Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mora-Manzana Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, we headed up to Rumi Loma, since that’s where we have an oven. It was a marvelous day, and we split up cooking dinner. Coral made a green bean casserole. Then, Elizabeth made mashed potatoes with a mushroom gravy. Alex was put in charge of stuffing. Tim and Jesse worked together to make macaroni and cheese. (I must admit that I was sad that it was creamy mac-and-cheese. In my opinion, that’s just blasphemy.) Then, I was in charge of baking a pie. Since we lacked both pumpkin and pecans, I decided that apple was the best option. However, that seemed a bit boring so I added in mora (blackberries).

Mora-Manzana Pie

3 cups sliced apple

2 cups blackberries

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. flour

½ cup sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp. browned butter

First, prepare your choice of crust. Then, mix all of the ingredients except for the butter. Layer the mixture into the crust. Next, pour the butter over the pie. Finally, lay the top crust on top. (I suggest lattice.) Then, bake until done, and eat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

C is for Cookies

Last week would've been a good week for me to be at Dacie's. Alas, I'm grown up now and have to buy my own ingredients.

I was running out of ingredients right and left. Led to some amazing Mint Double Chocolate cookies when Lauren came over though. They're like thin mints. Only not dry. And with nuts. And I just ate four of them.

Mint Double Chocolate Cookies
inspired by Dorie's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1.25 cups flour
.75 cups coca powder
1 teaspoon salt I know it's a lot, but it's actually an advisable amount
.75 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter led to greasy cookies, next time I'll use 1.5 sticks and then 1 if that'll work later
1 cup sugar
.66 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 eggs
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts. I used walnuts this time, just crumbled them in my hands. Pecans would be delicious too.

Preheat oven to 375º.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Cream in butter and then sugars.

Mix in mint extract and eggs.

Fold in chocolate and nuts.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before you eat them. They're too fragile when they first come out of the oven. Have milk on hand for dunking.

Makes about 2 dozen good sized cookies. The dough freezes well. The four cookies I ate today, popped from the plate where I froze them last week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pastries make a good lunch

I'm loving kale. It's my green veggie to learn this year.

I'm less than convined that what I've made is Jamaican. Kale just doesn't scream Carribean to me. But I want to record what I did so I might be able to do something similar in the future.

Kale Patties

I'd accidently opened a can of white beans and needed to use them. A search on Foodgawker turned up Jamaican Style Curried Kale and White Bean ‘Patties’ and with my newly discovered interest in kale I couldn't not try them. So I went to the grocery store.

Now I like my new grocery store. It's half the size of my reservation grocery store (and that one was small) but it's in a multi-ethnic neighborhood and stocks all sorts of amazing things. I can get pastries from 3 different world regions, but I couldn't find puff pastry. So I looked around the internet and found this recipe to use for crust.

Whatever it is, it's good. The baked ones are great to take to school for lunch and I'm trying freezing them in the pre-baked stage to see how that works. Because who doesn't love a good homemade frozen dinner? 

So now then. My modified recipe.


1 bunch kale 
1 can white Beans

½ Tbsp vegetable oil
Pinches of crushed red pepper
1 tsp minced or grated garlic
1 tsp minced or grated ginger
1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp curry powder
1/8 tsp turmeric

Blanch the kale. (Bring a large enough pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water if you like. The original uses a teaspoon of vinegar to help the kale stay bright green. Your choice there. While the water is heating, chop up the kale. Once the water boils, drop the kale in, let it cook for a minute, maybe less. Then drain and wash the kale in cold water to stop the cooking.)

Meanwhile drain and wash the beans.

Find a skillet large enough to hold everything and heat up the oil. Cook the crushed red pepper, ginger, garlic for ~30 seconds. Then add the curry and tumeric. Stir everything for a couple of seconds then add the beans and kale. Mix it all up. Turn off the stove. Now's a good time to turn on the oven. Preheat to 400º.

Got it?


2 cups wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients.
Cut in the butter.
Stir in the oil and water to make a nice dough.

And putting it together

You're going to take small balls of the crust. Roll them out into pretty circles. Fill them. Close them. Bake them. All that jazz.
One method: form the crust into a log and then cut it into 20 pieces.
Or just make balls the size of a small scoop of icecream. (Ping pong ball size? Larger than a walnut, smaller than a tennis ball.)
It's pretty if you brush the top of the patties with a beaten egg. Just seems like I then waste the rest of the egg.
Anyway, bake at 400º for 20 minutes or so. Serve piping hot.


Based on a couple of recipes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When Life Gives You Sliced Lemons...

About a month ago, mom came home from a church function with a huge container of leftover sliced lemons. She knew that I loved lemons and wondered if I could use them to bake anything. The problem was that they were sliced. Can't really juice them. Can't really zest them. (At least not without cutting up my fingers.) Luckily, like any good Kitchen Window reader, I remembered preserved lemons from NPR. This weekend, the lemons were ready, but I still had to figure out what to do with them.

Preserved lemons are pretty versatile and can simply be added to a number of dishes. However, I wanted to try a recipe that actually called for them. After looking for preserved lemon recipes, I very quickly learned that a Moroccan tagine was the way to go.

Many tagines are either chicken or lamb based. Although I am not vegetarian and not averse to cooking with meat, I don't really enjoy cooking meat, so I wanted something different. However, the vegetarian options I found didn't look quite like what I wanted. So despite having never tried a tagine before, I combined 3 or 4 recipes to come up with a combination that sounded good to me. This is roughly that recipe.

*Note: There may be no salt in the recipe, but it turns out quite salty because of the salt in the lemons.

Red Potato Tagine

1.75 pounds red skin potatoes
1 small onion grated and squeezed dry
1/3 cup grated tomato
1/3 large onion thinly sliced
3/4 red pepper sliced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 gloves garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 preserved lemon (I wasn't sure what that meant. I used about the equivalent of 1/2 a whole lemon)
2 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp cilantro

1. Boil the potatoes for 3 minutes. Then, pour out the water. Thickly slice the potatoes into a bowl of cool water.
2. Saute the grated onion in olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan for 3 minutes.
3. Add tomato and spices, and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add potatoes, onion, and red pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Mix everything together well.
5. Pour in 1 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Then, cover and bring down to a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Add parsley, cilantro, and preserved lemon. (To use the preserved lemon: Remove from jar. Rinse with cold water. Coarsely chop. It will be quite soft and salty.) Cover again and simmer for 25 more minutes.
7. You may uncover and boil a bit more to remove some of the excess water.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I discovered these Australian delights during freshman year. They were so good that I made a second batch only a couple of weeks later. When you consider that I'm not much of a cake fan, that's rather impressive. Now, this is my go-to cake recipe, whether I am making lamingtons or just need a birthday cake. It is quite butter rich causing it to be dense enough to hold up to coating in chocolate and coconut for absolute deliciousness.

When I first made these, I described them to my friend Kristen over dinner. Of course, this meant that she had to try one. Once I brought one to her, she laughed in surprised. Although she had never eaten a lamington before, she recognized it from Possum Magic, an Australian children's book. The book has an illustration of the main character, a possum, eating a gigantic lamington!

I have never made a full recipe, since I try to accommodate whatever size cake pan I happen to have. Thus, the measurements that I provide are a bit imprecise. If you are worried about exactness, check out the recipe at NPR.

adapted from Greg Patent on NPR


just under 1 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour

a bit less than 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 stick + a tad salted butter, at room temperature

1 (barely overfilled) cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk (I used skim in this case, and it turned out fine. However, I usually choose to buy a small bottle of whole milk for this recipe.)

Chocolate sauce

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1/3 cup boiling water

2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

To make the cake, adjust an oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 9 x 2–inch baking pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds. While beating, gradually add the remaining sugar. Scrape the bowl and beater, then beat for 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating only until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert the two. Remove the pan, cover the cake with another rack, and invert the cake again to cool completely right side up.

Drape the cake loosely with a kitchen towel and leave at room temperature overnight.

To make the chocolate sauce, in a medium metal bowl whisk together the confectioners' sugar, cocoa, butter, and boiling water until smooth. Set the bowl into a pan of very hot water to keep the sauce fluid. Spread the coconut in a shallow dish or pie plate. Drop a piece of cake into the chocolate sauce and use two long-tined forks to turn the cake quickly in the sauce to coat all surfaces. Lift the cake out of the sauce, letting excess sauce drip back into the bowl, and transfer the cake to the bowl of coconut. Use your fingers to sprinkle the cake with coconut, rolling it around to coat all surfaces well. Remove the cake from the coconut and set it on a wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining cake. Leave the cakes on the wire racks to dry for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lemony Geometric Goodness

"A triangle of pie is the best way ever discovered to round out a square meal," according to the Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook.

Ever since I received this cookbook from Nana, I've meant to try a recipe. However, with a table of contents with everything from custard pies to cake pies to a whole chapter devoted just to pie toppings, picking a place to begin is not easily done. Thankfully, my friend Brooke has raved about lemon chess pies for the past two years. She couldn't believe that I was a Southerner who had never tasted one. Well, I righted that by baking one earlier this week.

And I have to agree with Brooke. Lemon chess pies really are delicious (though fairly sweet), and Southerners and Northerners alike need to try one.

Lemon Chess Pie a la the Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook:

Unbaked 9 inch pie shell (*I made a regular shortening and butter crust rather than our family's traditional oil. I also added a bit of lemon zest to the dough)
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cornmeal
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine sugar, flour, and cornmeal in large bowl. Toss lightly with fork to mix. Add eggs, butter, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice. (*Note: You're adding dairy and lemon juice together, so of course, it will curdle, but don't worry, it still tastes great.) Beat with rotary or electric beater until smooth and thoroughly blended. Pour into pie shell.

Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees F) 35 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cut pie while warm.

(Two last notes: It is probably best to refrigerate any extras rather than leaving on the counter indefinitely. Second, the cookbook recommends serving with unsweetened whipped cream. Mom, Dad and I thought that the pie did just fine without it.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I believe that what you wear should tell a story. Right now I'm wearing a tank top and a skirt. It's my first real tank top, bought at the mall around with my friend Allison. Skirt, one I made from a favored pattern. Even though it's the wrong type of fabric for the pattern, I knew I wanted to make it work.

I like what's dressing up my food to have a story too. The best stories come when you make it yourself. If food is your clothing, then condiments are the jewelry, adding the sparkle that sets everything off. I haven't tried ketchup--it requires more tomatoes and canning than I have, but I'll venture into other condiments.

Today I made mayonnaise for the first time. The process of making it accentuates how it is FAT. All the more reason to only have a small amount at a time. I think the recipe below makes about a cup of mayo, but I'm not certain. At one point when the blender didn't look like anything was happening I took a step over to the sink to rinse something. Mayo explosion! Be warned.

Mayonnaise in my Blender
(adapted from More With Less)

Whirl in blender:
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Now for the FAT!

Start your blender. Carefully remove cover (or just cap if you can pour in) and SLOWLY pour in
1/4 cup of oil. (I used olive oil.)

Then add 1 Tablespoon vinegar. (I used white vinegar.)

Finally, and still slowly, add another 3/4 cup of oil.

Nana's Mustard

I haven't made this in the new apartment yet, but it's only a matter of time. It's great sweet-sour, spicy mustardy deliciousness.

Mix: 1/4 c. ground mustard
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
Dash of salt

Heat to boiling: About 1/3 c. brown vinegar

Stir in enough vinegar into dry ingredients to right consistency.

Add: 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

Let season one day to develop flavor.

Note: Turmeric is a strong yellow dye, so be careful about getting it on your clothes.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Vegetable Tart

Last night, mom and dad were tired, so I offered to cook dinner. Since we had gone to the farmer's market the previous day, fresh vegetables sounded like a good main dish, and being the baker that I am, I decided on a tart.

1 1/2 cup flour (I used ~1/3 cup wheat and the rest white)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons water

Mix all of the above ingredients, but the water. After texture is reasonable, add the water and form dough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes while starting on chopping vegetables. Then, roll out and put in tart or pie plate. Blind bake for 17 minutes at 375 F.

red pepper
olive oil
grated cheese

Quickly, saute the zucchini in the olive oil, but then remove and set the zucchini aside. Then, add the garlic and onions to the olive oil and saute. Add in the red pepper and finally the spinach.

Once the crust has been blind baked, cover the bottom of the crust with tomato. Then, layer the zucchini. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese over the tart. Next, cover the zucchini with the sauted onion, red pepper and spinach. Finally, top with cheese.

Bake for another 10 minutes. Then, let the tart cool slightly, and serve.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lemon Pasta

Tonight, I wanted a light, summery pasta. This worked out well:

-Serving of penne
-1/2 a lemon
-3 to 4 basil leaves

Cook the pasta according to directions. Douse the pasta with the lemon juice before serving onto a plate. Wash and tear the basil leaves, and scatter them throughout the pasta. Crumble chevre on top.

Quite simple and quick but worth repeating.

(And just for the record, blackberries for dessert pairs well.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Found Them!

I found Grandma Gerri's recipe cards! We need to send her goodies next Christmas. Or  this summer.


3/4 cup Margarine
4 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
3 Tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup nuts

Mix together. Grease pan. Bake at 250º-350º. Roll in confectioners sugar

Cheese Krispies (4-5 dozen)

2 sticks oleo
1 package (8 oz.) Cracker Barrel sharp cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
2 cups plain flour
2 cups Rice Krispies (not used by Gmom)

Mix well and fold in Rice Krispies. Pinch off a teaspoons worth at the time and mash with fork. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.

Pecan Pound Cake (3 loaf pans)

5 cups of pecans (chopped)
1 pound margarine (Walmart) softened
3 cups sugar
4 cups plain flour; sifted
1/2 cup self-rising flour; sifted
eggs (8 medium/ 7 large) 3/4 cup, rest of 2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Cream together margarine and vanilla. Add ~1/3 of the flour. Add cup of eggs and milk and beat. Add another third of the flour. Add the last cup of eggs and milk. Add the final third of flour. Fold the nuts in. Grease and flour pan. Bake at 300º for approximately 90 minutes. When it pulls from the side of the pan, then it's done.

Pecan Pie

Recipe pastry
2 eggs beaten
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons melted margarine
1 cup pecans (whole)

Roll pastry, line pan.
Mix eggs, syrup, salt, sugar, vanilla, butter, etc. together. Fold pecans in last.
Bake in 400º oven for 15 minutes. Reduce to 350º and bake 30-35 minutes longer.

Happy cooking!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring Birthday Cake

Yesterday, we celebrated my freshman year roommate's birthday, and of course, I couldn't resist taking over the dessert planning.

Although I'm not much of a cake person, I decided that for this birthday, I would go with the traditional birthday cake of two layers, and since I have yet to use my Baking with Julia much (horrible, I know!), I decided to try Julia's perfect genoise, a basic French cake. French cakes are drier than American but still oh so delicious.

Now, that Spring has arrived in Minnesota, I've been craving fruit, so I made lemon curd to hold the two layers together, though I used buttercream frosting for the rest of the cake. Still, I wanted more lemon, so I drizzled more lemon curd on top of the cake. Then, to decorate and take full advantage of Spring, I decorated with fresh violets. They may not add much flavor, but they are beautiful!

Genoise from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
This only makes enough for one round, so I doubled the recipe for my cake.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the melted butter into a small bowl; reserve.

In another bowl, mix the flour, 1 Tb of the sugar, and the salt.

Then, in a large bowl, beat the eggs and the remaining sugar. Then, with a hand-mixer, whip the mixture on medium speed until it is airy, pale, and tripled in volume like softly whipped cream. The took me about 7 minutes. The eggs are properly whipped when you lift the mixer and the mixture falls bak into the bowl in a ribbon that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds. Whip the vanilla extract into the mixture near the end.

Fold in about one third of the flour mixture. Be sure to stop as soon as the flour is incorporated. Fold in the rest in two more additions.

Then, spoon about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl with the melted butter and fold the butter in with a rubber spatula. Fold this mixture into the batter in the large bowl. (This is the point at which the batter is at its most fragile, so fold gingerly).

Pour into a prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Shortcake Biscuits

These aren't Grandmom's biscuits. Or Aunt Nancy's. Not even Hardee's or Bojangles. In other words, Liz, don't expect the Southern biscuits.

When I visited DC last summer, the only time I could get together with Ros was for a morning breakfast. She made biscuits from Joy of Cooking. We spooned yogurt over them and topped with strawberries and blueberries. I fell in love and repeated the meal throughout the summer.

I need a kick of summer today. Cooped up inside by the third blizzard since the "first day of spring." Dancing around in a tank top and summer skirt, I pulled out Nana's Joy. 

So glad for freezers and frozen fruit.

Fluffy Biscuits/Shortcake Dough (adapted from page 450 of my copy of Joy of Cooking)

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1.25 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs butter
.75 cups milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Add milk. 

I treated these as drop biscuits. Pop in oven at 425º for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Red beans and pasta

Tonight I came home and wanted a quick dinner. I started cutting up an onion and put water on to boil. I had in mind the Pasta with Red Bean Sauce I discovered a year ago. I glanced at the recipe, and decided I wasn't following it. 

But it turned out well, so for future recreation.

1 onion
Olive oil
1 can kidney beans
Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Pasta, curly pasta worked well

Slice onion and saute in olive oil. Add beans and spices. (I didn't measure. Just sprinkled them in.) Used 1 and a half muffin's worth of tomato sauce* to help coat everything. Cooked a bit longer. Served over pasta. Chevre was bonus!

Timewise: I pulled into the house at 6 and was eating by 7. That included unloading the car and deciding what I wanted to eat.

*I freeze leftovers in muffin tins.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Whole Wheat or Graham Bread

I saw The Household Searchlight Recipe Book (1939 Edition) only after taking other cookbooks off the shelf. Hiding behind Nana's books (the books belonging to our grandmother) was Gram's old cookbook (our grandfather's mother). Based on the year, I guess Papa didn't grow up with these recipes, but it's clear that the cookbook was used.

6 Cups Milk
1 Cake Compressed Yeast or 1 Cake Dry Yeast
4 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Melted Shortening
6 Cups Whole Wheat or Graham Flour
White Flour

Heat milk until lukewarm; add yeast. If compressed yeast it used allow to stand 5 minutes; if dry yeast is used allow to stand 30 minutes. Add sugar, salt, and shortening. Add unsifted whole wheat flour, a little at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add sufficient sifted white flour to make dough just stiff enough to knead. Turn onto ightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth, set in a warm place, and allow to rise until double in bulk. (If dry yeast is used allow dough to rise overnight in a warm place.) Work down and form into 3 loaves. Place in well-oiled bread pans. Cover and let rise until double in bulk. Bake in hot over (425º F.) about 45 minutes. 3 small loaves. --Mrs. Ralph Chapman, Stonington, Ill.

I usually use the basic whole wheat bread from Joy of Cooking, but wanted to try something from this cookbook. The bread was light and I got to knead. Worth keeping around, though I'll stick with Joy for the sake of my vegan housemate.

Hello world

Mom, who from our generation is going to use vintage cookbooks more than your daughters?

We had a point. So we brought home Nana's cookbooks. They'll be moving to various locations with us over the coming years. We don't live together anymore.

This blog allows us to share the recipes with each other. They may be from the classic cookbooks, local treasures, online finds, or our own creations. But here, we'll create our own canon of cooking.