Cornflakes Chicken

Growing up, we had a tradition that for our birthday we could pick one favorite meal from home and one to eat out. Cornflakes Chicken was my most requested Birthday Meal, I never got tired of it.

While my meal out often varied, especially as I got older, I wanted to try new things. However, when you’re at home, there is a striking tendency to stick with tradition.

Chris had never had Cornflakes Chicken before (poor thing) and after he tried it, agreed with me that it was yummy.

So, Mom, I lift the proverbial glass in your general direction…’Sláinte!’
(pronounced ‘slawn-cha’, meaning Health! A common toast in Ireland, the equivalent to ‘Cheers’)

Excuse me, I’ve got me some chicken to eat.

PS: here is pretty much how I make it, in case you want to try it. http://www.food.com/recipe/oven-fried-chicken-with-corn-flakes-43162

Its Rhubarb Time!

I love it when Dadcat hands me a pile of fresh picked rhubarb. Its the best kind of gift, something edible and knowing that someone thought of you.

Over the years, I have learned that placing my mandolin over the bowl is by far the best method for slicing it. I once spent days chopping a 20 lb box of it by hand, with a knife.

Afterward, I thought to myself, “there must be a better way.”  Somehow I thought to try my mandoline and it is much quicker, neater and of course evenly sliced.

This batch yielded about 10 1/2 cups, with 3 cups going immediately into a buckle.  Then I placed 3 cups each into two quart baggies and stuck them in the freezer (for more buckle, naturally.)

I had a remaining 1 1/2 cup so I tossed into a small sauce pan, added a splash of water and some brown and white sugars, a little cinnamon and a splash of vanilla and stewed it.  I intend to try it on ice cream.  Should I let you know the results?

My Rhubarb (or any fruit) Buckle is here: https://goodfruit.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/rhubarb-buckle/

Make It From Scratch

As many who know me, I am a big advocate of the cooking from scratch camp. I cook and bake and feed people all the time.

I share tips and recipes, I invite peeps over to my kitchen to teach them and I am a active moderator in the Cooking From Scratch Group on Ravelry.

Let me say, I have stacks of cookbooks, on the counter, in the cupboard, in boxes out in the garage…and yet I don’t sing all their praises. This cookbook gets my praise.

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making is a great book. It has all the basics to get you started on the road to cooking from scratch without being intimidated.

If you are an enthusiast like me, you’ll love it, if you’re a novice that has basic kitchen skills and you’re willing to try, you’ll love it. This cookbook is very approachable and hands on. This isn’t about fancy-pants stuff that takes forever with specialty ingredients.

This is just making basic stuff, but its your own, not some giant food corporation that puts who-knows-what preservatives in it.  Minus the packaging and advertising expenses too.

Try making your own graham crackers or cheese or bread and soup or chocolate sandwich cookies, you’ll see.

Here is my white sandwich bread, which turned out beautifully with very little effort. One bowl, two bread pans, one bamboo spoon, that’s all I had to clean up. I kneaded it in the bowl, didn’t even get the counter dirty.

I started it, put the bowl in the microwave to proof and took a long walk with my friend Jeff.  Came back, turned the oven on to bake my Triple Chip Cookies, turned the bread out of the bowl, shaped it into two loaves, stuck them in the loaf pans and set them on the stove top.

By the time the cookies were done, the loaves had risen beautifully from the warm stove top, and I popped them in the stove and set the timer.

26 minutes later, Beautiful Bread. Easy Peasy.

Go get this book: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=homemade+pantry&sprefix=homemade%2Caps%2C225

Cheese and Garlic Monkey Bread

Recently I began reading Foodie with Family, a great recipe blog and I came across this recipe: http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2012/01/16/mini-cheddar-scallion-monkey-breads/

and I started doing that thing, where I go, “well, I wouldn’t make it that way, I’d do this, take away that, use the cheese bread recipe from Artisan in Five and add loads of garlic…” and before you know it, I’ve made up my own version of this delectable thing called Monkey Bread, pictured above. So, here you go.

In a 5 quart bowl or container mix the following:

6 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup shredded cheese, I used co-jack because its two cheeses in one and that’s how I roll.

1 1/2 TBL yeast

1 1/2 TBL sea salt

1 TBL sugar

2 TBL dried parsley flakes

2 tsp Italian herb blend

1 TBL minced Garlic

In a 4 cup glass measuring cup do the following:

1/4 cup olive oil

add lukewarm water to come up to the 3 cup line

(or in other words add 1/4 olive oil to 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water)

Pour this mixture into your flour mixture, stirring vigorously with a wooden or bamboo spoon until all is mixed thoroughly together.  Cover and place in your microwave, which acts like a nice incubator for your bread for 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size and you see nice big bubbles in your dough.

Next take that same 4 cup glass measure and add 1/4 cup butter and melt it in the microwave, mine takes about 30 seconds.  Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 TBL minced Garlic.  (You did notice the word “garlic” in the title, didn’t you?) Feel free to adjust the garlic to suit your taste, but believe me, this is the equivalent of two loaves of bread, so don’t feel like its too much.

Now, take your Garlic Cheese bread and roll out a clump about the size of a golf ball, or two inch balls, place into the olive oil/butter/garlic mixture and roll around to coat.  Yeah, Baby, that’s what I’m taking about!

Place all these gooey garlicky lumps into a 9X13 or larger (if you have one) pan.  When you run out of room, place the dough balls in the in between spots.  Top with a several handfuls of shredded Parmesan.

Leave on top of your preheating stove for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pop the pan in there and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, its done when you can gently pull one of the monkey breads away from the top and see no doughiness underneath.

These are really, really good and should be served with a great pasta meal with lots of friends and family over.  Otherwise you will be eating them all, and that’s just plain dangerous!

So, basically, I followed the idea of Foodie with Families Monkey Bread, used the base recipe for the Vermont Cheese Bread from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and added in the herbs, garlic, and olive oil, plus topped it with Parmesan.

Yes, you can say I’m wicked and evil, I don’t mind 🙂

Fall Harvest

Here it is, October already, it was just August the other day, and now the leaves are turning pretty colors and falling off the trees and the walnuts are dropping with irregular “thuds” and the squirrels are racing up and down the fence trying to grab as many as their fat cheeks will carry.

Mom and Jack decided to become snowbirds and moved to Arizona, yesterday I stopped in at their place to check up on the state of things and managed to pick an entire bucket of tomatoes.  Would you look at these?

Insane, I know.  I will be roasting these and putting them up in the freezer for future use.

Since the price of bread is reaching up to 5 dollars per loaf, Jeff and I have been getting together on Wednesdays and baking breads, trying different recipes in a search for a good sandwich loaf.  I read up on all the different methods used to make and rise dough and decided to try mixing up the dough in my food processor when I made pizza dough last nite.  It took about 1 minute to make/mix bread up in the processor, and then, instead of bothering with a bowl, I just left it on my flour-dusted counter to rise, which it did, beautifully.  So, I will definitely be trying the food processor method next Wednesday.

My favorite part of Fall is the Hood River Apple Harvest, Fresh pressed apple cider and, well, pumpkins.  First, I made Apple Cider Pie with Gala and Jonagold apples.

after you cut, core, peel and dice the apples, you cook them a bit in the apple cider, this has the benefit of making a full pie, because it doesn’t slump down in the pie baking phase.

and then you top it with a crumb crust, its really delicious!

In addition to knitting a pumpkin, stuffing and lightly felting it, I also oven roasted one, (quartered, scooped out, placed on cookie sheet and baked at 300 degrees for an hour or more, until I could easily slide a knife in it) let it cool, scooped it out into the food processor, pureed it and baked a pumpkin cake with caramel frosting, as per Fannie Farmer.

Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven at 375 degrees, grease and flour a 9X13 pan.

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and mix.  Add baking powder, soda, salt and spices and mix.  Add pumpkin puree and mix, alternate milk and flour, stir until just combined, adding walnuts if you choose.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for aprox 30 minutes. Cake should spring back when you touch it.

This recipe is from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.  One of the reasons I like Fannie Farmer is that it started out as an update of the original Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Over the years Marion has gone on to collect some of the best old-school recipes and updated them for our generation.

Caramel Frosting

In a microwave proof bowl, melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, add 1 cup packed brown sugar and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup milk and microwave another minute.  Whisk in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth and creamy, add 1 tsp vanilla and let it set while the cake cools.  Whisk again when cake is cooled and pour over the top, spreading with a spatula.

This recipe is modified from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Aside from Fannie Farmer, I would never do without America’s Test Kitchen’s Cookbooks and James Beard’s Cookbooks.  Those are my Go-To Cookbooks, although I have an embarrassing amount of cookbooks really.

Thunk!  I hear more walnuts hitting the ground, I’d better go get them before the squirrels beat me to it!

Pumpkin Bars w/cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Bars with your own home-cooked and pureed pumpkin covered in cream cheese frosting

Wash off your pumpkin, cut into halves and clean out, setting the seeds aside. Cut each half into quarters, place pumpkin side down on cookie sheet.

Roast in oven at 400 degrees until you can literally stick a fork in it, about 50 minutes.

Let it cool, peel off the pumpkin skin, puree in food processor.

2 cups pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup veggie oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased and floured
large 18″ cookie sheet with sides.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Top should spring back slightly when done, Let cool.

Cream Cheesing Frosting

3 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups confectioners sugar

Beat until smooth and creamy.

Frost your pumpkin bars with as much as you like.   I like to layer mine, as seen in the picture, because one pumpkin bar is just not enough!

ENJOY!

My Favorite Scones

As a person with English/Scottish/Irish heritage I love me a good, tender, flaky, fresh and homemade scone.

Of course finding the recipe that meets all these requirements is another story altogether!  I’ve spent years searching out and trying various scone recipes, and this is The One.

The One Scone Recipe I have made time and time again.

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

1/2 cup  (or 1 cube) cold butter, cut into 1″ sections

3/4 cup buttermilk

A Note: always use the highest quality ingredients you can get your hands on, it makes a difference!  I use Bob’s Red Mill and Darigold products in these scones and they are perfecto!

In a bowl, mix all your dry ingredients together, scatter around the 1″ sections of butter, using a pastry blender or fork, blend in the butter until it looks like all crumby bits.

Now add the buttermilk, mix together just until it forms a solid ball.

Divide the ball into two sections.

Slightly flatten each section about an inch apart on a ungreased (remember you put in a whole stick of butteh!) cookie sheet or half pan until it resembles an oversize hockey puck.

With a knife, cut each section into quarters, going all the way down thru the dough.

If you choose, brush the tops of your dough with melted butter.

Bake in preheated oven at 425 for 13-15 minutes.

Slather on your favorite toppings, pour a fresh cuppa and Enjoy 😛

How I didn’t get to see Pioneer Woman

Last nite DH and I went over to Powell’s at Cedar Crossing to see Pioneer Woman and get her new cookbook signed…

alas, there were well over 4oo people there and they had given out all the tickets…which I didn’t know about until it was too late to get them, seeing as how they were gone by 3pm and the book signing was for 6pm.

So we hung back in the crowd and watched the guy announce that Pioneer Woman was lost and going to be late…

I don’t know if you can make him out, he’s in the olive green t-shirt checking his wrist watch.  So we waited (while I wonder at how the Unbelievably Wonderful Pioneer Woman is allowed to navigate Portland/Beaverton on her own in a car and why wasn’t someone looking out for her?)

Finally she comes and brings her daughter and mother in law with her…I spy her daughter in the back of the crowd while she talks so I snap a pix because I can’t even see Pioneer Woman through the crowd.

see that tall girl with the pony tail and the blue shirt with flowers?  that’s her.  and I don’t know her name.

I sit on the steps and knit and listen to the Pioneer Woman talk and wonder how long I may have to wait before I get my book signed.  DH nods off beside my and I have to nudge him now and then.  (He gets up at 4:30am and is ready for bed already, but being good-hearted he takes me to this…this crowd of women all wanting to see Her.)

The guy in the olive green shirt announces the ticket system, and explains how we will wait until numbers are called, and the rest of us…well, shoot.  I move over to a seat just outside the window of Powell’s.

Chris works his way through the crowd to actually purchase us a book.  I can see his head bobbing way above everyone in the crowd and can watch his progress.  (DH is 6’4″ tall, easily recognizable in a crowd!)

He comes back with “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” and tells me the info he picked up while chatting with the clerks.  He says the were to initially  order 650 copies of the book and within the first three days, had gone through 1,000 wanting the book.   He says the guy planning this didn’t think it would be so many people, he had no idea how popular the Pioneer Woman is.  I told him that was obvious.

My friend Rachel (Trtgrl) was there somewhere but we never saw each other.  I hope she got her book signed.  I waited until they announced numbers 90-100 and when I realized it was 7:30 already, decided to give up and let DH go home to bed, where he wanted to be.

If they had 400 to go through and it took until 7:30 to get through the first 100, it would be midnite before it was my turn.  Before I left, I came to realize that the Pioneer Woman’s daughter had ended up sitting with her back to me on the other side of the glass, so I snapped a quick pix.

Notice the book at her elbow, eh?  “The Old Barn Book”.  Coming from a ranch in Oklahoma, I wonder if that was intentional or serendipitous?

I elbowed my way alongside the line a little ways and attempted to snap a pix of Rhee, The Pioneer Woman herself at the book signing table.  I came all this way, waited all this time, the least I could do is try to get one unobtrusive pix.

So that’s as close as I got folks.  I took the book home and started a batch of  herCinnamon Rolls.

It was the least I could do.

Hodge Podge

In which I blog all over the place about everything.

In the news, Dick Francis died yesterday (Valentines) at the age of 89.  In case you don’t already know, I have always been an avid reader of his books.

I mean, what is not to like about a British Murder Mystery with horses?

Speaking of Valentines, I made these Chocolate Molton Lava Cakes for dessert, and let me just say, they are the bomb!  I also made cornflake chicken and huge cheese and bacon stuffed baked potatoes.  No one suffered around here on Valentines.

As for knitting, I am currently on a “Small Shawl” streak.  I even found and joined a “Small Shawl Lovers” group on Ravelry.  They have groups for everything, I’m telling ya.  There is even a group called ” The Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group” although I am not a member of  that one.

Here is  my third Multnomah Shawl, which for obvious reasons I am calling “The Red One”.

Here is a fourth Multnomah, which I am calling “Ab-Scrap-nomah”, because I am using up left over bits of Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock,  which is a merino-tencel blend, so it has that lovely shine and drape to it.

Then there is the Boneyard Shawl, which I started as a way of both knitting something that’s not full of color and requiring the use of smaller needles.

If that is not enough Small Shawl projects for you, then here is my Cedar Leaf Shawlette, which is my Ravelympics project for Team Make Another One, so-named after Make One, my local yarn shop.

Yeah, I’ve got a thing about Small Shawls now.  What about it?

Christmas Chocolate Chips

Baking up a bunch of these modified for Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies!

My friend, Melissa is opening her yarn shop tomorrow, and I promised a Grand Opening Batch.

Then there is People Who Need Cookies, like Chris and Jeff.

Jeff, the self-described “Cookie Monster”!

“feed me cookies!”

Enough of those guys, here’s the recipe all ready!

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

3  large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon either almond or rum extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups mixture of white, dark and semi-sweet chocolate ( I open all packages, dump in large ziplock, then measure out my two cups, saving the rest for next time)

1/2 cup finely flaked, dried coconut

Mix all things together in the usual fashion, chill, form balls and roll them in a bowl of granulated sugar.

Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Enjoy 😛

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