Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cranberry Bread - 2

Yes. Here we have another recipe for Cranberry Bread. This one also comes from my grandma Melusine. This one is a cut out from a newspaper clipping. The clipping credits Eleanor Madigan, so cheers to you Eleanor, thank you for sharing your recipe.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup fresh cranberries - chopped (I threw them in whole, and let the mixer chop them)
1 cup nuts (ditto on the chopping)

Combine all ingredietns except cranberries and nuts, mix well, stir in cranberries and nuts, pour into pan which is well greased and bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes.

Yes, you can see this one earned the distinction of Easy - mostly because I took it upon myself to make the chopping of the nuts and cranberries easier. A little something I learned, if you just toss them in and let them whip themselves with the dough - the crack and chop all on their.

Chief commentator liked this one a lot. He said he could really taste the orange coming through in the recipe and loved how the cranberries left little tart pockets in the orangy flavored bread. We both liked the consistancy better than the first batch, although I still feel like there is a recipe out there with a slightly better texture. Good thing I seriously have like 29 more cranberry bread recipes to try...

Arnaud's Remoulade Creole Jambalaya

If you now me, then you know of my love of all things New Orleans. The food, the people, the culture, the music, the ambiance, did I mention the food? I love Remoulade's situated right on Bourbon street in the heart of the French Quarter. Its somewhere that I frequent, when in NOLA, and if you are a fan of yelp, you can read me waxing poetically about my love of this restaurant.

When I was there in 2007, I fell in love with their Jambalaya. As luck would have it, I found the recipe on their website, and printed off a copy for my cookbook. I have made it many times over the past few years, and it has become a staple in my cooking.

If you are in the NOLA area, Remoulade's is a must stop. If you can't make it there, well, you can have a little taste of NOLA right in your home. I like to make it when watching Saints games...

2 pounds jump shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound seasoned sausage, such as andouille, diced
1/2 cup green onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
1 bayleaf
1 teaspoon crushed thyme
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (I use 1/4 I like it a little hotter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups broth
1 cup long grain rice

1 - prepare shrimp.

2 - in a dutch oven or a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid, saute sausage in the oil for about 3 minutes

3- Add garlic, onion, and green pepper, cook til tender

4- Add parsley, tomatoes, seasonings, rice and water. stir in thoroughly then add shrimp

5- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover tightly

6- cook without stirring over low heat, or transfer to 350 degree oven for 25-30 mins until rice is fluffy (I prefer the oven method)

7 - remove bayleaf before serving.

The chief commentator couldn't get enough of this. I think he ate 3 bowls the first night (and I had made homemade corn bread to go with it!) He was delighted beyond all belief. I of course love it, and have considered it a staple in my kitchen for a while now.

I do double the cayenne in the recipe when it's just him and I. The 'normal' 1/8th teaspoon howeer is fine for the kids, and they love eating the recipe as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cranberry Bread - 1

First off my darling readers, I must make a confession. I love cranberries. LOVE them. The day that fresh cranberries hit the supermarket shelves, I am buying bags by the armfuls and throwing them into any and every recipe I can. I'm also freezing them like crazy so I can have cranberries year around. I think one of the reasons the Chief Commentator is so hesitant to buy a deep freeze is because he secretly knows I would devote a solid 1/2 of it to cranberries.
Apparently this obsession of mine with the fruit runs in both sides of the family. Not only do the cook books I've put together have pages upon pages of recipes with the lovely little red berries being showcased, both of my grandmothers fill their books with recipes requiring them.
So for simplicity sake of keeping track of the volumes of Cranberry recipes, I've added Cranberries to my sortable list (on the right side of the blog) and because there are so many Cranberry Bread (and also Cranberry sauces, etc) I am going to number them so not to confuse myself or hopefully you. Many of them do not differ by much, although I am hoping in those small subtle differences, I will find what truely makes one better than the other.
This one comes from a recipe card from my Grandma Melusine's small cardex box. I found it the same day I found the beef bourguigon and made it the following.
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
juice of 1 lemon , juice of 1 orange plus water for 1 cup total liquid
1 1/2 cups cranberries cut in half
bake one hour at 325.
Ok - my first kevetch of this recipe... I do not like standing there slicing cranberries in half. Especially for a fruit that when exposed to heat pop on their own.. but I did it (patiently). It's for that reason, the recipe got a Moderate rating rather than easy. It takes a lot of time to cut those suckers. Not that it's necessarily "hard" work.
I also kinda felt like I was wasting the lemon and the orange by not grating the rind into the recipe.. but maybe that is just me.
First off, the bread came out looking beautiful. It had a very nice light color to it, it smelled amazing. The dough consistance had good flavor of oranges, and cranberries, but the texture was a little moist. Cheif commentator wondered if maybe we should have cooked it longer (although the tester came out clean) to make the texture a little firmer. Or perhaps that is just how it was supposed to be?
All in all a good recipe. Little more work than most, but tasty.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

Ok, for all you Julia Child nuts out there, who have ever tried to make her recipe for Beef Bourguignon, you know that if you follow all the steps, the way she makes it, it's not an easy dish to do. This recipe came out of my Grandma Melusine's recipe file box. She claims there are only 156 calories per serving... and my claim to the recipe, aside from the cooking time (hands free) it's "Sunday night taste, with Tuesday night effort"

3lb lean beef
2 tsp oil
1 med onion sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano crushed
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small bay leaf
3 mushrooms

Cut beef into 1/2" cubes. In 2 quart saucepan cook meat, brown, add onion and flour stirring to coat. Add wine, chicken broth, and seasonings. co ver and cook 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Add mushrooms 5 minutes before end of cooking time. Remove bay leaf.

Perhaps one of the reasons I love this recipe so much is because it's actually written out in my grandmother's handwriting. She's clearly made it, and it's not just some recipe card that was cut out of a magazine for 'some day maybe I'll do this'... but that's the emotional side of me talking.

So really it's that simple. I have a couple of suggestions of my own for the next time I make it. I would A) double the amount of mushrooms B) Soak the mushrooms in some wine before adding, to amp up the flavor and C) Add them sooner, so they can intergrate into the sauce a little more.

Cheif commentator says that this is a "new favorite" he can't wait to have it again. He loved everything about it - his only complaint is that there wast much left. Between the two of us and the 3 kids, we gobbled it all down. The beef really cooks down, so if you are figuring this for a dinner party, I would guess more like a 1lb per person (precooked) and 2 mushrooms per lb.

Also, we served it with potatoes with rosemary and garlic (yummy) but it would have been equally delicious over rice, so that the rice could absorb some of the gravy. It was a huge hit with all three kids - so yay for a good meal, that is also kid approved.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coffee Cake - 1973 Pillsbury Bake Off Winner

Hi There.
Forgive the sideways photo. I have no idea why it has decided to do that, but editing the picture to make it go the other way turns it wonky. I promise the photo being sideways does not affect the flavor of the coffee cake.
The Chief Commentator has often mentioned to me his love of coffee cake. There are few things that make him as happy as the idea of having a delicious slice of heavenly cake with his morning cup of joe. Lucky for him, it appears that both my grandmothers also have a thing for breakfast cakes and breads to be enjoyed with their sanka. This recipe is no exception.
This one comes from my grandma melusines cook book - it's a cut out from a Pillsbury flour bag. It is titled "one-step tropical coffee cake" and under it it says $5,000 flour winner in Pillsbury's 1973 Bake-Off"
So the recipe won $5k for someone several years before I was even born... $5k is a lot of money, especially in 1973... so this must be good right?
Oven @ 350 degrees and you are going to need a 8 or 9 inch coffee cake pan.
Using solid shortening, grease the square pan.
1 1/2 cups flour (Pillsbury of course!)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz plain yogurt or sour cream (I used yogurt)
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 eggs
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level off.
combine all ingredients in large bowl
stir 70-80 strokes until well blended (ugh! my arms!)
pour into greased pan
set batter aside
1 cup coconut or chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
combine in small bowl, and sprinkle over batter
bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
tip: 3/4 cup well drained crushed or chunk pineapple, fruit cocktail or mandarin oranges maybe spooned over the batter before sprinkling with streusel mixture. Bake 10-15 minutes longer.
High altitude - 5200 feet, bake basic recipe at 375 for 35-45 minutes. if adding fruit, bake 45 to 55 minutes.
Ok, so I didn't "go there" with the fruit cocktail, oranges or pineapple. It just didn't seem right (although it does seem very early 1970's)
Chief commentator liked how the cake wasn't very sweet. He said it stood up well with his coffee, although he would have liked a little butter drizzled into the topping to make it stick better.
Coffee cake isn't my forte, but I did like it, and I think in part, I liked it because it wasn't overly sweet.