French Muffin Doughnuts

Long before my cookbook collection grew, and even longer before internet and Google,I clipped recipes from the newspaper and taped them to note cards to save. This recipe is taped to a  bright pink card;the newsprint is yellowed. Our young family members loved these tender little bites as much as Joe and I did.  Fun to make and fun to eat!  They did not last long once out of the oven and rolled in cinnamon and sugar! There are a variety of recipes online with a variety of names – Muffin Doughnuts, French Puffs, Doughnut Muffins.

French Muffin Doughnuts

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

Melted butter, 1/3 cup plus more for sugaring.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to mixing bowl. Combine milk, egg, 1/3 cup melted butter and vanillla.  Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture, stirring only until all ingredients are moistened. Fill cups of greased 24 count mini muffin pan half to 1/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, until turning golden brown. Remove from pan, immediately brush with melted butter, and roll in mixture of remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Chicken Marengo

More than any of the cream sauces or pastries or souffles, I love to cook French dishes with fish or chicken and hearty tomato sauces that include garlic and olive oil and olives. I like to think my French great grandmother’s bloodline has something to do with this – she and her family sailed from the south of France (Marseilles) when they immigrated to the southern United States so perhaps that region is where they came from, although I have no way of knowing. If so, my love for Provencal cooking comes honestly. My favorites to eat and to cook have many common ingredients – Bouillabaise, Cacciatore, and Chicken Provencal. This dish, called Chicken Marengo has an interesting legend about its origin. Chicken Marengo is not Italian, as the name implies, but very French as the story goes, it was hastily invented by the cook who accompanied Napoleon when he went to battle. Following the narrow victory at the battle of Marengo in Italy in 1800, Napoleon is said to have been famished and directed a meal to be prepared right away. His cook gathered what local ingredients he could come up with, making this dish with its chicken, tomatoes, herbs, and olives. Tradition includes the addition of a fried egg and some crawfish on top but I chose to omit those!

Chicken Marengo

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and pepper for chicken
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried French thyme
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup green olives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat , then sauté chicken, smooth sides down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over and sauté 1 minute more. Scatter mushrooms around chicken and cook, until chicken is just cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Transfer chicken to a plate, then add shallots, garlic, and thyme to skillet and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, and water and simmer until mushrooms are tender and sauce is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
  3. Return chicken to skillet, add olives, and simmer, spooning sauce over until chicken is heated through   Serve with rice.

Mary Ann’s Pot Roast

There are so many versions of pot roast; there have been several posted. But I have never shared the one I have used most during my cooking years. My mother (long before crock pots)  always browned a small chuck roast on top of the stove, added onions, carrots, and celery sprinkled with salt and pepper, plus enough liquid to simmer for several hours. She probably put this into the oven at times, but I remember clearly the ways she avoided “heating up the kitchen.”  My own version started with this. Early in my marriage, a friend told me her mother-in-law shared her secret to a tasty pot roast – don’t just brown the meat to start but “burn” it on both sides before adding vegetables. Later I read another hint for adding flavor and tenderizing the roast:  For liquid, add any leftover coffee from the morning pot before topping off with water!

So that is what I do when I decide to make a pot roast the old way!  The vegetables I add may vary, but browning the meat very dark and adding some coffee produces a rich, dark cooking liquid that can be served as is or thickened as a gravy. This works whether you have the pot roast bubbling away on the back of the stove, cooking in the oven, or in a slow cooker. Any way you cook it, a pot roast is not a quick cooking dish.  The hours it cooks along with fragrant vegetables and herbs produces tender, fall-apart delicious food – an old-fashioned favorite that will never go out of style in our kitchen.

Mary Ann’s Pot Roast

3-4 pound chuck or shoulder roast

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

1/4 cup flour

salt and pepper

3 medium potatoes,  coarsely chopped

4 carrots, sliced00

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 onion, sliced

dried or fresh herbs of your choice

Rinse and pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and flour.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet and brown the roast on both sides until dark brown and charred. Place roast in a baking dish if cooking in the oven or crock pot if using a slow cooker. Layer all vegetables around and on the sides of meat. Add salt, pepper, and herbs if you wish.  Pour at least 1 cup of strong coffee over all, top with enough water to almost cover.  Add lid and cook for several hours.  If baking, cook in 325-degree oven for at least 3 hours, or until roast is very tender, adding water if necessary. In a slow cooker, the roast should cook for 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.

To serve, lift the pot roast and veggies out and place on a platter. Serve the broth in a small bowl with ladle.  For gravy, thicken the broth by heating 2 Tablespoons oil with 2 Tablespoons flour, stirring while adding the cooking liquid.  Stir and simmer until thickened, season with salt and pepper if needed.

Garden Vegetable Pie

There are a variety of recipes for pies or tarts using summer vegetables. I find some in my cookbook collection; many more are found online. Some recipes use a crust for the pie, others do not. A combination of eggs and cheese makes the dish set up so that it can e sliced into wedges.  Some would say that makes this a fritttata or crustless quiche, but plain old pie works just fine for me. Almost any assortment of fresh vegetables can be combined but I got great responses last week when I took this zucchini pie to a friend’s home. The entree was roasted pork tenderloin, and guests were asked to bring salad, vegetable, fruit, and dessert. The combination of pork, spinach salad, fruit salad, and this vegetable pie was delicious and hearty. We almost did not need Key Lime Pie for dessert, but it was yummy, too.

Garden Vegetable Pie

4 tablespoons butterhalf

1/2  onion, diced

2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed

2 large zucchini, sliced very thinly (about 4 cup

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces shredded cheese (I used white cheddar)

4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet. Add onions and zucchini. While the veggies saute, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to the pan and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.. Remove from heat.

Once the mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and the beaten egg. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Arrange a few zucchini slices so they lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese, cover with greased foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to brown the top. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into slices.

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin with Asian Rub and Ginger Glaze

asianporkgingerglaze

I adapted my version of this recipe from one called Asian Pork posted at thefoodcharlatan.com.  I had hidden it away on Pinterest in my Best Crockpot Pick board and made it last week. The flavor is amazing!  We served it at a family gathering and used leftovers in pork fried rice!

  • 5 pounds pork tenderloin (I used 4 tenderloins, which filled the bottom of my crockpot)
  • 1 cup water
For the rub:
    • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 3 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoon powdered ginger
    • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon powdered cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or white)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Penzey’s crystallized ginger bits
  • fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
  • lime wedges, to garnish
  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, powdered ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cloves, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to make a rub for pork..
  2. Place the tenderloins in the slow cooker. Rub the seasonings over the top and bottom of tenderloins.
  3. Pour 1 cup water in the slow cooker, on the edge or in the middle so that you don’t wash off all the spices you just rubbed on.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, then preheat your broiler.
  5. While the pork is finishing up in the slow cooker and your broiler heats up, combine 1 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, rice vinegar,  water, and soy sauce in a small saucepan.
  6. Set over medium heat and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in ginger bits.
  8. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  9. Remove the pork from the crock pot (discard the liquid) and place on the lined baking sheet. Brush a generous amount of the glaze on the pork.
  10. Put your oven rack as high as it will go, and broil the pork for 1 or 2 minutes, until bubbly and caramelized. Don’t walk away! Repeat 2 to 3 more times until it is as crusty as you want it but not dry.
  11. Serve with remaining glaze on the side, and garnish with lime and cilantro.

Fondant Potatoes

fondantpotatoes“The texture this old-school method provides for russet potatoes is unlike anything you get by just roasting: so dense, moist, and rich. The way the crusty, crunchy edges outside contrast with the uniquely rich and creamy inside is truly a magical thing”  quote by Chef John, who posts a like version of this recipe online at allrecipes.com

When our son Jeremy and his family were here recently, he made this wonderful potato dish to go with our New Year’s Day 2017 dinner.  He had made Fondant Potatoes and told us about it in much the same glowing terms as the quote above.  He promised they would be amazing, and they were!

Fondant Potatoes

3 large whole russet potatoes

2 tablespoons high-heat-resistant vegetable oil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

4 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup chicken broth, or more as needed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Cut off ends of russet potatoes, stand potatoes on end, and peel potatoes from top to bottom with a sharp knife, shaping each potato into barrel shape.. Cut each in half crosswise to make 6 potato barrels about 2 inches long.
  3. Place potatoes into a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes.Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place a cast iron skillet over high heat. Pour in vegetable oil; heat oil until it shimmers slightly.
  5. Place potato cylinders with best-looking ends into the hot oil, lower heat to medium-high, and pan-fry potatoes until well-browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Flip the potatoes onto the opposite ends. As they cook, use a paper towel held with tongs to carefully blot out the oil from the skillet. Add butter and thyme sprigs to skillet.
  7. Pick up a thyme sprig with tongs and use it to brush butter over the top of the potatoes. Cook until butter foams and foam turns from white to a pale tan color. Season with more salt and pepper. Pour chicken stock into skillet.
  8. Transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender and creamy inside, about 30 minutes. If potatoes aren’t tender, add 1/4 cup more stock and let cook 10 more minutes.
  9. Place potatoes on a serving platter and spoon thyme-scented butter remaining in skillet over potatoes. Garnish with more fresh sprigs of thyme and a few of rosemary.

Blackberry Crisp

blackberrycrumbleUse blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, or blueberries (or a combination) in this old-fashioned crisp .A crisp is like a cobbler and depending on the fruit used can sometimes be called by names that make us smile –  pandowdy, grunt, slump, buckles, , croustade, bird’s nest pudding or crow’s nest pudding.  They are all simple variations of cobblers, and they are all based on seasonal fruits and berries, in other words, whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand.  They are all homemade and simple to make and rely more on taste than fancy pastry preparation.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings.  When they could not find their favorite ingredients, they used what was available. That is how these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names.

I made this one for a Saturday breakfast, but Joe can eat berry cobbler anytime!  It is tastiest when right out of the oven, and any leftovers never last long.

Blackberry Crisp

6 cups fresh Blackberries

1-2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.

For Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a deep baking dish. Combine berries, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and pour into baking dish. In another bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Add the butter bits and mix with hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of berry mixture and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

cookiebaker

Nora is learning to make cookies but she has a distinct preference for chocolate! A recipe found in a cookbook written by my cousin Jane Purtle was just what Nora ordered!  In Food from the Hills, the author recorded family recipes from her family, which happens to be our family, too.  My grandmother, Clyde Curley Terrell, and Jane Purtlle’s father, Russell Hill, were half-siblings.  My great-grandmother Ernestine Augier Hill Curley was married to Jane’s grandfather, James Hill.  After he died, she married my Great Grandfather Curley. These chocolate oatmeal cookies were a favorite in the Hill family.

But there is more to this cookie story.  The original oatmeal cookie (without chocolate) recipe was one found in the Home Economics class cookbook from Bullard High School in Bullard, Texas where Jane Purtle’s mother Ruby and my mother, Opal attended.  So I am certain Nora’s great-grandmother Opal also made these cookies. Nora’s middle name is Opal.  I had fun thinking about all these connections while we made these cookies.

cookbook

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup oatmeal  ( recipe says Quick, but regular works great and makes a chewier cookie)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Please note:  I substituted 6 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder  plus 2 Tablespoons oil for the melted baking chocolate)

Break egg in mixing bowl and beat in sugar.  Add oil to sugar and eggs. Add milk and oatmeal. Sift flour with salt, baking powder and soda into the first mixture.  Add chocolate and beat well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until firm around edges but soft in center.

If desired, omit chocolate and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

 

 

 

cookies

 

chocolateoatmealcookies

Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls

CinnamonRolls3

Many years ago, I was given a recipe for these big fluffy cinnamon rolls, with the curious ingredient of mashed potatoes!   If you have leftover mashed potatoes, this is one of the bet ways to use them!  They are light, fluffy, and smell heavenly while rising but even better while baking!
Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls
  • 4½ cups flour (separated 1½ and 3 cups)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoon)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • ⅓ cup butter, cut up
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
 Cinnamon sugar mixture
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (for brushing)CinnamonRolls1CinnamonRolls2
  1. In large mixing bowl of stand mixer, combine 1½ cups of flour with yeast.
  2. Combine milk, potato, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan, then heat on medium heat until butter starts to melt.
  3. Remove from heat .
  4. Add slowly to flour mixture and mix with regular mixing paddle on low speed for about one minute.
  5. Add eggs and continue beating 2-3 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  6. Switch to dough hook.
  7. Add the rest of the flour (3 cups) and mix for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternately, you can knead by hand.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Make sure to turn dough in order to completely coat the dough with the grease.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  11. Punch dough.
  12. Turn it out on a lightly floured board and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
  14. Also, prepare pan (13 x 9 x 2 inches) by greasing or spraying with non-stick spray.
  15. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
  16. Roll out dough until you get an 18 x 12 inch rectangle.
  17. Brush the surface with melted butter and evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  18. Roll into a log, starting with the long side.
  19. Cut the roll into 12 slices.
  20. Place in prepared pan.
  21. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size.
  22. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  23. Cool slightly before drizzling with icing (if using).
Glaze
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk.Whisk until smooth and just glaze the rolls before serving.
I like to zest a little orange peel or lemon peel into this, optional.
Whisk until smooth and just glaze the rolls before serving.
Make it ahead:Once the rolls have been cut and placed in the pan, they can be refrigerated overnight. Remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature (covered) for about 30 minutes before baking (as per instructions).

Saturday Pancakes

Pancakes3Saturday after a week of unpacking and resettling seemed like a good time to celebrate with a hearty breakfast. While Joe lined a baking sheet with foil and a rack to bake a pound of peppered bacon,  I pulled out ingredients for pancakes.  I enjoy Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog and television series so I try her recipes often and thought I would try her recipe for Perfect Pancakes!

Now that there are 5 of us regularly around the table again (and soon to be 6!), it is necessary to cook quite a stack of pancakes, so Pioneer Woman’s method fit the bill. I did not vary from her offering except for using regular unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. I could have made a substitute cake flour by substituting part of the flour I used with corn starch, but silly me, I did not look that up until after we had eaten the pancakes and declared them delicious!  I thought they were a tad dense, so I checked and sure enough, that was the reason.  The main difference in the 2 flours is the protein content (which becomes gluten). The protein content of cake flour is about 8%, while the protein content of flour is about 10-11%.   Next time I will either have cake flour on hand or try this simple substitution:  For each cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons and add back in 2 Tablespoons of corn starch!

When we were clearing the table, my son declared these pancakes the best he had ever eaten!  Thank you, Ree Drummond! And next time I will do it right!

Perfect Pancakes

  • 3 cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • Butter for the table
  • Maple  Syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.

Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.

Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Stir in more milk if needed for thinning. Batter will not be smooth. Do not overmix.

Pancakes1
Ladle about 1/4 cup for each pancake onto a greased or sprayed griddle over medium-low  to low heat until golden brown. The pancakes will brown too quickly if the heat is too high. When they dry slightly around the edges and begin to bubble, turn and cook a few seconds more on the other side.  Serve with a pat of butter and maple syrup.
Pancakes2
My parents owned a small cafe when I was growing up and Daddy made the best pancakes. I think he would have liked these.