Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tapioca Pudding

This has always been a huge favorite with my family. And it was one of my favorites when I was a child. We're not talking here about that thick gloppy stuff you get commercially. Real tapioca pudding is light and fluffy, kind of like a cloud. The measurements are not written in stone. You can alter things somewhat as you please. I often made this later in the evening, when everyone thought having a bit of dessert would be nice.

1/2 cup tapioca
1 cup water

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar (a little more if you like sweet)
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a saucepan put the tapioca and the water and let it sit a bit, while you do other things.
Measure out the milk in a bowl or measuring pitcher. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks into the milk and the whites into an electric mixing bowl, like a KitchenAid mixer.

Add half the sugar to the egg whites and if you have a stand mixer start the egg whites beating, letting it go until they're nice and fluffy. I do this while putting the milk and yolks and tapioca on the stove to cook. If you don't have a stand mixer, then get the egg whites beaten before starting to cook the rest.

Beat up the milk and yolks and remaining sugar and add to the saucepan with the tapioca and water.
Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring with a whisk fairly constantly.
When it has come to a boil, remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla and pinch of salt.

Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg whites, whisking constantly.
Let cool for a while before serving. This can be made shortly before dinner, and it will still be warm by dessert time. It is really nice eaten warm. I dish it into Chinese soup bowls, or other little bowls. Seconds are always okay.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sarah's Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is most assuredly the very first original recipe by my youngest daughter, Sarah. She's surely made many more since. Based on the book I wrote this down in, she was likely not quite 6 years old at the time.

2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp black walnut extract
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 oz chocolate chips
2 oz walnuts, chopped up

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar and eggs.
Mix in the extracts.
Combine the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.
Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts.
Put daubs of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for about 8 minutes.
Cool on a baking wrack.

Morning Glory Muffins à la Molly

This is probably my take on a classic old muffin recipe from the 70s.

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins, plumped in a bit of brandy
1 large apple, peeled and shredded
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat to 370 degrees.
Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, carrots, and nuts, and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil and vanilla.
Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and blend well.
Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with muffin papers.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
These taste even better the next day.

Crème Pâtissière - pastry cream

This is really yummy stuff. I use it for princess cake or stuffing cream puffs or put as the base of a fruit tart or ...

5 oz milk - see note
1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk

1-2 tablespoons butter (optional, used for richness)

note: the 5 oz milk plus the 2 tablespoons milk = 3/4 cup milk. So just measure out the 3/4 cup, remove the 2 tablespoons to a small dish, and you're good to go.

Scald the 5 oz of milk in a saucepan.
Combine the 2 tablespoons milk, cornflour, salt, sugar, egg yolk.
With the milk on medium low heat slowly wisk in the other ingredients and cook until the right consistency.
At this point you may add a flavoring of your choice if you like - vanilla, almond, orange, etc.
Stir in butter, if desired, and chill.

Chocolate Truffle Cake

This is an awesome decadent dessert for a dinner party. It's easy and impressive and people really like it. It can easily be made as the second dessert, as two desserts are better than one à mon avis.

8 oz chocolate, semi-sweet or dark - your choice
2 oz butter (or 2 1/2)
1 Tbl flour
1 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl brandy
2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbl sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Grease the bottom of a 5 1/2 - 6 inch loose bottom pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler,
or a glass bowl placed over steaming water.
Add the flour, sugar, and brandy and blend well.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not brittle.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.
Turn into the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
The cake will look a bit undone.
Let cool and chill.

When ready to serve, whip the cream and sugar and vanilla until fairly stiff, but not butter, and place on top.
The cake will likely have sunk in the middle, and placing the whipped cream on top fills in the sunken area beautifully.

If you double the recipe use an 8 inch pan and cook for a bit longer, say 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

White Mountain Frosting

My children always loved this frosting. But I have to tell you right up front, it's a bit tricky.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 Tbls water
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan.
Cover and heat over medium heat, till it comes to a good boil.
Uncover and heat to 242 degrees.
While heating the sugar, beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not brittle.
When the sugar is hot enough, with the egg whites still being beaten, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture over the whites in a very thin stream. When thoroughly incorporated, add the vanilla. Beat on high speed until nice and stiff.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I was surprised to find that I had never posted quiche. I make it fairly often, but probably never the same quiche twice. So this will just be a general instructions kind of recipe. Quiche Lorraine is of course the most common, a great starting off point. This is a picture of Maria Teresa of Habsburg Lorraine. I believe Marie Antoinette had the same title, maybe the two are the same person. I'll have to look into that.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold butter, diced up
2 Tbls shortening (to keep the crust in line)
2 - 3 Tbls iced water

this is the whatever you like and have on hand
for example:
- onion
- leeks
- zucchini
- cherry tomatoes
- yellow squash
- mushrooms
- ham
- bacon
- shrimp
- whatever

plus cheese - whatever kind is in the regrigerator
- my favorites are Gruyère or Swiss or Cheddar or Monteray Jack
- or you name it.

Then you need the custard:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, whole milk is good, or you can make part of this cream (the less fat, the more likely the quiche will curdle just a bit, this is okay, but not the most desirable)
pinch of salt
some nutmeg if you like
some herbs in you like, not too much

Begin by making the dough for the crust. See Pie Crust for instructions.
Put the wrapped dough into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Start organizing what you want to put into the quiche.
You will want to fry up the onions or leeks and of course the bacon if you have selected it.
The veggies need to be cooked just a wee bit.
Shred the cheese or cheeses that you have chosen, maybe about a cup.
I put the prepared ingredients into separate places, but then that's just me.

Then roll out the pie crust and put into a quiche dish, pushing the sides down gently to make sure that the crust will not shrink unnecessarily. Then cut off the excess using the rolling pin - just roll it over the dish.
Dot the base of the shell with a fork and put the empty shell in the oven while you mix up the custard.
When all the ingredients are ready take out the shell and start adding the ingredients. I begin with the onions, then the veggies and meat or fish, then I sprinkle on the cheese.
Then carefully pour the custard all over everything. If you like you may add a sprinkling of Parmesan or something like that.
Put into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Check it every once in a while. When done it wants to be golden and not all jiggly, Let cool for just a bit before serving. I like to serve this with a green salad or yummy green vegetable and French bread.

You can make quiches in all kinds of sizes you like. My quiches (or tart) dishes go from 5 inches to 11 inches. You just have to adjust the cooking time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tarragon Chicken for two

Cooking for two is a bit of a challenge for me. I began life cooking for 10.

1 chicken breast, in two halves
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
a good pinch of sea salt, or any salt you have
some freshly ground black pepper
fresh tarragon, or in my case I used several dashes of a Parisian seasoning mix which contained tarragon (Parisien Bonnes Herbes from Penzeys)

Turn the oven to 375 degrees.
Fry the chicken pieces in the butter and olive oil for about five minutes.
Place the pieces into a small baking dish and put into the oven for 15 minutes.
Keep the pan just as it is still on the stove, waiting for later use.

When the chicken is done, take out of oven and pour the liquids in the dish into the pan that you had fried the chicken in. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until reduced to about half. Pour the sauce over the chicken to serve.