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Monday, July 24, 2006

Sticky Popcorn

Pop enough popcorn to make 2 quarts of popcorn.

Dump the following into a heavy iron skillet:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar

Cook over medium heat until an amber color appears in the middle of the skillet.
When it becomes the size of your fist, pour over the popcorn & mix. After it cools completely, store in an airtight container.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Brie with Cranberry Chutney

Brie with Cranberry Chutney

1 cup fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. finely chopped gingerroot (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Vegetable oil
1 round Brie cheese (8 oz)
Slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
Crackers (optional)

Mix cranberries, sugar, vinegar, gingerroot, cinnamon, and cloves in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat tow low. Cook uncovered ~20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Cool slightly (it will thicken as it stands).
Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly brush ovenproof plate with vegetable oil. Place unpeeled cheese on center of place. Bake uncovered 8-10 minutes or until cheese is soft and partially melted.
Spoon half of chutney over the cheese. Sprinkle with almonds (if using). Serve with crackers (or a spoon...it's that good). Spoon remaining chutney onto cheese as needed, or save for future use.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Apple Tart

2 1/2 cups walnuts
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
3 green apples (i.e., Granny Smith)
juice of 1 lemon in 2 cups water
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ground clove
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup raisins

Combines walnuts & dates in food processor. Process until well mixed and ground, but not smooth (~ 40 seconds). It should be a coarse texture when done. Press evenly into a 9-inch tart pan. Chill while making filling.

Slice apples by cutting into quarters. Cut out core and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Put into lemon water while you finish cutting apples. Drain well in colander when done.
Place apples in large skillet with the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently.
Remove apples with a slotted spoon from hot pan to a bowl and cool completely. Reduce the liquid still in the skillet to about half the volume and cool separately.
Spread apples evenly over the crust. Brush the syrup over the apples. Serve or keep covered & chilled until serving. Top with vanilla yogurt or ice cream.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mimi's Cafe Carrot Raisin Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, combine oil, eggs, molasses, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add shredded carrot and mix. Add raisins and walnuts and mix well by hand.
Pour flour mixture until other ingredients and stir until combined. Pour batter into two ungreased 8-inch loaf pans. Bake for 60 minutes or until done.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine
Almond bark or other dipping chocolate

Mix together until well blended and roll into balls. Chill in the freezer between 15 -30 minutes. Using a toothpick, dip in melted chocolate.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nutella Sandwich Cookies

This is Sam's favorite cookie, hands down. But beware; they're very rich.

1 stick unsalted butter (8 tbsp), room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Confectioner's sugar, for rolling out dough

Cream butter & sugar on medium speed until completely smooth (~3 minutes). Add egg & mix until well combined.

In separate bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and flour. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Chill the dough until slightly firm. Divide the dough into 3 balls. Roll out each between two layers of wax or parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Chill. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut out cookies. Space 1/2 inch apart for baking on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Re-roll trimmings and chill. Repeat as long as you have dough.

Bake the cookies until you smell chocolate, about 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Fill with Nutella from the jar.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fresh Vegetable Beef Soup

This makes a LOT of soup. I usually end up with a full 4 1/2 quarts. You could also add some pearled barley about 30 minutes before serving.

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
1 small bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup 1-inch pieces fresh green beans (I used canned)
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 sliced carrots
2/3 cup fresh whole kernel corn
2 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (~2 cups)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
3 1/2 cups Beef Broth (or 2 14 oz cans of beef broth)
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with garlic (or use plain tomatoes with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

Mix all ingredients in 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours (or high heat for 4 to 5 hours) or until vegetables are tender.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pink Stuff

This is THE holiday delicacy at my husband's family's gatherings.

8 oz. cream cheese (do not use low-fat or fat-free)
3/4 cup sugar
1 small package frozen strawberries
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
1 large carton Cool Whip
Coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together cream cheese & sugar. Blend in strawberries and pineapple. Fold in Cool Whip. Fold in coarsely chopped nuts if desired. Chill & serve.