Monday, August 18, 2008

Spiced and Iced Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dried currants
1 recipe Brown Sugar icing

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and pumpkin until combined. beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour and the currants.

Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until tops are firm. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Frost cooled cookies with Brown Sugar Icing.

Brown Sugar icing:

In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon milk. heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Frost cookies immediately after preparing frosting. if frosting begins to set. stir in a few drops of hot water.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Strawberry Kiwi Jam

4 cups chopped strawberries
8 kiwi, peeled and chopped a little
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package pectin (Sure-Jell)
Butter (optional)
8 1/2 cups sugar (in a separate bowl)

Bring boiling water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy, water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off teh heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly. peel kiwis and chop a little bit. Measure exactly 6 cups prepared fruit into 6 or 8 quart saucepot. Stir in lemon juice.

Stir pectin into prepared fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with lids tightly.

Spiced Strawberry Jam

5 cups crushed strawberries
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 box powder Sure-jell
4 TBS lemon juice
1.2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves

Pour crushed berries into large boiler

Measure sugar into separate container and set aside

Stir package of sure-jell, lemon juice and spices into the strawberries

Add butter.

Bring berry mixture to a full rolling boil (a boild that does not stop bubbling when stirred) then add sugar.

Stir constantly.

Return mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for exactly one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Skin foam from top with metal spoon.

Ladle quickly into jars that have been cleaned and preheated.

Clean rims of jars with clean hot cloth

Place heated lids (lids that have been placed in simmering water for one minute) on jars and tighten rings.

Place jars in water bath canner for 5 minutes, then remove from canner, turn jars upside down for 5 minutes.

Return jars to upright position and let cool completely before storing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Caribbean Pepperpot

1 pound fresh okra (I use chopped frozen)
1 medium-size sweet red pepper
1 medium-size sweet yellow pepper
1 medium-size green pepper
1 medium onion
vegetable cooking spray
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups clam juice (I just buy clams in juice and add it all)
2 cups canned chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried whole thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds peeled medium size shrimp
1 1/4 pounds sea scallops
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
3 cups hot cooked barley

Trim okra and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut sweet peppers, green pepper, and onion into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Coat a dutch oven with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add okra; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add pepper pieces, onion pieces, jalapeño pepper, and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in clam juice and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Add shrimp and scallops to the mixture, stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook 5 minutes until shrimp turns pink and scallops are opaque. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in cilantro and orange rind.

Place 1/2 cup cooked barley in each individual serving bowl. Spoon 1 1/2 cups pepperpot over barley in each bowl.

**** I just add a box of barley and an appropriate amount of liquid to the entire cooking pot and cook them together. It requires a bigger pot, but the flavors combine well.

Easy Pasta Salad

1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 (14 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (6 ounce) can pitted ripe olives, drained
8 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
1 (8 ounce) bottle Parmesan Italian dressing

Cook tortellini according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and cool.

Combine the remaining ingredients and mix together. Chill several hours before serving.

*** I also often cube some cheese and add it to the mix as well.

Florentine Artichoke Dip

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 (6 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fine, dry breadcrumbs

Drain spinach; press between layers of paper towels. Drain and chop artichoke hearts

Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic and next four ingredients, stirring well. Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 375F for 25 minutes; serve with assorted crackers or bread sticks.

**** I add tons of artichoke heart to this, normally.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie

1 1/2 C. chocolate wafer crumbs (ie, crushed oreos)
1/3 cup melted butter

Press crust into pie pan on top of 12" piece of foil. Put in freezer for one hour. Lift form foil and replace in pie pan (****we do this in the pan without the foil and it's never been a problem - no idea why the extra and strange step)

Pie Filling:
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Cool. Beat cream cheese, add vanilla & 1/4 cup sugar. Beat in yolks, one at a time. Beat in chocolate. Beat whites with salt until they hold a soft shape. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat whites until firm. Whip cream until it holds a firm shape. Gradually fold cream into chocolate mixture, then fold in whites. Pour into crust. Refrigerate 5 or 6 hours or overnight. Top with whip cream.

**** This is my grandmother's recipe. It's incredible. I've never made it myself, but my Dad and sister do all the time. It's bowl intensive, but worth it!