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Showing posts from February, 2010

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars

Lemon?  Cheesecake?  This is lemon squares kicked up a notch!
These bars are the ultimate!  The recipe for this irresistible dessert belongs to Elinor Klivan and was in The Chicago Tribune last November.  And we owe it all to Christopher Columbia as he is the man who carried lemon seeds with him to the Americas in 1493.  Lemons were mainly used as medicine and ornaments back then and did not appear in cooking until the 1700’s when lemon trees were increasingly grown in Florida and California. 
These luscious bars are a bit out of the ordinary because of the way the filling is prepared.   Lemon zest is added to the rich dough and pressed into a baking pan after which, the creamy cheesecake layer is spread over the top of the dough.  Then the ripple affect takes hold when a lemon curd mixture is swirled through the batter.  

When serving, these incredibly yummy bars are not cut into traditional cheesecake slices but into squares instead. The end result is a delicious, decadent bar that lo…

Round Steak, Grandma’s and Mom’s Way

I am a beef lover, my favorite meat!

While growing up on the farm, beef was the best, and there was never a shortage of it.  Mom even canned it for making mince meat pies and so forth.  

My mother and grandmother prepared round steak this way so I carry on the tradition and do it the same way. 
Since round steak is not the tenderest of cuts, I learned from Mom that the easy way of helping it out is to have the butcher tenderize first before cooking it.  Or, do it the old fashioned way with a mallet.  

Actually, I have used a saucer edge to tenderize it many times, just like Grandma did, and that works just fine.  Then a coating of flour, followed by searing the meat in the skillet, finishing in the oven.

I love this dish and it reeks of comfort food to me.  The round steak is so tender you won’t need a knife.  

Serve it with buttery, creamy mashed potatoes and a vegetable for a delectable dinner!

Round Steak in Gravy
2 pounds round steak ¼ cup flour, or more 2 or 3 tablespoons s…

Stuffed Eggplant (Aubergine)

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables.  Unfortunately, it is not for anyone else in the family! May I digress for a moment?   Aubergine is also one of my favorite colors and the color of my dress for Matt and Kathy’s wedding next month!

When I was a teenager, I was delighted to have dinner at Old Stone Inn, in Simpsonville, KY with my parents and others.  This building has quite a history, going back to the early 1800’s, the time of the building’s completion.  It has served as a stage coach stop, tavern, residence, inn and since the 1920’s, a restaurant.  Its list of historical visitors includes former president Andrew Jackson and General Lafayette. 
Old Stone Inn is constructed of quarried limestone, gathered from a nearby quarry.  Upon passing through another owner’s hands in the 1920’s, the building served as a tearoom known as “Ye Olde Stone Inn.”  It is a beautiful old building filled with a plethora of antiques and at the time we were there, patrons were encouraged to go upst…

Baked Beans, My Way

Bubba, 1971, almost 3 years old
I haven’t met a bean I didn’t like!  Baked beans is everyday food for every man, woman and child and depending upon where you are from, there are probably as many versions as there are people. 
Way down Texas way, they are “cowboy beans” with ground beef and plenty of ketchup.  In the Boston area, they are sweetened with molasses, while in New England they are loaded with maple syrup.  Down south, pork is the star in a baked bean dish, out Washington way:  they add bacon and apples to their baked beans.  I have no idea where my mine fit in, maybe a little of all; I just know they are delicious and so does Bubba (Bill, Jr.!)  They are his favorite and mine also. 
This baked bean dish is filled with lots of crumbled bacon, and a sauce of brown sugar, molasses and vinegar with a little dry mustard for a tang.  They are not spicy and not overly sweet, they just have a pleasant taste.  I used to make baked beans with a recipe that required soaking the beans …

Bubble and Squeak

No, this isn’t what happens when you’ve imbibed too much!  It is the name of a dish whose origin is unclear; however, it is definitely British.  There are so many theories about the name, but it probably has to do with the noises emitted while the cabbage is bubbling in the water and then squeaks in the skillet with the sausage.  Bubble and squeak was popular during World War II as it was a good way to use leftovers during the time when most food was rationed.
It is really one of the earliest forms of recycling; a traditional British dish that took leftovers from Sunday dinner and re-invented them into a tasty meal for Monday.  I love the combination of the 3 ingredients wrapped up in one dish.  Potatoes and cabbage absolutely is a perfect pair and the sausage just spices things up for more flavors. 
With the addition of eggs, the Brits eat bubble and squeak for breakfast as well as dinner.  It sounds great to me and a meal perfect for any time.  Bubble and squeak does not take a lot o…

Pizza Love/Aunt Beck

Aunt Beck was great not only because she was my aunt but because she was the one who introduced me to pizza!

Aunt Beck, 1991
She was my mother’s youngest sister.  After Aunt Beck and Uncle Dick got married, they lived for a short while in a trailer in the 3-corner lot across the road from our farm in Pickerington.  I was really young and Mom did not allow me to cross the road and walk over there by myself but, I always wanted to!  A few years later, they had a daughter and lived in Columbus. 
Let me go back to around 1955 when I was 10 years old!  (Ok, so now you know how old I am!)  Aunt Beck, Uncle Dick and their toddler, Vicki, were visiting us one day when Aunt Beck asked if I’d like to go home with them for the night.  I loved to go to their home when I was a kid, so my pajamas and toothbrush were packed fast!  But, there was one thing I didn’t love and that was applesauce! Aunt Beck did love it and served it sometimes at meal time.  I really didn’t like apple sauce and always tri…

Cardamom Braid

Cardamom was a new spice to me when my MIL added it to her coffee cake batter --- it was the incredible aroma that got my attention.  She was a first generation Swede so she came by using cardamom as naturally as her mother and Aunt Ida.

India is cardamom’s native country with the green pod being used extensively in cooking there instead of ground cardamom.  It has a unique savory, slightly sweet spicy flavor and approximately 8 to 16 seeds are encased in a pod.  Cardamom loses its natural oils quickly, so only ground what you need for the recipe.  Next to saffron, it is one of the most expensive spices; therefore, you do not want to buy ground cardamom and let it set in the cabinet. 

Buy whole green cardamom pods or seeds and grind your own for the freshest taste.  If you purchase the pods, smash them on a cutting board to crack them open.  Gather the seeds and grind them in a spice grinder.  You won't believe the the slightly pungent aroma after a couple of seconds grinding!

The …

Miniature Cheesecakes

“Life is short ~ eat dessert first” is the motto of many people, I’m sure.  I don’t know who said it but, he was a wise person indeed!  Why fill up on dinner and then have no room left for dessert? 
If you have cheesecake lovers in your house, they will not be able to resist these little morsels!  They are small, just a couple of bites and that is what is so good about them.  You won’t feel so guilty about eating them as you would a large slice of cheesecake.  The cheese mixture sits on a vanilla wafer and then luscious cherries are spooned over it.  

They are so easy to make and would be a hit with a crowd.  They will work just as well with a blueberry or apple topping and most others.  Whatever your choice, they are worth making.  
Contestant Lynn Strickler Waiting for a Proper Pan at the Pillsbury Bake Off Contest Photo credit:  Lisa Larsen 
Miniature Cheesecakes
24 cupcake liners 24 vanilla wafers 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature ¾ cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tablespoon…

Aunt Lucy’s Mexican Corn Pudding

Aunt Lucy, 1978
Aunt Lucy was Dad’s sister.  They were born on the same day, March 20th, 5 years apart; she in 1906 and Dad in 1911.  She had a daughter, Polly, who died from a disease when a toddler.  Incidentally, in 30 days, on March 20th, our younger son, Matt, will be getting married to Kathy!
Here's one of my many memories of her:  Without fail, at a young age, when I jumped into her car, she insisted that I scoot over to sit right beside her while she drove.  I was told in no uncertain terms, to not touch the car door, much less lean against it as we very slowly cruised the roads.  While driving, she would check the mirror countless times to make sure her lipstick was still bright red and not escaping the lines of her mouth and that every hair was in place.
That was just Aunt Lucy!  She was truly great!  We had many good times together!  She instilled her love of music (and Dad also with music!), genealogy and reading in me.  I loved her dearly and she doted on me. 

Darwin, h…

Homemade Summer Sausage

German Sausage Shop  John Dominis

Do you like summer sausage?  Have you ever considered making it yourself?
 It is so easy to make and I love it. I was amazed when Alice, my mother-in-law, made it.  I had no idea what to expect when she said she was going to make it but, I was blown away by how savory good it tasted and what a great texture it had!
The vital ingredient is the Morton Tender Quick Cure salt.  Do not substitute regular table salt for it; it is not the same thing!  The ground beef is combined and kneaded with spices, refrigerated and mixed each day.  On the fifth day, the meat is shaped into logs and baked.  This is a bit spicy but, if you like it with a little heat, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper.  After being baked, they are even better if left to set for a couple of days in the refrigerator. 
Wow!  It is so delicious and so easy to make.  If you have never made homemade sausage, I hope you try it.  You will be pleasantly surprised with the results and you just…

“He toasted his bacon on a fork and caught the drops of fat on his bread; then he put the rasher on his thick slice of bread, and cut off chunks with a knife, poured his tea into his saucer, and was happy.”

~ D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

Dinner Party

Dinner Party
Jules-Alexandre Grun

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