I am what many would call a "Foodie" - amateurs who simply love food and/or drink for consumption, study, preparation and news.
Now the statement above should make it clear that I do not have any formal training when it comes to food preparation. I have, however, been told that I am a pretty good cook and I hope you enjoy reading this column as much as I enjoy writing it.
Follow me on twitter @Cooks_CornerLCP
My aunt, Titi Teresa, (yes titi or tia is Spanish for aunt so I am repeating, but that’s what we call her) is a phenomenal cooks, and she makes a wonderful turkey. While I know it’s too late for you for this Thanksgiving, you may want to add it to your Christmas or New Year’s table – it will be one of the best turkeys you’ve ever tasted.
Titi Teresa’s turkey
2 packets Durkee Grill Creations Marinade Mix, Italian herb (Durkee is made by Tone's)
3 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Italian Medley Seasoning Blend, salt free
3 to 4 teaspoons Goya Adobo all-purpose seasoning, with pepper (found in the Spanish aisle at your local grocery store)
2 to 3 packets Sazon Goya, with coriander and annatto
4 tablespoons vinegar (I was out of white vinegar so I used apple vinegar)
4 tablespoons oil (I used a 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil)
Salt and pepper to taste (I used one teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper)
1 stick of butter, room temperature, (optional)
1 15 to 20-22 pound turkey
Reynolds oven bags
Make sure to start this a day ahead so that flavors get a chance to marinate into the turkey.
Mix together the first seven ingredients to make a soupy paste (do not include the butter here). The mixture should be a bit salty, it’s a big bird. Once the ingredients are mixed together slather the paste all over the turkey, making sure to get some under the skin and into the cavity of the bird. If using the butter, divide it in half and slather each half stick under the skin, over each breast.
Once the turkey is ready, prepare the oven bag according to package directions (who knew), and place the turkey in the bag. Close the bag and let the turkey marinate overnight in the refrigerator (may be done up to two days ahead). Do NOT cut slits into the bag until just before you’re ready to bake the turkey. When you’re ready to cook the bird, take it out of the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour before you place it in the oven. Again, follow the baking directions on the box of the oven bags. Because you’re baking the turkey in a bag, the cooking time is actually reduced.
If you don’t want to use the cooking bags, just marinate the turkey a day or two before ready to bake and follow the baking instructions that come with the turkey. Note that you will have to baste the bird every half hour or so without the bag.
Buy local, eat local: Oconomowoc winter farmers market in full swing: Autumn Salad with Pears & Gorgonzola & Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the 2013 Oconomowoc winter farmers market on Sunday, Nov. 10 in the Oconomowoc Landscape Supply and Garden Center greenhouses, N68W37850 Highway K, Oconomowoc. The market runs the second and fourth Sunday of each month from November through April.
This is the fourth year for the market which has grown from the 12 original vendors to nearly three dozen. In that time more than 15,000 people have attended the market which offers everything from organic produce, free range poultry and brown eggs to candies, salsas, Greek pastries, pickles, butters and so much more… even dog treats, black Spanish radishes and purple potatoes (which make for some interesting mashed potatoes for the holidays).
The winter market was the brainchild of Lisa Geason-Bauer of Greener Oconomowoc who co-chairs this event with Katie Miller, Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce. Ken Rizzo, who’s been working with Lisa for years at Greener Oconomowoc, states that this is the third largest indoor farmers market in Wisconsin.
While perusing the market I came across a bevy of local, fresh ingredients, all grown or produced within a 150 mile radius of the market. This next recipe is one that combines many of the products that can be found at the market. It’s also very healthy which should satisfy some of my readers searching for healthier options over the holiday season.
Autumn Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small ripe pears, peeled and diced (may substitute apples)
¼ cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
8 ounces mixed micro greens (baby spinach, arugula, radicchio, etc.)
1 ounce (about 20 halves) pecans
For the dressing: Pour the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, pepper and sugar into a blender and slowly pour in the olive oil until well blended.
In a salad bowl, combine micro greens, pears, gorgonzola cheese and pecans. When ready to serve, add the vinaigrette and toss well. Serve immediately.
This next recipe is one Lisa sent over for pumpkin pie. She says many of the vendors at the market carry sugar pumpkins.
Old fashioned pumpkin pie
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon of lemon zest
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin* or from canned pumpkin purée
1½ cup heavy cream or 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
Your favorite pie crust recipe
*To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides and discard, saving the seeds of course. Cut the pumpkin in half and lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with silpat or aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees F until fork tender, about 60 to 90 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and scoop out the pulp. (Alternatively you can cut the pumpkin into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft.) If you want the pulp to be extra smooth, put it through a food mill.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In large bowl, mix the sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl then stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream and whisk all together until well incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Note that the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.
Serve with whipped cream and enjoy.
For a quick and easy lunch, try wrapping the salad in tortillas for a healthy treat. If you’re short on time for the holidays, frozen pie crusts work wonders. For a list of vendors or more information on the Oconomowoc winter farmers market, visit oconomowoc.org and click on the calendar tab.
I’m a sucker for comfort food, but then again who isn’t at this time of year. While I wouldn’t suggest it on a regular basis, a little indulgence every now and then is needed. This next recipe would make a great addition to your holiday table and is a great alternative to mashed potatoes.
1 can cream of chicken soup (may substitute mushroom)
1 pint sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (a Colby or Mexican blend would also work)
½ cup butter, melted and divided (I know)
2 pounds, thawed hash browns (use your favorite type, O’Brien, southern, plain)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cornflakes, crushed into crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large pot, heat soup and sour cream together until the sour cream melts and the soup has thinned out then stir in ¼ cup* of the melted butter and shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Mix in the potatoes and onion then spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with the crushed corn flakes and the rest of the melted butter and bake for one hour.
For a lower fat version, try low fat soup, sour cream and cheese. I also omitted the ¼ cup of melted butter in the mixture.
If you don’t want to dirty that extra pan, just mix all of the ingredients together minus the bread crumbs and ¼ cup butter and pour into the baking dish without heating. Then top with the crushed corn flakes and remaining butter and bake.
October is a fickle month for those of us in Wisconsin. It can be sunny and warm one day and blistery and cold the next. Unfortunately, this year, we’ve had more of the latter with overcast days, chilly nights and wet, dark mornings thanks to a delayed daylight savings again this year - so bring on the comfort food, soup included. This next recipe is an Olive Garden copycat from Jane Bare for one of its popular bottomless soup entrées, but best of all, it’s a Crock Pot recipe so it will be ready when you get home.
Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana
1 pound Italian sausage (links or ground, I used Johnsonville spicy Italian links)
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then cut into ¼ inch slices
1 large onion, chopped (I used medium)
¼ cup bacon bits (optional, I didn’t have any so I skipped this item)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3)
2 cups kale or Swiss chard, chopped (I used kale)
16 ounce can chicken broth (I didn’t have any so I used 4chicken flavored bouillon cubes)
1 quart water (I used 3 cups water and 1 cup white wine.. shhh)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper as needed
Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, then place the cooked sausage, chicken broth, water, garlic, potatoes and onion in the slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours until potatoes are cooked and soft. (If you want it ready when you get home from work, just turn the slow cooker to low and it will be ready in 7 to 8 hours.)
Once the soup is done, turn the slow cooker off (or to low), add the kale and return the lid for 5 minutes. Then add the whipping cream and serve with some crusty bread or a green salad.
To add a bit of texture to this dish, mash some of the potatoes a bit.
My co-worker Sharon Milway’s husband Doug does not like beans in his chili, so Sharon’s always on the lookout for a good chili recipe without beans. In steps New York Jets center Nick Mangold on a Good Morning America tailgating segment with a bean-less chili recipe and voila, it’s a hit. And since she knows I’m always on the lookout for a good recipe, she was gracious enough to bring some in for me to sample.. It was delicious; in fact, one of the best chilies I’ve ever tasted. A new recipe, just in time for the Packes-Bears game Monday night.
Nick Mangold's C.B.C. (Chorizo Bacon Chili)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 strips of thick-cut bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed
2 pounds ground sirloin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped (Sharon used jalapeno)
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander (Sharon used oregano)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups beef stock
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
Your favorite chili toppings
Drizzle oil into cast-iron pot over medium to medium-high heat, add the bacon, let brown then remove and set aside for later, leaving drippings in the pot. Add the onion to the drippings and cook slightly before adding the chorizo, making sure to crumble it with a spatula as it cooks. When the chorizo is almost done, add in the ground sirloin, salt, black pepper and garlic.
Once everything is cooked, add in the peppers, celery and corn, letting them sweat for a couple of minutes, before adding all the spices, stirring to combine.
Add the beef stock, scraping up any bits off the bottom before adding the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Add the bacon and stir to combine. Bring up to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for at least 15 to 20 minutes (the longer the simmer the better).
Garnish with your favorite chili toppings and a good helping of hot sauce if desired.
If you like beans in your chili, just add a can of kidney, red , pinto or black to the dish right after you add the tomato sauce.
Ground sirloin is a lot leaner than ground beef, so if using ground beef, make sure to drain the meat before adding the peppers, celery and corn.
I’m convinced… Facebook can be fattening. When I opened it up Thursday morning the first thing I saw was a recipe share from my friend Cathy Gilbertson with the picture of a fresh apple cake that other than tasting delicious, was also quick and easy to make. If fall had a flavor, this would be it.
Fresh Apple Cake
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cup sugar
3 cups flour (for a moister cake reduce to 2½ cups)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt (my addition)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
3 cups peeled and chopped apples
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup evaporated milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, grease a 9-by-13 inch pan and set aside. Combine the oil, sugar and eggs, then stir in the flour and baking soda. Once combined, add the vanilla, pecans and apples. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out (it’s rather thick). Bake for 45 to 50 minutes and let cool for 2 hours.
For the frosting (which is amazing and I have to admit may be better than the cake), boil all of the ingredients in a small saucepan for about 2 minutes, then set the pan in a bowl filled with ice water. Once the mixture has cooled, beat the icing to spreading consistency and spread over the top of the cake.
I prepared the frosting ahead of time and set it aside. When it was time to frost the cake, I placed the frosting in the freezer for two minues and then beat it before spreading it on the cake.
For another layer of flavor, sprinkle the cake with cinnamon sugar before baking.
What can I say; I am a carnivore at heart and I make no apologies. If I see a vegetarian recipe, the first thought that usually goes through my head is ‘what kind of meat can I add to that?’ Chicken, beef, pork, goat or lamb, I love them all.. sorry doc.
This next recipe is one I found on Yahoo! Shine. It comes from Fabio Viviani (the chef, not the model) and combines pork tenderloin and bacon. How can I go wrong? For Fabio’s video version of this recipe click here to see how it’s done.
Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (I used equal parts honey and balsamic vinegar)
2 tablespoons minced-to-a-paste garlic (about 4 large cloves)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (see helpful hints)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 pork tenderloin (2 to 4 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 to 12 slices thick-cut bacon
Olive oil, as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place a sheet or two of plastic wrap on a work surface. Stir together the vinegar and honey for the glaze and set aside.
Stir together the garlic, oregano and thyme (I used a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic with the salt and pepper before adding the herbs to the mixture. I also added about two tablespoons of basil and fresh parsley to the mix). Rub the tenderloin with the garlic-herb mixture, and season it with salt and pepper (if you haven’t added the salt and pepper to the garlic mixture).
Place the tenderloin at the end of the plastic wrap that is closest to you and in front of the tenderloin, on the plastic wrap, slightly overlap the bacon slices the length of the tenderloin. Roll the tenderloin over the bacon, using the plastic wrap to help you roll the bacon over the tenderloin. Trim the ends as needed to make a neat package and discard the plastic wrap.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil, heating until it starts to ripple. Place the bacon-wrapped tenderloin, seam-side down, in the pan and sear until the bacon is browned, about 2 minutes per side.
Once sides are seared, transfer the tenderloin to a roasting or shallow-sided sheet pan, and coat it thoroughly with the glaze.
Roast the tenderloin until the internal temperature reaches 135 to 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the tenderloin rest for 5 to 10 minutes (do not skip resting the meat), then using a sharp slicing knife, cut the tenderloin into slices about ½- to 1-inch thick. Serve immediately with your favorite starch, vegetables or a big green salad.
These culinary tips come from Fabio himself. Cover the prep surface with plastic wrap before starting this recipe to make it easier to wrap the pork in bacon and for an easier cleanup.
For even deeper flavor, use dry herbs for the rub (I did), and refrigerate the rubbed tenderloin to marinate it for a few hours.
Be sure to sear the seamed side of the tenderloin first to minimize curling of the bacon and to help keep the bacon in place.
I’ve been writing a lot about chicken lately, but it’s a staple that we generally have in the freezer so I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. My son, Sebastian, and husband, Tom, have also been on a protein rich workout routine so it’s seems like it’s always meat (beef), meat (pork) and more meat (chicken), and sometimes fish. Whatever it is they’re doing, it seems to be working so the protein rich recipe hunt continues. This next recipe is one I found at tasteofhome.com. It was delicious, but the best thing... just pop it in the slow cooker and walk away. You’ll be rewarded with a tender, falling off the bone dish that is sure to please. As for the “boys,” they loved it.
Sweet ‘n’ tangy chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 pounds), cut up, skin removed (do not substitute boneless or it will completely fall apart)
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used 3)
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used ¼)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
Combine the onion and garlic, place it in the slow cooker and place the chicken on top of the mixture.
In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper and pepper sauce and pour it over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is tender. Remove the chicken to a serving platter to keep warm.
Skim the fat from cooking juices and transfer to a small saucepan (see helpful hint), bringing the liquid to a boil. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water until smooth and gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken.
No need to dirty another pan, I just added the cornstarch and water mixture to the slow cooker about 15 minutes before the chicken was done and the sauce turned out perfectly.
My husband’s brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Sue Luksich moved to Hobe-Sound, Florida, some time ago with their kids. Thanks to Facebook we’ve been able to keep in touch although realistically not at much as we should. We’ll post photos, updates and in some cases recipes. This next one is a recipe that Sue has posted twice thanks to all of the requests she gets for it, so I decided to test it out on the family last week. It was originally shared by an Erin Pawley and was a definite hit garnering the Luksich seal of approval.
Crispy Cheddar Chicken
2 pounds chicken tenders or 4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves of Ritz crackers
¼ teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup whole milk
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated (I used a Colby/cheddar blend)
1 teaspoon dried parsley (I used fresh)
1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons of sour cream
2 tablespoons of butter
¼ cup low sodium chicken broth (my addition, although lemon or white wine would also work)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
Empty the crackers into a zip-top bag and crush (not pulverize, you want some texture). Add the salt and pepper to the mix and set aside. If using chicken breasts and not tenders, cut each breast into 3 large pieces (I seasoned them with salt, pepper and a little bit of garlic powder). Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate shallow pans. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk, then the cheese pressing the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Finish by pressing the cheesy coated chicken into the cracker crumbs.
Lay the chicken inside the pan and sprinkle the parsley over the chicken (see helpful hints). Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.
In a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter and chicken stock with a whisk over medium high heat until the sauce hot. Serve over chicken.
I lined the baking dish with aluminum foil before spraying it for easier cleanup. I also noticed that some of the cheese had fallen into the cracker mixture, so I took some of the cheese/cracker mixture and sprinkled it over the dish before baking for some extra crunch.
I’m a big fan of chicken piccata and I’m always taste testing different recipes to find the best flavor. Cue Trisha Yearwood who is fast becoming one of my favorite Food Network stars. Her recipes are generally easy, tasty and downhome good and her take on chicken piccata is a keeper.
¼ cup olive oil
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour (I used ¾)
½ cup grated Parmesan (I used ¾)
1 pound thinly sliced or pounded boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 pounds)
6 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced (I used 2)
1 cup chicken broth
One 3½-ounce jar capers, rinsed and drained (no need to rinse)
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar (your favorite white wine will also work)
1 tablespoon or more fresh lemon juice (I used 3)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Beat the eggs in a shallow dish and set aside. In a separate shallow dish, mix the flour and Parmesan. Dip the chicken pieces in the eggs the dredge in the flour-cheese mixture and set on a plate. This will allow the flour to set so that it doesn’t come off when frying.
Once your chicken is ready, heat the olive oil on the stovetop in a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter melts, add the floured chicken breasts and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Cook your chicken in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm in a 150 degree oven while you finish the rest of the chicken.
Once you’ve finished with the chicken, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and garlic to the skillet drippings. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it, add the chicken broth and capers to the skillet and cook the liquid over medium-low heat until reduced by half (see helpful hints), about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and lemon juice and heat through.
Return the chicken to the skillet, spooning some of the sauce over the chicken. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and the chicken is cooked through, an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve over pasta or potatoes.
I like to mix one tablespoon of cornstarch to 3 tablespoons of cold water and add it to the sauce before returning the chicken to the pan for a thicker sauce. This should be done before reducing the sauce.
We are a family of steak lovers. While we don’t eat it daily, it is a “frequent” protein choice on our dinner menu, so I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it - grilled, broiled, fried or simmered and smothered with something or other. This next recipe is one my mother gave me after finding it in a magazine at her work. A little goes a long way, adding tons of flavor to meats, starches or breads. It won’t disappoint.
Garlic and herb butter
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon large grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (regular works too)
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped (may substitute your favorite herbs)
In a small bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. With a rubber spatula scrape the butter mixture onto a square of parchment paper, roll into a log, twisting the ends to form a tight tube. Refrigerate until firm.
When ready to use, remove the parchment paper and slice into rounds as needed. Place on hot steak just before serving, or slather over warm rolls or hot potatoes.
Make a few of these ahead of time and freeze, defrosting as needed.
My days usually begin with taking out the puppies (thank you Anastasia and Milena, ‘what was I thinking’), making breakfast and trying to figure out what’s for dinner that night. We had some frozen, skinless chicken breasts defrosting - check, a bottle of Italian dressing – check, and some pesto and pasta.. voila. Once the chicken was defrosted, I poured half the bottle of dressing over it for a marinade and let it sit for a bit before grilling, boiled the pasta and added some pesto to it and dinner would be ready in a few minutes.. just enough time for a quick Facebook browse – and that’s when I saw it, a biscuit recipe from allrecipes.com that called for just three ingredients and would take only minutes to make. Well worth it, because as Anastasia stated, “These are so good!”
2 cups self-rising flour (see note below if you don’t have any on hand)
1 cup milk (buttermilk if you have it)
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together flour and mayonnaise by hand until crumbly, then add enough milk until just blended (I used about 2/3). Drop by spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheet or a cast iron pan if you have one and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. (You can also brush the tops with butter or an egg wash before baking if you like.)
Note: If you don’t have self-rising flour just make your own. Use 2 cups (-4 teaspoons) all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.
To make a buttermilk substitute, use 1 cup milk (whole, heavy cream or 2%) and stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. When it is ready, the milk will be slightly thickened and you will see small curdled bits (it will not become as thick as regular buttermilk, but still works).
Mix the mayonnaise and flour (baking powder and salt, if needed) together first before adding the milk. I use my hands and knead together until coarse or crumbly, then add the milk a bit at a time and with a large spoon fold liquid into the mixture, leaving it a bit lumpy.
I love lemon recipes and I love coconut recipes so when I came across this lemon coconut loaf recipe via Facebook, I knew it was one I had to try. I checked the pantry and the fridge (hoping I had all of the ingredients), and I was good to go. It’s great for dessert and wonderful with a glass of milk or coffee in the morning.. think lemon crunch cake from Entenmann’s.
Lemon coconut loaf
1 cup white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ cup flaked coconut
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more as needed
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the white sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then stir in the juice and zest of one lemon into the mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, and add to butter mixture alternating with the milk until the batter is just incorporated. Fold in the coconut, mixing just enough to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (uh hum, do not undercook the loaf or it will not rise properly (I couldn’t wait), but still tastes delicious). Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the loaf is baking prepare the glaze by gradually stirring 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into ¾ cup of confectioners' sugar in a bowl until mixture is thin enough to drizzle. Transfer the mixture to a re-sealable plastic bag, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and gently squeeze the bag and drizzle mixture evenly over the loaf. Or do what I did and drizzle it with a spoon.
If you have parchment paper, I would suggest lining the bottom of the pan with it and greasing the paper too before adding the batter.
When the kids were little we moved into a duplex in Wauwatosa. It was a great location with a park literally in our back yard, and everything within walking distance. We loved that place, but more than that, we loved our upstairs neighbor Fern Harold. She was an elderly Irish woman with family and friends who adored and cherished her, including us. If I ever needed help with the kids, she was always there to lend a hand. I’ve always loved cooking and whenever I made dinner, I would always make sure there was a dish for Fern. She in return would treat us to her special pastries and desserts. Fern passed away a few years ago, but her memory lives on with this next recipe, it was one of our favorites.
Raspberry cream tart
1½ cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 45 wafers)
1/3 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
2½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries, divided
Combine the wafer crumbs, pecans and butter and press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-by-9-inch baking dish, (a 9-inch pie plate will also work.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, confection sugar, liqueur and vanilla until light and fluffy then fold in the whipped cream and spread onto crust. Chill until serving.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch and stir in the water and 1½ cups of the raspberries. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Once chilled, spread the topping over the filling and garnish with remaining berries.
To make your own package of pre-sliced apples just slice the apples and soak in cold water for 3 to 5 minutes, then soak in a lemon-lime carbonated soda (such as 7-up or Sprite) for 3 to 5 minutes. The divide the apples into snack size portions and store in re-sealable bags in the fridge. The lemon-lime soda will keep the apples from browning and make them last longer.
I remember going to a Chinese restaurant with my family when I was a little girl and asking my parents if I could have Chinese rice with my meal. Well imagine my disappointment when my dish came and with it was a side of white rice… I cried. In my defense I think I was only about 4- or 5-years old at the time, and it looked like plain old Puerto Rican white rice to me. Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, we ate a lot of rice… a lot of it, so whenever I got a chance to have pasta or potatoes, I would jump at the chance. Pasta is still one of my favorite foods… and potatoes… we’ll talk more about that in a future column.
Linguine with sausages
4 hot Italian sausages, about 4 ounces each (may substitute sweet or mild)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red, yellow or green pepper, chopped
¼ cup shredded carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (28 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes
½ teaspoon kosher salt (if using regular table salt, cut down to ¼ and taste before adding more)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound dried linguine
1 cup toasted bread crumbs (optional)
Prepare the Italian sausage by grilling or cooking on the stovetop and set aside.
In a deep saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil with the onion and garlic, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and cook an additional 5 minutes before adding the carrots and oregano, stirring occasionally.
Over a large bowl, crush the tomatoes in your hands and add them, along with all the juices, to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break apart any large pieces of tomato.
Coarsely chop the sausages and basil and add to the saucepan. Stir and keep warm.
Cook the linguine according to package directions, until barely tender. Drain the linguine and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to combine. Cover the pot for 1 minute to allow the pasta to absorb some sauce. Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs on top, if desired and serve.
While the sauce is simmering, taste it to check its acidity. If it’s a bit bitter, add a teaspoon of sugar to smooth out the flavor.
Last week I told you about my sister Ana saving the day with her time saving potato salad for my daughter Anastasia’s graduation party. While I have to thank my mother, Nydia, aunt, Teresa and cousin Janice for all of their help with the preparation, I have to admit that not everything got prepared, including my husband Tom’s shrimp dip and my bacon tomato cups, which left me with about six packages of cream cheese and four rolls of crescent rolls, sitting in the fridge.
That is when my friend Nancy Berg Vandelaarschot’s Facebook post comes into play. You see, Nancy has this horrible habit of posting all of these delicious looking recipes on her site, which of course means I have to try them. This latest recipe puts both the cream cheese and the crescent rolls into play. Nancy, if you’re reading this, I’m sending my gym membership bill out to you.
Sopaipilla cheesecake bars
2 cans crescent rolls
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
cinnamon and sugar (about ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Unroll and spread one can of the crescent rolls on the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-19-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, then pour the mixture over the crescent rolls and spread evenly to cover the rolls.
Unroll the remaining can of crescent rolls and spread over the mixture. Pour the melted butter over the top of the second layer of crescent rolls and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and let set for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate the leftovers; may be served warm or cold.
I found the filling a bit too sweet and would suggest cutting the sugar in half or to ¾ cup. I would also suggest brushing the butter on the top layer, rather than pouring it over the top. This will ensure that you only use what is needed to coat the top. You can also try prebaking the crust for about 6-7 minutes for a crisper bottom. One reader also suggested 3 packages of cream cheese instead of two. (If you do this, just up the cooking time to 40 minutes.)
We recently had my daughter Anastasia’s graduation party and I was in a frenzy. While I did have a lot of assistance from my aunt, mother and cousin, I knew I still had a lot to do. So, as I was scouring my sister’s pantry and fridge for items I may need without heading to the store, I came across some celery claiming it for the potato salad I planned to make when my sister came the rescue with a recipe she claimed would take no time at all. It called for only six ingredients and cut the cooking and prep time in half -just what I was looking for.
Ana’s potato salad
3 pound bag red salad potatoes
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup green onions
If the potatoes are small just leave them whole, no need to peel. If you have a few that are bigger, just cut them down until they’re all about the same size. Add the potatoes to a pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to a boil, cooking until fork tender, about 10 to 14 minutes.
While the potatoes are boiling mix together the mayonnaise, mustard and sour cream.
Once the potatoes are done, drain and let cool a bit. While the potatoes are still warm (not hot), pour the sauce over the top and stir, breaking up the potatoes a bit as you go. Mix in the bacon and green onions and serve warm or cold. Thanks Ana.
If using a 5 pound bag of potatoes, up the mayonnaise to 1 cup. To shorten your prep time even more, try using a bacon bits or pieces (I like Oscar Meyer).
I was a bit surprised to get a call from Lake Country Publication’s Managing Editor Debi Eimer Monday morning asking where my column was for the week. .. oops, my fault. After rerunning my s’mores recipe thanks to my recent butter omission, I thought I had it covered – nope. So here is one we’ll have to try together. Let me know how yours turns out at www.livinglakecountry.com, under Cook’s Corner.
Slow cooker bacon cheese potatoes
¼ pound cooked bacon, diced (I would use a full pound of uncooked bacon here, see helpful hint)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (do not substitute new or Yukon gold potatoes)
½ pound cheddar cheese, thinly sliced or shredded is fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 stick of butter (let’s not forget)
Green Onions (optional)
Line a slow cooker with foil, leaving enough overhang to cover the potatoes when finished. (Do not omit this part. The foil will help cleanup and steam the potatoes without making them discolored or mushy.) Spray the foil with a nonstick spray.
Layer half of the bacon in the slow cooker and repeat with half of the onions and potatoes. Season the potato layer with salt and pepper and dot with four tablespoons (½ stick) of the butter.
Repeat layers of bacon, onions, potatoes (season with salt and pepper) and remaining butter, cover with cheese and fold the foil over the mixture. If the foil doesn’t come over the sides of your slow cooker, just add a sheet of foil over the mixture.
Cover and cook on low for up to 6 hours, but make sure to check after 4 hours – depending on your slow cooker.
Add more cheese for the last 20 to 30 minutes and sprinkle with green onions (optional) when ready to serve.
I would start with a full pound of uncooked bacon here. Once you cook it down, you’ll have about ¼ to ½ pound, and if it’s a little more, oh well, it’s bacon.
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