Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shortcut to Recipes -- in 4 easy steps

Feast Everyday Icon for your Tablet and Phone 

To look up recipes quickly, I created an icon on my homepage to get to Feast Everyday.

It is easy to do.

This is for Ipad/Iphones but I am sure there is an easy way to do it on Android products, too.

Your are basically making a shortcut from your homepage to the blog.
Step 1:  On your device, go to Feast Everyday at

Step 2:  Choose the arrow button next to the search box.  It is a blue rectangle with an up arrow in it.

Step 3:  In the window that opens, choose the "Add to Home Screen" button.  It's on the bottom row of options.
Step 4:  In the window that opens, choose the blue "Add" button.  It's in the upper right hand corner.

Congratulations!  You've added a Feast Everyday icon to your homepage.  It will be added to last page of your apps, but your can move it to a page of your choice, by pressing and holding down on it, and dragging it.

I use it all the time --- especially on my phone when I am in the grocery store and want to look up ingredients for a recipe.

It is also fun to check to see what is trending for this week --- i.e., what recipes blog visitors are reading.   The most popular posts of the week show up in the right hand column of the homepage of the blog.

These steps work on any webpage you use all the time.  Example:  Tom looks up crossword puzzle clues daily, so he made a shortcut to the webpage, Crossword Heaven.

Hope you find this useful.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

These are a winner with all ages.  We used to make them growing up and our Dad made them, too.

As a kid, I liked pressing the cookie dough with a fork to make the pattern on the top.

Christine brought the well-worn family recipe with her when she came to visit, and made them for us.  Thanks, Tina!

Peanut Butter Cookies
(from Lucy T. Babb,  Hillcrest H.S., Fountain Inn, South Carolina)

1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chuncky, both work well)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups sifted flour
2 t. soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream peanut butter and shortening together.  Add sugar gradually, continuing until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add beaten egg.  Sift flour and soda together, add mix well.  

Drop mixture by teaspoon (we always rolled balls) on cookie sheet.

Press down with tines of a fork.  (we do it in both directions)

Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Yes, they will fill the pan, and touch each other.  Let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then use a spatula to divide the cookies and remove them to a rack to finish cooling.

Makes a whole bunch.

Thanks, Christine, for adding this Hall family recipe to Feast Everyday.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Cake from Christine

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is one of Christine's "go to" recipes this time of year when zucchinis are abundant.  She made this sunflower-shaped cake (and cupcakes) for us while she was visiting us at the lake.

No one will notice it has zucchini in it, but they will enjoy the cinnamon and chocolate chips.

The recipe originally came from one of my co-workers, Carolyn McKay.

And the sunflower cake pan is made by Nordic Ware.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
(from Carolyn McKay)

Serves 12 (or more)

3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
3 cups grated unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder.  Alternatively, spray with Baking Pam.  In this case, she made a sunflower shaped cake pan, and 12 cupcakes (with paper muffin cups).
Grate 3 cups of zucchini --- which was about 1.5 medium zucchini.  Leave the skins on.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the oil and granulated sugar, and then beat in the eggs one at a time.  A third at a time, beat in the dry mixture until well blended.  Beat in vanilla and stir in the zucchini.  And chocolate chips, if using.

Transfer to baking pan(s)
and bake about 1 hour for a Bundt pan, 40 minutes for the sunflower cake pan, and 22-25 minutes for the cupcakes --- or until a tester comes out clean.
Best to underbake than to overbake.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
Then dust with confectioner's sugar.  (Cover and refrigerate if  taking to a party later.)  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  (Sometimes Christine drizzles it with a chocolate glaze instead.)


Monday, September 1, 2014

Chocolate Chili Rub for Grilled Pork Chops

Grilled Pork Chop with Chocolate Chili Rub

Here's a very easy way to make a rub for pork chops with ingredients most kitchens have on hand.

Chocolate Chili Rub

Unsweetened cocoa powder (like Hershey's)
Chili powder
Ground pepper
Brown sugar
Olive oil

Five or 10 minutes before grilling --- sprinkle the pork chops with the cocoa powder, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper on both sides.  Then rub about teaspoon of brown sugar into each chop, half on each side. Then drizzle some olive oil on the chops.  Let them sit until time to grill.

Grill as usual, watching that you don't let them burn due to the brown sugar.

We served them with grilled peaches, sauteed yellow beans, and ripe tomatoes with soft cheese and basil.  

A delicious easy summer meal.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Triple Layer German Chocolate Cake with Ganache from Vicky

Triple Layer German Chocolate Cake with Ganache

German chocolate cake is not only my brother's and my cousin's favorite cake for their birthdays (see Colleen's German Chocolate Cake), it is my sister, Christine's.  

Her good friend, Vicky, made this decadent delight by using a Food Network recipe (see below) and enhancing it with ganache*  for Christine's birthday earlier this month.  

Vicky says that it makes three layers of cake, not two, as the recipe states.

Ganache is made with chocolate and heavy cream.  For example, 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and 16 ounces of heavy cream.  Heat the cream and pour it over the chocolate and food process until smooth.

Christine says "my favorite thing to do is eat the leftovers for breakfast."

Thanks for sharing the recipe and photo, Vicky!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grandma's German Chocolate Cake

Last week I was visiting relatives in the Pittsburgh area when I received Colleen's text with the photos for her blog entry on German Chocolate Cake for Steve's birthday.

My cousin, Susan, said that German Chocolate Cake was her favorite birthday cake, too.  We said simultaneously "I guess it is a Hall thing."

German Chocolate Cake was a specialty of our Grandma Hall's.

When I got home, I looked through the big box of family recipes which is now in my care  -- it is a combination of Grandma's and Aunt Shirley's----and found this well-worn recipe --- a clipping from either a box or magazine.

How does it compare to Colleen's?  It's pretty much the same except Grandma's uses a little more flour (and it is cake flour), a little more salt and a teaspoon of soda.

German's Chocolate Cake

1 package Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup butter*
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks, unbeaten
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 t. soda
2.5 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
1 cup buttermilk
4 egg whites

*or use margarine or other shortening

Melt chocolate in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  Cool.  Cream Butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat well after each.  Add the melted chocolate and vanilla.  Mix well.

Sift together the salt, soda, and flour.  Then add alternately with buttermilk to chocolate mixture, beating well.  Beat until batter is smooth.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold into batter.  Pour into three 8 or 9 inch cake layer pans, line on bottoms with paper.  Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool.  Frost tops only with Coconut Pecan Frosting (below) or use any favorite frosting or whipped cream.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Combine 1 cup of evaporated milk, 1 cup of sugar, 3 egg yolks, 1/4 pound margarine, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in saucepan.  cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens -- take about 12 minutes.

Add about 1 1/3 cups Baker's Coconut and 1 cup of chopped pecans.  Beat until frosting is cool and thick enough to spread.  Make 2 2/3 cups.


Monday, August 25, 2014

German Chocolate Cake by Colleen (with recipe)

German Chocolate Cake

Note from B:  I am re-posting Colleen's cake so we can include the actual recipe at the end of this entry because we learned today that not all of the Baker's German chocolate boxes include the cake recipe.  Some have a cupcakes recipe and it is different than the cake recipe.  Just so you know...

Hi Barb --

I finally made the cake this week for Steve's birthday.  I am quite behind as it is actually William's birthday week.  I need to make him chocolate cheesecake before he leaves for school.  I still have three weeks.

The recipe is just the one that comes inside the Baker's Sweet German Chocolate box.  I usually do the cake
over two days.  Day one:  chop pecans for the frosting, separate eight eggs in batches of four (you need four egg yolks for the cake, and four eggs whites beaten separately, and four more egg yolks for the frosting).  

I also cut out pieces of parchment for the bottoms of the three cake pans.  And leave out the cup of butter to soften overnight.  The  next day I make the cake - if you are using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites first and then use the same beaters to mix up the butter, sugar, melted chocolate, etc.  This saves time and clean up.

The hardest part of making this cake is making sure you have all the ingredients before starting.  Not every pantry will have buttermilk, eight plus eggs, pecans, coconut, evaporated milk, and a Baker's German Sweet Chocolate Bar (four ounces) and nearly one pound of butter.

I say "eight plus eggs," as no matter how careful I am, I usually end up breaking a yolk into the whites during the separating process at least once. It is good to have a few extra eggs on hand.  (Saved egg whites can be used
to make meringues).  

The recipe for the cake is on a little cardboard card inside the chocolate box.   Save the card and take it with you when you shop.  I have also gotten a bar of chocolate off the shelf and opened it up while shopping to remind me of all the ingredients.  I generally make this cake once a year which is just infrequently enough to forget the ingredient list.

I make the frosting while the cake is baking.  Although the recipe doesn't call for it, I generally add a pinch of salt to the frosting.  When the cake layers come out of the oven, you should run a knife around the edge of the pans immediately.  Then let them sit for 15 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.  Be sure to peel off the parchment paper when you take the layers out of the pans.   It takes a while for the frosting to cool and thicken, so be sure to allow enough time for this step.  Again, I find that allowing myself two days, one for prep, one for baking/assembly makes the process less daunting.
I use toasted pecans to decorate the top of the cake.  Save some pecan halves from your bag of pecans and toast at 375 degrees for about 6-10 minutes to bring out the flavor of the pecans.  Let them cool and then decorate the top of the cake.

Due to the coconuts and pecans, this cake is very polarizing.  The girls will not touch it - which is not a problem for Steve - more for the birthday boy.

On a separate note, I loved your write up of the macarons.

And if you want to see a good, sweet movie that will remind you of our trip, check out the Hundred Foot Journey with Helen Mirren.  I liked it better than Chef, although both are celebrations of food.


German Chocolate Cake

1 4 ounce package Baker’s German Chocolate
½ cup water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
4 egg whites

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line bottom of 3 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
Boil water and pour over chocolate in small bowl.  Water until chocolate melts and cools.
Mix four, baking soda and salt and set aside.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in cooled chocolate and vanilla.  Add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk, beating after each addition until smooth.

Beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold into batter and pour evenly into 3 pans.  Bake 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in center.  Remove from oven and run knife around edge of pan.  Let cool for 15 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks.  Remove parchment paper and let cook completely.

Pecan Filling:1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces)
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cups butter
4 eggs yolks
1½ teaspoon vanilla
1 package Angel Flake Coconut (7 ounces)
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
pecan halves for garnish

Stir milk, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in large saucepan until blended.  Add in butter and on low heat, stir until butter melts.  Cook on medium heat about 12 minutes until thickened and golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chopped pecans and coconut.  Cool to room temperature.  Spread filling between each layer and on top of cake (filling divided into thirds).  Decorate on top with pecan halves.  Refrigerate.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

French Macarons

French Macarons

French macarons should not be confused with American macaroons.  Their pronunciation is different:  the French macaron sounds like you left the lights "on" at the end of the word, and the American macaroon sounds like you slept 'til "noon" at the end of the word.  mah/kah/roh~ vs. ma-ke-rune.

American Macaroon
The American macaroons are little mounds of coconut fluff, while the French macarons are a sandwich of two almond meringue cookies stuffed with a flavored filling in the middle.

Laduree in St. Germaine Des Pres, Paris
We investigated French macarons at the popular pastisserie, Laduree. They claim to have created the modern colored macaron.  The store in the photo was just around the corner from our hotel.  There is a larger one on the Champs de L'Eysee.  Laduree is pronounced lah/dew/ray.

They are beautifully made, beautifully presented in the store, and beautifully packed in a color-coordinated box and bag.  The hardest part was figuring which of the numerous flavors to try.
We took ours home to our hotel room to have with coffee when we needed a pick me up from sight seeing. But you could have yours in the charming Salon de The (tea room)  inside Laduree.

Tom chose our flavors:  chocolate, vanilla, lemon and pistachio.  But there were many exotic combinations to keep you coming back for more:  seasonal ones like chestnut and pear, cherry blossom --- green tea, rose, passion fruit, coffee, green apple, ginger chantilly, praline, etc.  There were probably 20-25 different flavors.

The hottest flavor was fleur de sel:  caramel with salted butter.

They were expensive (about $2 each) so we were wondering if they could live up to their expectations.

When you bite into one, the top is a little crunchy but it quickly gives way to a delicious cookie and the filling you have chosen -- in this case, a pistachio one on the left and a lemon one on the right.

Macarons may not be a trendy as they once were but we are glad we sampled the real deal.

They are delicate and difficult to make properly, so you won't see me trying to make them any time soon!  I will just savor the memories of the ones we had from Laduree.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teriyaki Grilled Pork Tenderloin by Tom

 Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Peppers, Onions and Corn by Tom

Needing a quick Saturday evening meal, we decided that a pork tenderloin would taste good paired with a melange of different vegetables.  Our niece, Chelsea, had mentioned a particular teriyaki marinade and sauce that she had discovered at Wegman's.  Off to Wegman's I went to buy the pork tenderloin and the Soy Vay teriyaki marinade along with a couple of ears of corn.

This is a grilled meal start to finish.  I marinaded the pork tenderloin in a ZipLoc bag for about an hour.  For my melange of vegetables, I used three bell peppers - one red, one yellow, and one orange.  I also used a Vidalia sweet onion.  I also used the corn on the cob I had purchased.

Preparation of the vegetables is easy.  After shucking the corn, I put it on a sheet of aluminum foil.  Added a couple pats of butter, salt and pepper, and then wrap tightly.  The peppers I cut off both ends, cored and seeded the peppers, and then sliced in half.  I poured a little olive oil over them and coated each halved pepper with the oil using my hands.  The Vidalia sweet onion I peeled, halved and coated in olive oil as well.  I used a skewer to hold them together.  Toothpicks would work just as well.

Time to grill!

I preheated the grill and got it good and hot.  But as I put the pork on the grill, I immediately lowered the heat to minimize excessive burning of the meat.  Because teriyaki sauce has sugar in it, you can expect to get some char.  What you don't want is a burned crust.  Grill the pork tenderloin for 30 minutes.  I grilled each of the four sides for 7.5 minutes.

After the first five minutes of grilling the pork, put the corn on the grill.  This will grill for approximately 25 minutes.  Rotate the corn every five minutes.

At the 10 minute mark of the pork grilling, put on the onion halves.  These will grill for 20 minutes.  After 10 minutes, turn over and grill until soft.

Finally at the 15 minute mark, put on the pepper halves skin side down.  Turn these over after about 10 minutes.

Doing this in this order will have your entire meal coming off the grill at the same time.  Let the pork rest for a few minutes before you slice it.  I slice the pork tenderloin into 3/4" pieces.  Serve with the peppers and onion.

The Soy Vay teriyaki sauce has a little write up on the label that says it is the brainchild of a Jewish boy and a Chinese girl.  They combined the best of their families recipes to make this sauce. I really enjoyed this marinade as it was both easy and very flavorful.  You can find it in Aisle 14A in any Wegman's in the country. (That's an inside joke.)


Friday, August 15, 2014

Tuna Fish Salad with Avocado instead of Mayo

Tuna Fish Salad with Avocado

Our niece, Chelsea, doesn't like mayonnaise, but loves avocados, so we made this delicious salad for lunch while she was here to visit.  

Tuna Fish Salad with Avocado (instead of Mayo)

Serves 2

1 can Yellowfin Tuna light (packed in water), drained
1 ripe avocado, mashed
squeeze of lemon and salt for the avocado
dried minced onions, about 1 T. 
chopped sweet gherkins or other sweet relish, about 2 T.
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, mash fresh ripe avocado in to the texture of mayonnaise, leaving a few chunks if you like. Squeeze lemon over it and generously salt the smashed avocado mixture.  

Add the minced onions and stir together. While the onions hydrate, chop up the sweet pickles.  Drain the tuna fish well.  Add the pickles and the tuna fish and mix together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blueberry Muffins with Granola Topping from Bridget

Blueberry Muffins with Granola Topping from Bridget

This is a simple muffin recipe I found online, then I added cardamon powder and sprinkled granola on top---a simple trick I came up with to make the tops look fancy.

Here's the recipe I used from Sarah's Cucina Bella: