a little of each

A family's cookbook

Feta Dip November 10, 2013

Filed under: Appetizers — alittlemoreofeach @ 8:47 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you love feta cheese like I love feta cheese – truly, madly, deeply, having once wondered if it could be made into a palatable ice cream flavor – this recipe is for you.  Garlic, salty, cheesey goodness that is balanced by fresh vegetables for dipping.  I am not exaggerating when I say that this dip had offers of dates and intimate bathing experiences when it was  recently served.  You’ve been warned.  And you can thank me later.

Ingredients

4 oz block of feta cheese

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbl Greek seasoning

1/3 cup sour cream, more or less to taste

3 Tbl mayonnaise

Directions

Chop feta into smallish crumbles. Blend with the rest of the ingredients.  Serve with pita crackers, or cucumber, red pepper, zucchini crudites. It’s probably best served after chilling for an hour, allowing the flavors to blend.

 

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies November 7, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 12:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

Aunt Doris says these cookies are just the thing to bring some cheer and sunshine to a grey day.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg or 1/4 tsp
3 cups quick oats
3/4 cup currants
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

Mix flour and spices. Set aside.

Cream sugars and butter together until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour mix in two batches, mixing well. Stir in oats. Add the currants and nuts which are optional. The original recipe called for raisins. However, I think the tiny currants are sweeter.

This may seem like a lot of spice but it is a nice blend and not too strong for the little ones. The original recipe called for twice as much spice but this is the recipe I made today and trust me, the cookies are delicious.

The other important thing is to bake them at exactly 11 minutes at 375 degrees. They will look golden around the edges and sort of raw in the middle but that is okay. Let them sit on the baking pan about two minutes before moving them to a rack. I always use parchment paper to line the baking pans, and in this case it makes for very easy removal.

Drop about a tablespoon of batter for each cookie. They don’t spread out a lot. Yield is about 5 dozen.

 

Candied Jalapenos September 9, 2013

Filed under: Fruits and Vegetables — alittlemoreofeach @ 8:24 pm
Tags: , , ,

Robin says: This is great served on cream cheese & crackers. I omitted the red chili & the jalapeños had plenty of heat.

Ingredients and Directions

Drain 1 (12 oz) jar of pickled jalapeno pepper slices, discarding liquid and reserving jar and lid. Toss together jalapeno slices; 4 red chile peppers, sliced; 3/4 cup sugar; and 1 tsp loosely packed lime zest. Let stand for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into the reserved jar, scraping any remaining sugar mixture from the bowl into the jar. Cover with the lid, and chill for 48 hours to one week, shaking jar several times a day to dissolve any sugar that settles.

 

 

 

Southern Tiramisu (aka Nanner Puddin’) August 25, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 8:31 pm
Tags: , , , ,

20130825-213320.jpg

Sometimes it takes me a while to realize things about myself. Like discovering at the age of 35 that I really don’t care for raw broccoli. Shocking, right? I hate that you chew and chew and chew and it never gets smaller or goes away. I feel this dings my reputation as a well-rounded and healthy eater, but there we are.

Along the same, albeit less-healthy, lines, I thought I loved banana pudding. I’m not going to claim something as sacreligious as not loving banana pudding, but something about it interfered with a full-fledged adoration. And then I figured it out. It wasn’t the soggy Nilla Wafers – those are heavenly. Nor was the pudding itself troublesome, whether it was banana flavored, vanilla, homemade or from a quick mix box. No. It was the dang bananas. They get brown. And mealy. And the mouthfeel is just terrible.

So how does one go about rekindling a love with Nanner Puddin’ when the issue is with the nanners? I’ll tell you! You mash those things to smithereens and blend them with the pudding. And look the heck out, because those mashed bananas are so much sweeter and more flavorful than weak, mealy banana slices.

This method was developed by one of my dearest, most Southern friends whose dedication to tracking down the best banana pudding through tireless experimentation (one recipe called for roasting the bananas first) and testing rivals any first-class research lab. Salute her hard work with a bowl of this layered Southern Tiramisu.

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
1 box of vanilla wafers, mini ones are great
1 large box of vanilla pudding
2 cups of cold milk
1 tub of Cool Whip, softened

Directions

20130825-213134.jpg

Mash the four bananas with a fork or a pastry cutter until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, make pudding according to package instructions.

20130825-213236.jpg

Fold the mashed bananas and half of the Cool Whip into the pudding.

20130825-213210.jpg

In a 9 x 13 dish, neatly place the vanilla wafers in one layer. Gently spoon half of the pudding and banana mixture over the cookies.

20130825-213253.jpg

Place another neat layer of cookies on top of the pudding; there should be a handful or two of cookies remaining. Follow with the rest of the pudding mixture. Spoon the other half of the cool whip on top.

Crush the remaining vanilla wafers and sprinkle them evenly over the dish.

Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably longer, until the dish is chilled through and set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Chicken Salad July 26, 2013

Filed under: Main Dishes,Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

I strive for peace on Friday around dinnertime.  I strive, and I hope, and sometimes it’s a big, fat failure with bickering or takeout pizza (sins of equal weight somehow). And tonight, the mister was still at work, and I had no meal planned after just arriving home at the time I’d prefer to be blissfully blessing the wine and gazing at my dressed and brushed children over a lovingly prepared meal that they’d eat with the gusto reserved for macaroni and cheese.  The only saving grace was I knew I had some frozen challah.

So, yeah, it was a bust already, right?  So me and my what-the-hell attitude rummaged in the kitchen. And I came up with a practically defiant chicken salad.  My ladies have never seen chicken salad before, but it’s a trifecta of pickiness – a (1) mixture of ingredients (2) touching each other (3) in a sauce.  Oh lord.  To the table, I added the challah, a plate of grapes, and cheese sticks so that when faces recoiled in disgust, I couldn’t be accused of starving my children.

Hands washed, hairs unbrushed, still in summer camp clothes, we lit the candles, we blessed the bread, and you know what?  They didn’t recoil in disgust when they saw their plates.  The big one ate her challah, some grapes, and then she gingerly tried a bite.  She said, you’ll never guess, “Mmmm.”  I said, “I’m so glad you like it.  I hoped you would.”  And then she tried a piece of chicken with a grape, and then a piece of cucumber with a grape, and then chicken and celery, and with each combination, she exclaimed, “I didn’t think I’d like this, but it’s so yummy.”  And then the kicker, “And I love how it looks so fancy on the lettuce all spread out.  You should make it again, and soon!”

Now the little one gave a good college try of two solid bites, and only one slight gag.  I call that a homerun.

We watched the candles standing tall with only a very occasional flicker, we talked about the giant pile of garbage floating in the Pacific, and we laughed at the little one’s potty jokes.  Just as Shabbat is meant to be.

Go easy on the dressing, and don’t leave out that brown sugar – it’s a definite secret ingredient sort of enhancement.

Ingredients
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
Half of one celery stalk, chopped small
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl brown sugar

Directions
Whisk together ingredients for the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add half of the dressing, stirring gently, and then add more to your taste, careful not to oversaturate the salad. Lay some Romaine leaves on a plate, and serve a scoop of the salad in the center.  The leaves can be used like taco shells, and just like that, chicken salad is a finger food!

Variation
For a tropical flavor, try these ingredients:
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cashews
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl coconut milk powder
1 Tbl sweet curry powder

 

Berry Crumb Bars June 11, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 10:39 am
Tags: , , , ,
photo 1

Blueberries and raspberries are good friends in this crumb bar.

 

Raspberries taste like Connecticut to me.

More specifically, my grandparents’  backyard in a tiny town in Connecticut in June. It was the first time I remember eating raspberries – I was nine.  The berries were picked from the canes, sun-warmed, sweet, and just tart enough.  My siblings and I monitored the raspberry bushes that delineated the edge of the backyard and a woodsy area from which bunnies would emerge in the late afternoons, and we heard a rumor of a bear once.  Those few summertime visits – with their endless trips (no matter our age) down the Giant Hill in the 50-year-old Radio Flyer wagon that was my dad’s when he was little, an outing to UConn’s dairy farm and ice cream shop, helping (or I should say “helping”) my grandfather in his large vegetable garden with its oddly dirty dirt, not the sandy stuff I was used to – are encapsulated in those delicate, jewel-hued berries.

So when Publix has raspberries, normally such a extravagance it still seems, on sale for $2.50 a container, a few (or more) go in my basket, and I am transported.

photo 2

I adapted a smittenkitchen recipe for crumb bars that is so darn wonderful.  (What does that lady do that *isn’t* wonderful?  Nothing, that’s what!) The crust is like a shortbread – not too sweet, just a bit crumbly, and a lot buttery. While the original recipe calls for a combination of blueberries and lemon (both the zest and juice), I counted on the tartness of the raspberries and omitted the lemon with no regrets.  I also added some whole wheat flour for flavor and better health. (Although, c’mon, we’ve got two sticks of butter in this…)

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, and/or diced strawberries (I used blueberries and raspberries.)
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp cornstarch

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, both flours, and baking powder. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the berries. Sprinkle the berry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

photo 3

 

Roasted Broccoli June 2, 2013

Filed under: Fruits and Vegetables — alittlemoreofeach @ 7:23 pm
Tags: , , ,

Broccoli cheese soup?  Love!

Steamed broccoli? Eh, not bad.

Raw broccoli with dip?  No, thanks.

Broccoli salad?  A sweet and tangy yes, please!

But this recipe is my favorite way to eat broccoli, by far.  It’s easy, fast, and roasting the vegetable with lemon juice and salt and pepper does something to it that I can’t resist, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve made myself uncomfortable by eating more than I should have.  And I’m not the only one who loves it.  Three-year-old Alice begged the last few florets from Ken’s plate tonight at dinner.  No joke.  I can’t recall when we’ve had leftovers of this side dish.

The original recipe calls for adding Parmesan and for a few tablespoons of toasted pinon.  I consider them optional as I don’t miss them and appreciate the healthier approach without the nuts and cheese.

Roasted broccoli makes me happy!

Roasted broccoli makes me happy!

Ingredients
2-3 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbl freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks. Peel the tougher outer part of the stalks away and then dice what remains. You should have about 8 cups of florets and stalk pieces. Place the broccoli on a sheet pan lined with aluminium foil that is large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Serve hot.

 

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:49 pm
Tags: , , , ,

 

Nana made this every January for Peter’s birthday. Peter would then savor it by the spoonful or over ice cream for the next few months. From a February 1954 issue of Woman’s Day magazine.

 

Ingredients

8 squares unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

1 (14 ½ oz) can evaporated milk

2 Tbl strong black coffee

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

 

Directions

Melt chocolate in top part of double boiler over boiling water; add sugar and mix well. Cover; cook over boiling water for 30 minutes. Add milk, coffee, salt, vanilla; beat until smooth and thick. Serve hot.

 

Aunt Kittie’s Pineapple Sauce

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

 

Mix together in a small pan ½ cup of crushed pineapple, ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water. Boil for 15 minutes and then chill.

 

Lara’s Hot Cinnamon Berry Sauce

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:46 pm
Tags: , , , ,

In a saucepan, combine:

1 package frozen mixed berries
2 Tbl honey
1 Tbl brown sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon (more to taste)

Stir over medium heat until just at the boiling point. Cool for a few minutes, but serve still steaming over vanilla ice cream.