Sunday, May 13, 2018

Southern Cornbread Cobbler with Pecans and Homemade Whipped Cream.

This is a great dessert for the Holidays. It's a bit of a change from the traditional Pecan Pie.
I've included my recipe for Homemade Whipped Cream, for Garnish.

Southern Cornbread Cobbler with Pecans

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
A 15" Cast Iron Skillet

2 C Lyle's Golden Syrup
2 C Brown Sugar
5 Eggs
1 TBS Vanilla
4 TBS Butter, melted
1/4 tsp Salt
3 C Pecan Halves

1 Egg, beaten
4 TBS Butter, melted
2 C Self Rising Cornbread Mix
1/2 C Finely Chopped Pecans
Vegetable Oil


Preheat the Skillet in the Oven and start preparing the Filling.

In a Mixing Bowl:
Whisk well and Set Aside.

Remove Skillet from Oven.
Enough Vegetable Oil to coat the bottom and brush the sides.
Swirl it in the bottom to cover entirely.
Return it to the Oven while preparing the Batter.


In a Mixing Bowl:
Mix just until combined.

Pour the Batter into the Skillet.
Spread evenly.

Spoon the Pecan Filling over the Batter.
Do not stir it.
Top evenly with the Pecan Halves.

Bake 30 minutes.
Remove from Oven and Cover with Foil.
Return to Bake and additional 10 minutes.

Serve Hot garnished with Homemade Whipped Cream.

This is my favorite recipe for homemade Whipped Cream.

Homemade Whipped Cream:

1 C Heavy Cream
1 tsp Vanilla
1 TBS Confectioner's Sugar.
Whip the Cream in a Stand Mixer with a Whisk Attachment.
Beat to Soft Peak.
Confectioner's Sugar
Beat to Stiff Peak.
Transfer to a Serving Bowl to serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Spinach Cheese Appetizers

This Appetizer recipe is adapted from Pillsbury.

Kickin' Spinach Cheese Bites

Calphalon Non Stick Mini Muffin Tin
You'll need 2 of these.
The recipe makes 48 appetizers.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
An Electric Hand Mixer
2 - 24 C Non Stick Mini Muffin Tins sprayed with a Non Stick Vegetable Cooking Spray.

1- 9 oz. Box of Frozen Chopped Spinach
1 - 8 oz. Package of Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature.
1/4 C Ricotta Cheese
6 oz. Fresh Provolone Cheese, Shredded. About 1 1/2 C.
1/4 C Finely diced Pickled Jalapeño Pepper Slices from an 11.5 oz. Jar.
2 Containers of Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Refrigerated Seamless Dough Sheets.

Heat the Spinach in a Microwave and Squeeze dry in Paper Towels.

In a Mixing Bowl with an Electric Hand Mixer:
Cream Cheese
Ricotta Cheese
Beat until Creamy Smooth.

Fold in, by Hand:
Stir by hand until well combined.

Unroll the Dough Sheets onto a flat surface into 8" X 12" rectangles.
Cut each Sheet into 24 Squares.

Gently Press 1 Square into the bottom and up the sides of each well of the Muffin Tins.
Spoon 1 heaping TBS of the mixture into each Well.

Bake for 8 - 12 minutes, until Golden Brown.

Remove Appetizers to a Serving Platter and Serve Hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mushroom Croque Monsieur

This is a Vegetarian version of the classic French, Croque Monsieur.

Mushroom Croque Monsieur

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
A Large Cast Iron Skillet
A Food Processor
1 - Rimmed Sheet Pan lined with Parchment Paper.

8 TBS Butter, softened and divided.
1 - 8 oz. package of Crimini Mushrooms
2 TBS Minced Shallots
2 C Shredded Gruyère Cheese
2 TBS Grated Parmesan Cheese
12 Slices of Country Style French Bread (Pain de Compagne)

1 1/2 TBS Butter
1 1/2 TBS Flour
1 1/2 C Whole Milk
1/2 C Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
A Pinch of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauce Preparation

In a Saucepan on Medium Heat:
Butter, until melted.
Whisk for 2 minutes.

Whisk well.
Increase Heat to Medium High.
Whisk until it begins to Boil.
Continue heating for 5 minutes.
Remove from Heat.

Salt and Pepper
Stir to combine well.

Filling Preparation

In a Food Processor:
Pulse until finely chopped.
Set aside.

In the Skillet:
3 TBS Butter, until melted
Sauté 8 minutes, stirring often
Transfer to a Bowl.

Heat the Broiler in the Oven.
Spread each slice of Bread on 1 side with remaining Butter.
Transfer to the Sheet Pan, Butter Side Up.
Watch carefully as it Broils, just until Golden Brown.
Remove to a Rack to cool completely.

Have the Oven preheated to 350 degrees.

On the Sheet Pan:
6 of the Bread Slices, Toasted side down.
Sprinkle with some of the Gruyère Cheese.
Top with another slice of Bread, Toasted Side up.
Press with a heavy Cast Iron Skillet or an Iron Panini Press.

Spread 2 TBS of the Sauce on each top.
Top evenly with Mushroom mixture.
Sprinkle evenly with remaining Gruyère Cheese.
Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan Cheese.

Return to the Oven.
Bake 10 minutes, until the Cheese is Golden Brown.

Transfer to a Serving Platter.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Marie Gallagher's Curried Fruit Casserole, Palatine, Illinois 1977

 Christmas Eve, 2012!

Marie Gallagher's Curried Fruit Casserole:

Today I pay homage to a dear family friend, Marie Gallagher. She recently celebrated her 90th birthday.

I became friends with the Gallagher family in the early 70's.

Marie used to make this casserole and I loved it. She shared this recipe with me in 1977.

It's in my book of recipes that I started in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 1974, when Jay Gallagher and I lived there.

1- 15 oz. can of Pears, sliced
1- 15 oz. can of Peaches, sliced
1- 15 oz. can of Apricots
1- 15 oz. can of Chunked Pineapple
1 small jar of Maraschino Cherries
1 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/3 C Melted Butter
Butter for greasing the pan

Drain all fruit, arrange lightly in a buttered casserole dish
Mix together, Curry,Brown Sugar and Melted Butter & pour over the fruit.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. It can bake for 2-3 hours without harm

Thank you Marie, I know you celebrated a wonderful 90th birthday, with all of the kids!
I wish I could have been there!
And thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Thanksgiving Gems (the story about Gems and other recipes)

I dedicated an entire post to Gems after I purchased a vintage Cast Iron Gem Pan.The story and other recipes are at the end of this Pumpkin Gems Recipe.

Thanksgiving  Gems

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees.
A Gem Pan or Mini Muffin Tins (brushed well with Pan Release Mix) Recipe to follow.

Pan Release Mix.:

(Equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour) I start with 1 C of each mixed well and refrigerated in a jar. I always have it available for all of my baking needs.

Gem Ingredients:

3 Large Eggs
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Box of Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
1 - 15 oz. Can of Pure Pumpkin

Frosting Ingredients:

4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp Vanilla
8 Tbs Butter, melted.
2 C Confectioner's Sugar
1 TBS Half and Half (only to thin the frosting if it's too thick)

Frosting Directions:

In a Mixing Bowl with and Electric Hand Mixer:
Cream Cheese
Beat until Creamy.
Mix just until combined.
Gradually add Sugar and beat until creamy smooth.
Add a bit of Milk if it's too thick.

Gems Directions:

In a Mixing Bowl:
Baking Soda
Cake Mix
Mix by hand until well combined.

Fill the Gem Pan or Muffin Tins 2/3 Full.
Bake 10 minutes.
Remove Pan to a Rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Invert Gems to the Rack to cool completely.

Ice them with the Frosting.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Gems / Baked in a Cast Iron Gem Pan. A part of American Culinary History

Gems / Baked in a Cast Iron Gem Pan. A part of American Culinary History:

I have a vast collection of cast iron cookware. I love cooking with cast iron. We cook outdoors with cast iron and I set up my fireplace to cook in it with cast iron too. I found a piece of cast iron bakeware at our local flea market and I had never seen it before. I bought it and started researching it. It turned out to be a Gem Pan. I was curious and continued my research and here's what I discovered.

Gem pans are heavy, muffin pan-like trays that are traditionally made from cast iron. Minimuffins, simple gem breads, and other small desserts can be baked in a gem pan. Most of these types of pans are designed to yield 12 to 24 muffins, though some specialized sizes may produce less.
cast iron gem pan is considered the ideal tool to use when baking gems; it is also dubbed the proper pan for this use. Cast iron is the preferred medium for these types of pans. Modern gempans, however, can be made from other materials, such as heavy-gauge steel and metals treated with nonstick coating. Cups can range from deep to shallow, depending on the cook's needs.
The size of the cast iron gem pan makes it ideal to create bite-sized treats and mini breads. The most commonly used cup sizes measures 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) in diameter. The pans themselves typically measure 13.125 inches (33 cm) by 7.75 inches (19.5 cm). Small pastry puffs, cheesy popovers, chocolate brownies, savory mini quiches, and mini cornbread can all be made with the pan.
One of the most common uses for this baking pan is its namesake, the gem. A very simple form of bread, gems consist of very few ingredients. They can be used as meal accompaniments, desserts, or snacks, depending on the recipe preferred. Gems may also be referred to as gemcakes.

The term Gem comes from small cakes that resemble gems. There was a kitchen housewares company named Gem that sold a pan that was generically referred to as a Gem Pan.
A Gem can be referred to as a muffin but a muffin is not necessarily a Gem. They were first popularized in the 19th century and were always made with Whole Wheat Graham Flour and baked in heavy cast iron gem pans.

Nathaniel Waterman of Boston, Massachusetts is believed to be the first person to patent the design of the Gem Pan in 1859. It was also referred to as an Egg Pan. The cast iron pan featured cups, or wells, that were connected together to promote the conduction of heat through the iron.

The gems were made with Graham Flour. A type of whole wheat flour named after the American Presbyterian minister Reverend Sylvester Graham (1794 - 1851).
Graham despised the discarding of nutrients, bleaching flour and believed that using all of the grain, without adding chemicals in the milling of flour.

Here are some examples of Gem  Recipes:

19th Century Graham Puffs:
1 C milk
1 TBS molasses
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Graham Flour to make a stiff dough.

Bake in the wells of a well buttered cast iron gem pan.
Heat the pan in a 375 degree oven.
Add butter to the wells.
Pour batter in each well and bake until light browned.

I love old recipes that don't give a baking time. They just knew when they were done based on experience. It's the way my mother in law baked. She never owned a measuring cup or measuring spoons.

Potato Flour Gems:

2 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1/2 C potato flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 TBS ice water

In a small bowl, beat egg whites.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks
Add salt and sugar to the beaten yolks.
Fold in the egg whites.

In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.
Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
Add ice water.

Grease the wells of a cast iron gem pan with butter or crisco and fill the wells with batter.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.

1950's Graham Gems Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C graham flour
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk well.

1 1/2 C buttermilk
1/4  vegetable oil
1 egg
Add to dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Grease the wells of a cast iron gem pan with melted Crisco or Butter.
Spoon batter into wells and bake for 15 minutes. The tops will be firm to the touch.

This recipe makes 18 gems.
Serve warm with butter.

As soon as I try some of the recipes I'll post photographs.

I was fortunate to find a vintage Gem Pan in excellent condition.
Graham Flour

This is a vintage recipe card for Graham Gems.
In my research I discovered that when they referred to a "hot" oven
it would be the equivalent of 400 degrees today.
I also found that the milk was usually butter milk or what they referred to
as "sour" milk.

Peace in the Kitchen!

  • Nanna Moorehouse’s Ginger Gems
  • 2 oz of soft brown sugar
  • 2 oz of butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of plain white flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • milk to mix (approximately ½ a cup)
  • 1 oz of extra butter to grease
  1. Preheat your oven and gem irons in a hot 220°C (430°F) oven
  2. In a large bowl, cream the sugar, butter and golden syrup. 
  3. Add the egg and beat in well.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking and ground ginger and gently fold into the batter with enough milk to make a dropping consistency.
  5. Remove the hot gem pan from the oven and put a dot of butter into each of the 12 compartments.
  6. The butter should sizzle if the pan is ready. Brush the melted butter around the sides quickly.
  7. Take a dessert spoon and drop batter evenly into each compartment until three-quarters to nearly full. Return the gem irons to the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
  8. Eat immediately while still piping hot with lashings of butter.
  9. Makes 12

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Grilled BBQ Teriyaki Tofu and Vegetables

Grilled BBQ Teriyaki and Vegetables

Here's what you'll need:
A BBQ Grill
BBQ Skewers
Vegetable Oil
Heavy Duty Foil. (create a bed for the Skewers by crimping the edges of the foil)

7 oz. Firm Tofu, drained and cubed.
1 Bottle of Teriyaki Sauce
2 Red Bell Peppers, cut into chunks for Skewers.
1 - Red Onion, cut into chunks for Skewers.
2 cans of Pineapple chunks for Skewers.
8 oz. Whole Button Mushrooms.
1 Zucchini cut into chunks for Skewers.

In a Mixing Bowl:
Teriyaki Sauce
Marinate overnight.

Fill the Skewers with the ingredients for grilling.
Brush the Skewers with Oil
Brush the Foil with Oil
Place the Skewers on the Bed of Foil.
Grill for 10 - 15 minutes.
Baste the Skewers with the Marinade during Grilling.

Serve immediately.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Vegetarian Tofu Gyoza

These are filled Wonton Wrappers that are fried in a Skillet.

Here's what you'll need:
A Large Cast Iron Skillet, Stainless Steel Skillet or Non Stick Skillet/with Lids.

16 oz. of Firm Tofu
1 C of diced Carrot
1 C of diced Celery
1 C diced Cabbage
1 C diced Zucchini
1/2 C diced Red Pepper
1/2 C diced Scallion
2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Sesame Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 - 16 oz. Packages of Round Wonton Wrappers
2 TBS Olive Oil

Put the Tofu on a Plate and cover with another Plate to create a Press. Put a 3 - 5 pound weight on top and let it Press for 30 minutes to release the liquid. Discard the Liquid and pat the Tofu dry with Paper Towels.

In A Large Mixing Bowl:
Crumble the Tofu

Red Pepper
Mix well by hand.

Sesame Oil
Salt and Pepper
Mix well by hand.

Separate the Wonton Wrappers.
1 1/2 tsp of the filling to the center of each Wrapper.
Moisten the edges of the Wrappers with water, using your finger.
Fold the Wrappers in half, over the Filling.
Press the edges lightly to seal the Wrappers.

In the Skillet on Medium High Heat:
Olive Oil, until Hot.
Fry them until Golden Brown for a minute per side.
Increase the Heat to High, add a bit of water to just to slightly cover the bottom and put the Lid on the Skillet.
Steam about 5 minutes, just until the water has evaporated.

Peace in the Kitchen!