Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Quiz

When your hobby is trying new recipes, you never know when you'll pounce upon an unexpected gem.

You also never know when you'll wind up with some . . . let's just say, less than spectacular results.

The last couple weeks have been bulging with mediocre results.

See if you can spot which of the following dishes was my favorite, the one I'll be making again. 

Was it this dried apricot/fresh rosemary yeast bread?

Was it these Scottish shortbread cookies, made with cornmeal?

Could my favorite be this retro chicken and rice casserole, topped with those '50s standbys, cream of mushroom soup and onion soup mix?
Maybe the favorite was these lemon custard cups, recipe from my great-great grandma Hattie.

What do you think?  Could the best of the bunch be this "light" recipe for fresh cranberry and lemon scones topped with powdered sugar?

Or could it be these ever-so-humble peachy carrots, a 3-ingredient recipe where carrots are simply heated with jelly and a bit of butter and served?
I'll give you a minute to think.
La la la la la.
Do you have your answer?
Give you a minute more.  La la la.
OK.  Time's up.
The dried apricot/rosemary bread was definitely interesting.  But the rosemary overpowered the apricots, and I couldn't figure out whether to eat it for breakfast or with dinner.  Dried apricots in bread is a wonderful idea, but I won't be pairing them with rosemary next time.  Pass.

Shortbread -- I've never tasted a shortbread I didn't love.  Until now.  The cornmeal in this made it dry as dust.  The bulk of these, sadly, ended up in the garbage.

On to the retro casserole.  I had high hopes for this one, onion soup mix being one of my favorite dip ingredients.  Also in its favor, the recipe came from a cute little booklet put out by the Republican Congressional committee eons ago, which even included a recipe for "General Eisenhower's Beef Stew." Alas, my California representative from way back when let me down.  It needed the extra zip of teriyaki glaze just to give it enough flavor to be edible.  Sorry, Mr. Congressman.

How about these  lemon custard cups?  While these were mighty tasty, I couldn't be sure I cooked them all the way as great-great grandma Hattie didn't give very explicit instructions on that front.  They were souffle-like on top, pudding-like on the bottom -- more like a pudding cake than custard.  With some tweaking, I bet they'd be good.  But as is, I was a little nervous that perhaps I was eating raw eggs.  Yikes.

Cranberry scones -- more like cake than like scones.  Not that there's anything wrong with cake.  I just wanted scones.  Sigh.

So have you guessed yet?  The very best recipe I've made in the last two weeks, the one I'll be making again?  It's Peachy Carrots, from The Four Ingredient Cookbook.  Who'd have thought such a simple little recipe would surpass the others?  Here's the recipe, and I will save you all that time-consuming experimenting.

You're welcome.


1 lb. package of carrots (the authors recommend you slice and cook them; I simply took a 12-oz. bag of petite carrots and used them whole, without pre-cooking)
1/3 c. peach preserves (I used peach pit jelly I had made over the summer)
1 T. butter

In small skillet or saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until heated through.  That's it.  Sweet and yummy and pretty darned simple.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread

I'm not sure where I got this recipe -- probably from my grandma when she first gifted me with a bread machine many moons ago.  But it's a keeper.  A great everyday loaf to eat with dinner or make into sandwiches.  And warm, with butter oozing into every little crevice?  Mmmmm.
I'm sure I will return to cooking something other than breads and cookies eventually.  What is it about the dark, sometimes dreary winter months that make baking sound like the perfect leisure-time activity?

1 egg
1/3 c. water
1 c. milk
1/4 c. honey
1 T. butter
2 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. bread flour
1 package (2 1/4 t.) yeast

Dump everything into your handy-dandy bread machine in order listed.  Push the magic button and voila.  Four hours later you will be inhaling the delicious aroma of homemade bread and slathering on the butter and thinking you really should cook some carrots pretty soon.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

"S" Cookies

These sure don't look like the "s" cookies my grandma used to make.

Thaaaaat's more like it.
Turns out they needed a whole lot more flour than my recipe, "brought from Germany," claimed.
Anyone got any must-try cookies to recommend?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Honey Mustard Dip

Sometimes it's the simplest food combinations that turn out to be the best.  Bananas with peanut butter. Bagels and cream cheese.  Onion dip with . . . just about anything.

This recipe is just such a find.  A simple mayonnaise/honey/Dijon mustard combination, this makes a tangy, surprisingly addictive dip for pretzels.  Or raw veggies.  The perfect snack to munch on while you cheer for your favorite football team.

1 c. mayonnaise (regular or no-fat)
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. honey
1 t. horseradish
1/2 t. dry mustard powder
1/4 t. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and enjoy with pretzels or raw veggies.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Breakfast for Reluctant Eaters

Do you have reluctant breakfast eaters at your house?  Maybe it's even you who can't face that morning meal.
Head over to the Proverbs 31 Ministries site to read my article, The Champion of Breakfasts, complete with recipe for this delicious berry-lime smoothie, as well as an oatmeal-peanut butter bar recipe that may convince even the most skittish eater at your house to scarf down some early morning calories.
Happy New Year.