Cookbooks we like

If Santa didn’t grant all your wishes this Christmas, here are a few cookbooks you might want to consider:



The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perlman. From the famous food blogger, a chatty (maybe too chatty?) book with well thought-out recipes. I bought this one for my vegetarian son-in-law because of the interesting-sounding veggie recipes. There were quite a few recipes that the carnivores in the household would enjoy also.



Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten. The Food Channel’s greatest asset has come out with another winner. Great recipes for entertaining or just preparing a special meal for family. Ina’s great style gives clear instructions for preparing foods that are widely available. I love the many lobster recipes since lobster seems to go on sale at my market regularly. Can’t wait to try the lobster corn fritters!



Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. You may be familiar with the smaller books they issue 3 times a year but this is a heftier volume filled with fabulous seasonal recipes. Nothing pretentious here just beautiful food beautifully prepared. This was another gift for by son-in-law. Again, not a vegetarian book, but one with lots of recipes he can enjoy.


Click on "Betty's Kitchen Fare Store" below right to shop at our
Amazon outlet for these books and more.

Chocolate Tarts (Part of Christmas Cookie Series)

Whenever I threaten to cut back on the number of Christmas Cookies I bake each year, I can count on several family members saying "Not the Chocolate Tarts!". These are a labor-intensive cookie but well worth the effort. I shared this recipe with a friend many years ago and she used to say she wasn't sure whether to thank me or not since her children loved them too and demanded they appear on the table every Christmas. Give them a try and let me know whether or not you think they are worth the effort!

Chocolate Tarts

Ingredients:

½ cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red food coloring
2 cups flour
Fudge Filling - recipe follows

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter at moderately high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. add egg and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add chocolate, vanilla, salt and food coloring. Beat to blend. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour, scraping sides of bowl often.

Remove from bowl, shape into disk, wrap in waxed paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, using 2 tablespoons melted shortening and pastry brush, thoroughly grease 6 dozen tiny tart pans.

To line each mold, take a rounded teaspoonful of the dough and shape it into a ball, fill all molds. With your fingers, press the ball of dough onto the bottom and sides of the mold in a thin layer. Place molds on cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

With a paring knife, gently loosen cookie cups from molds. Place on wire racks to cool completely. Fill each about ¾ full with Fudge Filling. Let stand at room temperature until filling is set.

Fudge Filling

1½ cups sugar
⅓ cup milk
¼ cup butter
1½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
⅛ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Place over moderate heat and stir until chocolate and butter are melted; bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat.
Stir vigorously until mixture is slightly thickened but still pours. Keep warm over hot water or very low heat. Spoon into Chocolate Tarts.

WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION:




COMMENTS:

Oh Betty, these chocolate tarts look divine! They may be labor intensive, but you can tell that they will be definitely worth the effort. One question, why do you use that small amount of red food color in the dough? My next quest will be to locate some mini tart pans! Thanks for another great recipe and instructions! Auntnancy77 (Youtube)

Hi Nancy,

The red food coloring helps to make a contrast between the cookie dough and the filling. You may eliminate it but I think it makes for a better looking tart.

I have been searching for the tart pans for ages. Mine are well over 40 years old and I bought them from Maid of Scandinavia - a company long since gone. The nearest I have seen are from New York Cake Supply but they are over 2 inches in diameter - the ones I use are just over an inch. If you are successful in finding them, please let me know. Happy Holidays!


Rugelach (Part of Christmas cookie series)

Betty's Annual Christmas Cookies

The first recipe I had for these wonderful cookies was called simply “Apricot Pastries”. It was a number of years later that I discovered they were actually Rugelach. By then, they were firmly ensconced in my Christmas cookie repertoire. In addition to the original apricot filling, I have added a raspberry, chocolate, coconut filling. I have to warn you - these are very addictive!

Apricot Pastries

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 beaten egg yolk
½ cup sour cream
½ cup apricot preserves
½ cup flaked coconut
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
granulated sugar

With pastry blender, cut butter into flour until crumbly.
Combine egg yolk and sour cream and blend into flour mixture.
Wrap dough in wax paper and chill several hours or overnight.
Divide into 4 equal parts. Roll into 10" circle keeping remaining dough chilled.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves, 2 tablespoons coconut, 1 tablespoon pecans. Don't use too much jam - it will only leak out and make a mess!
Divide into twelve sections (like a pie). Roll up each section starting with wide end and dip in sugar.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 dozen

Alternate filling:

4 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
¼ cup finely flaked coconut
¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar (optional)

Proceed as with Apricot Pastries

Makes 4 dozen

WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

Thumbprint Cookies (Part of Christmas Cookie Series)

Another one of my favorites, these are a pretty - and tasty - addition to any cookie tray. One batch of dough is enough to make three different varieties of this popular cookie. Of course if you need lots of cookies, make a full batch of each! See the video for how to make a paper cone for easy filling of these cookies.

Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

¾ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and strained, for egg wash
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped nuts
½ cup crushed peppermint candy canes or candies
2 tablespoons each raspberry and apricot jam, heated and strained and placed in a paper cone for piping.
24 chocolate morsels

Preheat the oven to 350º.


In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disc. Wrap in waxed paper and chill for 30 minutes.


Roll the dough into 72 small balls. Dip 24 balls into the egg wash and then roll in coconut. 




Place the balls on parchment-lined cookie sheet and press an indentation into the top of each with a wooden spoon handle. 



Pipe ¼ teaspoon of apricot jam into each indentation. 

Repeat using egg wash, nuts and raspberry jam.


Repeat using peppermint candy and press a chocolate morsel into the center of each cookie.




Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.






Cooks tip: If your kitchen is warm and dough becomes too soft, place finished cookies in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before baking. Straining the egg wash is an extra step, but it pays off by making it much easier to dip the cookies.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.


WATCH THE VIDEO:

 

How to Temper Chocolate


"Proper tempering gives chocolate a smooth and glossy finish and won't melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate."

Here are the clearest instructions I have found for this process. It is time consuming but it does work. If you are going to melt a pound of chocolate, have several different kinds of cookies that you plan to dip already made so that you don't waste or have to re-temper your chocolate.

Chop your chocolate . It is best to use at least 1 pound of chocolate, as it is easier to temper (and retain the temper) of larger amounts of chocolate. If this is more than you need, you can always save the extra for later use. Be sure that your chocolate is in block or bar form, not chocolate chips. The chips have additives that allow them to retain their shape at higher temperatures, and so they will not temper properly.

Melt 2/3 of your chocolate. Place it in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water. Securely clip a chocolate or instant-read thermometer to the side of the boiler to monitor the chocolate’s temperature.

Stir gently but steadily as the chocolate melts and heats up. Use a rubber spatula, not a wooden or metal spoon.

Bring the chocolate to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 C) for dark chocolate or 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 C) for milk or white chocolate. Do not allow the chocolate to exceed its recommended temperature. When it is at the right temperature, remove it from the heat, wipe the bottom of the bowl, and set it on a heat-proof surface.

Add the remaining chunks of chocolate and stir gently to incorporate. The warm chocolate will melt the chopped chocolate, and the newly added chocolate will bring down the temperature of the warm chocolate.

Cool the chocolate. Once the chocolate gets below 84 degrees F (29 C), remove the remaining chunks of chocolate. They can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and saved for another use.

Reheat the chocolate briefly.Place the chocolate bowl over the warm water in the double boiler for 5-10 seconds, remove it and stir, and repeat, until the temperature reaches 88-89 degrees F (31 C), or 87 F (30 C) for milk and white chocolate. Do not leave the chocolate over the hot water, or allow it to exceed 91 degrees.

Your chocolate should now be tempered! To make sure it has been done properly, do a spot test: spread a spoonful thinly over an area of waxed paper and allow it to cool. If the chocolate is shiny and smooth, it is properly tempered. If it is dull or streaky, it has not been tempered correctly. From: Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide


Tips:


To use tempered chocolate, you must keep it warm but not hot, ideally in the 85-88 F degree range (86 degrees for milk and white chocolate). You can either keep it over a pan of warm (but not simmering) water, stirring occasionally, or try placing it on an electric heating pad set to “low.” Whichever method you choose, it’s important to stir often so that the chocolate remains a uniform temperature throughout.

Note: The heating pad trick is a great one, which I use, just remember to place it in a plastic bag first so that you don't end up with a chocolate-coated heating pad!


WATCH THE VIDEO:


Meringue Kisses

My Christmas/Holiday cookie platter



Here is one of our Christmas cookie platter favorites: Meringue Kisses

3 egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon mint flavoring
a few drops of green food coloring

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°.

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer (you may also use a hand mixer - it will just take a little longer) start beating the egg whites.  When they become foamy, add the cream of tarter and continue beating adding the sugar very gradually until the mixture is quite stiff - it should hold a peak.  Add the flavoring and coloring and transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

Pipe out small stars onto the parchment - they won't spread so they can be fairly close together.  If you like, pipe out some sticks as demonstrated.

Bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool completely before dipping in tempered chocolate.  (Instructions for tempering follow.)

Watch the video demonstration;

Christmas Cookie Time! Russian Teacakes


For the fifty or more years I have been baking, I always start my Christmas baking with these rich, buttery cookies.  Whether you call them Russian Teacakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes or Snowballs, they are an easy, delicious addition to your holiday table.

Russian Teacakes


Ingredients:

1 cup butter at room temperature
½ cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped nuts
Additional confectioners' sugar for rolling

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 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.

These cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Video to follow below.

Join me over the next few days while I share with you 12 Days of the Best Christmas Cookies Ever.


Hand rolling the cookies


Here is a peek at the complete tray of cookies



VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

Two dozen French macarons for $60! Make your own!





Have you seen Williams Sonoma's latest catalog? Lots of holiday treats. But.....$60 for 24 French macaron? I don't think so. 


See my recipe and video and buy yourself a present with all the money you saved!  Here is the link to the recipe http://www.bettyskitchenfare.com/2011/11/french-macarons-are-classic-pastry.html



Watch the video demonstration:



Home Made Pizza

Pizza Margherita


I have been making pizza at home for years but have never been totally satisfied with it - particularly the crust.  It never seemed to develop the taste or texture I was looking for.  Along came Arthur Schwartz with his great cookbook “The Southern Italian Table”.  His recipe for the dough requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator and that makes all the difference.

He also uses far less yeast which I thought might detract from the flavor but that is not the case.  His recipe gives 16 ideas for toppings which, I am sure, will help inspire you to create your own. One which he did not mention - probably because it is not authentic - but which I had in a restaurant in Vermont, is a pear and gorgonzola topping.  Different, but delicious!

Another “secret” is to be sure and have your oven preheated to 550º for at least 30 minutes before you plan to bake the pizza.  A pizza stone helps, but I recently purchased a cast iron “stone” made by Lodge.  I wanted it for the barbecue grill so that I could use an even higher heat and I have found that it makes an even better crust.  It also works beautifully in the oven at 550º. 

For the dough: 

1 teaspoon active dry yeast (not fast-rising)
1½ cups warm water (between 100 and 110ºF)
3½ to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

At least 30 minutes before mixing the dough, in a minimum 2-cup liquid measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast on ½ cup of the water.  Wait a minute, then stir with a fork until the yeast is dissolved.  Stir in ½ cup of the flour.  Set aside at room temperature and let the mixture increase to at least double, about 1½ cups.

Combine 3 cups of the flour with the yeast mixture and the remaining 1 cup of warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Mix on low speed until the dough just begins to mass together.  Add the salt, and continue to knead the dough with the dough hook until it looks smooth and the machine struggles a little.

Stop the machine.  Gather the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead the dough for another 5 minutes, folding and turning it onto itself as demonstrated in the video, adding just enough flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.

Lightly oil a medium sized bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough over so that all surfaces are coated with oil, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator.  Allow to rise until doubled - this will take up to two hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  After an hour, turn your oven on to 550º.
Deflate the dough by pressing it down, then divide into 3 parts.  Each will make a 10 to 12-inch pizza.

To form the pizza, flatten a ball of dough into a thick disk.  On a lightly floured surface, rotating the disk as you go, flatten the center of the pizza with your fingertips or the heel of your hand.  When a ridge of dough starts appearing on the perimeter of the disk, lift the dough up with both hands, and holding onto the ridge, let gravity and the weight of the dough stretch the circle.  Keep turning the dough to get a relatively even 10 to 12-inch circle.  Keep pulling the ridge slightly so the circle gets larger.  Be careful not to make the center too thin or the ridge more than a ½-inch deep.  Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin.

Spread the formed pizza dough onto a paddle lightly dusted with cornmeal.  If you don’t have a pizza stone, place the formed dough on a lightly floured cookie sheet.

Top as desired and bake for 8 to 10 minutes depending on your oven and the topping and how well baked you like pizza.

Toppings:

Pizza Margherita:  Scatter thinly sliced and well-drained tomato slices or crushed tomatoes sparingly over the dough, top with a few slices of fresh mozzarella and some fresh basil.

Potato, Onion and Rosemary
Potato, Onion and Rosemary:  Arrange paper-thin slices of precooked potato over the raw dough.  Dress with salt, rosemary leaves, and  few rings of raw onion and drizzle with olive oil.

Pizza Marinara: Spread with ¼ cup of marinara sauce, sprinkle with some dried oregano, hot pepper flakes (if desired) and top with shredded mozzarella cheese - pepperoni, Italian sausage and anchovies all optional!


WATCH THE VIDEO



Note: Dough makes 3 10-12 inch pizzas. You can freeze them.

Video Comment:

Great recipes and presentation as usual Betty. I also did not know that letting the pizza dough sit overnight would enhance the flavor. I was so glad to see that you had uploaded another video. Your teaching techniques are great. Thanks for the info on Pet Finder. Annie is a doll!
auntnancy777



Salmon

FILE PHOTO
Hi Betty,
I remember, along time ago, having a delicious salmon dish at Chez Vous. I am doing Pot Luck in November and considering a salmon entree. Any ideas?  JCW

Hi,
Memory fails me as to what that dish may have been, but my current version is to use an orange/ginger sauce made by Iron Chef which I find in the Asian section.  I just roast it at 425 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness and brush it generously with the sauce a couple of times during the cooking.  If I do this for a large group, I cut the fish into serving sized portions first in which case it will cook more quickly and evenly.  Hope this helps,  Betty

That sounds perfect and very doable.  JCW

Leek and Potato Soup

This classic soup was and is my husband's favorite.  I think it all started when we were living in London about 20 years ago.  He would often have a business lunch and want something light for dinner so soup filled the bill.  There was a wonderful little store that he passed by on his way from the tube (subway) to the flat that seemed to bake bread every hour on the hour.  A warm baguette spread with good butter and a bowl of Leek and Potato Soup.....mmmmmgood!

Ingredients:

1 lb. leeks, sliced and cleaned
1 1/4 lbs. potatoes, preferably Yukon Golds, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups
water
salt and pepper to taste
Crisp onions or croutons to garnish
Add the butter to a medium pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and leeks and sweat for about 5 minutes or until softened.
Add the potatoes, water, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor.  Serve garnished with crisp onions or croutons.

Note:   You may use chicken or vegetable stock in place of the water.

WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION


Comments:

I SOOO want an imersion blender! anything i should look for when considering which one to get?
orlendatube

______________________________________________________

Your potato and leek soup does look yummy!
 So easy to prepare. Tell me about the blender and what brand do you own.  I have seen you use it a few times and was always curious about it.

Hi,

My immersion blender is a Braun which is no longer manufactured.  There are a bunch on the market but you probably want one with at least 350 watts of power..  Mine also has a whisk attachment which whips cream or egg whites in a flash, a mini processor and a blender.  

A Cook's Best Friend is Her Knives!

 


Here is Part One of a video Rick and I made about kitchen knives. In this first one, I review the quality, care and sharpening methods.

Remember: Never put fine knives in the dishwasher! 


Eggplant Parmigiana



Eggplant Parmigiana, an Italian restaurant favorite that is easily made at home.  In fact, you can probably feed six people at home for what one serving would cost at a good restaurant.  It can be made ahead - even up to a day before - which makes for easy entertaining.  Add my Caesar Salad, some pasta and you have a great meal.  Buon appetito!

Ingredients: 3 medium eggplants, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 tbs salt, 1/4 tps pepper, 3 eggs, well beaten, 1/2 cup finely grated parmigiana cheese, 1 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 3 tbs olive oil, 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce (see sauce video).
Sliced Eggplant
Dip in well beaten egg

Coat in Italian breadcrumbs and finely grated parmisano cheese
Fry breaded eggplant
Layer eggplant slices with cheese and marinara sauce








                                 WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION


Linguini with Clam Sauce (Linguini alle Vongole)


There are a number of recipes where the less you do the better the dish.  Lobster rolls and crab cakes come to mind immediately.  What you want is the taste of the main ingredient without a lot of other flavors vying for attention.  Linguini with clam sauce is another such dish - not only does it benefit from not being fussed with, but by the time the pasta is cooked, dinner is three minutes from the table!

Ingredients:

6 ounces linguini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 plump garlic clove, grated
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
¼ cup white wine
2 dozen littleneck clams
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Put the clams in a large container, cover with cold water and allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes.  This will allow them to disgorge any sand.  Scrub the clams thoroughly and set aside.
  2. Put 4 quarts of water on to boil in a large pot. When the water comes to a boil, season lightly with salt, add the pasta and cook for two minutes less than the recommended time. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, just until fragrant.  Add the pepper flakes and cook for a moment or two more.  Add the wine and clams and turn the heat to high.  Cover the skillet and cook until the clams open - about 5 minutes.  Use tongs to transfer opened clams to a bowl.  Discard any clams that do not open.
  4. Add the reserved pasta water to the skillet, bring to a boil and add pasta to pan.  Cook over high heat, turning with tongs until pasta is fully cooked.  Add the clams and any accumulated juices to the pan and toss with the parsley to combine.
  5. Transfer to warmed serving dishes.
  6. WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

COMMENTS:


annette brent
I am cooking this tonight. Thank you for a great video - well-made and demonstrated.

    “Fried” Zucchini (Courgette) Sticks


    Long a popular appetizer in Italian restaurants, this is a great way to use up some of that bumper crop of zucchini taking over your vegetable garden.  It’s not only a tasty appetizer, but a delicious side dish kids will love!  In addition, it is significantly lower in calories than the fried version.

    Ingredients:

    2 medium zucchini cut into sticks
    2 egg whites
    ¾ cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
    1 cup panko bread crumbs
    ½ cup grated Parmegiano cheese


    1. Preheat the oven to 425º convection or 450º conventional.
    2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.
    3. Place the egg whites in a rimmed dish and whisk until well blended
    4. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne in a plastic bag and shake to combine.
    5. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmegiano on a sheet of waxed paper.
    6. Place half the zucchini sticks in the bag and shake to coat.  Remove and shake off excess flour.
    7. Dip sticks in egg whites and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture to coat.
    8. Place on the baking sheet, spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
    9. Serve with marinara sauce.

    NOTES:  Panko breadcrumbs are large, crunchy breadcrumbs available in most grocery stores.  If you can’t find them, use plain breadcrumbs.  A recipe for marinara sauce can be found here on my website and is also on You Tube. 

    Betty Remembers Julia Child


    August 15, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Julia Child... one of America's most famous cookbook authors and the most celebrated television cooking pioneer. Julia is credited with introducing millions of American homemakers to the best of French cuisine. Here is Betty's video honoring Julia.

    COMMENT: auntnancy777 has made a comment on Betty Remembers Julia Child:
    Thanks for the sweet tribute to Julia on her 100th birthday. She was a truly amazing person. I learned to cook from my own dear mother as well as from watching all of Julia's cooking shows on PBS. She was a fantastic teacher. Loved the quotes at the end. Thank you Betty!!

    Zucchini (Courgette) Bread



    It seems anyone who has a vegetable garden is inundated with zucchini at this time of year.  There are rumors of people leaving their excess harvest on neighbors doorsteps in the middle of the night!  And no matter how diligently you gather your harvest there are always one or two zucchini who manage to hide under those lush leaves and grow into giants.  While they are no longer the best choice for the usual vegetable recipes, they do make a delicious quick bread.  Make a batch, freeze them and you have a teatime treat on hand.  Wrap one in cellophane, tie it with a pretty ribbon and you have a great hostess gift!

    Ingredients:

    2¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    ¾ cup sugar
    ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
    1 cup vegetable oil
    3 eggs
    2 cups grated zucchini
    ¼ cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour two 8-inch loaf pans.
    2. Sift together 2 cups of the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Combine the sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs and mix on medium speed using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) until blended, about 2 minutes.  Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.
    3. Toss the grate zucchini with the remaining all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour.  Blend the zucchini and the walnuts into the batter.
    4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake for about 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for about five minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
    Watch the video demonstration:

    Non-Traditional Fish ‘n Chips

    Betty in our home pub

    With the Olympics in full swing just now, all things British seem to be the rage - including the ubiquitous Fish ‘n Chips. The traditional recipe calls for dipping the fish in batter and deep frying it. Truly delicious but containing about a week’s worth of calories and fat in one serving! Great for a treat about once a year but, if you would like to enjoy this combination more frequently, try my non-traditional recipe.

    Non-Traditional Fish ‘n Chips for Two

    Ingredients:

    8 ounces fish filets (I used flounder)
    About 20 Ritz crackers, finely crushed
    1 egg
    Olive oil spray
    2 baking potatoes
    Olive oil
    Cole slaw for serving


    Preheat oven to 375° convection, or 400° conventional oven.
    Peel and cut potatoes into French fries. Place in a non-stick baking pan and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Beat the egg well to mix and spread crushed Ritz crackers on a piece of waxed paper. Dip the fish in the egg and then in the cracker crumbs to coat on both sides. Place on prepared baking sheet. When potatoes have started to brown, place fish in oven and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
    Serve with cole slaw, if desired.

    NOTE: If you are using a thicker fish such as cod or halibut, increase cooking time to about 10 minutes or until it appears done when flaked. WATCH THE VIDEO

    Fabulous kitchenware shop to reopen warehouse

    Great new for cooks! Bridge Kitchenware is reopening as a warehouse location on September 12th at 393 Route 10 East in East Hanover, NJ. This is about 35 minutes west of the Lincoln Tunnel.

    They are closing the Madison store - I suspect because it was too small. Part of the fun in visiting the warehouse is that you see items you didn't even know existed that you really need for your kitchen.

    If you are not able to visit the warehouse, check out their website at www.bridgekitchenware.com and prepare to spend some time browsing through their amazing selections.

    And I almost forgot to mention that everything is available at discount prices.

    Peach Pie

    It was our daughter, Lauren's, birthday a few weeks ago and we traveled up to Vermont to celebrate with her.  Since she has been old enough to request a menu, her birthday dinner has been fried chicken and peach pie!  So I'm happy to share my peach pie recipe with you.

    For a 7" pie


    1½ cups flour
    Pinch of salt
    ½ cup cold butter, diced
    About 4 tablespoons ice water

    Combine flour and salt and toss in butter cubes.  Using a pastry blender, start to cut butter into flour.  When manageable, finish rubbing in butter with your fingers - forming “flakes”.  Add the water and toss with a fork to blend.  Turn out onto a sheet of wax paper and bring dough together.  Form into a disc, wrap in the wax paper and refrigerate for an hour.

    If you choose to make the pastry in a food processor, simply pulse the butter with the flour and salt until you see small lumps - about 6 10-second pulses - then add the water and pulse just until dough starts to come together.

    Divide dough more or less in half and use the larger portion to form the bottom crust.  Roll out between two sheets of wax paper as demonstrated,  remove the paper and turn into pie pan.  If the crust is too soft, place back in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes.

    Roll out second portion of dough and cut into strips with a pastry cutter or knife.   Return to refrigerator.

    Peach filling:

    4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
    ½ cup sugar
    ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    A few gratings of nutmeg
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 tablespoon butter,

    Combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour in a small bowl then add to peaches and toss with a spatula to combine.

    Pour peaches into the prepared crust, dot with butter cut into small pieces, top with the pastry strips to form a lattice top, crimp sides and bake at 400° for 15 minutes.  Lower heat to 350° and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until peaches are bubbling and crust is nicely browned.

    Allow to cool before serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    WATCH THE VIDEO FOR SPECIAL CRUST AND FILLING TIPS;