Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dita’s Devilishly Delightful Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake

Chocolate Layers:

1 box devils food cake
1 box instant chocolate pudding
3 eggs
½ c oil
34 c water
1 C sour cream
1 can chocolate frosting

Cheesecake Layer:

8 oz cream cheese
1 C sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix ingredients for chocolate layer until smooth.  Spread half in bottom of 9x13 pan.  Mix cheesecake layer util smooth and spread on top of chocolate.  Spread remaining chocolate on top and bake 40 min.  Cool and frost.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Perfect Gravy

The secret to great gravy is the juice left in the pan after roasting.  After removing the meat, carefully pour the juices, including any burnt or crusty pieces,  into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup.  The caramelized (burnt or crusty) bits are the real source of the roasted flavor.  You can get even more by deglazing the pan.  To deglaze, pour 1 c water into the pan over medium high heat.  Stir constantly, scraping as much as you can from the pan, until the liquid is reduced by at least half.

By this time, the juices you poured out of the pan should have separated with the oil on top and the juices on the bottom.  Measure 1/3 c oil into a large saucepan over medium heat.  Discard the rest of the fat, saving the juices.  (You'll need about 3 c. total juice, including from your deglazing.)  Whisk about 3 Tb flour into the fat and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, trying to no lumps.  Cook another minute or so.

Add the juices slowly, stirring constantly, including in the edges of the pan, until it thickens, usually 5-10 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ginger Snaps (Frances Ketcheson's famous recipe)

Gary sent this at my request.

3/4 c. Crisco (butter)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. molasses
1/2 c. cold water
3 tsp soda
5 c. flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugars. Stir in molasses to which soda has been added. Sift dry ingredients and combine with the sugar mixture, alternating with water. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake @ 350 for 15 min.

Killer Chicken Thigh Marinade

I made this sometime this summer and took it to Blake and Cheryl's, whom I consider BBQ experts. They thought it was worth sharing so here it is:

Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
45 mins
Author: Victor
Serves: 9
  • 9 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 lbs)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 5 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  1. Mix all ingredients for marinade together in a large bowl or a plastic zip-lock bag. Add the chicken and make sure that every piece is covered evenly. Marinate in a fridge for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours or, better yet, overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Place the chicken and all of the marinade in a baking dish. Bake uncovered at 450 degrees F for 25-30 minutes with the skin side up, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. To make sure the chicken tops are nicely browned and do not dry out, baste the chicken thighs in the juices and marinade about 15-20 minutes into baking.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Whitaker's BBQ Salmon

We ate this at Meg and Weston's about a month ago and it was the best salmon I've ever tasted.  Like candy.  SERIOUSLY!  Try it and see:

3 Tb butter, melted
1/2 tsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tb lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

Heat grill to as hot as it will go (about 20 minutes.) Pour marinade over 2# salmon fillet.  Turn grill to low.  Place fillet on grill and cook 5-10 minutes until done.  To test, pick open center with a fork.  The meat shouldn't look too dry or too liquid - the liquid should just about be setting up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Simple Biryani

Apparently, this is an Indian dish.  I got it from a cookbook called The Feed Zone.  It's a book of recipes used by chefs who cook for teams in races like the Tour de France and the last few recipes I posted are also from there.  I figured I probably ought to give credit somewhere.

This is a bit of a different flavor for our family, so it didn't go over well with the kids, but Blake and I both like Indian food and loved it.  Too bad I don't love making separate meals for each member of my family like a short order cook.

2 C rice (I don't recommend brown rice since it doesn't absorb flavors as well, in my opinion)
3 1/2 C water
2 T light olive oil
2 C chopped vegetables (carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, etc.)
1 onion, sliced into strips
1/4 C cashews or peanuts
1/4 C raisins (initially, I wasn't going to add this because I thought, "Ew.  Gross."  But, then I did.  And it was surprisingly tasty.)
1 T curry powder (more if you like)

Optional Add-Ins (I didn't do any because I knew this was already a stretch for my family's taste buds, but I totally would have done ginger and cilantro if it was just for me):

Fresh ginger
Diced cooked potatoes
Garbanzo beans

Combine rice and water in a rice cooker, or cook over stove
While the rice is cooking, in a large deep pan, bring oil to medium-high heat.  Add the other ingredients; saute until raisins are plump and curry powder is fully incorporated (I waited on the cashews because I was worried they'd lose their crunch), about 3-5 minutes.
Add rice, stir and cook until everything is evenly distributed and the color is uniform, about 8-10 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

Super Simple Granola

This came together so quickly and didn't need to bake as long as other granolas I've made, so I am completely sold.  Plus, I'm always looking for ways to use up overripe bananas.  I had never managed to locate unsweetened shredded coconut before, but I finally found it in the bulk foods section at Smith's.  That stuff is amazing!  So many billion times better than it's sweetened version!  Get it!  Use it!  Love it!

4 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C brown sugar (I did closer to 1/3 C and it still was plenty sweet, and I will probably try honey next time)
1 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 C apple juice
1 ripe banana

Optional Add-Ins (up to 1/2 C each):
Slivered almonds (do us all a favor and toast them first if you're gonna use 'em)
Chopped cashews
Pine nuts (again, please toast these)
Golden raisins (I used the black kind and we did just fine)
Dried goji berries (I don't see why you couldn't use any sort of dried berry, really)

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, and coconut.  In a blender combine maple syrup, apple juice, and banana (if you're using honey, add it here).  Process until smooth.

Pour the contents of the blender into the bowl and stir.  Add a splash of apple juice if the mixture seems too dry.  Spread mixture evenly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.  Bake 45 minutes (I took mine out and stirred it about halfway through).

Add any combo of the optional ingredients, if you want.  Stir mixture and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until it's as brown as you like it.

Cool completely.

Try to not eat it all off the pan so you can have some for breakfast in the morning.  You may have to swat away all of the other snitchy hands in your family to accomplish this.