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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars

 I originally saw this recipe on a blog, but the picture of it was very gooey because the baker had to remove it from the oven too soon.  Being a lover of Southern pralines, this recipe was too good to pass up.  
This is Alice Medrich's recipe. Right now I have three of  her cookbooks checked out from the library.   She is considered by some to be the "Queen of Chocolate."  She was one of the cooks instrumental in raising the bar for the kinds of chocolates we are now able to enjoy here in the US.  Her books have a lot of information in them, besides the great recipes.

  • Brownie:**         
    10 T unsalted butter, melted
    cup + 3 T sugar
    3/4 cup plus 2 T unsweetened cocoa
    t vanilla extract
    1/4 t salt
    eggs (cold) 
    1/2 C all purpose flour
    1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
    1/2 C all purpose flour  
    1/2 t baking soda
    3/4 C packed brown sugar
    1/2 t salt
    2 egg yolks                
    1 t vanilla extract
    2 1/2 C coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
    powdered sugar (optional)

    Melt the butter for the topping NOW so it has time to cool.

    Line a 9 ×13 baking pan, bottom and all four sides with foil or parchment and grease well.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    For the brownie: **  Place very warm melted butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a bowl and stir until smooth.  

    Stir in vanilla and add the eggs one at a time; mix well after each until batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended.

    Add in the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer; then beat vigorously for 40 strokes.  Spread brownie batter into prepared pan and set aside.

    For the topping:  Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix well.  Set aside.  In the scraped-out brownie bowl, combine the melted butter with the brown sugar and salt.  Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla, then flour mixture and finally the nuts.

    Drop spoonfuls on top of the brownie layer; it will spread and cover the brownies during baking.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is completely brown and cracked.  Rotate pan front to back halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.

    Let cool completely on wire rack, then remove by lifting the ends of the foil and removing from pan.  Cut into 24-36 bars.  

    Dust on powdered sugar, if desired.  May be kept in airtight container for 2-3 days.

    ** (Or use 1 pkg brownie mix for 9” square pan)  

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich, pp. 178-9.
Bittersweet, Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate, by Alice Medrich, p. 98

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mrs. B’s Mexican Corn Bread

This recipe is from the mother of my friend, Jackie.  We've been friends for almost 60 years.  We had it tonight with Moroccan Chickpea Chili.  It was a great combination with a little green salad.  Who doesn't love crusty, melted cheese!  And unlike most cornbreads, this one is moist and has a delicious flavor!

1 c. corn meal
1/2 t. soda 
3/4 C. milk
1/3 C. veg. oil*
1 15 oz. can creamed corn
2 eggs

1 small can of diced green chiles
2 C. grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the first six ingredients together. 

Spread half the batter into a greased 9"x9" baking pan. Sprinkle the green chili and half of cheese onto the batter. 

Spread remaining batter on top.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake another 5 minutes.

*If you're feeling like a little decadence, use melted butter or use part melted bacon fat for  the oil.