Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recipe Box Favorites

A little explanation about this recipe designation... These recipes are basically pure nostalgia from my recipe box! (Though hopefully they have other merits as well!) My first recipe box was this green one on top—it seems very appropriate for the '70s. That filled up a few years ago and I couldn't find any I liked in stores, so I ended up getting the white one on eBay. I didn't realize it when I ordered it, but I'm almost positive my mother's recipe box was this very same design when I was a kid. (Unfortunately it was thrown out years ago and she now has an ugly plastic one.) I like the fact that these are a sort of history, containing artifacts from throughout my life, going back to age 7 or 8. And it includes not just hand-written recipes from friends and relatives, but also many snipped out from newspapers, magazines and, increasingly, the internet.

So the recipes in this subset go way back. I've included the actual index card, often somewhat stained and with dubious spelling and handwriting!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

4-H Pledge

Just in case you've ever wondered what those "H"s stand for! I took numerous 4-H cooking classes as a kid, which explains the presence of this in my recipe box.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Generally we make and decorate sugar cookies for Christmas, but last year I tried this recipe because I wanted to hang them on the tree and I thought it would be a little hardier than sugar cookie dough. Man, it was good! Much better than the gingerbread I remember as a kid. So most of the cookies still ended up on the tree, but not all.

This recipe is from Wheatleigh, a fancy schmancy resort here in the Berkshires. I’ve never been, but they printed this recipe in our local paper.

1 cup shortening
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Approximately 5 cups all purpose flour

Combine shortening, molasses and sugar in a pot. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and add cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir in up to 5 cups of flour to make a stiff but workable dough. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Chill rolled dough for a half hour, then cut into desired shapes. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, or until firm.

Cool completely, then decorate as you like!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mashed Potatoes with Browned Onions

My favorite mashed potato recipe, although really just about any kind will do! The vinegar provides a distinctive tang, and sometimes I even add it to potatoes without doing the onions. This is adapted from a cookbook I've had for years 50 Best Mashed Potatoes. (No, I haven't tried all 50 recipes.)

3 tablespoons butter
1 lb. (Spanish) onions, halved & thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1+1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled & quartered (I use russet or Yukon Gold, or a combination of both)
1/2 cup hot milk
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions, stirring to coat with butter. Cover & cook 10 minutes, or until onions soften and exude liquid. Uncover, increase heat to medium and cook 15-20 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until onions are browned and reduced to 3/4 cup. (Sometimes this takes longer--it really depends on how carmelized you want them.) Stir in vinegar and set aside.

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes, then return to pot & mash. Gradually stir in hot milk until potatoes reach the consistency you like. Stir in browned onions, salt & pepper. (I usually add more butter too!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Cumin Seeds

It's sad to think I wasn't introduced to Indian food until I was 20, in England. Similarly, I didn't get into cabbage and brussels sprouts until the past couple years. But now... I love them all! And this recipe addresses some of those things (though not the sprouts...I'll have to post on that another time). This is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.

1/2 head Savoy cabbage
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1+1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garam masala

Cut out and discard core of the cabbage, then cut into long, thin shreds. Heat the oil in a wide skillet over high heat. When hot, add the cumin and sesame seeds. When seeds begin to pop, add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring often, until wilted and lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium, add salt and cayenne. Cook until cabbage is soft and sweet--should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and garam masala.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tunafish Samwich Filling

This is one of the earliest recipes I ever wrote down. It always makes me chuckle...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chocolate Sables

These are officially "Pierre Herme's Chocolate Sables" by way of Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan, as excerpted in the NY Times Magazine a few years back. Got all that? In any case, chocolate yumminess! The large grains of salt contrast nicely with the rich chocolate.

1+1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (salt)
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (that would be 11 tablespoons total), softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-size bits

Sift (or whisk) the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together. In a separate bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add the sugars and vanilla and beat another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the chocolate. Work the dough as little as possible.

Divide dough in half and roll each into a cylinder about 1+1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the logs into 1/2 inch disks. (If the cookies break, squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie. Or eat it!) Place the cookies on the baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between each. Bake only one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. (The cookies will not look firm, but take them out anyway.) Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let rest.

(FYI, the cookies don't really expand much, the second photo is just closer.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Favorite Brownies

These are Marion Cunningham's "Parker Brownies." I wrote the recipe down years ago (see below) and had no idea where it came from, but a little web search has settled the mystery. I don't have any of her cookbooks, so it must have been reprinted in another source. Anyway... I have tried many brownie recipes over the years, but always come running back to this one! Chewy, but not quite fudgy, these come out on the thin side--so you just have to eat a larger piece!
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup (or more) chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease an 8" x 8" pan. Melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then the egg. (It should become kind of glossy.) Finally add the dry ingredients and nuts. Spread in pan and bake for 30 minutes. Isn't that easy?!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tomato Pie

I think really fresh, ripe tomatoes might be my favorite food. So wait to make this recipe until you can get the best tomatoes. If you must, use decent tomatoes and supplement with some good canned diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen). This recipe is adapted from the The Tomato Festival Cookbook (Storey pub., here in the Berkshires), and the recipe comes from Chaiwalla restaurant in Salisbury , Connecticut (which is not that far from me, so I really must get down there and try this in person!). The biscuit-y crust is a key component, though it can overwhelm the tomatoes so I like to pile the tomatoes really high. I often skip the chives since the ones you find in the grocery store can be rather insipid; I think thinly-sliced shallots would work well instead.

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cold & cut into several pieces
2/3 cup milk, more or less
1 pound (or more) ripe tomatoes, skinned and sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons slivered basil leaves
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 + 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I threw in some Parmesan as well)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until crumbly. (Some people uses forks, I use a pastry blender.) Stir in enough milk to make a springy dough. Spread some flour on your counter and roll out two-thirds of the dough to a size large enough to fit into a 9" pie plate. Place in pie pan, then put in a layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, basil, chives, and some cheese. Repeat layers until all the tomatoes have been used. On the last layer, spread the mayonnaise over the top (a squirt bottle helps with this) before sprinkling on the remaining cheese.

Roll out the remaining dough and cover the pie. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Serve warm.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This is another favorite from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book (slightly adapted). The key is the almond extract, which I think goes wonderfully with chocolate.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream together butter, sugar, egg and extract. Blend in chocolate. Stir in dry ingredients, then oatmeal and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoons on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Slide parchment paper off the baking sheet and on to racks to cool cookies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Meringue Cookies

I've been wanting to make a recipe for Strawberry Curd I saw on TasteSpotting since I have a ton of recently picked and frozen strawberries taking up nearly my whole freezer. But it called for three egg yolks, so I decided to pair it up with Meringue Cookies which would use up the leftover egg whites. The strawberry curd turned out excellent, but I'm not going to post that recipe since Hungry Cravings has it all ready to go: http://hungrycravings.blogspot.com/2009/07/strawberry-curd.html I defrosted some strawberries and then pulverized them in my mini-processor and strained it to get out most of the seeds. (Mom, I think you would really like this recipe!)

The meringue recipe is from Cook's Illustrated, and has always worked wonderfully--though a little less so this time because of the extremely high humidity (in which case it's more like a taffy when you try to eat it). Still, I'd highly recommend it when there is less humidity!

3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch.

Beat egg whites, vanilla, and salt at high speed until soft peaks begin to form, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce mixer to medium speed and gradually add sugar mixture in a steady stream. Stop mixing and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Return mixer to high speed and and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 30 to 45 seconds.

Place meringue in a large ziplock bag with 1/2 inch of the bottom corner cut off (or a pastry bag). Pipe meringues into little mounds about one inch high. They won't spread, so you can place them quite close together on the pan. Bake for one hour, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking. Turn off oven and allow meringues to cool in the oven for at least one hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before eating (they are chewy when warm, but get crunchy when fully cooled).

Variations: Gently fold in 2 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or instant espresso flakes into the meringue when you are done whipping.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tuna & Chickpea Salad

This is hardly an earthshaking recipe...but it sure is tasty! And simple. And a nice alternative to mayo-based tuna salad (though I like that as well).

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can tuna, packed in olive oil, drained

Mix the parsley, shallots, capers and garlic in a small bowl. Place the chickpeas in a bowl and lightly mash with the back of a spoon. Break the tuna into chunks and add to chickpeas. Stir in the parsley-caper mixture and combine. Stir in the oil until you reach the consistency you like, season to taste and set aside. Let sit for at least one hour before serving.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thin-and-Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few years ago Amanda Hesser published three different chocolate chip cookie recipes in the NY Times Magazine food section: Thin & Crispy, Flat & Chewy, and Thick & Gooey. I have never made it past Thin & Crispy! So I'm not going to make the claim that these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever (like many people do), but I will say they seem to be the only kind I make these days. Because they have so much butter, they start to take on toffee-like qualities. The key is to cook them long enough so that they get quite brittle, but not so long that they burn. (I don't have any words of wisdom on exactly how to determine this however. I just bake them on the longish side of the estimated time.)

1+3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon kosher salt
14 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1 - 1+1/2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate (that's a lot of chocolate to chop! I usually use part semisweet mini-chips)
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cream the butter, sugars, corn syrup until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, then milk. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; mix into butter & sugar just until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts. Chill the dough.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with tin foil. Roll a two-tablespoon lump of dough into a ball, place on baking sheet and flatten to a 1/4 inch disk. Place cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are dark golden brown, 14-17 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about 20-24 cookies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carrot Dill Soup

This is one of my favorite soup recipes, and has been for about 15 years. It's adapted from The New Basics Cookbook--a book with several great soup recipes in my opinion. I've added the lemon juice, which seems a nice way to accentuate the flavor of almost any savory recipe, and also the grated Parmesan.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2+1/2 pounds carrots, peeled & sliced
2 ribs celery, with leaves, diced
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped dill
salt, freshly ground pepper
generous pinch of cayenne
fresh lemon juice
grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, stock, 1/4 cup dill and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Let cool slightly. Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender. Return to the pot, stir in remaining dill and season with salt, pepper and a couple squeezes of lemon. Heat through and serve. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, if desired.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Marinated Broccoli

As you may know, I like garlic. But last year I actually went a little overboard and made this recipe so many times--and with so much garlic--that I was done for the year. It's a new year, however, and I'm ready to jump on the marinated broccoli horse again. Adapted from the NY Times.

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 lbs. broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1/2 cup olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
large pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Stir together the vinegar and salt; toss with broccoli. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and red pepper flakes; toss mixture with broccoli. Let sit at least 1 hour at room temperature, up to 48 hours (chill if you want to keep it more than 2 hours). Add salt if necessary.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies

OK, this photo is actually from last fall when I made these bars, but I'm out of sweets and making these tomorrow! I cut this recipe out of my local newspaper, but not sure where it originally came from...

10 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1+1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (or more) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 9" pan, then put down a 9" strip of parchment with overhang on either side (so you can lift the bars out later) and grease that as well. Melt butter over medium heat until it turns golden brown; let cool. Combine butter, sugars, egg & vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients, then nuts and toffee bits. Pile into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, then lift parchment out. Cut into 16 squares (or 9, or 4, or not at all). Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Banh Mi

The banh mi (pronounced BUN-mee) is a Vietnamese-French sandwich that suddenly seems to be everywhere! There is no definitive recipe, this is just my cobbled together version. I don't even like sandwiches that much--I mean, I don't not like them, I just don't eat them on a regular basis. But this recipe...I seem to be eating every day (hopefully it's just a phase). I had to make my own since there aren't any Vietnamese restaurants in the area. Traditionally this is served with a couple of pork products--ham, barbecued pork, pate, etc.--but in this version I just use the chicken sausage I usually make for breakfast. It isn't an open-faced sandwich like you might guess from the above picture--I just photographed it that way since the insides looked so purty!
  • bun: you're supposed to use a baguette, but I prefer softer sub rolls you get at the supermarket (lightly toasted)
  • mayo: I know some people don't like mayonnaise, whatever...so don't use it then
  • cilantro: ditto the mayo comment
  • sausage: I end up cutting the patty in half and placing end to end to fit on the roll
  • cucumber: sliced or planked (am I making up this word? I mean cutting it lengthwise, instead of in rounds)
  • pickled carrot & radish: I'm debating whether to include the recipe I used for this since I'm not crazy about it.* I think you could just julienne some carrots and throw those on for crunch.
  • jalapeno slivers
  • sriracha sauce: I couldn't find this hot sauce in my area, but picked some up in Brooklyn. Love it! Before that, I did try making my own by blending up some Tabasco sauce, minced garlic and jalepeno, red chili oil and a touch of Worcestershire. It looked disgusting, but wasn't that bad--and provided the necessary heat!
*Oh fine, here is the do chua (pickled carrot & radish) recipe I used from the May '09 Saveur. It calls for daikon radish, but of course I couldn't find that and had to use little round red radishes (which may explain why I didn't like it that much).
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1+1/2 pounds small daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white vinegar (I thought this was too sweet and ended up using more vinegar)
Combine carrots, daikon, salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit until the vegetables have wilted slightly, about 30 minutes. Drain vegetables, rinse and pat dry. Whisk together the remaining sugar, vinegar and 1/2 warm water, and pour over the vegetables. Stir to combine and let marinate for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate, tightly covered for up to 4 weeks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Coconut Bread

This seems like a good thing to make for my mother on Mother's Day. But really, who are we kidding? She lives 1000 miles away...I made this for me! I cut this out of the NY Times a few years ago, but the recipe originates from a Bill's Cafe in Sydney, Australia (sadly, a place I've never visited). I usually eat it toasted, sometimes for breakfast--but plenty of other times of the day as well!

2 eggs
1+1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1+1/2 cup flaked coconut
6 tbsp. melted butter

Heat oven to 350°. Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix in sugar and coconut. Make a well in the center and pour in egg mixture. Mix until just combined, then stir in melted butter and mix until smooth (but don't overmix). Grease & flour an 8+1/2" x 4" loaf pan and pour in batter. Bake for 1 to 1+1/4 hours, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then finish cooling on a rack.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wonder Chocolate Cake

I loved making this as a kid for a few reasons: 1) the part about making 3 holes and then trying to keep everything from spilling out, 2) mixing it all up in one pan, and 3) yumminess!

Today I do mix it in a separate bowl with a trusty wooden spoon because it's easier to get at all the dry ingredients (in a square pan they sometimes get left unmixed in the corners, though this isn't a serious problem). It's a relatively quick little cake to whip up, and is very moist.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift or whisk together:
1+1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sugar

Make 3 holes in the dry ingredients and pour in:
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (almond extract is also good)
1 tablespoon vinegar

Pour 1 cup cold water over everything and mix well, though don't worry about every little lump. In this particular case I also stirred in about 2/3 cup coconut. Pour into an ungreased 9" square or round pan and bake for 35-40 minutes; top may crack a little.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

I didn't have any Easter plans this year, but I did want to make something egg-y and spring-y. Hence, the following recipes....

Curried Egg Salad:
This comes from Gourmet by way of Epicurious.com. I love the combination of the sweet, tart apple, the bite of the onion and cayenne, and then the curry.

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1+1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, 1/4 inch dice
1/3 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Whisk together the mayo, lime juice, curry powder, mustard, and cayenne. Add eggs, apple, onion, cilantro, and stir to mix, adding a bit of salt if necessary (shouldn't need much).

Cucumber Avocado Soup:

I am reminded by this, the first batch of the year, that I LOVE THIS SOUP! (And also, I LOVE AVOCADOS!) I have no idea where it came from--I only have an index card with a list of ingredients scribbled down and instructions to puree. It's very simple and quick, but you do need a blender or food processor. Also, you might want to start off with nonfat or low fat yogurt--once you've gone over to the dark side of full fat yogurt it's hard to go back!

1 English cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped (these are the really long ones in plastic wrap)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 - 1 jalepeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup cold water
1 avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 scallions, chopped
1 cup plain yogurt
salt & pepper

Puree. Eat.

This does need a liberal amount of salt and/or lemon juice to season. Alternate adding them until you get the taste you like.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

French Potato Salad

This is adapted from "Cook's Illustrated" (July/Aug. 2002), although I had been making something very similar to this, SAUCISSON LYONNAISE from Trade Secrets for a Three-Star Chef (Doubleday, 1994; a wonderful little cookbook) for years already. The main difference is that the latter recipe has bits of kielbasa mixed in. I've included those instructions at the end.

2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons salt
1-3 cloves garlic
1+1/2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 shallot, peeled & finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
optional add-ins: capers, minced chives, chopped cornichons
salt & pepper

Place potatoes, 6 cups of cold water and salt in a large pot; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium. If you want to "mellow" the garlic, dunk it in the simmering water for about 45 seconds, then mince. Simmer potatoes until tender but still firm, abut 5 minutes. With a large slotted spoon, spread out potatoes in a rimmed baking dish. Reserve cooking water.

Whisk together mustard, vinegar and garlic. Mix in oil and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Sprinkle potatoes with freshly ground pepper, then cover with dressing. If there doesn't seem like enough liquid for all the potatoes, add in more cooking water and another splash of vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Toss shallots, parsley and any other add-ins with the potatoes. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator.

Take one pound of kielbasa and cut into a few large chunks. Boil them for 10-15 minutes; skins will split. When cool enough to handle, take off the skins completely and cut into "bite-sized rounds." Add into salad with parsley & shallots.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I'm not going to write out this recipe because I don't know if it will ever become a "regular" like the others I have posted are. I wanted to try these just to see if I could--apparently they are very temperamental. It was an interesting exercise to convert grams to ounces, then weigh out (as opposed to measuring) all the ingredients. They seemed to come out OK--nicely chewy and certainly cute!--although some cracked, which is BAD (I guess). I added in a tablespoon of instant espresso, hence the brown specks.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oatmeal Coconut Crispies

I made these recently for my friend Sally's 85th birthday and she liked them so much I thought I would make her some more. When you're 85, you can have as many cookies as you want!

My brother and I have made these since we were kids. They are from a cookbook I practically memorized as a kid, and still enjoy today: Betty Crocker's Cooky Book (still in print, I think). These are on the sweet side--you could probably cut the sugar a bit. And sometimes I use a combination of white and whole-wheat flour to pretend they're healthier.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (maybe you could use quick cooking--I've never tried)
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, sugars, eggs & vanilla until fluffy. Blend in flour, soda & salt; then rolled oats and coconut. Drop rounded teaspoons on a parchment-lined cookie sheets. They will spread, so make sure there are 1.5"- 2" inches between drops. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.