored, sliced on the diagonal
8 scallions, sliced and quartered into small pieces
1/3 cup roasted peanuts

Prepare all of your veggies first, and have them ready to go.

To make the sauce:  In a blender or using a whisk in a small bowl, blend the peanut butter, 1 cup water, soy sauce, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, cumin, and turmeric until smooth.

In a large pot, add water and a generous amount of salt, bring to a rolling boil.  Add the green beans and blanch them until partially cooked about 2 minutes.  Then fish them out with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain, or place in a water bath with ice to stop them from cooking more, and drain in a colander.  (You want them to be well drained before you add them to the salad.)  In the same boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook per the package directions until al dente about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta well.  And rinse it with cold water to remove the starch and cool it off.

In a large serving bowl, add the drained pasta, the drained green beans, the veggies and toss it all well with the sauce, until every bit is coated with the peanut sauce. Sprinkle with roasted peanuts on top and serve.

To make the salad ahead of time, reserve 1/3 of the sauce and the roasted peanuts, and refrigerate the salad, then just before serving, loosen the remaining sauce with a little more water or lemon juice, add to the salad and toss again. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Black Bean Corn Avocado Dip from Sarah's friend, Michelle

Good for a large gathering --- this dip is easy to make and popular with all ages.  I changed the black-eyed peas to black beans* and left out the cilantro and jalapeno --- to make it kid friendly.
*  Found the Eden brand of beans--- which are low salt and excellent beans --- in the organic section of our store, but sadly, there weren't any black-eyed peas --- we must be too far north ---so I switched to black beans.  
The recipe comes from Sarah's friend Michelle who brought it to a family event earlier this year. Michelle served it with quinoa chips but I used Frito scoops.

Michelle says the key to making this dip is to have the avocado ripe but not too mushy so it holds up well with the beans and corn.

She found the recipe on Skinny Taste which was a new food blog to me, but obviously very popular. and everything looks delicious on it!  www.skinnytaste.com

If you want their original recipe for the black-eyed pea version, click here: www.skinnytaste.com/black-eyed-pea-dip

But the black bean version is, I think, even better.

Black Bean Corn Avocado Dip
(adpated from skinnytaste.com)

15 ounce canned no salt black beans (Eden), rinsed well and drained
2 cloves of garlic, grated
3 T. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. cumin
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/2 t. salt
1 cup cooked corn, or canned sweet corn, drained well
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered and then cut in half again
1/4 minced red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
1-2 avocados, diced

Rinse and drain the beans in a colander.  Drain the corn well, too, if using canned corn.

In a large bowl ---the one you are going to serve it in --- combine the grated garlic, fresh lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.  Mix well.

Add the rinsed and drained beans, drained corn, chopped tomatoes, minced red onion, and optional minced jalapeno and option chopped cilantro, and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Dice the avocados and squeeze a little lime juice on them to prevent them from turning brown.

Then gently add the diced avocados to the dip and serve with firm chips for scooping, like Fritos.