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!


Happy New Year -- Holiday Wrap-up

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas and/or Hanukkah!

Thought I would collect recipes from the holidays and post them now, instead of trying to remember to do it next year, so that we have them on-line to refer to when it is time to bake and cook for Christmas 2018.

So, there will be a flurry of recipes now.  Some with photos and some without.  If you have a recipe that you would like to contribute, please email me at and I will let you know how easy it is to share your recipe.  (I do the work!)

Happy 2018!


Friday, November 10, 2017

Baked Apple with Salted Caramel Sauce

Individually wrapped apples in dough

We went apple-picking in October and like everyone else I know, we picked way too many.

So, when I saw the idea for wrapping apples in Lisa Caponigri's "Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?" cookbook, I thought, we'll that sounds interesting. Maybe I can use up a few more apples...

But when I got to the store, I couldn't remember if she had said phyllo dough or puff pastry.  I came home with puff and of course, that was wrong.

So, I googled the idea and found out there are oodles of recipes for apples wrapped in dough.  The oldest version being an apple dumpling, which uses pie crust, but  there are lots of recipes for apples wrapped in all kinds of doughs, including Pillsbury crescent rolls, as well as puff pastry.  Many are called apple bombs.

The one I ended up using is from a food blog called A Spicy Perspective.

Sommer's recipe incorporates a salted caramel in the middle of the apple, which we did not have, but we DID  have some store-bought sauce, so that became my theme.

Well, mine weren't pretty but they were indeed tasty.  You can see, if you click, how nice they should look if you go to Sommer's blog.

Tom and David really liked them, so I will try again.  And not use so much puff pastry.  It seems ridiculous to me that each apple takes a half of sheet.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Easy Beef Stroganoff

Flank steak is used in this version

Our weather has turned rainy and colder, so I was looking for something hearty and comforting for our Sunday dinner this past weekend.  David was coming over after running a half-marathon, so I knew he would be hungry.

We recently received a cookbook by Mary Berry (of British Baking Show fame) as a gift, and this was the first recipe I made from it.  The book has a wide variety of simple, straightforward recipes.

Stroganoff has basically four components:  beef, onions and mushrooms, finished in sour cream.  We served ours over rice but it is also frequently served with buttered noodles.  Parsley for a garnish.

It was easy, and fast, to use flank steak for the beef.  Yes, it is an expensive cut of beef, but it was worth it.

In advance,  I sliced the beef, sliced the shallots, opened the large tub of pre-cut mushrooms and the tub of sour cream.  Washed and chopped up the parsley, too. 

So, while Tom made the rice (he used beef culinary stock instead of water which was a great idea), I made the stroganoff.  We finished at the same time. About 1/2 hour.  Pretty fast!  I started by browning the beef, then sauteeing the shallots and the mushrooms until dark and golden, and returning the beef to the skillet and stirring in the sour cream.  Adding parsley on top. 

Served it with a nice salad, roasted carrots and an apple bomb for dessert (more on that later.)

Here is Mary Berry's recipe and the way I interpreted it. 

Beef Stroganoff
(Cooking with Mary Berry)

Serves 4 (generously) 

2 T. butter
1 T. safflower oil (I used olive)
1 1/4 pound flank stead, trimmed and cut into strips (see note below)
8 shallots, quartered  (I sliced mine) (small onions would work, too)
10 oz. button mushrooms, halved ( I used 14 oz.  pre-sliced)
salt and black pepper
1 1/4 cups sour cream
chopped parsley to garnish

Note about the beef:  Slice it across the grain into thin strips, 1/4 inch thick and then cut into 2-inch lengths.  Be sure to use a very sharp knife.  The meat will slice better when the meat is very cold.  Then, you can let it warm up for sauteeing. 

Melt the butter with the oil in a large frying pan.  When the butter is foaming, add the steak strips, in batches if necessary, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes or until browned all over.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes until browned.  (Mine took longer, more like 10 minutes.)

Return the steak strips to the pan and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the sour cream and heat gently.  Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve at once with boiled rice.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Red Curry with Sweet Potato, and Onions by Tom

Hot and Spicy

We recently had returned from a trip to Ireland where I did have a couple of curry dishes, but we never ventured out to a real curry restaurant.  Hence, my desire for curry dishes remained.  With the new cookbook Barbara brought home from the library book sale,  I thought I could give a couple of the recipes a try.

This was the cookbook that I found this recipe.  If you notice, there are many orange tabs protruding from the top of the cookbook.  These are all recipes I want to try.

This was actually the second curry recipe I tried.  And, if I do say so myself, this one was quite good.  It had a very good red curry flavoring, which also added some heat to the dish.  But not too much.

This recipe was very easy to make.  I will definitely make this one again.


Red Curry with Beef, Sweet Potato, Onions
(from New Curries)

Serves 4

~2 pounds flank or skirt steak, cut into 1 1/4" pieces
2 cups beef stock
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 star anise
1 1/2 tablespoons grated palm sugar or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate - I could not find this so I substituted Worcestershire sauce
27 ounces (2 cans) coconut milk
3 tablespoons red curry
8 baby onions, halved
1 medium to large sweet potato, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
2 green onions thinly sliced

This is a two step cooking process.  The first step of the process is flavoring of the beef.  The second step is actually creating the curry and combining the majority of the ingredients.

Step 1: place the beef, 1 1/2 cups of the beef stock, the cardamom pods, cloves, star anise, sugar, fish sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the tamarind, and one can of the coconut milk into a large sauce pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 1 1/2 hours uncovered.  The beef should be tender.

A note about cardamom pods.  I found them in a bag in the Asian section of the grocery store.  They are about the size of a pistachio.  To bruise them, I used the flat side of a knife and gently pushed down on the cardamom pod.  This cracks the soft shell without removing it.
Step 2:  Strain the beef over a large bowl.  Reserve the braising liquid and throw out the solids.  This will be the cardamom pods and the star anise.

Cook the red curry paste until it is fragrant in the same saucepan that you cooked the beef, stirring to prevent burning and sticking.  This only take a minute or two.  Now add the remaining can of coconut milk, the rest of the tamarind, and beef stock.  Bring to a boil constantly stirring, and cook for about one minute.  The mixture should be smooth.  Return the beef to the sauce pan, and add the onions, sweet potato and one cup of the braising liquid.  Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until both the beef and the vegetables are tender.

During this last step, I cooked basmati rice to serve with the curry dish.

For plating, I put down a bed of the basmati rice in a shallow bowl and then added the beef curry mixture.  Sprinkle the peanuts and green onion slices over the top of the curry.

Start to finish took about 2 1/2 hours.  About 20 minutes preparation time, and a little over 2 hours of actual cooking.  There was lots of time to do other things while this dish was cooking.

I really enjoyed making and eating this red curry dish.  The aromas from the braising step created by the cardamom pods and the star anise were really appetizing.  And the taste satisfied my desire for a good curry dish.

This one is a keeper!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Vietnamese Beef and Green Bean Curry by Tom

Aromatic from Cardamom and Star Anise

From the new cookbook that Barbara brought home from our recent library book sale titled "New Curries", this was the first recipe that I made from it.

This recipe did not really have the flavors that I would call an actual curry.  As the cookbook itself says "Vietnamese food is influenced by both French and Chinese cuisines."  I would agree that both influences can be found in this dish.  A stir-fry predominantly versus a long simmering curry-based concoction.

It was very mild but had good taste.  It was quite aromatic from the cardamom and star anise, so perhaps that is why it is included in a curry cookbook.

In any case, the dish, served with rice, was good and not hard to make.


Vietnamese Beef and Green Bean Curry
(from New Curries)

Serves 4

3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 3/4 pounds beef strips - I used a strip steak trimmed of excess fat
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 long red chili chopped finely
4 inch stick of fresh lemongrass chopped finely
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods bruised
12 ounces green beans cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
3 tablespoons Thai or Chinese bean sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup almond flakes

Heat half of the peanut oil in a wok or shallow skillet.  Stir fry the beef until browned.
Remove the beef from the pan and cover to keep warm.
Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and stir fry the onion until it is soft.

Now add the garlic, red chili, lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods to the onions.
Next add the green beans.  Stir fry until the beans are tender.  This will only take a couple of minutes.
Now add the beef with its juices from the plate, the bean sauce and the fish sauce.  Stir fry until thoroughly heated through.
Turn off the heat.  Stir in the chopped cilantro and the almond flakes.  Remove the star anise and cardamom pods before serving. 

Plate the beef stir fry over a bed of rice, and enjoy!

Total preparation time is about 15 minutes, and cooking time is only about 20 minutes.  So this meal can be prepared pretty quickly.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds by Colleen

Not a Hungarian tradition

Hey Barb,

We hosted our Hungarian "family", Andras and his wife and two boys yesterday.  Steve had the brilliant idea to have them carve pumpkins - as that is a very traditional American experience that is not practiced around the world.  
The boys grew tired of the project pretty quickly, but Andras and his wife, Eszter, enjoyed it and Eszter turned out to be something of a pro carver. We used some stencils from a booklet from Target, but let me say that you need a lot of skill to actually get the sort of results she did with these crazy little tools that come with the stencils.  

While they were busy with the pumpkin carving I set to work on the seeds.  Andras was stunned that I would pick through all the pumpkin guts to get the seeds, but I enjoy mindless (maybe meditative is a better word) tasks.  

Anyway, I ended up with about 5 cups of seeds and decided to try something new.  I did a little browsing on the Internet and here is my recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds.  

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds 

4-5 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed
¼ cup butter
2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

 After you have rinsed all the pumpkin fibers off the seeds, boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes.  Use about 2 Tablespoons of salt (although you can adjust downward if you are avoiding salt.)

Strain the seeds and allow to dry on paper towels.  Then melt butter and add sugar and cinnamon to the butter.  Pour over seeds in a bowl and stir.  Spread seeds out on cookie sheets (I used three sheets for 5 cups of seeds) and bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  Remove and stir and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove and stir and sprinkle with a bit more brown sugar.  Bake for 10 more minutes.  Taste the seeds and bake again if needed.  It should take 30-40 minutes total.  Let cool and enjoy.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

No one needs to know that these cookies are gluten free.  Soooooo good!

This was already one of our best recipe "finds" on Feast Everyday. It comes from King Arthur Flour and was their cookie of the year for 2015.  (To see original recipe, click here.)

But now it is even better because you can make it gluten free by substituting regular flour with a gluten free mix of rice and tapioca flour plus potato starch which is easily pulled together.  I also added xanthan gum, which seems to help gluten free baked goods. I also increased the eggs.

I do want to mention, though, that I recommend you use the best chocolate chips you can find, because the dough has 3 cups of chips in it, and the quality of the chocolate chips really affects how good the cookie tastes.

Here is the modified recipe:

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(from King Arthur)

Makes 36 large cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten free mix flour (see below)
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (18 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Gluten free flour mix:
5 1/2 - 6 cups (24 ounces) brown rice flour
2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch
1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour
Use the whole bag of brown rice flour, than add 2 cups of potato starch (which may be the entire box) and 1 cup of tapioca flour.  Whisk it all together very well, then store in an air-tight container.  Fluff the mixture before measuring it out in recipes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease several baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper.  (I recommend parchment paper.)

In a stand mixer using the wire whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugars until smooth.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat until light and airy and fluffy.

Whisk in a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips - the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. 

Change the attachment on the stand mixer to the paddle, or just use a large spatula and do this step by hand.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Now stir in the chocolate chips so that they are pretty evenly distributed in the cookie batter.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets leaving an 1 1/2" to 2" in between.  12 scoops per baking sheet.  Slightly flatten each cookie by pressing it down on the top.
The original recipe said to bake for 12-15 minutes.   These need at least 16 minutes to get the cookies brown on the edges and still gooey in the middle.  Once cooled that made for a chewy cookie.

Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes.  Then transfer once the cookies have set to a cooling rack.

These are really good and worth making.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Surprisingly Good

Our niece, Emily, will be visiting next weekend and is allergic to wheat, so I thought I would try making gluten free pumpkin bread .  I made two loaves.
One for us to try now, and one to freeze for her visit.  The one I made with Libbey's pumpkin turned out better than the one I made with organic Wegman's pumpkin.  Not sure why.
The texture isn't like a regular pumpkin bread, but more like a pudding cake.  Very moist and very pumpkin-y.

For a recipe, I checked out my go-to resource for baking, King Arthur Flour on their website:


15 mins.
60 mins. to 1 hrs 5 mins.
1 hrs 15 mins. to 1 hrs 20 mins.
one 9" loaf, about 18 servings
Baker's Hotline
This moist, nicely spicy pumpkin loaf is so good, you'd never suspect it's both gluten-free and dairy-free.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour or brown rice flour blend*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
  • up to 1 cup chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or other add-ins
  • *See recipe for this blend below.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf inch pan.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, molasses, pumpkin purée and oil. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the gluten-free flour or brown rice flour blend, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Add the egg mixture about half at a time, whisking until combined after each addition. Stir in any desired add-ins.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired.
  6. Bake the bread for 60 to 65 minutes, until the middle springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the top-center comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely for easiest slicing.
  7. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
  8. Yield: 1 loaf, about 18 servings.
  9. *Make your own blend
    Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.

    The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.

    Whisk together 6 cups (28 1/2 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature. Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it'll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).
I started by making the blend of flour recommended, because I couldn't find the King Arthur gluten free flour.

Our grocery store now has a gluten free section so it was easy to find all three ingredients. The xanthan gum, a thickening agent, was also easy to find among the Red Mill brand.

It is an easy recipe.  I prepared the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another, larger bowl and chose to add dark chocolate chips as my add-in.
Then, the wet ingredients are mixed into the dry, and the chips stirred in.  Pour into a well-greased pan and bake for 60-65 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  (I wish I had let mine bake another 5 minutes.)

I would normally make Fanny Farmer's pumpkin bread which is now featured on the home page of Feast Everyday, click here.  Or Laddie's Pumpkin Bread, click here, which was sent in by Colleen in 2010.  Or I make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins when we have guests, click here.

But I must say, this is a fine pumpkin bread recipe, gluten free and all.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017


I have been asked what the flower is on the masthead of Feast Everyday. It is my favorite fall flower, the windflower, or anemone.

If you just get my emails and don't visit the actual Feast Everyday website, then you might not be seeing them.

Windflowers bloom profusely in the fall, and are a welcome sight, when everything else is starting to die back.

My favorite, and the one shown here, is Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'

It grows tall, between 3 and 4 ft, on thin, but strong, stems among large, dark-green leafy clumps.
Windflowers (anemones) in our backyard
Even in our recent, dry hot conditions ---we've gone 2 weeks now without rain and temperatures above 80 degrees---they are holding their own in our garden. 

I first saw them in the beautiful gardens behind the George Eastman Museum (of Kodak photography fame) in Rochester, and learned that they are a traditional English garden flower, in cultivation since it was discovered in 1858 by M. Jobert in Verdun, France.

As with most perennials, it takes about 3 years for them to become well-established, but they are well worth the wait.