Saturday, May 31, 2008

Swedish Cream

This is also sometimes called Russian Cream, but I first knew and loved it as Swedish Cream. There used to be this fabulous restaurant in my neighborhood that was loved by almost everyone. It was hugely popular, and they served wonderful food. One of my favorite dishes was Swedish Cream, which I used to get to go. You put a $1 deposit on the dish. I kept most of them, which was okay. But then alas, it suddenly went out of business. It seemed that the owner had over extended himself. So I determined that I would figure out how to make the dish myself.

1 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream or half & half
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla or any other flavoring you'd like

Combine sugar and gelatin in a medium sized saucepan.
Stir in the cream and heat mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Stir in sour cream. Add flavoring.
Pour into pudding cups and refrigerate until set (about 3 hours).
You can use any vessel thats 1/2 cup or less. I use little ramekins, or French yogurt pots, or little Chinese tea cups, ...

When ready to serve, spoon on a berry coulis.

Berry Coulis

There is not specific recipe for berry coulis. You simply take your berries, wash and dry them, puree them, strain them, add a little bit of sugar to taste, and if not tart enough add a bit of lemon juice. If, for some reason the coulis seems a bit too thick, stir in a bit of water. You may also add a liquor of your choice if desired.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chocolate chip Frosted Mini-Wheat Crumbs Cookies

For a long time it has bothered me to throw out the crumbs at the bottom of the frosted mini-wheats bag. So finally today I did something about it.

1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

9 ounces flour (just about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4+ teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, especially if using cinnamon mini-wheats)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but always good)

About 1 to 2 cups of the crumbs from the bottom of the frosted mini-wheats
2 to 3 handfuls of chocolate chips

Cream the first group of ingredients
Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.
Finally, stir in the crumbs and the chocolate chips.
Heat oven to 370 degrees.
Put onto the cookie sheet in 1 tablespoon balls.
Bake for 11 minutes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lemony Apple Tart


1 1/3 cup flour (about 6 ounces)
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of cold butter, diced up
2 tablespoons sugar
zest of a meyer lemon, or some small lemon
3 tablespoons ice water

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and zest.
Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like cornmeal. You can do this by hand or in a food processor.
Quickly and shortly stir in the ice water.
Then if you are using a food processor put the mixture into a bowl.
Using your hands munch the dough into a ball.
Put the ball into a piece of plastic wrap, form into a flat disc, and put into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill.
Then I take the disc and coat it with flour on both sides and roll it out on a piece of waxed paper to be about as big as is reasonable.  Place the pie crust over a 9 inch pie plate.  Make the filling.


5 small green apples
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
juice of a small lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt the butter and sugar in a large frying pan. Peel core and cut the apples into 1/8ths and add to the pan.
Cook a bit on low.
Add the lemon juice and cinnamon.
Gently stir well. Spoon into the dish, then gently fold the excess crust up over the apples. Brush the crust with cream and sprinkle all with demerrera sugar.
Bake about 45 minuter, until done.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Crème Anglaise - poured custard

This custard is extremely popular at my house. You can spoon it over whatever you like. This is richer than average, and maybe a bit thicker. And if you want to be really poncy you can use a vanilla bean.

1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoons vanilla (more if you like, or use a vanilla bean)

Place the cream and milk into a large saucepan.
Combine the sugar and cornflour and whisk into the liquids.
Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring often.
Remove from the heat and stir some of the hot liquid into the beaten egg yolks to temper them.
Then stir the yolk mixture into the saucepan mixture.
Bring back to a boil - this will take no time at all.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
Put into a large cream pitcher and add a ladle for serving.

note: you can use two cups of milk, preferably whole milk, instead of cream and milk. And, if you use the vanilla bean you need to put it into the heating milk. For a more sophisticated recipe by Alice Walters go here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

chicken adobo

When we lived in Hong Kong we had a Filipino amah named Lita. Her name was actually Lolita, but to me it was not a good name, so I asked if I could call her Lita. Anyway, not long after she started working for us I asked if she would cook something Filipino for us for dinner. Her response was that she did not think we would like Filipino food, except that we would probably like chicken adobo. She was quite right. She always cooked her dinner after she cooked ours and sometimes I would go see what she was having and it always look unappetizing. But the chicken adobo was wonderful. Our children liked it so much that for many years they simply thought that that was how you cooked chicken. It was kind of like "what benefit would there be in alteration?" Needless to say I got Lita to teach me how to make chicken adobo.

1 kilo chicken pieces, legs and or thighs (about 15 pieces)
1 medium onions, coarsely diced
2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves of garlic, crushed (more if you like)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 small can of coconut milk (optional)
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/4 cup cold water

Skin the chicken.
In a large saute pan put the oil and onion and cook until soft.
Add the chicken and brown just a bit.
Add the garlic and pepper and brown sugar, then pour over the chicken the soy sauce, vinegar, and water.
Cover and cook until done, about 40-45 minutes. Using a twongs, turn the chicken once during cooking.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan to a serving bowl.
Add the coconut milk if desired. It's a pleasant addition.
Mix the cornflour and water and stir into the sauce in the pan.
Cook just until the sauce is nicely thickened. Taste the sauce and adjust if needed, anyway you like.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. If you like you can pour it through a strainer for a smooth sauce. I did this for the kids because a picky eater doesn't like "bits".
Serve with rice.

This dish can also be made with pork. They often combine pork and chicken. I use pork steaks, a cheap but yummy cut. Then it's called chicken and pork adobo.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Orzo with Brown Butter and Parsley

This is a big family favorite, but oddly enough we don't have is very often. We usually have it on Thanksgiving with barbecued turkey. That's because you don't get gravy with a barbecued turkey. Sarah is the daughter who usually makes this recipe.

orzo - a variety of pasta shaped like grains of barley or rice
It literally means barley in Italian.

2 cans chicken broth + 1/2 cup water
1 cup orzo
1/3 stick butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the broth and water to a boil.
Add the orzo slowly stirring as you go.
Boil for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
Melt the butter in a frying pan, stir over medium-high heat until the butter is golden brown. Remove from heat and add the garlic and the parsley.
Pour into the orzo and stir well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Orange Almond Angel Food Cake


285 grams egg whites (about 10 egg whites)
125 grams sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
115 grams of cake flour
1/2 tsp orange essence
1/4 tsp almond essence

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until the whites are foamy. Then gradually add the sugar while the mixer is beating. Beat until the whites are stiff but not brittle. Then shortly beat in the orange and almond essence. Then sift the flour slowly over the egg whites a bit at a time and fold in.
Put into an ungreased 20 cm tube pan.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Then turn upside down to cool.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Easy Peasy Meatloaf

This recipe is practically a cheat, and you'd think most people know about it.  But on the other hand, maybe they don't.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs made by putting 2 or 3 slices of torn-up bread into the food processor
1/3 cup milk
a big squeeze of catsup, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine everything, using your hands.  Do not over-mix, as that makes for a tough meatloaf.
Put into a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Bake for about an hour.

You can make gravy from this, but strain the liquids first, and skim off excess fat.
It is very good served with mashed potatoes and peas.  Or pair it with roasted vegetables - potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips, etc.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

German Bangers and Mash

I first was introduced to this meal by my German husband. (Just for the record, I have not been married to him for over 30 years now.) So the German influence on this dinner is probably very obvious. It's like the British dinner, but it's just up a notch.

1 - 2 sausages per person
1 potato per person
frozen corn for how many people you have
mustards - a variety of authentic mustards is nice

Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking dish with foil and put the sausages into it and put into the oven.
Peel the potatoes, cut them up, add salt, and boil until just cooked.
Check on the sausages from time to time, turning as needed. They will take a while to get all cooked. Of course it all depends on the sausages that you have chosen.
When the potatoes are done, drain them and put it butter, hot milk, and salt and pepper and smash with a potato smasher. I know that people all differ on how they like their mashed potatoes. I like mine well smashed, but not turned into a thick smooth soupy consistency. You want some substance there. Keep warm - a warming cupboard works well here.

When the potatoes and sausages are done, heat the corn in the microwave and top it with a nice big dab of butter
I like the sauerkraut cold, but I suppose one could heat it.

Enjoy! - I'm hungry already

Monday, May 5, 2008

Orange Flan

I have a really good recipe for this in a handwritten book, but can I find it!!?? But I told the girls that I would bring orange flan to their cinco de maio celebration this evening, so I had to come up with something. It turned out to be absolutely fabulous.

* * * * *

5 egg yolks
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 cups half and half
some orange zest

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbls water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Get a 1 1/2 quart tart dish and a metal baking pan that the dish will fit into.
Put the milk and orange zest into a pan and place over medium low heat.
Put the egg yolks, eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and the almond extract into a large bowl and whip thoroughly.

Put 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water into a sauce pan and heat up slowly. Don't stir with a spoon, but you can gently swirl the pan as needed. Keep a keen eye on this sugar. You want it to turn brown, but to not burn. There is a fine degree of difference between the two. As soon as the sugar turns a medium brown, pour into the dish and carefully swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides of the dish. This will become hard very fast.

While wisking, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Stir to blend thoroughly. Then pour this mixture into another bowl through a strainer. And finally, set the dish into the pan you're going to use for the water bath, and pour the mixture into the dish. Place the dish and pan into the oven, then carefully add hot water up to at least halfway up the sides. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes. I forgot to time it, so I can only approximate.

Chill thoroughly. Then turn out onto a plate by putting the plate on top and quickly flipping it over.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Strawberry Tall Cake

I first made this cake over 20 years ago for my youngest daughter's birthday cake. She was crazy about Strawberry Shortcake (the doll). The reason I called it tall instead of short is because I made genoise for the cake instead of shortcake. It's a really awesome cake. The proportions I will give here are not exact, as I usually don't worry about such things. I think that any amout of genoise, strawberries, and whipped cream together is a wonderful dessert. My recipe for the genoise comes from "The Art of Fine Baking" by Paula Beck. The page for the recipe has actually fallen out, but I keep it in place. It's a bit tricky to make, and doesn't always turn out the way you'd like, but it's really good when it does. I haven't made this is a while, and as strawberry season is soon upon us I should make it.


Now genoise has a reputation for being a bit hard to make. But that shouldn't stop you. Though even the best of bakers can have a bad moment with this cake, as is attested to by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This recipe uses butter, but you can also make it without the butter.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup sifted flour (about 4-4.25 ounces)
1/2 cup butter, melted and clarified*
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, paper, and grease 1 of the following:

2 9-inch cake pans
1 tall 9-inch pan
3 7-inch cake pans
1 11x16 inch jelly roll pan
2 shallow 10-inch cake pans

As this cake is a fluffy batter and not a rising with leavening batter, you could put a parchment collar on the round pans.

Put the eggs and sugar into the kitchenaide mixing bowl and then set over a pan of gently simmering water, not touching the bowl. Heat, stirring from time to time, until the sugar is visibly dissolved. This will take maybe five minutes. When the eggs are lukewarm to your touch remove from the heat. Put the bowl into the mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will about triple and look like whipped cream.

Remove from the mixer and fold in the flour by sprinkling it a little at a time on top of the egg mixture and folding in gently with a spatula. Then gently fold in the clarified butter and vanilla. Be especially careful not to over-mix. What you want is to have the flour and butter suspended in the foamy egg and sugar mixture.

Pour the batter into the pan of choice. For the strawberry tall cake I used the 7 inch pans and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, all depending on the pan. Keep you eyes on the cake. I should say keep your nose alert. It's always been my observation that a cake that is almost done will suddenly be smelled in the house.

*clarifying butter: Melt the butter slowly. Let it sit for a bit to separate. Skim off the foam that rises to the top, and gently pour the butter off of the milk solids, which have settled to the bottom. Then let the butter cool down before putting it into the cake batter.


strawberries, a pint or two
sugar, 2 to 4 tablespoons

Wash, hull, and slice up the berries.
Sprinkle on the sugar, stir gently, and let sit for a while to get the juices running.

Whipped Cream:

1 pint of whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

The first step for good firm whipped cream is to put the mixing bowl and beater into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Then add the cream and sugar and vanilla to the well chilled bowl and whip until it's thick, but not until it's butter. My mother likes runny whipped cream, but that will not work here or the cake will slip right off.


Put down a layer of genoise, put on 1/3 the berries, top with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat two more times. This cake is not meant to look like a fancy bakery cake with smooth whipped cream completely covering the cake. It is meant to have a homey strawberry shortcake look, except that it's tall instead. And when you cut it it is a bit of a mess, but very tasty.

Vegemite on Bread or Crackers

I was introduced to Vegemite by a friend in Hong Kong who was from Melbourne. Almost everyone we knew in Hong Kong was actually from somewhere else, which is a wonderful situation. But that's another story. She rang up one day and said she was stopping by with something for us to eat. She arrived with her two little boys and a small plate of soda crackers that had on them butter and Vegemite. Now if you've ever seen Vegemite you'd question the sanity of eating it. But since a friend had gone to all the bother of bringing it over for us to try, we did. Well I've been hooked on the stuff ever since. But in my family there are only three of us who eat - myself, Corey (daughter #3) and Emily (my grand-daughter). Corey and I like to make sure that there is always some in the house, which isn't easy as Americans haven't embraced Vegemite yet.

In my opinion the secret to a great Vegemite snack is butter. It goes great on crackers, but it's at its best on good bread, like artisan bread. If I make French bread for dinner and there's some left over I always have it with Vegemite and butter the next day.

To make the open-faced Vegemite treat you put on a nice lot of butter, and then you apply a thinner amout of Vegemite. You always want to be able to see the butter through the Vegemite. If you are on the go and simply in need of a quick good thing to throw down, you get a nice fresh piece of bread, apply the butter and Vegemite, and then fold it in half and you're good to go. It can also be applied to toast, and in particular toasted English muffins or crumpets.

a final note: The English have a similar product called Marmite. The two are not interchangeable! I will tolerate Marmite, but I'd probably pass. I can't put my finger on it, but they just aren't the same despite looking the same. It's kind of like the coke and pepsi dispute. I love coke and really don't like pepsi.