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.

Allen's Rice Cakes

I told my kids we were having rice cakes for dinner and they were super confused and very concerned that they would never get full.  I somehow temporarily forgot about the rice cakes made by companies like Quaker and I was super confused about why they were super confused and told them that if they ate enough, they would get full.

The rice cakes are called that because they can be pressed into a pan, cut, individually wrapped, and made portable.  They are not dry, nor do they resemble cardboard in any manner.  In fact, my entire family loved and devoured this.  THAT. NEVER. HAPPENS.

I made this the night before last Saturday's sprint triathlon and then took 2nd place, so I think they are a pretty good pre-race meal.

2 C uncooked calrose or other medium-grain "sticky" rice*
3 C water
8 oz bacon, chopped
4 eggs
2 T liquid amino acids or soy sauce (we have a seriously picky child when it comes to sauces, so I only added one T of soy sauce and I will probably do it that way every time because I really liked it).

Optional Toppings:
Brown sugar (this was probably what convinced my kids to try it, but I tried a bite with it and didn't really like it)
Grated Parmesan

Combine rice and water in a rice cooker, or cook over stove according to directions or however you like to cook your rice.  While rice is cooking, fry the chopped bacon in a pan.  When crispy, drain off fat and soak up the excess with paper towels, but don't thoroughly clean the pan.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then scramble in the pan.

In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs.  Add amino acids or soy sauce.

Then you can either press into an 8- or 9-inch pan (if you're doing this and want brown sugar, mix the brown sugar in first) to about 1 1/2-inch thickness, or keep it in the pot.  Top with whatever you want (I thought the Parmesan was so delicious!) to taste and ENJOY!

*Sticky rice is imperative if you want to make them into bars.  We used calrose, so that is all I can vouch for, but if you want to use brown rice and just eat it out of a bowl, you should be fine.

Best Pancake Recipe

Okay, there are so many different variations on pancakes, I don't actually stand by that claim even those these pancakes are really yummy and really simple.  But if you google that, the following is the recipe that comes up (with a few tweaks from me, including tripling it because we have only made it when we've had company).  And since some of that company (ahem, Belky) requested the recipe, here it is:

4 C flour
2 C wheat flour
1/3 C sugar
3 tsp. salt
6 T baking powder
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 C butter
5 1/4 C milk

Mix the dry items.  Combine eggs, butter, and milk, then slowly pour into the flour mixture.  Let this sit for at least 10 minutes.

Cook as you would a normal pancake.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fruit Pizza Like Never Before

For those of you not blessed enough to be here for our Father's Day/Baby Girl's 3rd Birthday Bash, you seriously missed out on some good treats.

If you think I'm tooting my own horn too loudly, don't.  I copied the recipe from this blog, almost to a T.  With just a tiny (but I think excellently yummy) tweak.

And lest you think I'm overdoing it with the praise for this recipe, Blake has requested the same fresh peach pie for his birthday dessert every single year since I began dating it (and even before that, but it was his mom who made it back then).  He has now requested that I switch it up and make this instead.  That is huge, friends.

In case you're too lazy to click the link, here is the recipe:

Sugar Cookie Crust*

1/2 C unsalted butter
3/4 C sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 C flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Cream butter for one minute in a large bowl or stand mixer, then add sugar on medium speed and beat until fluffy and light in color.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Scrape sides as needed.

In separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts.  Once completely combined, cover the dough tightly and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (mine wasn't very firm by this time, so I left it for about 1 hour) and up to one day.  Without chilling, the dough may spread over the sides of the pan in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 12-inch pizza pan, or line a baking stone with parchment paper.  Remove chilled dough and press onto the pan in an even flat circle.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly browned.  Over-baking will make a hard crust.  Allow crust to cool completely before decorating.

*You might be thinking you already have a yummy sugar cookie recipe.  You probably do.  But, it's not like this one.  The cornstarch makes it deliciously chewy and perfectly suited as a crust.  YOU MUST use this cookie recipe when you make this fruit pizza!!!!


8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 C. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 C. powdered sugar
1-2 T milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Assorted fruit

In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar and 1 T milk.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and 1 more T milk, if needed.  Here's where I got crazy--I added in 4-5 drops of Wild Orange essential oil.  It was really subtle, but amazing.  Beat for 1 minute.
Spread over the cooled sugar cookie crust and decorate with fruit.

It's really helpful to have your sister there to help with the fruit decorating.  She has excellent ideas on how to make it beautiful, is fun to talk to, and really reduces the time when you're making three of these at once.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Korean Beef-wrapped Asparagus

When I posted this photo on Facebook, it caught a few eyes.  And taste buds.  This recipe is from the book Against All Grains, it's a paleo diet cookbook, so feel free to substitute "normal" ingredients for the ones that are different, if you don't have them on hand.

1 lb. lean flank steak
3 T coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 T unsweetened pineapple juice
1 T sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
25 stalks asparagus, trimmed
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds

Place the steak in the freezer for 45 minutes to make it easier to slice (do not skip this step!).

Meanwhile, make the marinade.  Place the coconut amino, pineapple juice, sesame oil, garlic, honey fish sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.  Mix well, and set aside.

Remove the steak from the freezer, then cut across the grain into very thin strips, about 1/8-inch thick.

Place the steak in a dish, pour the marinade over it, and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

Rub the olive oil over the asparagus and wrap each stalk with a strip of beef.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds.  Grill the beef-wrapped asparagus for about 6 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking.

I ended up grilling mine on my George Foreman because I have really crappy knives and wasn't able to slice my beef thin enough, therefore was not confident the beef would stay wrapped around the asparagus.  It worked out completely fine, but I do think it would have tasted even yummier grilled on a grill.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sweet Potato & Quinoa Chili

I made this tonight and it got rave reviews from the grown ups and mixed reviews from the kids.  I totally plan on making it again though, because I loved it.

1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
dash garlic powder
dash onion powder
salt, to taste
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
4 C. broth or water
1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 C. uncooked quinoa

In large pot, heat oil.  Saute onions until starting to brown.  Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Next add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and sweet potatoes.  Stir to combine, then add quinoa.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with the lid slightly off, then cook for 40 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and the sweet potatoes are as soft as you like them.  Add salt to taste and feel free to add more water if it's too thick.

I got this from this website.  As I said, we really liked it, but I did add at least a cup of extra water and I cooked it longer because the sweet potatoes weren't as soft as I wanted them.