Wonderful Wednesday: Guinness Cheddar Biscuits

Guinness Cheddar Biscuits

Guinness Cheddar Biscuits

St. Patrick’s day is coming and in a few days, everybody will be wearing green or wanting to be kissed because they’re Irish! Even my Japanese friends wear buttons declaring, “Kiss Me! I’m Irish!”. I’m not much for beer, domestic or imported. But…I do love Guinness Stout and I like it draft, room temperature. I also enjoy Black and Tans – one half each of Harp and Guinness Stout.

And…here is the best of both worlds – Southern US and Ireland. You don’t have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to serve and enjoy these. Kiss These Biscuits! They’re Good!

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
4 tablespoons butter
2 tbs. minced chives (optional)
¾ cup Guinness (or stout or dark beer)
1 tablespoon milk

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and prepare a sheet pan with a silpat or a sheet of parchment paper or other non-stick liner. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add cheddar cheese and mix together until well blended or, pulse in food processor. Cut in the butter until you have a coarse crumb. Mix in optional chives. Add beer and mix (or pulse) until you have a uniform dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Place the dough on the baking sheet and lightly brush with a a little milk. Bake for 10 minutes. I like to brush with some melted butter before serving. NOTE: Any margarine with a high water content or heart smart spread will not work for this recipe. I do suggest using real butter. And because these are for St. Patrick’s day, I will be using imported Irish Butter!

vintage poster

vintage poster

 

Holiday Sweet Potato (no, not yam) Recipes

photo from NC Sweet Potato Commission

photo from NC Sweet Potato Commission

Okey dokey. Let’s clear this up before we go any further: What is called “yam” in the US is not a yam – it is a sweet potato. Sweet potatoes and yams are not even related or even part of the same family. Yes, both are tubers, yes, both are sweet, both are flowering vines. But…

YAM: grown in Africa, Asia and the Carbbean. It has a thicker skin and some of those pups can grow to be seven feet in length! Yams are starchier, drier, paler interior, darker exterior, must be cooked to be eaten safely, firmer textured, lower in beta carotene and Vitamin C. The yam is part of the lily family.

Sweet Potato: Grown in the Southern US, has tapered ends, flesh can range from white to deep orange, moister, thin skinned, and is a member of the morning glory family. There is a purple variety grown in Okinawa, however. What is called “yam” in the US is actually – Sweet Potato!!! So, no more candied yams, baked yams, fried yams. Unless of course you have been to a specialty grocery and specifically bought a yam imported from the Caribbean, Asia, or Africa.

The Recipes: Cornwallis Yams, er, Sweet Potatoes. I don’t think General Cornwallis ever had this dish or a yam and haven’t a clue as to why this ridiculous name was given to this recipe. But, it is one delicious and rich casserole. It could be considered dessert but it is a side dish typically served during the Holidays. Both of these are standard recipes and came from handwritten recipe cards from my Grandma Ninny’s recipe box and have been part of our family celebrations since Ninny was a baby.  Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern Classic. You folk can have all the pumpkin pie you want, most of us in the South will take Sweet Potato Pie, thank y’all very much.

I did a Christmas post a couple of seasons ago about sweet potato pie, family, and honoring those who have passed before. Here is the link:  kanzensakura.com/2012/12/24/the-smell-of-home a true Christmas-story   I am link challenged and it probably won’t work but the name of the post is The Smell of Home – a True Christmas Story.  You can also search under sweet potato.  I hope y’all enjoy.

Cornwallis Sweet Potato Casserole
6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated coconut, plus some for garnish (I use the frozen, unsweetened grated rather than the sweetened coconut in a bag or can)
1 1/2 cups milk
½ c. chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
Boil sweet potatoes until softened. Peel and mash. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter.  Beat eggs and add to cooled potatoes. Combine with remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch or 3-quart casserole. Bake in a 350 oven until light brown, about 1 hour. Top with a sprinkle of coconut.

Sweet Potato Pie
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves or mace
2 tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 – 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) package frozen deep-dish piecrusts, thawed
Garnishes: whipped cream, grated nutmeg

Directions
Cook sweet potato in boiling water to cover 30 minutes or until tender; drain .Beat sweet potato and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, orange juice, peel, and spices, beating well. Pour mixture evenly into each piecrust. Bake at 350° on lower oven rack for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Garnish, if desired.

 

Vegetable Pot Pie

free Wikipedia image

free Wikipedia image

Where’s the meat???? Well, you don’t need any for this recipe. Vegetable Pot Pie is healthy for people and animals. If you must have meat, add some chunks of cooked chicken. But honestly folks, you don’t need it. Lots of veggies in a warm thick sauce nestled between two pie crusts, making the house smell so good and driving away that cold weather outside.

You can add other veggies of course, but this recipe has classic pot pie veggies and what’s so good about it, you can use frozen bagged vegetable mixtures to save time and effort. And if you are really driven for time and want to simplify it even more, add the equivalent liquid amount of cream of mushroom or celery soup. Not as good and considering how easy it is to make a roux and add liquid, it would be a shame to take the canned soup shortcut.

If you have to cross over from vegan, a good extra touch is about 5 minutes before pulling from the oven, sprinkle a nice amount of grated parmesan or cheddar cheese on the top crust and allow to melt. Serve this with a hearty appetite. Get warm and comfy on the inside and smiley on the outside. Yowzer y’all, it’s good.

Vegetable Pot Pie
1 cup thinly sliced carrots*
1 cup frozen green peas*
1 cup small diced potatoes*
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery*
1/2 cup finely chopped onion* OR
*4 cups of comparable frozen vegetables
1/2 cup butter substitute, or heart smart type margarine
1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper – a few good grinds
good pinch of celery seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (I use the water I cooked the vegetables in)
2/3 cup almond milk (unsweetened, unflavored)
Two 9-inch unbaked pie crusts, lard free (I use ready made from the dairy case, room temperature and dusted with a little flour when rolling out)

Directions
Preheat the oven to  400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil to place the pie on before cooking; it will keep any filling from dripping into the oven and burning. In a medium saucepan, combine the vegetables. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in the butter substitute until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, celery seed and garlic powder. Cook for 2 minutes to get the raw flour taste out. Slowly stir in the broth until smooth and then add the almond milk. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained vegetables. Roll out one of the unbaked crusts to a 13-inch diameter and place in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Pour the mixture into the bottom crust. Roll out the second pie crust and place on top. Seal the edges and cut small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. If the top of the pie becomes too dark, loosely cover with foil and continue cooking. Cool for 10 minutes before serving

Green Tea Smoothie 抹茶スムージー

photo from Public Domain Images

photo from Public Domain Images

It is still summer and still hotter than a load of jalapeno peppers and fireworks.  This is an easy peasy smoothie that is so good, cooling, and good for you too.  An excellent breakfast, a lunchtime pickup, or just to sit and sip in the shade while listening to summer winding down.

You can use almond, soy, coconut, or other milk.  Also if you use the other “milks”, using the ones with vanilla added is good as well. I like to play with this recipe. You can use an equivalent amount or mix of avocado and/or pineapple instead of or in addition to the banana. I like some pineapple along banana along with ginger. Make this smoothie your smoothieI like recipes with interchangeable parts to make something unique that tastes like just what I want.
 
You will need a blender, one of those bullet blenders, whatever that is similar in function. Matcha powder can be found in many specialty groceries such as Trader Joe’s or Asian market. It can also be ordered from an online source. You want pure matcha powder. Ceremonial grade is not necessary but be aware of what you are ordering. There are some sweetened or “smoothie” types available. You want the unsweetened, non-additive powder. You can also use the powder for baking or making ice cream. I have posted several recipes: Green Tea Cookies and Green Tea Ice Cream.

Green tea not only is good for you, it tastes good and is a lovely, happy green in color. You cannot grind green tea leaves to make matcha powder as the matcha is made by a different process.

Recipe
1 Banana (or assorted fruit, add a bit of fresh ginger if you use pineapple)
5 ice cubes
¾ to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc)
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder

Put ice cubes and banana/fruit into blender. Add the “milk” of your choice. Add matcha powder. Blend until all ingredients are blended and smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 

Strawberry Cobbler – Mother’s Day Treat

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This is a simple strawberry cobbler. We usually think of strawberry shortcake, ice cream, strawberries and cream, cold glazed strawberry pie, or strawberries mixed with rhubarb in pies or cobblers. Rarely, do we think of a baked strawberry pie or cobbler. During strawberry season, this was on regular rotation for desserts in our family. It always made its first appearance for Mother’s Day dinner.

Many times, my mother and I would drive to one of the local strawberry farms for several buckets of sweet, sun warmed strawberries. The bucket would go on the seat between us – beautiful fragrant fruit rubies. On the way home, we’d dip into the bucket and eat them as they were. We’d comment about how sweet, how juicy, how large and luscious! By the time we got home, probably a quart was missing and our lips and fingers were stained red with the juice. My mother and/or I would put this together after church on Sunday and by the time the family was through demolishing Sunday dinner and after my mother and grandmother had opened their cards and gifts, this cobbler would be ready.

Halfway through dinner, we had to sit and smell this glorious cobbler as it filled the kitchen with its sweet fragrance. My Papa would hop up and pull it out of the oven and let it settle a couple of minutes. He’d then dish it out and give first serves to Mama and Ninny, then my aunts and him and I last. So good! Buttery, warm, rich, tangy and sweet. Top with whipped cream or ice cream but it is good on it’s own.

Happy Mother’s Day! Don’t let Strawberry Season pass by without fixing this cobbler.

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler
Ingredients
1 – cup Self-Rising Flour
1 – Egg, slightly beaten
1 – Quart Fresh Strawberries
3/4 cup of White Sugar
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 stick Unsalted Butter, melted.

Instructions

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees:
Wash berries under cool running water. Remove hulls and any bad spots. Drain. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of White Sugar on the Strawberries, toss gently, set aside.
Generously Butter a 2 Quart Casserole-Baking Dish.
Add strawberries and set aside.
In another bowl, add Flour, Brown Sugar, remaining White Sugar and one slightly beaten Egg.
Work the Flour, Sugars and Egg together until crumbly, using a fork.
Place topping over Strawberries, spread evenly over berries.
Melt the Butter and drizzle over the topping.
Bake at 350 degrees, for about 30-45 minutes until crust is browned and cobbler is bubbly.

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Photos courtesy of Public Domain Images

 

Throwback Thursday – Retro Recipe 1910

I am the proud possessor of a first edition Boston Cooking School cookbook, written by Fannie Farmer. Fannie Farmer was the leading lady of kitchen and home efficiency. Thanks to her, recipes no longer state, “one teacup of sugar”, “butter lump the size of a walnut”, “one wineglass of sour milk”, etc.

In addition to their famous cookbooks, the Boston Cooking School also published a magazine six times a year. The August-September 1910 edition gives hints for “Prompting a Delicate Child to Eat”, “Automobile Luncheons” (quite a novelty and cutting edge!) with such dishes as Bishop’s Deviled Tongue Spread (Bishop’s was a brand of canned meats, not the actual tongue of a Bishop), Pickled Egg Salad, Hearts of Lettuce, celery hearts filled with cream cheese, Rusks, Rum Omelet, Blackberry Muffins, etc. The list of foods gives a nice snapshot into the food of America for that time. In the magazine were also advertisements for products still in use or long gone:  Junket, Huyler’s Metropolitan Cocoa, Fleischmann’s Yeast, Sno-white Blueing, Sauer’s Vanilla Extract (still made in Richmond, VA).  Short stories, poems, and household hints were scattered though out the magazine.

The Blackberry Muffins, from that edition of the magazine, has been made in our family since my great grandmother’s mother, as a young bride, was given a subscription to that magazine as a bridal gift. A rather extravagant gift at a dollar for a year’s subscription. The recipe still stands after over a hundred years. When blackberry season arrives, put on your sunbonnet and go pick a few buckets of blackberries. Save some out for these muffins. The recipe is copied from its page in the magazine.  The recipe says the Blackberry Muffins are very delicious – they are!  Slather with butter ad enjoy with a glass of cold milk or cup of coffee.

Blackberry Muffins
1 cup blackberries (blueberries are an excellent substitute)
1 cup warm milk
1 cake Fleischmann’s Yeast (modern – 1 pkg)
2 cups sifted flour
2 – 4 tablespoonfuls granulated sugar
1 tablespoonful butter, melted
¼ teaspoonful salt
1 well-beaten egg

Have milk lukewarm, dissolve yeast into it; then add sugar, butter, salt, egg well beaten; add flour gradually and beat thoroughly; cover; set aside to rise for one and one-half hours. Then stir in very lightly the cup of berries and put in well-greased muffin tins (modern change – use muffin liners). Let rise for twenty minutes. Bake twenty minutes in a moderate oven (350F). This makes one dozen. Takes about two and one-half hours. Should be eaten hot and are very delicious.

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Simple Sunday Supper – Quiche Lorraine

Tonight for supper is one of the best excuses to cook lots of bacon – Quiche Lorraine. I use turkey bacon but you can also use leftover chopped smoked ham. This recipe is a standby from an Old Betty Crocker cookbook. I like to sprinkle fresh chopped chives on top before putting into the oven. Served with a nice crusty bread, steamed asparagus and a bowl of fresh strawberries, this supper sings Spring!  Leftovers make a good light lunch.  One of my snooty type friends said Lorraine was a region in France without cheese and that this was just bacon and cheese quiche.  Whatever.  It’s good.  A quiche by any other name and all that.

You can make a nice rich pate brisee, use one of those refrigerated pie crusts from the dairy case, or use a thawed, frozen deep dish pie crust. I’m using the latter because it is Simple Sunday Supper.   Bon Appetit, y’all!

Ingredients
1 (9 inch) pastry dough (I use frozen, deep dish thawed and pre-baked)
12 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled (I use 6 slices of turkey bacon)
1 cup shredded swiss or cheddar cheese
1/3 cup minced onion
4 eggs
2 cups whipping cream or light cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions
Heat oven to 450°F. Saute/caramelize onions. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in pastry-lined pie pan. Whisk eggs slightly, beat in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Quiche is done when knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Important–let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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