Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Easy Frosted Chocolate Sheet Cake

Serves 24.

2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 oz Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/2 stick Butter
2 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 oz Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
6 Tablespoons Milk
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt


1 1/4 cup Whole, Toasted Pecans or Sliced Strawberries, etc.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 18 x13 rimmed baking sheet and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat water, butter, and bakers chocolate until butter and chocolate are melted (stirring the mixture occasionally). 

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Then add warm liquid of water, butter, and melted chocolate.

In a liquid measuring cup, measure buttermilk, add eggs, baking soda, and vanilla, and beat vigorously with a fork. Then mix into the batter.

Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.  Then flip cake out onto a large rectangular board or platter lined with parchment paper, if desired.

While cake is baking, make the icing.  In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter and bakers chocolate, stirring frequently. Add the cocoa, milk, and powdered sugar and whisk vigorously until smooth.  Pour into the center of the warm cake and carefully spread to just inside the edge of the cake (the cake will have a nicer presentation if the frosting does not spill over the sides).  While still warm, press pecans or strawberries into place (I like to make them into a design - on the 4th of July, I make a US flag out of the pecans; on Valentine's, you can make a heart design with strawberries, etc.).

Cut into large squares just before serving.

Substitute Flax Egg, Coconut Oil (for butter) and Nut Milk of choice to make vegan.

Friday, November 25, 2016

How To Dry-Brine a Turkey

How To Dry-Brine a Turkey

What You Need

Ingredients – 14 to 16 lbs bird
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, or blend
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients – 18 to 24 lbs bird
4 ½ tablespoons Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
2 ¼ teaspoons dried herbs, such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, or blend
1 ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·      Small bowl
·      Measuring spoons
·      Cutting board
·      Large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan

·      Mix the salt, pepper, and herbs together in a small bowl.
·      Remove the fresh or thawed turkey from the packaging; set the giblets and neck aside.  Remove or discard any plastic or metal cages or pop-up thermometers.
·      Pat the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels.
·      Tuck the wings back: Bend the wings back and tuck under the breast.
·      Loosen the skin of the turkey.
o   Using your hands, separate the skin over the breast from the meat; make sure to break through the thin membrane between the skin and breast while leaving the skin itself intact.
o   Similarly, loosen the skin over the meaty part of the legs.
·      Season the cavity: Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the cavity of the turkey.
·      Season the meat: Rub 2-3 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the meat of the legs (under the skin). Rub 4-5 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the meat of the breasts (under the skin).
·      Season the skin: Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over all the skin of both the breasts and legs and rub around to distribute it evenly and help it adhere to the outside of the bird.
·      Refrigerate: Place the turkey breast-side up in a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan lined with paper towels and refrigerate uncovered for at least 12 hours, but ideally 3 days.
·      When ready to cook, you do not need to pat the bird dry before cooking — it should appear dry and ready to be roasted, grilled, or deep-fried!
·      You can dry-brine a partially frozen turkey; while I prefer starting with a thawed turkey because you can separate the skin from the meat for more even seasoning, you can dry-brine a frozen turkey.
·      Type of salt; the brand of salt is very important. I ALWAYS use Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which is flakier and larger than regular table salt. If you only have a fine salt, use half the amount called for.
·      Brine proportions for a smaller turkey: Turkey sizes vary, so if you have a larger or smaller bird, go by these proportions instead: For every 5 pounds of turkey, you will need 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
·      Fresh herbs substitution: instead of dried herbs, you can substitute 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (or 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of turkey).

·      Other flavoring ideas; you can substitute any herbs you like…and can also add in a little brown sugar to the dry brine for a touch of sweetness.

Split, Smoked Turkey

How to Smoke a Split Turkey

What You Need

·      Optional - 1 stick unsalted butter, softened


·      Smoker
·      Hardwood
·      Sharp Knife
·      Tongs
·      Large Rimmed Baking Sheet or Meat Platter

Instructions – 18 to 24 lbs bird
·      Note: with a larger frozen turkey, you’ll need to allow 3 days for it to slowly defrost in the fridge and at least 12 hours to dry brine before you proceed.
·      Using a meat cleaver, spatchcock the turkey by cutting along both sides of the backbone; reserve backbone piece.  If the turkey is still frozen, place it in the sink and run room temperature water over it until it is thawed.
·      Flip the bird breast side up, and use a knife to cut down the middle of the breasts; once the meat is separated, use a meat cleaver to cut through the center of the breastbone.
·      Once the bird is dry brined, it should be dry and ready for the smoker!
·      Optional – slather the outside of the bird with softened unsalted butter.
·      Set-up smoker; temp should hover be between 250 and 300 degrees.
·      Place turkey halves breast side up in smoker; make sure they are not overlapping or touching.
·      Monitor the temperature of the bird and the smoker.
·      The breast is cooked when the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
·      The thigh/leg is cooked when the temperature reaches 175 degrees.
·      To prevent overcooking of the breast or undercooking the thigh/leg, you may wish to separate the breast/wing from the thigh leg as soon as the breast meat reaches optimal temperature – 165 degrees.  You can do this by pulling each half of the turkey out of the smoker, placing them on a baking sheet, platter, or other large clean surface.  Then, using paper towels, gently pry the breast away from the thigh/leg – the bird should be mostly cooked, making it easy to pull apart, but you may also need to use a knife wherever there is resistance.  Place the thigh/leg pieces back into the smoker until each reaches 175 degrees.  While the thigh/leg is still smoking, loosely tent the breast pieces with foil to keep them warm.  Alternatively, the breast pieces can be wrapped in foil and placed in a low temperature oven or empty ice cooler with the lid down to keep warm.
·      When the bird is fully cooked, carve it up and enjoy it with friends and family!
·      Breast meat on a 24 lbs bird will take approximately 5 hours.

·      Thigh/leg meat on a 24 lbs bird will take approximately 5 hours 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Easy Shrimp Quesadillas

Serves 2-4 people

1 jar good quality red salsa
1-1/3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 package (8 ounces) frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
4 flour tortillas (10 inches)
1 tablespoon butter
1.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter and tortilla.  Sprinkle the cheese, chilies, tomato, onions and shrimp over each tortilla.  Cook and fold before removing from the pan.  Cut into triangles and serve with salsa.

Easy (Mayonnaise) Rolls


Butter, for greasing muffing tins

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
4 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter.

In a large bowl, combine flour and milk, blending with a rubber spatula. Add the sugar and mayonnaise, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cowboy Caviar

Makes enough for 10-12 people

1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can rotel
1/2 red onion, small dice
1 red or green bell pepper, small dice
1-2 jalapenos, small dice (optional; omit if you prefer a less spicy dip)
1 small bottle zesty Kraft Italian Dressing
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, small dice
1 bag (regular or thick cut) tortilla chips

Open and drain all canned ingredients into a colander and discard juice.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except avocado and chips.  Marinate overnight.  Just before serving, drain off excess liquid using a colander.  Add freshly diced avocado.  Stir gently to combine.  Serve with tortilla chips!

Kelley's Favorite Crab Cakes with Imperial Sauce

Serves 4

If you can find it, buy fresh lump crabmeat for the crab cakes—it's more expensive but worth every penny. You'll need 1 sleeve of saltines here; crush them until most have turned to dust, leaving a few pieces no bigger than a pebble.

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 pounds crabmeat, picked over for shells
1 1/4 cups Saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
4 scallions, minced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and Old Bay in large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce for serving.

2. Fold crabmeat, saltines, and scallions into remaining sauce until combined. Form crabmeat mixture into eight 1-inch-thick patties.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add 4 crab cakes and cook until golden brown, 21/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and tent with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and crab cakes. Serve with reserved sauce.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Kelley's Russian Dressing for Reuben Sandwiches, etc.

My husband flipped for this Russian dressing, which is incredibly easy to make (we will never buy Thousand Island/Russian dressing at the store again).


1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (I like Wickles Pickles brand relish; alternatively, you can finely chop sweet pickles and add 1 teaspoon sweet pickle juice)

2 tablespoons cocktail sauce


Whisk mayonnaise, relish, and cocktail sauce in small bowl.  Use within 3 days.

Ideas for Uses:
  • Reuben Sandwiches
  • Reuben Dogs
  • Reuben Sliders
  • Meat Loaf Sandwiches
  • All Purpose Sandwich Spread
  • Tuna Salad (use Russian Dressing instead of straight mayonnaise and add lemon juice and capers)
  • Macaroni Salad (use Russian Dressing and celery; add a little extra relish and mayo to thicken if needed; hard boiled eggs and tuna can be added for a more substantial salad)
  • Russian Deviled Eggs with Bacon Crumbles! (6 hard boiled eggs plus 1/3 cup dressing and 2 slices cooked bacon)
  • Iceberg Wedge Salad
  • Cobb Salad
  • Vegetable Dip
  • Accompaniment for Ham
  • Pairing for Beer (especially craft ales and lagers)
  • Pretzel/Chip Dip
PS Thousand Island dressing is completely different than Russian dressing - the two are not the same thing. Hands down, I prefer Russian dressing over Thousand Island any day as it is bolder and can be made spicier with the addition of a little extra horseradish and/or paprika.

Exactly why we called it “Russian” is not certain; some say it is because early recipes called for the addition of caviar, while others say it’s because the dressing was designed to top a Russian-inspired salad known as Salad Olivier.  I personally think it's because of the pickles - Russian's love pickles!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Loretta Kelley's Pound Cake Recipe

My second cousin in Charlotte, North Carolina, says this pound cake is one of her signature desserts; she got the recipe from a nursing student in the 1960s who became a long-time friend.

Also, she uses a special bundt cake pan that was given to her as a wedding present in 1965.  When I was visiting her recently, I looked at the markings on the bottom of the pan, as she told me she had bought a dozen pans over the years trying to find another one like it, but was disappointed with all but her original pan; over the last 40 plus years her original pan has lost a lot of it's teflon coating.  The pan was clearly marked as a "Bundt Pan" made by Northland Aluminum Products in Minneapolis.  I was able to get on eBay and Etsy and find vintage "new" pans to replace her original 12-cup pan, and she was thrilled.  Needless to say, I bought one too (and so did my mom).  Northland Aluminum is now popularly known as Nordic Ware, but she swears the original pan is the best pan - and nothing new compares.

Now, for the recipe!

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) Land O'Lakes Margarine (plus another 3/4 stick for the buttering the pan).
1 bar Philadelphia brand cream cheese (Loretta says Philadelphia has the best flavor in the cake).
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur is Loretta's preferred brand), plus extra to flour the pan
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
1 generous pinch salt

A couple hours before making the cake, remove the eggs, margarine, and cream cheese from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter at room temperature; all ingredients must be room temperature for this cake to turn out perfectly.

When you're ready to assemble the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Heavily butter (using 2/3 to 3/4 stick of margarine) your bundt cake pan, then generously flour.  Loretta says the "heavy butter" serves two purposes; first, it gives the cake a nice crust.  Second, it keeps the cake from sticking to the pan, so be sure to get the margarine in all the crevices (if you feel a bit like you're caulking a shower, you're doing it right.).

Using a stand mixer, cream margarine and cream cheese with sugar.  Add eggs and whip until fluffy (the eggs are the leavening agent).  Add flour and mxi until just incorporated.  Finally, add vanilla.

Spoon immediately into pan; Loretta does this gently with a large spoon to avoid disturbing the heavily buttered floured interior of the pan.  Smooth out top once filled and tap once on the counter to remove any large air pockets.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, then turn down oven to 300 and bake an additional 50-60 minutes.  (In my oven, the pound cake is done at 52 minutes).

Let hot cake rest 10 minutes, then turn it over while still hot onto a cake platter (it is best to place the cake platter upside down on the top of the pan and then flip).

My niece, Courtney, loves strawberry; I have successfully made a strawberry variation of this cake by omitting the vanilla extract and instead adding 1 1/2 TBS imitation strawberry extract to the cake batter.

Another variation found online: if you really want to make this cake extra special, add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in saucepan, bring to rolling boil, remove from heat, add 1 teas. each...vanilla, almond, lemon extract. When you remove cake from oven, poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer, and immediately pour the hot sugar water over the cake.  If cake residue remains on the wooded skewer, that is ok...you don't want to overcook this cake! Cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.

Note: Land O'Lakes is the margarine brand Loretta uses; it has 80% vegetable oil - check your margarine to be sure it has the higher oil content.  Loretta has made this cake with butter over the years but says the cake made with margarine is the best (she doesn't use much margarine in her cooking/baking otherwise).

Kelley's Note: I made this cake over the weekend using Land O'Lakes butter (unsalted) instead of margarine, with the addition of 3/4 tsp kosher salt and also 2 cups cake flour plus 1 cup all-purpose flour instead of all 3 cups all purpose flour (the cake was more tender with the addition of the cake flour); it came out great!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

paula deen's cream cheese pound cake

paula deen's cream cheese pound cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 12 min 
Cook Time: 1 hr, 30 min 
This is one moist and decadent pound cake- turns out lovely and perfect and ready for a simple topping of whipped cream and fruit.


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups granulated white sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups cake flour, sifted twice after measuring
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan (I like to use the nonstick spray that is especially for baking... with the flour mixed into it).
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until well combined. Add in sugar and continue to mix for about 6 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until well blended. Gradually add the flour, beating and scraping down the sides until it is all incorporated. Mix in salt and extracts.
3. Pour into prepared pan. Hit the pan gently on the counter about 5 times to help settle the batter and remove any air pockets. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. The cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.


*To make a simple berry topping, mix two or three kinds of berries with just a spoonful of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Whip some heavy whipping cream, and serve a slice of this cake with freshly whipped cream and berries. So good!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar 
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract, room temperature

Combine butter and cream cheese. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture stirring until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into well greased 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Loretta's Pound Cake

3 sticks margarine
8 oz. cream cheese
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, large (about 1 cup)
3 cups flour
1 T vanilla
No salt

Preheat oven to 350° for 30 minutes. Prepare bundt pan by greasing liberally with 1/2 cup margarine, then flour the pan. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

Cream margarine and cream cheese together then add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time until all are incorporated at medium low speed, then turn mixer on high until mixture is whipped looking. Add flour, a little at a time until all is incorporated. Do not over nix or the cake will be tough. Lastly add vanilla and mix on low for a few minutes.

Pour into prepared bundt pan, put into oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn oven down to 300° and continue baking for 1 hour or until done. Remove immediately and cool.

(Use a very heavy bundt pan.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

VEGETABLE QUINOA BURGERS from the Sprouted Kitchen

      3/4 cup quinoa

      1 1/3 cups broth or water
      1 small zucchini
      2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
      1/4 cup olive oil
      1 large shallot or 1/2 a yellow onion, minced
      2 tsp. dried oregano
      1/2 tsp. cayenne
      2 tsp. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs aminos
      1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
      1 cup coarse ground oats or breadcrumbs
      3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
      2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
      sea salt and pepper

    Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring the quinoa and broth or water to a boil in a pot. Turn it to a gentle simmer and cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, about 13 minutes. Stir, leave the lid ajar and set aside to cool.

    While the quinoa cooks, grate the zucchini. Spread it on a kitchen towel and ring out the extra moisture.
    In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, generous pinches of salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes until cooked down and much of the liquid has been cooked out. Stir in the oregano, cayenne and soy sauce and turn the heat off to cool.

    Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, add the nutritional yeast, oats or breadcrumbs and flaxmeal. Once the vegetables are cool, add them to the bowl as well and stir everything to mix. Mash in the cooked sweet potato and another pinch of salt and pepper and stir everything to mix. If it looks super dry, add another drizzle of oil or more mashed yam, but if it is *too* wet, they won't stay together. I know we are making veggie burgers, but you want it to be the same sort of thickness or texture or ground beef or turkey, not wet.

    Heat a layer of oil in a large skillet (I find non-stick works best for delicate things like this). Make patties about 1 1/2'' thick, and cook until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Alternatively, you may form your patties, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle a little oil on top and bake them at 375' for 20 minutes. Put your cheese on one side after you flip the patty. Prepare your buns with mashed avocado, spread, greens or whatever you wish and serve warm.

    * I overdid it on the yam and mine were very soft throughout. I find that when I do this with veggie burgers, baking helps dry them out better so they stay together better between a bun. If you're eating it plain and you want a crispy crust, pan works great, for something in a sandwich, I prefer to bake them for a sturdier result. You're preference on texture.


    Saturday, April 05, 2014

    Cream and Current Scones (with variations)

    Makes 8 regular wedge-shaped scones (or 16 mini wedge-shaped scones)

    The easiest and most reliable approach to mixing the butter into the dry ingredients is to use a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  If you don't have a food processor, freeze the butter and use a box (cheese) grater; you can grate the frozen butter into the flour and achieve almost the same consistency quickly.


    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
    1/2 cup currants (optional; can also substitute another dried or chopped frozen fruit; my personal favorite is golden raisins)
    1 cup heavy cream, plus 1/4 cup


    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

    2. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl and process for a few seconds.

    3. Remove cover and distribute butter pieces evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants (or other fruit) and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.

    4. Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

    5. In the bowl, knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. If making regular wedge-shaped scones, press dough lightly into an 8" round cake pan (this will help ensure a perfectly round, evenly thick dough), using a pastry scraper, cut scones into 8 wedges.  Alternatively, if making mini wedge-shaped scones, cut dough in half and press one portion lightly into a 5" round dish (I use a 2 cup round pyrex storage container) and cut into 8 wedges; repeat with the remaining piece.

    6.  Place wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Note: baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours at this point).

    7. Lightly brush tops of scones with remaining 1/4 cup cream.

    8. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.  (Resist the urge to eat the scones hot out of the oven. Letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture)!

    Optional:  Make a glaze with 2/3 cup powdered sugar and a few tablespoons whole milk; while hot, use a fork to lightly drizzle glaze over the scones (make sure there is a piece of parchment paper under the rack, which will catch the extra glaze and make clean-up a snap.  The glaze will dry quickly and add a little extra sweetness.

    Serve scones with lightly sweetened whipped cream, jam, and/or lemon curd.


    Black Forest Ham & Cheese Scones
    Omit sugar and currants.  Add 1/2 cup diced black forest ham (or chopped sliced ham), 1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese, 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese.  Optional: brush with 2-3 tbs dijon mustard mixed with 2 tbs warm water.

    Bacon, Gruyere & Green Onion Scones
    Omit sugar and currants.  Add 3 strips cooked and crumbled bacon, 1/3 cup shredded gruyere, and 1 green onion (thinly sliced).

    Cheddar, Parmesan, & Black Pepper Scones
    Omit sugar and currants.  Add 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

    Fresh Berry Scones
    Omit currants.  Add 3/4 cup fresh berries of your choice (whole blackberries, raspberries, blueberries...and/or diced strawberries).

    Date Scones (nice with whipped caramel butter - see below)
    Omit currents.  Add 1/2 cup chopped dates (if dates are dry/hard, cover dates with hot water or rum) and let stand for a few minutes before using).

    Cranberry Orange Scones
    Omit currants.  Add 1 tbs orange zest and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

    Blueberry Lemon or Cherry Lemon Scones
    Omit currants.  Add 1 tbs lemon zest and 1/2 cup dried blueberries or cherries.

    Lemon Poppyseed Scones
    Omit currants.  Add 2 tbs lemon zest and 1 tbs poppy seeds.

    Pumpkin Scones
    Omit currants.  Spread 2/3 cup canned (whole) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) on 2 paper-towels and top with another 2 paper-towels.  Using your hands, press out the water.  Repeat if needed to get a "less-wet" pumpkin mixture.  Stir with cream and add 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice.  Add to scones.

    Gingerbread Scones
    Omit currants.  Instead of white sugar, use brown sugar (same amount).  Add 3 tsp ginger, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp cloves.  Also stir 2 tbs molasses into the cream.

    Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Scones
    Omit currants.  Add 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.

    Chocolate Chip Scones
    Omit currants.  Add 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips.

    Pecan Scones
    Omit currants.  Instead of white sugar, use brown sugar (same amount).  Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

    (In case you need to drizzle something over the top for an extra special finish).

    Vanilla Glaze
    Stir together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs cream, milk, or water.

    Lemon or Orange Glaze
    Stir together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 2 tbs lemon juice or orange juice.

    Strawberry Lemon Glaze
    Stir together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tbs strawberry jam, and 1-2 tbs cream.

    Chocolate Ganache
    Heat 1 cup heavy whipping cream until bubbling.  Pour over 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Stir until melted and cooled a bit.


    Whipped Caramel Butter
    Mix 1 stick salted room-temperature butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.

    Strawberry Butter
    Mix 1 stick salted room temperature butter with 1 tbs of strawberry jam and 2 tbs confectioners sugar.


    Sweetened Whipped Cream
    Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tbs sugar (white or brown or powdered).

    Lemon Curd Whipped Cream
    Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 3-4 tbs jarred lemon curd.

    Strawberry Whipped Cream
    Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 3-4 tbs strawberry jam.

    Kelley's Lemon Pound Cake

    If you're looking for a really lemony pound cake with a wonderful texture, this recipe is it!

    Makes one 9 by 5-inch loaf (or 9 mini cake loaves)

    16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), plus 1 tablespoon, softened, for greasing pan
    1 1/2 cups cake flour (6 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
    2 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice from 2 medium lemons
    4 large eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Lemon Glaze
    1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
    1/4 cup lemon juice, from 1 or 2 medium lemons

    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 by 5-inch loaf pan (or mini loaf pan) with 1-2 tablespoons softened butter; dust with 1 tablespoon cake flour, tapping out excess. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

    2. In glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter, covered with plastic wrap, at full power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.) Whisk melted butter thoroughly to reincorporate any separated milk solids.

    3. In food processor, process sugar and zest until combined, about five 1-second pulses. Add lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla; process until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, add melted butter through feed tube in steady stream (this should take about 20 seconds). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sift flour mixture over eggs in three steps, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.

    4. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake until deep golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack.

    5. While cake is cooling in pan, bring sugar and lemon juice to boil in small nonreactive saucepan, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

    6. After turning cake onto wire rack, poke the cake's top and sides with a toothpick and brush on Lemon Glaze (see illustrations below). Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.

    Notes: (Cooled cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

    Tuesday, February 04, 2014

    Kelley's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Makes 3 dozen decent size cookies


    2 1/2 scant cups unsifted all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup chopped pecans (toasted) (optional)


    Preheat oven to 375ºF.

    In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

    In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until smooth. Add flour until just combined (do not over mix). Stir in chips and if using, pecans.

    Drop by well-rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

    Cool on a wire rack.

    Monday, December 30, 2013

    Kelley's Favorite Shallot Vinaigrette

    Makes 1 cup


    1/4 cup white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or aged sherry wine vinegar
    2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
    2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the shallots. Gradually whisk in the oil to make a smooth dressing. Use immediately or store covered, in the refrigerator, for up to a week.

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Bacon Wrapped Dates

    This is a really yummy warm appetizer that can be made hours before a party and held in the fridge until 30 minutes before the guests are expected to arrive, when you can pull them and bake them. It is also dairy-free, making it perfect if you have family or friends that can't have milk or cheese. The bacon makes these so decadent, no one will miss the cheese!  These can also be frozen after being assembled (but not baked) for up to one month and popped in a hot oven.


    32 good-quality dates (about 10 ounces; I like Medjool dates) - pits removed (I usually do this myself)
    2 ounces shelled, salted whole pistachios
    16 dried apricots, cut in half
    1 pound lean best-quality bacon (I use a center-cut bacon), each piece sliced length-wise


    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stuff each date with 3 or 4 pistachios. Lay a stuffed date and apricot strip on top of each bacon slice; wrap to enclose. If not using immediately, freeze up to 1 month.

    Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until bacon is crisp; 20-30 minutes, flipping each wrapped date 1/2 way through.  Serve with toothpicks.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Soup

    Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Soup

    This was a really nice soup. I loved it. Not too thick, not too thin, full of flavor, very satisfying: a real winner and easy to make too.

    1 1/2 pounds eggplant, sliced horizontally
    1 large red Bell pepper, sliced horizontally,
       with seeds and stems removed
    1 onion, peeled and halved
    1 pint grape tomatoes or 2 medium sized tomatoes,

       sliced in half
    6 large cloves garlic, peeled
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder (I used my homemade stuff)
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes,

       (only use 1/4 teaspoon if you want it mild)
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Feta, sour cream, cream, or creme fraiche to finish

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place eggplant, Bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, and garlic on a sheet pan, Drizzle with olive oil, and roast until until eggplant is soft, about 40 minutes (check to make sure the garlic doesn't burn). Meanwhile, place chicken stock and seasonings in a large pot. When vegetables are soft, scoop eggplant flesh out of shell and add to stock mixture along with the rest of the roasted vegetables. Using an emulsion blender, breakdown vegetables to desired amount of chunkiness. Simmer for about 30 minutes, season with salt and pepper, and serve with crumbled Feta or whatever (nothing works too).

    Serves 4-6

    Friday, October 04, 2013

    Horseradish Cream (Mayo)

    Makes enough for 10 regular or 20 small sandwiches

    2 2/3 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup prepared white horseradish
    2-3 tbs chopped fresh rosemary

    Whisk mayonnaise, horseradish and rosemary in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

    Ina's Green Goddess Dressing

    As a dip, serves 16-24 people

    1 cup good mayonnaise
    1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
    1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
    2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
    2 teaspoons anchovy paste (optional)
    2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup sour cream

    Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste (optional), salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. (If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.)

    Aunt Shirley's Chopped Shrimp Cocktail

    Serves 16

    1 cup Heinz Chili Sauce
    2/3 cup Heinz Cocktail Sauce
    2/3 cup prepared horseradish
    3 tsp worcestershire
    1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
    1/2 tsp celery seed
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1/8 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    2 cups celery, strings removed with a peeler and chopped small dice
    2 pounds shrimp (medium-size, peeled and deveined); can be frozen; thaw before use

    Combine everything except the celery and shrimp and adjust seasoning (may need more salt, lemon juice, horseradish, etc.).  Just before serving, in a large bowl, combine with celery and shrimp.

    Saturday, September 28, 2013

    Kelley's Super Quick Zucchini Lasagna

    Serves: 6


    Olive oil, for baking dish
    8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
    1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
    Coarse salt and ground pepper
    2 medium zucchini (8 ounces each), halved lengthwise, then sliced thinly crosswise
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    6 no-boil lasagna noodles
    2 ounces shredded (1/2 cup) part-skim mozzarella cheese


    STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.

    STEP 2

    In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, combine zucchini, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

    STEP 3

    Spread 1/3 zucchini mixture in prepared baking dish; top with two lasagna noodles, then 1/3 ricotta mixture. Repeat twice with remaining zucchini mixture, noodles, and ricotta mixture, finishing with the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

    STEP 4

    Cover baking dish with aluminum foil; bake until bubbly and noodles are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove foil; bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    SOURCE: Everyday Food, September 2006

    Friday, September 27, 2013

    Gin, Tonic, & Cucumber

    G, T, and C

    1 shot of Hendrick's Gin
    1 cup of tonic water
    2 ice cubes
    2 slices of cucumber to garnish

    No need for instructions on this one, just put it all in a glass and stir.

    Wednesday, September 04, 2013

    Kelley's Quick and Lemony Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta


    Salt and pepper
    3/4 pound angel-hair pasta
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3/4 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons), plus wedges for serving
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


    STEP 1
    In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions, then drain.

    STEP 2
    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shrimp and cook until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes, flipping once. Transfer to a plate.

    STEP 3
    Reduce heat to medium. Add butter and garlic to skillet and saute until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Add pasta and shrimp and toss to combine. Serve with lemon wedges.

    Everyday Food, June 2012

    Cowboy Burger

    'Cowboy' Burger
    Inspired by Whole Foods
    1 lb ground beef (buy a chuck roast from Costco and grind it yourself for the best results)
    1 seeded jalapeño (pointy bottom = spicy, rounded bottom = less spicy)
    4-6 slices of center cut bacon
    3/4 cup shredded cheddar
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    If using already ground hamburger, pulse bacon and jalapeño in food processor until jalapeño is chopped finely (or alternatively, chop both very fine with a knife) . Mix everything together in a bowl. Form 4 patties.


    If grinding your own hamburger using a chuck roast, trim and cube meat and place in the the freezer for 20-30 minutes (it will go through the grinder easier if lightly frozen).  Grind meat (I have a meat grinder that attaches to my KitchenAid, it works great!).  Once meat is ground, run bacon and then jalapeno (minus the stem) through the grinder.  Finally, to the meat mixture in the bowl, add remaining ingredients (the cheese and spices).  Form 4 patties.

    Grill to perfection, or heat canola oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat until smoking and sear patties until perfection; let patties rest for a few minutes to ensure juices get reabsorbed and serve (preferably on a grilled bun).

    Note, recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

    Saturday, August 24, 2013

    Rustic Penne & Shrimp Pasta in a Parmesan & Red Pepper Cream Sauce

    An entertaining worthy make-ahead meal

    1 pound of Camppanelle pasta
    2 tablespoons of sea salt
    1/4 pound of pancetta, thickly sliced and diced into cubes
       (or use 1/2 a package of Trader Joe's--what I did)
    2 tablespoons of olive oil
    1 pound of shrimp, peeled
    6 cloves of garlic
    1 teaspoon of rosemary
    1/4 cup of roasted red peppers, sliced
    1/4 cup of white wine
    2 cups of cream
    1 cup of parmesan cheese
    1 teaspoon of cracked pepper
    parmesan cheese
    fresh thyme or rosemary

    Add sea salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.

    Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, brown the pancetta. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium high until brown, then add olive oil and shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, then add garlic.  Turn down heat to a low simmer.

    Deglaze the pan by pouring in the white wine and stirring to bring off the browning on the pan. This will add great flavor to the sauce.

    Add cream, red peppers and rosemary.  Simmer on medium low until the cream thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes.  At this point, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 6 minutes - under-cooking it so when it bakes it will not be too done.  After sauce has simmered, remove it from the heat and add Parmesan cheese.

    When pasta is done, strain it from the water and add it to the pan without rinsing.  Toss together with the sauce and season with pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables and Basil

    This recipe is incredibly easy and offers a big dose of healthy fresh summer vegetables that are delicious roasted.  You could easily modify this recipe to use any vegetables that are in season.

    Source: Everyday Food, June 2007

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 50 minutes
    Serves: 4

    4 summer squash (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise if large, sliced crosswise 1 inch thick
    2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
    2 red onions, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    1/8 cup olive oil
    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    8 ounces "brown rice" pasta - I use the "Tinkyada" brand - it is delicious.  You can also use any regular pasta shape, long such as spaghetti or short such as campanelle or fusilli
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
    1 cup firmly packed torn fresh basil leaves


    STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place squash, tomatoes, onions, and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat and then spread evenly. Roast (tossing minimally) until tender and starting to brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

    STEP 2

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, and return to pot.

    STEP 3

    Add roasted vegetables, butter, parmesan, and basil to pot; season with salt and pepper, and toss gently with pasta to combine. Reheat over medium-low if necessary before serving.

    Monday, July 08, 2013

    Herb-Stuffed Pork Chop

    From Cook's Country
    February/March 2010

    Baking our Herb-Stuffed Pork Chops on a preheated sheet in a hot oven was an easy way to achieve a seared exterior and an evenly cooked interior. We found that tenting the chops with foil for a few minutes after they are done cooking helped them retain heat while they rested. Tasters preferred fontina cheese for our Herb-Stuffed Pork Chops, but we found Monterey Jack or Gruyère cheese worked equally well.
    Serves 4

    Monterey jack or Gruyere cheese can be used instead of fontina.

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, toasted and torn into pieces
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese (see note)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 4 boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick

    • 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 475 degrees. Combine oil and garlic in bowl. Pulse bread, parsley, thyme, fontina, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil mixture in food processor until coarsely ground. 
    • 2. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using paring knife, cut 1-inch opening into side of each chop to make pocket for stuffing. Spoon herb mixture into pocket and seal by threading toothpick through pork about ½ inch from opening
    • 3. Coat chops with remaining oil mixture and transfer to preheated baking sheet. Bake until brown and meat registers 145 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Transfer to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

    Radicchio with Pappardelle

    Adapted from Saveur

    1 head radicchio
    1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
    2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (I used half of a 4 oz. precut package from Trader Joe's)
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    8 ounces pappardelle (I used Trader Joe's dried)
    Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

    1. Core, then julienne radicchio.

    2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and brown, stirring occasionally, for 5–10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 30 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, cook pappardelle in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Add radicchio to onions and pancetta and cook, stirring, until radicchio is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add pasta and reserved cooking water, mix well, season with salt and pepper, and serve topped with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano.

    Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side course

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