Here's to good food!

I am finally putting my tried and true family recipes here. Check out my old-time favorites as well as newly discovered ones.

I hope you'll find some recipes here that you enjoy cooking, and those you cook for will find them tasty and satisfying.
Are you looking for something special? Something quick and easy? You'll find it here somewhere.
Check in often to see what's cooking in Monterey!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti

If you are posting from this site, please give appropriate credit and notify me. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pool’s Parmesan-crusted Chicken

This recipe comes from my "mentor" teacher, Kathy, who lead me through the first years of teaching.  She has also shared many favorite recipes with me.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.) or chicken tenders
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
Slivered almonds, (Sunkist Almonds Accents Original are a nice touch)

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. In medium bowl, combine Mayonnaise and cheese. In baking dish, arrange chicken. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and sliced almonds.

3. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

For other options, see:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lydia’s Berry Cobbler--Updated 1-2012

 Jan. 2012:  I came across a recipe for Blackberry Cobbler on this site.  It looked so delicious.  When I compared the recipe with this one, I noticed they were almost the same.  The new recipe doesn't cook the berries first, which saves a step, time, and washing out a pan.
       Tonight I used half berries and half peeled pears.  I also used half buttermilk and half milk (soy) so I added 1/4 tsp of baking soda.  I like the baking method better in the original recipe.  It was faster.  
         So instead of cooking the berries with sugar, sprinkle the berries onto the batter then sprinkle half the sugar over the berries. Then sprinkle on more sugar about 10 minutes before it is done baking.  I also baked it in a smaller baking dish.  Because I was going with baking for an hour, it baked a little longer than necessary.

          This recipe comes out a little differently every time I make it, but no matter what, it is always delicious. I usually use a bag of frozen berries from Trader Joe's. It's good served with some ice cream or Cool Whip.
          It was given to me by a teaching partner that I met in Germany 20 years ago, and whom we visited this summer as they were again stationed in Germany.

Mix together in a sauce pan over low heat. Heat until sugar dissolves.  Set aside.
2-3 C mixed berries
½ C sugar
¼ C water

Meanwhile, heat in 9x13” baking dish.
½ C butter 

Combine in a bowl. Pour over melted butter. Bake 5-10 minutes at 425.
1 C Milk
¾ C sugar
1 C flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Pour berries over the partially-baked batter and bake 15 minutes more or until browned.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Okayu (Rice porridge)

My mother used to make this for us whenever we weren't feeling well, especially with an upset stomach. It was comfort food because it could be filling, but easy on the stomach, since it was mainly rice, water, and a little salt. And it was served with umeboshi or pickled plum, a favorite of mine.
We usually used leftover rice to make it, but here is a recipe which starts with raw rice.

• 1/2 cup Japanese rice
• 3 cups water
• 1/2 tsp salt

Wash Japanese rice well and drain. Put water and rice in a deep pot. Leave it for 30 minutes. Put the pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and cook the rice for about 30 minutes. Add salt before serving. Put toppings, such as chopped green onion, sesame seeds, and umeboshi (pickled plum) if you would like.

Okayu is easy to digest and is easy to eat. When you have a stomachache or have a cold, okayu is a good food to eat. Also, okayu is a good baby food. In China, okayu is commonly eaten for breakfast.
*This is a recipe to make plain okayu. You might want to add some vegetables or meat, depending on your appetite. (For example, boiled chicken, boiled shrimps, boiled scallops, mushrooms, daikon radishes, and so on.)


Saveur Macaroni and Cheese

This was very delicious! But when you read all the rich ingredients you'll understand why.  I only made a half recipe which we ate several times. This could definitely be company fare.  You can make it meatless by leaving out the ham.

11 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, divided: 1 T grease pan,
        4 T w/ bread crumbs, 6 T for sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
12 oz. rigatoni, cooked
2 slices crustless white bread
2 tsp. finely chopped thyme
1 small onion, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup flour
3 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
12 oz. grated sharp cheddar
8 oz. roughly chopped cooked ham (used thin-sliced lunch-meat style)
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (used gorgonzola)
1⁄2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley (didn’t have any)
1⁄4 tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1⁄4 freshly ground black pepper
1⁄8 freshly ground nutmeg

1.  Grease a 2-qt. baking dish with 1 tbsp. butter; set aside. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain pasta, rinse; set aside. Pulse bread into crumbs in food processor; mix with 4 tbsp. butter; set aside.

2.  Heat oven to 400˚. Melt 6 Tbsp butter in a 6-qt. pot over medium heat. Add thyme and onions; cook until soft, 6–8 minutes. Whisk in flour; cook 2–3 minutes. Whisk in milk and cream. Increase heat to medium-high; cook, whisking, until thick, 10–12 minutes. Whisk in salt, cheddar, ham, blue cheese, parsley, hot sauce, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in pasta; add to pan; sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly, 30–40 minutes.


Cheryl’s Chewy Cranberry- Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour 1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teasp baking soda 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teasp salt 2 large eggs
1/2 teasp cinnamon 1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 cups rolled oats 2 teasp vanilla extract
1 cup butter-slightly softened 1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil baking sheets or use parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, oats; set aside

Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add honey and vanilla and beat until blended.

Add flour mixture slowly, beating until well blended. Stir in walnuts and cranberries.

Drop by the heaping tablespoon and bake about 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 46 cookies

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cranberry Squares

Every year I would read the "Cranberry" books to my students.  There seemed to be one for several of the holidays.  Each book had a recipe at the end.  This is one of them.  I love all things cranberry, including cranberry glass.
½ C flour                                  1 C oats 
1 C brown sugar                         ¾ C chopped walnuts
½ C butter                                16 oz can whole cranberry sauce*
(optional: 1/2 C chocolate chips, sprinkle on top of cranberry sauce)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 x 8” pan or line with foil to extend beyond the edges for easy removal.

Combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly, then mix in oats, and walnuts.
Spread ½ the mixture into prepared pan. Cover with cranberry sauce; then add rest of oat mixture. Bake for 45 minutes. Cut into bars.

Delicious served warm with ice cream.
*Or substitute 12 oz jar of your favorite flavor of jam.

From Cranberry Autumn, by Wende and Harry Devlin, 1993

Nobby Apple Cake

This is a cake that my mom used to make from a Farm Journal Cookbook.

1 C sifted flour 3 Tbsp butter or 1/4 C oil
1 tsp cinnamon 1 C sugar
½ tsp nutmeg 1 egg, beaten
½ tsp salt 1/2 C chopped nuts
1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp vanilla
2-3 C diced apples

Preheat oven to 350 . Grease an 8x8” pan. Sift dry ingredients together. Peel and dice apples.

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and mix well. Mix in dry ingredients then stir in apples, nuts, and vanilla.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve hot or cold, with or without whipped cream or ice cream.

Warm Spiced Almonds

We had these when we visited the Robert Sinsky Vineyards in Napa. I especially like these because they aren't very salty. Be sure to get them toasted, but watch so that they don't burn. They will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven.

• 2 cups whole almonds
• 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon each ground turmeric, cinnamon and cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, toss together the almonds and olive oil. Sprinkle the spices and salt over and toss well to coat nuts evenly.
3. Spread nuts in 1 layer on a sheet pan and roast for 10 to 12 minutes until the almonds start to split. Stir 3 times during roasting to promote even toasting.
4. Serve the nuts warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

From website:

Bacon wrapped tofu

Everything is better with bacon! And tofu is no exception. We enjoy it fresh, cold, with fresh grated ginger, chili oil, or soy sauce. But this was also very tasty. This came from the sister website to the cabbage recipe.

• 1 block firm tofu
• Several strips of bacon, cut in half, depending on the size. A leaner type bacon is preferred. You can even use prosciutto.
• Optional: brown sugar, soy sauce

Drain the tofu, and wrap in several layers of paper towels. Place on a plate and put a board or another plate on top. Leave for a few minutes to drain some water out of the tofu. Unwrap and cut into 1-inch cubes to match the width of your bacon.
Wrap each piece in bacon, going around at least once so the ends overlap. You may need to cut the bacon.
Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Put the bacon wrapped tofu pieces with the overlapping edges side down. Cook until crisp, then turn. Keep cooking and turning until done on all sides.
To kick it up a notch, here is a sweet-salty variation.  Add a little bit of soy sauce to the pan, and a sprinkle (maybe about 2 tsp.) of brown sugar; stir rapidly to melt the sugar, then turn the bacon-tofu in the sauce until the moisture has largely evaporated.  This makes it really YUMMY!
Eat hot or at room temperature, preferably with plain rice as part of a Japanese meal. Also a nice appetizer or sake drinking accompaniment.

From website:

Stir-fried cabbage with garlic, dried cranberries

This recipe comes from the website listed below. It has recipes for making lunches that mostly don't need to be refrigerated. I loved the flavors of this dish. It really doesn't make much and we ate it all up and could have eaten more.  I added some grated carrots to add some color.

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3-5 cups roughly cut up red or green cabbage leaves
1 carrot, grated
2 Tbs. dried cranberries
2-4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and plenty of black pepper

Heat a wok or large frying pan with the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and let it fry until barely brown. Scoop out the garlic slices and set aside. Raise the heat to medium-high.

Add the cabbage to the pan, with a little salt (which helps the cabbage to soften a bit faster since it draws out moisture). Toss and stir fry until a bit limp but still crispy - about 4-5 minutes.
Add the cranberries, and the balsamic vinegar (start with 2, add more later to suit your taste).

Add the reserved garlic. Season with a bit more salt - make it just a bit salty, since when it cools down the salty flavor will become a bit muted. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Drizzle on a little more vinegar, to garnish.

This will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, well covered. It’s good hot too so you could make it for dinner and leave some for your lunch the next day.

From website:  Just Bento

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

Updated January 30, 2017

2 C flour                                     1 T sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder        1/2 C butter ** (You only need 1/3 cup)
1/4 t baking soda                   3/4 C buttermilk or sour milk*
                                                        (see notes below for using yogurt )
**For best results, freeze a cube of butter the night before or several hours before you plan to make the biscuits.  Having 1/2 cup gives you a "handle" to hold onto while your grate.  Use some of the rest to "top" the biscuits.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
        Stir dry ingredients in mixing bowl. To add butter, grate about 3/4 or more of the cube into the bowl, using the rest of the butter as a handle.  (You can use the rest to butter your biscuits later.)  Stir to coat with flour.  OR you can cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives until the sizes are about 1/4" in size, using 1/3 cup of butter.
        Pour in buttermilk and stir with a fork until dough sticks together and clings to fork in a large lump. Turn dough onto a flour-coated board, turning gently to coat all surfaces lightly with flour. Knead 10 times or see #.
        Pat dough to about 5/8" thickness. With flour-dusted 2-3" cutter, cut biscuits, or use a sharp knife to cut into squares.  [Making them square or rectangular prevents having to roll out again.😊]
        Place on lightly greased cookie sheet or baking dish. For extra special biscuits, place just a smidgen of butter on top of each biscuit or melt 1 tablespoon of that leftover butter and brush the tops either before or after baking, or both!
        Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with butter and honey.

*For sour milk, add 1 T vinegar to milk and let sit for a few minutes.
To use plain yogurt, use 1/2 cup yogurt and add 1/4 cup water.  Whisk together before adding to flour.
# An alternate method is to roll out to a square about 9-10."  Fold into thirds like a letter.  Then turn and fold into thirds again to make a tall  square.  Place on a floured plate and place in freezer for 5 minutes.  Roll out again and fold into thirds.  Flatten to about 5/8" thickness, then cut into desired-size pieces.  Use a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Consider this when you aren't in a hurry.

A 6 oz. tomato paste can with both ends cut out makes a perfect round biscuit cutter.