Everything But Books
Fun and more fun, but none of it relating to books (because I have another page for that)

December 21, 2012

A favorite family holiday recipe

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t actually spend much time in the kitchen, but each year my mom and I like to do what we call our Christmas Baking. This has become a tradition of ours, and usually entails ordering a pie from Marie Callendar’s or arranging the Pillsbury pull-apart chocolate chip cookies on a cookie sheet and slipping them into the oven.

On the rare occasions I do bake, though, this is typically what I make. The recipe is from my Great-Aunt Geneva Rone, who was famous in her little town of Waxhaw, North Carolina, for her baking skills. She was the one who baked all the family birthday cakes, the ones my mother and her siblings and cousins looked forward to each year. My mom remembers that in Aunt Genny’s kitchen there was always the smell of fresh baked bread or biscuits or brownies. At Christmas time, she kept Coca-Colas on the back porch where they grew ice-cold and frosty, and she served them with the things she made.

Aunt Genny also believed in a world map that contained only four places: “Heaven. Hell. Waxhaw. And Off Somewhere.” My parents named me in her honor.

Of all her wonderful recipes, this is my favorite.

Aunt Geneva’s Cheese Biscuits

Makes: about 4 dozen, and that won’t be nearly enough! (I usually double the recipe)
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients:

One cup of grated sharp (or extra sharp) cheddar cheese
One stick of butter or margarine, softened
3/4 to 1 cup of sifted flour
A dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 to 1 cup Rice Krispies (optional)

Procedure:

Blend cheese and butter thoroughly until creamy.

Work in flour with your hands until the dough is firm but not sticky, being careful not to overwork it.

Roll dough gently on floured board or counter.

Cut small biscuits– about the size of a silver dollar. (To shape and cut them, I usually use the top of one of my smallest juice glasses.)

Trim the tops of the biscuits with sesame seeds or pecan halves, if you like– or do as I do and leave them plain.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in a 375-degree oven.

Cool biscuits slightly before removing from pan.

To store, cool completely and seal in airtight container.

Reheat before serving to restore crispness.

Enjoy!

October 28, 2012

Triple C: Candy Corn – Costumes, Cocktails and Cupcakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — phoebe @ 1:25 am

This is my 3rd Halloween ever, as we don’t celebrate it in Australia. However, I am now surrounded with the spirit of Halloween and candy living in America! And who can’t go past good old Candy Corn. Here are three ways to incorporate Candy Corn into this years Halloween.

Candy Corn Cocktails

For the infused vodka:

  • 1/2 cup candy corn
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka

For the cordials:

  • 2 ounces orange liqueur
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large egg white
  • Candy corn, for garnish

Directions

Infuse the vodka: Combine the candy corn and vodka in an airtight container; set aside for at least 3 hours, then strain.

Make the cordials: Add 4 ounces of the candy corn vodka, the orange liqueur, lemon juice and egg white to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Strain into 2 chilled martini glasses and garnish with candy corn.

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

Yellow and orange food coloring

Buttercream

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 tbsp milk

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

1. Pre-heat over to 350 and line mini cupcake baking tray.

2. In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt

3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

4. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add flour mixture ? at a time, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat until no dry ingredients remain and all is mixed together well.

5. Divide the batter, one with a little less than half and put in orange food coloring. Add the yellow dye to the remaining mixture.

6. Divide the orange mixture evenly amongst the pan. Pipe the yellow batter onto the top, until each cup is ¾ full.

7. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

8. After cooling, turn them out so that the yellow is at the bottom.

9. Pipe cream onto the top to form the white portion of the candy corn.

Vanilla Butter Cream

1. Cream butter with an electric mixer until soft. Add vanilla and milk, then gradually blend in sugar until frosting reaches a fluffy, spreadable consistency.

If you have any Halloween inspired cupcakes or cocktails, be sure to send them on over.

October 2, 2012

Dipping into October.

Two delicious dip recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 8oz pack cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits

Instructions

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.

2. Add sugars and vanilla.

3. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits until well combined.

4. Serve with Graham crackers.

S’mores Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow creme

Instructions

1. In a microwave proof bowl, microwave chocolate chips and condensed milk for 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally. Heat until all melted.

2. Pour into a pie dish. Drop marshmallow by tablespoons randomly over the chocolate mixture. Microwave on high for 30 seconds until the marshmallow is melted.

3. Immediately with a knife make swirls through the mixture to create a marbled appearance.

4. Dip with honey Graham crackers.

 

September 24, 2012

Cousin Terri’s Coq Au Vin

My cousin Terri Day McJunkin, in addition to being brilliant and beautiful, is also quite the cook.  In keeping with our French theme a la Becoming Clementine, here is Terri’s recipe for Coq Au Vin.  As she says, it’s “one of the very best classic French recipes ever (absolutely to die for).”

COQ AU VIN
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
(2 tablespoons good olive oil for searing meat)

4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy (I use Merlot)
1 cup good chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Lay chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle chicken on both sides w. salt and pepper. When bacon is removed, brown chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken to plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add wine and put bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and place in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just ‘not pink’. Remove from oven and place on top of stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to stew. Bring stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

September 13, 2012

The Best Flourless Chocolate Cake (because who doesn’t love chocolate!)

Myself and Lara over here at Team Jennifer are both gluten intolerant, but because we both still love our cake (especially chocolate cake) it was time to find a recipe that we could both eat. It is tried and tested and one that won’t let you down!

Ingredients

1 tspn instant coffee granules/powder

1 tspn hot water

100g butter

150g dark chocolate

1/2 tspn vanilla extract

4 large eggs at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

200g almond meal (ground almonds)

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

2. Prepare cake tin, lining the bottom with baking paper.

3. Dissolve coffee with 1tsp of boiling water.

4. In a saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter, dark chocolate, dissolved coffee and vanilla. Once melted set aside.

5. Separate egg whites from yolks.

6. Using electric beaters or a whisk, beat whites with about half the sugar. Beat until peaks form.

7. In another bowl using electric beaters or fork, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Beat until light and creamy.

8. Fold the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Add to this the almond meal and mix until combined.

9. Fold in the egg whites, then pour into prepared tin.

10. Bake for 40mins and serve warm or cold with cream and strawberries.

 

If you have any delicious gluten free recipes let us know!

Cheese straws for every occasion (because who doesn’t love cheese?)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — jennifer @ 8:57 am

My dad was always cooking.  He could whip up shrimp bisque or Marchand di Vin for sixty people easily, and was always trying to teach me the right wine to go with beef Wellington.  This was lost on me because, as a teenager, all I wanted to eat were normal things like hamburgers and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese out of the box.  My father made his macaroni and cheese from scratch.  It took hours.  He even made the noodles by hand.

Dad died in 2002.  He was only sixty.  But I have his recipe book:  a fat brown binder with the recipes carefully typed out on over-sized index cards.  Here’s one of my favorites:

Dad’s Cheese Straws (yields about 20)

These crisp and mildly spicy twists of puff pastry have been our most popular “nosh” for years.  Arrange a basketful on the bar/table and watch them disappear.

Ingredients:

1 pound Puff Pastry

3/4 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  Roll out puff pastry dough into a rectangle 20 by 24 inches.  Sprinkle half of the Parmesan evenly over the dough and gently press cheese into the dough with rolling pin.

2.  Fold the dough in half crosswise, roll it out again to 20 by 24 inches, & sprinkle on remaining cheese.

3.  Using a sharp thin knife, cut the dough into 1/3-inch strips.  Take each strip by its ends and twist until evenly corkscrewed.  Lay the twists of dough on an ungreased baking sheet, arranged so they are just touching each other; this will prevent shrinking.

4. Set the baking sheet in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven & bake until the straws are crisp, puffed and brown, 15-20 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven, cool for 5 min., then cut apart with a sharp knife.  Finish cooking the straws on a rack, then store them in an airtight container or plastic bag until serving time.  They will stay fresh for about 1 week.

September 5, 2012

Don’t dip them, fill them!

It is clear that filled strawberries are much more fun and tasty than dipped ones. Here are 3 simple strawberry filling recipes.

 

Ingredients Required

3 Dozen Strawberries

 

Heavenly Strawberries

8oz cream cheese

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ tsp almond or vanilla extract

 

Inside-out Chocolate

8oz cream cheese

½ cup chocolate sauce

3 x 3/4oz milk chocolate bars finely chopped

 

Peanut Butter

8oz cream cheese

½ cup peanut butter

5tbs powdered sugar

 

1. Remove stems and inner part of strawberries to create a bowl. Strawberries can be placed into an empty egg carton to make them stand easily.

2. For each recipe, beat all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth.

3. Using either a pastry bag or a heavy duty plastic bag with the corner cut, pipe mixture into the hole of the strawberry.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Can sprinkle with grated chocolate if desired.