Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Cranberry Bread # 1

This has been my go to recipe for years. I usually make it after Thanksgiving when all the stores have cranberries on sale. Whatever is left after making cranberry sauce, I use it to make cranberry bread. 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup butter

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp finely grated orange peel

2/3 cup orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed

1 1/2 cups cranberries, thawed if frozen , then halved

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X5X3 inch loaf pan. 

In a large bowl stir together the first 5 ingredients Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl combine egg, orange peel and juice.

Add to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. 

Fold in cranberries and nuts and spoon into prepared pan.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until golden and a toothpick poked into center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then turn out of pan and cool completely. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.*

*In spite of the admonition to 'wrap and store overnight before slicing,' I don't usually have that kind of restraint, especially if I've made it early in the day! A cup of tea in mid afternoon would beg a slice. Just to let you know the world will not end if dig in while it is still warm - but give it at least an hour.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Chocolate Hath Charms

*** It's not Lent anymore, it's almost Christmas in The Year of Covid 19. I just found this, lingering for almost three years in my drafts folder. It's still a great recipe so there you go!

I cut this recipe out of a magazine way back in 1974. I know the date because it's still visible on the curled edges of the age-yellowed paper! That was forty years ago and it is still a hit wherever it goes (or is taken.) I lost count long ago of how many times I've made it. It was my go-to cake recipe to send to my children when they were away at college since it travels and keeps well. Whenever I was asked to bring dessert to a gathering, I knew I couldn't go wrong with this. And even more recently, when I worked in the office at a mental health clinic, having once tasted it, my co-workers would beg for this cake, one in particular who usually didn't eat cake but made an exception for this as it was "nutritious!"

It's in the oven as I write. Like Winnie the Pooh and his pals in the Hundred Acre Wood we like a little smackerel of something sweet with our tea in the evening around here. Of course it's Lent and the guilt is always with me, the nuns saw to that. We swore off candy and cakes for the forty days then gorged ourselves with chocolate on Easter Sunday. I promise not to do that. And besides, women need chocolate! I'm sure anyone reading this has had chocolate attacks in the middle of the night, getting up and rummaging through the kitchen cupboards, muttering darkly "there has to be something chocolaty here," and when there isn't taking to our beds to suffer until someone thinks to bring us some and save us from sinking into depression.....

Chocolate Oat Nut Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1cup quick cooking or old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed light brown (I've also used dark brown)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1 pkg(12 ozs.) semisweet chocolate pieces
3/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans, whatever you have)
Confectioner's sugar

Sift together flour, salt, soda and cocoa and set aside.
Put oatmeal in a bowl and stir in boiling water let stand 10 minutes. Stir in butter and the brown and granulated sugars. Add the eggs and mix well. Beat in ther flour mixture and stir 'til well combined.
Fold in half the chocolate pieces and spread in a greased 13x9x2" pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate and the nuts on top. Note: I prefer to not mix the choc pieces into the batter. I use just a handful and sprinkle them on top with the nuts. Why? Because I found that the pieces sink if you mix them in the batter!
Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for 35 - 45 mins.Poke it to check. If a toothpick comes out clean, except for chocolate(!!) then it's done.
Cool in the pan. Sprinkle with pwdred sugar if desired and serve in squares.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Appelpannekoeken (from The Netherlands)

Special request from younger daughter who is in bad need of comfort food this week.

We used to make these apple pancakes when she was growing up. Sprinkled with powdered sugar they're obviously not something I make often thesedays now that I'm all about healthy eating! But we didn't know any better back then. All that mattered was that they were comforting and delicious!

Dutch Apple Pancakes  (makes 4 large)

2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 lrg eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
12 Tbs butter (1/4 lb stick)
2 med. sized tart cooking apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into 1/4" thick slices
Syrup for serving (optional)

Combine the flour and salt in a deep bowl. Make a well in center and pour in the eggs. Whisk to gradually blend Then, stirring constantly, pour in the milk in a thin stream and mix until batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
Melt two Tbs butter in a non-stick skillet over moderate heat. When the foam subsides add one fourth of the apple slices to the pan stirring until lightly and evenly browned. Pour in one cup of the batter and cook the pancake for 2 -3 minutes. When it is browned around the edges place a plate over the pan and turn the pancake onto the plate, browned side up. Add 1 Tbs butter to the pan and slide the pancake back in for two minutes longer to brown the underside. Slide out onto a heated plate. With a fork roll the pancake into a cylinder, cover loosely with foil to keep it warm while you fry the remaining pancakes.
Serve as soon as possible with syrup, whipped cream or ice cream.

Variation: Spek pannekoeken (bacon pancakes.) Instead of apples cook 8 slices of bacon and use two in the center of each pancake.

Palachinki (aka Crepes)

When our children were growing up one of their favourite treats was palachinki. Whenever we visited their Ukrainian grandmother she would make palachinki. As fast as they came off the pan they'd disappear, like worms down hungry baby birds' gullets! At the time I was pretty much intimidated by anything that smacked of French Cooking. Julia Child I was not, though I could manage a close enough imitation of her voice to have the kids rolling around the kitchen --- impressed either by my nailing it or by how ridiculous I sounded in the effort. I'm chill with going to my grave not knowing which. My children liked them best plain --- with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a thin scrape of jam. Roll them up close your eyes and munch! Delicious.

I am no longer intimidated. Palachinki/crepes are simple and quick to make. You can make them savoury or sweet and fill them with anything - fruit, vegetables, cheese, whatever.

Grandma's Palachinki:

3 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbs sugar (for dessert crepes.) Omit for savoury.
2 cups flour

Mix everthing together in a blender or whisk in a medium bowl.

Let sit at covered in the fridge for an hour.

Heat a small pan, then brush lightly with butter or oil. I use a small ladle to spoon out just enough to swirl quickly over the bottom of the pan. You should have just enough to cover it. Adjust the amt. for subsequent crepes.Cook about 30 seconds, until it looks dry, then flip and cook the other side 10-15 seconds until brown freckles form on the underside. flip out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool while you continue making more. When they are cool you can stack them with wax paper between. Will keep in the refrigerator for several days -- but probably not if you have little people or palachinki seeking big people around.
 Just warm up when ready to serve.

As Julia would say - Bon appetit!

Note# 1: Be sure the pan is good and hot before you start otherwise the first few panachinki will be rejects..

Note# 2:  I also like Alton Brown's recipe which you can find on the internet. He adds 3 tbs melted butter to the batter. In that case you won't need to butter the pan as you go.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Grandma's Coleslaw

In conversation with my friend M recently she said to me "Coleslaw? Who makes coleslaw for Thanksgiving?" As though it were an abomination. As though she had just opened her fridge and been blasted backwards by the overpowering smell of the cabbage within. I patiently explained to the poor bemused woman that no significant gathering of Bons, or Bon friends and neighbors, was complete without my mother-in-law's coleslaw. I'm sure all your ears are ringing from the praises being heaped on cabbage and other members of the cruciferous family these days for their valuable work in keeping us all healthy and out of the cardiac ward. The secret lies in not just reading these articles, saying "Hmmm..." and making vague mental notes to eat some cabbage soon, but rather in hying thee to the kitchen and making some coleslaw today!

And then, of course, eating it.

Having explained the reason for coleslaw at the Thanksgiving table to my mystified friend she has now requested the recipe.  In the interests of keeping hearts healthy everywhere I am waiving my usual procrastination period and supplying her with the recipe immediately.  Here it is:

1 head of cabbage --- hard and solid, like a small bowling ball
1/4 of a medium onion
2 medium sized carrots
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper

Shred the cabbage finely. I do this with a mandolin, but use whatever works for you. Before I got the mandolin I muddled through with a grater though there was probably a larger percentage of shredded finger in that cole slaw, but my children are all still alive.

Next, grate the onion and carrots and mix with the grated cabbage.

In a small bowl mix together about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise with 2 large Tbsp vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and an (optional) squirt of Tabasco. Blend the dressing with the vegetables. The easiest way is to mix it with your (clean) hands. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, to blend the flavors.

As it turned out, I did not waive the procrastination period since I started this right after Thanksgiving and am only now, a week before Christmas, finishing it! But still in time for M to be daring and serve coleslaw with Christmas dinner.

Monday, November 23, 2015

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie is one of my oldest recipes. Got it from the wife of one of the OC's colleagues when we were stationed in Montana almost 40 yeatrs ago. I have found and made recipes since then that are just as good but, at the time, since I could barely boil an egg, the ease and deliciousness of this dessert made me feel like a five star chef! My kids all loved it and California Girl just sent an SOS for it as she wants to bring it where she's invited for Thanksgiving. That way, and I quote "At least I'll be sure there'll be a delicious dessert and if no one else wants it I'll eat it all myself !" --- not recommended!


1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
6 Tblsps melted butter

Mix together and press into a buttered pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Cool.

(Can also use store bought graham cracker crust)


1/2 cup butter (not margarine) at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 sqs unsweetened chocolate melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature
2 Tblsp brandy

Cream butter and sugar. Add melted chocolate. Beat well. Add vanilla and beat some more.  Add eggs one at a time beating for two minutes between each. Beat in brandy.
Spoon into the prepared crust and refrigerate at least 5 hours or, preferably,  overnight.
Decorate with whipped cream, chocolate curls and 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Servings:1-8, depending on your taste and/or tolerance for butter, sugar and chocolate. (Mine is pretty high.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reindeer Droppings

Reindeer Droppings

1/2 cup of butter [1/4 lb.]
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa[unsweetened]
1/2 cup milk

Mix all the above in medium saucepan until butter is melted. Simmer for one minute.
Remove from heat and stir in:

3 cups of quick cooking oatmeal
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of peanut butter [smooth or chunky] ---optional
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup of nuts [walnuts or pecans]
You can throw in a handful of shredded coconut if you wish [I don't]

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. You can put them very close together as they won't be growing. Lightly cover with more wax paper. Chill in fridge.