Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Gravy

4 tablespoons turkey fat[from the drippings]
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups turkey stock, chicken stock or chicken broth heated almost to boiling
defatted drippings from the turkey roasting pan to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the turkey fat in a medium saute pan or pot over medium heat.
Whisk the flour into the fat and cook for two minutes.
Add the hot stock or broth whisking to combine.
Continue to heat, whisking occasionally, until the gravy shimmers and thickens, about five minutes.

Add the defatted drippings and the salt and pepper to taste and strain if desired.

Thin with a little more stock if necessary. Serve immediately. [About two cups eight servings.]

This is from the Washington Post---according to my aged newspaper clipping!

Yummy Yams

This is our all-time favorite way to cook sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving.
I read the recipe over the phone to California Girl every year. She makes it, loves it, then promptly loses the recipe. So, a few days before the next Thanksgiving [namely today!] she calls, begging for the recipe, again! So, here it is, on the blog for all future Thanksgivings!

Yummy Yams

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp butter at room temperature

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

6 medium yams or sweet potatoes--about 3 lbs. peeled and sliced 1/2 thick

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, heated.

Work brown sugar, butter and flour 'til well combined. Work in the pecans. Set aside. Can be prepared up to eight hours in advance and kept at room temperature...

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the sliced yams/sweet potatoes. Cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook! Drain and rinse under cold running water.

Arrange yams in overlapping rows in the pan.[This can be done up to eight hours in advance of baking time, covered tightly with cling wrap and refrigerated.]

Pour heavy cream over yams and bake for twenty minutes.

Crumble pecan mixture over yams and continue baking 'til yams are tender and topping is browned, 20-30 minutes longer. Serves 8-12.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tortilla Torte

Our California Girl turned twenty eight this week.

Twenty Eight.

How is that even possible? Wasn't it just yesterday that she was in Mrs. Garrison's fourth grade class? And just the week before that, that all the kids in the neighbourhood crowded into our bedroom to hang over the sides of her crib and coo at the wonder of her, all curvy lips and petal-soft ears folded around her tiny-ness like a little pink rosebud? Not that life racing by me at breakneck speed is news....

Since I'm not there to bake her a cake, she decided to make one herself. One that doesn't even require baking. One she has loved since her teens. In a word [or two...] Tortilla Torte!

I searched and searched through my admittedly disorganized recipe "files." I almost gave up, but then it appeared, in a fairly predictable place. So without further ado, here it is, for California Girl, and you......

Tortilla Torte

1 12 oz. pkg. semisweet chocolate chips

2 8 oz. cartons sour cream

10 8" plain flour tortillas

In a medium saucepan melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally.

Stir in sour cream.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place`one tortilla on a plate.

Spread a scant 1/3 cup chocolate mixture on top.

Repeat until all the tortillas and chocolate are used.

Chill, covered, several hours or overnight.

Decorate the top with whipped cream [or 1/2 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar] and strawberries.

While I was typing this on here for her, I got a call from California Girl.

"So mom, where's the recipe?"

"I'm typing it onto my blog for you, even as we speak! This way, next time you want to make it, and I have once again lost the recipe, we'll both know where to find it."

She had gone grocery shopping earlier in the day, knowing that she needed, at least, tortillas, sour cream and chocolate chips.

I started to tell her how to make it when, suddenly, she stopped. Silence.

"You're not going to believe this mom! I got the sour cream; I got the chocolate chips; I even got the strawberries, but I forgot the tortillas!"

Kind of like trying to build a house without the bricks!

This cake looks like one of those expensive European tortes with the multiple layers of paper-thin sponge cake! And it tastes surprisingly good for something requiring so few ingredients and so little time.

So, Happy Belated Birthday, Cali Girl! Don't eat it all at one sitting!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Zucchini Bread

Another favourite from when we had zucchini coming out our ears in the garden in Montana. We often made the mistake of seeing a zucchini on the vine, and thinking we'd wait and pick it the next day. Then, next day, when we went to get it, we'd find it had tripled in size overnight! So....lots of Zucchini Bread!


3 eggs

2 cups of sugar

1 tsp. of vanilla

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 tsp. of salt

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 a cup of nuts, chopped

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl 'til well blended.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Stir the 2 cups of shredded zucchini and the vegetable oil into the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients and stir until they are thoroughly moistened. Turn into two loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer or a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean. Let sit on a rack in the pan for ten minutes, then invert bread onto the cooling rack. Cool thoroughly.

Wrap in cling wrap or foil and store in the fridge.

Tina's Banana Bread

I think I got this recipe when we lived in Montana..........Long time ago! Been making it regularly ever since.

3 mashed, ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted butter [or margarine]
1 [scant] cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups flour [I sometimes mix half brown, and half white, flours and throw in 1/4 cup or so of wheat germ.....
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt---barely.

Mix the flour, salt and soda together in a medium bowl.

Break eggs into a larger bowl.

Add the sugar to the eggs and blend well.

Stir the mashed banana, the half cup of melted butter and the tsp. of vanilla into the egg and sugar mix. Blend well, then stir in the flour mixture until it is incorporated.

Grease and flour a bread pan [9"x5"x3"].

Pour in the batter and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

It gets very dark but must be baked the full time to make sure it is baked in the middle! Poke it with a metal skewer. When the skewer comes out clean the bread is done. Let the pan rest on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then invert the pan over the cooling rack and gently remove the loaf from the pan. Cool thoroughly before eating or storing.

To store, wrap in cling wrap or foil. It tastes even better if you store it wrapped, in the fridge, for a few days before eating, and it freezes beautifully. Defrost by letting it sit at room temperature for about an hour....

Tastes very good with butter or cream cheese.

Can make 18 regular size muffins....Bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool in pan for five minutes or so, then shake loose and cool thoroughly on wire rack.

Note: A handful of chopped nuts can be added with the banana.

Friday, March 19, 2010


We can't have Tanya eating, or worse, feeding her husband, hummus that tastes like bean dip with peanut butter! I've been making hummus for several years now, ever since various of my children declared they were becoming vegetarians, whether I liked it or not! I have nothing against vegetarians but I would have preferred they waited until I was no longer in charge of their care and feeding.....

When we lived in Belgium we used to buy the most delicious hummus from a vendor at one of the local open air markets. Back in the States, all we could find was the supermarket variety, a very anemic cousin of the real thing. And so the experiments started. I have made it with peanut butter, but never with soy sauce. Here is a version that seems to work for us:

2 cans of chickpeas
1 cup of tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon, more if you like it lip-puckery!
3 Tablespoons water
good pinch of cayenne pepper
dash of Tabasco
several cloves of garlic, chopped
salt to taste
1/2 cup of chopped parsley or cilantro [and a little more for garnish]
1/4 tsp paprika

Place all ingredients in food processor bowl and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Amounts of all ingredients can be adjusted until you have a blend that tastes right to you. Good luck. It's so easy to make. You'll never buy store bought again....I hope!

Serve in a bowl sprinkled with extra chopped parsley and the paprika.

Can be used as a dip with crackers, or spread on bread....or eaten with a spoon!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lily's Delicious Salmon Rub

This is one of our favourite ways to season salmon........

1 Tblsp brown sugar

1 tsp each garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, paprika

Salt to taste

1/4 tsp thyme

Mix all together and sprinkle on salmon...Grill....Serve....Ummm, ummm, good!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Irish Soda Bread---with Raisins

This recipe was in the latest [Feb/Mar.2010] issue of Cooking Club.com,in preparation, I'm sure, for St. Patrick's Day. I've made it twice in one week, so I think that means it's a keeper! Here it is, so I won't be fumbling through a stack of the magazines, trying to remember which issue it was in, and also for Pauline, my good blog friend.

Rustic Irish Soda Bread

1/2 cup dried currants or raisins

1/2 cup hot brewed black tea

2 tsps caraway seeds [I'm just quoting the recipe here. I hate caraway seeds which are a common ingredient in soda bread, so I always leave them out!]

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 Tblsps packed brown sugar

1 Tblsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a pie pan or small cookie sheet. I sometimes just sprinkle the pan with flour, no grease. Pour the hot tea over the raisins in a small bowl and let sit for ten minutes. Drain well.

Crush caraway seeds, if using, to release nauseating smell---oops! I mean fragrance!

Whisk flours, soda and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in raisins and, if you must, caraway seeds.

Combine buttermilk, melted butter and brown sugar. Gradually stir into dry ingredients just until they are moistened.

Knead dough a few times dusting with a little flour to keep it from sticking. Form the dough into a ball and place in pan. Flatten slightly to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Dust lightly with flour and, with a sharp knife, cut a 1/2 deep cross on top of the bread. Legend has it, according to the magazine, that this allows the fairies or the devil to escape........sounds like a lot of mullarky to me!

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown, sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing. Try not to eat the whole thing at one sitting.....or maybe that's just a problem for me!

Note to Pauline: My favourite recipe for Brown Soda bread is in the post titled "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread." You might also like my recipe for Tea Scones.