Monday, February 8, 2010

Orange Cranberry Scones

Ok, if after the last entry you haven't quit reading (sorry for being such a grumbler), I'm back with a good recipe. I have baked a couple of other things in the interim, a poppy seed sour cream cake that was tasty, but a bit dry (I think if I make it again it may get a soak with a syrup before frosting), lasagna (the sauce just wasn't right, I needed tomato paste so I had edible but not great lasagna), and I've been busy with the dogs. Cinnamon's been diagnosed with cancer, so I've done one trip to Raleigh which is several hours away and planning another trip this week. The poor pup has a limited time I'm afraid.

This morning I made cranberry orange scones. The cranberries were bought as the end of the 2009 crop, and I wanted to use them in something tasty. The recipe calls for fresh cranberries, but frozen if you bought a bag and tossed in the freezer would be fine, too. Just adjust your baking time upwards a couple of minutes.The scones are an adaptation on this recipe. I wanted to have some whole wheat flour and I didn't want to waste any orange juice so I added half and half to the orange juice to make 1/2 cup liquid.

Orange Cranberry Scones

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
10 teaspoons sugar - divided (7 Tbsp for the flour mix, 3 for the fruit)
grated peel of one orange
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup cranberries
orange juice from the orange used for peel
half & half cream added to orange juice to make up 1/2 cup
1 egg

In food processor, chop cranberries on pulse for a few pulses, place in small bowl; combine cranberries, orange juice, cream, and egg. In food processor bowl combine flours, 7 teaspoons sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Add fruit and liquid to flour mixture in a separate bowl and stir by hand until a soft dough forms.

On a floured surface, gently knead 6 to 8 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 10 wedges. Separate wedges and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with milk, then sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Of course for sweeter scones you could brush these with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar before baking, or glaze with a powdered sugar and milk or orange juice glaze after baking.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A couple of days of French Canadian cooking

Yesterday I baked, and today I'm mainly doing stove top cooking. Both meals had components mainly from the Quebecois side of the family; yesterday was tourtiere and today it's pea soup. For anyone not of French Canadian descent, tourtiere is a meat pie now mainly made with pork (at least in part). Apparently in the past it was made of game meats, and I've used venison which was also pretty darned fine! My recipe uses both ground pork and ground beef and I used small cubes of venison to substitute for the beef. I suggest serving tourtiere with a green salad to round out the meal since the pie include starches.

This is the family recipe from the Lambert family of southwestern New Hampshire. It was often served in small slivers at Thanksgiving or Christmas as an appetizer at the large family get-togethers. I'm sharing it here because we don't have grandchildren with whom to share it. My daughter has planned to have no children, and my sister despises this recipe so I doubt she'll share it with her daughters. Others in the family have sons, so I doubt the recipe has made it into the holiday recipe box.

My mother did not want to share the recipe with me, which I found both interesting and frustrating since it was really from my family too, and she wasn't sharing for years. She kept telling me to work out the spicing - shoot, at the time I lived where Bell's seasoning was not available and then to work from a spice mix, then add cinnamon and cloves was not reasonable. I can't help but think she resented my learning to cook lots of other recipes, and not being afraid to cook and tweak recipes. But she was the one who told me that I could read a cookbook and could work out recipes from them, so it was her own fault!


1/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
approx. 1/8 tsp. pepper (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (the family favorite was Bell's)
1 sm. dash cloves
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 large potatoes boiled and mashed (no milk or butter, just freshly mashed) - keep hot
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
a two crust pie shell

Saute onion in butter until translucent in a skillet approximately 10 inches in diameter. Add the two ground meats and brown. Add just enough water to have it barely peak through the meat, and simmer for 10 minutes (I think this step is a hold-over from the game meats days). Add the hot mashed potatoes and spices.

Place pie shell bottom crust in the pie plate; add the filling to the pie shell. Top with the upper crust, and bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and crisp.

Today's cooking is not as interesting, but still relates to the French Canadian cooking because that's where my family's pea soup recipe comes from. I'm serving pea soup made with split peas, the bone from the ham from Christmas dinner, onion, carrot, and celery, and water to cover, then cooking until the peas are all collapsed into the soup. Pea soup was about the only soup my mother made from scratch. All others came from a can or a box. All three of us kids really used to look forward to pea soup - loaded with crackers to be thick, but it was great. Mom would grouse about it, and in her later years swore she would never make pea soup again. Heck I could think of lots of things I wished I never saw, but pea soup wasn't one of them. Ugh, Spanish rice and American chop suey I never make nor want to make with meat as a one pot meal. I will do a "Spanish rice" as more of a Mexican rice to go with a Mexican style dinner, but never a stodge of a one-pot. I'll also make spaghetti or ziti or other pasta with Italian sausage or meatballs or meat sauce, but no American chop suey.

Tonight pea soup will be offered with home made corn bread. I'd say that will give us plenty of fiber, protein, and vitamins for dinner. May be something of a "musical" night, but we'll live.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Knitting and kringle

Well, the gloves plural aren't finished, but one is, so I'll provide a picture. They're made with what may be my favorite yarn, Frog Tree Alpaca. This is the sport weight yarn, which I suggest for gloves and socks, unless you're willing to work with finer weight, and then their fingering weight is lovely. You do have to keep it safe from clothes moths, though, as I found out first hand losing one pair of socks to those critters. These are fitted to my hand, with the fingers a bit long in case I choose to grow my nails. Now let's see if they suit my daughter, and I keep them or not.

In addition, I've baked kringle. Kringle is a bit of a family tradition now. I started baking kringle after hearing about it in Oklahoma City around Christmas while in grad school for my Master's in City Planning. Ever since then, I've been making almond kringle - so that would be since 1984. Oh, heavens, 25 years of kringle baking. I found the recipe in a magazine, and of course tweaked it by changing the filling, leaving out candied citron (not my favorite thing, although candied citrus peel beats the heck out of green candied cherries in my estimation!), and substituting chopped pecans which were native to the area of Norman and Oklahoma City.

If you've never run into kringle before, it's a pastry that is filled with any of a number of fruit or nut fillings, or occasionally cheese or chocolate. Originally from Denmark, it's associated in the US most strongly with Racine, Wisconsin. I'm not sure how many Danes moved to Oklahoma City, but apparently some did because it was a local specialty around Christmas. The recipe I have uses a yeast dough that is more of a regular sweet roll type dough rather than a puff pastry type dough that the commercial bakeries such as those in Racine use. I like mine because it's fresh and you can smell it all through the house, which of course the bakery product doesn't offer. The other thing I've found with the bakery product when I bought it in Oklahoma City was that I thought the dough underneath the filling pulled moisture from the filling which I don't find with this dough. But that's me.

Almond Kringle

2 pkgs yeast
1/2 cup very warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
approx. 4 cups flour

Mix 2 pkg yeast, water and 1 Tbsp sugar in large bowl. Heat milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter in a pan on medium heat until butter melts and milk scalds, stirring to keep sugar from caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. Let milk mixture cool to lukewarm and add with eggs and salt to the yeast mix. Add two cups of flour. Mix well. Add flour by 1/2 cup increments until stiff enough to knead. Knead until smooth, adding flour as needed. Let rise until double. Make filling.


One 6-8 oz tin or tube of almond paste
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick softened butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Cut almond paste into small pieces, add sugar, and butter to food processor with metal blade. Process for a few seconds, move around after stopping processor, and process again until smooth. Add pecans, and process until mixed.

When dough is risen, cut in thirds, roll into approximately 24 X 6-8 inch oblongs for each third. Spread each with 1/3 of the filling, and roll into long log. Shape into pretzel shape on cookie sheet and let rise until double again. Glaze with whole egg glaze for nice brown sheen.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Yield 3 kringles (YUM!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Overdue post

Ah, sorry not to have posted for awhile. I've been out of the cooking loop for a bit - knitting and illness took over for a few weeks. I've had a bad cold that set off asthma-like symptoms, darn it, and knocked me on my butt for a bit, then I have gloves on the knitting needles and socks for Mike. I've almost finished the gloves and will post photos of them, even though they aren't cooking. I won't post the pattern though, they are worked for my hands and I worked them without a pattern. The socks will take a bit longer.

I finally did some baking again. I would call them within the range of normal, but they taste so good, I'll post. They're oatmeal cookies with dried cherries. Mike and I have been enjoying them, and so have the collies. I can't have one without a begging dog at my side or at my feet!

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups roll oats (old fashioned or quick, not instant)
1 cups dried cherries (chopped coarsely)

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, mix well. Add extracts and mix. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to the butter and egg mixture, mix well. (These first steps may be done by hand or in a mixer) Add oatmeal and cherries, mix by hand until combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets, one dozen per sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes until done. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baking for folks who don't eat eggs

Mike's heard from folks at his office that they'd like to taste what he brings in, but because of their culturally based food restrictions, they can't have the baked goods - banana bread, zucchini bread, muffins, or so forth. Today I went ahead and made pumpkin muffins and apple walnut muffins considering those restrictions.

From checking some websites on vegan cooking for muffins and other baking, it's OK to just leave out the eggs if there's enough other moisture. Since the folks are from India and Pakistan, I felt it would be OK to use the milk and butter since my recipes for Indian food uses cheese and ghee. The apple muffins, though are vegan since I used cider for the liquid because I wanted to enhance the apple flavor. I thought it would be appropriate.

For general purposes if you're willing to try baking and need to substitute for eggs for vegans, pumpkin or applesauce can be used to add bulk and moisture; approximately 1/4 cup for one egg. Tofu, pureed, works to help bind and add protein. Finely ground flaxseed and water (1 Tablespoon to 1/4 cup water) is also useful for binding in baking. You also need to remember to have leavening since the leavening action of eggs is missing. But in muffins you already have baking powder, so I did not add extra.

Eggless Apple Walnut Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil
1 cup cider (or milk)
1 grated apple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

for topping:
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Measure dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients, mix until just moistened. Add apple and walnuts and mix until evenly distributed.

Place batter in greased muffin tins (or line with paper muffin cups if preferred). Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle tops of batter with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Take from muffin tin immediately after removing from oven and cool on rack.

Serve warm or room temperature. Great with tea or coffee. Also good with dinner - New Englanders would have muffins as the bread with the meal. These would be yummy with a sharp cheddar cheese!

Friday, October 30, 2009

not a recipe, but where I've been and what I've cooked

I was out of town last week and this week have been a little busy with knitting. Last week we went on vacation to Pennsylvania and headed to Amish country with a side trip on the way home to Cape May, NJ. Then this week I have two knitting nights.

We were in Lancaster County, PA around Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse. The area was very touristy along the main roads, but back in the farms they were very tidy and generally quite pretty. One of the Amish men took us on a carriage tour, he'd changed to this after farming because it was easier work than farming. Apparently the farms are dairy farms mainly these days. They grow corn and alfalfa for feeding the cattle and apples that are sold and eaten (also for cider). The cider apple pulp is also fed to cattle. They also have horses and mules for local travel and working the fields.

I have to say I'm not particularly fond of all Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish based) cooking. I had sauerkraut and pork one night that was acceptable, but seemed more of a way that would be using leftovers of a pork roast at home than a restaurant menu item. I was also surprised that the New England whoopie pie had made it as a pastry item the Amish bakers had taken to. I guess it's a good single serving cake.

In Cape May I stopped and ate seafood. Of course! I couldn't go without a good seafood meal there. I also bought finnan haddie to fix at home. I do like smoked fish.

In addition to finnan haddie, I've made beef stew the way I like to with red wine, onions, mushrooms, and carrots, and flavored with garlic and thyme, Bernard Clayton's rich white bread out of his Bread book, baked apples with the apples bought in Amish country, and steak. Yeah, we're a red meat house pretty often. The hubby's from Colorado and used to beef. Oh, yes, and one night I did a ham steak with roasted sweet potato spears. The sweet potatoes came out really nice and roasty toasty and were so good!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chai tea

Today is blustery, wet, and chilly. Not really outright c-o-l-d, but chilly. Nice to have a beautiful collie laying at my feet, especially a dry collie, but of course they all wanted/needed out at the height of the rain this morning and they're all a bit damp. Can't blame them, I'd much rather they did what they needed to do outside rather than in the house! So, since I can't have a dog warming my toes, I'm having a cup of chai.

Chai can be flavored to suit you. What suits me is mainly cardamom and cinnamon with a little bit of spunk. I really like it made with Darjeeling tea, but my system doesn't tolerate much caffeine these days so I'm making mine with decaf English Breakfast. Not the same, but still decent.


2 cups of water (filtered)
2 inches cinnamon stick
small chip of nutmeg (use a knife and chip off a little piece about 1/8 inch)
8 to 12 cardamom pods
3 or 4 black peppercorns
1/3 coin of crystallized ginger

Bring water to the boil. Boil for 2 or 3 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 10 minutes.

Reheat water to the boil. Add tea for desired strength (1 or 2 teabags - remember this is served with milk). Let steep for about 5 minutes. Add sweetener, which for me is honey, and milk to the desired milkiness.