Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rum Cake

1 Package Cake Mix
~ Cup Rum
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
~ Cup Water
3 Eggs

Bake at 325 for 1 hour in a bundt cake pan.
Cool in pan - 25 minutes.
Invert onto serving plate, prick top sides of cake. The more holes, the more the rum glaze is absorbed. Spoon/brush Rum Glaze evenly over cake - allowing cake to absorb the glaze.

When cake is cool, drizzle with Chocolate Glaze and sprinkle with nuts.

Rum Glaze:
1 Stick Butter
~ cup water
1 cup sugar
~ cup rum

Melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, remove from heat. Stir in rum.

Chocolate Glaze:
4 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon butter or shortening

Melt over low heat in heavy sauce pan. Drizzle over cake when melted.

Sprinkle chopped nuts over chocolate to decorate.

Different cake flavor mixes make a different cake. Try using chocolate cake and substitute bourbon for rum.

This cake has endless possibilities!

Papaya Seed Salad Dressing

1/2 cup sugar
1 T salt
1 t dry mustard
1 c red wine vinegar
1 c oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 T papaya seeds

Put dry ingredients and vinegar in blender. Add oil and onion, blend. Add seeds, blend until they look like pepper. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Kalamata Cheese Spread

8 ounces cream cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 spoons minced chives or green onions
2 tablespoons cilantro or basil
2 tablespoons minced parsley
17 or 18 pitted and minced Kalamata olives

Combine all ingredients except olives and mix well. Mix in olives. Chill. Serve with crackers.

French Potato Salad

2 lbs Yukon Gold potaotes, scrubbed but not peeled
1/2 cup white-wine vinegar
salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2/3 cups chopped green onions or scallions

Boil the whole, unpeeled potaotes in generously salted water until fork tender, 20-30 minutes, depending on size. As soon as you can handle the potatoes but while they're still warm, slice them just under 1/2 inch with a very sharp knife.

Combine vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and vinegar-olive oil mixture over the warm potatoes; toss gently. Add the shallots and green onions. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

Fine Cooking Magazine, June/July 1998

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Butter
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Eggs
3 Cups Flour - Sifted
1 Teaspoon Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cut Nuts
1 Pack Chocolate Chips

Cream butter in large bowl. Add brown sugar, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix until blended. Combine flour, soda and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over flour. Toss to coat nuts and chips with flour.

Mix until combines, adding additional flour until all had been added.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at Cook at 375° for 8-10 minutes.

Carolina Barbecued Pork

Carolina Barbecue Sauce
This recipe produces a marinade, a "mop" (for basting the pork), and a sauce. It should have a sharp edge; if it's too sweet, add more vinegar.
Yields about 12 cups.

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
1 head garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
3 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
8 small dried chilies
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cans (16 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
1 quart distilled white vinegar4 cups water* cup salt

Combine honey, molasses, garlic, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, chilies, and bay leaves in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Cook for 30 minuets, stirring occasionally. The garlic will darken, and the mis6ture will be very thick and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to break up tomatoes. Stir in the vinegar, water and salt. The sauce should be thin. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for at least 2 hours and as long as 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Set aside half the sauce (or more if necessary) for the marinating the pork. Let the remaining sauce cool; fish out any large pieces of garlic peel. Puree the sauce in a blender; some of the spices will remain whole. The sauce should be rather watery and look similiar to a brothy tomato soup.

Carolina Barbecued Pork
Marinade the meat for at least a day; two is even better. You can roast pork in the oven or on a grill. Yields 2+ pounds of barbecue; serves eight to ten.

1 recipe Carolina Barbecue sauce
2 boneless fresh pork butts (3 pounds each) untrimmed
White hamburger buns for serving

One to two days before the barbecue:
Put the pork in a container just large enough to hold it and deep enough for the sauce to cover the meat. Pour in enough sauce to cover the meat, covert the container, and refrigerate for at least a day, preferably two. Reserve the rest of the sauce for basting and dressing the meat. Halfway through the marinating process, turn the pork in the sauce.

Barbecue the pork-If you're using a charcoal grill, start a slow fire; you should be able to hold your hand just a few inches above the grate for 10 seconds without becoming uncomfortably hot. If you are using a gas grill, over or smoker, heat it to 200F.

Put the marinated pork butts fat side up in the grill or smoker and close the lid. (For the oven, put the pork on a rack in a roasting pan.) Leave the pork alone for a about 3 hours, then begin basting with sauce every 30 minutes. Four hours into cooking, turn the pork over and continue cooking for another 2 hours. The pork is ready when the internal temperature reaches between 150 and 160F. This should take about 2 hours per pound. Take the pork off the heat and let it sit until cool enough to handle.
Chop and shred the pork - You can slice the pork or pull it apart with your fingers.

Put the chopped or pulled pork in a large bowl and begin tossing in some of the reserved sauce; the amount is a matter of taste. Serve the pork warm with more sauce on the side.

Szechwan Chicken Meatloaf

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon minced peeled ginger root
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup water chestnuts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons Szechwan hot & spicy sauce
1 pound ground chicken or turkey

Heat oil in small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions, carrots, celery, ginger root and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Combine green onion mixture, rice, water chestnuts, soy sauce,. and Szechwan sauce in large bowl; stir well. Crumble chicken over green onion mixture, and stir until just blended. Preheat over to 350°. Pack mixture into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle sesame seeds over top of loaf. Back at 350° for 50 minutes or until meat loaf registers 160°. Let loaf stand in pan 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan; cut into 12 slices. Serve with Chinese hot mustard and sweet-and-sour sauce, if desired.

Calories 163 (27% from fat); Protein 18.1 g; Fat 4.8 g


Orphan's Rice

2 2/3 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken stock
Pinch saffron threads (about 1/8 tsp.)
3 Tbs. oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 Tbs. finely minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 oz. bacon (about 1 think slice or 2 thin slices)
1 1/2 oz. finely chopped ham (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat the stock in a small saucepan until very hot but not boiling, and add the saffron. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a medium-large, heavy-based pot of Dutch oven (with a good lid) over medium heat until hot, pour in the oil, and then add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until a few grains just begin to brown, no more, 3-4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to high, add the saffron broth and salt, bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to very low, and cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, chop finely, and mix with the ham. Pour out the grease from the pan and add the butter. Melt the butter over medium heat, add the pecans, almonds, and pine nuts, and sauté them, stirring frequently until the almonds begin to turn golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Don't overcook the nuts or they'll be bitter. When the rice has cooked 15 minutes, stir in the bacon and ham, sautéed nuts, and parsley, cover the pot, and take it off the heat. Let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes.

Serve hot.

Carrots with Ginger and Honey

Serves 8 to 10
Larger carrots cut into pieces can be substituted for the baby carrots.

6 bunches baby carrots (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 two-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
3 tablespoons honey

1. Trim stems of carrots to 1/2 inch. Peel carrots, and wash stem area.

2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt water, add carrots, and reduce heat. Simmer until carrots are almost tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove carrots from heat, and drain. (Carrots can be prepared earlier in the day to this point.)

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, and sauté, stirring, until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and honey, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until carrots are glazed. Serve immediately.

White Bean & Artichoke Dip

Serves six to eight as an appetizer; yields about 2 cups of dip.

1 can (15 ½ ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 ½ ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1 small clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigianino Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

In a food processor, blend the beans, artichoke hearts, garlic, and lemon juice to a smooth paste. With the processor running, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. If needed, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to get a smooth consistency. Blend in the cheese and rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl, sprinkle with 2 generous pinches cayenne and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with pita chips.

From “The Best Recipes of Fine Cooking: Dinner with Friends 2004”, page 94.
(Original recipe includes directions for making pita chips.)

Artichoke Torta

Yields one 8-inch torta; serves six, plus leftovers.

This dense frittata-like torta takes a bit of time to prepare, but it’s quite easy to cook and the results are terrific: moist, tender and full oil cheesy, herby flavors. It’s a great do-ahead dish that wants to be served at room temperature. You can make it up to a day in advance.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
One 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and very roughly chopped
Juice of ¼ lemon
½ cup water
Kosher salt
1 bunch (10 oz) spinach, cleaned and stemmed
8 large eggs
½ cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¾ cup grated creamy Havarti
½ cup grated Parmigianino Reggiano cheese
1 small bunch fresh basil, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 ounces prosciutto, sliced thin and cut into small squares

Heat the oven to 375 ˚F. In a nonstick medium frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook about 1 minute. Add the artichokes, lemon juice, water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until the artichokes are fully tender and the flavors have blended, 5 to 6 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated. Let cool.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spinach for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and refresh with cold water. With your hands, squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and chop it finely.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, pour in the half-and-half, and whisk to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. Add the cheese, chopped spinach, basil, prosciutto, and the artichoke mixture and stir well.

Choose a baking dish or a small roasting pan large enough to hold an 8-inch non-stick frying pan. Add hot water in the dish to cover about one-quarter of the frying pan’s depth. This will act as a water bath for cooking the torta.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of the egg mixture sputters when added to the pan. Add the egg mixture and cook for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat. With a spatula, lift the torta away from the edges of the pan to gauge its progress; when you see that the torta has browned nicely all around, remove the pan from the heat and immediately put it in the water bath to stop the browning. Put the pan and the water bath in the oven and bake until the torta is firm in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.

Remove the frying pan from the water bath and turn out the torta, bottom side up, on a cutting board. Let cool for at least 20 minutes and then refrigerate if you’re making it ahead, or cut it into 1-inch chunks to serve right away. Serve the torta pieces, top side up, at room temperature.

From “The Best Recipes of Fine Cooking: Dinner with Friends 2004”, page 54.

Glazed Carrots and Ginger

20 (about 1/2 pound) baby carrots, peeled, but with 1-inch green top left on
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 3-inch-by-1/2-inch-piece ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-think matchsticks

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add carrots; cook until just tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain carrots; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet set over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, honey, and ginger, and cook, turning carrots frequently, until carrots and ginger are browned, about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve.

Golden Onion & Thyme Dip

Yields about 2 1/4 cups of dip.

This dip is good right after making it, but we recommend letting it sit in the fridge a bit to settle the flavors - it just gets better!

2 Tbs. Extra virgin Olive Oil
1 large Spanish or 2 large yellow onions (about 1 pound total), finely diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. cream cheese
6 Tbs. sour cream
1 scant Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
Pinch cayenne
Potato chip, crackers, or toasted pita chips for serving

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and saute, stirring often, until the onion softens completely and
starts to brown, about 9 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor and add the cream cheese, sour cream, thyme, and cayenne.
Pulse until the mixture is well combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cooking notes from us:
We used a non-stick pan, so only used a drop of oil.
Cooking onions longer should make it sweeter, but isn't really needed.
After sitting a day the dip was still really good, but could maybe have used a little more salt.

Enjoy! This might be a good recipe to double!

Lemon-Blueberry Cake with White Chocolate Frosting


3 1/3 cup cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
sift these four ingredients together

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (packed)
4 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 ½ cups fresh blueberries

waxed paper or parchment paper


11 oz white chocolate, finally chopped
12 oz cream cheese, room temp
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice

additional lemon & blueberries for decoration

For Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour three 8-inch cake pans. Line pans with waxed or parchment paper, butter and flour paper.

Sift cake flour, salt, baking powder & soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in lemon juice & peel, then eggs one at a time. Continue to beat until well blended. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions. Fold in berries. Divide batter between cake pans.

Bake cakes for 35-40 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on racks.

For Frosting:

Stir white chocolate in double boiler set over barely simmering water until almost melted. Remove from over water and stir until smooth. Cool to lukewarm. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until blended. Add the lemon juice to the cream cheese. When cooled, add the white chocolate.

Turn cakes out onto work surface. Peel off parchment. Place one layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top & sides of cake. Garnish with additional blueberries and lemon slices, if desired.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

Rice Krispie Treats

This is just a little bit different from the recipe you'll find on the back of the box. First off, the truth is the amount of Rice Krispies is a good guess. A really good guess, but still pretty much a guess. You can put more or less in depending on how much marshmallow you want.  I never measure, I just start pouring, mixing, pouring and mixing. The second big difference is there will be no annoying quarter bag of marshmallows left around. The recipe on the back of the box is about using cereal, they don't care about the marshmallows. Lastly, I only use margarine when making this. If you use butter it tastes off, kind of oily. So don't think butter will make it better. This is one of the few cases where butter backfires.

6 cups Rice Krispies
3 Tablespoons margarine
1 Package (10 oz., about 40) miniature marshmallows or regular sized ones

1 - melt margarine in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2 - Add Rice Krispies. Stir until well coated.
3 - Using (buttered) spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13x9x2-inch pan coated with cooking spray (we use a non-stick pan and don't spray).

Cut into 2x2 inch squares when cool and EAT! Best eaten the same day or soon after.


Makes 6 – 8 servings

You should begin to soak the bulghar wheat at least 3 hours before serving time. It needs to thoroughly marinate and chill.

1 cup dry bulghar wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp. (kosher) salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1 heaping tsp. crushed, fresh garlic
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 tsp. dried mint
1/4 cup good olive oil
Fresh black pepper (to taste)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup packed, freshly chopped parsley

Optional items:
1/2 cup cooked chick peas
1 chopped red or green pepper
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 chopped cucumber or summer squash

1) Combine bulghar, boiling water and salt in a bowl. Cover and let stand 15 – 20 minutes, or until bulghar is chewable.
2) Add lemon/lime juice, garlic, olive oil and mint. And mix thoroughly. Refrigerate 2 – 3 hours.
3) Just before serving, add the vegetables and mix gently. Correct seasonings.
4) Garnish with Feta cheese and/or olives

Carrot Cake


2-20 ounce cans or 5 cups crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups oil
4 eggs
2 tablespoons Rum
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped nuts
waxed paper or parchment paper


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 package (16 oz.) powdered sugar

For Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour pineapple into a strainer and allow to drain. With a fork, periodically stir fruit so that it drains as much as possible. Set aside until needed. However, you may wish to save the pineapple juice for another use.

Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Line pans with waxed or parchment paper, butter and flour paper.
Sift first 5 ingredients (flour through baking powder), add sugar, oil, eggs and rum. Mix well by hand and add remaining ingredients. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Warning! This cake is extremely moist and may be somewhat sticky. Once the cake is completely cooled, and for the best results, place a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper that is larger than the pans, over the top of the pan. In one movement, turn the cake upside down onto your work surface so that the pan now sits upside down on the waxed paper or parchment paper. Tap the cake pan several times to loosen the cake. If the cake has not come out of the pan, you my need to tap harder on the bottom of pan. Repeat process with other two cakes. Remember, the cakes are somewhat sticky and very moist. Remove the waxed paper or parchment paper that you used to bake with from the bottom of each layer before frosting cake.

Note: Use vegetable oil or canola type oil. Do not use olive oil as this cake is already very moist.

For Frosting:

Combine cream cheese and butter in blender. Mix well. Add vanilla and slowly add powdered sugar, being sure to mix well after each addition.

Tortellini and Pine Nut Salad

This is a beautiful and delicious salad. To make it extra pretty try using tri-colored tortellini.

Red peppers can be used instead of chili peppers, if you prefer. For best results, allow the salad to chill for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 4 – 6

2/3 lb fresh cheese tortellini
Dash of olive oil
1 (white) onion, very finely diced
1 red or green bell pepper, deseeded and very finely diced
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 Ortega pepper, deseeded and sliced (optional)
4 inch piece of cucumber, very thinly sliced
1 orange, peeled and very thinly sliced

For the Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and add the tortellini with a dash of olive oil. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain again and set aside.
2) Place the tortellini in a large mixing bowl and add the remaining salad ingredients. Toss together lightly.
3) To make the salad dressing, place the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shale well to combine. Wait to add the dressing just before serving.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and serve.