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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Scones

These scones are wonderful for breakfast during the holidays.  Try them with fresh cranberries when available.

These tender/crumbly, full-flavored scones feature dried cranberries and pecans. With oats in the dough, they're a tasty throwback to their Scottish origins.
These could be good with a lemon glaze fresh out of the oven. Just mix a little lemon juice with some powdered sugar instead of sprinkling sugar on it.

2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup diced pecans
1 -1¼ cup buttermilk, sour cream, or plain yogurt
          (Start with 1 cup, add more if needed)
coarse sparkling sugar for topping, or lemon glaze (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks unevenly crumbly. Mix in the fruit and nuts until they're evenly distributed. Stir in the buttermilk starting with 1 cup and adding a bit more as needed.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and cut it into two pieces. (Keep sprinkling on flour if you need to.) Form each into a disk, and gently pat each disk into a round about 6" in diameter. Sprinkle each disk with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired. With a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the round into 8 wedges. Do this by cutting straight down through the dough so you shear the edges. If you saw the dough, you tend to press the edges together, which keeps the scones from rising as they bake. Don't separate the wedges.

Transfer the scones, still in their circular shape, to the prepared baking sheet. Separate the scones slightly; there should be about 1" between them at the outside edge. (Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.) Bake the scones for 20 minutes, or until they're just beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm. Or reheat for 10 minutes, lightly tented with foil, in a preheated 350°F oven. Serve with traditional clotted cream or Devon cream, if desired.
Yield: 16 tea scones.

From King Arthur website: Christmas Scones

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lydia’s Sweet Potato Casserole

        After Lydia introduced us to this casserole, it is now the only one we make for the holidays.  Scrumptious!  And with all the recipes that bear Lydia's name, you'd think she was a gourmet cook.  She does very well for herself, although I'm not sure she knows that.
        This seems to be almost the same recipe that Paula Deen and Ruth Chris Steakhouse have on their websites.  EXCEPT that their recipes use 3 times as much sugar.  This is pretty sweet.  I can't imagine with that much sugar. ( )

6 medium sweet potatoes
½ C (brown) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ C butter
2 eggs
1/3 C milk

1/3 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 C flour
2 T butter

Cook sweet potatoes in simmering water 35-45 min. or until tender.  Let cool to touch; peel & mash.  Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk & ½ C butter; mix until smooth.  Spoon into greased 12x8x2”  baking dish.  Combine brown sugar, pecans, flour & 2 T butter; sprinkle over casserole.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Makes ~ 8 servings

Friday, November 5, 2010

Baked Deviled Eggs

Here's a breakfast treat if you like deviled eggs.  And it's okay if the eggs don't peel perfectly.  No one will know since they'll be covered in sauce.

I like to serve this on toasted English muffins along with a fresh fruit salad.

6-8 hard boiled eggs                            
2-3 Tbsp mayo                                 
2 tsp prepared mustard                
     (Prepare deviled eggs using above ingredients.   For ease of stuffing eggs, put yolk mixture into a baggie, cut off a tiny corner of the baggie, and squeeze into whites. )  
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
4 oz canned chile

½ cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together soup, sour cream and canned chiles.  Place about 1/3 of the soup mixture in a 10” pie plate or 7x11” baking dish.  Add deviled egg halves in a single layer.  Pour the rest of soup mixture over eggs and sprinkle with cheese.  (Optional: Sprinkle with paprika before baking.)

Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through.  Remove and let stand 5 minutes.

Can be prepared the night before and refrigerated.  Bake 10-15 minutes longer.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cheryl's Creamy Tomato Soup

This tastes a whole lot better than Campbell's.  It isn't that much more work.

¼ cup olive oil
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
1-14 oz can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup whipping cream

Heat oil in saucepan and add chopped veggies, garlic, butter—saute stirring occasionally for 10-20 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken broth, herbs, seasonings simmer 1 hour (depends on how much time I have whether it cooks for an hour or not).
Remove from heat add cream and cool enough to puree with immersion blender. (Before I had an immersion blender, we ate it with chunks which was good, too.)

Turkish Red Lentils and Rice

This is a warming meal on a cool evening.  I love the flavors that the fresh mint and yogurt add to this soup.  You can also make a mint tea with the extra leaves.  Add a leaf or two to your cup of hot green or black tea.
Cucumber Raita or Tzatziki is a good accompaniment to this.  (See recipes in side dish.)

2 T olive oil                                                                       1 ½ C red lentils, rinsed#
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped                    1 15 oz can diced tomatoes w/liquid
1 carrot, peeled and sliced                                       1 ½ T tomato paste
1 celery rib, sliced                                                           
2 garlic cloves, minced                                               1 ½ C long grain rice, cooked
1 ½ T sweet paprika                                                      2 T fresh mint, chopped
¼ t cayenne pepper                                                     1 C plain yogurt
4 C low-sodium chicken broth                              1 lemon, cut into wedges

1.        Heat oil in a Dutch oven.  Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2.       Stir in broth and add lentils, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered, until lentils are very tender and almost completely dissolved, about 30 minutes.  Adjust the liquid if necessary, adding more if needed to acheve consistency of a very thick soup.
3.       Meanwhile, cook rice.
4.       Season lentils with salt to taste.  To serve, spoon the lentils over the rice and sprinkle with mint.  Serve with yogurt and lemon wedges in bowls for garnishing.
Per serving:  About 450 calories, 54 cal from fat, 6 g total fat, 1 g sat fat, 1 mg chol, 456 mg sodium, 80 g total carbs, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein

# available at Whole Foods in bulk
From American Medical Association Family Health Cookbook, p. 302, 1997

Cucumber Raita and Tzaziki

Cucumber Raita

Makes 2 C  (4 servings)
1 C plain yogurt                                               ¼ tsp ground coriander
¾ C chopped, seeded cucumber                       1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced                                       ½ tsp Tabasco
½ tsp ground cumin                                                        

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two hours.
Serve with Turkish Red Lentils and Rice.

Per serving:  about 55 calories, 2 cal from fat, 0 g total fat, 2 mg chol, 70 mg sodium, 9 g total carbs, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein

From American Medical Association Family Health Cookbook,  p. 305, 1997

 This is a good accompaniment for various middle-Eastern foods.  Once while we were in Germany, it was served with fried potatoes.  It's good with gyros-type meats, or when you want a cooling side dish.

I like mine with more cucumbers than yogurt, but most recipes have more yogurt than cucumbers.                             

1-2 cucumbers, peeled and  grated on large side of grater,
          salted and drained for 30-40 minutes
2 cups yogurt                             2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon                       pinch of ground red pepper

Mix ingredients together, chill, and serve.

From Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors, p. 509 by Jeff Smith, 1990