Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dinner rolls

My family loves when I make rolls for dinner. This recipe makes 48 rolls.

3 cups water
1 stick butter melted
1 egg
2 T yeast
1 1/2 T salt
1/2 c honey or sugar

Mix water, butter, egg, yeast, and honey with enough flour to make a batter. Let rest for an hour. Add salt and enough flour that the dough pulls away from the mixing bow. Let rise for 1 hour. Shape into golf ball size balls and let rise for 1 hour. Bake at 350* for 20 min and golden brown and delicious.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Needle Punch

When I visited my Mom's in April she introduced me to needle punch. I have been hooked on it ever since. It is so much easier and a whole lot more fun than cross stitch. This needle punch is inspired by a carving my mom has hanging in her house. I hope she thinks I did it justice.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"C" is for cookie

I have loved chocolate chips cookies for as long as I can remember. They are the ultimate comfort food for me. I have been baking them since I was about 12 years old. My mom would have me make them for family camping trips, family parties, and when ever my Aunt Nell had a bad day she would call ask for chocolate chip cookies, I baked those too.

My first batches were really sad to look at, but the more I made them the better I got until I came to what I think is perfection.

Yield 5 dozen
preheat oven to 325*

3 sticks of butter melted
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/4 cups flour
3 cups chocolate chips

Mix melted butter, brown sugar, sugar together. Add eggs and egg yolks, mix. Add vanilla, baking soda, salt, mix. Add flour mix. Add chocolate chips. Drop by spoon or scoop onto cookie sheet and bake for 14 min rotating pan half way through.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Breakfast: Eggs Benedict, Country Style

Special guest blogger, Pat, shares this year's Mother's Day breakfast.

The typical eggs Benedict consists of a poached egg and a slice of ham served on a toasted English muffin, with Hollandaise sauce on top. This is great if you can get it, but I've never been any good at poaching eggs, and we hardly ever have sliced ham. Usually we don't have English muffins, either. Instead, I like to use a fried egg, bacon—everything's better with bacon—and a slice of toast (preferably Lori's homemade wheat bread). The results are one of Lori's and my favorite breakfasts.

For Mother's Day we had some English muffins so I went ahead and used them. Here are the results:

Making this is easy: just cook up some bacon, fry some eggs, toast some bread, stack them up and drizzle Hollandaise sauce over the top. “But wait!” I hear you say, “where do I get Hollandaise sauce?”

OK, I'll admit it. Hollandaise sauce isn't easy. It's hard work to make, and if you mess up, you could end up with scrambled eggs swimming in a pool of melted butter. But with some basic knowledge and a couple of tricks, you too can make one of the most delicious substances ever to grace a breakfast plate.

In technical terms, Hollandaise sauce is a heated emulsion of butter and lemon juice. Ordinarily, those two things go together as well as, well, oil and water, but if you add an emulsifier, such as a lecithin-rich egg yolk, you can mix them into a smooth, creamy sauce.

Here's what you'll need:
3 egg yolks
1 tsp water
¼ tsp sugar
¾ cup butter cut into chunks
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
a dash or two of cayenne pepper
If you're using unsalted butter, you'll also need ½ tsp salt.

For equipment you'll need a saucepan, a metal mixing bowl and a whisk. The bowl should be able to sit on top of the saucepan such that the bottom of the bowl is several inches above the bottom of the pan.

Now, before we go any further, let's take a moment to clear something up: Lemon juice comes from one of these:

Lemon juice does not come from a green and yellow bottle—I don't care how “real” it claims to be. If you use nasty, fake lemon juice, you will end up with nasty, fake Hollandaise sauce. Now, back to the sauce making.

Fill the saucepan with an inch or so of water, and heat it to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat. Keep it gently simmering until the sauce is done.

Off the heat, whisk the egg yolks and water in the mixing bowl for a minute or two until they lighten in color. Then whisk in the sugar.

Put the bowl on top of the simmering saucepan and whisk constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Now it's time to add the butter. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in the butter one chunk at a time. Return to the heat periodically to keep the sauce warm enough to melt the butter.

The main trick to making Hollandaise and other emulsions such as mayonnaise, is to add the oil very, very slowly at first. Once the emulsion starts coming together and thickening up, you can start speeding up, but the initial stages are critical. Many recipes will tell you to melt and clarify the butter and drizzle it into the egg mixture. While this works, it's much easier to mess up and add too much. Using solid butter and letting it melt helps to ensure slow, even addition.

At this point you should have a nice, creamy sauce. Whisk in the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt (if you used unsalted butter). Serve immediately. If you're not quite ready with the eggs, bacon and toast, you must keep the sauce warm. Once it cools, there's no reheating it.

Only one loose end remains: the extra lemon juice I didn't need for my sauce. Here's what I like to do when life gives me lemons:

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

cupcake queen

I just wanted to share the cupcake I made for my son for school. I know I went a little over the top, but because of his food allergies he is often left out. So I am overcompensating.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

tomato and cream sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion , minced
2 pounds ripe tomatoes , cored, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Table salt
1 pound pasta (see note)


1. Heat butter in medium skillet over medium heat; sauté onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid given off by tomatoes evaporates and tomato pieces lose their shape to form a chunky sauce, about 10 minutes. Add cream to sauce; simmer until cream thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in basil and salt to taste; cover to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot or soup kettle. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente (refer to package directions; cooking times vary with different shapes). Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot. Mix in reserved cooking water, and sauce; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

spaghetti carbonara

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound bacon (6 to 8 slices), slices halved length-wise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 large eggs
2 ounces Parmesan cheese , finely grated (3/4 cup)
3/4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese , finely grated (about 1/4 cup)
3 small cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced to paste
1 pound spaghetti
Table salt and ground black pepper (see note)


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large Dutch oven or stockpot.

2. While water is heating, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Beat eggs, cheeses, and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside.

3. When water comes to boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon table salt; stir to separate pasta. Cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; if pasta is dry, add some reserved cooking water (see below) and toss to moisten. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or 3/4 teaspoon table salt; toss well to combine. Pour bacon mixture over pasta, season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.