Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday baking

I've made six kinds of Christmas cookies so far. The biggest success at work was "Blind Dates" from the Farm Journal Country Cookbook. I'd post a photo but they are all gone!

I also made chocolate macaroons, coconut/cherry drops, Spritz cookies (with Irish creme flavoring) chocolate walnut balls, gingersnaps. I made some peanut brittle. I still need to make the 7-layer cookies, lemon bars, peanut blossoms, and maybe some rock candy. If I get really ambitious I'll make some fudge. I don't think I'll be doing iced cookies this year, I need to cut back a little bit!

One thing I have been doing over the years is recording the recipes that everyone likes and are traditional for our family Christmas in a special "blank" book I keep with my cookbooks. So far I've only put the cookie recipes in, but I really should put in the recipes for turkey and stuffing, green bean casserole, and the corn casseroles. Who knows if my grandkids will want to share my recipes with their wives some day?

I'm working on the menu for Christmas day. We're having my kids, the grandkids, and Ed's brother over. Since Ed and his brother grew up making sauerkraut pieroghies on Christmas day, it's kind of a tradition, and we might do that. Along with the pieroghies we'll have:

corn casserole
green bean casserole
mashed potatoes
cranberry jello salad
deviled eggs
relish tray
pecan pie
apple or cherry pie?
mixed nuts

Pieroghie recipe as I was given it:

2X2 lb bags
Boil the sauerkaurt 30 min, bag only
3 cups plus 6 heaping tablespoons flour
1.25 cup of water
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs

Onions dice and brown with 1 stick of butter

I think what this means is:

Prepare sauerkraut filling: rinse, drain, and saute 2 bags of sauerkraut (do not use kind in cans or glass jars)

While the sauerkraut is heating, put a stock pot on the stove with water (for boiling the pieroghies later) and turn up the heat, then prepare the dough:
mix 1 1/4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 2 eggs into 3 cups of flour. Add flour by heaping tablespoon (about 6) until dough ball is slightly shiny and stretchy. Roll out 1/2 of dough at a time on pastry cloth (my mother-in-law uses a Tupperware plastic sheet) until it is very thin, should be about 14 x 18 inch rectangle. Cut the dough in squares approximately 3-4" with a floured knife. Put about a teaspoon of sauerkraut into the center of each square, (try not to dampen the edges with the juice as it will make the pieroghie difficult to seal), and fold up the squares diagonally into a triangle. Pinch the edges shut. If they don't seal, use a little plain water to dampen the edge.

When all the pieroghies have been made, carefully lower them into the boiling water. They will float when they are ready. Don't overload the pot with too many at a time, or they will stick together and be a mess.

Prepare the onions: Melt 1 stick of butter (1/4 pound) in a frying pan and slice in a couple of yellow onions in 1/2 inch slices. Brown the onions until they are just past translucent and starting to carmelize.

Remove the pieroghies from boiling water to serving platter. Toss with browned onions. Serve with sour cream.

(Hope I got this right!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Counting down to Christmas

There are only a few days left and we are busy trying to get those last-minute presents in the mail or FEDEX before the deadline. Also trying to get the baking done. Here's a recipe for no-fail pie crust - easy as pie! for your holiday pleasure:

Easy as Pie Pie crust recipe

1 c. butter (room temperature)
1/2 c. lard (room temperature)
3 c. flour
1 egg
1 t. vinegar
5 T. ice cold water
1 t. salt

Using pastry blender cut shortening, flour and salt together until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (I don't know what coarse cornmeal looks like but that's what all the rest of the recipes say!!!LOL) Do NOT use food processor as this will result in too much blending. Mix liquids together and add a little at a time. Use a fork to mix but do not overmix, just enough so that crust starts to hold together. Let crust rest while you prepare pie fillings, or give the baby a bottle.or wrap a present.. this lets the liquids disperse into the crust. Roll out just enough dough at one time to fit in the palm of your hands - about the size of a baseball. Roll out on pastry cloth dusted with flour (Don't use plastic sheet, crust will stick) when it is just large enough to cover the bottom and sides of your pie plate (turn the plate over, and cut out an inch or so around the outside) then gently bring the far side of the crust toward you, folding it in half, then in half again. Lift into pie plate and unfold (don't worry if it cracks, you can pinch the broken places together. Roll out the top crust in the same manner, just slightly smaller than the first, fill the pie, then pinch the edges together. Cut slits for steam vents. I like to brush the top with a little milk and sprinkle some granulated sugar on it before baking.... Or sometimes I add a little sugar to the crust, and sometimes I substitute part whole wheat flour or bread flour, whatever I have on hand - it is fun to experiment.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not a diabetic cake

If anyone ever comes up with a recipe for a diabetic birthday cake, I think it would sell. The only ones that can eat cake, and still enjoy it, knowing what all the sugar does to our bodies, are under 18!

We had a birthday party last night at Chuck E. Cheese's pizza palace for my 4-year-old grandson. He's the one in front. The little one to the left is my other grandson. He was a little overwhelmed by all the noise and confusion. So was I. Everytime the car next to our table went beep-beep-beep, I thought it was my pager and jumped a mile.

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