Crab Cakes n' Sauce

Mrs. Duvall's Crab Cakes
Finally I have found a good recipe for Crab Cakes and this was my third attempt!!  I have adapted a recipe from the site called Mrs. Duvall's Crab Cakes of The Rail Stop, The Plains, Va.

Other attempts have been too bland or too mushy and just not a bit good.  I have had them at restaurants and in most cases loved them, thus my attempt to find a good recipe for at home.

Premium Lump Crab
Part of the problem may have been the crab I had used.  Being a land locked Hoosier I sure don't claim to know what I am doing here!!  Previously I used canned crab but this time I got fresh pasteurised blue point crab in a one pound container and it was quite different and good.

Ready to refrigerate .
You need to plan ahead to make these as they need to sit refrigerated after they are formed before frying for a few hours or overnight.  Also, I used more saltine crumbs for coating than the recipe calls for and had some left, but it is much easier to form them if you can drop them into a lot of crumbs and form them using the crumbs to gather up around them as you go.

Here is how I made them:

1/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. onion diced finely
2 eggs beaten
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. Coleman's dry mustard
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 pound lump crab meat picked over
2 C. soda crackers, finely crushed
2 T. butter
1/4 C. vegetable oil
Lemon wedges
Dipping sauce, optional

Prepare a rimmed sheet pan by covering it with waxed paper or parchment and make room for it in the refrigerator.   Have foil or plastic wrap on hand to cover the formed Crab cakes.

Using a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, onion, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne pepper.   Fold in the crab meat and 1/4 C. of the cracker crumbs.  Shape the mixture into 16 cakes about 1" thick.  They will be larger than a walnut but smaller than a golf ball.  Don't despair if they seem uncooperative.  If you basically drop a tablespoonful into your hand and gather it into a ball and drop it into the crumbs gathering the crumbs around it as you go it will work.  Place these on the prepared sheet pan about 1/2" apart.  Cover them and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them a few hours or overnight.

In a large heavy bottomed skillet, melt 1 T. of butter and add 2 T. oil.  When the foam subsides,  add half of the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat 2 or 3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels and keep them warm in a low heat oven.  Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and Crab cakes.   Serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce.

Our family loves to dip into zesty cocktail sauce or bottled sauces of you choice are good too.  We also like to mix equal portions of sour cream and mayonnaise with horseradish or Chinese hot sauce.
Crab Cakes


Maple Pecan Pie

Pecan pie might be in my top two or three favorite pies.  I have had in mind to put a new spin on mine with a bit of maple and today was a good day to test it out as I don't want to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to experiment.  My recipe is one that comes from my late Aunt June Burress and it makes a great pie.

 I adapted it as follows:

1 1/2 C. roughly chopped pecans
4 large eggs plus 2 yolks    (for plain Pecan Pie just use 4 lg. eggs)
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter softened to room temperature
1 C. dark Karo syrup
1/3 C. real maple syrup      (for plain Pecan pie omit Maple syrup and use 1/2 C. light Karo)
2 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 unbaked 9" pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare pie plate by buttering it well.  Roll out crust to 10-12" for a 9" pie plate.  Do not stretch the pastry,  my method is to fold it in half and pick it up and drape it over the front half of the plate with the fold facing away from me.  Then I can position and adjust a little if needed before unfolding the pastry back across the far portion of the dish.  Crimp the edges.  If you find yourself short on an edge use a knife and trim from another place where you have excess and pinch it into place.

Using an electric mixer beat together the eggs and sugar.  Add syrups and continue beating, adding the soft butter.   Stir in the pecans, salt and vanilla.  Pour into the chilled pie shell and bake at 350 degrees F. for 50-55 minutes.  The pie should look puffed and may look slightly cracked at the very edge.  This will cease as it cools and the steam causes it to drop into position.

Cool and serve plain or with ice cream or whipped topping.  Note:  In addition you may add additional whole pecans to the top of the pie prior to baking for a more finished look.  I have done this but I find  the whole pecans just make it more difficult to slice the pie and don't add to the flavor.

Asian Celery Slaw and Crock Pot Pulled Pork BBQ

Celery is another of my very favorite flavors.  While channel surfing the other morning I came across a new program affiliated with Martha Stewart on the Hallmark Channel called Mad Hungry.  Martha is not on the program but it is related to her banner.  Anyway being a celery fan and feeling it is often unappreciated I took notice of what the hostess was doing with the humble green stalks.

She made what was looking like a very interesting salad which I have adapted as follows:

1 bunch of celery tops and bottoms removed, separated, washed, and cut in half lengths

1 T. rice wine or white vinegar
1 t. toasted sesame oil
4 T. soy sauce
2 dashes Chinese hot chili oil or hot sauce
1/2 t. sugar

2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. toasted sesame seeds

Blanch the celery for 2 minutes in boiling water and shock.  (Remove quickly from boiling water and plunge directly into ice water to cover.)  After cooling drain and using a small knife catch the strings at the top of the section and pull the down to remove from all of the pieces.   They peel right off with great ease.  I was quite surprised!!  Cut the celery into bite sized pieces and set aside while preparing the sauce.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients except the parsley and sesame seeds and toss over the prepared celery, cover and refrigerate until serving time.  At serving time toss in the parsley and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.

This has a refreshing flavor and both Brian and I liked it.  It is a handy little dish for a salad when it is the end of the week and you have used all your lettuce and cabbage and want the refreshing taste of a salad.

To complete my meal I added an easy pulled pork BBQ.

Just season a boneless well trimmed pork roast well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place in crock pot.  Using your favorite bottled BBQ sauce add a few dashes of hot sauce and enough fruit juice to combine well and loosen a bit.

Cook in the slow cooker for 9-10 hours at low setting or 6-7 hours at hi setting depending on the size of the roast.  I usually opt to cook it on hi to get it started and turn it down later combining the temperature settings.

To complete our meal serve this BBQ pork with sliced fresh onion, dill pickles, rye bread and Asian Celery Slaw, complete our meal with Maple Pecan Pie and ice cream or whipped topping.

Pastry for Three Crusts

As soon as the weather cools it is just like turning a page and it is time for pies of the season.  I have already given one of my favorite pastry recipes for 5 crusts.  It is under Sept. 15,  Lemon Pie for Two or More.   This is another go to for 3.  Both can be kept in the refrigerator 2 or 3 days or frozen.

I am thinking of trying a Maple Pecan Pie tomorrow so stay tuned!!

This is my version of some Ina Garten and my husband's Aunt Virginia.

3 1/2 C. flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 C. cold butter cut into dice
1/2 C. Crisco
2/3 C. ice water
2 T. sour cream
1 t. vinegar

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or food processor.  Cut the butter or shortening in with a pastry cutter or pulse in processor until lumps are the size of peas.  Do not over mix.  Combine the remaining wet ingredients in a small bowl until well blended and add all at once to flour mixture.  Quickly stir or pulse until it just comes together as a dough.  DO NOT OVER MIX.  Gather it together quickly with your hands and form into a ball.  Place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hour or overnight.  When you are ready to use form into 3 disks and roll out  for you recipe or freeze for later use.


Peas and Pasta Salad

Pea and Pasta Salad
I love pea salad.  Take me to a salad bar and if there is pea salad or beets I go there first.  Yummmo.  It goes with my big love affair of all salads I suppose.  This one is a really simple one found and adapted from the Lazarus restaurants cookbook.

8 Oz. shells or other pasta
2 C. diced celery
1/2 C. pimento drained
2 boxes frozen peas
1 C. Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1 t. sugar
pepper to taste
salt to taste

Add pasta to boiling salted water and cook to al dente.  Pour the frozen peas into the colander and drain the pasta over the peas to thaw.  Cool.  Blend all ingredients together.  If the mixture is too dry add a few drops of sweet pickle juice to desired consistency.  Cover and refrigerate until serving tome.

Jiggle-Fluff Pie

Strawberry & Chocolate Jiggle-Fluff Pie
One day while surfing the TV channels I came across Sunny Anderson giggling away as she made a "Strawberry and Chocolate Jiggle-Fluff Pie."  I LOVED THE NAME!!!!  So I watched.  She made a cream cheese, whipped cream,  jello concoction and I was not too sure I would ever make it, just because.  The main thing I really liked about it was the name.

This was September the second and it has stayed with me so I gave in and after some adaptations here it is.  My Granddaughters loved it and so did Grandpa and I.

3 C. salted pretzels broken for the crust
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
12 T. (3/4 C.) sugar
8 Oz. room temperature cream cheese
3 T. cocoa powder
2 cartons thawed frozen whipped topping or 4 C. whipping cream chilled and divided in half
1 t. vanilla
2 C. pineapple or other fruit juice
1 6 Oz. box strawberry or other flavor jello mix
2 C. fresh or frozen fruit thawed and chopped
1 Oz. Chocolate bar to shave for garnish
optional fruit for garnish
9" x 12" pan and electric mixer

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix the crushed pretzels, butter and 3 T. sugar in the 9 x 12 pan and press into the pan for the crust.  Bake for 10 minutes remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Using a stand mixer or a medium bowl and a hand held mixer beat together the cream cheese, 6 T. sugar and cocoa powder.  Using a second clean bowl combine 2 C. cream, vanilla,  1 T. sugar, and the salt beating until soft peaks form.  If using thawed topping just stir together one carton of thawed topping with vanilla, sugar, and salt.  Gently FOLD the cream cheese and whipped mixtures together until well blended.  Spread the combined mixture over the cooled crust and refrigerate.

Meanwhile heat the juice in a small saucepan to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and add the jello.  Stir to dissolve.  Add the fruit to the jello  and chill the pan over a bowl of ice cubes until well cooled while stirring.  Pour over the cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set, about an hour.

Whip the remaining 2 C. of heavy cream with the 2 T. of sugar or stir the sugar into the second thawed topping and spread over the jello mixture.  Garnish with shaved chocolate and fruit (optional).  Refrigerate at last 2 hours before serving and set out about 10 minutes before serving to help the crust loosen for cutting.


Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

Six Inch Cookies
My favorite things are cookies.  But they must be homemade cookies.  There are no store bought cookies that are as good as  homemade.  I am always on the lookout for am outstanding cookie recipe.

This one just might be a keeper in the outstanding category!!  It is adapted from "FLOUR" by Joanne Chang.  I prefer dark brown sugar to light brown as she calls for and I increased the cinnamon and replaced the raisins with white chocolate chips as I think it will be a bigger hit with my son's family without the raisins and I am sharing this and a soup recipe with them.  This makes a giant cookie, about 6" across and I got 18 cookies.  They are big, sweet, and crisp with a bit of chew.  Watch  the baking and go with the lesser time for a more chewy cookie.

1 C. room temperature butter
2/3 C. sugar
1 C. packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 C. flour
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1/4 T. fresh nutmeg grated
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 3/4 C. old fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
1 1/2 C. white chocolate chips

Beat together in the bowl of a stand mixer butter and sugars for 5 full minutes until very light and fluffy.

Using a separate bowl whisk together the flour, soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Make sure there are no lumps of soda. Stir in the oats and white chocolate chips. Set this aside.

Add the beaten eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture until well combined.  On low speed or by hand , gradually add the flour and oat mixture to the creamed butter until they are incorporated.

Chill covered overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare the pans with parchment or silicone mats.

Drop the cookies by 1/4 C. balls evenly on the baking sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand.  I baked 6 cookies to the pan.

Turn the pans midway during baking to ensure even baking. 

Bake the cookies 20-22 minutes, until they just start to turn brown across the top.  Do not over bake.

Remove from the oven and cool completely.  Once cold they can be stored in an airtight container.  Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months.

Roasted Vegetable Beef Soup

It is true that roasted vegetables are more delicious and more easily made than other preparations.  I am on my forth week of coughing and hacking and generally feeling a bit of the "crud".   I have taken to upping the fruit and vegetable ratio in our diets in an effort to aid myself to shake this.  Sooooo I thought vegetable soup was called for and that I would try roasting all of the veggies rather than just simmering them into submission!!!  It led to a more intense roasted vegetable flavor rather than the usual mellow blend of flavors and we liked it a lot.

I am pleased with the outcome and this is how I made it.

3 meaty soup bones
1 1/2 pound stewing meat
1 large onion diced
6 cloves of garlic mashed
1 fresh hot pepper of your choice chopped
4 pounds of fresh roma tomatoes skins removed
1/2 head fresh cabbage chopped
3 stalks of celery diced
4 carrots diced
3 turnips peeled and chopped
3 parsnips peeled and diced
4 medium white potatoes peeled and diced
6 C. water
6 C. beef broth
3 t. salt
1 t. pepper
additional veggies as desired

 Roast the seasoned meat at 350 degrees in a covered dutch oven for 2 hours.  Remove from the oven and add enough water to barely cover.  Replace the lid and simmer on lowest heat on top of the stove.

Increase oven to 425 degrees F.

Root vegetables
Meanwhile sprinkle a half sheet pan with olive oil and toss the onion, garlic, hot pepper, tomatoes, and cabbage into the pan.  Salt and pepper and toss with the oil till coated.  Roast at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes.  While this is roasting prepare a second sheet pan the same way using the celery, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and potato.  Set it aside until the first pan is done.

Remove the first tray of roasted vegetables and roast the second pan for 50 minutes.  Remove the simmering meat from the dutch oven and strain the broth into a very large heavy bottomed kettle.  Set the meat aside to cool.  Place the roasted veggies from the first pan in the stock and add additional stock if needed to cover.  Set to simmer.

Remove the second tray of roasted veggies from the oven and add them to the soup kettle.  Pull apart the cooled beef from the bones and add also.  Correct seasonings and add any additional canned or left over vegetables you like.  Add additional broth and serve or continue to simmer til serving time.

Note:  I added 2 C. green beans,  2 C. peas,  and 2 C. corn to my soup and ended with enough to give my son's family half of the recipe.


Maple Pecan Granola

Hot from the oven, Maple Pecan Granola
I spoke of this recipe a while back and luckily I received a copy of the Deaf Smith cookbook which lists an Almond crunch granola and this is my version of that recipe.  My sister is visiting from Fishers, In. this weekend with her family and I am going to send this plus some other goodies to our son who lives north of them with her.

4 C. old fashioned or organic rolled oats
2 C. pecans roughly broken
2/3 C. canola oil
1/2 C. pure maple syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.   Measure and mix all of these ingredients well in a large bowl.  Spread evenlt in a foil lined half sheet pan.  Bake 30 minutes and remove from the oven and stir well.  Reduce the heat to 225 degrees F and continue to bake for 30 minutes more.  Granola should be toasty brown!!

Remove from the oven and cool.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy as a snack or at breakfast with milk or yogurt and fruit.

Note:  If you would prefer the Almond Crunch version just replace the maple syrup with honey and the pecans with almonds.

Easy Clam Chowder for Two!!

Guess we are waaaay past "Empty Nest Syndrome" here and have moved onto finding some really easy and quick but good suppers for two.  You know what I mean.  Really don't want the mess but something really tasty and filling, satisfying.  This Clam Chowder always works here.  In fact Brian went back and finished  the pot last night.  You can easily make this for more.

Here is how I make it for two:
1 can minced clams
6 slices bacon diced
1 medium onion diced
1/2 lemon squeeze for the juice
2 cans cream of potato soup or about 3 cups leftover potato soup
2-3 C. milk

Dice the uncooked bacon and toss it into a heavy bottomed 2 qt. sauce pan and cook until it is about half done and add the diced onion.  Continue cooking until the bacon is brown and the onion is starting to be well browned around it's edges.

The aroma will be almost heaven!!

Reduce the heat to medium low.  Add the clams and it's liquid and the lemon juice.  Add the type of potato you are using the salt and pepper.  If you are using canned potato soup add the milk and stir.  If using your own potato soup and and adjust with enough milk to reach the desired consistency. Serve in large mugs or bowls steaming hot.  It is great with crusty bread and when served in bread bowls it is truly out of this world!!


Caramel Corn

One of my husbands favorites is caramel corn and it has been almost a year since I have made any.  King Arthur Flour recently featured a recipe on line that I have adapted.  Brian could not have this treat anymore until his successful surgery and now can have everything. 

My recipe is tripled and includes some help on the corn popping!!

 45 C. popped corn ( 3 batches as stated in popping directions)
3  T. molasses
3 T. dark corn syrup
3 C. packed dark brown sugar
3/4 C. light corn syrup
1 1/2 C. salted  butter
1 1/2 t. baking soda
9 T. oil for popping
1 1/2 C. plus 3 T. good fresh popping corn

Using a large heavy bottomed kettle add 3 T. oil to the bottom of the pan over medium high heat.  Add a couple of kernels of corn and as soon as they pop add 1/2 C. plus 1 T. of the popping corn.  Cover and shake the pan across the burner until the popping subsides to just a pop every couple of seconds and immediately move off the heat and dump into a large bowl ( 6 qt.).  I measure the corn by the cupful into a huge bowl, roaster, or pan (3 gal.) leaving any unpopped or scorched kernels to be discarded.  You should yield 15 good cups of corn.

Wipe the popping pan with a paper towel and repeat the process 2 more times.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. and line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Using a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium hi heat.  (I again wiped out  the pan I popped the corn in and used it.)  Bring the molasses, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrups to a boil.  Boil stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda stirring quickly until the mixture becomes foamy.  Immediately,  being very careful not to burn yourself,  pour the hot syrup over the popped corn and stir until well coated. 

Spread the hot caramel corn onto one of the prepared pans.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes total.   At the end of the first 20 minutes take the pan of corn from the oven and place the parchment lined second pan on top of the first and flip it over onto the second.  Carefully peel back the parchment that had been on the bottom and is now on top.  Replace it in the pan so as to be ready to turn again in another 20 minutes.  Continue until the baking time had elapsed.  When done leave to cool then break apart and store in an air tight container.


Roast Beef 'n Swiss Sandwich with Onions & Horseradish

Our butcher cut the most beautiful 5 pound rump roast that I seasoned it generously with freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, and lemon pepper.  It was dry roasted it fat side up in a covered cast iron dutch oven for just under 3 hours, to perfection, at 325 degrees F.  Upon removing it from the oven I left it covered until cool enough to handle, an hour or so.....

Using a large chefs knife I sliced it as thinly as possible and transferred it to a large shallow covered glass casserole to reheat at serving time.  Meanwhile slice a couple of large sweet onions and saute them in a couple of tablespoons of butter or olive oil until a succulent golden brown and the aroma in the kitchen is wonderful!!

Butter the French rolls and toast them under the broiler.  Strain the Au Jus from the original roasting pan and transfer it to a small dish or gravy boat.  Assemble the sandwiches with sliced beef, Swiss cheese, onions,  and horseradish sauce along side the Au Jus for dipping.  Be ready for smiles at the table, this one always works for me!!


Smokey Three Bean Soup

Smokey Three Bean Soup
Late yesterday morning as I came out of my congested fog it occurred to me that a nice pot of bean soup would be without a lot of effort or mess as well as a tasty nutritious meal for a fall day.  Because I had thought of this at the last minute so to speak I used the short soak method to limit the "BEAN" effects instead of the usual overnight soak.

The short soak method generally is picking through the beans for any that are undesirable then placing them in a kettle and covering them with fresh water,  I use about an inch to cover.  Bring this to a boil for 2 minutes and turn off.  Leave covered pan for one hour then drain and rinse the beans and proceed with the recipe you have chosen.

My favorite bean soup goes like this:
1 C. dry Navy beans
1 C. dry Great Northern beans
1 C. dry Pinto beans
2 T. olive oil
1 large chopped onion
3 cloves diced garlic
2 ribs diced celery
1 large diced carrot
1 bay leaf
1 dried hot pepper or 1-2 t. dry red pepper flakes
6 C. double strength chicken broth
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
6 oz. diced ham, cooked bacon, or smoked sausage

After soaking the beans and setting them aside saute the vegetables in a heavy bottomed soup kettle in the olive oil.   Add all of the ingredients plus enough water to be about an inch aver the beans.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low.  You want a slow boil but not a simmer.  Check periodically and add a bit of water if it is cooking away.  I leave them covered and keep a 2 C. measure of water nearby so I can add a bit if needed.  After 2-2 1/2 hours reduce to a simmer and continue to monitor for dryness.

I like this combination of beans because the navy beans will start to dissolve and thicken the soup naturally but the northerns and pintos do not as readily. When this happens you need to either turn them off or pay attention to them especially if you are not using a heavy bottomed pan as they can scorch on the bottom.

Our family loves this dish with a big scoop of cottage cheese dolloped right in the center of the bowl and corn muffins on the side or under the beans.  I have never heard of another group doing the cottage cheese on top so I refrained from doing so in the photo.  It is really good though if you are a food adventurer!!


Homemade Apple Butter and Apple Sauce

Still Warm Apple Butter.
Last year the twins ran out of apple sauce so I thought since this has been a good year for the apple crop I would do an extra batch and I am wondering too if Emily and Katie like it or have outgrown the taste of the sweet treat???  I will have to check it out tomorrow when I pick them up from school.

Fresh Lemon
I love apple butter and always request it if we go to Cracker Barrel.  My brother Gary used to buy it for me at a festival they have over around Gosport, In. where he lives with his lovely wife Darla!  It was especially good and really had a pink hue to it.  I suspected they used red hots along with the other spices.  Sooooo I am going to experiment and start out with a whole 10 pounds of peeled and cored Golden Delicious apples adding 2 C. of sweet cider.  I juice 1 large lemon into an empty over sized crock and work the apples into it.

10# Golden Delicious Apples
I really like to do apple sauce or apple butter with this variety of apple as they cook down and almost just fall apart and I don't have to mess with a food mill.  Now the apples, cider, and lemon juice  have cooked down and are the correct consistency so I have tasted and added a pinch of salt,  a cup of sugar, 1/2 C. red hots and about a tablespoon of vanilla.  Just need to stir and simmer until all is dissolved,   It is just right!!

  I am going to fill the last 5, one cup freezer containers I have and seal them up.  I will tuck them away in my freezer until needed.

Cinnamon Candy Applesauce
To make the apple butter I am adding 1 1/2 C. sugar to the remaining apple pulp along with 1 T. cinnamon, 1/2 t. clove and 1/2 t. ginger and I will taste.  I turned the fire back on to simmer and continue to stir.  I added about another teaspoon of cinnamon and shook in a bit more clove and ginger and added a dash of nutmeg until it was just to my liking!!!

Apple Butter
To conclude I removed the hot jars from the oven where they have been holding.  They were packed to the head space with hot apple butter and the rims wiped with a clean damp cloth.   I tightened the lids and returned the jars to the oven for an additional 15 minutes at 250 degrees F.

 Next I removed the tray and left them to cool.  I hear them popping and sealing now as I write this posting.  It was a good day.   I have 5 jars of apple jelly,  6 jars of apple butter,  and 5 jars of applesauce to show for my effort.   There is nothing artificial in what I have prepared and I know when the cold wind blows it is going to be a welcome treat.

Cinnamon Apple Jelly

Cinnamon Apple Jelly
Today I am committed to accomplishing something as I feel a bit better and have grown weary of feeling whinny although I don't think I actually did the whining....feeling it is gross enough!!!!

Last evening I got everything together as I am having difficulty getting me going these past mornings and I thought it wise to give myself a step up by prepping ahead.  So....I got up to 10 pounds of fresh picked Golden Delicious apples in the big end of my newly scrubbed sink and a 10 pound bag of sugar sitting by the coffee maker!!  I also had a new gallon jug of fresh apple cider brought up last night from the garage refrigerator to the one in the kitchen.  My jelly making kettle is the same one I use for apple sauce and apple butter and it stands clean in the dishwasher.  Pectin sits waiting in the pantry closet as do several packages I have hoarded of red hot candy!!  So I have no excuses and I am off and running.

This jelly recipe comes from my sister Linda in Fishers, In. and is one of my very favorites.  We have both been jelly makers for years and have made this one for a very long time.  I have many times made it and gave it as a Christmas gift as has she.  It smells wonderfully with cinnamon as you make it and is just perfect on hot toast, cornbread, of biscuits.  It is great on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich too!!

Here's what you will need.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

4 C. apple cider
1/4 C. red hot candy
5 C. sugar
1 box sure jell
1/4 t. butter

Hot clean jars and seals.

Start by assembling the jars and lids.  After I have washed and rinsed them well I line a half sheet baking pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the jars and lids upright on the towel and set the whole thing in a preheated 250 degree oven to hold them sterile.

Measure 5 C. of sugar and set it aside.

Place the cider, candy, and sure jell in a heavy bottomed kettle turned on medium high heat stirring until everything is dissolved.  Add the butter, this reduces the foaming.   Continue stirring until the  mixture comes to a full rolling boil and then add the sugar all at once and keep stirring.  When it returns to a full rolling boil time it for exactly one minute.  Remove from the heat and fill the hot jars leaving 1/2" head space. Quickly wipe any jelly from the edge of the jar and screw on the lid and band snuggly.  Turn the jars upside down for 5 minutes.  Right the jars and let them cool undisturbed.   You will hear the lids pop as they seal.  I usually leave them undisturbed for a couple of days before putting them away.  This batch yielded 4 one and a half cup jelly jars and 1 one cup jar.


Juice to Heal me!! "Fall Tonic" and Pumpkin Pie

I have been curled up in my snugglie blanket and sweatpants in my leather chair for over a week trying to get past a sore throat, earache, cough....well more like a whoop, and runny nose.  Not real appetizing right????

Yesterday after a week I got a prescription and I am juicing today in hopes a recovery.  My favorite cure all is 3 or 4 carrots, a handful of parsley, a couple of stalks of celery, a half of a fresh beet and an apple or two. Today I threw in a big shiny bright plum....just because!! This is a cure all I use for anything that comes up be it illness, a new diet, or the blues!!  It has always made me fell better.  For today it is my "Fall Tonic"plus I have everything fresh and on hand.  Also it really tastes G-r-e-a-t!!

God Bless my husband and children who didn't get the usual Sunday diner this past week.  Only a rain check.  My husband went ahead and grilled the chickens I had thawed for exactly that reason, they were thawed.  Today I am boning them and putting their meat in the freezer for another use at another time.

Then there was the pumpkin  pie.  I had thawed the pastry made up in the freezer from the last batch I had made and frozen.  I had planned the pumpkin pie for Emily my oldest granddaughter.  She comes and visits sometimes on Sunday and I had planned for her to stir it up.  I did it instead and Brian loved it.  I have to say it is quite good for you and was easy for me to enjoy also.

My recipe follows:
1 unbaked 9" pie pastry in a deep dish
1 regular can of pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 C. sugar
1-1 1/4 C. cream
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. ginger
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.   Beat the pumpkin and eggs together well with a large whisk.  Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl and stir them together.  Add the sugar and spices to the pumpkin egg mixture and beat together well.  Add the cream and continue whisking until well blended and add the vanilla and finish combining.  Pour into the prepared pastry and bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350degrees F. and bake for 40-50 minutes longer until the filling is set.  Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.
Note:  Newer recipes ask for evaporated milk and you can use it as well.


Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies

My  big discovery last week was to bake the brownies in my mini loaf pan as everyone here loves the corners and edges.  So I am all about more brownies!! This is a really versatile and useful pan to me as I also buy rectangular liners and make mini loaf cakes and breads with it too.

Soooooo....anyway I came across a  Butterscotch Brownie recipe on the King Arthur website of which I am a loyal reader for many years.  I think they would be in addition to a great cookie a base for a Brownie Sunday with maybe chocolate or fudge ripple ice cream and Carmel or chocolate sauce for desert Sunday as back up if I don't get around to the apple pies I plan on backing.  Always good to have a plan "B" just in case!!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and grease your pan.  Set aside.

2/3 C. chopped pecans
2 t. butter
1/8 t. salt
Place the butter in an oven proof dish and place it in the oven for 3-4 minutes until melted.  Add the pecan pieces and salt and stir well.  spread out over the bottom of the pan and return to the oven and roast for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool while you prepare batter.

1/2 C. butter

1/2 C. chocolate chips
Using a microwave proof bowl , melt the butter and chips together and stir until completely smooth.  It took 1 minute in my microwave. Set aside. 

1 t. espresso powder
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 C. brown sugar packed well
1/2 t. soda
1 t. vanilla
2 lg. eggs
Put the espresso powder, salt, brown sugar, soda, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Add the chocolate/butter mixture and stir together until combined.  Add the eggs mixing until smooth.

1 1/2 C. flour ( I use King Arthur)
2/3 C. butterscotch chips
Stir in the flour, pecans, and chips.  Work quickly as if you stir too long the chips will melt.

Spoon the thick batter into the prepare pans and use your wet fingers to spread to the edges of the pan.  Bake 22-25 minutes and test with a pick in the center for doneness.  It should come out clean.  The edges will be taller than the center.  loosen around the out side and push them down a bit.  This will help them not to appear as sunken in the center.  Yield 2 dozen bars.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour recipes at:

Spanish Sausage and Potato Casserole

Sausage is really a versatile and easy project if you are fortunate and have access to a a real live butcher.

Just request a quantity of ground pork belly and the difficulty has melted away and you have but to add the appropriate spices!!

Spanish flavored pork sausage with fennel and paprika layered with onions, garlic and potatoes will make a great one dish meal.  I put the sausage together this morning as to allow the flavors to meld.

Pork Fennel &  Paprika Sausages

1 lb. freshly ground pork belly
1/2 t. black peppercorns
1/2 t. dried fennel seed
2 t. kosher salt
3 t. paprika
freshly milled black pepper
1 egg
1/2 C. packed fresh bread crumbs

Using a mortar and pestle combine the peppercorn's, fennel seed, and salt.  Break up the spices and continue to work them adding the paprika until everything is well ground.  Add the spices, egg, and bread crumbs to the ground pork and mix well.  Add additional black pepper and wrap up and refrigerate until ready to use or it may be frozen for longer storage.

Sausage &  Potato Casserole

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Shape 1 pound of sausage into 6-8 patties and layer on the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish.

Top the sausages with 1 onion finely chopped.  Peel and thinly slice 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes (about 5-6 medium).  Spread the potatoes over the layer adding a clove of crushed garlic and salt and pepper.  Pour 1 1/4 C. stock over all and drizzle with 2 T. olive oil.  Cover and bake 1 hour.  Remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Garnish  with diced red or green pepper and serve.

Yield 4 servings.
I adapted this recipe from several sausages made with family during butchering season as well as from a casserole a friend made using beef years ago.