Val's Almond Macaroons

Val's Almond Macaroons

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
Scant cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Glacéd cherries or sliced almonds

Whip egg whites into soft peaks.
Fold in remaining ingredients until well mixed.

Using a small ice cream scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), form about 16 cookies
Top each one with a cherry half or some sliced almonds.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Watch the Video:

A lighter take on Potato Knishes

Potato Knishes

2 lbs, potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 1/2 lbs, onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup oil
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces butter, melted
1 lb. package filo dough

Sauté onions in oil until softened and just turning golden.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir cooked onions with the oil into the potatoes, mixing well.

Cut filo sheets in quarters and wrap well in plastic wrap.

Working with a few sheets at a time, butter one sheets top with a second sheet and butter that.  Place a small spoonful of potato filling at the bottom of the filo, roll up, tuck the sides in and continue rolling.

At this point you may either bake them at 375 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown.  Or, place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheets and freeze.  Once they are frozen, place them in a freezer bag.  Bake as above for 10 to 12 minutes


Watch the video:

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

When we lived in Virginia, our son-in-law, Blair, loved to go to the local diner for biscuits and sausage gravy.  I could never see the appeal of this gray-looking glop until I decided to make it at home as a special treat for him.  

Good sausage meat and a little hot sauce turned the dish an appetizing rosy color.  While it's not a dish I would recommend having on a daily basis, for a once-in-a-while treat it's a great change from bacon and eggs.

1 small onion, finely chopped 1 lb. sausage meat
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Hot sauce to taste
Buttermilk biscuits to serve.

Watch the video:

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Betty, Lucy, Anna & Liz

We recently spent a family weekend celebrating our great granddaughter's first birthday.  Our granddaughter, Anna, had prepared her Buffalo Chicken Dip - much better and less messy to eat than wings!

It takes no time at all to put together.  Then you simply bake it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, give it a good stir to mix it well and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips, celery and carrot sticks.

She very kindly agreed to share the recipe with me and I am happy to share it with you.

Anna's Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
12 oz. shredded cheddar/Jack cheese mix
1/4 cup hot sauce, or to taste.

Watch Anna prepare this terrific dip!

Reader Comment:
Kaho Fotyfar
What a beauty,lovely gathering, simple rich recipe and amazing city as well, thank u for sharing these special moments. 

Spinach Salad Dressing Old Family Recipe

Spinach Salad Dressing

This is a recipe I got from a co-worker many years ago. It was her mother's recipe so, according to my math, it would have to be about 100 years old. I have changed it very little, cutting back on sugar and salt and making it in a food processor instead of lots of chopping and whisking.

For the salad itself, you want baby spinach, stems removed, sliced mushrooms and crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled. The amounts depend on how many you are serving. To turn this into a main dish for lunch, just add some hard-cooked eggs.


Betty's Cole Slaw...Southern Style

Southern Cole Slaw

This is a recipe I learned while we were living in Virginia.  It's a little different in that contains no mayonnaise.  The dressing is boiled before pouring it over the cabbage mixture so you might think that this will be a very soggy salad.  Not to worry, four hours in the refrigerator restores all the crispness to this tasty side dish.

Viewer Comment: " I made it on Friday nite, we ate yesterday, one of the best yummy side dish, 🌺 it feels good knowing u did something good when my family asked me to make it again , thank u very much for a very amazing recipe"

Christopher Kimball of America's Test Kitchen Chicken Stock!

I saw this comment from Christopher Kimball of America's Test Kitchen fame regarding chicken stock.

"Instead of using Eurocentric techniques that rely on concentrating flavors through long applications of heat, Mr. Kimball is exploring ways to build dishes that rely on texture, spice and freshness. Instead of making chicken stock like a frugal French cook who simmers bones and scraps for hours, why not boil a whole chicken for just an hour like a Chinese cook, using ginger, scallions and herbs to elicit a more delicate flavor?" (NY TIMES)

While I do use this technique when making Asian dishes, the flavors don't work when making something like chicken pot pie.  For that you want a rich chicken stock which is best accomplished with long, slow simmering.  See my recipe for chicken pot pie which gives the instructions for the stock (video here).

Croque Monsieur (French Ham & Cheese Sandwich)

 Croque Monsieur

Leave it to the French to take a ham and cheese sandwich and turn it into a gourmet delight!  By using top-quality ingredients like brioche bread, Gruyere cheese and Virginia ham, a mundane dish is totally transformed.  With that transformation, it becomes something you can serve as an elegant lunch or supper - and it’s surprisingly easy to do.

4 slices brioche bread (you may substitute a good quality sandwich bread)
5 or 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
2 or 4 slices Virginia ham (depending on thickness)
Mustard of your choice
2 or 3 tablespoons of butter
1½ tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook for 2 or 3 minutes to eliminate the floury taste.  Gradually add the milk, whisking continuously.  Bring to a simmer and stir until the sauce thickens.  Add about half of the grated Gruyere cheese and whisk until it is melted, add the grated Parmesan and whisk until it is melted.  Set the sauce aside.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading two of the bread slices with the mustard, top with the ham slices and then most of the Gruyere cheese (reserve a little to top the sandwiches at the end) and cover with the last two slices of bread.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, add the sandwiches and sauté until lightly browned, turn, adding more butter if necessary, and brown on the second side.  Transfer the sandwiches to ovenproof dishes, cover each with half of the sauce and sprinkle with the last of the Gruyere.  Bake for about 5 minutes until the sauce is bubbly.  If desired, broil for a minute or two to brown lightly.

Serve with a mixed green salad and perhaps a glass of a dry white wine!  Enjoy..

Watch the video: