Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gulliver's Creamed Corn

This recipe is from a famous prime rib restaurant in Irvine, CA Gulliver's, that has been in business for 41 years.  I've been serving it for our traditional Christmas dinner for the last 15 years.
1-lb frozen corn (I use Trader Joes corn)
1 carton of whipping cream (I use half n'half)
1-1/2 T butter, 1-1/2 T flour, 1/2 t salt
2T sugar, 1/2 t Accent, 3T Kraft Parmesan cheese
Fresh Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook the corn, drain.  In a stock pot, cook over low heat the remaining ingredients, and then add the corn.  Can be put into a crock pot and cooked on high for 3 hours, then on low till ready to serve.

When I make it for 25 people, I use 8  bags of corn, 2 quarts of half n'half, 1C sugar, 1-1/2 C Parmesan cheese, 2 sticks of butter, salt, accent, flour and fresh Parmesan cheese to taste.  It is an excellent compliment to prime rib.  Note:  you can make this recipe without Accent.  Throw in a pinch of cayenne pepper to spice it up a bit.  There are several versions of this recipe on-line.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Brownie Oreo Chocolate Dessert

1 box Brownie Mix
eggs & oil (as called for by the brownie mix)
1 heaping half cup (6 oz) Cookies & Cream ice cream
1/4 Cup hot fudge topping (chilled or room temp)
Preheat oven & spray an 8×8 baking dish generously with cooking spray. Combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil as directed on the back of the box, but do not add the water. Add ice cream and hot fudge to the brownie batter and stir to combine. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking dish, layer with Oreos, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes or as directed on the back of the box.  Note:  I made a double recipe and topped it with more oreos, but I really, should have just had the top layer be batter.  But, I do think this looks more festive!  Recipe from my niece's blog http://www.southernatheart.com/2011/07/cookies-n-cream-oreo-fudge-brownies.html

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 package of Devil's Food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) package of Instant Chocolate Jello
1 C Wesson oil
4 eggs
1/2 C hot water
1 C sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1 C chocolate chips - you can use semi-sweet, I used milk chocolate
Powdered Sugar
Bundt Cake Pan (think of the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding)

Mix everything together and add chocolate chips at the end.  Grease the Bundt pan well.  I use Pam spray for baking, or if you can find it "Bakers Joy" is a great one!  Add the chocolate deliciousness to the pan, pouring it in as evenly as you can around the pan.

Bake at 350 for one hour, let is sit in pan for 45 minutes and then turn it onto a plate.  Using a wire strainer, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and a good cup of coffee

B U N D T   H I S T O R Y

This Pillsbury Bake Off winner is generally credited for putting the bundt cake on the American culinary map.
"Did you know that until Ella Helfrich's recipe for her tunnel of fudge cake won second place the Pillsbury Bake-off in 1966, the bundt cake was virtually unknown? Bundt pans were originally made by Nordic Ware (and they still hold the trademark for the name) which was a small baking supply company that made specialty ethnic Nordic baking pans like the Rosette Iron, Ebleskiver Pan and Krumkake Iron. It wasn't until the tunnel of fudge cake recipe became famous that people started looking for bundt pans, which then was a specialty item. Nordic Ware had to open new production plants and hire workers around the clock to keep up with the demand caused by the recipe. Bundt pans were also given away with Pillsbury products as a special promotion. Now the bundt pan is standard in many kitchens although you can no longer make the exact recipe for the tunnel of fudge cake: it calls for packets of instant icing mix (Double Dutch Fudge Buttercream Frosting Mix) that is no longer made."
Arthur Schwartz, The Food Maven
"Tunnel of Fudge Cake
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups Pillsbury's Best All Purpose Flour
1 package Pillsbury Two Layer Size Buttercream Double Dutch Frosting Mix
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
Oven 350 degrees F. Bundt Cake
Generously grease Bundt pan. In large mixer bowl, cream butter at high speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Gradually add sugar; beat at high speed until light and fluffy. By hand, stir in flour, dry frosting mix and walnuts until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degress F. for 60 to 65 minutes. Cool 1 hour; remove from pan. Cool completely before serving. Tips: Buttercream Double Dutch Frosting Mix and walnuts are essential to the success of this recipe. Since the cake has the softened tunnel of fudge, ordinary doneness tests can not be used. Test after 60 minutes by observing a dry, shiny brownie-type crust. Cake may be baked in 10-inch tube pan at 350 degreees F. for 60 to 65 minutes. Serve cake right side up as for a pound cake. *Pillsbury's Best Self-Rising Flour is not recomended for use in this recipe. High Altitude Adjustment--5,200 Feet. Bake at 275 degrees F. for 60 to 65 minutes."
---A Treasury of Bake Off Favorites, Pillsbury Company, 1969 (p. 62) [recipe booklet]
Updated version, courtesy of Pillsbury:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sage Chicken

Sage Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 t sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil
½ C all-purpose flour
1-2 T chicken broth
3 T butter
2 sage sprigs
1 T minced shallots
1 t chopped fresh thyme
2 T lemon juice

It takes less than 45 minutes to make:  I served it with a variety of roasted vegetables and rice.

Place each breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (I used 2 thin plastic cutting boards) and pound to 1/4 inch thickness.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sage springs - chop and set aside.  The recipe said to take out the sage leaves after cooking, but I decided to leave them in, for more flavor

Yes, you are thinking that there are more than 4 breasts here on the plate - I made this dish for 12 people on a beautiful Spring day.   Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat the chicken with flour.  Add olive oil to pan to cook the chicken, say a swig of it to coat the pan.

Saute for 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Then remove from pan.

Add butter, chicken broth and sage sprigs to the pan.  Cook over medium heat until the butter browns.  Add shallots and thyme and cook for 30 seconds.  Add lemon juice and cook for another 30 seconds.  Serve with chicken.  Garnish with sage leaves, if you want to.  Original recipe from my recipes.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This is really easy to make and it delicious to put on yogurt, ice cream or eat it right out of the container.  I got the recipe from watching The Barefoot Contessa.  Made a couple changes to her recipe.  I hope you will enjoy it.

4 cups of Quaker Oats, Old Fashioned
2 cups of chopped almonds
A variety of chopped dried fruits to make up 1-1/2 cups;  I used raisins, currents, apricots, and cherries
1/2 cup of Wesson oil
1/3 cup Honey
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon

mix together in a large bowl, and then spread into a large baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Check it every 10 or so minutes to move it around with a spatula, so nothing sticks to the pan.  Store in an airtight container.

great cooking hint from the Barefoot Contessa - measure out the oil first in a measuring cup, then do the honey, it will totally slip out, because of the oil.   

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I seem to be on a roll with seafood dishes, particularly soups.  Tonight, I think I have outdone myself!
Ah, bouillabaisse.  It is such a wonderful, healthy soup.  It has its origins in Marseilles, France.  The basic idea is a combination of several types of seafood, along with vegetables, and whatever else strikes your fancy.

If you do not eat meat, simply leave out the bacon.  This is a fish "stew":  you can add whatever you think will add to it!

My ingredients:
8 oz fresh sea bass, cut into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes
8 oz. raw shrimp, shelled
1 pound fresh mussels, washed and de-bearded (any combination of fresh seafood may be used)

1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, sliced into segments
3 shallots, chopped
1/2 of one large fennel bulb, chopped
one zuchini squash, cut into thin quartered pieces
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
20 basil leaves thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
saffron, one pinch
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 quart seafood stock (chicken or vegetable stock may be substituted)
2 "cubes" chicken stock
2-3 slices of Speck (German bacon, regular bacon may be substituted) cut into 1/2 inch bits (this is optional)
ham bone for flavor (optional)
3-4 strips of lemon zest
2-3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil

In a heated stockpot, add oil.  Cook bacon or speck until crisp.  Add onions and sweat until translucent.
Add fennel and sweat until it is tender and somewhat translucent.  Add the zuchini and cook until soft. Add tomatoes and cook until slightly soft.  Add basil, parsley, and saffron.  Add stock and bring to a simmer.  Add dried herbs and turmeric.
Once soup is quite warm, but avoiding bringing the mixture to a boil, gradually add seafood.  The seafood is fully cooked when it has become opaque, and the mussels should fully open when cooked.  Check to be sure all the mussels have opened up.  If not, remove any mussels that remain closed.
This soup can be served immediately, or chilled rapidly and stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Reheat to simmer and serve.


The speck is added after the oil becomes hot

Onions are added

The fennel...



here are the 3 frozen soup stocks I added 
(my chicken stock in the foreground, which is much more concentrated than the others)

Adding the stock will (obviously) cool down the ingredients.
Allow time for everything to come back to a simmer prior to adding the seafood!

While stock is melting, I added a couple of bay leaves and the other seasonings

I chose to add several strips of lemon zest to counter-balance the "fishy" aroma of the stock.
It worked!

A splash of white wine.  Just because.

Sea bass and shrimps were added.

See how they became opaque?

Mussels were gradually added.

These were removed because they failed to open

See how wide open the mussels are now?
I put an empty bowl on the table for the mussel shells.

Served with an arugula salad with a fresh vinaigrette, sliced almonds, and fresh blackberries.

Here are the emptied mussel shells

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Seasonal Side Dish: Kale & Butternut squash with almonds and craisins

I'm not sure what possessed me to create this dish.  I had a batch of lovely kale in my Greenling box this week (and I think chard would work nicely in this dish, as would spinach) and wanted to do something different with it.  Since I also received a small butternut squash, I wondered if they would work well together in a dish.  The answer:  YES!

small to medium butternut squash, cubed and roasted until fork-tender (400' for 30 minutes)
generous batch of kale, washed and stems removed (approximately 2-3 cups)
Dry curry rub (optional-click link for the recipe)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup dried craisins

In a skillet, heat oil to medium heat.  Toss in the almonds and watch them carefully:  they go from slightly browned to really browned very quickly.  You want them slightly browned and aromatic before adding the kale.  Add kale and turn until fully "wilted".  Add a pinch of curry rub (optional).  Add about a cup or more of the roasted butternut squash.  Toss in the craisins and turn until everything is warmed through.  Serve.

This dish has it all: it is healthy, colorful, and very tasty!  I think this is going to make an appearance on our holiday table.  I served it with roasted salmon (see below).

 dry curry rub

 add the kale after the slivered almonds begin to turn light brown

 add squash cubes when kale begins to "wilt"

 toss in the craisins
Move to a serving dish.  Yum!
Salmon:  great fast food!  Directions below.

A salmon "refresher" course:
purchase wild fresh or frozen salmon, approximately 6-8 oz per person

For this recipe, I grated zest from one orange and thinly sliced several cross-sections, then cut those in half
I sprinkled a bit of grapeseed oil on the surface of the salmon.
Then, I distributed the orange zest over the surface, followed by the orange slices

Place on a sheet of parchment in a shallow roasting pan.

Roast at 400 for approximately 14 minutes, give or take.  I like it on the rarer side than overcooked.
I slightly overcooked this fish, but it was still great!

Serve.  It was delicious!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Salted Caramel Frosting

This recipe kept popping up on the Pinterest website so I had to see if I could find it online.  I am sharing the link to CHOW.com so you can check out more of their great recipes.  Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Frosting Recipe

Salted Caramel Frosting
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: Active Time: Makes:2 cups

Looks can be deceiving: This frosting may resemble plain old vanilla, but one bite proves it’s much more. The addition of dark, slightly bitter caramel and an extra pinch of salt lends sophistication. Top some Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with this for an adult take on a childhood favorite.
Game plan: We used this frosting immediately after making it and again after it had set up, and found we liked it better after it had cooled and hardened slightly. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can use it right away; the frosting just may not be as perky as you’d like.
This can be made ahead, tightly covered, and refrigerated—it will last up to 7 days. Let it come to room temperature before using. One batch will frost 24 cupcakes.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
  3. Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.
  4. Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saag Paneer (Indian spinach dish with homemade cheese)

This may be the best thing you will ever put in your mouth!

Paneer, approximately 8 oz., cut into 3/4 inch dice (see previous post for paneer preparation) 
all purpose flour (I substituted coconut flour)

Ghee, 2 oz (ghee is clarified butter)
green pepper, 1 medium, diced (I substituted red pepper because greens do not agree with me)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 lb washed spinach

Ghee, 2 oz (in addition to the above amount)
1/2 lb onion, diced
1 tablespoon ginger, julienned 
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 jalapeno peppers, finely minced (you may vary amount according to taste,but this is not too spicy)
water, as needed
salt, as needed
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 teaspoons garam masala (recipe at bottom of post)

Prep work:
If you buy spinach this way, and I suggest that you do because it is cheaper,
it is important to wash it several times.
I like to immerse the stemmed leaves in a large bowl of water,
drain, and repeat twice more.

Jalapenos:  see my gloves?!

cut off the ends first

make one cut, lengthwise, and open the pod

remove the seeds

slice lengthwise into thin strips

then cross-cut the strips into fine dice

cut the paneer into 3/4 inch dice.  Toss with flour.
I used coconut because it is lower carb and higher in fiber & protein

julienned ginger

Here is the mise en place
Cooking Method:
1. melt 2 oz ghee.  Cook the nuts until they begin to brown slightly.
2. Add the single bell pepper, cook gently until it is tender.
3. Add spinach, season with salt and cook until wilted.
4. Remove from heat. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. (be sure to remove the central vent in blender or food processor because the steam will cause an explosion otherwise!). Set aside.

5. Dust the paneer with choice of flour.  Cook in vegetable oil until it is lightly browned on all sides.  Set aside.

6. In remaining ghee, sweat the onions until very tender and slightly browned.
7.  Add the ginger and cook for one more minute.
8. Add turmeric, jalapenos, and red peppers and sweat gently until the red peppers begin to soften.
9.  Add spinach puree along with enough water to create a smooth sauce. Simmer for about 3 minutes and adjust seasoning with salt.
10. Add the fried paneer and garam masala.
11.  At service, add about 1-2 tablespoon of ghee to mellow the sauce (optional).

saute cashews in ghee
add red (or green) peppers

add spinach

cook until wilted

transfer to food processor (remember to remove the central core to allow heat to vent!)
Process until smooth

Place paneer in a pan with pre-heated oil, such as grapeseed.
Cook until each side is slightly browned.

Remove and set aside.

In remaining ghee, sweat onions until transparent and add ginger.
Cook another minute.

Add turmeric, jalapenos, and red peppers and sweat gently until the red peppers begin to soften.

Add spinach puree along with enough water to create a smooth sauce. and simmer for about 3 minutes and adjust seasoning with salt.

Add paneer and garam masala.

Garam masala recipe:
1.5 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoons cloves
6 green cardamom pods
3 2-inch pieces of cinnamon stick
6 tablespoons cumin seeds
8 dried chili arbols (stems and seeds removed)

1.  In a dry skillet, toast all spices over a medium heat until fragrant.
2. Transfer spices to a spice grinder and process to a fine powder.

Store in a sealed jar.

Yield:  3/4 cup

Why make your own?  Trust me:  it is 100% more flavorful than anything you purchase pre-made in a store!  Find a place that sells bulk spices and purchse small amounts for this recipe.  Bulk purveyors have greater turnover, thus assuring your spices are fresh.  There is no comparison.

This dry mixture is useful in many dishes, so do not feel it should only be used in this one.  I use it in eggs, salad vinaigrettes, and on meats.  Try it.  You will not be sorry!

Note:  The spinach mixture can be prepared in advance of service and reheated.  I recommend doing this because it seems to enhance the flavor tremendously.  It is simply wonderful.