My Wonderful World

W e l c o m e... And Enjoy!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Derby Time!!

On Saturday, May 1st...its Derby Time again!   And the traditional drink, Mint Juleps served in the Silver Cup.   Not my personal choice....I will stick to citron vodka and club soda.   

Mint Juleps

4 handfuls of mint leaves
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 cups water
8 ounces bourbon
     Crushed ice

Working in batches, bruise the mint leaves in a bowl, slightly crushing leaves with a mortar/pestle or the rounded handle of a rolling pin. Combine crushed leaves, sugar and water in a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Strain. Fill 4 silver julep cups with crushed ice. Add 2 ounces of bourbon to each cup. Pour equal amounts of syrup into each cup. Stir rapidly until outside of cup gets frosty. Rub fresh mint around the rim of the cup.  

And my personal favorite dessert is Kentucky Derby Pie.   Many references name it as Chocolate Chip pie, but I have taken my regular Pecan Pie recipe and added the chocolate chips.  Sweet beyond belief...but a small slice is so good with a cup of coffee. 

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Kentucky Derby Pie

desserts, pies

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2  eggs; beaten
4 ounce butter; melted & cooled
1 cup pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  pie shell, 9; unbaked

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix sugar and flour.  Add eggs, then butter.  Add nuts, chocolate chips and vanilla.  Pour all into pie shell and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick in the center and bake longer if necessary.  The pie should be somewhat chewy.

Yield: 6 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **

Enjoy and have a Happy Day 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Not My Best Week

This was not my best week, weight wise. I didn't loose an ounce...but I guess I just maintained.   My usual loss has been about a pound and a half.  Quite a bit of travel and that means…eating out for lunch. So easy to go overboard while dining in a new restaurant that has choices that look so good…but are so bad. Oh well….back on the wagon this week and I need to satisfy my ever craving sweet tooth. My forever fall back item to have in the pantry is Sugar Free Jell-O in every flavor they make. Today…orange Jell-O with peaches. A real treat with a little whipped cream on top.

But thinking about supper….this week was two pounds of black beans with my usual seasonings…garlic, chopped celery, oregano, Sazón, (great seasoning pak from Goya), chopped cilantro and flat leaf parsley. Simmer for a couple of hours in six to eight cups of chicken stock. Great item to have on hand and so Sugar Busters friendly.

Friday night we had Mexican Carnitas. Today…leftover Carnitas mixed into the black bean soup topped with crisp fried tortilla strips and my spicy sour cream. I mix a half cup of sour cream with a ½ teaspoon Chipotle powder. Let sit for a half hour at room temperature for the flavors to mingle. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. A small salad with lime cilantro dressing and chopped avocado will round out the meal.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Roast Chicken MY Way!

With My Cranberry Cream Sauce

I read many recipes from different sources about how to roast chicken.  Use this spice...that herb...stuff the bird with sliced lemons, etc.   Frankly, I don't believe there is anything better than just rubbing the skin with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.     And my preferred method is convection oven at 425F for 10 minutes and reducing the convection temperature to 350F for the balance of roasting time of 30 minutes.   The chicken always comes out moist inside the meat and a crispy skin.   

Last evening, I wanted something different than the usual chicken gravy made with the chicken drippings.   After removing the chicken to a covered platter to rest, I used two tablespoons of the drippings, two tablespoons of flour and cooked the roux for a few minutes.   I went to the refrigerator to get the skim milk but picked up Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice.  I though...why might be good.  Added 1 cup of the cranberry juice to the roux and whisked until smooth and thick.  Then I added about a quarter cup of heavy cream and the Cranberry Cream Sauce was born.   So good on the roast chicken.   

To complete the meal....Sweet Potato Fries and a tossed salad with dried Crasins topped with a vinaigrette.   My little herb bed outside the kitchen door is coming to life and the lettuces this spring are wonderful.   

  Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Basil Cheesecake

A small spring gathering this weekend got my wheels turning for a great appetizer for a party.  I haven't made this in ten or more years and I did remember how good it was.    A small slice, a glass of wine....pure pleasure.    I hope you enjoy this as much as I do....and sending repeated thanks to my friend, Ed. who gave this to me twenty years ago!   How time flies.   

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Basil Cheesecake


1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 1/2 cup basil, fresh
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1  garlic clove
1 pound ricotta cheese, room temp.
2 pound cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 pound Parmesan cheese, grated
5  eggs
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 325F.  Butter bottom and sides of 10" spring form pan. Mix bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle mixture into pan, turning to coat completely.

Mix basil leaves, parsley, oil, salt and garlic in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes, scraping sides occasionally. Put ricotta cheese, cream cheese and Parmesan in a mixer bowl and mix until smooth about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs. Remove about 1/3 of this mixture to a small bowl.  Into the original 2/3 cheese mixture, fold in the basil mixture until well blended. Pour the basil mixture into the prepared pan and carefully spread an even layer of the cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Set pan on a baking sheet. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and cool cheesecake about 1 hour with the oven door slightly ajar. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.  Serve at room temperature, or slightly warmed.

Yield: 12 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This REALLY Works!

Over the years...I have always struggled with hamburgers and sausage patties shrinking during cooking.      Everyone I read said that I was buying cheap beef, i.e. 70/30.    I tried better when it was on sale and have started purchasing 80/20 ground round.    I have also tried the 93/7 beef but it just doesn't have the "flavor" that a higher fat beef has.   It really does add to the flavor.   

After a bit of reading, I came across the idea that will stop shrinkage on the grill.   A few suggested making the patty bigger so when it shrinks, it will be the right size.   Then I found a comment from a chef who said to make your patty the size you want it to be and then put a hole with your thumb right in the center.   Humm...I though...and I had to try it.   IT WORKS!!! My patties stayed the same size.  

This morning...I tried the same with the sausage patty.   I didn't put the hole all the way through the meat but made a very deep indentation.    And once again, the patty stayed the same size.   

Hope this little hint helps!

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lemon Bars

Back in the early 70's, I bought my first paperback copy of The Betty Crocker Cookbook.   I do recall finding it in a bookstore in North Miami Shores where I was living at the time.   I brought the book home and to this day, I still have the tattered pages on my cookbook shelf.    About six years ago...I was fortunate to find a First Edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook, circa 1950.  It is in a fragile state, so I don't use it on a regular basis.  But, it makes for great entertaining we have come a long ways in the culinary world. 

While reading the book one night...about 11 in the evening, I came across the Lemon Bar Recipe.  I know that this has been done over and over...but sometimes, the old stand-bys are the best.    Here is is...and like most people who enjoy cooking and baking, I know you will have all these ingredients in the pantry right now!  Enjoy as I have over the years.    I have added another ingredient to this recipe...Penzey's Lemon Peel along with the 2 tablespoons of lemon Juice.  If you have parchment paper, cut a square to fit the bottom of your baking dish.    After cooling in the pan for 10 minutes, I like to remove baked good, flip over and discard the parchment paper.   Return to upright and dust with confectioner's sugar, is desired. 

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Lemon Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2  eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix thoroughly flour, butter and powdered sugar.   Press in ungreased 8x8x2 pan building up a 1/2 inch edge. Bake for 20 minutes.

Beat remaining ingredients about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust and continue baking for 25 minutes longer or just until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center.  Cool and cut into squares. Dust with Powdered Sugar, if desired.

Notes:  Betty Crocker

Yield: 16 bars

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **
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The Fine Art of Cooking involves personal choice. Many preferences, ingredients, and procedures may not be consistent with what you know to be true. As with any recipe, you may find your personal intervention will be necessary -- © WHStoneman 2017