This series is turning into an ode to my favorite cooks.
When we first started, I told you that I’d been collecting favorite recipes for years. Writing this has not only been a walk through different stages in my life, it’s also been pure heaven to revisit the cooks who made these wonderful recipes.
Today’s recipe is no different. Catherine is a good friend by marriage — her marriage to one of my best friends from college. In her beautifully renovated Victorian kitchen, Catherine produces sublime food, especially desserts for her guests. And who can resist the combination of pecans, booze, and chocolate? Your guests and family will love this one!
With fork, mix first 4 ingredients. In separate dish, beat remaining ingredients. Combine the two mixtures, stirring with fork until all ingredients are moistened. With hands, mold dough into ball. Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling into desired shape.
Dough can be left in refrigerator up to 3 days or can be frozen until ready to use.
Yield: Two 9" double crust pies and one 9" shell. This recipe requires a very deep pie pan and one half of the crust recipe.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, syrup, vanilla, salt, melted butter. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. The filling will puff up slightly and the center will still wiggle a bit.
Having absolutely no resemblance to the yucky baked beans people usually bring to events, your crockpot will be filled with a sweet and savory meat and bean melange that is more like stew than like beans. A teaching colleague brought this dish to every school potluck and if I was in the last lunch group, I was lucky to get even a taste of this. People seem to just inhale it.
This recipe is also one that is easily modified depending on what your family likes or what is in the fridge that needs to be used up (Using up stuff in the fridge seems to be a common theme in my recipes). We didn’t have any barbecue sauce in the house so I threw in extra ketchup and some mesquite seasoning. It worked just fine. We also added some aging tomato salsa and seriously considered opening our brand new bottle of peach salsa from Trader Joe’s. That would have been a tasty addition to the mix, but seemed unnecessary. You could also use a Rotel tomato product with chilis if you like your food a little spicier. I also used ground turkey and pancetta rather than the ground beef and bacon — I don’t think anyone would know the difference and Music Man liked it better that way.
In large skillet, brown beef and onion in butter. Drain well. Place in casserole with bacon.
In medium bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add kidney beans, lima beans, and pork and beans to casserole. Pour sugar mixture on top. Blend well.
Cover casserole and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover casserole and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
This casserole can be held, covered, in a low oven for 1 hour. It can also be baked and kept warm in a crockpot.
I have a wonderful group of friends, and at Christmas we love to party.
When Mama Kat posted this week’s prompts, it seemed the perfect time to share our favorite ladies’ drink, the Cosmopolitan. When the shaker and the triple sec come out, the men run the other way, but there’s nothing quite as pretty as a pink Cosmo shimmering in a beautiful martini glass.
The Cosmo has been used as a signature drink in the media, most famously as the drink of choice of Carrie Bradshaw and her girlfriends in Sex and the City.
According to wikipedia, there is no clear origin for the original recipe for a Cosmopolitan, but it seems to have surfaced in the 1970s as a fruitier version of the martini. I have to admit, I still love my dirty martinis, but sometimes, the Cosmopolitan is the right drink for the event, and will look beautiful at your holiday party. And just in case you want to match your drink, here’s an option from Maggie at Polyvore.
I think most of us are like that. I commend the person who makes meal plans and shops for them, but that’s not us most of the time. I had been looking for a good use for the massive amount of cauliflower that we ended up with in the fridge, and then we went to a party where the hostess served this fabulous dish.
My search for a recipe was over, but I still needed a good aged cheddar. Luckily we have a local market that stocks wonderful cheeses, and we were able to find an Irish cheddar that was also low-fat. I was ready to plunge headlong into a vat of luscious cauliflower and cheese. MmMm good.
This recipe is perfect for a small party as one of your veggie dishes or it can be doubled or tripled for a larger group. I guarantee it will be gone if you take it to a church potluck supper and people will be begging you for the recipe!
Trim the cauliflower & break into small florets. Boil in salted water for 10-15 minutes or until just tender. Drain in a colander and then place in an ovenproof baking dish. Chop the florets into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour a small amount at a time and whisk until smooth. Add the milk and continue stirring continuously until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth. Allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, mustard, a pinch of nutmeg and seasoning. Cook for further minute stirring well.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over the top. Put the casserole on a cookie sheet as it may bubble over. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 450F for about 15 to 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.
Although this recipe uses lower-fat options whenever possible, it cannot be considered a low fat choice. Choosing a smaller serving size would lower the calorie count while still preserving the fabulous flavor of this dish.
Over the years, I’ve been collecting recipes from friends and family when I was especially interested in recreating something yummy that appeared on a table.
Coconut layer bars are one of those recipes — whenever they are brought to a church potluck or cookie walk, they just disappear. I’ve been holding onto this precious recipe for years and now I find that they are one of the easiest desserts to make that I’ve ever done.
You just have to get past the butter swimming in the bottom of your Pyrex pan and focus on the outcome. Gooey chocolate and crunchy coconut combined with the salty pleasure of the pecans.
This whole recipe got started because I had some leftover coconut in the fridge that I wanted to use up. Check the bag to see how much you need — I should have, because now I have another unused bag in the fridge.
Doesn’t it sound like a fun job to work in a spices store?
I have recently been able to experience the world of Penzeys Spices — a place where cooking is kindness, and that kindness can change the world. Really. That’s what their job application page says and that’s been my experience when shopping at two different locations in the Chicagoland area. I am impressed and want everyone to consider shopping either in person or online at Penzeys — it’s a beautiful place to spend a holiday afternoon.
Although I stocked up at the store on whole nutmeg and sweet curry powder, I already had a lot of spices in my cupboard. I went through them and threw away a lot of old spices. I also moved them into glass jars rather than plastic. Penzey’s also sells glass reusable spice jars in several sizes which is good for the environment as well as not leeching plastics poisons into the spices. I also put some spices into small canning jars and yard-sale glass spice jars. I labeled them using my trusty Brother P-touch labeler and I was pretty darn happy. My alphabetized spice cabinet is looking sharp.
When I realized that I had a big rosemary bush on the patio that was not going to live through the winter, I started looking for recipes to use up some of that luscious rosemary goodness. I discovered that Penzeys’ web site has recipes linked up to the order pages for the different spices. I was in business with a recipe for Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin.
1-2 tsp. ARROWROOT or cornstarch for thickening gravy, if desired.
Heat oven to 450°. Rinse the roast and pat dry. In a small bowl, mix together the GARLIC, THYME, ROSEMARY, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 TB. of the olive oil, salt and PEPPER.
Rub the seasoning all over pork loin.
Note: We bought a small 2 1/2 # center cut roast and cut it into two pieces. I put the second piece into a plastic bag and put half the marinade on the roast; we'll have this another meal since there's only two of us now in our empty nest.
Spread the remaining olive oil evenly over the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the pork in the pan. Roast at 450° for 30 minutes; lower the temperature to 350° and continue roasting for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 155°. Remove the pork to a cutting board; cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes or until the temperature reaches 160°. Slice and serve.
For gravy, save 2 cups of the water you cooked the potatoes in (assuming you're using the gravy for mashed potatoes; if not, 2 cups of water is fine). Remove the roast from the pan and drain off all but 2 TB. fat (if there is any). Place the pan on the stove top, pour in the potato water and let sit a few minutes. Scrape up browned bits from pan. Pour juice through a strainer into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by 1/3. Reduce heat to medium low, taste and add salt to taste. Thicken with 1-2 tsp. ARROWROOT or cornstarch dissolved in 1 TB. water.
Cook time is variable from 60 - 75 minutes; use a meat thermometer.
Servings 10; Serving Size 4 oz. (103); Calories 170; Calories from fat 60; Total fat 6g; Cholesterol 70mg; Sodium 115mg; Carbohydrate 1g; Dietary Fiber 0g; Sugars 0g; Protein 25g.