Monday, August 31, 2009

lemon basil sorbet

3/4 cup water
about 1 cup sugar, or less for more tart
grated zest of 2 lemons
1 3/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
basil - finely chopped 10 leaves
lemon shells optional
egg white beaten

Boil water, sugar, and lemon zest in a pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved - about 5 min. Cool, chill, then add the lemon juice. Churn and freeze (if you have a ice cream maker).
You can make without an ice cream machine - pour mixture into flat freezer tray, allow to partly freeze, then beat to break up the ice crystals. The more you break it up the smoother it will be. When partially frozen mix in egg white thoroughly.
Zest Note: When peeling the zest, make sure no white pith is included, it will make the sorbet bitter.
Lemon Shells: Traditional way of serving, these are made by slicing a "lid" off the top of each lemon and removing insides, then freeze shells then pack them with sorbet and refreeze.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Roasted Chili Paste

1/2 cup small dried red chilies such as chiles de Arbol
or chiles japones (about 32), stemmed, halved crosswise
and loosely packed, about 1/2 ounce
A generous 1/2 cup unpeeled shallots, cut lengthwise
into chunks, about 3 ounces
1/4 cup unpeeled garlic cloves (8 to 10 large cloves), about 1-1/2 ounces
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
*3 tablespoons Tamarind Liquid: optional

In a wok or a small, heavy skillet, dry-fry the chilies over medium-low heat until they darken and become fragrant and brittle, 3 to 5 minutes. Shake the pan and stir frequently as they roast. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate to cool.

Increase the heat to medium and dry-fry the shallots and garlic, turning them occasionally, until they are softened, wilted, and blistered, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to the plate to cool.

Stem the chilies and shake out and discard most of the seeds. Crumble the chilies into small pieces. Trim the shallots and garlic, discarding the peel and root ends, and chop coarsely. Combine the chilies, shallots, and garlic in a mini processor or blender and pulse to a coarse paste, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil and grind to a fairly smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Pour the remaining 1/4 cup oil into the wok or a skillet. Place over medium heat until a bit of the paste added to the pan sizzles at once, about 1 minute. Add the ground chili paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the paste gradually darkens and releases a rich fragrance, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Combine the sugar, tamarind, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl and stir well. Add this mixture to the cooled chili paste and stir to combine. The paste will be quite oily, and must be well stirred before each use. Transfer to a jar, cap tightly, and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Use at room temperature in recipes or as a condiment.

Makes about 1-1/4 cups.

(can make tamarind liquid by combining tamarind paste and water)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pie crust -- no rolling, no weights?!

I just found this, but haven't tried baking it. I want to put it up for others to experiment, since it sounds too good to be true but FANTASTIC if it works like the article and comments say.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

eleni's pumpkin soup

* 1 tablespoon margarine/butter
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 16 oz can of pumpkin puree
* 1 1/3 cups vegetable broth
* 3 cups soy milk
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg and a pinch of cloves and cinnamon (just a pinch)
* 1/2 tsp brown sugar
* salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the margarine for 3-5 minutes, until onion turns clear. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook over medium heat for another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings of vegetarian pumpkin soup.
Tastes delicious with whole wheat bread...

lady grey's garden tea

1 part Earl Grey
1 part blossoms of jasmine
1 part rose petals/hips
1 part lavender

Brew and enjoy...

flor de té

1 part Rose petals
1 part calendula
1 part jasmine
2 part lemon balm
1/4 part lavender
*optional...can add green or black tea

Steep in a pot or cup...enjoy

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Nat Hahn

Monday, August 17, 2009

fix it all pumpkin spice cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (270 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15 ounce can)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour (or spray with Baker's Joy) two - 8 inch (20 cm) cake pans.

Cake: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter in half and then pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert and remove the cakes from their pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of your food processor (or use a hand mixer) and pulse until smooth. Add the maple syrup and confectioners' sugar and process to combine. Adjust syrup or sugar until you have the right consistency.


Place one of the cake layers, top side down, on a serving plate. Frost with a layer of icing. Place the second cake, top side down, onto the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired. Refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving.

*when confused about life bake this will make it all at least 60% better!

Baked Onions

2 large yellow or white onions, peeled
2 TBSP Tomato Juice
1 1/2 TBSP Honey
1 TBSP butter or margarine
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika

Cut onions in half crosswise and place, cut side up, in a baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan on low until butter is melted; stir well. Pour over center of each onion half and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

some onion poetry...woot! did the earth
make you,
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.

-Neruda's Ode to the Onion

Sabzi Polow...Green Rice

Sabzi Polow: Green Rice (rice with herbs)


* 3 cups basmati rice (dry)
* 1 large or two small bunches of dill (washed and chopped)
* 1 bunch parsley (washed and chopped)
* 1 bunch cilantro (washed and chopped)
* 5 cloves garlic (diced)
* 2½ tsp turmeric
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

Cooking Method:

1. Mix chopped herbs with garlic. Add turmeric, salt and pepper. Combine well.
2. Boil rice in pot of salted water to create ½ cooked rice.
3. Add herb and spice mixture to ½ cooked rice and stir so that ingredients are evenly combined.
4. Put oil in the bottom of large pot. Add rice mixture and drizzle a bit more oil over top.
5. Cover top of pot lid with clean dish towel and steam 1 hour.
6. Scrape thick crust (tah dig) from bottom of pot and place on top of rice when serving.
7. Serve with fried white fish if cooking for non vegetarians.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blueberry Almond Muffins

Whoa these are good. Pretty much perfect for a weekend breakfast or a potluck. Great with coffee.

1.75 c all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp allspice
0.25 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp ginger
0.25 tsp cloves
0.5 c almonds, finely ground in a food processor (or you can whack them with a sturdy spoon)
0.75 c sugar
1 egg
1.25 c buttermilk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz blueberries
2 Tbsp ground almonds (reserve some extra from above)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices. Stir in ground almonds and sugar. In a second bowl, beat together egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Stir dry ingredients into wet to make a smooth batter. Fold in blueberries. Spoon mixture into muffin cups in a standard size muffin pan until nearly full. Sprinkle the reserved ground almonds on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking towards the end. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Makes 12.


These beautiful "little oranges" work as a meal or appetizer, depending on how many you cram down. You basically make a risotto, add whatever fixings you want, make little rice balls with your hands, bread them, and fry them.

The recipe (makes 8 big or 12-ish small balls):

3.5 c vegetable broth -- this should be homemade:
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 leeks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of thyme
(all of these ingredients are suggestions -- be adventuresome, or use your own recipe)

Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, saute. Add everything else. Cook until softened but not browned. Add 2.5 qt water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer ~1.5 h. Strain and discard solids, increase heat, and reduce volume by half. Can use immediately or store refrigerated for ~3 days. Makes about 4 c.

Back to the arancini...

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1.5 c arborio rice
6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into small cubes
6 shallots, finely chopped
Handful mixed fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, etc)
Finely grated zest of one orange
0.5 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Eggs, fresh bread crumbs, and olive oil

Put broth in saucepan. Heat until nearly boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Melt butter in a separate saucepan. Add rice and stir until grains are coated and glistening. Add all the hot broth to the rice one ladle at a time and stir until the liquid is absorbed. The rice should be tender but slightly firm.

At this point, add mozzarella, shallots, mixed herbs, orange zest, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. You can also add pretty much anything else -- I've used fresh peas or zucchini, I've heard of adding diced ham. Mix everything well, remove from heat, and let cool. Shape the rice into balls, dip them in beaten egg, and roll them in bread crumbs. Heat the olive oil, add the balls to the oil, and fry until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

porch swinging moonshiner

1.25 oz sweet tea vodka
.5 oz Southern Comfort
.25 oz lemon juice
Optional: mint sprigs

Shake ingredients over ice, strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a half wedge of lemon.

Dirty Arnold Palmer

*3 parts sweet tea
*3 parts lemonade (I used Whole Foods, but anything fresh is fine)
*2 parts bourbon (the nicer the better)
*ice (if preferred)

Mix together, pour over ice. If you prefer the drink without ice, then fill a cup with ice and pour the bourbon over it. Let it sit while you combine the (chilled) tea and lemonade, and then pour the bourbon through a strainer into the glass.

Sweet tea:
*6 cups water
*6 tea bags (I prefer Earl Grey because the bergamot smells so good, but any black variety is fine)
*3 cups sugar (Yeah, you read that right. You can use less if you prefer, but remember you're mixing with tart lemonade)
*a tiny pinch of baking soda (1/4 teaspoon)

Boil the water, and take it off the heat until the bubbles disappear. Add the baking soda and tea bags and cover for 10-15 min. Remove the tea bags, pour in the sugar, and stir to disolve while the water is hot. Refrigerate.

Santorini Fava

* 2 cups yellow split peas, pickled over and rinsed
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 4-6 garlic cloves
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 3-4 tablespoons dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons dried oregano, crumbled, plus more for garnish
* fresh ground black pepper

Optional Toppings:
* 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 2-3 tablespoons pitted and chopped kalamata olives
* 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
* 1 medium tomato, cored, peeled, seeded, diced and drained
* 2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced (white plus most of the green parts)
* 3 sprigs arugula, coarsely chopped
* 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
* extra-virgin olive oil

Place the split peas in a large pot, add water to cover by 4 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, skimming often, for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves and simmer for 40 minutes more, stirring occasionally and adding a little warm water as needed to keep the peas covered as they cook. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the peas are soft and almost dry.

Puree the peas with a stick (immersion) blender, or transfer to a food processor and puree. Let the puree cool completely; it will thicken considerably.

In a large mortar, grind the garlic with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt into a smooth paste. Add 2 cups or so of the puree and continue grinding to incorporate the garlic. Or use a blender or a small food processor.

In a large bowl, combine the garlic mixture, the remaining pea puree, the oil, 3 tablespoons each vinegar and wine, the oregano and pepper to taste, stirring vigorously to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

If the skordalia seems too thick, add a little vinegar, wine or water to thin. Spread on a large plate, sprinkle with oregano, garnish with toppings of your choice and serve.

XOX Lobster!

It is best to buy live lobsters the day you intend to cook them. Keep them alive, wrapped in damp newspaper in your fridge, which will make them lethargic.

Make sure you have a pot that will fit however many lobsters you buy, and then fill it just under half-way full of water, toss in a small handful of salt, and start the pot boiling. Give the water at least half and hour to get to a rolling boil; longer depending on how many lobsters you cook.

Once the water is solidly boiling, put all the lobsters in the pots (head first) and make sure they are fully covered with water (you might have to add a little, but that's better than water splashing over when you put them in.) Wait until the water comes back to a boil, and then start timing.

Boil the lobsters for 10 minutes for the first lb. of weight and then 3 more minutes for each extra lb. A two lb. lobster will be done in 13 minutes, a 3 lb. lobster in 16 minutes. This applies to however many lobsters you have-- don't add time because you're cooking a bunch.

Clarify some butter and cut up some lemon wedges while the lobsters boil. (To clarify butter, melt it and skim off the top froth.)

When they're all done and bright red, get them out of the water asap! They should be ready to eat. Mmm.

Rosemary and Salt Cookies

(adapted from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies 2005-- much improved. There you go, Martha, how do you like me now??)

1 cup (1/2 lb) salted butter, room temperature (use unsalted if that's all you have)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white, beaten (keep separate from other egg)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
11/4 teaspoon coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
1/2 cup fine sanding sugar (aka "baker's sugar" but granulated is OK too)

1. Combine flour, rosemary and salt in a bowl, mix with fork. Set aside.

2. Combine butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in parts and mix until combined (don't over mix).

3. Halve dough. Shape each half into a log, about 2" diameter. Roll in parchment and place in freezer for at least an hour.

4. Preheat oven to 375. Brush each log with beaten egg white, roll in sanding sugar. Cut into 1/4" thick rounds (you can vary the diameter of the logs cut them a little thicker/thinner for an entirely different look--a two bite cookie v. pop in your mouth size. Just don't slice any thinner than 1/4"). Lay on a lightly greased (PAM or butter) cookie sheet, and bake until edges are golden, approximately 18-20 minutes.

Red Velvet Cake (Marie's recipe)

(3 8" layers, or 2 9" layers)

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring (this is 2 bottles, usually, so check the container size)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl.

4. (You need your floured cake pans ready.) In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan to allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing. (I prefer cream cheese!)

*Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), room temperature [use less butter if you want tangier frosting]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Za'atar Pita

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sumac
2 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Before preparing pita, combine ingredients for za’tar. Grind the sesame seeds in food processor or with mortar and pestle. Add remaining ingredients, except for olive oil, and mix well. Keep in covered dish at room temperature until used, when pita is finished baking.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until dough is elastic. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Once pita is removed from oven, take spatula and gently push down puff. Brush olive oil over entire pita and sprinkle evenly with za’tar. Serve immediately or place in storage bags.

Ellinikos Kafes

3/4 c Ground Greek/Turkish Coffee
2 2/3 c Water
Ground Cardamom
1/2 c Condensed Milk
Optional: A splash of Ouzo or Kahlua

Brew coffee in a drip-style coffee maker or percolator. Pour into 4 cups. To each serving, add a dash of ground cardamom and about 2 tablespoons of the condensed milk; stir to blend.

Pomegranate Metaxa Mojito

Mint Sprigs
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces Metaxa
1/2 ounce pomegranate juice
Splash of lemon juice
1 ounce chilled club soda

mesir wat...ethiopian red lentils

* Onions, chopped -- 2
* Garlic, crushed -- 2 cloves
* Ginger, peeled and minced -- 2 teaspoons
* Oil, butter or niter kibbeh -- 1/4 cup
* Paprika -- 2 tablespoons
* Turmeric -- 1 teaspoon
* Cayenne pepper -- 1/2 to 2 teaspoons
* Red lentils, rinsed -- 1 pound
* Water or stock -- 4 cups
* Salt and pepper -- to taste

1. Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and puree. Add a little water if necessary.
2. Heat the oil, butter or niter kibbeh in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium flame. Add turmeric, paprika and cayenne pepper and stir rapidly to color the oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the onion puree and sauté until the excess moisture evaporates and the onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Do not burn.
4. Add lentils and water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until lentils are cooked through and fall apart, about 30-40 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep the lentils from drying out.
5. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Niter Kibbeh (recipe):
* Unsalted butter -- 1 pound
* Onion, chopped -- 1/2
* Garlic, crushed -- 2-3 cloves
* Gingerroot, cut into 1/4-inch slices -- 2-3 pieces
* Cardamom pods --3-4
* Cinnamon stick -- 1
* Whole cloves -- 3-4
* Fenugreek seeds -- 1 teaspoon
* Turmeric -- 1/2 teaspoon

1. Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on the lowest possible heat for about 1 hour.
2. Pour the clear golden liquid off the top leaving all the solids in the bottom of the pan. Strain through cheesecloth if necessary. Discard solids.
3. Store in the refrigerator or freezer and use as needed.

becca's red velvet cake

one of my favorites, but not for the faint of heart...

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
3 semi sweet chocolate squares OR 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter at room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 ounce red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
optional: pinch of nutmeg (no more than a pinch though)

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. powdered sugar
Optional: 1/2 c. flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease three 9 inch round pans. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside. If using cocoa powder mix that with the dy ingredients too.

Melt semi-sweet chocolate with 1 tablespoon of milk. Set aside but do not let harden. Or if you are using coca powder just sift it in with the flour mixture.

Beat butter and sugar in a bowl together for approximately 5 minutes at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Add the food coloring and sour cream, milk vanilla and butter flavoring and chocolate squares. At low speed add flour mixture a little at a time but do not over mix.

Bake in 350 oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

For Frosting: Add all but the sugar and beat. Then gradually add the sugar.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


  1. reheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare muffin tins (line with papers or spray with no-stick spray).
  3. Combine first 6 ingredients (baking mix through cinnamon) in small mixing bowl, set aside.
  4. Combine next 7 ingredients (canola oil through peaches) in large mixing bowl.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, don't overmix. Fold in raspberries.
  6. Fill muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full, bake regular size muffins 25-30 minutes, mini muffins 11-14 minutes.
  7. High altitude alterations (I live in Denver, did this myself): Add heaping 2 T. baking mix to the 2 cups of baking mix, make the 2/3 cup of oats a heaping 2/3 c., cut baking powder in peaches to 1/4 t.
  8. Can be baked in a loaf pan (baking time 40-50 min.), sliced & used with more fresh raspberries & peaches and some fresh whipped cream for a beautiful summer dessert.

White Wine Sangria

  • 1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Albarino, Chablis, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2/3 cup white or brown sugar
  • 3 oranges (sliced) or may substitute 1 cup of orange juice)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 lime (sliced)
  • 1/2 liter of ginger ale or club soda (ginger ale for those with a sweeter tooth!)
Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange,lemon and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.

If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled white wine and serve over lots of ice.

Addition ideas: sliced strawberries, peaches, handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, a shot or two of gin, brandy or rum, a cup of citrus-flavored soda pop.

Grapefruit Sorbet

  • 3 large pink or red grapefruit, scrubbed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 dash red food coloring (optional)
Use a vegetable peeler or large zester to remove 3 long strips of peel (just the zest, not the pith) from the grapefruits. Set aside. Squeeze out 2 cups of grapefruit juice.
  1. In a saucepan, combine the grapefruit peel, sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and cook for about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place in the refrigerator, or set in a bowl of ice for faster chilling. Discard the peel.
  2. Strain the grapefruit juice through a sieve or strainer to remove the pulp. Discard pulp. Stir the sugar syrup into the grapefruit juice, and mix in food coloring one drop at a time to achieve a pleasing, believable pink. (In other words, don't overdo it.)
  3. Pour into the container of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a container and freeze until firm before serving.

  • If you do not have an ice cream maker
  • Pour into 9-inch square metal baking pan; cover and freeze, stirring occasionally, until partially frozen, about 4 hours. In food processor with knife blade attached, process sorbet until smooth but still frozen.

Challah Challah!

2 cups warm water or milk

2 pkgs dry active yeast

6-7 cups bread flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 t. salt

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

1. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water (careful of the temperature or it won't rise. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature. You want 75-120 degrees.) Stir in sugar and salt. Add 3 cups flour and mix well. Add oil and egg and mix well. Then add remaining flour. (The dough will be a little sticky but don't add more flour.)

2. Wet a clean dish towel and ring it out. Cover the bowl of dough with the towel. Put the bowl in the refrigerator and let stand overnight.

3. When dough is doubled in size braid as follows:

Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Cut 1 piece into thirds; with your hands roll each piece into a 16 inch-long rope or snake. Place ropes side by side and braid as you would hair.

Pinch ends of braid to seal. Place on cookie sheet the bottom loaf. Repeat with another piece for another loaf. Cut remaining dough into 6 pieces; roll each into 17 inch-long ropes. Braid each set of three ropes as shown in figure; pinch ends to seal.

Place each smaller braid on top of a large braid; tuck ends of top braid under bottom braid stretching top braid if necessary.

4. Arrange loaves at least 5 inches apart on oiled or greased cookie sheet; cover and let rise in warm place until doubles in size. (Depending on your house temperature. Find a warm place.)

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook bread for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush top and sides of loaves with butter. Let cool on wire rack.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added purée
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, basil, marjoram and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; simmer gently, uncovered, until sauce thickens and measures 8 cups total, breaking up tomatoes with spoon and stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.)

Baba Ghanoush

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 4 level tablespoons tahini
  • 2teaspoons garlic, peeled and crushed with salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Pierce the eggplant in several places with a toothpick. If you are cooking indoors, wrap the whole eggplant in aluminum foil and set it over a gas grill to cook on all sides until it collapses and begins to release a great deal of steam. If you are cooking over coals, grill the eggplant until blackened, collapsed, and cooked through.

Dump the eggplant into a basin of cold water; peel while still hot and allow to drain in a colander until cool. Squeeze pulp to remove any bitter juices. Mash the eggplant to a puree.

In a food processor, mix the tahini with the garlic and lemon juice until the mixture contracts. Thin with the water. With the machine running, add the eggplant and the salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Avgolemeno Chicken Soup

1 3/4 quart chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta
3 eggs
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon cold water
salt and pepper to taste

Pour the chicken broth into a large saucepan, and bring it to the boil.

Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Beat the eggs until frothy, then add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoons of cold water. Slowly stir in a ladleful of the hot chicken stock, then add one or two more. Be careful not to scramble the eggs! Return this mixture to the pan, off the heat, and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once, garnished with lemon slices. Do not let the soup boil once the eggs have been added or it will curdle!


  • 50-60 fresh or packaged grape leaves, blanched
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of long grain rice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 3-4 cups of water

If the grape leaves have already been blanched, simply rinse and set in a colander to drain. If they are fresh, wash well and soak in hot salted water for 5 minutes, then drain.

Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium heat, and sauté the onion until soft. Add rice, half the lemon juice, herbs, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of water, increase heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and turn off heat.

Allow the filling to sit for 5-10 minutes.

Place one teaspoon of filling at the stem end of a grape leaf and roll. Continue until filling has been used. (If any of the leaves are very small, use two for each roll.)

Line the bottom of a pot with unused or broken grape leaves and place the rolls, seam side down, in the pot in layers. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil and the 3-4 cups of water (enough to reach the top of the rolls). Place a plate on top of the rolls to hold them securely while cooking and bring to a full boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until only the sauce remains.

Add the remaining lemon juice and shake the pot gently.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Nuts and Talapia

1 cup Macadamia Nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion
1/4 cup tequila
2 limes

Take deboned Talapia and brush a thin layer of olive oil over it. Then mix the remaining oil with the tequila and the juice from the limes. Chop the garlic and onion and add it to the mix. Let that sit. Chop the macadamia nuts finely. Brush the fish with the sauce making sure to leave all the garlic and onion pieces on the meat. then sprinkle the nuts over the fish. bake....yum...

Presbytera's Marinade

1/3 cup bottled Italian dressing
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 ounces feta or goat cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped oil-cured olives
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

This marinade is best on steak or lamb...also can be used on a veggie dish, but use in moderation if not with meat...

watermelon salad

  • 3/4 - 1 cup of cold watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 1/4 medium red onion, cut in paper-thin slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette
  • fresh mint...chopped up in thin strips optional: can add black olives

Place the watermelon in a bowl, top with most of the onions, then the feta cheese. Place remaining onions on top. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle the fresh mint over the top and serve.

This recipe can be made in individual servings or multiplied and served in a large salad bowl.

Monday, August 10, 2009

YiaYia Theodora's Chicken Kapama

6 to 8 chicken thighs (with skin)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 (14.5) oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (3.8) oz. can sliced ripe olives, drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
3/4 cup dry, white wine
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups yellow onions, diced
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. dried mint flakes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 to 8 servings cooked rice pilaf
(Cook the pilaf according to instructions on package.)


Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Mix the salt, pepper and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub this seasoning on all sides of the chicken. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add chicken, browning for about 5 minutes on each side. Then remove chicken, put on a platter and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and minced garlic to the skillet. Stir constantly and cook for a few minutes until the onions are tender and a light golden brown. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon, loosening everything that is stuck to the bottom of the skillet.

After a few minutes, add the tomatoes, the olives, the chicken broth, the dried oregano leaves and the dried mint flakes. Stir everything together and return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for an hour, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve the chicken over the pilaf, cover with the sauce, and sprinkle feta cheese over the top. Serves 6 to 8.