Monday, January 1, 2018

Aranygaluska from Colleen

Hungarian Coffee Cake

Aranygaluska.  I make two before Xmas and freeze one for New Year's Day.

I think you have the recipe.  Tom liked this when you were here before.

Happy New Year's to you both!


Your photo looks as delicious as I remember it tasting.  Yes, Tom posted your recipe after we visited you a few years ago.  You can see the recipe hereColleen's Hungarian Coffee Cake by Tom  


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Grandma Reed's Frosted Butter Cookies from Sarah C.B. and her mother, Mary

"The Best Frosted Cookie, Ever!"

I am thrilled that our nephew’s wife, Sarah, has a family cookie recipe to share with us!  

Sarah says "It's our secret family cookie recipe but my mom is happy to share it."

Sarah's mom, Mary, learned the recipe from her mom, Lorraine Reed.  Mary shares the story of the cherished family recipe with us below: 
"Every Christmas, for over a half-century, our family has made these soft, sweet cookies for Christmas and Easter.  The fun is in choosing shapes of the cutouts and in decorating each cookie with favorite colors.  Some of the best memories are of the kids and their friends creating their own version of the best frosted cookie, ever!" ----Mary


1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter.  (Try to use a butter with high fat content)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 extra lg. eggs
1 1/4 tsps. vanilla extract (high quality)

1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsps. baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour (King Arthur's All-Purpose)

1/3 cup whole milk

Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat, well.
Sift dry ingredients and add to butter mixture, along with milk.
Mix until just incorporated.  (Too much mixing once the flour is added will make the batter tough)

Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out 1/4 of the dough on a floured surface, turning dough over once before cutting.
Cut 1/4" thick cookies.
Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Bake lg. cookies for 6 mins, med for 5 1/2 mins and small for 4 1/2 mins.  (You'll know they are done when the top doesn't look shiny/wet.)
Remove baking sheet from oven to cool.
Don't worry if they are not golden brown on top.  They will be golden brown on the bottom and will turn out nice and soft to eat if you've gotten them right out of the oven after the shine is gone.

Makes approximately 4 dozen medium cookies.  Cookies taste better if frozen after they are baked.  Do not freeze them once they are frosted.


1/2 cup softened butter
4 tsps vanilla extract
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup whole milk

Mix ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Frosting should be a little stiff so that cookies have a textured appearance.

Decorating tips - add food coloring, if desired; sprinkle frosted cookies quickly, before frosting dries; use tiny paint brush to dust dry frosting with white decorating powder (Michaels/Hobby Lobby); use two tiny white candy cane candies to make a halo for angel cut-outs; thin out some of the frosting with milk and put in a small plastic squeeze bottle to draw garland on Christmas tree cut-outs and use tiny round decorating candies as ornaments use with chocolate sprinkles on white frosting for trunk of tree.

Dry completely and store in air-tight container with wax paper between cookie layers.
Stays fresh for 4 or 5 days.

Enjoy!                                                                                                                                                             ---Mary C.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Northwest Salmon by Colleen

Roasted on a Cedar Plank

So we do the salmon on a cedar plank we got years ago - this is a popular northwest way to cook salmon.  If you don’t have a plank, I’m sure you could just bake it the same way and it would work fine.

But if you do have a plank, you should oil the surface of the plank and put it in the oven while it is heating to 350 degrees.  You don’t want to put the plank directly into a hot oven, as I think the wood cracks.  This year I just put the salmon onto the plank while the oven was heating and that worked fine.

For the salmon, first clean the fish and remove any bones you can feel or see with tweezers. (This piece was about 2 lbs.)  Rinse under cool water and wipe off scales.  Place the salmon on the board, skin side down.  Rub a little olive oil on the surface of the salmon and then spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard.  Salt and pepper the fish. Then layer sprigs of dill over the mustard and finish with thin slices of lemon.  Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.

I make a little sauce to serve with the salmon:  sour cream, two teaspoons finely chopped shallots, chopped dill, lemon juice, a few splashes of Tabasco and salt.  I make a small amount - about 1/2 cup sour cream.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta from Colleen

Sorry no photos. Great method. Shallots make the difference.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

1-2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1 small shallot
olive oil
3 ounces diced pancetta
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and trim 1-2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts, removing outer leaves and cutting off end. Cut larger sprouts in half.

Slice a small shallot thinly and scatter on baking sheet.

Place sprouts on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and the shallots.

Roast in a hot oven (450 degrees) for about 15-20 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender.

While the sprouts are roasting, cook about 3 ounces of diced pancetta in a large deep pan on the stove top to render fat and until pancetta is nearly crisp.

When the sprouts are done, toss into the pan with pancetta. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

You can prep this dish by roasting the sprouts before hand and sautéing the pancetta. Just before serving, reheat the pancetta and toss in the sprouts and warm through.

   --- Colleen

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots from Colleen

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots


Slender green beans, trimmed
1 shallot, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 T. lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup chopped Marcona almonds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prep slender green beans (trimming ends) and roast with sliced shallots on baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper, for about 15 minutes. When done, toss with three tablespoons of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. Garnish with about ½ cup of chopped Marcona almonds.

--- Colleen

Seared Scallop Chowder

We've made this two years in a row for our Christmas eve and love it.

I grew up on oyster stew, but Tom didn't, so we've compromised over the years by first making clam chowder, then lobster bisque (which was way too much work) and now this scallop chowder.

Tom buys the scallops fresh from our local seafood provider (Maine Harvest in Elmira), but I am sure that frozen would work well, too, as long as they are dry, not wet, scallops.


Seared Scallop Chowder
(adapted from Fine Cooking, Allison Ehri Kreitler)

Makes 5 cups, serves 4

1 pound dry seas scallops, side muscle removed
4 slices bacon
2 T. plus 1 t. unsalted butter
2 small celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1 cup)
2 T. flour, preferably instant flour like Wondra
2 8-ounce bottles clam juice (or 2 cups clam broth)
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 t. canola oil

Remove the side muscle from the scallops and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Reserve 4 of the scallops for garnish and cut the remaining scallops into 3/4 inch pieces.

In a 4 quart pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.  Crumble once cooled.

Pour off the fat and wipe out the pot with paper towels.  Melt 2 T. of the butter in the pot over low heat.

Add the celery and the onion, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes to get rid of the raw flavor. Whisk in the clam juice until smooth.

Add half the bacon, the potatoes, cream, bay leaf, thyme, 1/8 t. black pepper, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

Stir in the scallop pieces, and the parsley.  Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat, cover and set aside to keep warm.

Pat the reserved scallops dry with a paper towel.  Heat a 8 to 10 inch heavy duty skillet (I use my small cast pan) over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the oil and the remaining 1 t. of butter.

Season the scallops very lightly with salt, and cook, undisturbed, until well browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes (I go 3 minutes on the first side to insure a well-browned exterior).  Flip and cook until just barely cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size.  Transfer to a plate.

Remove the bay leaf from the chowder.

Divide the chowder among 4 shallow bowls and garnish each with a seared scallop.

Sprinkle with the remaining bacon, and a little freshly ground pepper, and serve.


Friday, December 29, 2017

Bavarian Torte from Bruce (and Christine)

For:Bavarian Torte

2 eggs separated
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¾ cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp soda
1/3  cup salad oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 oz unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled

2/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups whipping cream

Heat oven to 350.  Grease and flour 2-8 or 9” layer pans.  In small mixer bowl beat egg whites until foamy.  Beat in ½ cup of the sugar 1 T at a time and continue mixing until very stiff and glossy.  Set meringue aside.  Measure remaining sugar, flour, salt and soda into large mixer bowl.  Add oil and half the milk.  Beat 1 minute on high speed scraping bowl.  Add remaining milk, the egg yolks and chocolate, beating 1 minute scraping bowl occasionally.  Fold in meringue.  Pour into pans and bake 30-35 minutes.  Cool and split into four layers. (Dental floss works for cutting the cakes in half.)  In chilled bowl, beat cream until stiff.  Blend cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Fold in whipped cream and frost layers.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours. 

I sometimes use a German chocolate cake mix but from scratch is so good. 
This is my sister Mary's recipe.   

Beef Wellington from Bruce and Christine

The beef wellington was great.  Wasn't too hard to make.  Just lots of steps.  It was great to do together so it was not so overwhelming.  We didn’t make the sauce or greens. We kept it simple with mashed potatoes, gravy and steamed green beans.


The Ultimate Beef Wellington

(from Tyler Florence, FoodTV )

Serves 6 to 8

Cook Time: 7 hours


For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:
One 3-pound center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Minced chives, for garnish
Green Peppercorn Sauce, recipe follows
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic, recipe follows
Warm Wilted Winter Greens, recipe follows

Green Peppercorn Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 cup brandy
1 box beef stock
2 cups cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained, brine reserved

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic:
2 pints fingerling potatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 to 3 sprigs fresh sage
3 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus for sheet pan
Salt and pepper

Warm Wilted Winter Greens:
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 pint walnuts, for garnish
3 bunches assorted winter greens (such as Swiss chard, radicchio, or escarole), washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Parmesan shavings, for garnish
1 shallot, chopped, for garnish


For the Duxelles:

To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

For the Beef:

To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. 

Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. 

When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife. This creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. 

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. 

Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic, and Warm Wilted Winter Greens.

Green Peppercorn Sauce:

Add olive oil to pan after removing beef. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place a baking sheet inside to heat.

Add potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic to a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet pan from oven, lightly coat with olive oil, and pour potatoes onto pan. Place potatoes in oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes, or until crispy on outside and tender on inside.


Cook honey and balsamic together over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, about 5 minutes. Toast walnuts in a small skillet; set aside to cool.

Pile greens on a platter. Stir mustard into balsamic-honey dressing, then whisk in about 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; pour over greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, shavings of Parmesan, and shallot.



Breakfast Casserole from Christine

This breakfast strata is really good.  It was requested again this year by Bruce's daughter.


Sesame Bagel Breakfast Casserole
(from Food and Wine)

Note from B:  This dish is refrigerated for at least 4 hours or overnight before baking.  And it takes 1.25 hours to bake and another 20 minutes to rest before serving.  Plan ahead.

Serves 8 to 10


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
10 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
6 oil-packed Calabrian chiles—drained, seeded and minced (or re-hydrated dry chiles)
Kosher salt
1 pound day-old sesame bagels (3 large), cut into 1-inch pieces (9 cups)
10 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/4-inch thick
1 small bunch of curly kale, stemmed and chopped (5 cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup finely chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 scallions, thinly sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2 ounces)


Lightly grease a 3-quart oval baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the half-and-half, chiles, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in the bagel pieces and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and wilted, about 7 minutes. 

Stir in the cherry tomatoes, basil and rosemary and cook until the tomatoes start to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Fold the vegetables and shredded cheeses into the bagel mixture, then transfer to the prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the plastic wrap and cover the baking pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 45 minutes more, or until the top is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.



Monkey Bread from Christine

I hadn’t made this in years! But Bruce’s daughter wanted it for Christmas morning. It was ooey-gooey good.


Granny's Monkey Bread
(from Self Proclaimed Foodie)

Makes 1 Bundt pan


3 (8 ounce) packages of buttermilk biscuit tubes
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar


Prepare Bundt pan by heavily greasing with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut each biscuit into four equal sized pieces.

Combine 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a bowl or plastic bag. Drop roll the pieces of dough in the sugar cinnamon mixture and gently arrange them into the prepared Bundt pan.

In a small sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup of the remaining sugar cinnamon mixture with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter. Bring mixture just to a boil and then immediately remove from heat. Carefully drizzle the mixture over the rolled dough balls in the Bundt pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Allow pan to rest for about 5 minutes, then cover with a large plate and invert bread. To eat, pull desired amount off with your fingers and enjoy the gooey sweet sinful treat.

Notes: To prepare the night before, follow all steps except the baking part. Cover and refrigerate. Bake as directed in the morning (may need a few extra minutes if its cold).



Mom's Rum Pecan Pie from Christine

The secret to Mom's pecan pie is the maple syrup!