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!