Creamy Custard Sauce

custardsauceThis is basic, simple and sublime.

It should be a staple in your kitchen because it is so versatile. It is magnificent over pound cake, angel food cake, or most any other cake you might have.

It makes a perfect complement to a dish of fresh fruit of most any kind.

It turns mundane into elegant in a tablespoon or two.

Did I mention that it was easy?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2+1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy medium sauce pot. Whisk in the milk and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until just hot.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs and stir vigorously.
  3. Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the sauce pot and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until the custard begins to thicken.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour the custard through a strainer (if you like) and into a small pitcher or gravy boat. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

SERVES: makes 3 cups

NOTES: Make it!!

SOURCE: SouthernPlate

 

 

 

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This is NOT Your Mother’s Pound Cake!

Buttermilk Pound Cake with Buttermilk Custard SaucePound cake.

You know what I mean. You are a guest, and the hostess brings out the dessert, and you realize it’s pound cake.

You try very hard not to frown. You smile gloriously all the while wishing you hadn’t saved room for it.

For everyone knows that pound cake is dry, tasteless, and only the base for some sauce or coulis of fresh berries. I mean seriously, nobody LIKES pound cake for itself.

WRONG.

You just haven’t met this recipe yet.

It will make you weep it’s so most and so sweet and so beautiful. And you will put on the custard sauce (recipe to follow), and then you will get down on your knees and thank the Almighty that you lived long enough to taste this.

It is really, really that good. I love it plain. I eat it for dessert and for breakfast. I love it. I would sleep in it, if there were enough. It’s like ambrosia. It’s the best you will ever eat, I swear.

Okay, so go make this.

It is simple and is an old-fashioned no-leavening recipe. It’s called Aunt Sue’s Famous Pound Cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whipping cream (also known as Heavy Cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Grease and flour tube (or bundt) pan and set out eggs and butter to allow them to come to room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Sift the flour and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the whipping cream. Mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 300 and bake for 80-90 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.

SERVES: 16

NOTES: I live at altitude, so I found that I needed a hotter oven and even longer to bake. Don’t worry, it still comes out fine. Since there is no leavening, it’s really important that you take the time to beat the eggs in thoroughly one at a time. Therein lies all your volume.

SOURCE: The Southern Plate

OVEN TEMP: 300°

OVEN TIME: 60-90 minutes or longer as needed.

 

Molasses Friendly Cookies

molasses-cookiesThese are as basic as you get. Good old molasses cookies.

Easy to put together, easier to finish off as the dough can be stored in the fridge for a few days and baked when you have the time.

This bake up hard, so they make perfect dippers. Think biscotti.

Wonderful with coffee in the morning.

So dig out that jar of molasses and get cooking!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, shortening, egg, and molasses until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves; stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.
  2. Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls; roll each ball in granulated sugar.  Place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for a total of 9 – 12 minutes. Part way through baking (see times below), gently shake the cookie sheet and lightly press down on the tops of the baking cookies to produce a crinkled, cracked surface. {FOR LOTS OF SMALL CRINKLES: press cookies down after about 5 minutes of baking.  FOR LARGER CRINKLES: Press cookies down after about 7 1/2 minutes of baking.  Then continue baking until the total baking time of 9 – 12 minutes is done.}

SERVES: 2 1/2 dozen

NOTES: I imagine you can freeze this dough as well. I left it over night and baked the next day with no problems at all. I split the difference in the cooking time and removed and mushed them down at 6 minutes. Worked just fine.

SOURCE: The Kitchen is My Playground

OVEN TEMP: 375°

OVEN TIME: 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, shortening, egg, and molasses until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves; stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.
  2. Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls; roll each ball in granulated sugar.  Place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for a total of 9 – 12 minutes. Part way through baking (see times below), gently shake the cookie sheet and lightly press down on the tops of the baking cookies to produce a crinkled, cracked surface. {FOR LOTS OF SMALL CRINKLES: press cookies down after about 5 minutes of baking.  FOR LARGER CRINKLES: Press cookies down after about 7 1/2 minutes of baking.  Then continue baking until the total baking time of 9 – 12 minutes is done.}

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls)

Read more at http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2013/11/molasses-crinkles.html#G4RwTMUwevCg8HYD.99

Oh What a Porky Spicy Soup

Pork-Sausage-Corn-SoupB-thumb-518xauto-368984It was kind of embarrassing how darn fast we scarfed up this soup. I mean seriously, it was so very good.

I added a  bit to the spicy factor, and we couldn’t get enough. Until we couldn’t stuff another spoonful in that is.

It’s got all my favorites, tomatoes and green chiles and pasta along with the onions and sweet peppers.

If it’s cold where you live, this is a great, come in out of the cold kinda meal. Add some cornbread and you are set.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large green pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, roasted, and diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 4-6 cups low-sodium homemade or store bought chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh-shucked corn kernels
  • 1 cup small, uncooked pasta, such as shells

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the pork sausage, breaking up as much as you can.
  2. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until translucent and softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, corn, and balance of ingredients except for the pasta.
  4. Cook on low simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Add the pasta and continue until pasta is al dente.
  6. You may have to add more stock as the pasta sucks up some of the liquid.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: you can vary the sausage to any type you like of course, and add more or less of the chiles depending on how much heat you want. You can add some Parmesan cheese at the table if desired.

SOURCE: Adapted from Serious Eats

Mexican Hashbrown Casserole

mexcassWell, are you tired of holiday cooking? If you are, and you just want to curl up with some totally great comfort food, or as my husband calls it “gruel”?, well continue reading, because this is the recipe for you.

A lovely Mexicany dish that you can add and subtract from as the mood strikes you. It does violate my rule sort of since it calls for a can of tomato soup, but you could just as easily use a can of tomato sauce if you would like to be more “real”.

I did add some variations to the recipe, and of course you should too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 c of sweet red pepper diced
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 2 Hatch or Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled and diced
  • Mexican spice mix (chili powder, garlic granulated, cumin,  salt, pepper, Mexican oregano) about 1 tbsp of the chili powder and 1 or 1/2 tsp each of the others.
  • 2 cups grated cheese, divided
  • 3 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 can tomato soup or can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c of chopped cilantro
  • about 2/3 of a 30 oz. bag of hash browns

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the meat, along with the sweet pepper, chili peppers and onion, until meat is no longer pink and the veggies are softened.
  2. Add the seasonings and stir.
  3. Add the cream cheese and the soup. Stir until the cream cheese has melted and the whole thing is quite creamy.
  4. Add the cilantro and stir in.
  5. Add the corn and half the shredded cheese.
  6. Pour the mixture into a baking dish about 9 x 13.
  7. Spread the hash browns over the top.
  8. Cover with the rest of the cheese
  9. Bake in a 375° oven for about 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
  10. Serve with taco chips or warmed tortillas along with avocado, sour cream, and salsa if you wish.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: cheeses can include cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican variety.

SOURCE: The Midnight Baker as adapted.

 

Sherry’s Holiday Dressing

stuffing-ck-1120272-lI had been using an Italian type stuffing for a few years but I grew tired of it.

So back to the drawing board. Certain things were staples to me in a dressing: celery, giblets, bread of course. And I looked at a ton of recipes, recalling my own basic one as well, and then came up with what turned out to be a truly good dressing.

We certainly loved it and I hope you will to. Give it a try for Christmas or any other holiday. It’s baked outside the bird, so it’s adaptable to recipes that don’t include a bird. You can substitute the giblets by simply buying a pint of gizzards and hearts at the grocery.

Bonus is that you can make a lot of this ahead of time and just throw it together and bake it on the actual holiday with little additional fuss.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 loaf of Italian bread, sliced, cubed and dried. (slice and leave on cookie sheets for one day, then tear or slide into cubes and leave another day)
  • about half of the giblets from your turkey (use the other half for the gravy)
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 lg carrot
  • 1 medium onion
  • about 1/2 c of fresh herbs (sage, thyme, parsley, oregano, rosemary) minced
  • 1/3 lb of pork sausage
  • 2/3 of an 8 oz container of mushrooms (button is fine) sliced
  • 1/2 c of pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 c dried cherries, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • as much chicken stock as needed to dampen the bread, so that when pressed with a spoon, you can see the juice, about 3-4 cups
  • 3 tbsp cubed cold butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Making the giblets: Place everything but the liver into a saucepan. Add a bouquet of fresh herbs (the same as above, a couple of sprigs of each). Add 1/2 tsp of salt (if your chicken broth is unsalted, otherwise 1/4 tsp). Add 10 peppercorns, crushed. Add a chunk of onion and one clove of garlic crushed. Add broth just to cover. Simmer for about an hour, and then let cool as is. Remove the giblets, chop, dividing in half for the dressing and the rest for gravy. Place the dressing half into a larger plastic container and set aside.
  2. In a saute pan, place the pork sausage and begin browning, breaking it up into small pieces.
  3. As the meat is nearly cooked, add chopped onion, carrot and celery and mushrooms and saute until just softened.
  4. Add to the giblets container and refrigerate until ready to mix everything together and bake. (I don’t recommend you mix the entire recipe and refrigerate. It will make for a gluier dressing than I like)
  5. When you are nearly ready to bake: put the bread in a large 12 x 16 or so, baking dish. Add the fresh herbs to the container of giblets and veggies and stir, then spread contents on top of the bread. Mix gently.
  6. Add the butter and mix again, just to distribute.
  7. Add the pecans and cherries, scattering on the top.
  8. Pour over the entire casserole the stock, pressing down with a spoon periodically until you can see liquid. Then stop.
  9. Bake in a 375° oven for about 40 minutes, covered. Check at the 30 minute mark and if it is bubbly, or obviously hot, then take out or reduce just to keep it warm until ready to eat. (temperature can be varied depending on other sides you may be cooking at the same time–adjust your cooking time accordingly.)

SERVES: 12

NOTES: You can vary this as suits your own family and tastes. You can make it soggier if you like a stickier dressing. You can eliminate the butter if you like it drier. Vary the pork sausage to a spicier type, use Italian sausage, or frankly use a regular harder sausage chopped up. Add bacon (previously cooked and crumbled). You can substitute dried cranberries for the cherries, or use a variety of raisins instead. Substitute walnuts or almonds for the pecans.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

OVEN TEMP: 375°

OVEN TIME: 40 min.

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Roasted Squash and Shallots

roastedsquashshallotI adore winter squash. I love it in the traditional way, baked and scooped out and salted and peppered and buttered with a bit of cream to enrich it gloriously.

But I love it roasted as well, bringing out the natural sweetness in the oven. I found this recipe, and changed it slightly, and we had it as a Thanksgiving side and, well, let’s just say, that none of it went to waste.

Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced fairly small (1/2 -3/4-inch cubes)
  • 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the squash in a plastic bag and add enough olive oil to get them all covered, and then turn  onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast at 425° until fork tender. This will take maybe 30 minutes. I would turn with a spatula about every 10 minutes, so that you get a lot of charring.
  2. In a saute pan, add the 2 tbsp olive oil and saute the shallots, letting them caramelize. Stir often and keep the heat at medium so they don’t burn.
  3. When done, mix together one tablespoon of the olive oil, the mustard, maple syrup and salt and pepper together.
  4. Place the squash and shallots in a serving dish, and pour the dressing over and mix lightly to distribute.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: You could use sweet potatoes (as the recipe called for) or any other winter squash that you really like. Also you could use regular onions instead of the shallots. You might also consider adding some toasted walnuts or pecans to the dish.

SOURCE: Inspired by Rachelcooks.

OVEN TEMP:425°

OVEN TIME: 30 minutes