Friday, February 20, 2009

Lemon Rice and Chicken Soup

Several years ago my niece Blaire and I attended the opera in Detroit at the Detroit Opera House. Afterward we drove to Greektown to dine at The Pegasus.
I cannot remember what our entrees were but we both had lemon rice soup and absolutely loved it. The next time I am in Greektown for dinner I will just stick with lemon rice soup and chocolate mousse from the Greek bakery on the corner. It is very important that a trip to Greektown does not go without chocolate mousse.

Dining at a Greek restaurant has taught me that I want to stay away from flaming cheese. Nothing good can come from flaming cheese and hairspray. Not to my age I have enough self induced hot flashes that I do not need a waiter flinging flames around my face and yelling "Oopa!!!!" in my ear.On to the recipe. I surfed the Internet for a lemon rice soup recipe but R insisted that it had to have some sort of MEAT in it. So I combined several recipes and came up with my own.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts fully cooked and pulled apart (not cut)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 carton of chicken broth
1/2 C lemon juice
2 t dill weed
white pepper to taste (optional)
dash of salt
3 eggs
3 C of cooked Basmati rice

Over medium heat combine broth and soup. In a separate bowl beat the 3 eggs with a fork. Add 1 cup of broth/soup mixture to the beaten eggs and mix together. Add egg mixture into the broth soup mixture stirring so eggs do not clump up. You will see little streaks of cooked egg in the broth/soup. Add the small pieces of chicken, lemon, salt, dill weed, and cooked rice. Stir and add white pepper to taste (optional).

Tips...You may add additional lemon juice if you prefer a stronger lemon taste. Only use white pepper so that you do not discolor the soup. I added a chicken bouillon cube to the water I cooked the rice in and I only use Basmati rice.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Aunt Rosie's Soda Cracker Pie

I first sampled this pie at a family gathering at my Aunt Rosie and Uncle Carl's house. I'm not exactly sure how old I was when I asked for the recipe but I must have been old enough to cook.

3 beaten egg whites
dash of salt
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 C of crushed Club crackers (nickel size or smaller)
1 C pecans or walnuts (using pecans will make the pie taste like pecan pie)

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Add crushed crackers, breaking any that are larger than a nickel. Make sure crackers are fully coated. I let the mixture sit for 5 minutes so that crackers could soften. Fold in pecans. Pour into glass pie dish that has been coated with spray cooking oil. The photo below shows what the mixture should look like before it is baked.Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until slightly brown. Do not over cook. Let the pie thoroughly cool before cutting. This pie needs to set up and it does this as it cools.

This is what the pie should look like after it bakes for 25 minutes.
It has been 30 years since I lasted baked this pie and the baking instructions I wrote down were a little vague. Also 30 years ago, Club crackers were packaged differently. If I remember right, one cracker was scored and made 4 single Club crackers. Today all crackers are singles and each box contains 4 individual packages. Using trial and error/guestimation I have deduced that 1 package is equal to the 20 crackers that my recipe card stated, roughly 2 cups.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Maple Syrup Mousse

Below is the recipe as it was originally written and after that I wrote how I made it. It's not a quick recipe to make, but uses basic methods and ingredients.

Serves 6-8

1 envelope plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 C cold water
1 C maple syrup
4 egg yolks
1/2 C brown sugar
4 egg whites
2 C chilled heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin into the 1/2 cup of cold water and let soften for about 5 minutes, then set the cup in a shallow pan of simmering water, and stir until the gelatin has dissolved and is clear. Combine with the maple syrup. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk or rotary or electric beater for 2 to 3 minutes until thick and lemon yellow. Beat into the yolks the maple syrup mixture and pour it into a small saucepan. cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon heavily. Do not let it boil or the eggs will curdle. Remove from the heat, stir in the brown sugar and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they form unwavering peaks on the beater. In another bowl, whip the chilled cream until it holds its shape softly. with a rubber spatula, fold the cream gently but thoroughly into the maple syrup mixture, then fold in the egg whites, folding until streaks of white do not show. Rinse a 1 1/2 quart mold, preferably a Charlotte mold, in cold water. Shake out the excess water and pour in the mousse mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or until firm.

To unmold, run a knife around the inside edge of the mold, dip the bottom briefly in hot water and wipe it dry. Place a chilled platter on top of the mold, invert and rap it on the table. Chill until ready to serve.

That is how they say to make it. I did not use a mold. I just spooned the mixture into 8 ramekins and chilled. Before serving I put a dollop of whipped cream on top. I then sprinkled finely crushed walnuts on the whipped cream.

I would think that using a mold is a dicey proposition since you have no idea if it will unmold itself nicely. Plus, I think that the way we live today, making individual bowls is easier to make and easier to store any unused mousse.

The mousse is delicious. I think it would make a great autumn or winter dessert after serving ham with sweet potatoes.

Why I decided on a maple syrup recipe for today is because I have been on a maple syrup quest of sorts. One of the blogs that I read is Dogs and Jen. She recently tapped her maple trees and made her her syrup. R and I will be trying this next spring. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, read Jen's blog and see that it is not that hard to do.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beef Noodle Soup

1 lb stew meat
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 C sliced carrots
1 box of beef broth (32 ozs)
4 beef boullion cubes
Salt/coarse black pepper to taste
1/4 t onion powder (not onion salt)
4 bay leaves
2 t parley flakes
1 bag no yolk egg noodles

I buy my stew meat at the local farmer's market from Knobhill Meats. We have bought our beef and pork from them for years. We first bought meat from Knobhill Market on Flushing Rd when we lived in the Mott Park area of Flint years ago.

After I arrive home from the market I cut the stew meat into bite size pieces and at the same time trimming away excess fat, etc. I then place 1 pound of bite size pieces in a freezer bags and freeze. This step allows me to make soup at a moments notice. No need to wait for the meat to thaw to cut and trim.

I use 1 pound of beef per pot of soup. With the frozen beef pieces in a pot, I place the heat on low and cover. Occasionally I check and with the use of a fork separate the pieces. Once the pieces are apart I increase the heat to slightly below medium. While the meat simmers, I season the meat, add approximately 1 inch of beef broth, 4 beef bouillon cubes, slice carrots, mushrooms, parsley flakes, and 4 bay leaves. I cover the pot and let contents simmer for approximately 1 hour. Check occasionally and if broth evaporates away add more broth always keeping at least 1/2 inch in the pot at all times.

After 1 hour I remove the bay leaves. Hint....always remember or write down the number of bay leaves you use so that you know how many to remove. Add remaining broth. While the broth comes back up to temperature I cook my noodles in a separate pot. After the noodles are cooked I drain thoroughly before I add them to the soup. If you add both the noodles and the water the soup broth will be cloudy. Also if you cook your noodles in the soup broth the noodles soak up the broth and you will need more broth. Also the broth will be cloudy if you do this. Sometimes I add 1 beef bouillon cube to the water that I use to cook the noodles. This helps to give the noodles a slight beef flavor.

Once the noodles are cooked and added to the broth allow the soup to heat the noodles back up before ladling into bowls.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Butterfinger Cake Recipe

I was reading one of my favorites blogs the other day.....Dainty Digs. Jayne is the owner of Kelly House which is the Dainty Digs she blogs about. Well, anyways, she mentioned that her family makes a cake called Butterfinger Cake. Of course I thought...cake????.....Butterfinger??? I just had to look that recipe up on the Internet and bake it.Butterfinger cake and a mug of coffee. That's R holding the checker flag in the photo on the mug.

I baked the cake and it's unanimous (R, Gavin, Barbara and I took a vote) it was the best cake we have ever tasted. This is one of those potluck, family gathering type cakes. One layer sheet cake, easy baking, and ingredients that are easy to find or you already have on hand.

Here's the recipe that I found online at

Butterfinger Cake Recipe

1 box German Chocolate cake mix (baked according to instructions on package)
1 can sweetened and condensed milk
Cool Whip for topping
5 Butterfinger candy bars
1 jar caramel topping
Chocolate syrup

Bake the cake according to package directions and in a 13 x 9 inch
pan. When it's done, and while it's still hot, punch holes in the
cake and pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top making sure
some of it sinks in the holes.
Do the same with the caramel ice cream topping.
Sprinkle on some of the broken candy pieces.
When it's cool, spread the Cool Whip topping on the top, and then
sprinkle the rest of the broken bars. Then drizzle more caramel all
over and then drizzle chocolate syrup all over in zig zags.
Hint! Put all your candy bars in the freezer. When you're ready to
use them, take them from the freezer. Leave the wrappers on and take
a mallet or a hammer and smash them inside the wrappers. Keep cool
until you need them.

***Jayne posted her recipe on her blog so I can verify this is the recipe her family uses.

And let me say again.......This cake is good, good, good and even better the next day after all the sweetened and condensed milk, caramel sauce, and chocolate syrup has soaked in.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cincinnati Chili

I'm not a big chili fan. I like a bowl every now and again but since it is just R and myself a pot of chili can last in the refrigerator for almost a week. Neither of us like a very spicy chili so I won't give you my recipe since it very basic.

R mentioned the other day that he thought a bowl of chili sounded good. More than likely he had just come inside from shoveling yet again and a warm bowl of chili can work wonders on warming you up. I checked the cupboard and did not have the needed ingredients on hand so I made something else. I was thumbing through the cookbook Campbell's Simply Delicious when I noticed a recipe for Cincinnati Chili. I read the recipe and decided I'd give it a try. For those of you who have never heard of Cincinnati Chili, it is chili served on a bed of spaghetti.
I'll give it a thumbs up. I put a dollop of low fat sour cream on mine......yummy. I bet Johnny Fever would agree that this is a go to recipe when you've got yourself a case of munchies.

Baby, if you've ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, WKRP.

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking,
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be,
But baby think of me once in awhile.

I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Today's Theme is Owosso Michigan

In keeping with the Owosso Michigan theme I will post about what I found kitchen wise in Owosso.

Although my original intent of finding the remaining 2 cookbooks netted zero Time Life Good Cook cookbooks, I still walked away with 5 cookbooks and a really cool pie bird.

The Fresh Fruit Desserts cookbook looks like it has several very promising recipes, but then I never met a dessert I didn't like.Here is the pie bird, isn't he cute? When I explained what it was to R he said, "why didn't they just make several slits in the crust to let the steam out?" Ahhh....damn him. So just a minute while I look that up.......OK I'm back. Seems that the pie bird not only let out steam but also supports the delicate crust so it doesn't sag. Here's a link about pie birds.

Don't forget to check out my house and garden blogs for today's posts about my Owosso trip.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Corn Chowder with Wild Rice and Ham

I found the basic recipe for this in a Betty Crocker booklet but I tweaked it a little. This soup is a hearty winter soup and very easy to make. Enjoy.

Corn Chowder with Wild Rice and Ham

2 cans of cream of potato soup
2 small cans of sliced mushrooms drained
2 C chicken broth
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (not fast cooking type)
1 can whole corn drained
1 C sliced carrots
2 thick slices of ham (diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
1 small onion
2 T butter

In a dutch oven melt butter. Add chopped onions and sliced carrots cook until slightly softened. Add chicken broth, mushrooms, potato soup, ham, and corn. Cook over medium until carrots are soft. In separate pot prepared wild rice according to instructions on box. When rice is fully cooked add to soup mixture. Stir occasionally until carrots are fully cooked. Salt and pepper (white pepper) to taste. Should serve 8 easily.

Hint...If soup needs thickening, you can do so by adding 2 T of potato flakes at a time until soup is thick enough. Allow time for flakes to thicken before adding more.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Soft Caramels with Walnuts and Sea Salt

This was my first attempt at candy making and I was successful!!! Yea me!!!

Soft Caramels with Walnuts and Sea Salt

2 C heavy cream
1/2 C water
1/2 C sweetened and condensed milk
2 C light corn syrup
2 C white sugar
1/2 C butter

Combine cream and sweetened and condensed milk in a pot and place on burner set on low to warm mixture. In large pot combine corn syrup, water, and sugar. Stir occasionally and allow to boil until it reaches a temperature of 250 degrees F (med heat setting). Once mixture reaches 250 degrees add slices of butter and the warm cream and sweetened and condensed milk mixture. Stir constantly until mixture reaches 244 degrees F. Remove from burner and stir in chopped walnuts. Pour mixture in 8 X 8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper. Top mixture with coarse sea salt. Set aside to cool. Once caramel mixture has reached room temperature you can place pan in refrigerator for minimum of 12 hours.

Use the parchment paper to lift caramel out of pan. Cut into 1 inch squares and wrap in wax paper.
Enjoy.....these are just too good for words.