Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sweet Potato Pie - Recipe

     This is an awesome pie.  It is sweet but not too sweet.  It has a creamy sweet potato flavor that is immensely satisfying.  I garnish it with English clotted cream and candied ginger.  The combination of eating the pie with the cream and ginger makes such a heavenly trio that it makes you want to keep eating it that way for every bite!  My sister made the crust in the pictures below and placed cute little pre-baked cutouts after the pie was baked.  It worked well, because I could move them over to cut the pie.

Sweet Potato Pie

(Serves 8)

2 c. Sweet Potato boiled, peeled, and mashed
3/4 c. Light Brown Sugar
4 T. Unsalted Butter softened
3 Eggs
1/2 c. Heavy Cream
1/2 c. Milk
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 (9-inch) Pie Crust bottom uncooked
English Clotted Cream
Candied Ginger chopped

Place the sweet potato, brown sugar, and butter in a mixer and mix till the ingredients are incorporated.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each till incorporated.  Add the cream, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla.  Beat until incorporated.  It may not be perfectly smooth. There may be some tiny sweet potato lumps, but that is alright.  It will be creamy and delicious.  Pour into an uncooked pie crust and bake for 1 hour 5 minutes until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  The center top should look like it is baked and similar in color to the sides.  The internal temperature in the center should also be above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  Garnish with clotted cream and candied ginger.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Menu

Pumpkin Pie Soup
Turkey and Brown Sugar Roasted Cranberries

Turkey Dressing

Meat Gravy

Cranberry Mold

Acorn Squash

Green Beans Accented with Garlic and Basil

Sweet Potato Polenta

Pumpkin Soufflé with Goat Cheese

Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Menu

Pumpkin Pie Soup
Turkey Dressing
Meat Gravy
Brown Sugar Roasted Cranberries
Cranberry Mold
Acorn Squash
Green Beans Accented with Garlic and Basil
Sweet Potato Polenta
Pumpkin Soufflé with Goat Cheese
Apple Pie

You can get these recipes in my digital book, Comfort Food Cookbook: Highlighting American, German, Norwegian, and English Heritage Recipes which is now available on iBooks®.

Available on iBooks®



The Apple logo and iBooks are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

     This is a comfort food cookbook that speaks to your soul.  It nourishes the body as well as the mind.  It is what your grandparents cooked on Sundays; it is holiday traditions.  These 140 recipes are the dishes that make my family feel loved and happy inside. The dishes are warm, gooey, savory, sweet, and sour.  I have highlighted the American, German, Norwegian, and English style of cooking I grew up with, because that is what I know and want to share with you.   I grew up in the Midwest where I went with my German grandmother to a small family farm for fresh vegetables every week in the spring, summer, and fall.  Dishes such as her sweet and sour German Potato Salad with bacon is unbeatable.  Plenty of braises such as Beef Brisket with Honey Mustard Glaze will fill your home with mouth watering aromas.  Drink a cup of Norwegian Gløgg with some Meatballs with Gravy and Lingonberries.  White Macaroni and Cheese with goat cheese and coconut milk updates the traditional dish.  English Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding finished with a Christmas Plum Pudding topped with brandied Hard Sauce creates an impressive holiday meal.  Originally these recipes were in print in 2011 under the title, Exceptional Comfort: The Recipes: Volume I, without the extensive photography.  Now enjoy this enhanced edition with hundreds of pictures as you scroll through the Appetizers and Beverages, Soups and Salads, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads and Muffins, Desserts, Cookies, and Sauces and Condiments.  The first page of each recipe has a scrolling ingredient list with a featured photograph.  The ingredient list is shown again alongside the instructions on the next page, so the cook doesn’t need to swipe back and forth.  Many of the picture galleries show stages of preparation.  It is my intention to give the gift of Exceptional Comfort.  Enjoy!


Friday, November 18, 2016

New England Clam Chowder - Recipe

     The perfect soup with which to start your Thanksgiving dinner this year!  The broth is ultra rich made with bone broth, clam juice, and heavy cream.  The clams are visible in nice size pieces and the leeks, potatoes and onions add interest with every bite.

New England Clam Chowder

(Serves 4-6)

2 (6.5-oz.) cans Fully Cooked Clams with Juice (I use Bar Harbor Whole Maine Cherry Stone Clams)
2 T. Butter
1 Celery Stalk small dice
1/4 Onion finely diced
1 Leek Bulb sliced
3 T. Flour
2 c. Chicken Bone Broth (see recipe)
1 Potato peeled and chopped (1/4 - 1/2-inch)
4 turns Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Thyme
2 cloves Garlic chopped
1 c. Heavy Cream
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Italian Parsley chopped finely for garnish

Drain Clams reserving juice.  Rinse the clams, chop, and set aside.  Take the juice and strain it through a coffee filter to remove any stray sand or grit and set aside.  Place butter, celery, onion, and leeks in a Dutch oven.  Sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften.  Stir in the flour.  Quickly whisk in the clam juice and bone broth.  Add the potato, pepper, thyme, and garlic.  Bring to a simmer and cook the potatoes 5 minutes or just until tender.  Add the clams and simmer to warm the clams through a minute or two.  You should be using fully cooked clams, so be careful to not overcook them.  Take off the heat.  Stir in the cream.  Add the cayenne pepper and salt to taste.  Be careful to taste the soup before adding salt.  The clam juice will already have salt, and the bone broth will have some also.  Pour into individual bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

Bone Broth - Pressure Cooker Stock - Chicken or Beef - Recipe

     I find homemade bone broth to be a spectacular base for soups and stews.  It will have a deeper color than your regular broths and stocks.  It is rich in flavor and very gelatinous which is very good for you too.
     Making stock or bone broth with a pressure cooker is like fast forwarding a DVD.  One hour of cooking in your pressure cooker yields the results of 3 hours of regular cooking.  So if you pressure cook for 4 hours, it is as if you cooked for 12 hours the conventional way.  This means an extra rich broth will come out in less time.  The closer you get to the 8 hour pressure cooker time, the closer you will get to a true bone broth.  Don't be discouraged, though.  I usually find I have 4 hour chunks of time, and this yields an amazingly rich broth.
     One thing to remember with pressure cookers is to never fill beyond the maximum fill line.  I also stay nearby to monitor and adjust the heat level if needed.  Be sure to follow the directions of your particular pressure cooker.

Bone Broth - Pressure Cooker - Chicken or Beef

(Makes 8 cups depending on size of your pressure cooker)

Assorted Beef Bones roasted and browned in the oven or 1 Whole Chicken
4 Leafy Celery Tops
1 Onion chopped (you can leave skin on if rinsed off)
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 tsp. Black Peppercorns
1 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt
2 Carrots Sliced with skin on
3 qts. Water to cover ingredients (don't fill beyond max line on pressure cooker)

Place all ingredients in an 8 quart pressure cooker.  Do not exceed the maximum fill line in the pot.  Cook to your individual pressure cooker's instructions for 3-8 hours.  The longer you cook it, the richer the broth.  Relieve the pressure per the directions for your pot.  When done, strain the broth and it is ready to use.

My pressure cooker.

Below is an 8 hour stock very dark in color.  I freeze it in 2 cup containers ready to use in my recipes later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Skillet Corn Bread - Recipe

     Corn bread is a very personal thing here in the South.  I have lived more years in Virginia than I have in Illinois and have always been fascinated by the variations of corn bread.  Each time it has different texture and sugar content.  Some have whole kernels of corn added too.  I decided that for me, my preference depends on what else I am eating.  If I am eating it on its own for a snack or tea, I like it a bit on the sweet side.  If I am having a stew or if it is with dinner, I like it less sugary.  I won't go so far as to eliminate all sugar from the bread.  Adding just a little gives it better overall flavor.  No matter what, I like it moist with a buttery flavor.

     This version is the kind I would put with stew.  It has a hint of sugar, but not much more.  It has just enough to enhance the corn flavor.  I bake it in my cast iron skillet, which is great fun.

Skillet Corn Bread

2 c. Yellow Cornmeal finely ground
1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
1 T. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 c. Plain Goat Yogurt
1 1/2 c. Water
3 Eggs
6 T. Butter

     Place a well seasoned 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven then preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  As the oven warms, whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In another bowl whisk the yogurt, water, and eggs together.  When the oven is at temperature, carefully take the pan out with oven mitts on and place on the stove top.  Carefully melt the butter in the hot pan.  Move the butter about to grease the pan bottom and sides.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking just till incorporated.  Add melted butter and whisk to incorporate.  Pour the batter into the skillet and bake 20 minutes until golden on top and a cake tester comes out clean.  Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.  You may serve from the skillet.  However, do not store in the skillet.  The moisture sitting in the pan will cause rust.  Store cut pieces on a platter with plastic wrap lightly draped over the cornbread, letting in a little air flow.  It keeps well for two days.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shishito Peppers - Recipe

     Here is a fun way to eat Shishito Peppers.  I got them from Shenandoah Seasonal at the Farmer's Market in Ashburn, VA.  They are so beautiful and tasty.  They are generally not too hot, but once in awhile you will find one with a bit more kick to it.  They fry up quickly and are fun to eat holding the stems.  On top I drizzle the garlic infused oil from Taste of Old Country, also from the Ashburn Farmer's Market.

Shishito Peppers

(Appetizer for 4)

1/4 lb. Shishito Peppers with stems
Palm Oil for frying
Olive Oil infused with Garlic for drizzling
Salt to Taste

Poke the peppers with a cake tester or fork to allow steam to escape and keep it from bursting.  Heat a saute pan on medium low.  Add just enough palm oil to coat the pan.  I use palm oil when frying, because it tolerates the high heat.  Add the peppers and saute, stirring often, for 5 minutes until they start to get some brown spots.  Do not overcook.  Remove peppers from pan and place in a serving bowl.  Allow them to cool enough to be able to handle.  Have guests place the peppers on a plate, top with the infused oil, and salt to taste.  Pick up the pepper with the stem and eat, discarding the stem.

Shishito Peppers from the farmer's market.

Frying the peppers.

Shishito Peppers with olive oil infused with garlic.

Green Tea Flavored Pots de Crème - Recipe

     Pots de Crème is a heavenly, smooth, baked custard made with eggs, sugar, cream and milk. I was planning an afternoon tea and wanted to make a Pots de Crème.  But what flavor should I do?  Well it is an afternoon tea so why not a tea flavored custard?  How about a green tea flavored Pots de Crème?  Would it work?  Why not?  Why not infuse the cream and milk with loose green tea leaves?  But for my custard, I would not have it sickeningly sweet.  I wanted the gentle flavor of the tea to come through and not be overpowered.  So I tried the following proportions below and what came out was the most smooth, refreshing desert ever.

Green Tea Pots de Crème

(Makes 6 4-oz. Ramekins)

5 Egg Yolks
1/2 c. Cane Sugar
2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 c. Whole Milk
1/4 c. Loose Green Tea Leaves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Start heating some water to a simmer in a tea kettle for a water bath.  In a large heat proof mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together.  Add the sugar slowly whisking continuously then set aside.  Combine the heavy whipping cream, whole milk, and tea leaves in a sauce pan over medium low heat stirring occasionally until it scalds (reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit).  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve. With a whisk add a tiny bit of the egg mixture to the cream whisking quickly.  Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture a tiny bit at a time whisking constantly until all the cream mixture is incorporated into the egg mixture.  Spoon any foam off the top and discard.  Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a large measuring cup.  Place 6 (4-oz.) ramekins in a roasting pan and pour the custard into them.  Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan filling halfway up the sides of the ramekins to create a hot water bath.  This will protect the sides of the custards from cooking too quickly and unevenly.  Place all into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the custard jiggles slightly when shaken.  Check to make sure it reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit in the center with an instant read thermometer.  When done, remove ramekins from the water bath and place on a cookie sheet.  Then place the whole thing into the refrigerator.  When cool, cover with plastic.  They should set for 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving.