Friday, November 29, 2013

Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts and Bread Stuffing with Apples

We're usually Pepperidge Farm stuffing people. Last year, we finally expanded to adding celery. So a vegetable stuffing is really moving up for us.
"Tainted Love" Soft Cell

From Food52


  • 1 pound butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 medium gala apple, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 10 slices bread of choice: crusty sourdough, dry cornbread, whole grain, or, if you are gluten free, millet bread from Food For Life will work nicely. Prior to preparing the recipe, leave bread out for a day to become slightly dry, then cut into cubes.
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (plus extra as needed)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, brussels sprouts, apples, and shallots in 2 tbsp oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast till vegetables are very tender (I actually like my sprouts a bit singed) and remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 350.
Heat other tbsp oil in a large pot. Sautee the onion and celery till translucent (about 5-8 min). Add the bread cubes and allow them to get golden brown with the veggies in the oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
Add the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, cranberries, pecans, and seasonings. Stir the mix till the broth has almost entirely absorbed in the toasted bread. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Pumpkin Roll

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I can never get rolls to roll up properly (as you can probably tell from Muscadine Yule Log)

But this just rolled up like a charm! And the frosting and cake were delicious (moist and sweet).

"This Town" OAR
I love the song, but the music video is so perfect.


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)


Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.  

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

*Singing* It's the holiday season! (The holiday season)  

Black Friday is here, so it's officially (sort of) Christmastime!

The green and red in this cookie make them (not only mouth-watering but) perfect for holiday gifts.

 I used walnuts instead of pistachios for the first go-round, and it was still great.
"When You Were Young" The Killers

Here's where I found this recipe.


  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.

Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12x2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.

Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).

Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tropical Smoothie

This a prefect breakfast smoothie. The orange juice adds a tropical zeal! Even in frigid November.
"I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts" Merv Griffin


  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pear, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups of orange juice 


Blend ingredients until smooth.

 Alternative Recipe:


  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pear, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups of cranberry juice


Blend ingredients until smooth.

Peanut Brittle

So easy and sweet! 
The type you can suck on for a while, as my mom likes and the type you can munch on, like I like.
"Head Over Heels" the Go-Gos


1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound shelled unroasted peanuts 


Heat oven to 200ºF. Butter 2 cookie sheets, 15 1/2x12 inches, and keep warm in oven. Mix baking soda, 1 teaspoon water and the vanilla; reserve.

Mix sugar, 1 cup water and the corn syrup in 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 240ºF on candy thermometer or until small amount of syrup dropped into very cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from water.

Stir in butter and peanuts. Cook, stirring constantly, to 300ºF or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard, brittle threads. (Watch carefully so mixture does not burn.) Immediately remove from heat. Quickly stir in baking soda mixture until light and foamy.

Pour half the candy mixture onto each cookie sheet; quickly spread about 1/4 inch thick. Cool completely, at least 1 hour. Break into pieces. Store in covered container.

Sage Butternut Squah Pasta

The sage and squash combination was so good, and I'm not usually a butternut squash fan!

This November school has taken over my life, but with Thanksgiving break next week I can take a little time this weekend to cook and blog. Finally! APUSH and English research projects and NHS inductions and fall sports awards are just too much for one month.

I got this from Two Peas In a Pod.

"Young Folks" Peter, Bjorn & John


1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 sage leaves
12 ounces DeLallo whole wheat linguine (or other pasta)
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the butternut squash. Cook until soft, about 12-15 minutes.

 While the squash is cooking, fry the sage leaves. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until surface is shimmering slightly. Add a few leaves at a time and cook until crisp, but still bright green, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Season with salt. Set aside.

 Using a large slotted spoon, carefully remove the squash from the water and place in a large bowl. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Place the cooked butternut squash in a large food processor or blender. Puree the squash until smooth. Add water or broth and puree until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. You may need a little more or a little less water depending on the size of your squash.

In a large deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the pasta and stir until pasta is well coated. Chop two of the sage leaves and stir them into the pasta. Serve the pasta with remaining fried sage leaves and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bunny Chow

No bunnies are used in this! I promise!
The name for this South African curry actually comes from an Indian caste (Bania) who sold the curry when it was invented (created?) in the 1940s.

There are two origin stories:
The first is that since blacks were not allowed to eat in restaurants under apartheid laws, they got carry out and with limited utensils and containers bread bowls were the most convenient way to carry it.
The second is that it was created as a way for Indian workers to carry food for lunch.
I got the recipe from Joanne-Eats Well With Others.

"Waving Flag" K'nann
Even though they're not South African, this song makes me think of South Africa because of the World Cup.
It can be served with mutton(traditionally) or chicken or pork.


  • 1/2 lb dried or 2 15 oz. cans cranberry beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 tsp Durban masala or red curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-ish lb potatoes, cubed
  • salt
  • crusty loaf of bread (or 2)


 Soak the beans overnight. Cook as directed, either via the stovetop, crockpot, or pressure cooker methods. Slice the onion and dice the tomato.

 Heat the oil. Add the cinnamon, onion, cardamom pods, and curry leaves. Fry the until the onion is light golden brown, about 5 minutes.

 Add the curry powder, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture resembles a paste.

 Add the beans and potatoes, along with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add the garam masala. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

 Take a fresh loaf of bread. Halve or quarter the loaf, depending on how big it is (probably better to use small loaves since you need an end for this and can’t really use a middle piece). Scoop out the insides, leaving the crust to form a bowl.

Asparagus Soup

I got an immersion blender last year for Christmas. I love it. Really. It's the coolest kitchen gadget. Of course it shall always be outranked by a spatula in terms of usefulness, but whatchyagonna do? I'm not sure an immersion blender and a spatula would be of any use combined, but what do I know?
I spent all weekend (3 days, since its the end of the quarter!) with Herbie.
Quality time seems to have helped him warm-up (or at least we got to know each other better)

The weather's been freezing though, so it's a soup weekend.

"Carry on My Wayward Son" Kansas


3 cups of asparagus, cleaned with ends removed and sliced into thirds
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken broth)
1/2 tsp of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp flour
2 cups of low fat milk
Dash of nutmeg
2 tsp of butter
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


Zest of one lemon. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, combine asparagus, broth, thyme, bay leaf and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Using a blender or an immersion blender, blend until completely smooth. Keep soup in the blender (or pour into a bowl if using an immersion blender) and set aside.

Place flour in the pan. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add pureed asparagus and ground nutmeg, stir to combine. Bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, lemon zest and sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nut Crunch Apples

Not going to lie, I got these from Samantha's Friendship Fun, yes the American Girl book. But trust me, if you look beyond their childish beginnings these are actually really good.

I made them while watching the new The Great Gadspy. Whoo, that film is so cool. Perfect example of how a book should be made into a film.
The snowflake/letter thing and the windows popping up so cinematic!
"Wake Me Up" Avicii


  • 4 medium apples
  • 4 tbsp currants
  • 4 tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • Cinnamon (optional) 


Halve and core apples.

Mix currant, walnuts, sugar, and butter. Spoon mixture into apples and place apple halves in a skillet, stuffed sides up.

Add the apple juice to the skillet. Cover and simmer the apples for 15 minutes, or until they are tender. Spoon some of the juice over the apples when you serve them. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Raspberry Lemon Bars

Now, normally I see a recipe with raspberries that's mouthwatering and I reluctantly move on from it since, if we were to get fresh raspberries, I'd feel wasteful to use them in cooking instead of enjoying them for what they are.

We used to have a raspberry patch in the backyard, with blackberry plants mixed throughout, so raspberries have always seemed much more valuable to me than other fruits.

Why is it that in flavored candy, raspberry is never as sweet as strawberry? When in reality, strawberries are half as sweet as raspberries. I just don't get it. 

Anyway, you have to love sales. My mom bought a ridiculous amount of raspberries (more than we could eat), so I made perfectly shaped lemon bars from The Spiffy Cookie.
"The Great Escape" Boys Like Girls


For the base:
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup flour
For the filling:
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup flour


Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease with butter or cooking spray.

For the base, pulse together the sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Add in the flour and pulse until just combined and crumbly. Press into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until starting to brown.

Let cool while you make the filling.

In the same food processor, puree the raspberries. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to get rid of the seeds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Add in 3 tbsp of the raspberry puree. Stir in the flour until just combined. Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake until just set, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Spinach Florentine

 I'm a sucker for pasta as you can most likely tell by the amount that I make,
but stuffed pasta like shells, lasagna, and manicotti aren't really my thing.

My mom loves them, however, so here we are with homely manicotti.

 "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" The Smiths


  • 8 manicotti pasta tubes, uncooked
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 cups jarred tomato-basil spaghetti sauce, divided
  • Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped (optional)


Cook manicotti al dente according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add spinach; cook and stir until wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in egg white, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Stuff spinach mixture into cooked manicott.
Spread 1 cup of the sauce into an 11x7x2 inch baking dish. Place stuffed pasta on top of sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over pasta. Cover and bake 30-35 minutes. Top with parsley, if desired, and serve.

Cheddar-Cider Fondue

 Alright, my birthday was last weekend, so we had fondue. But not just any fondue, we tried Cheddar-Cider Fondue. It was ridiculously sweet but also really good.

Look at the cake my mom and sister got:
Delicious and beautiful!

 "Let Her Go" Passenger

 From the Best Fondue


1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons flour
1 lb old cheddar
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste


Rub the garlic halves in your fondue pot, then discard. Pour the apple cider in your fondue pot and light the burner (medium). Bring to a boil, then mix in the flour and reduce heat.  Melt cheese into it, one handful at a time.  Add spices and vinegar.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Salmon Seared with Pesto and An Amazing Butterscotch Beer

I found this super-sweet soda at Jungle Jim's. It's basically butterbeer, but it's so good. Next time you're at Jungle Jim's or where-ever you go to try new things. Try it! It's like liquified Werther's.

"She's So High"  Tal Bachman
Okay, so when you put pesto on seared salmon, the salmon absorbs the pesto's flavor and becomes even more savory.


  • salmon
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper 
  • basil pesto 


Combine salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Take pieces of salmon and rub the top in the mixture, adding more salt and pepper for each piece as needed. Heat frying pan on stove set to high. When the pan is hot place pieces of fish on the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, or until top has a slightly browned finish. Flipover and spread pesto on top of salmon. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

Peek-a-Boo Pumpkin Pound Cake

Alright, this is what it's supposed to look like:

This is what happened to me:
 It still tastes pretty good.
I added not shredded pumpkin but the full liquidy innards.
So for this, I'll simply provide links:
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" Deep Blue Something

Pumpkin Muffins

 Pumpkin muffins are in many ways, the best part of fall.
That and pumpkin pie, leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, cooler weather, my birthday, etc.

The liners bled onto the pan, so my muffin pans now have little rabbits on them.

  "The Freshman" Verve Pipe


  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 3 2/3 cups pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
  • One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup seedless golden or dark raisins
  • 1/4 cup hulled unsalted sunflower seeds


  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400˚F. Brush the insides of 12 to 14 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan. 

  Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together into a medium bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until creamy, about I minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs. Reduce the mixture speed to low. Beat in the pumpkin; the mixture may look curdled. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, and mix until smooth. Add the raisins. Increase the speed to high and beat until the batter has a slight sheen, about 15 seconds, no longer. 

Using a 2 1/2 inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared cups. Sprinkle the tops with the sunflower seeds.

 Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more.

 Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


 Although buckeyes are really a Christmas recipe, as an Ohioan, I think I can enjoy them anytime.
Isn't that in the Ohio Revised Code?

Silliness aside, I made these for my friend's birthday.
"I Don't Care I Love It" Icona Pop



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.
  4. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

Autumn Sweet Potato Soup

 The first weeks of schools have started, and temperatures are finally starting to reflect the month.
 I am proud to announce: fall has arrived!
And what better way to welcome it than soup is there?

 "Everyday Superhero" Smash Mouth


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 1/2 lbs orange sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced
  • 2 qts (8 cups) yellow vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced (or 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)


Heat olive oil over medium till hot (not smoking). Sauté onion in the oil till it begins to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 3 minutes more.Add sweet potatoes, zucchini, chicken or vegetable stock, thyme leaves, cumin, ginger, and cayenne to the pot. I like to use ¼ tsp of cayenne, which gives a nice spicy kick to the soup. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with 1/8 tsp. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer for 20 minutes. Add diced tomatoes to the pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more until all the vegetables are tender. Stir the peanut butter into the broth until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne for heat, if desired. Soup may be served as-is (chunky with texture), or you can puree the soup with an immersion blender till smooth. Serve garnished with chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves.

Globi Panicei cum Vino Dulci (Bread Rolls with Sweet Wine)

Way back when I was in Latin III (aka two years ago) we took a week off before Thanksgiving break to have a Roman cena. This was what I made.

Man those patricians could party! From mid-afternoon to midnight, they'd eat, reclining on triclinium, with slaves reciting poetry and singing.

There are certain things about the Roman diet I will never be able to accept. 
(Fish sauce, dormice, etc.)
Dormouse                                             Cooked dormice

But these rolls are fantastic!
"Teenage FBI" Guided By Voices

Ingredients (Res Commiscendae)

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tbsp. sweet white whine or white grape juice (or apple juice and be prepared to add more                                                                                                         a tbsp is never enough!)
  • A pinch of whole anise seeds
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • 12 bay leaves 

Directions (Modus Parandi)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the sifted flour. Cut the shortening into small pieces and, using you fingers, rub it into the flour/cheese mixture. 

The mixture will now resemble fresh bread crumbs. Whisk an egg in another small bowl and then add it to the flour mixture. Add the sweet white wine, anise, and cumin.

After blending in the wine and spices with a wooden spoon, divide the mixture into twelve small balls. 

On a baking sheet that has been rubbed with Crisco (or put aluminum foil on the baking sheet) arrange twelve bay leaves. Place one of the small balls on each of the bay leaves and then bake for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with honey for dipping.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Au Gratin Potatoes

The most important thing for this recipe is to parboil the potatoes before hand. 
It shortens the cooking time if you need it ready in less than 40 minutes!

"Vienna" Billy Joel


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs (about 4 medium sized) Russet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups of half-and-half (half milk, half cream)
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a large casserole dish with 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter. If you use a casserole dish that is about 9x13 you'll have more surface area, more of the potatoes will brown, and the cooking time will be faster.
 Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/3 of the potato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on 1/2 of the sliced onions and 1/2 cup of the Swiss cheese. Layer on 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 of the parsley and chives. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan.
Repeat by layering on 1/3 of the potato slices, sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Layer on the remaining sliced onions, 1/2 cup of the Swiss cheese, the remaining bacon, parsley and chives. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan.
Top the casserole with the remaining potato slices. Add the half and half. Dot the potatoes with the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter.
Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for one hour. After an hour, remove from the oven, remove the foil, sprinkle on the remaining Swiss and Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 30-40 minutes. When done, the potatoes should be tender, but not mushy, and the liquid should be mostly absorbed.