Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hoisin Pork Chops by Tom

Hoisin Pork Chops by Tom

As we are nearing the end of our stay at our lake house, Barbara gave me the challenge of using up as many items in our refrigerator and pantry as possible.  That way we would have less to carry back in a week or so.

We had a guest coming for dinner, so my thought was a marinated meat of some sort that I would then grill.  We have a very old cookbook entitled "The Healthy Barbecuing & Grilling Recipe Book".

Its copyright is 1994, so we have had it for a while.  In it I found what appeared to be a very good hoisin marinade, which became the basis for my marinade.

I really enjoy the boneless thick pork chops that Morgan Market in Penn Yan carries.  That became my meat for the marinade.  Good choice because this combination of pork and hoisin marinade was really good.  I will definitely make this again even if I am not trying to use up ingredients.


Hoisin Pork Chops
(The Healthy Barbecuing & Grilling Recipe Book)

Thick boneless pork chops (one for each person you are serving)

The Marinade
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup white vinegar

At least 6 hours before you want to grill, in a gallon size Ziploc bag, add all of the marinade ingredients.  Close the bag and shake up the ingredients to get them well mixed.  Add the boneless pork chops and swish the marinade over the pork chops to completely coat them. Put the bag in the refrigerator turning it every hour to insure good coating.

Fire up your grill to very hot.

As soon as you are ready to grill the pork chops, turn the heat down to medium or even a little lower. Because there is honey in the marinade, if you keep the grill too hot you will completely char the outside due to the sugar in the honey.

Grill for 8 minutes a side.  My test for doneness is whether the piece of meat is pretty firm when you pick it up.  If it flops, it needs more time on the grill.  You can always use a meat thermometer as well.  The internal temperature should be around 160.

During grilling, periodically drizzle some of the marinade over the meat.
Once completed, remove from the grill and let them sit for about 10 minutes.  We served our marinated pork chops with mashed potatoes, broccoli and green beans.

Our guest loved the meal and particularly complimented the grill master on the tenderness and flavor of the pork chops.  I graciously accepted the compliment!

 --- Tom

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mississippi Mud Brownies

Mississippi Mud Brownies -- 
layers of chocolate, pecans, marshmallows and frosting

A bag of marshmallows, unused this summer, caused me to look for a recipe.  I found this one in a Sunset travel magazine.

I had to cut up the marshmallows -- because the recipe called for miniature ones.  It was tedious but fun.  Had to use cornstarch on my knife and board to keep them from sticking.

Very chocolaty, nutty and super sweet!  Our guest said that it looks like "fancy fudge!" and she thought it reminded her of a holiday dessert.

Mississippi Mud Brownies with  Chocolate Frosting
(from Sunset)

Makes 4 dozen

For the brownies:

1.5 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1 (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate baking bar, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups miniature marshmallow or chopped large marshmallows

For the frosting:

Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
6 T. unsweetened cocoa
16 oz. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 13 x 9 pan.

Toast the pecans, then chop coarsely.

Chop up chocolate bar.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave safer bowl at High 1 to 1.5 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals.
Whisk in sugar and eggs until well blended.  Stir in flour.  Spread batter into a greased 13x9 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Sprinkle warm brownies with toasted pecans and marshmallows.

Prepare the chocolate frosting.
Cook 1/2 cup butter, 1/3 cup milk, and 6 T. unsweetened cocoa over medium heat in a large saucepan, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until butter melts.
Remove from heat;  beat in a 16 ounce package of powdered sugar and 1 t. vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

Pour over pecans and marshmallows.  spread to edges.
Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack.  Cut into squares.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cumin-scented Chorizo & Chicken with Black Beans, Peppers and Rice

Chorizo & Chicken with Black Beans, Peppers and Rice

If you like the flavors of a chicken burrito in a bowl like they serve at Chipotle's then you will like this concoction I made last Sunday --- I like to think my dish is better.

It takes advantage of the delicious smokey flavors of chorizo, which is a pork sausage, spiced with paprika, celery seed and chili/cumin spices.

This is comfort food, not fussy food.  Good for a day when it is cool outside and you have other chores to do around the house.

Chorizo & Chicken with Black Beans and Peppers over Rice

Serves 4

1 large onion, white or yellow, diced
3 red or orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
olive oil for sauteing
salt and pepper
ground cumin, about 1.5 teaspoons
1/2 cup of white wine
1 T. honey
1 can of black beans, drained well
12 oz. chorizo sausage, sliced into crescents (1 package)
3/4 pound of cooked chicken, cut into chunks (1 large chicken breast)
sour cream
chopped cilantro

You will need a large skillet with a tightly fitting cover for this dish.

Chop the onion, heat up the pan and add oil for sauteing, then add the onions.  Add a pinch of salt.  Reduce heat to medium low and let them sweat and cook down --- this will take a while --- about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, seed and chop the peppers.

Peel and mince the garlic.

Open the sausage, dry it off, slice them lengthwise then crosswise, until you have a pile of crescents.

Cut up your chicken in to chunks, set aside.

Open and drain well the black beans.

After the onions are translucent and fragrant, but not browned, turn up the heat to medium high, and add the chopped peppers.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cook until they start to wilt -- about 3-4 minutes.

Add the garlic and sprinkle with the cumin, and cook for a 1-2 minutes, but don't let the garlic brown or burn.

Add the chorizo and turn up the heat to high, to try to brown the chorizo a little without burning the veggies.  You will start to get some nice bits of brown on the bottom.  Keep stirring.

Once it gets dry --- don't let it burn --- then add the wine, and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Turn the pan down to medium.

Before you add the beans, salt them pretty well --- beans need salt --- then add them to the skillet.

Drizzle the honey on top.  Stir and cover.  Lower the heat to as low as your stove will keep a simmer, i.e., low low.

Let it cook gently for at least 45 minutes -- or longer -- now add the cooked chicken towards the end, so it soaks up the flavors but doesn't get too dried out.

From time to time check to be sure there is enough liquid in the covered skillet-- and add a little more water or wine, if needed.

Prior to serving, make a batch of fluffy Texmati (basmati) rice.  Chop up some fresh cilantro.

Just before serving, taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over the rice, add a big dollop of sour cream and lots of freshly chopped cilantro.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apple Crisps in Canning Jars

Apple Crisps -- Individual Portions

I first tried this idea with peaches for Labor Day, and didn't get it quite right--too much lemon.  So, I tried again last Sunday, this time with apples and it was a home run.

Making the crisps in individual portions -- in canning jars (or ramekins) --- is the same idea as making muffins instead of a cake.  Single portions make them feel special, yet they are practical for storing/freezing.  Plus they cook faster.

Apple Crisps

12 Servings

Apples, peeled and cut in chunks -- a dozen small or 8 large
lemon juice --- 1/2 lemon -- use judiciously
pinch of salt
cinnamon to taste, about 2 t. -- Vietnamese if you can get it
sugar -- 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on sweetness of your fruit
tapioca pearls -- about 1 T. --for thickening the juices

toasted chopped pecans, 3/4 cup
oats - 3/4 cup
flour - 3/4 cup
pinch of salt
brown sugar - 1 cup
melted butter- 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

For the filling:

Peel and core, slice and chop the apples into chunks.

Squeeze lemon juice on the apples to prevent them from browning.

Add a pinch of salt, and sprinkle 2 t. cinnamon.

Add sugar to taste.  About 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup depending on the sweetness of your fruit.

Add a tablespoon of tapioca pearls, for thickening the juices.

Mix together well but try not to crush the fruit.

Spoon equally into canning jars or ramekins.  Fill them pretty close to the top.  The fruit will shrink down.

For the topping:  

Toast and then chop the pecans.  Let them cool.

Mix together flour, salt, oats, brown sugar and pecans in a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in the microwave.

Pour it over the dry ingredients -- a little at a time, while mixing together, until you get a homogeneous wet mix.*

*Note:  if your mixture is not wet enough, melt some more butter and add it until you get a mixture like in my photo below.  It should be sticky, not white and dry.
Top each container of apples with the crisp mixture, pressing it in a little to be sure it doesn't slide off during cooking.  (If you have extra topping, cover and store in the refrigerator for future use.)
Place the canning cars or ramekins on a sturdy cooking sheet ---you can line it with foil for spills if you wish -- and be sure there is room around each one for even cooking.

Place in center of a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the tops are crispy brown.

Let them cool.  They will shrink down---
Giving you plenty of room to add a scoop of ice cream on top!


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.)