Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spicy Bran Scones

This is an old recipe and I can't tell you where I got it.  These are lovely with the jam or jelly of your choice!

1 cup whole bran cereal
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 egg (beaten)
1 egg white
3 tablespoons butter or margarine (melted)
3 cups packaged biscuit mix (Bisquick)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cereal and buttermilk or sour milk. Let stand for a few minutes. Stir in egg, egg white, and butter or margarine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together biscuit mix, the 1/3 cup sugar, and the 1 teaspoon apple pie spice. Make a well in the center. Add bran-egg mixture. Mix just until dough clings together. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for 10-15 strokes or until smooth.

Divide dough in half. On a large ungreased baking sheet with lightly floured fingers, pat each half of the dough into a 6 1/2' circle. Stir together egg yolk and milk. Brush over tops of circles. Combine the 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice. Sprinkle over circles. Cut each circle into eight wedges (a pizza cutter works well for this). With a spatula, pull each wedge out 1/4'. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 16 scones.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brunch Egg Bake

I am on vacation this week!  It was so fun to have friends over for brunch today.  I made this egg dish, which is wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  See the beatiful roses in the background?  A gift from our friend, Laura. 

3 cups (12-ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 jar (4.5 ounces) sliced mushrooms (I used fresh)
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
8 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the cheeses; place 3 cups in an ungreased 13-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch glass baking dish and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, red pepper and onions in butter until tender; drain. Spoon them into the baking dish. Sprinkle with ham and remaining cheeses.

In a large bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth; stir in the eggs, parsley, salt, basil, and pepper until blended. Slowly pour over cheeses. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. 12 servings.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coffee Klatch - The Last Lecture

I was having a discussion with my son a few weeks ago and he said that books will primarily bought using digital media in the not too distant future.  No!!!!  Now, I personally wouldn't mind a Kindle for reading the newspaper or fun novels, but there is something very satisfying about holding the actual book in your hands.  (Unless of course, you are reading a book the size of "War and Peace" while laying in bed and your hands are cramping up from trying to hold the book open.) 

I've been an avid reader all of my life, but one of my new hobbies is to collect great books in hardcover format.  What makes a book "great?"  Personally, I think if it is thought provoking, you learn something along the way, and it changes your world view, it is a great book.  I also think it is an individual thing.  My list of great books will be different than your list of great books. 

A book that I just finished and will be adding to my "library" project is "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch.  He was a professsor from Carnegie Mellon University, who presented truly a "last lecture," because he had terminal cancer at the time he delivered it. He had an opportunity to look back at his life and figure out the lessons that he learned along the way.  One of my favorites was Chapter 16 - Romancing the Brick Wall.  He talks about brick walls being "there to stop people who don't want it badly enough."  It gave me time to think about the times I was "stopped" and the times I crashed the wall. 

This is a quick and delightful read.  It is in no way morose.  Randy Pausch has a wonderful sense of humor and sense of fun.  I'm happy to put this humble little book in my library.

If you don't like to read and would like to see the "last lecture" he delivered at Carnegie Mellon University, here it is:

Warning:  It is one hour and 16 minutes long, but worth it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coffee Klatch - Promise to A Virgin Pastry Board

Yesterday I watched the Julie & Julia movie....again.  I love that movie.  I like to watch it on my laptop while I'm paying bills.  It has a calming effect.  I've always wanted to cook my way through a cookbook, so I'm going to give it a try.  My choice is "Baking With Julia," which was based on the PBS series.  I've watched every episode that I could and now I record this series so I can enjoy them over and over.  There was one show that stands out in particular.  I can't remember who the guest chef was or which recipe was being made, but Julia Child actually cried when she tried it....as the guest chef stood next to her with an astonished look on her face.

So, to begin, I bought a new pastry board. I'd like to make it a promise. 

Message to My Pastry Board:  Welcome to our home little wooden board.  You have been untouched by meat, vegetables, fruit, play dough, and other non-pastry ingredients.  I promise to take good care of you and to never let anything touch you except pastry dough, pie dough, bread dough, savory and sweet dough.  Never will meat drain its bloody juices on you.  Never will you smell like garlic or onions.  I will not let you swim in water causing you to warp and dry out.  Together, we will make beautiful pastries, breads, and pies.  When I am no longer able to roll or knead dough, I will make sure you are given to someone who can carry on our mission. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Caramel Corn

Happy official fourth of July!  Okay, it's the fifth of July, but this is the official celebration.  I know that because I am off of work. 

I always miss my parents on the fourth of July--both of them passed on three years ago.  Both of my parents were veterans of World War II and great patriots and I miss them most of all on this holiday.  Our family would always visit them and go to the neighborhood parade and to the neighborhood park for festivities.  Yesterday, I asked my 16-year-old daughter if we can go to a parade and she can chase tootsie rolls.  She declined.   Rats. 

Of course, one of the traditions was eating boxes of Cracker Jack.  I hate to tell the makers of Cracker Jack, but I have a better recipe.  You can add peanuts and a surprise if you'd like, but this is a really tasty caramel corn recipe.

4 quarts popped corn

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place popped corn in large roasting pan or in two 9x13' baking pans.

In 8-cup microwave bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Microwave on 100% power for 1 to 2 minutes, or until mixture bubbles. Stir with wooden spoon. Microwave 3 minutes more at 100% power, stirring after each 1-minute interval. Add baking soda and vanilla; stir well as mixture foams up.

Pour syrup over popped corn in roasting pan. Stir and mix well. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to coat kernels evenly. Pour out onto two 15 x 12 inch cookie sheets. Let cool 45 minutes. Store in an airtight container. Makes 4 quarts.

Mom and Dad:  My flag is flying for you!