Thursday, February 27, 2014

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!

a poem about pie!

make it
bake it
box it
take it
share it
cut it
eat it
taste it
take the box home
clean it
store it
the next time
when I
think of
read this poem
and realize....
make it
bake it
box it
take it
share it
cut it
eat it
taste it

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Financiers ..... my new obsession!

I don't know how I can continue to come up with these new obsessions, but I do! That's why I have a blog, so I can document all of this, for my family to talk about me when I'm long gone!
So....... my new obsession is Financiers!
They were created in bakeries in Paris that were near the financial district. The small financier cakes were baked in pans shaped like bars of gold. They were also created as a way to use left over egg whites from other recipes.
On our many visits to France, I know that my wife and I have tasted these wonderful cakes and never took the time to research the history or really even know what they were.
When you're in Paris and you see the windows of the incredible bakery and pastry shops, you're only interest is to buy the amazing delights in the window. Now that I know about financiers we will definitely be aware of them the next time we're in France.

financier is a small French cake, often mistaken for a pastry. The financier is light and moist, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The distinctive feature of the recipe is beurre noisette (brown butter).[1] Other ingredients include egg whites, flour, and powdered sugar. Financiers are baked in shaped molds, usually small rectangular loaves similar in size to petits fours.[1]
The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange.
Financier pans are traditionally rectangular, but other shapes are not uncommon.

Traditional Financier Recipe:

1 1/4 C flour
1 1/4 C confectioner' sugar
1 C ground almond meal (place almonds, skins on or off, in a food processor or coffee bean grinder. Pulse until it looks like medium - fine texture. Don't over process or it will create a paste. Just pulse. Place in a flour sifter to remove any large pieces and return the remainder to the processor and pulse again . Continue until you have the correct amount for a recipe.
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
6 ounces of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare a financier pan with softened butter. If using silicone it's not necessary.

In a large mixing bowl. whisk together:
almond meal

Make a well in the center of the flour.
Add egg whites.
Use a wooden spoon and mix into a paste.

Melt butter and add to the flour mixture.
Stir until all of the butter is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Fill the financier wells 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 5 minutes.
Turn off the oven, keep the door closed and leave them for 2 minutes.
Remove the pan and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Release the cakes onto a cooking rack and cool completely.

I bought an incredible cookbook that are recipes from the beloved Parisian Confectioner, A La Mere De Famille. The shop was founded in 1761. It's located on the West Bank on the Rue Faubourg Montmartre. There's also one on one of our favorite streets, Rue Cler. We've stayed at a very charming hotel just a block away.Their other shop is on Rue Jouffroy d'Abbans. The next time you're in Paris, be sure and visit one of the locations.

The book starts out with two great recipes for Financiers, Morello Cherry and Hazelnut. Here are the recipes:

Morello Cherry Financiers:
6 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 C confectioner's sugar
1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C ground almonds or almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 eggs whites, lightly beaten
60 Morello Cherries in liqueur, drained

In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, gently brown the butter. (Gently melt butter, it will begin to bubble, then foam. When all of the water evaporates and the milk solids fall to the bottom and begin to turn the color of hazelnuts, immediately pour the butter into a cold container to stop the cooking process).
In a large mixing bowl:
ground almonds
baking powder
Whisk together to combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Add the egg whites and the brown butter.
Stir by hand, until everything is incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place a silicone financier pan with 12 wells on a baking sheet and fill each mold just under the rim with the batter.
Dot each mold with 5 cherries.
Bake for 13 minutes. The cake will be light brown and will spring back to the touch.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Un mold the cakes to the cooling rack.
Eat warm or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Hazelnut Financiers:

1/2 C Hazelnuts
6 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 C confectioner's sugar
1/2 C flour
1/2 C ground Hazelnuts (follow the same process as above for the Almonds)
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place Hazelnuts on a sheet pan and toast them for about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, gently brown the butter.

In a large mixing bowl:
ground hazelnuts
baking powder
Whisk together to combine

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Add egg whites and brown butter.
Stir by hand until everything is incorporated.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Place a silicone financier pan with 12 wells on a baking sheet and fill each mold just under the rim with the batter.
Dot each mold with toasted Hazelnuts.
Bake for 15 minutes.
The cake will be light brown and will spring back to the touch.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Un mold the cakes to the cooling rack. 
Eat warm or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

In conclusion to this story and recipes about Financiers, I sent a message to my friend and cookbook author Ellise Pierce and asked her about her experience with Financiers and she told me about a recipe in her book (Cowgirl Chef, Texas Cooking with a French Accent) . If you haven't gotten a copy of it I highly recommend it. It explains what it's like to be a Texan and have a passion for all things French. I share the same passion as Ellise. I was elated to have had the opportunity to meet her and attend one of her classes.
Here is her recipe titled Brown Butter Walnut Cakes ( Financiers Aux Noix)

2 sticks/250 grams of butter, plus more for buttering the muffin tin
5 ounces/140 grams of walnuts, toasted and finely ground
1 cup/200 grams of sugar
1/2 cup/70 grams of flour
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
6 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180'C and generously butter a 24-mini muffin tin.

To make the brown butter melt your butter in a saucepan over low heat until it turns brown and begins to smell nutty - the butter should gurgle bubbles - this'll take about 10 minutes. Whatever you do, don't try to rush this - or you'll end up with burned butter. Once it's brown and nutty, pour into a bowl and let it cool.

In your mixer bowl, whisk together the walnuts, sugar, flour and sea salt. Add the egg whites and mix well. Add the brown butter and mix just until it comes together - don't overdo. Scoop the batter into your greased muffin tin, filling three- quarters to the top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and the little cakes' tummies rise up out of the pan - they really do this! Flip the over and whack it on your countertop, and the cakes should fall right out. Serve immediately - these are best the day that you make them.

Thank you Ellise for all that you do , all the recipes and fun stories you have shared in your book!
From one Texan to another......... a la prochaine mon ami!

I found two vintage Lady Finger / Financier pans at an Antique Mall. The were not in good condition. I spent time cleaning them and re conditioning them so that they were ready to use again. They turned out great!

This is after they were scrubbed in hot dishwater just to get them clean.
This is the end result. I heated them in the oven at 375 degrees.
I boiled Water and had White Vinegar and Baking Soda ready for the
next step. I set the hot pan in the sink, filled the pan with boiling water,
vinegar and baking soda. After it foamed. I rinsed it in how water and dish soap.
I dried them and did the process one  more time. I dried them again, in the oven.
I brushed the pans with vegetable oil , wiped them with a paper towel
and placed them back in the oven to dry completely.
They are non stick and ready to make Financiers.

Peace in the Kitchen!

In 2015 I was on a Nutella Kick. I won second place in the Dallas Morning News/Central Market Holiday Cookie Contest with my Original recipe for Hazelnut Balls. It was in the Easy Category. This was my 7th year to be juried into the competition. I thought I'd add this recipe the the Financiers post for Nutella Financiers!
For this recipe you can use the traditional Financier Pan, a Langue de Chat Pan or a Gem Pan.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Financier Pans brushed well with 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.

5 TBS Butter
1.2 C Flour
1 C Confectioner's Sugar
3/4 Finely ground Almonds
4 Egg Whites, divided

In a Saucepan on low heat:
Heat until melted.

Ina medium mixing bowl:
Whisk well.

Egg Whites, one at a time.
Whisk well after each addition.

Whisk well.

Pour the batter into the Financier Wells, 1/2 full.
1 tsp of Nutella on top of the batter.
Cover with additional Batter,
Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Blackberry Financiers:

  • 1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar; additional for dusting
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) blackberries, halved


Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until browned bits begin to form. Continue to simmer, frequently scraping up browned bits at bottom of pan, until fragrant and dark brown but not burnt, 6–7 minutes. Scrape butter and all browned bits into a medium bowl. Let cool for 3–4 minutes.
Meanwhile, process almonds and flour in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl; whisk in 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Add egg whites; mix until smooth. Fold in honey.
Fold browned butter into batter. DO AHEAD: Batter can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Coat muffin cups with nonstick spray. Pour 1 generous Tbsp. batter into each prepared muffin cup. Top with 3–4 blackberry halves.
Bake until cakes are golden brown and just cooked through, 15–16 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

New projects coming soon!

I'm researching two new categories. More to come soon!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

St Patrick's Day Recipes / Authentic Irish Coffee , Irish Whole Wheat Soda Bread , Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur, Chocolate Mint Trifle, Irish Cocktail, Guinness Stout Bread

1945 – It is also said the original Irish Coffee was invented by Joe Jackson at the Ulster Hotel, which he purchased in 1945, located in Ballybofey, County Donegal. One of the specialties of the house was, and still is, is his Irish Coffee, which was made of strong black coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey, and then a layer of cream on top.
Joe, who was originally from Derry, was in the Merchant Navy during WWII. One night, in the north Atlantic, his ship was torpedoed by an enemy sub. To help him recover from hypothermia, Joe was given a traditional Navy remedy, a mixture of coffee and rum. Later, as he served on ships in the eastern Mediterranean, he tasted a number of drinks made from cream, sugar and various types of spirits.
In the early 1950s, a Scottish motoring magazine published an account of Joe Jackson’s Irish Coffee. The Jacksons maintain that the magazine described Joe’s drink a full year before the other Joe, Joe Sheridan, did his. A framed copy of the article used to hang in the Jackson’s Hotel lobby for many years until it disappeared during renovations.



The man who brought Irish coffee to America, by Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 2008
Irish Coffee ... The Rest of the Story, Ulster Heritage Magazine, by Barry R. McClaim.
Jackson Hotel, Ballybofey, County Donegal, Ireland
Who Really Invented Irish Coffee, The Evening Herald newspaper, July 3, 2011.

Authentic Irish Coffee Recipe - Joe Sheridan's Recipe
The next time you’ve got chilly guests, follow Joe Sheridan’s example. Warm their spirits with a spirited beverage that has been a favorite since 1942: Irish coffee. 
Recipe Type: Beverage and CocktailsCoffee
Yields: 1 serving
Prep time: 10 min

Hot teaspoon
1 measure or shot (2 ounces) Irish whiskey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
5 to 6 ounces freshly-brewed strong black coffee
2 teaspoons heavy or whipping cream, lightly whipped*
* The cream should be "half whipped - not too stiff and not too liquid)

Place a teaspoon in a bowl with hot water to heat; let sit until ready to use.

Preheat a stemmed whiskey goblet (7-ounce coffee cup or goblet may be substituted) with boiling water so that it is good and hot. Pour out the hot water and discard.
Add the brown sugar in the bottom of the goblet. Fill with strong black coffee to within 1 inch of the top; stir gently until sugar is dissolved. Add the Irish Whiskey; stir again and then let sit until the mixture is still.
Using the hot teaspoon, place the spoon (back side up) in the goblet. Gently pour the prepared whipped cream over the back of the teaspoon (held just above the coffee’s surface). Gradually raise the spoon as you slowly pour in the cream. This will result in a layer of liquid cream that floats on top of the coffee. Do not stir the cream in the coffee.

Drinking the coffee through the layer of cream results in the rich, authentic flavor that the coffee’s drinkers originally enjoyed. Do not stir. Irish coffee is best enjoyed by sipping the coffee through the cream.

Makes 1 serving.

I love handmade bread. I don't make it often enough. My aunt had a great recipe for Stoned Ground Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread (recipe to follow). It's one of my favorite bread recipes. Here's another good Soda Bread recipe. It's made in a Cast Iron Skillet, that adds to the goodness and the homemade factor!

4 C flour
3 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 C raisins ( I use 1 C golden and 1 C dark)
2 C buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten

Grease a 10" cast iron skillet generously with Crisco or any vegetable shortening

In a bowl, combine:
baking soda
Whisk gently to blend

Stir in raisins to coat well with the flour mixture

Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and eggs.
Stir until a stiff dough is formed
Mix with floured hands at this stage
Remove the dough and mound it into the skillet to form a round loaf

Lightly moisten hands with water and smooth the top
With a serrated knife dipped in flour, score the top with an X - 1/2 " deep

Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees

Aunt Faye's  Stone Ground Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread.
Summer of 1974 , Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Stone Ground Whole Wheat flour is best. This makes 1 - 7" loaf. I often double or triple the recipe and make 2 - 3 loaves at a time.

1/2 C all purpose flour
2 1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 TBS butter
1 1/3 C buttermilk

Mix both flours, salt and soda, sift thoroughly.
Cut in butter with fingers.
Make a well in the center of the flour, add buttermilk and stir until blended,
Dough should be dry enough to knead, but not too dry.
Knead the dough on a floured surface about 30 seconds.
Make a 6" - 7" ball and place on a baking sheet with a little cornmeal.
Cut an X in the top with a  floured serrated knife.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove, rub the top with butter and cool completely,
Most of the time, I don't wait to cool it. I slice it and serve it hot with butter.

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur:

This recipe make about 5 cups.

1 3/4 C Irish Whiskey
1- 14 oz. Can of sweetened condensed milk
1 C - (1/2 pint) heavy cream
4 eggs
2 TBS chocolate syrup
2 tsp Medaglia D'Oro instant espresso coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

In a blender:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Store tightly covered in the refrigerator up to 1 month.
Stir or shake before using.

Chocolate Mint Trifle:
This is an original recipe that I created for St. Patrick's Day in 1985.
It's one of my favorite Trifles. It is a Best of the Best Recipe.

1/2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 quart of half and half
2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
2 TBS Creme de Menthe

1 box of Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 C chocolate syrup
Creme de Menthe
1 pint of heavy cream, whipped and sweetened with a bit of confectioner's sugar.
Chocolate shavings.

Pudding directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs and beat with a hand mixer until creamy.

In a saucepan, scald the half and half.
Add squares of chocolate until melted and combined. 
Gradually add half and half mixture to the egg and sugar mixture.

Transfer to a double boiler and simmer until the pudding coats a spoon.
Add Creme de Menthe and continue to cook for just a few minutes.

Cake directions:
Follow the box directions, substituting Creme de Menthe for half of the water.

Bake in a buttered and floured Jelly Roll Pan, at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. (I use my Pan Release Mix), equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour, mixed well and applied with a pastry brush. I always have a jar of it in the refrigerator).

Cut cake to line the bottom and sides of a straight sided glass Trifle Bowl. Sprinkle with Creme de Menthe, pour syrup over the cake. Add pudding into the center of the cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Top with  green whipped cream flavored with Creme de Menthe (fold in a bit of the liqueur to make it green) and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Irish Cocktail:

1 1/2 oz. Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz. Frangelico Liqueur
1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
Hot Strong Black Coffee

In a coffee mug:
Stir Well
Top with Coffee
Option: Top with Fresh Whipped Cream

Guinness Stout Bread:
3 C self rising flour
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C molasses
1/8 tsp salt
1 - 12 oz. bottle of Guinness
Butter for greasing the pan and brushing the top

Grease a 9"X5" loaf pan well, with butter
In a large bowl:
Whisk Well

Slowly pour the beer into the flour mix.
Stir the beer and flour just to combine, don't over mix, but eliminate lumps.

Pour batter into the pan about, it should be about 2/3 full
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread should come out clean.

Cool about 5 minutes in the pan.
Remove the bread and transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Slather the top with softened butter.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cherry Cream Freeze Pie

When I was a child, my mother made a Cherry Cream Freeze Dessert. It was my favorite dessert. She made it for me every Christmas. The recipe is on the blog.
Here's my contemporary version made into a pie!

Cherry Cream Freeze Dessert

1 - box of Pillsbury Pie Crust
Prepare according to package directions for 1 single baked 9" pie shell.
Bake in a 9" glass pie plate.
Bake according to package directions.

1 C sweetened flaked coconut
1 can (15.25oz.) crushed pineapple, well drained
1 C maraschino cherries, drained, chopped. Reserve 1 TBS
4 oz. (1C) slivered almonds
1 1/3 C  (15oz. can) sweetened condensed milk
5 TBS fresh lime juice
Reserved cherry juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 C frozen  whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl:
Combine the first 8 ingredients

Fold in Whipped Topping
Pour into crust
Refrigerate overnight

Peace in the Kitchen!

Vegetables with three versions of Aioli: Avocado Aioli, Cumin Aioli and the traditional Provencal Aioli.

Yesterday I went to our local market. I bought some beautiful Avocados and Haricots Verts. This morning I was researching recipes using avocados. We love traditional Provencal Aioli. We serve it  with steamed Asparagus and Hard Boiled Eggs that we learned to prepare while staying with our friends in the South of France. It's not a complicated recipe, but it's delicious. I'm posting two contemporary versions of Aioli. Both can be served with my list of fresh or steamed vegetables and hard boiled eggs.

Serve either Aioli with the following vegetables.
You can also use make a traditional Provencal Aioli, recipe included at the end.
The vegetables can be steamed or served fresh.

Small Carrots, cut to 1" pieces
French Green Beans (Haricots Verts)
Sugar Snap Peas
Red New Potatoes
Small Beets

Hard Boiled Eggs

Avocado Aioli:
2 ripe avocados
2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C fresh chopped cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 Hard Boiled Eggs (halved lengthwise)

Halve the avocados, scoop out the flesh.
In a bowl, mash the following ingredients together:
Lime Juice

Transfer to a food processor and puree
With the machine running, drizzle with oil.
Transfer to a serving bowl.
Fold in cilantro.
Season wit salt and pepper.
Refrigerate 2 hours.

Cumin Aioli:
1 TBS cumin seeds
1 large egg
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 C vegetable oil
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

In a small dry skillet, saute cumin seeds on medium heat for 2 minutes, shaking the pan.
Remove from heat
Grind seeds in a mortar and pestle

In a food processor:
ground cumin seeds

Process briefly to blend.

With the processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the aioli is emulsified.
It it appears too thick, add a bit of water.
Transfer to a bowl and fold in whole cumin seeds.
Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
Serve with fresh or steamed vegetables listed above.

Traditional Provencal Aioli:
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 C extra virgin oil

Crush the garlic and sea salt using a mortar and pestle, create a paste.
Add the egg yolk
Whisk by hand and slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
The aioli will begin to thicken.
This recipe can easily be doubled and it can also be prepared in a food processor. The taste and texture is actually better when made by hand. I prefer to make it by hand using the traditional mortar and pestle method.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Praline French Toast Casserole / reposted

This is another Best of the Best Recipes!
What a great aroma to wake up to on Christmas morning, Easter morning...... or tomorrow morning!

8 Eggs
1 1/2 C Heavy Cream
1/3 C Maple Syrup ( the good stuff)
1/3 C Packed Brown Sugar
10 - 12  1/2" slices of French Country Bread


1 Stick of Butter
1/2 C Packed Brown Sugar
2/3 C Maple Syrup
2 C Chopped Pecans

(I never said it was healthy)

Generously butter a 9"X13" Casserole Dish

In a bowl, whisk together:
Heavy Cream
Maple Syrup

Place Bread slices in the Casserole dish and cover with the Egg mixture
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator
Remove and let it reach room temperature

Melt the Butter in a saucepan
Add Sugar and Maple Syrup and cook for 1-2 minutes
Stir in the Pecans
Pour over the Bread
Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving

In my book, I wrote WOW!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Herbed Shortbread Wafers

These would be great as an appetizer, served with a Cabernet Sauvignon Wine.

This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation of a recipe from Ina Garten....... Oh well! It looks good enough for me. We have an extensive herb garden and I will make these.

1 stick (8 TBS), butter, softened
1/4 C grated fresh parmesan cheese (grate fresh parmesan cheese yourself for maximum flavor)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 1/4 C flour
1 TBS water

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment:
Mix medium low until creamy
Add cheese, salt, pepper, herbs, flour ( incorporate each ingredient separately and mix until incorporated).
Add water
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4" - 1/2" thick. Use a 2" - 3" round cookie cutter. You can also form the dough into a log and refrigerate it for 30 minutes and then slice it into rounds.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the wafers 1" apart and bake for 22 - 25 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Translate into your own language!

This is a reminder that for a recipe in your language, there is a Translate search for other languages. All recipes can be translated to any language in the world!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Welsh Cakes / to celebrate St. David's Day on March 1st.

Saint David's Day (WelshDydd Gŵyl DewiWelsh pronunciation: [dɨːð ɡʊɨl ˈdɛui]) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint ofWales, and falls on 1 March each year. The first day of March was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David. Tradition holds that he died on that day in 569.[1] The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.

We have a very good friend that is Welsh. We worked together for many years and we both retired from Macy's. She asked me to post this recipe in celebration of St. David's Day.
Thank you Joan for sharing your heritage , and all things British with us! 
I look forward to making these.

Welsh Cakes are a traditional tea-time treat that are easy to make. Eat them warm from the stove with butter, or store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

1 1/3 C self rising flour
1/2 C (1 Stick) butter, cut into pieces + a additional for the griddle
1/4 C of sugar + additional
1/4 C raisins
1 egg, beaten
milk, if needed

In a mixing bowl:
Sift the flour
Add the pieces of butter, rub with your fingertips, create a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.

Add sugar, raisins and egg. Mix well to form a dough ball. Add a splash of milk , if needed.
Roll the dough to 1/2" thickness on a floured surface.
Use a 3" or 4" round biscuit cutter to cut the cakes.

Rub a cast iron griddle or a cast iron skillet with butter on medium heat.
Cook the cakes a few at a time about 2 - 3 minutes on each side. They'll be golden brown.
Remove from the griddle and sprinkle with sugar while they're still warm.

Here's another version:

2 C self rising flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, cubed + additional for the griddle
1/2 C sugar + additional
1/2 C currants
1 egg. beaten
2 TBS milk

Sift flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
Add butter and rub with your fingertips or a pastry blender to create a mixture like breadcrumbs.
Add sugar, currants and stir to mix.
Add egg and just enough milk to form a dough.
Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4" thick
Use a 3 - 4" round biscuit cutter to cut the cakes.

Rub a cast iron griddle or a cast iron skillet with butter on medium heat.
Cook the cakes a few at a time about 2 - 3 minutes on each side. They'll be golden brown.
Remove from the griddle and sprinkle with sugar while they're still warm.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tex-Mex Rice Casserole / reposted

I've spent the morning playing around with a new recipe.
My Mother always made what she called Spanish Rice, remember we lived in Michigan. Maybe it was a food trend when I was young. It just seems out of place on the menu as I look back at my childhood. But then we also ate a lot of Chinese Food too, maybe because of the movie, A Christmas Story!
Food trends have always fascinated me. Julia Child created the French food trend in America. The 60's loved Fondue and Health Food. I don't think Tex-Mex is a trend in Texas. It seems to be a staple in every kitchen here. We love our Tex-Mex cuisine! I've lived in Texas for 35 years, I still refer to Michigan as home, I'm not sure why, but I'm glad I had the opportunity in my lifetime to get to know Tex-Mex! I hope some of you reading this outside of Texas will embrace some of my Texas recipes............!

I don't remember my mother's Spanish Rice to be as spicy as I have grown to love Tex-Mex food.
This recipe is quite spicy and very.......  Tex-Mex!

Tex-Mex Rice Casserole:

This recipe could easily be cut in half, it makes enough for a family gathering or a block party!

4 TBS vegetable oil ( I always say, cook with Vegetable oil, eat Olive Oil)
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 C long grain white rice
2 C long grain brown rice
2- 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with juice
1- 10 oz. can Rotel Tomatoes with Chiles, with juice
1- 4oz. can diced green chile peppers.
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Adobo Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 C vegetarian Chicken Broth ( the real stuff for the non Vegetarians) 2C water added just before covering with cheese and baking.
2C freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2C Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Fresh Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Pickled Jalapenos for garnish

Heat oil in a large ( 6 or 7 quart Cast Iron Casserole or Cast Iron Dutch Oven)
Saute onion, celery and garlic about 5 minutes, stirring constantly

Reduce heat to simmer, add rice, stir constantly for 5 minutes
Add Tomatoes, Rotel and Green Chiles
Add all spices and seasoning and stir to combine well

Add broth and bring to a boil

Reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
At this stage, I added an additional 2 C of water, stir well and then continue....

Top with Cheddar Cheese and bake at 375 for 15 minutes

After baking, remove from oven, top with Mexican Blend Cheese, cover
and allow the cheese to melt.

Serve in bowls topped with freshly chopped cilantro and pickled jalapenos.
I serve my Black Peppered Cheese Bread with it.

After tasting it, I think that it could easily be turned into a soup by adding water to individual servings, microwave it and serve topped with Tortilla Strips.

This is a large recipe. I just created a soup with the leftovers ( about 1/3 of it)
I added a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with the liquid, a 14.75 oz. can of creamed corn, water and milk.
I diced half of an onion and added that too.
It's very forgiving, you can make according to your own personal taste.

That's the way we do it in Texas!

Peace in the Kitchen!