Category Archives: Food

Vacation 2010 Monday October 18-NC

Sunday night we spent in a hotel just off the interstate in Hendersonville, NC.  We have family nearby and it was a good location to start the next day’s activities.  Dinner was at a nice Italian restaurant on Broad Street and they had the best pesto butter for their bread!  YUM.  As good as the meal was, I could have eaten a meal with bread and that butter and been satisfied.

I am a BIG fan of the Peaches & Creme yarns – the last cotton yarn spun in America from American Cotton, dyed in America by a family owned business.  The factory is located in Old Fort, NC not too far from Asheville.  Sis agreed to let it be our first stop on Monday, and I am so glad we did!

I met a fellow Ravelry member that lives nearby and we were able to see all the colors and different yarns produced by the company and spent some money at the outlet store.

A few of the many colors - too many to choose from!

Here is the yarn we took home.  Sis bought a bagful for the Pink Ladies to knit and crochet baby hats and bibs – I have the rest!

Yarn and thread - what a lovely pile!

Lunch was at Mustard’s nearby and we all enjoyed our meal – then Sis and I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We wanted to get some maps and info and get to the Folk Art Center before it closed.  Success!  Beautiful structure, and just jam packed with all handcrafts you could imagine – pottery, quilting, wood working, weaving. glass work, and more.

Our hotel for the week was a lovely motel right on the river in Chimney Rock, The Carter Lodge.  We could step out on our little balcony and look down on the river and then up to see Chimney Rock!  The room was cozy and the beds were quite comfy and it was a good place to call home for our time in NC.  Believe it or not, it was still light and we ate at a restaurant in town, also overlooking the river.  The food was fantastic – Sis had the chili and it came in a huge bowl and I was a bit jealous I didn’t order it.  She did give me a bit, along with a taste of the cornbread, too.

We watched the sun go down over the mountains and I took one of my favorite photographs

 

Evening sky over the river

 

Dueling recipes – Tuna Dip

A friend of mine just posted her recipe for Crab Dip with REAL crabmeat!  And Cream Cheese AND Mayonnaise!  Three of my favorite ingredients.

Nothing is complete without mayonnaise.  Except…my tuna dip has no mayo!  Probably because it started life as a Tuna Ball.  You know, that lovely 70’s thing you put out with the good crackers (Ritz) on the wooden serving platter. The recipe was probably passed along from your mother’s parties in the 1950’s (OK, I am becoming ancient so let’s say Grandma’s).

I’m not interested in mixing the ingredients and skillfully forming into a ball to roll in chopped pecans, or if you are REAL cheap, dried parsley leaves (they rehydrate in the fridge so they aren’t crunchy).  So I skipped that step entirely and just mixed and  plopped in a nice bowl.  I do smooth the top so it looks pretty.  Kind of.  And if I’m feeling real festive, sprinkle some finely sliced green onion over the suface.

About the only difference between my Tuna Ball and the Crab Dip is the lack of mayonnaise, no shredded cheddar.  BUT I have 16 oz of artery-clogging Creme Cheese to make your cardiologist go wow…

My version of The Tuna Ball

6 oz can of drained tuna (hey – anyone noticed they are now FIVE ounces? And cost more?  So may need to remove about 2 oz of the Creme Cheese)

2-8 oz bars of Creme Chease

dried garlic (fresh is really better, but don’t use too much)

few drops Worcestershire sauce

seasoned salt (never tried Old Bay, but can see that would be GOOD)

Celery Salt (or get fancy with Beau Monde Seasoning) May not need if you add some minced celery for a bit of crunch.

Black pepper (if you like it…)

chopped green onions – Plenty of onions.  Green add a bit of color along with flavor, but red or plain yellow onions work, too.  Use what is on hand!

chopped pecans to roll the ball into (not absolutely required as explained above).

A little citrus juice – a bit of lemon or lime will perk up the flavor, as will a few drops of tabasco-type sauce (my current fav is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce)

Drain tuna, mush together and refrigerate to let the flavors blend.  Serve with crackers of choice.  Triscuits are pretty good with this, but Ritz or Club Crackers are Really Good.

Chocolate Chip Scones

I’ve tweaked the biscuit recipe a bit and have come up with Chocolate Chip Scones!  They are AWESOME.

Chocolate Chip Scones

1 c all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoon fresh baking powder
0.25 teaspoon salt
0.25 teaspoon cinnamon (more if you are so inclined)
2 tablespoons sugar

stir and then add
0.25 cup chocolate chips (more if you are so inclined)

stir and then add
0.5 cup milk with 1 oz vegetable oil

mix together and bake/cook your favorite way.  Place a small bit of butter/margarine over the top to melt and help make a nice, brown crust.  Can make as drop biscuits in the oven, toaster oven, or on the Oster Sandwich Maker.

If you are out of milk, water will do, but they won’t taste as rich.

Corny Biscuits and the Kapok Tree

I provided my wonderful biscuit recipe in an earlier post.  An easy improvement – BUY NEW BAKING POWDER.  I used up the old and bought a new can, and I am simply amazed at the difference in quality of the biscuits.  The previous can was a bit old, but it had never been opened so I thought it was probably OK.  Nope.  The new biscuits are so much lighter they almost float.

While sorting through postcards I came across some of the Kapok Tree in Clearwater, FL.  We had gone there for some Important Family Occasions when I was in my early teens.  My Aunt lived just north of Clearwater and when we came to visit everyone would get all dressed up and we would drive down, park, and enter the lovely sculpture and fountain-filled gardens.

I remember the extravagant dining areas and coordinating restrooms.  And the corn fritters.  I was making biscuits one day and thought about making corn muffins with corn and jiffy mix.  Opened the can of corn and then got down the box of jiffy mix.  Uh Oh.  It was too old.  In the trash.  Was not in the mood to eat corn as a vegetable so I thought corny biscuits!

Corny Biscuits

1 cup all purpose flour

1 Tbs dry milk powder

1 1/2 Tbs baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1Tbs dried onion flakes

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 can of corn – about 7 oz

drain corn juice into measuring cup and add milk or water to make 3 oz

1 oz canola oil

mix, and make drop biscuits.  Bake. Makes 1/2 batch.

They are delicious and I’ve made them several times.

Back to the postcards.  After seeing the Kapok Tree postcard, I remembered how much I liked the CORN FRITTERS they served family style with every meal.  I think we would have been happy with individual plates of corn fritters.  The recipe is online, and I checked.  The only difference between my corny biscuits and their fritters – they add an egg and 1/2 the sugar and deep fry them.

I feel almost virtuous.  No deep frying here!

Biscuits

A good friend of mine has a daughter with the “touch.”  This is a precious and valued commodity for a southern family as it means pastry and biscuits made by this person will be light, fluffy, edible, and have no relationship to a hockey puck.

It isn’t me.  My mother’s mother was said to make the best and lightest biscuits, and she taught my mother.  They both had the same size hands so could measure the appropriate amount of flour, salt, and baking powder.  I have much bigger hands than my mother and didn’t have biscuit lessons.  We used either whomp biscuits or Bisquick.

If you don’t know about whomp biscuits – they come in a can from the grocery store.  You unwind a trapezoid shape of paper from the outside of the cylinder and if you don’t hear a “whompf” sound of the biscuits opening, you whomp them on the edge of the counter.  Whomp biscuits.

I can make a delicious whomp biscuit – first you melt half a stick of margarine in the pyrex pie plate…then dip the biscuits in the “butter”.  Put the dough circles back in the oven to bubble and fry in the excess margarine.

Bisquick was just about the same, but we made drop biscuits and although they were OK, they weren’t Biscuits.

After growing to the appropriate age where they let you live on your own, I ventured into baking.   I was thorough – the Crisco was evenly blended into the dry mixture so every lump was pea-sized.  The delicate dough was overworked and biscuits were tough.

Then came the diet years.  Bread was carefully dolled out and hot breads were just too tempting to eat outside of restaurant settings.

Followed by years of barely cooking.  I called the creations casseroles.  It is amazing how many ways you can mix up a batch of something, toss it in the microwave and get something edible out of it.

Now I am once again interested in biscuits.  Partly because of my venture into the Amish Friendship Bread (AFB, see previous posts for details) and I ran out of bread.  Both flour and oil were in the house for the AFB and I thought to give it another try.  I found a recipe for Wesson Oil Biscuits at Cooks.com and wondered how bad could they be, considering what I’ve eaten in the past.

I had pulled out the Oster Sandwich toaster (OST) that makes neat triangle pockets out of sandwiches.  I ran out of bread because I had fresh tomatoes and a fresh tomato, cheddar cheese, and onion toasted sandwich is quite tasty.  I had also used the OST to make triangle shaped pancake AFB, also good.

Why not biscuits?  It worked!  They were not too bad, but not too light.  Allowing the dough to rest a few minutes did give lighter biscuits but it is hard to wait.  Of course enough butter covers a multitude of biscuit errors.   But too much butter = too many more calories and expensive.  Cheese biscuits were still kind of bland.  Then I thought of Red Lobster biscuits and started adding garlic powder, seasoned salt (Everglades seasoning is my favorite), onion flakes and pepper.  That was GREAT.  I made those quite a bit and then wanted something sweet.  Hmmm… so then added sugar and cinnamon instead of the savory things.  Also good. All adaptations are for ease of a lazy efficient baker.

Wesson Oil biscuits copied from Cooks.com adapted by Dustbunnys

1 c. flour
1/2 Tbs. baking powder (I have a 1/2 Tbs measure which is easier than measuring one and one half tsp or 3 one half tsp, just how my mind works)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 oz Wesson oil
3 oz milk (now if I’ve run out of bread, I’ve probably run out of milk.  Substitute 3 oz of water and add 2 Tbs of milk powder to the dry ingredients)
mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.
measure water/milk and oil in the same measuring cup.  Pour all at once into the flour mixture. Stir with a fork/spoon (whatever) until mixture clears sides of bowl and rounds up into a ball.
Plug in OST and let dough rest while it comes to temp.  When the little light shuts off, it is hot and ready to bake biscuits.  The ball of dough makes 8 nice biscuits so scoop about 1/8 of the dough into one of the triangle wells.  Add a tiny bit of butter (or more) to the top of the dough.  When all the wells are filled and buttered, close the lid.
Depends on how much butter you put in…you may hear sizzling right away.  Maybe not.  Watch the light go back on, reheat the griddle and then turn off again.  Do not open!  When the light comes on a second time, lift the lid and admire the toasty golden brown biscuits.
Remove and replace with more lumps of raw dough and butter.  Try not to eat too many biscuits waiting on the second batch to cook.
I haven’t measured the savory ingredients – I pretty much substitute seasoning salt for the table salt, add garlic powder, onion flakes, and pepper.  How much depends on you.  I’ll measure next time I make them.  If I can find the herb mix for olive oil dipping I plan to make an olive oil batch.  Those should be VERY good.
Sweet biscuits – I did measure and write down:
add to dry mixture 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 2 Tbs sugar
Almost like a scone, but a bit more moist and softer.
Night all!

Amish Friendship Bread part 2

The AFB keeps growing and multiplying.  I only feed it once a week now and it appears sufficient to keep the little yeasties viable and making some GOOD pancakes!

The first pancakes I made from the AFB were the traditional way in a frying pan but I was standing there for quite some time.  Took FOREVER.  I could make cake or muffins only standing at the counter long enough to mix and clean up but hate to turn on the oven for an hour and heat up the kitchen.

Then I had the brilliant idea of getting out the Oster Sandwich Maker.  It was advertised years ago to use with sliced bread, tortillas, or corn muffin mix and will make triangle-shaped mini pizzas, fruit pie-things, muffins, or quesadillas.  The limit is your imagination.

Makes really good pancakes!  And mucho faster than my stovetop.  It was WAY under the cabinet and had to do my contortion act to retrieve it.  A little dusty, but a good cleaning and it was ready to go.  The pancakes really plump up wonderfully, browning on both sides and are done in just a few moments…although by the time the second batch comes out I have made inroads into the first batch, nearly burning my fingers as I grab one that is just a bit too warm.

First recipe was awesome, but of course I kept asking myself how could this be better?  I ate some of the leftovers of that batch warmed in the microwave (nuked) with canned pineapple over the top.  Great idea (only needed ice cream for a complete meal…LOL)!  So a week later I used canned pineapple and I substituted the juice for the milk in the recipe.   Lighter and fluffier, not as dense and eaten warm with the warm pineapple?  YUM.

Very tasty, but note to self:  CRUSHED pineapple will probably work better.

I just finished making my third recipe and with this one I added vanilla and substituted water for milk.   I like – has the fluffy and light texture as the batch with pineapple and the vanilla adds a nice flavor.

As I was standing there, waiting for the cooker light to go off, I thought about the chocolate chips I found in my expedition under the cabinet.  Giradeli semi-sweet chips.  YUM.  So I started sprinkling them over the batter after pouring it into the wells of the cooker.

Indescribably good.  I used to be addicted to Sam’s club muffins, especially the chocolate chip ones and these pancakes are a great reminder of that sweet goodness.  Or, on a cruise once they had chocolate croissants for breakfast.  It was enough to get me out of bed!

The message is…If you have a friend that wants to give you AFB, take it!  You do NOT have to feed it every 5 days, and once a week while stored in the fridge is fine.  Be aware – my batch makes my fridge smell like a brewery but some might enjoy that feature.

My new Pet: Amish Friendship Bread

It is called Amish Friendship Bread.  The idea is you keep this sweet bread starter in the fridge, feed it every 5 days and squoosh to mix the contents of the zippy bag each day.  On the 10th day you feed it again and pull out four cups and put in separate bags to give to four friends.  The remainder can be used in a quick bread or cake recipe.

It is kind of like Tribbles.  You feed them and they multiply.  Every 10 days you have to find another four friends willing to accept this gift of a new pet.  Then 10 days later they are trying to find four more friends, and the gift goes on.

None of my friends OR family were willing to accept this fertile pet so I have lots.  I do not need to add a whole cake every 10 days to my diet. Neither does the cat, and he is not even interested.

So I turn to the internet and Google found a lot more recipes than the cake that was provided with the starter instructions.  There is also a method of birth control for the AFB to freeze by the cupful then thawing to use in a recipe.  I like the freedom that provides.  My cat is more self-sufficient than the AFB…

The pet owner of the mother of my AFB and it’s siblings were happy to receive the additional recipes – especially the waffles.   Here at the Dustbunny Palace we don’t have a lot of dried fruit and nuts sitting around – they tend to be consumed so I was particularly interested in the basic batter recipes.

The original recipe has pudding mix and a LOT of oil – one cup for two loaves. I left the oil out by mistake and the cake turned out OK but awfully dense and I really didn’t like the flavor with the pudding. The off flavor may have been the ultra cheap pudding mix with artificial vanilla.  I read that sprinkling the greased pan with cinnamon sugar is nice, so I did that and will do that step again!

Next time I tried another recipe,  making it in my bread machine on the quick bread option.   Turned out AWESOME but way over-browned.  If I use the bread machine again I’ll remove the quick bread before the end of the cycle.  While that was baking I made some pancakes.  Now THAT is hard to resist!  They were so good I didn’t even use any butter or syrup.  Eating leftovers I got the brilliant idea to spoon pineapple over the top.  Perfection!  No, not perfection – that would only come with the addition of ice cream, but pretty close.

The Tribble has turned into a cherished pet.

The Pancake recipe – I find my starter is very thick and I added more milk to make the batter thin enough to pour

Amish Pancakes & Waffles found at http://www.armchair.com/recipe/amish/amish013.html

Pancakes
Combine in large bowl:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Combine in smaller bowl:
2 TBS oil
2 cups Amish Friendship Bread starter
1/2 cup milk (plus/minus 1/4 cup)
1 egg

Add ingredients of smaller bowl to ingredients of large bowl and mix on medium speed.
Spoon batter onto greased griddle.

Waffles
Prepare batter for pancakes except increase oil to 1/4 cup.

The following is the recipe I used for the bread machine.  I halved everything so it would make the amount for a single pan full.  Next time I want to do this in the oven.

This is the “Herman” Sourdough starter recipe – I have this around the house somewhere from long ago…(hey, the grey hair is not noticeable yet, or my friends are just being kind to me)

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7418/amish-friendship-bread-recipe-deviation-puddingless

Friendship Cake with Herman Sourdourgh Starter

3 eggs,1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup oil, 2 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Beat until smooth.  Add your choice of raisins, chopped nuts, dried fruit, chopped apples, cherries, pineapple, etc.  Pour into tube or bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  (start checking after 40 min.)

My variation for a smaller amount:

1 egg, one half teaspoon vanilla, one half cup sugar, one third cup oil, one cup flour, three quarters teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon baking powder, one quarter teaspoon salt, and no cinnamon.

I didn’t add the cinnamon as I wanted to see what the flavor was without any additions other than vanilla.  It is awesome, and very tender and light.  Next time I am going to bake a whole recipe and use two small loaf pans in the oven.

So K, thanks for my new pet!