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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2021, I’ll still participate, but the two daughters are going to do more posting from here on out.

We participate in an amazon program that rewards a little tiny $ something (pennies, really) if you purchase any books recommended (below), or buy products occasionally mentioned on the blog with an amazon link. 

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BOOK READING:

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. My friend Ann recommended it. I was gripped with the story within the first paragraph, and it never stopped until I turned the last page. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s (I think). At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. Some very ugly things happen at that school. Eventually they  escape, and they are “on the run.” With a few others with them. If you loved Huckleberry Finn, you’ll have a great appreciation for this story as they use a canoe to get themselves down river. Never having very much to eat and getting into trouble way too often, and authorities on their tail. Well, you just have to read the book to find out what happens.

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children. The book is heartbreaking, but one of those that everyone should read. The hardship, the hunger, the dirt and dust, the failed crops, the lack of rain, then the story picks up again in central California, back in the day when the wealthy growers just used up the migrants. I don’t want to spoil the story. So worth reading. Hannah really knows how to weave a story.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks. The father was very dark, but he plays no part, really, in this story. Growing up, the girls leave home at 18 to find their way in New Orleans. Suddenly, one twin disappears (her clothes and suitcase all gone in the wink of an eye). Her twin left behind has no idea what’s happened to her. As the story reveals, with divided paths, one twin continues her life as a black woman, and the other twin, the one who left, is able to pass as a white woman. She marries well, has a daughter. Well, let’s just say that there are lots of wicked webs woven throughout the story, starting from the girls’ mother who never wants to speak again of her lost daughter. But you know where this is going, don’t you? Things are found out. The author does a great job of weaving the story apart and then back together.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress. She was a brilliant mind, and a beautiful woman. It tells the story of her coming of age, how she navigated the world of acting back in that time period (she was Austrian, and Hitler was in power). The writing was very well done – to tell Hedy’s story with detail and poignancy. Eventually Hedy made it to the U.S. and her life story changed, but still had its difficulties. I loved the book, beginning to end. She should have become an engineer as she invented several war related bomb tools. Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, when aristocrats were chased and killed, guillotined in many cases. There is a young couple (part of the royal court) who escape to a remote small castle owned by his family, located on the edge of France and Italy, hoping to wait out the revolution and hoping the villagers love and care about them. Then jump to current day as a small English group of close friends decide to retire somewhere on the continent, and settle on a small abandoned castle in the remote hills of France along the Italian border. Got the picture? The historian in the group is quite interested in the history of the home, and clues are revealed (in the tower) that lead her and the group on a quest to discover what happened to the couple who used to live there. There was a fire once upon a time. There’s an pesky ghost. There’s also a very old child’s doll/playhouse on the grounds. Plus there’s a small graveyard. It is VERY intriguing. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. The story is all about Mary, her growing up, her scholarly pursuits, and then from the moment she meets Jesus as a young man. The story follows along to and beyond his death on the cross. In the time of Christ it was extremely uncommon for a man not to marry. It was almost unseemly. Fraught with suspicions, I’d suppose. Although scripture, as scripture, does not play a very strong part here, if you’ve read the Bible you’ll see many of the stories of Jesus’ life through Mary’s eyes. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. Her husband was a journalist, and his life was always in danger because he wrote the truth, and that was taking a risk. The story is about her escape, with harrowing chapters as she makes her way north from Acapulco, with various major detours, one step, or sometimes nothing more than a hair’s width ahead of the cartel minions trying to find her. I could NOT put this book down. The author is not Hispanic, and some have criticized her for that, but she did her research, and many authors write about places and people they are not. I have nothing but respect for her having told this story. You need to read this.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice, living in an English home which lacks much, leaps to agree to marry a visiting American. It was an escape for her. He is a man of some family wealth, and she travels from England to Kentucky, during the 1920s. Once settled into the family home, she discovers married life is not what she had expected. Affection is lacking, and she must share the home with her tyrannical father-in-law, the owner of mines in the deep mountains. And with the ghost of the deceased mother-in-law. The family cook won’t tolerate Alice’s help in the kitchen. Alice is terribly lonely and unhappy. The town doesn’t much like this English woman with her funny way of speaking. But then, she meets a woman who encourages her to join the Horseback Librarians. With trepidation, she begins traversing the remote hills, through unbelievable weather, to deliver old, battered and tattered books to the remote inhabitants of the area. She makes friends, wonderful, loving people from all walks of life. There is tremendous tension from the danger of the mines, the unions trying to get a foothold, plus the unraveling of her marriage, including the dreaded father-in-law who feels she should answer to him, behave as he wants. Uh, no. Alice goes her own route. Her new friends become her family, and, oh, what love. There has been much criticism of Moyes’ possible plagiarism of another book regarding the Horseback Librarians. I read the other book – but I didn’t feel remotely as intrigued by that story as I was by Moyes’ version. A feel good story, but it takes some while getting to that “feel good” part, nearly to the end.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat. It’s about Ellen. Her early years, under much hardship. About her teens, some of it as an orphan. Then a young adult, which includes marriage, a marriage blanc, which I didn’t understand until you learn the meaning. Then a child enters the picture, a child that will become a focus for the remainder of the book. Through the war, and beyond. I cried several times, as will you, I suspect. What’s a constant is the descriptions of the place, a town called Upton, near Southampton. About the hills and dales, the flora and fauna, the rain, the mud sometimes, the flooding sometimes. But throughout, it’s about neighbors caring for neighbors, and about love. A must read. Would make a really good book club read.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Best book I’ve read recently. Not new. Called Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape. I stayed up all hours to keep reading. The book was written from the many journals and writing compiled by her children. Her name: Mary Ingles. And it chronicles her 1000-mile trek in treacherous weather and over uncharted ground. What an amazing woman, and what a story.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America. This book is the story of her life. The people she met, the men in her life, her children, and always about her indefatigable energy for life. Always hoping to return to Jamaica.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, the son of a farming family, who sabotages everything in his being regarding going to school and leaves as soon as he is able (probably about 8th grade, I’d guess). And becomes a shepherd. And at night, he read literature that he accumulated from his grandfather. And then what happens to him as he grows up. Riveting.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Desserts, on December 9th, 2020.

pumpkin_pudding_pie

What do you do when you want pumpkin pie, but are trying to limit carbs? Make the pudding part this way.

Since I spent Thanksgiving at home, by myself (it was okay, don’t worry), I still wanted to have a traditional kind of meal. So I planned out a menu that would satisfy my desire for the full dinner.

thanksgiving_plateI roasted a whole chicken, with a recipe I’ve posted here before, and by far it’s still the BEST roasted chicken I’ve ever made. I’ve probably made it four times this year. I try not to eat chicken skin, but oh, this one, well, I had to have a bite (actually two). It makes a gorgeous golden bird, done in an iron skillet, partly at 450°F and then with the oven turned off. I prepared an old favorite, Broccoli Casserole. I’ll bet I haven’t made that in 10 years. It’s cooked broccoli with a kind of cream sauce, with mayo in it, and eggs to gel it. As I write this, I’ve had that for my dinner the last 2 nights. Now it’s all gone, as I made a smaller sized casserole of it this time. I baked a sweet potato and had it with butter on it. I also made two cranberry sides. My old favorite, Cranberry Relish. It originated with my mother’s recipe, but I’ve embellished it a little, by adding apple and the ginger. It’s a raw relish with apples and oranges in it, plus a little bit of ground ginger for zing. And I’ll post next a different cranberry side I made that’s more a savory one, called Cranberry Caponata. It’s an interesting story how I came upon this recipe. More on that in my next post.

So, back to this pumpkin dessert. Obviously  – if you’ve followed this blog long enough – you know that pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts. Years ago I used to make a layered ice cream and pumpkin pie (that was served frozen, obviously) in a pie crust. Haven’t made that in years. I think my family (once I married Dave in 1983) didn’t much love that pie so I began baking my own very traditional ones, using the Libby label recipe. Of all the pumpkin pie recipes I’ve ever made, that one is still my favorite. Then I discovered Costco’s pumpkin pie and game over. I bought that for years. But I didn’t want to visit Costco this year (I’m being really careful about Covid exposure). I suppose I could have made the same Libby’s filling recipe for this. I may try that next time. But this one was really good, and very easy.

Recently I bought a flat (12) of those cute little Ball 4-Ounce Quilted Jars. They’re small but really perfect for a small dessert, and so cute to serve. And I’ve discovered plastic lids (made by Ball) that work so much better than the metal rings and inserts that seem to rust after you’ve used them 3-4 times. For canning you do want to use the metal rings and inserts, but for ordinary food storage and making a dessert for refrigerating, the plastic lids are a dream. The jars and gray plastic lids are on amazon, if you’re interested (click on the links I’ve provided). Just make sure you buy the right size lid – they make them for the Ball Mason Jar Lids – Regular Mouth (Mason Jar Caps) – Leak Proof (Standard), and for Ball Mason Jar Lids Caps) – Leak Proof (Wide). These little jars use the regular size lids.

9_puddings_to_bakeSo, I prepared the filling/pudding and poured it into the little Ball jars, placed them in a baking pan and baked them (without a water bath) for about 25 minutes. Once cooled, those little babies went into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Whip up some heavy cream with a little sugar and vanilla, or be lazy and use the canned, which is what I did this time.

What’s GOOD: that I could enjoy pumpkin “pie” without making a crust. Since I was having lots of calories for this Thanksgiving dinner, it was good to limit something! Easy recipe to make. Easy to store in those cute little Ball jars, and easy to serve.

What’s NOT: nothing that I can think of.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Pumpkin Pudding – pie with no crust

Recipe By: probably online recipe somewhere!
Serving Size: 8

3/4 cup granulated sugar — or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves — scant
2 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin purée — Libby brand, preferably
12 ounces evaporated milk Whipped cream for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
3. Pour into glass or ceramic baking dish. A good thing to know is that you can fill a baking dish deeper than a pie crust, but it’s best not to exceed a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Baking times vary with depth, size, and type of baking dish, so you just have to watch and check.
4. Bake until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack, then refrigerate overnight, until ready to serve. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
NOTE: Can make in individual ramekins, bake about 25 minutes or more.
Per Serving: 167 Calories; 5g Fat (23.8% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 59mg Cholesterol; 211mg Sodium; 25g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 136mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 260mg Potassium; 130mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on November 24th, 2020.

peach_upside_down_cake

So easy, so tender. Have an iron skillet? Make this.

It’s been awhile back – mid October actually – when my grandson Vaughan was visiting me for 5 days, we went to my friend Cherrie’s house and had dinner with them.We stayed social-distanced the entire time. Bud made his wonderful gin ‘n tonics (using Fever Tree Light Tonic). So refreshing – it was a warm evening. We had a very hot summer in Southern California.

Cherrie isn’t much of a baker – she will tell anybody that. So I was surprised when she brought out dessert! I made meatloaf and a vegetable (a Brussels sprout dish I’ve shared here). Cherrie had an appetizer (plus the dessert). Vaughan got some very gingery ginger ale. And then we had this wonderful, light dessert. Cherrie served it with whipped cream. We brought some of it home and Vaughan couldn’t WAIT to have seconds. We had it with ice cream the next day.

Cherrie gave me the recipe. And Vaughan asked Cherrie if she’d send it to his mom, because he wanted to have it again once he got home. It was THAT good.

Since I didn’t make this myself – I will, however, as I have some white peaches frozen – I don’t have firsthand knowledge of the making of this, but I trust Cherrie when she said this is very easy to make. She had gorgeous peaches which are put on the bottom of the iron skillet, but on top of some melted butter and brown sugar. Then the white cake is made and spooned over the top. It’s baked and once removed from the oven and cooled for 10 minutes, you carefully flip over the hot pan (or iron skillet) onto a platter and serve it warm. You could make this ahead and simply reheat very gently in a low oven for about 10-15 minutes to get that wonderful warm-out-the-oven taste. The recipe came from Taste of Home. So the original recipe said, this is a very old recipe – I can just see it created from an old farm kitchen with peach trees in the back 40.

What’s GOOD: this is SO easy to make, so Cherrie said. And I can certainly attest to the taste (and so will my grandson Vaughan) – it’s not all that sweet (good) and the cake is VERY tender. I liked that part a lot. Cherrie suggested sifting the dry ingredients first.

What’s NOT: nothing at all.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Peach Upside Down Cake

Recipe By: Taste of Home
Serving Size: 8

PEACH LAYER:
4 tablespoons butter — softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups fresh peaches — sliced peeled
CAKE LAYER:
8 tablespoons butter — softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg — room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk — 2% works fine here

1. Melt butter; pour into an ungreased 9-in. round baking pan or iron skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
2. Arrange peach slices in single layer over sugar.
3. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and sift once (helps to make the cake light in texture); add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Spoon over peaches.
4. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting (carefully) onto a serving plate. Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Per Serving: 391 Calories; 19g Fat (42.0% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 54g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 70mg Cholesterol; 285mg Sodium; 38g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 97mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 187mg Potassium; 135mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Cookies, Desserts, on November 14th, 2020.

gooey_fudge_brownies

A post from Sara . . .

This is my new go-to brownie recipe.  It’s a bit more challenging than the one-bowl recipes but well worth it.  They taste great out of oven (if my kids are home, I usually loose 1/4 of the tray within minutes of removing it from the oven!).  And soooo much better frozen.  They are the true dense, chewy chocolaty taste that I feel brownies should be. The recipe comes from the back of the Rodelle brand cocoa package. It’s been on the back of their product for years and years.

The recipe requires the extra step of melting the butter with sugar to make a syrup.  Then the 5 (that’s right, 5) eggs makes the chewy (and tender) factor.  You can double this recipe easily and bake it in a large sheet pan.  Don’t skip the parchment paper on the bottom for easy removal. The recipe says it makes 12, but I think I cut them smaller, so I get about 18 out of the 9×13 pan.

I’ve been known to modify the recipe by adding these items:

1. melted smooth peanut butter and swirl it in

2. or dulce de leche and swirl it in

3. or stack it on top of a batch of my chocolate chip cookies in bar form.

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Gooey Fudge Brownies from Rodelle

Recipe By: Rodelle’s famous recipe
Serving Size: 12 (or 18)

1 cup butter — PLUS 2 tbsp
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour — PLUS 1 tablespoon
3/4 cup cocoa powder — PLUS 1 tablespoon
1/4 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts — (optional)

NOTE: If you cut smaller squares, you’ll get more than 12 brownies.
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Line 9×13 pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.
3. Melt butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan on very low heat. Let the mixture cool slightly and transfer to a large bowl. Add eggs gradually, mixing well. Add vanilla extract.
4. Sift dry ingredients together and add to egg mixture, stirring gently and minimally.
Add chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Pour into prepared pan and bake approximately 35 minutes – do NOT overbake or you’ll lose the fudgy, gooey texture!
5. Cool before cutting. Turn onto a surface and peel parchment paper off. Cut into squares. They are great frozen, just so you know.
Per Serving: 431 Calories; 25g Fat (48.6% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 118mg Cholesterol; 298mg Sodium; 42g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 35mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 200mg Potassium; 124mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Cookies, Desserts, on August 26th, 2020.

whoopie_pies

A post from Sara . . .

Do you remember that childhood treat, the Whoopie Pie?  That hand-held delectably moist chocolate cake with marshmallow buttercream inside?  I recently made this recipe again. I can’t remember when I made it last but whoa, was it good! My kids and their friends who are now in their 20’s ate them within 2 days and I made a double batch! I’ve already been asked to make more. They are an excellent make ahead individual dessert that travels well and freezes easily.

My suggestions while making the cakes:

  • Use a scoop so that the cakes are close in size and shape.  That way they can be matched up easily to make the sandwich-style “pie.”
  • Keep the cake batter chilled, as it tends to spread out if it gets too warm.
  • When assembling the pies I paired the cakes on a cooling rack. Then flip every other row onto its top to expose the flat bottom of the cake for frosting.
  • Use a smaller scoop to add frosting.  It spreads out on its own, no need to use a knife.  I topped each upside down frosted cake with another so that both cake tops were showing.
  • If it’s warm, the top cake will slide.  So once assembled,  immediately refrigerate to solidify the frosting.

Due to COVID, I chose to wrap each pie individually in plastic wrap so the kids could just grab and enjoy.  

The recipe makes 8 pies but they are quite large.  I think using a smaller scoop and making twice as many would be better next time. There is a Wilton 12-Cavity Whoopie Pie Baking Pan available on amazon, but those are the larger (standard) size. If  you decide to make them smaller, just use a cookie sheet. These dessert cookies are very rich and full of flavor so I believe the smaller size is a better choice.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Whoopie Pies

Serving Size: 8 (or 16, if you make them half-size)

CAKES:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter — softened
1 cup brown sugar — packed
1 large egg
FILLING:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream topping
1 teaspoon vanilla

Notes: Sara’s advice – make smaller cookies, about half as large as indicated, which would give a double yield. These are very rich.
1. Mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt in a bowl.
2. Stir together he buttermilk and vanilla.
3. Beat together sugar and butter in large bowl until mixture is very pale and fluffy.
4. Add egg. Reduce speed, then add buttermilk mixture with flour mixture, alternately, starting and ending with flour.
5. Spoon 1/4 cup batter on greased baking sheet, 2″ apart. Bake in 350°F oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
6. FILLING: Mix all ingredients together in electric mixer. Spread 1 large tablespoon of filling onto flat side of cake. Top with a second cake, flat side down. Chill immediately.
Per Serving (for 8 cookies): 695 Calories; 26g Fat (32.7% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 113g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 87mg Cholesterol; 674mg Sodium; 65g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 75mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 300mg Potassium; 137mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on August 20th, 2020.

iron_skillet_peach_crisp

Oh, lovely peaches. They are SO good this year.

When I asked my neighbor to buy peaches for me, I asked for eight of them. And I had some kind of peach whiskey drink in mind I’d read about that used a reduction of peaches. But then, I couldn’t find the recipe. So, as two days went by and the peaches ripened to perfection, I had to decide what to do with them. I’m trying NOT to make desserts – because I’m the only one eating them – but alas, what to do except make peach crisp. What a treat this was. There’s not a lot of topping on this, and I used monkfruit sweetener – and truly I cannot taste the difference. The original recipe came from a 2015 issue of Bon Appetit. I adapted it a little bit –  less sugar, then the substitution of monkfruit in the topping and the peaches. I added a bit more garam masala (what an unusual addition).

What is garam masala:

it’s a frequent ingredient in Indian cooking, but it’s a combo of spices and maybe a few herbs (coriander, cumin, bay, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, maybe star anise and sometimes fennel). So, it works fine here in a fruit dessert.

peach_pecan_layer

There at left you can see the skillet with just the peach mixture and the pecans sprinkled on top.

The peaches were dripping juice off my hands as I peeled them, then sliced them into a bowl, adding just a tetch of monkfruit sweetener, lemon juice, garam masala and salt. Into the buttered iron skillet it went. The topping is very easy to make, and I used less monkfruit than the recipe called for too. The little chilled butter cubes are easily mushed into the dry mixture – using your fingers. Pecans are an essential ingredient – they are so perfect with peaches (they’re one of those magic combinations made in heaven) which tells me God had a plan when he made Georgia (and the South) peach country, and also pecan iron_skillet_peach_crisp_unbakedcountry. So the topping is sprinkled over the top and it’s baked for 25-40 minutes. It kind of depends on how thick the peaches are in the skillet. If you have fewer peaches, do use a smaller iron skillet. You want the peaches to be about 1 1/2 inches thick in the pan. Maybe even more as they shrink as they bake.

There, at right, is the crisp, just out of the oven. The topping doesn’t get all that brown, just a bit golden.

Because this was a treat for me, I ate just that for dinner. Nothing else. And oh yes, it was just wonderful. I let the skillet sit out on my counter overnight and then put what was left of the crisp (a lot) into a storage container. The topping won’t be crisp anymore, but the flavor will still be just as good. And probably the pecans will be soggy. So, ideally, make just enough of this that you’ll eat at one sitting.

What’s GOOD: I liked everything about this. The peaches, of course, which were at the peak of perfection; the toasted pecans were also SO good. I couldn’t discern the garam masala, but am sure they contributed to the flavor even though I couldn’t actually taste it. I’d definitely make this again.

What’s NOT: nothing really – it helps to have really ripe peaches. Ideally, eat all of it at the first serving of it as the topping won’t stay crisp and the pecans will get soggy. Eat up!

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Iron-Skillet Peach Pecan Crisp

Recipe By: Adapted from Bon Appetit 2015
Serving Size: 8

TOPPING:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar — (packed) or artificial sweetener like monkfruit brown
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter — chilled, cut into very small cubes
FILLING:
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 tablespoon unsalted butter — room temperature, to smear inside skillet
2 1/4 pounds peaches — (about 7 medium), cut into 1/2″ wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar — or artificial sweetener like monkfruit
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

NOTES: If peaches are not fully ripe, use more sugar mixed into the peaches. If you reduce the size of this, make the crisp in a smaller iron skillet.
1. Topping: Whisk flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers until clumps form and no dry spots remain.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened in color, 8-10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
3. Smear bottom and sides of a 10″ cast-iron skillet with butter. Toss peaches, brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon juice, garam masala, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Transfer to skillet. Sprinkle toasted pecans on top, then add crumble topping, breaking up into large pieces, over filling.
4. Bake crisp until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling around the edges, 25-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
5. Crisp can be made 1 day ahead. Store lightly covered at room temperature.
Per Serving: 405 Calories; 27g Fat (56.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 34mg Cholesterol; 295mg Sodium; 26g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 37mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 361mg Potassium; 99mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, Grilling, on August 2nd, 2020.

grilled_lemon_pound_cake_grilled_peaches

Another recipe from Sara.

Some weeks ago I spent the day with daughter Sara and her family. In her backyard. Social distanced. It was a beautiful sunny Southern California day – the kind that makes you glad you live in California. Sara had made two new dishes – I’ve already posted the Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches (which were SO good). For dessert she made this lemon pound cake. She’d baked it the evening before, and her family went so NUTS over it, they ate the whole thing. So the next morning she had to bake another one. Her words: this is the best pound cake I’ve ever made. What it is, is VERY lemony. It’s a pound cake – dense like a pound cake is, but so tender. SO tender.

lemon_pound_cake_ready_to_grillThe  cake comprises the usual ingredients – eggs, butter and sugar, but what was different was cake flour. Which always makes baked goods lighter in texture. That’s not to say it’s like a normal cake – no. It’s a pound cake, meaning more dense. And it is all lemon – there’s 1/4 CUP of lemon zest in this pound cake. I wonder if there’s ever too much lemon zest in things?

Do use ripe, but not overly ripe peaches. And get everything in place when you begin the grilling. Have the serving platter or dishes handy. Grill the pound cake so you get pretty grill marks, remove them, then start on the peaches. If you have a big grill, put the pound cake on the unheated side while you do the peaches. That way the pound cake will stay warm. This could be served with ice cream (vanilla) or whipped cream. grilling_peaches

Years ago I posted a recipe for grilled pound cake with grilled peaches, but the cake didn’t have the lemon in it. That makes this recipe much more interesting to me. Everybody loved it.

What’s GOOD: what bring summer to mind any more than fresh, juicy peaches? The pound cake would be good any time of  year, but the lemon aspect of this is off the charts delicious. And the combination of pound cake and peaches is sublime.

What’s NOT: can’t think of anything. Great for an outdoor barbecue.

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Grilled Lemon Pound Cake with Peaches and Cream

Recipe By: Bryan Calvert, James (restaurant), Brooklyn
Serving Size: 10

2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup lemon zest — finely grated, from about 3 lemons
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter — at room temperature
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs — at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vegetable oil — for brushing the grill
4 large peaches — sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

1 Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a 9 1/2-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the lemon zest, baking powder and salt.
2 In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Beat in the milk, lemon juice and vanilla, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.
3 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool for 20 minutes. Unmold the cake and let cool completely, about 3 hours.
4 Light a grill. Using a serrated knife, cut the pound cake into 10 slices. Lightly oil the grate and grill the slices over moderate heat, turning once, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plates. Lightly oil the grate again. Grill the peaches over moderately high heat until lightly browned and tender, about 2 minutes. Spoon the peaches over the cake, dollop with whipped cream and serve.
Per Serving: 490 Calories; 22g Fat (39.3% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 69g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 161mg Cholesterol; 201mg Sodium; 46g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 75mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 209mg Potassium; 152mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, Grilling, on July 27th, 2020.

roasted_tomatoes_before_roasting

That’s a photo BEFORE roasting. SO good afterwards. See that photo below.

You’ve heard me mention my best friend Cherrie. She’s an avid cook, and prepares fabulous meals for herself and her husband Bud on a daily basis. Even before the pandemic, they rarely went out to eat. During the pandemic she’s been preparing a monstrous dish of some kind about once a week, dividing it up into four boxes and taking it to four friends – all of them don’t like to cook. One afternoon each week she and Bud go on a driving trip to deliver the meals to these four friends. Who have come to depend on their weekly delivery! She doesn’t stop at my house because she knows that I DO cook.

Some weeks ago she tried this recipe for Roasted Tomatoes from Ina Garten. I think Cherrie served them with some nice, soft fresh mozzarella cheese and made a salad. Then she began incorporating them in several of her casserole dishes she was making for friends. Then they bought a 25 pound box of Roma tomatoes to make even more of them. She was swimming in Roma tomatoes! They would be wonderful chopped up into pasta, if you’re inclined. Anyway, Cherrie was raving to me about these tomatoes. So I decided I’d best try them myself.

My neighbor did buy 12 Roma (plum) tomatoes for me a week ago, and I had some fresh thyme from my veggie delivery box. I had garlic, EVOO and balsamic. That’s all it needs except for some salt and pepper. Ina’s original recipe didn’t call for thyme, so you can eliminate that if you’d prefer. The tomatoes are halved (and I clipped out the little stem part), placed on parchment , cut side up on a sheet pan, then you begin the layering – salt, pepper, EVOO, garlic and then the thyme laid gently on the top. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes have slumped. The recipe said 20-25 minutes, but mine didn’t “slump” until about 50 minutes, probably because they were quite large tomatoes. Once roasted and cooled slight, gently strip the thyme sprigs off onto the tomatoes and discard those twigs.

roasted_tomatoes_ina_gartenMany nights I’ve been eating just vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, onions in some manner, summer squashes and mushrooms. Sometimes in combination, but usually on their own. That night I made green beans, with onions and bacon, and put a couple of these tomatoes on my plate. I didn’t take a picture of that . . . sorry.

What’s GOOD: well, what can I tell you . . . one of those tomatoes popped into your mouth is like eating candy. Truly. I think they’d be best at room temp or warmed. They’d be good with fresh mozzarella. Or chopped up and served alongside a burger or steak. Or chicken. Chopped up with green onions and lime juice, they’d be good on a piece of grilled fish.

What’s NOT: nothing other than you do need to use Roma (plum) tomatoes. I suppose you could try it with other varieties, even cherry tomatoes.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Ina Garten
Serving Size: 4

12 plum tomatoes — halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 tablespoons EVOO
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves — minced
2 teaspoons sugar — optional
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme

NOTE: I generally don’t add sugar – ripe tomatoes have plenty of sweetness.
1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place a piece of parchment paper in a large roasting pan and bend up the edges if possible so the juices don’t ooze out onto your pan (the juices will burn something fierce on the super-hot metal). You may also use foil, but parchment works better.
2. Arrange the tomatoes on the lined sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar (if using), salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Spread the thyme sprigs across the tops of the tomatoes.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to slump down and caramelize (which may take up to 45-55 minutes). Remove from oven, cool, then carefully, over the tomatoes, strip the thyme sprigs of their leaves, and discard the stems.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be used in a salad with mozzarella cheese, or ricotta, chopped up on top of a block of cream cheese with crackers, or eaten straight, warm or at room temp, for a delicious sugar bomb in your mouth!
Per Serving: 170 Calories; 14g Fat (70.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 879mg Sodium; 8g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 29mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 464mg Potassium; 50mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on July 15th, 2020.

dark_choc_mousse_tofu

So, do I know my readers? Tofu? Can I hear ewwws out there? Don’t be a naysayer until you’ve tried it.

Right off the get-go, I’ll just share that I’m not a fan of tofu. Back in the day I’d leave the tofu squares at the bottom of the soup bowl at a Chinese restaurant. Still would if I’m eating at a Chinese restaurant (I’m not). Didn’t and don’t like the texture. Tofu, in and of itself, has very little flavor. You know that, right? But that doesn’t make me want to eat it in cubes in much of anything. There is a tofu dip here on my blog that’s actually very good.

This recipe I got at a cooking class many, many months ago. Way back when I was still attending such things. I’m certainly not at the moment. And may not be for a very long time. Sigh. But anyway, Susan had found this recipe on the ‘net, at the Food Network. I’m not sure which type of tofu she used at the class, but it was so runny it hardly seemed like pudding once she whizzed up this dessert. It was more like a sauce. But I liked it. Just didn’t like the thin type texture. So over the last many months I’ve tried it twice. The original recipe called for silken. But I tried it first with firm tofu. It was way too firm, even though I thinned it out with some milk. I asked my neighbor, who is still doing some of my shopping for me (but now I’m able to order online and drive in front of my local market and they put the groceries in my trunk – yeah!), if she’d buy me some silken tofu. Well, Trader Joe’s was the grocery of choice for her, that day, so I got what they had. And funnily enough, the box didn’t say which style tofu it was. It wasn’t as firm as “firm,” but it was still fairly so. Definitely not silken. Perhaps Susan used silken and it was too soft.

The recipe calls for cocoa powder, Dutch processed. I used an extra dark cocoa that I buy from either Penzey’s or King Arthur and it’s not Dutched. It’s richer and darker than usual, but you can easily use grocery-store bought cocoa like Hershey’s. Their extra-dark is actually very good. In this recipe, I can’t imagine the Dutch type is important, so I don’t know why it specifically calls for it.

What I will tell you is that this dessert – that really is more like a pudding than a mousse – is so incredibly easy and quick, you won’t quite believe it when I tell you you can whip it up in 10 minutes or less. It does like to be chilled for awhile, however. When I made this batch (pictured above) it made 6 little cups of pudding. You might eke out 7 if you tried. Even though it’s tofu, it’s rich, creamy, and very satisfying. I used one of my brands of artificial sugar (Lankanto monkfruit, my current fav) and couldn’t tell the difference from using regular sugar.

The chocolate, cocoa, a little bit of water and brandy are heated until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then you add in the sugar (which cools it down), then you add it to the tofu in a blender or food processor (I used the latter). If you whiz it up for a bit, it makes the texture very pudding-like smooth. See if you like the texture (not smoothness but the thickness). If it’s too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it slightly. Spoon or pour the pudding into little cups and chill for at least an hour. I left them open (meaning, uncovered) in my frig for days and the top never developed a skin.

Susan whipped up real cream. I used the canned type since I had some, and forgot to add the chocolate shavings to garnish it.

What’s GOOD: so easy. So rich, chocolaty and creamy. Loved the texture, even though I know I’m eating tofu, it doesn’t seem like it. Would make a great company dessert. I promise you, no one is going to know it’s tofu. You don’t have to tell them. This is also a GF dessert – no thickening used.

What’s NOT: only that you’ll have to plan ahead and have some tofu on hand. Don’t use silken or firm. Something in-between.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

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Dark Chocolate Pudding Mousse with Tofu

Recipe By: From a cooking class with Susan V, Feb. 2020
Serving Size: 6

19 ounces tofu — drained (don’t use firm or silken)
4 ounces dark chocolate — bittersweet preferably, high quality, finely chopped
1/3 cup cocoa — preferably Dutch-processed
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup sugar — plus 1 tablespoon
TOPPING (makes a very small amount):
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons chocolate — shaved on top

1. In a blender or food processor, puree the tofu until it is smooth.
2. Put the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, water and brandy in a saucepan or heat-proof bowl fitted over a pot containing 1-inch barely simmering water. Stir frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Mix in 1/2 cup of sugar, a little at a time, until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture to the tofu and puree until smooth and well blended, scraping down the sides once or twice. Taste for thickness – if too thick, add a little bit of milk (1-2 tablespoons) and re-whiz until it’s to your liking. Spoon the mousse into serving dishes, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. TOPPING: Whip the cream with a beater. When the cream is almost completely whipped, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and finish whipping. Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings and serve.
Per Serving: 294 Calories; 15g Fat (44.4% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 14mg Cholesterol; 20mg Sodium; 28g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 348mg Calcium; 7mg Iron; 258mg Potassium; 150mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on June 6th, 2020.

straw_sauce_ricotta_cream

That’s a glass espresso cup. Tiny. And an espresso spoon. To make a tiny dessert.

As businesses have opened up here in California (mostly) I’m still sheltering in place. Wishing all of this was over with, so we can go about our lives again. Alas, for people my age, at least here in California, it’s not happening yet. I’m still at home, preparing all of my own food (I haven’t done any take-out so far). There’s no shortage of recipes to try, but sometimes there aren’t the right ingredients to make things happen. My next door neighbor is still buying lots of food for me, although I’m now buying from some local grocery stores that deliver.

The other day a little memory rose up to the surface, as they are wont to do sometimes, and I remembered waaaay back in the day when I was still working. Kathleen, who worked for us, was going to Weight Watchers at the time, and came into the office and said oh, taste this . . . it was something creamy, thick, white. Eileen tasted it and said eww….. I tasted it and said wow, that’s delicious. What is it? She said pastry cream. What? Really, on Weight Watchers? She said yes. I wanted the recipe. She laughed a little, I think, and said you won’t believe what it is? Ricotta cheese, a smidgen of yogurt with some sweetener in it (probably Sweet ‘n Low, which was about all that was available back then). And maybe there was a tiny splash of vanilla in it. Not sure that I remember if Kathleen used it, but I do add vanilla when I make it.

My business partner and I sold the ad agency back in 1995, but I’ve stayed in touch with some of the employees, Kathleen included. I emailed her the other day and asked her if she remembered that day. Of course she did! And she recalled that the following week after that epiphany in the office, she went to her Weight Watchers meeting, and raved about the “pastry cream” she’d been snacking on a few times a day, the leader said WHAT? You’re only supposed to have a bite or two, like on a strawberry, or spread on an apple slice. OH. We all laughed about that.

ricotta_cheese_TJsBut I’ve not forgotten that little sinful pleasure, and had my neighbor buy me a tub of ricotta from Trader Joe’s. I buy full fat because I’m not pleased with what I’ve read about how dairy products are stripped of the fat – maybe not a healthy food to eat. So anyway, I opened the tub, sprinkled on some monkfruit sweetener, added a small dollop of yogurt, and a couple of drops of vanilla, and stirred it up well. I prefer to do this several hours ahead, but hey, if you’re in a hurry, go right ahead. The sweetener or sugar just doesn’t dissolve immediately in ricotta cheese. Over the years, I’m sure I’ve made this “ricotta cream” at least 20 times. (Thank you, Kathleen!) The original recipe suggests you whiz this up in the food processor until the ricotta is silky smooth. I don’t bother – the stirred version is fine with me.

Meanwhile, my neighbor phoned me one day and said the local grocery store had big boxes of fresh strawberries for $1.99. Did I want one? Wow, that’s a lot of strawberries for me to eat, but I said “sure.” I ate a few, then thought about making a fresh strawberry sauce, using artificial sweetener. I’m really trying to limit the sugar I eat. This may be the last “dessert” you’ll see here for awhile as I’m telling myself I can’t be baking with abandon as I stay here at home. I want to bake. No. Need to stop!

straw_sauceSo I made a fresh strawberry sauce with fresh, sliced strawberries, some monkfruit sweetener, and a little bit of fresh lemon juice. It took little or no time to make. I read a bunch of different recipes, and one intrigued me stating that sliced berries will result in a vibrant, clear sauce. If you mash them, it muddies the waters, so to speak. I liked the result, and it’s low in calorie to boot. I also added a tiny, tiny splash of dark balsamic vinegar to the mixture once it cooled. It gives a different flavor profile – you can’t quite figure out what’s in it. Those little storage containers above are now in the freezer. The pound of berries made a lot of sauce, which won’t keep all that long because it’s not sweetened with sugar. It tastes like a thin jam, but without real sugar it will begin to spoil after 4-5 days.

straw_sauce_ice_creamUSING: Well, when I’m desperate for a snack, my spoon goes into that tub of ricotta cheese. I eat maybe 2 bites straight, just like Kathleen taught me back in the 90s [cheeky grin]. If I’m wanting something more fancy, I do have some vanilla ice cream on hand that I’m trying very hard not to eat but rarely, and the other night I scooped some into a little bitty glass dish and spooned some berries on top, with a few walnuts. A tasty dessert. Or I spoon some of the ricotta cream into a little espresso cup and add the berries on top (pictured at top).

What’s GOOD: a great little snack (moderation, remember?) and makes a nice little bitty dessert if you’re hankering for something not too sinful. Strawberries are at peak season here in California at the moment. A perfect time to make this. And freeze some of it for a winter’s day.

What’s NOT: only if you don’t like the texture/consistency of ricotta cheese. It is an odd, kind of grainy texture, perhaps an acquired taste for some, but I’m fine with it. Obviously Eileen wasn’t! Chuckle.

RICOTTA CREAM: printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

STRAWBERRY SAUCE: printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

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Fresh Ricotta Cream

Recipe By: From my friend Kathleen H, from a Weight Watcher’s class, c. 1990
Serving Size: 8

1 pound ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 tablespoons sugar — or artificial sweetener
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Blend ingredients in food processor with metal blade until satiny smooth. Refrigerate in tightly covered container. Will keep for at least a week.
2. If you’re lazy, you can just stir into the ricotta the yogurt, sugar and vanilla and mix well. The sugar takes awhile to dissolve, so it’s best if made a few hours ahead.
SERVING: Serve as a kind of small-portion pudding, top with some sliced fruit, a fruit sauce, or even chocolate syrup. Put between two cookies, or use between thin layers of cake.
Per Serving: 108 Calories; 6g Fat (49.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 29mg Cholesterol; 65mg Sodium; 5g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 124mg Calcium; trace Iron; 134mg Potassium; 93mg Phosphorus.

– – – – –

* Exported from MasterCook *

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

Recipe By: My own recipe.
Serving Size: 12

1 pound fresh strawberries — cleaned, dried with paper towels, stemmed, then sliced thickly
2 tablespoons sugar — or monkfruit sweetener, or other artificial sweetener
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar — or more to taste

1. Place sliced strawberries into a saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice. The amount of sugar needed will depend on how ripe the berries are – riper the berries = less sugar.
2. Bring mixture to a simmer and stir occasionally as it cooks and the strawberries soften, about 4-8 minutes. Do not overcook or the berries will soften to a mush. That’s not the texture you want – just cooked through, barely. Taste for more sugar or lemon juice, as needed.
3. Set aside to cool.
4. Add balsamic vinegar and stir well. You do not want the balsamic vinegar flavor to predominate – it’s there just to add a nuance. Allow to cool completely and chill. Freezes well.
Per Serving: 21 Calories; trace Fat (4.6% calories from fat); trace Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium; 4g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 6mg Calcium; trace Iron; 61mg Potassium; 9mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on May 22nd, 2020.

rhubarb_cobbler_ice_cream

Every time I make something with rhubarb, my mind wings back in time to my mother’s varied ways of preparing it.

No question about it, I love rhubarb. I love the sweet-sour taste of it – even with plenty of sugar in it – it still has that little bit of sour that reaches those particular taste buds on your tongue. This was a new recipe I tried, and I liked it a LOT. My mother most often just made a rhubarb sauce – probably nothing more than rhubarb, sugar and water. That would be dessert. Mom would put out the bowl of sauce, 3 little serving bowls and we’d help ourselves. As I think I’ve mentioned before, my mother had a patch of rhubarb in the back  yard, clearly tucked away under a tree with lots of shade. I’ve heard tell that some people serve stalks of rhubarb with a bowl of sugar and you just dip the end into the sugar and eat it raw. I’ve never tried it.

rhubarb_cobbler_unbakedThe chunked up rhubarb was mixed with sugar (I used half real sugar and half monkfruit sweetener), salt, lemon juice and some almond extract (loved that part). It went into a buttered baking dish. Then you mix up the topping – flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, some shortening (yes, really), some butter, milk and an egg. It came together very easily. I did use a pastry blender, although at the end I just used my hands and mashed the little pieces of butter between my fingers. Then you pinch off little pieces of that dough and put them on top of the rhubarb. What happens is that it makes  “cobbled” top. It gives the topping, when baked, a craggy type top with little nooks and crannies.rhubarb_cobbler_baked

Into the oven it went for about 30 minutes and it was perfectly golden brown on top. I let it cool – but I think the best way to eat this would be still warm, with the ice cream.

Truth be told, the next morning I had this for my breakfast with some milk poured over it. Absolutely divine.

What’s GOOD: altogether wonderful. The rhubarb. Yum. Topping. Yum. After having 2-3 portions, I gave the rest of it to my daughter Sara, who came to visit the day before Mother’s Day – we visited outside. I made lunch.

What’s NOT: nothing. nothing.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (clink link to open recipe)

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Rhubarb Cobbler

Recipe By: Adapted from a recipe at Tasty Kitchen (Ree Drummonds recipe sharing part of her website, Pioneer Woman)
Serving Size: 12

RHUBARB:
6 cups rhubarb — chopped
1 2/3 cups sugar — you can use half or all artificial sweetener – I use monkfruit
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
TOPPING:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 whole egg

NOTE: Use a ceramic or glass dish. The rhubarb cooks down a lot so choose a dish that is larger than a 9×9 if you have one.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, sugar, salt, lemon juice, and almond extract. Stir it well to distribute the sugar mixture and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir together. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, add shortening and butter, until all the fat is in small little pebbles.
4. Beat egg and milk together. Pour into flour mixture and stir with a fork until just combined. If mixture is too dry, add a teaspoon or two of milk. The dough should hold together but not be sticky.
5. Pour rhubarb into a large, buttered baking dish. Tear off pinches of dough and drop it onto the surface of the fruit, creating a “cobbled” texture. Sprinkle additional sugar over the top.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, half and half or fresh whipped cream. You can also serve this for breakfast with milk poured over it.
Per Serving: 311 Calories; 11g Fat (30.5% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 12mg Cholesterol; 318mg Sodium.

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