Ebelskivers, the Danish pancake

CAMERON



Our family is visiting for the Holidays and our youngest granddaughter, Cameron's, favorite breakfast treat are these Ebelskivers, a Danish pancake cooked in a special pan.  Cameron's favorite filling for these pancakes is chocolate chips, but you can add all sorts of things to these delectable morsels! VIEW THE VIDEO!
Ebelskivers

1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled,  plus additional butter for pan


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
  2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and melted butter.
  3. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well blended.  The batter will be somewhat lumpy.
  4. In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.
  5. Using a silicone spatula, stir about one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten in, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.  Use the batter right away.
  6. Heat an ebelskiver pan over medium-high heat and brush each hollow with a little melted butter.
  7. Put 1 tablespoon of batter in each hollow and add a filling of your choice.  Top with a little more batter and cook for a minute or two.
  8. Using chopsticks, quickly turn the pancakes and cook for a minute or two on the second side.
  9. Transfer to a plate and top with powdered sugar or syrup.


Suggested fillings:


Chocolate chips
A slice of banana and a dab of Nutella
A half teaspoon of any jam
Lemon curd
Applesauce


VIEW THE VIDEO!



COMMENTS:

Yummy gonna make these in the morning!  Miss Kassondra



Chocolate and Marzipan Brownies

I love marzipan!  I especially love it in these intensely chocolate brownies.  I bake them often, but right now they will be going into the Christmas cookie packages I will be delivering to friends.  I hope you enjoy them.


Chocolate Marzipan Brownies


3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
½c. butter
¾c. flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
8 oz. marzipan

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a saucepan and heat over very low heat until melted. Remove from heat, stir and then set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Stir sugar into chocolate mixture and add eggs, 1 at a time, stirring after each addition.
  5. Blend in flour mixture.
  6. Evenly spread ½ of the batter into a greased 8” square pan. Set aside.
  7. Soften marzipan and roll out into an 8” square. This is most easily done between two sheets of waxed paper.  Place marzipan on top of batter in pan.  Spread remaining batter evenly over marzipan layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Chill the brownies thoroughly before cutting into 1” squares with a serrated bread knife.
  9. The brownies freeze well - in fact, I think they taste better after freezing!When the brownies are done, they will have a firm crust on top but a toothpick inserted into the center should come out wet. Do not overbake the brownies.
 Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan and slice into rectangles. These are very rich so I cut them into 1” squares so you will have over 100 brownies!



Storage: The brownies will keep at room temperature for up to three days. They can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.

Mini Pavlovas (Meringue Dessert Cookies)

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inner.

This is a lovely light dessert which you can vary to your taste.  Australians claim that it was created for the ballerina Anna Pavlova when she was visiting there but New Zealanders claim they had it long before then.  Whoever is right, I'm glad they kept the recipe!

You can make these way ahead of time and keep them in your cupboard in an airtight box for several weeks.

Ingredients:

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup sugar.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Whisk the egg whites until foamy
Add the cream of tarter and whisk to combine
Add the sugar - very slowly at first, scraping down the the bowl a couple of times.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1/4" tip and pipe onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Pipe a small circle and build a "wall" as demonstrated in the video.
Place in preheated oven and turn off the heat.  Leave to dry for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Suggested fillings:  lemon curd and raspberries, whipped cream and assorted small or sliced fruits, chocolate ganache or chocolate mousse.
Fill no more than an hour or so before serving as meringues will soften.

Watch the Video



                                                          

Meringue Mushrooms (Cookies)


Meringue mushrooms are the traditional decoration for a Buche de Noel (Yule log cake) but they also make a cute addition to your cookie repertoire.  My method of attaching the tops to the stems is different from the usual instructions which call for making a small hole in the bottom of the mushroom cap, but I think you will find there is lot less breakage using my method.  Watching the video will make this clear.

My favorite story about these little morsels goes back a number of years.  I had brought a basket  of the mushrooms as a hostess gift.  I heard a few weeks later that my hostess thought she had received the strangest gift ever -until she realized they were cookies!


Ingredients:

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
2 oz bitter sweet or semi-sweet chocolate


Steps:
  1. Beat eggs in mixer until frothy.
  2. Add cream of tarter if not using a copper bowl.
  3. Slowly add sugar, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice
  4. Transfer mixture to piping bag.
  5. Pipe mushroom tops and stems.
  6. Place in pre-heated 300 degree oven, turn oven off immediately.    
  7. Leave in oven two or three hours or overnight. 
  8. Assemble the mushrooms: cut stem points, apply chocolate to base of mushrooms and connect the stem.

WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION




Russian Teacakes

When I started baking Christmas cookies the recipe for Russian Teacakes came from a Betty Crocker cookbook which had been given to me as a gift from our dear friends Lenny and Terry who were our neighbors when we lived in Washington, DC.  I still have the book in my collection (which now numbers over 1500 books!).  It's a bit tattered and stained, but reading it brings back so many wonderful memories.

I always start my holiday cookie baking with these cookies.  You may use any nut you like, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (my favorite) or pecans.

Russian Teacakes

Ingredients:

1 cup butter at room temperature
½ cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup finely chopped nuts


1.  Mix thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla,
2.  Sift together and stir in the flour and salt.
3.  Mix in the chopped nuts. Chill.
4.  Roll into 1" balls and place on ungreased baking sheet (cookies do not spread).
5.  Bake at 400° 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not brown.
6.  While still warm, roll in confectioners' sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.

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Shortbread Cookies-A Scottish Favorite

As a Scot, shortbread was the first thing I learned to bake. Growing up during the war in Scotland, sugar, butter (and everything else!) was severely rationed and families saved and saved to be able to bake a few treats for Christmas.
Shortbread was always at the top of the list. I have to tell you about one year when the shortbread was a disaster. In those days we didn't have supermarkets where everything was prepackaged as it is today. You went to the store and the grocer weighed out what you wanted, be it sugar, salt, flour, split peas, tea, etc.
Mother-Ruth (TOP)-Me-Gran
Everything came in identical blue bags, neatly folded at the top but, of course, there were no labels. Well, one year my grandmother made the shortbread but when we tasted it.....she had mistaken the salt for the sugar!


As with many ethnic recipes, you will find that every family has its own variation. With shortbread, some families use cornstarch with the flour, others use fine cornflour. I have changed our family recipe a little over the years to include rice flour as I find it adds a delicious "shortness". I hope you will enjoy it.


Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies                                       



Ingredients:


1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
1/2 lb. butter (two sticks)
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped


  1. Combine sugar and orange peel in food processor and pulse several times to blend. Add salt and pulse. Add butter and process until creamy and light. 
  2. Add plain flour and process until combined. 
  3. Add rice flour and process until a ball forms. There will probably be some dough that is still loose. 
  4. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead with your hands until dough forms a smooth ball. Divide dough in two and form each half into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on waxed paper and use a cookie sheet to help "tighten" the roll. 
  5. Refrigerate until firm - 1 - 2 hours. I save the tubes from paper towels, waxed paper, etc. and place the rolls in there to chill since it keeps them round. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  7. Slice the cookies a generous 1/4 inch thick and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to take on some color. 
  8. Cool on the sheets for a minute or two then place on cooling racks to cool completely. 
  9. Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate and when the cookies are cooled, dip them half way in the chocolate and place on waxed paper to set.
Enjoy!

WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION





Eggs-Scrambled or Fried

Gray
Our grandson is living off-campus at college and is discovering the financial benefits of home cooking!  One of his favorite meals is breakfast but he is having difficulty getting all of the elements of a traditional bacon and egg breakfast to be ready at the same time.  So, this lesson is for him (and also for my husband!). WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW

Ingredients:

4 eggs
5 or 6 slices of bacon
two slices of bread
one ripe tomato, halved
butter
olive oil
salt and pepper

The most important part of preparing this meal is organization.  None of the elements takes very long to cook so everything needs to be at hand.

Method:

  1. Set the table and get the coffee perking
  2. Place the tomato halves on a broiler pan and sprinkle with a few drops of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in broiler and cook for about 6 minutes.  If you are using a toaster oven, cook these a few minutes ahead of time and keep warm on top of the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, place the bacon on a microwavable dish, cover lightly with a paper towel and cook on high for 4 minutes.  Check and cook further if needed.
  4. Whisk eggs in a bowl until well mixed and add 1/4 cup of water, whisk to blend.
  5. Warm a fry pan and coat with a teaspoon of butter.
  6. Set bread to toast.
  7. Add the eggs and cook over medium/low heat turning with a spatula until eggs are no longer runny but still moist.  This will take about 4/5 minutes.
Pour the coffee, plate your breakfast and enjoy!

If you prefer fried eggs:
  1. Warm a small fry pan
  2. Coat lightly with butter
  3. Add eggs
  4. Cover and cook over low heat for 4/5 minutes
  5. Eggs are done when whites are set but the yolks are still runny.  
WATCH THE VIDEO:

                                                                                                                                                

    Q. What is the difference between English High tea and afternoon tea? ES

    Afternoon Tea at NYC's Plaza Hotel
    Q. What is the difference between English High Tea and Afternoon Tea? ES

    A. So here's the deal on High Tea.  It is NOT the elegant affair with cucumber sandwiches, scones and dainty cakes - that is Afternoon Tea (2-5pm).

    High Tea is more of a supper which includes some kind of savory dish - anything from fish and chips to Shepherd's Pie - always served with bread and butter, followed by a simple dessert. Served from 5-7pm.

    The Source? Afternoon Tea in Britain:  "Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is often credited with the invention of the tradition of afternoon tea in the early 1840's. Traditionally dinner was not served until 8:30 or 9:00 in the evening and the Duchess often became hungry, especially in the summer when dinner was served even later. She ordered a small meal of bread, butter, and other niceties, such as cakes, tarts, and biscuits, to be brought secretly to her boudoir. 

    When she was exposed she was not ridiculed, as she had feared, but her habit caught on and the concept of a small meal, of niceties and perhaps tea, became popular and eventually known as "afternoon tea." Obviously the origins of the well known British tradition of afternoon tea cannot be credited to only one woman, but evolved over a period of time, as many cultural customs do." 

    Thanksgiving Day Dinner Leftovers

    Yunhee Kim for The New York Times
    Check out the New York Times Sunday Magazine (Nov. 20, 2011) for some fantastic ideas from Mark Bittman for your Thanksgiving leftovers "Remains of the Day."

    I'm not cooking the turkey although I will be bringing some side dishes and desserts to my daughter's house, but these recipes make me want to bring some leftovers home!


    CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

    English Muffin Pizza

    A quick lunch or an afternoon snack, this easy-to-prepare recipe fits the bill!

    Cooks are usually very sociable people.  After all, you don't prepare a delicious meal just for yourself - you want to share it with others.  And because of that you find you have a store of wonderful food associated memories.  This particular very simple recipe has two very fond memories for me.  One - it's first thing I taught my grandson to cook for himself and two - when my favorite aunt and uncle from Scotland were visiting us I prepared this one day for lunch.  My uncle enjoyed it so much I had to make it every day thereafter for the remainder of their visit!

    1 English muffin, split and lightly toasted
    two thick slices ripe tomato
    two slices aged cheddar cheese
    pinch of salt
    a few grindings of black pepper
    a sprinkle of mixed Italian herbs

    On a foil lined pan, place a slice of tomato on a muffin half, sprinkle with seasonings and top with cheese.  Place under a broiler for two or three minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.    WATCH THE VIDEO



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    Chicken Tenders (Cutlets & Nuggets)

    Q. What is your recipe for my kid's favorite meal....chicken fingers (or nuggets)? C.R.

    A. Here is my favorite recipe for chicken fingers....also works for chicken cutlets, nuggets and tenders.
    WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW

    Ingredients:


    Two skinned and boned chicken breast halves
    1 cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 egg, beaten
    2 cups Panko breadcrumbs - more as needed
    Oil for frying

    Slice chicken into cutlets or tenders as demonstrated (VIDEO BELOW).  Combine flour, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Dredge chicken breast cutlets in flour mixture, dip in egg then in Panko.  Allow to dry for 10 minutes or so then fry in hot oil.  Drain on paper towels and serve.

    These also freeze well.


    I like to serve as an appetizer with honey mustard .
    Other suggestions: 
    •  Add grated Parmesan to breadcrumbs and serve with warm tomato sauce
    •  Add grated ginger to beaten eggs and serve with Chinese plum sauce
    •  Add Tabasco to beaten eggs and serve with blue cheese dressing 
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      Thanksgiving Side Dishes (Brussels Sprouts-CranApple Chutney-Crabmeat Appetizer)

      Q. Help...Do you have any good ways to prepare brussels sprouts... and a good warm seafood dip for appetizer before the Thanksgiving day meal?  Also, any new wrinkle for cranberry sauces? These are the items I am responsible for at our dinner at my friend and neighbor's home.  Thank you in advance.  J.W.

      A. Here are a couple of ideas;


      Brussels Sprouts

      Serves 8 to 10
      INGREDIENTS
      8 strips bacon, chopped
      2 large shallots, chopped fine
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through stem ends
      1cup low-sodium chicken broth
      2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
      4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
      2 tablespoons unsalted butter
      ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped

      INSTRUCTIONS

      1. Fry bacon in skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off excess grease but do not wipe skillet clean.

      2. Cook shallots in same skillet over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

      3. Toss Brussels sprouts with shallots and garlic, add broth, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, tossing once or twice, until paring knife can be inserted into sprouts without resistance, 13 to 18 minutes.

      4. Stir in thyme, vinegar, butter, reserved bacon, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle pecans on top. Serve immediately.


      OR:

      2 cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
      Salt and pepper to taste

      Preheat the oven to 400°F.

      Gently heat the oil in a cast iron skillet, then add the sprouts, cut-side down. Cook without moving until they brown nicely and develop a crust. This is where the flavor happens.

      Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 4 minutes.

      Remove from the oven and, using tongs, turn each sprout over carefully onto its back. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze, gently shaking and tossing the skillet until there is no excess vinegar in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

      Cranberry-Apple Chutney


      INGREDIENTS

      1 cup whole fresh or frozen cranberries
      2 ½ cup tart apples, peeled, cored and cubed
      ½ cup apple cider vinegar
      ½ cup sugar
      1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled, slivered
      ¾ teaspoon salt
      ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
      ½ cup walnuts, chopped
      ¼ cup golden raisins
      ½ chili pepper, seeded and chopped

      Gather all ingredients.
      Wash cranberries, remove stems.
      In 5 quart heavy saucepan combine cubed apples, vinegar, sugar, ginger, salt, sweetened dried cranberries. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
      Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered 5 minutes or just until apples are tender but still hold their shape. Add nuts and whole cranberries. Simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
      Put in tight sealing container. Store in refrigerator.



      This is an old favorite from our days in Virginia:
      Crabmeat Appetizer

      INGREDIENTS
      8 ounces cream cheese, softened
      1 tablespoon milk
      1 pound crabmeat
      2 teaspoons onion, grated
      1 teaspoon horseradish
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      White pepper
      Pinch of cayenne pepper

      1. Blend all ingredients except crabmeat thoroughly. Gently fold in crabmeat.
      2. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
      3. Serve with crackers.

      Hope this helps!
      Our dock at Shorehaven Court Virginia Beach, Va.


      Betty's Favorite Caesar Salad

      This is our favorite Caesar Salad dressing. Perhaps not entirely authentic, but it works for us!

      1 egg
      1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      1 tablespoon anchovy paste, or 3-4 anchovy fillets
      1 clove garlic, grated
      4 or 5 drops fresh lemon juice
      4 or 5 drops Worcestershire Sauce
      ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
      ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus a few shards grated
      Freshly ground black pepper
      Garlic Croutons


      Place all ingredients except olive oil and cheese in a mini-processor and blend for a few seconds. Add the olive oil and blend to combine.
      Toss with chopped Romaine Lettuce. Add grated cheese and toss. Add croutons and freshly ground black pepper and toss. Top with shards of Parmigiano. Enjoy!


      WATCH THE VIDEO

      French Macaron Question:

      Q. In regard to your French Macaron article and video, I know in Scotland/England that recipes are given in grams. I don't think we have scales with that measurement on it. How about cups and spoons. Also, isn't macaroons spelled with an extra o or is this the French spelling.    R.R.

      A. Macaron is the correct French spelling and most modern scales do have grams.  I debated about the measurements, but after a ton of research, this is the best.  Accuracy for this particular recipe is really crucial.

      NOTE: Do not attempt to make on a humid day! Cookies may not maintain shape!

      Click to read the recent New York Times article...."the Parisian macaron, two airy almond meringue cookies pressed around a creamy filling — not those tiny bombs of shredded coconut that, on our shores, answer to the name “macaroon.”

      French macarons are a classic pastry

      French macarons are a classic pastry - well, almost a confection.  Airy little pillows made from ground almonds, powdered sugar, egg white and granulated sugar that seem destined to replace cupcakes as the most popular snack. But two to three dollars for a cookie - I don't think so!

      WARNING: Do not make on a humid day!

      There is not much that I hesitate to try in the kitchen, but I have been reading about macarons for about two years, I have read several books and countless articles both in magazines and on the web and just recently decided to try them myself.  I was truly amazed at my first attempts - exquisite little cookies with the requisite "foot" on the bottom.     VIDEO BELOW

      So, first the ingredients:

      50 grams of egg whites - yes, you do have to weigh these.  Eggs vary in size (even though the package says they are "large") and people have different ways of separating them.  Have them at room temperature and don't use the freshest eggs. Some people even leave them out, covered, for a day or two.
      60 grams of ground almonds - I use Bob's Red Mill which I find in my local supermarket
      100 grams of powdered sugar
      16 grams of granulated sugar
      Flavoring and coloring as desired.  Note: use gel or paste colors rather than liquid.

      Equipment:

      food processor or blender
      medium size bowl
      medium sieve
      copper bowl or other bowl for beating the egg whites  (if you don't use a copper bowl, add a pinch of cream of tarter or a drop or two of lemon juice to the egg whites)
      hand mixer 
      rubber spatula
      large pastry bag
      ¼" pastry tube
      large glass to hold pastry bag
      two heavy duty cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

      Have everything at hand before you begin.

      Place the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a processor and whiz for a minute or two.  Transfer mixture to the sieve and strain into your bowl.  Discard any little bits left in the sieve.

      Start beating the egg whites slowly, gradually increasing speed, add the granulated sugar in thirds and beat until stiff peaks form.  Add a teaspoon of flavoring and paste or gel coloring.
       
      Using a rubber spatula, fold in the almond mixture by thirds until it is well-incorporated.  The mixture will just start to thin a little.  Transfer to the pastry bag. Holding the bag vertically pipe small circles out onto the parchment lined pastry sheets.  I have made a template on a sheet of parchment using a black magic marker and simply put that under the sheet I am piping onto.

      Let the macaron sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until they develop a "skin".  You can tell when they are ready by touching them lightly - they will no longer feel tacky.  Put them in a 220º convection oven on the lowest shelf and back for about 18 minutes.  If you don't have a convection oven, bake at 245 - 250º.  Ovens very greatly so you may have to adjust a few times before you find just the right setting.

      Allow the cookies to cool and then remove from the parchment and fill as desired. A word of warning:  press them together gently from the sides don't try to squeeze from the top!

      Some flavor and filling suggestions:

      Raspberry filled with chocolate ganache (recipe follows) and/or raspberry jam
      Chocolate (substitute two tablespoons of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of cocoa) filled with white chocolate ganache
      Orange - 1½ teaspoons of grated orange peel in processor with almonds and sugar filled with chocolate ganache
      Lemon  - 1½ teaspoons of grated lemon peel in processor with almonds and sugar filled with lemon buttercream
      Cassis - 1 teaspoon créme de cassis with blackcurrant buttercream
      Mint - 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring with chocolate ganache
      Coffee - 1 teaspoon powdered espresso beaten into egg whites filled with chocolate ganache
      Leftover ganache and buttercream can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days or frozen for future use.

      Chocolate ganache:
      3 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
      ⅓ cup boiling cream (do not attempt to heat in the microwave - it will explode!)
      Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes.  Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature till it thickens.

      Buttercream:
      1 stick of softened butter
      1½ cups of powdered sugar
      Beat, using a hand mixer, until well combined.  Add flavorings such as grated citrus peel, blackcurrant jam, etc.

      I'm sure you will come up with your own combinations - let me know what they are!

      Take a look at the video, you'll see that these are not nearly as difficult as they sound.  

      Happy baking!
      Beating the eggs
      Mixing color
      Folding Almond/Sugar Mixture
      Fill Pastry Bag
      Piping
      Add Filling
      Sandwich Together
       WATCH THE VIDEO

      COMMENT:
      YouTube lexuslexus15  made a comment on Macarons- Betty's French Macarons (Bettyskitchenfare.com):
      Your recipe is the best! I used Martha Stewart's recipe before and it failed many times, yours works perfectly the first time.


      Lentil Soup a la Vi

      Truly there is nothing like a snap of cold weather to bring out the soupmaker in me!  Here is another old family recipe from my mother-in-law that has stood the test of time:

      Lentil Soup a la Vi
      I lb. lentils
      1 carrot, finely chopped
      1 medium onion, finely chopped
      1 celery stalk, finely chopped ( it's good to include a few leaves too!)
      1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated on a microplane
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      Pasta

      Rinse and pick over the lentils and place in a 4 quart saucepan adding water to cover by at least two inches.  Bring to a boil, skim and reduce heat so that liquid just simmers.  Meanwhile, in a medium fry pan, heat olive oil and add chopped vegetables. Cook until vegetables are softened and add to lentils.  Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until lentils are soft.
      I like to serve this soup over a small pasta such as ditalini.  You can also use broken spaghetti or any other pasta of your choice.  I freeze extras without the pasta.

      Make ahead Thanksgiving gravy

      Getting all the components of a Thanksgiving Feast to the table perfectly cooked and hot - not to mentioned beautifully carved - is a major feat and making gravy at the last minute could be the straw that .....you know.  So why not make the gravy a few days or even a week or two ahead.
      Here is a basic recipe you can tweak to your taste:

      3 lbs. turkey wings or legs
      2 medium onions, root end removed and quartered (don't peel the onion unless there is dirt under the skin)
      3 carrots, roughly chopped
      4 large, fresh parsley springs
      6 cups homemade chicken stock (or substitute canned low-sodium chicken broth)
      2 tablespoons butter
      ⅓ cup flour
      ½  teaspoon freshly ground pepper
      Salt to taste

      Preheat oven to 400º.  Melt butter in a medium roasting pan over medium-high heat.  Pat turkey dry and add to roasting pan with vegetables.  Cook turkey 3 to 4 minutes on each side and stir vegetables often.
      Bake in oven for about 90 minutes or until turkey is well browned.  Remove from oven and discard vegetables and turkey - reserving turkey for another use if you desire.

      Whisk flour into hot drippings in pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for a minute or two.  Gradually whisk in chicken broth until smooth.  Whisk in pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 45 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Salt to taste.

      Cool gravy, cover and chill up to 3 days or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

      One less thing to do on the Big Day!

      Chocolate chip cookies to the rescue!

      Liz and Betty


      One lovely benefit of the Great October Snowstorm is that our daughter and two of our granddaughters are camping out at our house while they wait for their electric power to be restored.

      Of course that meant fresh cookies so I got out the mixer and started to make chocolate chip cookies.

      My daughter was helping by measuring out the ingredients and was surprised when I told her I used 2 1/3 cups of flour instead of the 2 1/4 called for on the package recipe.

      I have been doing this for years since I don't like the thin "fried out" cookies that I get with only the 2 1/4 cups of flour.

      She also was surprised to see how much faster an ice-cream scoop gets the job done.

      When only Rick and I are at home, I usually bake only half the recipe, scoop the rest out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze them.  The next day I pop them into a plastic bag to have on hand for "cookie emergencies".




      Mixing

      Pre-baking
      Oven Baking

      Finished
      Eliza, Sonia, Liz and Me