Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sometimes the best medicine for soothing the soul and calming ruffled feathers is chocolate! I made a batch of this last night [I had actually meant to make it for Christmas..... So goes my life!] Then, this morning I spent a few hours at HQ with the Ancient Ones. Listening to my father-in-law refusing to listen to anyone because no-one could have as tight a grip on the facts as he does. Oy! So, when I came home, I was delighted to find the brickle in the fridge, and ate way more of it than was prudent. But,it made me feel much better!

40 Saltine crackers
1 cup [two sticks] butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 12oz pkg chocolate chips
chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Cover cookie sheet with foil.
Place whole saltine crackers in single layer on foil.
On stove, melt butter and brown sugar. Bring to a full boil and cook 3 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.Leave until melted. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers and sprinkle with nuts.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.Break into pieces.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eat Your Broccoli---Again!

This recipe is a tiny bit more complicated than the first broccoli salad, but still very easy and delicious. They are both best eaten the same day they're made, as if kept too long they turn soggy. That's not a problem around here, ever! You might wish there'd be a little left for lunch the next day......

Broccoli Delight Salad

1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4-5 cups broccoli florets
1 cup raisins
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, sugar,mustard and cornstarch.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk in the egg mixture and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and mayonnaise. Cover and chill the dressing.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, raisins, mushrooms, onion, and bacon [if using.]

Pour the dressing in and toss gently. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and the pepper before serving. Makes about eight servings.

Eat Your Broccoli!

One of my favourite ways to eat broccoli is in broccoli salad. If you're on the fence about this vegetable, don't decide you don't like it until you've tried it this way....

Broccoli Delight Salad---Fast, easy and delicious.

1 large bunch broccoli [about 5 cups cut up.]
1 cup raisins
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
10-12 strips bacon,fried, drained and crumbled [I leave this out more often than I include it.]

3/4cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp vinegar
5 (scant) Tbsps sugar

Combine dressing ingredients. Whisk until creamy.

Put washed, well drained broccoli in a large bowl. I like to blanch the broccoli briefly [approx.3 mins.] so it's not quite so crunchy, but you don't have to. The important word is "briefly!" Nothing is less appetizing than over cooked, mushy broccoli....After the 2-3 minutes, remove the broccoli and plunge it into cold water [to stop the cooking.] Rinse, shake out excess water and proceed.

Add raisins, sunflower seeds and red onion.Puor dressing over this mixture and toss gently.

Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours.

Even the OC, who is by no means crazy about broccoli, will eat this without complaint!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Corn Chowder

The first time I had this soup was when I visited my oldest son after the birth of his [now] four year old son. Their neighbours brought a big pot of it over one evening and I thought, if there is a food that defines heaven, this is it!

Best Corn Chowder Ever!

8 ears [or more] fresh corn
8 cups of vegetable stock [can also use chicken stock if you prefer]
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 leeks or scallions or ramps [I must admit I have no idea what a "ramp" is, other than a way to exit the highway!]
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
1 or two zucchini halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch of fresh chives sliced into 3/4" strips

Slice the kernels from the corn into a large bowl and set aside.

Simmer the cobs, vegetable stock and garlic in a large pot, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove cobs and discard. Set the stock aside for now.

Melt butter in another large pot. Add onion, celery, leeks and red peppers and sweat for four minutes, until tender. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt and cayenne and stir to coat the vegetables.

Next add the corn kernels and potatoes and reserved stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes.

Add zucchini and simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in heavy cream. [I've also seen recipes that add up to 2 cups of milk at this point instead of, or in addition to, cream.]

Remove bay leaves.

Puree about a quarter of the chowder in a blender or food processor [ use an immersion blender if you have one.] Return the puree to the pot and mix well. Remove from heat and stir in garlic. Ladle chowder into bowls and sprinkle with chives.


The menfolk around here like to add Tabasco and more cayenne to spice it up, but I like to actually taste the vegetables! If I have day old French bread around I break it into the soup. Old habits die hard! Whenever my mother made soup we always broke chunks of bread into it.....