Wednesday, May 11, 2016


This dessert sauce is easy to make. Children and adults will have fun watching the sugar melt and transform. Sauce is great over ice cream or other desserts.

Salted  Caramel  Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
½ cup regular or heavy whipping cream at room temperature
½ to ¾ teaspoon salt

1. Heat granulated sugar in heavy 1-quart or 1.5-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high-heat-resistant rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and then melt into a thick, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir.
2. As soon as sugar is completely melted, add pieces of butter. Be careful, because caramel will bubble vigorously as butter is added.
3. Stir butter until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes.
4. Very slowly and carefully drizzle cream into pan while stirring. Expect mixture to rapidly boil and possibly splatter at this stage.
5. Allow mixture to boil only 1 minute. It will rise in pan as it boils.

6. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Allow to cool somewhat before using. Pour into leftovers into jar and refrigerate.

Make several batches if necessary rather than doubling recipe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Championship Beans

This is a terrific potluck dish. It can be made ahead, is healthy, and is inexpensive. Just make sure to allow for plenty of time for the beans to soak and cook.

Championship  Beans
Serves 12

1 pound dried pinto beans
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 jalapeño chiles, seeded, pithed, and minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Sour cream and tortilla chips

1. Rinse beans with cold water. Transfer to heavy large pot. Add enough water to cover by several inches. Let soak overnight. Drain beans. Rinse again in cold water.
2. Combine beans with water to cover by several inches in heavy large pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer until tender, adding hot water as necessary, about 1 to 3 hours. Drain beans thoroughly.
3. Rinse and dry heavy large pot used for beans and use to heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.
4. Stir in chiles, entire can of tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, oregano rubbed between palms of your hands, and some salt. Increase heat to high and stir until liquid mostly evaporates.
5. Stir in drained beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Place half of bean mixture in 3-quart casserole dish. Top with Jack cheese. Add remaining bean mixture. Top with Cheddar cheese.
7. Bake in 375°F. about 30 minutes or until heated throughout.

8. Serve sour cream and tortilla chips alongside beans.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pasta Salad With Feta and Olives

The jalapeños may seem an odd addition to this pasta salad that otherwise seems Greek in spirit. However, as long as the peppers are pithed and seeded completely and then minced, many consumers of the salad may not even recognize them as being jalapeños. Also, note that salad should be served at room temperature for the fullest flavor.

Pasta  Salad  With  Feta  and  Olives
Serves 6

½ cup Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons drained capers, optional
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
2 large jalapeños, seeded and pithed
3 cloves garlic
1 large lemon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
20 pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 pound farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup sliced green onions

1. Put salted water for pasta on the stove over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, mince parsley, capers if desired, oregano, jalapeños, and garlic.
3. Place minced ingredients together in large serving bowl. Finely grate zest of lemon into bowl. Stir.
4. Add olive oil to bowl and stir.
5. Cut lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice into bowl, straining seeds and pulp. Stir.
6. Add pasta to boiling water and return water to slow boil. Cook al dente. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
7. Add feta cheese and olives to bowl. Stir.
8. Add drained pasta to bowl. Stir.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in green onions. Serve at room temperature.

NOTE: May be garnished with tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Basic Vanilla Cake

It is tempting to use cake mixes. From-mix cakes turn out moist while from-scratch ones often do not. However, once one studies the ingredient list on a cake-mix box, one may vow to never go there again. That's what I did and thus began my search for tried-and-true basic vanilla and basic chocolate cake recipes. I have made this recipe only as cupcakes, but they were tasty.

Basic  Vanilla  Cake
Serves 12

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup water at room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream at room temperature

1. Butter two 9-inch-diameter, round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper cut to fit bottoms of pans. Butter papers, and then dust pans with flour, tapping out excess.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium-sized bowl until combined.
3. Beat butter in large bowl, using stand-mixer on medium-high speed.
4. Gradually add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed.
6. Beat in vanilla. The mixture may look separated at this point.
7. Mix water with cream in measuring cup intended for liquids.
8. Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture in three batches, alternating with half of cream-water mixture. Do not over-stir.
9. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in 350°F. oven until cakes are lightly golden on top and centers spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. If anything, undercook slightly, since cakes will continue to cook in hot pans. Cupcakes will need 10 to 12 minutes.
10. Transfer pans to racks, and let cakes cool 10 minutes. Then run knife around the edges of pans, and turn cakes onto racks to cool cakes completely. Remove paper from cakes’ bottoms. You may trim tops of cakes with long serrated knife to make them level before frosting.

Recipe from Food Network Kitchen
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