Friday, December 9, 2016

BETTER THAN MOM's PECAN TASSIES

Everyone seems to have their own favorite Pecan Tassie recipe, but the crust in 99% of the recipes out there is the same..... flour, butter and cream cheese.

This year, I added just a little extra something to the crust part of the recipe and it made a HUGE difference to the overall cookie, they were a big hit.

Tassie Crust
1 cup butter (room temperature)
6 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and cream cheese (with electric mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Add rest of the ingredients and beat until the dough comes cleanly away from the inside walls of your mixing bowl. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for one hour.


Tassie Filling
3 large eggs3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Beat the eggs until very well mixed and lemon colored. Stir in everything else.


ASSEMBLYRoll pastry into 1 inch balls and place them into an ungreased mini-muffin pan. Using your fingers, press the balls of dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides. (I use the floured end of my rolling pin to press the dough into place instead of my fingers). Put a few chopped pecans in the bottom of each pastry shell and top with about a tablespoon of filling. (see note)

Bake in pre-heated 375F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set, yet still a little soft in the center. Remove from oven and sit the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before you try to lift them out. Lift tassies out of pan and cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: Keep in mind that the filling puffs a little as it bakes, so don't overfill the unbaked shells. If you overfill them, they will be harder to get out. For those stubborn Tassies that want to stick, just use the tip of a knife to help you lift them out of the pan.

Monday, October 10, 2016

EASY NO KNEAD ENGLISH MUFFINS

This recipe is SO easy that it would make a great weekend cooking project for that kid in the family that is a "wanna-be" chef. There are several steps, but they are all EASY.


You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup milk 
2 teaspoons KOSHER salt(kosher measures different than table salt)
1 envelope of yeast
yellow corn meal
6  large mason jar rings

In a large bowl, mix:

1 cup all purpose flour (you'll use other cup later)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (not regular salt)
1 envelope yeast (I buy it in bulk, so I use 1 tablespoon)

In a smaller, microwave safe bowl, mix:

1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Microwave the milk-oil for 1 minute. Take it out of the microwave and stir it, then test it with your finger. It should feel nice and warm, but  NOT hot (I call it baby bottle warm).

Stir the milk-oil into the dry  mixture, until everything is very well mixed, then add ONE MORE cup of flour and stir until WELL mixed. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm part of your kitchen for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, it will look puffy like this:


Stir the air out of the dough (it will be very sticky). 

Preheat your dry (no grease) electric fry pan to 250°. Now here is a hint: everyone's fry pans cook at different rates, so cook ONE "test muffin" to see if you need to turn your heat up a little or down  a little. You want the muffin to look nice and golden when you flip it over after 5 minutes, like this:

 My electric fry pan is perfect at 250°.

Now you are ready to make the rest of the muffins. Spray the inside of the jar rings with vegetable spray (these are going to be your English muffin molds). Set them on your PRE-HEATED dry electric fry pan and sprinkle a little corn meal in the circle before you put the dough in.

Spoon batter into ring molds (it's pretty thick and sticky at this stage). I used about 1 1/4 large ice cream scoops of dough for each muffin.

When all 6 rings have dough in in them, put a lid on the fry pan, but cock it sideways so that it doesn't cover the whole pan. If your fry pan doesn't have a lid, you can cover it with a cookie sheet, but make sure the cookie sheet doesn't touch the muffins.

Cook at 250° for five minutes, then (before you flip it over) sprinkle a little corn meal onto the top of the muffin and then GENTLY flip it over (ring and all).

NOTE: It isn't absolutely necessary, but a Teflon pan works great for these muffins.


Put the lid back on the pan (leaving it open a little) and cook for another five minutes.  Remove from rings (they slide right out) and put the muffin on a baking rack to cool.


Cool completely, then split them open with a fork. To do this, insert the fork into the side of the muffin, half way between top and bottom. Twist the fork JUST A LITTLE, then remove it. Repeat this all the way around the muffin. When you get back to the place where you started, the muffin should just come apart.  Just make sure you do this AFTER the muffin is completely cooled.

To serve, toast in toaster or under broiler until light golden.

If you don't have mason jar lids, you can use anything (that can withstand heat) that is about the same size.


ENJOY !!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

CHILI and CORNBREAD WAFFLES

This idea came to me years ago when I was trying to think up something "new" for dinner. It is one of those recipes that you can customize any way you like. Lots of fresh avocado? sour cream? fresh tomatoes? lettuce? Whatever "go withs" your heart desires.

Picky-picky husband hates spicy food, so this recipe (using 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper) is quite mild. If you like more "heat" you can add your "heat of choice" during the simmering stage.


CHILI
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tomato cans of water
6 ounce can tomato paste

3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp. good for younger kids)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounce can mild green chiles (I use Ortega brand)
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans
Brown the ground beef and drain off all but a tablespoon or so of fat. Sautee the onions (in the fat) for a few minutes or until they smell sweet. Add the garlic and sautee another minute or so.

Add everything else and stir well. Simmer slowly (without a cover)for about an hour. You can also put it in the Crockpot at this stage and cook on low all afternoon if that suits your schedule better.


NOTE: If you simmer it all afternoon in the Crockpot, make sure you crack the lid open just a little by inserting a spoon just under the edge of the lid. This helps the chili thicken as it simmers.

CORNBREAD WAFFLES
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the bowels and stir till well blended.

Preheat your waffle iron and spray it with vegetable spray. Put between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of batter in waffle iron and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.

If you like crispy waffles under your chili, you can pop the baked waffles in the oven for a few minutes at about 250° and they will crisp up nicely.

To serve, top the warm waffle with hot chili and then go to town with whatever toppings you like. We like it simple with shredded cheddar and sour cream.

ENJOY !!!