Thursday, July 31, 2008


Our tomato crop was less than spectacular this year. One plant was lost to blossom end rot, another to deer. We have yet to harvest a tomato. But the peppers are another story. The plants are thriving: paprika, hot reds and sweet green bells. We've been giving them away and using them and drying them in the attic. I subbed our fresh paprika peppers for the dried in this recipe, and also subbed one of our hot red peppers for the pickled jalapeno. I had half a jar of chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce left, and I subbed that for the chipotle chile powder. This is
a good recipe, one that I'll use again.
We thoroughly enjoyed the pulled pork sandwiches; I froze the leftovers in small containers so we can have them again without all the fuss.
My thanks to (Simply Recipes) for this great recipe!

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Rating 8 out of 10
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pickled jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. Chipotle chile powder
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. paprika
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 bay leaf
3 lbs. of pork butt shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat
Hamburger buns

Puree all of the sauce ingredients (everything except the bay leaf, the pork and the buns) in a blender until smooth. If you have extra time, marinate the pork in the sauce overnight or for several hours before cooking.
Put sauce, bay leaft and pork into a large pot and add 1 quart of water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, coverd, turning frequently, for 2 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. Remove from heat and cool pork in the sauce. When cool, remove the pork from the sauce and shred into small pieces. Set aside.
Reduce the sauce by two thirds. Add the pork back to the sauce. Salt to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve hot over open-face hamburger buns.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Company for dinner Sunday night gave me an excuse to make a new dessert. Well, not really new.  This is an oldie but goodie, from McCall's Book of Cakes and Pies, circa 1965. There are some things that just can't be improved upon. This is one of them. A sweet lemonny cookie crust with a cinammon-flavored cheesecake filling, topped with fresh juicy peaches and pureed peach preserves. It doesn't get much better. Peaches and Cream. We all loved it --- again.

This dessert will only be as good as its ingredients. Taste the peaches to be sure they are sweet and juicy
before you go to the trouble of making this. This year, it seems the peaches are better than ever, extra-large and very juicy. And, BTW, if you use extra-large peaches, you will get a different design on the top than if you use a medium-sized peach.  Take a look at the top photo with the fluted edges. That's from the cookbook. Do you see how the center section is larger than mine? That's because my peaches were so large, they took up more room, leaving a small center. I didn't try to flute the edges because the dough was very short, and it was just easier not to. Have it your way -- fluted or not, but make this pie. It's a winner.

Peach Cream Pie Glace`
Rating: 9 out of 10

Cookie Crust Pie Shell:
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla. Mix pastry, with hands, until well blended. Pat evenly in 9" pie plate; make a small edge on rim (or not -- I didn't). Refrigerate.

12 oz. soft Neufchatel cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla paste or vanilla
2 extra-large fresh ripe peaches (about 1-3/4 lb.)
1/2 cup peach preserves, purchased or homemade

Preheat oven to 375F.   In small bowl of electric mixer, at medium speed, beat cheese until light and fluffy. At low speed, beat in sugar, eggs, and cinnamon until smooth.   Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is just about set in center. Cool completely on wire rack.

Wash peaches; peel. Halve peaches; remove pits and slice. Arrange sliced peaches over cooled filling.
In small saucepan, combine peach preserves with 2 tsp. water. Cook, stirring, over low heat, until preserves are melted. Press preserve mixture through sieve, to puree. Spoon evenly over peach slices.  Refrigerate 1 hour, or until well chilled.  Makes 8 servings.


Since I didn't have any peach preserves for my Peach Cream Pie Glace`, but I did have plenty of nice, juicy South Carolina peaches, I made my own peach preserves. This turned out really good. Not too sweet, and very fruity.

Judy's Low-Sugar Peach Preserves

2 cups of chopped peaches or puree
1 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. dark corn syrup
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a 1-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low-boil and stir often to keep bottom from scorching. Cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or longer, until mixture is thickened. Pour into glass jar. Makes about 1 pint.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The fifth-place winner in Morning Call's Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest is interesting. I've never tried cream cheese in a chocolate chip cookie. I am wondering if the cookie comes out flaky. I would like to try these, but can't because I'm on a weight-loss program. My 50th high-school reunion is coming up in November and I don't want to go to it looking like an overweight senior. My list of cookies to make when I get off this kick is so long, I fear I'll never get to these. So if you make these, please do come back and leave a comment letting us know how they turned out. If they're really good, I may put them at the top of my list of cookies to bake after I slim down.

Melissa Marsh's Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
12 oz. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine cream cheese, butter and sugars. Blend in egg and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in chips. Grease cookie sheets and bake 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. (The recipe doesn't state how much dough to drop, or how many cookies the recipes makes.)


I have a prejudice against Crisco. I don't care if it's butter flavored or plain. I don't like tasting crisco in a cookie -- and I CAN taste it. So I'll not be making these. But for those of you who don't mind using Crisco, here's the recipe that won 4th place in the Morning Call's contest for new chocolate chip cookie recipes.

John Joseph Yanek's You Can't Have Just One Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick of butter-flavor Crisco
1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. organic honey
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. Kamora Coffee Liqueur
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (heaping) Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup (heaping) Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup (heaping) Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375F. Combine shortening and sugars in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in sour cream, honey, egg, vanilla and liqueur until mixture is blended and fluffy.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in another mixing bowl. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until just blended. Stir in chips. Drop slightly rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 2" apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minute, or till set. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove onto wire racks to finish cooling. Makes about 7 doz. cookies.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I found this recipe on, and it sounded so good. Trouble is it called for buttermilk, and I didn't have any. I decided to sub lite sour cream, and it worked well until the chicken went in the oven. It just didn't crisp up. And that might also be because I eliminated the egg wash, thinking the sour cream coating would carry the chicken. Big mistake. It's not that it tasted bad. The flavor was excellent. It just wasn't crispy. So instead of giving you my "adjustments," I'm going to give you the recipe as it appears on the website. I will try this again -- without substitutions next time.

Cornmeal-Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. salt, divided use
1-1/2 tsp. cayenne, divided use
3-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 tsp. paprika
an egg wash made by beating 2 large eggs with 2 Tbsp. cold water + 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, zest, lemon juice, oil, shallots, thyme, 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. cayenne. Add the chicken, stirring to coat it with the marinade, and let it marinate, covered in fridge, 3 hours or overnight, stirring it occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425F. In another large bowl, combine cornmeal, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, remaining 1 tsp. salt, paprika, and remaining 1/2 tsp. cayenne. Remove chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon, letting the excess marinade drip off. Dip it in the egg wash, and dredge it in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off the excess. Arrange the chicken in one layer on a rack and let it dry for 30 minutes. The chicken may be prepared up to this point 6 hours in advance and kept covered loosely and chilled. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, in one layer in a lightly oiled jelly-roll pan, drizzling the butter over it, and bake it in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes, or until it is crisp and golden. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain. Serve the chicken warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I never buy shrimp already cooked;
IMHO, it has no flavor whatsoever. Another thing I don't buy is farm-raised shrimp. No flavor. I buy local wild-caught shrimp.
For the utmost in flavor, always cook the shrimp in its shell, because the shell helps to flavor the water. However, I don't do that. I like the veins out of the shrimp before it's cooked, because they're full of pollutants. But anyone who tastes my shrimp says it's full of flavor and delicious. Here's how I do it:
Judy's Best Boiled Shrimp
1 stalk celery with leaves
1 small onion
1 carrot
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 hot pepper
a few sprigs fresh parsley
2 tsp. Old Bay or Chesapeake Bay seasoning
1 cup drinking quality white wine, or beer (optional)
1 lb. fresh or frozen wild-caught shrimp
Chop all the veggies coarsely. Add to a 3-quart pot with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat; add seasoning and wine or beer (if using). Bring back to a boil; cover; reduce heat enough so that the water maintains a slow boil; cook for 20-25 minutes.
Turn heat back to high and bring pot to a rapid boil. Add shrimp; let pot come back to a boil; turn heat off. If you are using small enough shrimp, it will be done; if they are larger, they may take another 30 seconds or so to finish cooking. Drain the pot and add ice cubes if necessary to stop cooking quickly. You don't want to overcook the shrimp, and it gets done amazingly fast. Remember it will continue to cook after it comes out of the pot if it stays hot. So either cool it down quickly with the ice cubes, or let it finish cooking if you think it needs to. If you're not familiar with cooking shrimp, it might take you a few times to get used to it. I kind of just know now when it's done and whether I need to cool it down with ice cubes.
You can serve these shrimp, chilled, with a nice sauce; or use it for a shrimp salad. Or checkout an amazing crab-shrimp salad over at my other blog,
If you have any questions about this recipe, just leave a comment at the end of this post, and I'll answer you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Culinary Joe (, had this recipe on his blog. The cherries looked so good. (His photos were better; I need a new camera; sigh.) When I got right down to it, I had to make some changes.
First, the crust -- I wanted a chocolate shortbread crust simply because I wanted to use up my flour rather than buy something new; namely the chocolate graham crackers.

Secondly, the cheesecake -- his called for sweetened condensed milk, but only for a small amount. Then I would have to deal with the leftovers. So, instead, I used the Hershey's chocolate cheesecake recipe. I added creme de cocoa to all three parts of the recipe -- the crust, the filling and the topping. Those were my major changes.

Bottom line: This is a delicious, delectable cheesecake. The filling tastes like a rich chocolate ice cream.

Black Forest Cherry Cheesecake, Adapted
Rating: 8 out of 10

Crust: 1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp. creme de cocoa

Mix all ingredients by hand. Using fingers, work the butter into the dough. Pat dough on bottom and partway up sides of 8" springform pan.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 15-20
minutes, or just till set. Cool completely
on wire rack.
Topping: 1-1/4 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-1/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. creme de cocoa
About 20-25 cherry halves

In work bowl of food processor, combine first 5 ingredients. Pulse till smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, till mixture boils. Boil slowly for several minutes, till mixture thickens. (I cooked mine about 10 minutes to intensify the cherry flavor a little.) Remove from heat and stir in the creme de cocoa. Cool completely. Reserve the cherry halves for the top of the cake.

2 (8-oz.) pkgs. Neufchatel cheese
1-1/2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lite sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla)
1 tsp. creme de cocoa
2 Tbsp. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 425F. In work bowl of food processor, combine cheese, chocolate, sugar and sour cream. Pulse till cream cheese is smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Mixture may still have some chocolate bits. Add in eggs, one at a time, pulsing till smooth after each addition. Add vanila, creme de cocoa, cocoa, and cornstarch and pulse just till combined. Pour over cooled crust and bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Without opening oven door, reduce temperature to 250F and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, or till cheesecake is almost, but not completely, set. Transfer to a wire rack, away from drafts, and allow cheesecake to cool completely.

Spoon cooled topping over cooled cheesecake, spreading to cover entire top, within 1 inch from outer edges. Place the halved cherries over the topping. (Some cocoa whipped cream piped around the outer edges of the top of the cake would be a nice garnish.)

Refrigerate cheesecake overnight before cutting and serving. Yield: 8-10 servings

Friday, July 25, 2008


Southern Living calls this a cobbler, but in reality, it's more like a crisp. There is no liquid in the batter; therefore, there are no characteristic dumplings on top of the fruit. Instead, there is a crispy, crunchy batter that is quite nice. Everyone who tasted this liked it a lot. SL made this recipe for blackberries; I adapted it for blueberries and raspberries; but any berry could be used, or a mixture. I added the jam and changed the all-purpose flour to a mixture of whole wheat and self-rising.

Southern Living's Easy Berry Cobbler, Adapted
Rating: 8 out of 10
3 cups blueberries
1 cup raspberries
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. seedless red raspberry jam (or blueberry jam or blackberry jam)
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375F. Place berries in a lightly greased 8" square baking dish (or a 2-quart Pyrex round baking dish). Stir lemon juice and jam together in small dish and spoon over berries. In medium bowl, stir together remaining ingredients, except butter, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit. Drizzle 6 Tbsp. melted butter over topping. Bake 25-30 minutes or till lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream, ice cream, or Cool Whip. Garnish with fresh mint sprig, if desired. Makes 6 servings. Prep: 10 min., Bake 30 min., Stand: 10 min.

*For a neat presentation, bake for the same amount of time in 6 (8-oz.) ramekins on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I saw Giada make this on the Food Network, and retrieved the recipe from their website. I adapted the ingredients to a small batch, because I just wanted to try it out; but I'm printing the full recipe below because this is really, really good, and I'll make it again. This would make a great appetizer for company.

Don't get confused with the polenta. You can use any coarse-ground cornmeal. Don't use fine ground. Medium ground might work, but polenta is like grits; it's very coarse. That's where you'll get the crunch. Don't buy the polenta tubes that are pre-made polenta. You'll want the dry polenta, or grits, or coarse-ground cornmeal.

Polenta-Crusted Shrimp with Mustard and Herb Mayonnaise
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentis, 2008
Rating: 8 out of 10

Mustard and Herb Mayonnaise:
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise (I used Smart Balance Lite)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used Lite)
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I subbed basil)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (I subbed green onion)

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Polenta-Crusted Shrimp:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups dry polenta
2 tsp. paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I used the equivalent of 1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme)
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail left on
3-4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 475F. Cover a heavy-duty baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour eggs into anothr small bowl. Mix together the polenta, paprika and thyme in a medium bowl. Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour. Shake off excess. Dip flour-dredged shrimp into eggs, then coat with polenta mixture. Drizzle the shrimp, on both side, with the oil. Place shrimp on prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until crisp and golden. Sprinkle with kosher salt, if desired.

Serve immediately with the Mustard and Herb Mayonnaise.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Another lost photo -- I wiped out the entire camera by mistake. This recipe is courtesy of It's supposed to be peach salsa, but I didn't have any peaches, so I subbed mango, which I did have. The salsa is absolutely delicious and goes so well with the tuna. The tuna can be pan-grilled, as the recipe calls for, or you can do it on a charcoal or gas grill, which is how I do it. Any leftover tuna is great cut up on a green salad or made into a tuna salad.

Grilled Tuna with Mango Salsa

Salsa: 1/2 cup diced mango (or peach)
1/4 cup diced tomato
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion
1 Tbsp. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. minced hot pepper
1/2 Tbsp. cilantro
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. grated fresh garlic
1 tsp. orange juice concentrate
dash black pepper
2 tsp. honey

Combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl, adjusting sweetness and flavorings to your liking. Refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Gingered-Lime Marinade:
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. liquid hot sauce
1/2 tsp. grated garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. minced green onion

Combine all marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Add 1/2 lb. tuna medallions or tuna steak; massage to distribute ingredients; reseal bag; refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

Preheat gas grill to 400-425F. Grill tuna about 8 minutes per inch, turning once. Tuna should be cooked medium rare for best results -- in other words, it should be very pink inside. And don't worry, you won't get some rare disease by eating medium rare tuna.
Yield: 2 servings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The photo for this dish was accidentally deleted from my camera from, guess who -- clumsy me.

Guy and I both loved the flavors of this dish, though the pork was a bit tough. The inside of the chops, nearer the bone, were tender and moist; but the outer edges were tough. I think it's because I didn't sew the pocket shut. Sewing it shut would have distributed the heat more evenly over the chop, similar to tying up a chicken before roasting so the white meat cooks the same as the dark meat. I thought I could take a shortcut, but for some things there are no shortcuts. So in the recipe below, I've added that instruction in and when I make these again (and I will) I will be sure to do that.

Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffing: 1 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread
3/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
dash pepper
1/4 cup drinking-quality white wine
1-1/2 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

In heavy skillet, on medium heat, melt the SB and add the onion, salt and pepper. Saute, uncovered for a few minutes, then turn heat to high; add the wine; let it bubble for a minute; reduce heat to low and cover for about 5 minutes. Uncover skillet and continue to cook onions, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, till they begin to caramelize. The longer you cook them, the more caramelization. When you get them the way you want them, take the skillet off the heat and let the onions cool thoroughly. When thoroughly cool, mix in the cheese; set aside.

Marinade: 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce + 1/2 tsp. sauce from can
1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine all marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic gallon-size bag. Add 2 center-cut
1-1/2" thick pork chops with pockets* to bag. Massage to distribute ingredients well. Seal; refrigerate for several hours. (*Have your butcher do this, or do it yourself by using a sharp knife to cut a pocket.)

When ready to cook chops, preheat gas grill to 400 - 425F. Remove chops from marinade; stuff each chop with half of the stuffing mixture. Skewer the pocket shut with toothpicks. Grill the chops, approx. 7-8 minutes each side, until done. (I cut near the bone to test for doneness.) Let chops rest for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 2 servings

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I made the most amazing dish of leftovers the other night, I just had to tell you about it. I had some rotisserie chicken and some broccoli-tomato salad hanging out in my fridge, waiting to be noticed. I sauteed 1 small clove of minced garlic and about 1/3 cup of chopped onion in 1 Tbsp. of Smart Balance buttery spread for a few minutes. I added 1/3 cup of low-sodium chicken broth along with 1/2 cup of cooked chopped chicken, and turned the heat up so it could boil. Then I added 1/4 cup of cous cous and the remains of my broccoli-tomato salad with the vinaigrette and the juices, covered and removed from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. It was delicious!

Friday, July 18, 2008


I love lamb chops. Not the shoulder chops -- they're for braising. The lamb chops that are like little T-bone steaks, cut 1-1/2" thick and grilled till rare. IMHO, they are better than steak. They're not cheap, but oh, are they good and worth the extra bucks.

Lamb chops don't need a lot of embellishment to make them good. The flavor is already built in. So they're a simple and quick entree to prepare. Most of the time, I just salt and pepper them and grill them. But this time, I did my "steak" trick with them. I coated them with some
EVOO and minced fresh garlic along with the salt and pepper and let them sit out at room temp for 15 minutes before grilling them. Perfection.

You don't need a recipe for this. Just be sure you only turn them once on the grill, and don't overcook them. I get the grill good and hot (425-450F) and turn the middle off. Be sure your grill maintains the hot temp after the middle is turned off. Put the chops on the turned off section. That way, they won't flare up and get too black. I do mine about 5 minutes each side, but it really depends on how thick the chops
are. Use a meat thermometer to
determine doneness. You want it to
register about 125F when you take them off. Remember, they'll keep cooking. Let them sit a few minutes while you get the last-minute things on the table. Then dig in and enjoy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I've been buying too many blueberries. It's because there are so many available, and I love blueberries. And the season is so short.

But the problem is I just can't eat them fast enough. I've frozen about 12 cups, and I'm sitting with 3 pints in my fridge.

It's not like I have a full house any more. It's just Guy and me, and we're trying to cut down on sweets. Well, I mean I'm trying to cut down on sweets. He doesn't eat sweets. But I made this cobbler anyway. It's partly because of the blueberry glut,
partly because I wanted to try a cobbler with whole grains,

but mainly because of this exquisite ice cream I bought. Harris Teeter had Dove Ice Cream on sale half price. And it just looked too good to pass up. Irresistably Raspberry is vanilla ice cream with raspberry sorbet, chunks of Dove chocolate, and a ganache of dark chocolate over the top. Now who could say no to that? And I thought it would go so well with the cobbler. I wasn't wrong.

This cobbler was delicious, and the

Dove Ice Cream was the perfect

complement. Guy liked it. And our friends, who I gave some to, also liked it.

I also found a nice 2-lb. bag of whole-grain cornmeal in our local Food Lion. I was surprised to see their new section for organics and whole grains. They have a wonderful selection of things I haven't seen anywhere else in our little town. Like the cornmeal. They actually had 3 different kinds to choose from. This cornmeal has a wonderful flavor and really made this
cobbler special.

Judy's Whole-Grain Blueberry Cobbler
Rating 10 out of 10
Filling: 4 cups blueberries
1/2 - 3/4 cup vanilla sugar (or plain)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
big pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Topping: 2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 egg (1-1/2 Tbsp. - 2 Tbsp.)
1/4 cup+2Tbsp. lite sour cream
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole-grain cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss to distribute. Let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a 9" square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Prepare topping: Whisk softened butter with sugar, egg, sour cream and cinnamon till smooth and well combined. On wax paper or in a small dish, combine the remaining dry ingredients, blending well. Add to egg mixture and whisk or stir with spatula only till just combined. Do not overmix.

Spoon berries into baking pan; spoon topping over berries. (Just drop in spoonfuls; don't worry about it being perfect -- it's a rustic cobbler.) Bake about 30-35 minutes, or till topping is done and berries are bubbling. Use a toothpick test to see if cobbler is done.

Serve warm with whipped cream, cool whip, or ice cream. Serves 4-6

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I haven't tested these, but they sound really good, and different.

Diane Toomey's Chocolate Chip Graham Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

For the top: 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter

For the garnish: 3 Tbsp. crushed peanut butter chips

Heat oven to 350F. In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In medium bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon. Slowly blend dry mixture into butter mixture until completely blended. Stir in 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips. Roll dough into 1-1/2" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten balls to about 1/2" thick. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, or till lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a small microwaveable bowl, microwave 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips and peanut butter on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Spread about 1 tsp. of mixture in center of cooled cookie. If desired, sprinkle crushed peanut butter chips on top of melted chocolate mixture. Makes about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Since I posted on the #2 winning recipe in the Morning Call Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe contest, a reader commented that the link in my post did not go to the Morning Call article as it was supposed to. I tried for more than 1/2 hour to find the article, but no matter how or where I searched, it was not to be found. Luckily, I printed the article out when I first read it, so as I have time, I'll post the other 3 winning recipes. Here's #1 to get us started, and as I stated in my previous post, I don't use Grape Nuts, so I won't be making these, although I'm sure they're great if they won first prize:

Jo Ann Sheesley's Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup old-fashioned or quick oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup Grape Nuts cereal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
12-oz. bag Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet mini chips

Combine flour, oats, cereal, baking soda and salt in one bowl. Combine butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla in another bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter/sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate 2 hrs. or overnight. Drop batter onto greased sheets or sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 10-12 min. Rotate sheets halfway through the baking time. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I have a great whole-grain blueberry cobbler recipe for you, but I'm short on time. Going to physical therapy twice a week is really cutting into my productivity. It's not just physical therapy, either, although that does take up about 2 hours of time. There's the mat work, the bike, the ball work, the bar work and three machines. Then you have to sit on a heating pad with the tens unit plugged into your trigger points for 1/2 hour. Then the doctor (physiatrist) gives you a myofascial deep tissue massage that hurts like crazy as he attempts to stretch the muscles that are causing all your pain. And you're not the only one there, so there is some waiting in between each segment. All in all, I leave the house at 10:35 and return home about 3PM, or after depending on where I am in the queue that day. The good news is that I am improving. The bad news is that I still have a lot of pain in my legs and neck. My shoulder was the original problem; but the doc found so many trigger points, he started working on all of them. I'll be so glad when I'm done and the muscles don't hurt any more. Anyway, here's my
easy recipe for today: Broccoli-Tomato Salad. I've been making this for many years, and it's one way I can get my fussy hubby to eat broccoli. This is fast, easy and delicious. It's also a make-ahead, so if you have it for company, you can make it in the morning. Our friend gave us some of his beautiful home-grown tomatoes, which we eagerly and thankfully accepted since we lost our first plants to blossom-end rot and our second plants were eaten by deer. So we are, sadly, tomato-less at the moment.
The amounts on this recipe are guesses, since I don't use a recipe for this, nor do I measure. So don't be afraid to wing it, either. Let your gut be your guide, because I don't think you can go far off.
Judy's Broccoli-Tomato Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups broccoli flowerets
2 cups chopped fresh tomato (peeled if skins are tough)
In medium bowl, whisk first 6 ingredients till well combined. Slowly drizzle olive oil in while continuing to whisk till mixture emulsifies. Set aside. In large bowl, combine broccoli and tomatoes. Pour some vinaigrette over the veggies, starting with 1/4 cup and adding just enough that you can mix it. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. The tomatoes will give off a lot of juices and flavor this even more. Stir it before serving, to mix the juices up. This is really good.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I was asked to bring "something green" to a neighbor's dinner party for 10. I was thinking roasted asparagus and red peppers with lemon garlic vinaigrette; but, alas, no decent asparagus could be had in this small town. Plan B was spinach salad, but I wanted something more. Spending time on the internet gave me ideas, but no recipe. The "more" was beets and fresh raspberries, though any fresh berry would work here. And I had to work to create my own recipe.
It seems everyone lately is using the baby beets: gold, yellow and red. I could only find one store with them, and the price was eyebrow raising; so I opted to use regular old plain beets. Beets are a very underused vegetable, one that I've not ignored. I love to grate them raw over a green salad. So the thought of roasting them interested me. Surely the flavor will be enhanced I thought. Not true. They still tasted like plain old beets -- not distasteful, mind you, just not different. So I marinated them in the raspberry vinaigrette for a few hours and it upped the flavors.
This salad was really to die for. The raspberry vinaigrette was so amazing and had a perfect blend of flavors -- just sweet enough to complement the vegetables without overpowering them.
Everyone enjoyed the salad and I had no leftovers to take home. Try this recipe and you won't be disappointed; but remember to come back and leave a comment (just click on the comment link at the end of any post.)
Roasted Beet and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
10 large fresh mushrooms, wiped with damp cloth and thinly sliced
5-6 thin slices of a largeVidalia onion
8-10 oz. pre-washed baby spinach
Raspberry Vinaigrette**
1 large or 2 medium red beets, roasted,*
1/2 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed and drained on paper toweling
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
*Roasted Red Beets: Scrub beets; trim; place on glass baking dish or pie plate and roast in preheated 400F oven for about 45 minutes - 1 hour, depending on their size. Check them at 45 minutes by piercing with a fork -- if it goes in easily, they are done. Cool beets till they can be handled, about 1/2 hour, then peel and cut into 1/4" matchsticks. Place them in a resealable container and pour about 1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette over them. Refrigerate several hours.
**Raspberry Vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the following --
1-1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1/4 tsp. fresh minced thyme
2 Tbsp. raspberry jam (I used the kind sweetened by fruit juices only.)
1/4 cup crushed fresh raspberries (you can do this in a resealable sandwich bag.)
1 Tbsp. mild honey, such as clover
1/4 cup Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
big pinch black pepper
Continue to whisk while slowly drizzling in about 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk until mixture emulsifies. Refrigerate.
In a large mixing bowl, combine mushrooms, onions and spinach and lightly toss to distribute ingredients evenly. Pour about 1/3 cup dressing over the salad and again lightly toss till dressing is evenly distributed. Lightly spoon salad onto a large platter. Place the beet matchsticks(and any remaining juices) on top of the salad, spreading them out. Sprinkle the almonds and raspberries over all. Serves 8-10
NOTE: Turn this into an entree by adding grilled salmon, tuna or chicken. Change it up by subbing arugula or other greens for the spinach; walnuts or pecans for the almonds. Use whatever berries are available.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


My husband was waxing nostalgic recently, after I mentioned that our local Harris Teeter had fresh figs. He told me about his uncle, who had a fig tree in Trenton, New Jersey; and how he enjoyed eating the fresh figs from his uncle's tree.

So I bought him some figs. And he kept forgetting to eat them. So I salvaged the figs with this recipe and some nice wild-caught salmon.

I felt like I was eating at a 5-star restaurant with this entree. The sweetness of the caramelized onions
and the delicate figs with the herbs and wine -- voila, magnifique! After I finished, I thanked my hubby for not eating his figs.

Really, try this's wonderful...and this is one for which you need no special equipment. You can grill the salmon as I did, or you can roast it in a 450F oven for 7-10 minutes, till it's medium-rare. And if you have leftover salmon, it makes great sandwiches; or use it as a salad topping.

This would also make a nice company dish because it's special. It's not much work. The hardest part is waiting for the onions to caramelize. You can't rush them or they won't develop that sweetness that makes them so special. But if you have some patience, you will be amply rewarded.

----Roasted or Grilled Salmon With Caramelized Onions and Figs
(Recipe #103255, recipezaar)
(Rating: 9 out of 10)
INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups peeled, halved and thinly sliced Vidalia onion
Sea salt, to taste
8 fresh figs, washed, stemmed, cut in half
1/2 cup drinking quality dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
fresh ground black pepper
1-1/3 lb. salmon fillet, skinned, cut into 4 portions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in bottom of large, heavy skillet or saute pan. Add onions and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and cook over medium-low-heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft,about 10 minutes. Remove cover and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden, 20-25 minutes.

Stir in figs, wine, broth, vinegar and fresh rosemary. Increase heat to high
and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. (My sauce never thickened.)
Adjust seasonings, adding more saltand/or pepper as needed. Keep the fig sauce warm. Cook salmon, either in the oven or on a charcoal grill, cooking only till rare and seasoning the salmon only with sea salt and pepper. Serve the salmon over the fig sauce and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Serves 4

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Right now, blueberries abound in Eastern North Carolina. While I like to buy local produce, when our Harris Teeter offered New Jersey blueberries as a buy one-get one sale, I couldn't resist. After all, I spent 20 years of my life in New Jersey, the Garden State, and even had my own blueberry bushes. (BTW, is it my imagination, or are the New Jersey blueberries bigger and sweeter? They look bigger and they taste sweeter to me.) We had company for dinner earlier this week, and that was all the excuse I needed to bake up a blueberry pie. The recipe I worked from was published by Bon Appetit in their June 1995 issue. You can see the original version on epicurious. This pie was delicious! The sour cream filling tones down the tartness of the blueberries; but when you serve it with creme fraiche instead of ice cream or whipped cream, the tartness comes back. I'm rating this a 9 out of 10, a definite keeper.

Bon Appetit's Blueberry Sour Cream Pie, adapted
Rating: 9 out of 10
CRUST: Use your favorite pie crust recipe, store-bought crust, or check out my favorite pie crust recipe.
FILLING: 1 cup lite sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbsp. almond liqueur
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 cups fresh blueberries + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
TOPPING: 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup oats
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1/3 cup sliced almonds
GARNISH: 1-1/2 cup blueberries
8-12 oz. creme fraiche
1 tsp. cinnamon
Make pie crust according to recipe or package directions. Preheat oven to 400F. Position oven rack in bottom third of oven and place a pizza stone on the rack.
Roll out pie dough on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9" glass pie plate. Trim edge to 1/2" overhang. Fold and crimp edge. Set aside.
Whisk all filling ingredients except blueberries till smooth and well combined. Gently mix in blueberries. Spoon into crust. Place on pizza stone; bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle topping (see directions below) over pie. Bake an additional 20 minutes, or till filling is set and bubbling. Cool pie on wire rack for at least 4 hours before cutting. Garnish each slice with a dollop of creme fraiche, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some fresh blueberries. Yummmm.

Topping: In work bowl of food processor, combine all ingredients except almonds. Pulse till mixture is like cornmeal. Add almonds and just pulse briefly to combine. (Or if you don't have a food processor, then combine all ingredients except almonds in a medium bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knifes until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the almonds and crunch them slightly with the knives or pastry blender to combine.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Better Homes and Gardens printed this recipe in its November 2007 issue. I know it's July and it's hot, and this soup is really for the fall. But I have about 10 home-frozen packs of squash in my freezer, and I was in the mood for hot soup. This makes up very quickly if you have the squash frozen as I did. (I buy butternut squash when it's plentiful and cheap; I roast it in the oven, scoop out the roasted flesh and package it in 1 cup containers for the freezer.) The soup is on the thick side; it's smooth and creamy and delicious! Instead of using heavy cream as the recipe called for, I subbed Land o'Lakes fat-free half and half. For the topping I used creme fraiche which IMHO worked with the soup flavor better than the heavy cream would have.

One last note: Buy whole nutmegs and grate them yourself. You won't believe the taste difference. Here's the recipe:

Roasted Squash Soup
2-1/2 lb. butternut or acorn squash or sugar pumpkin (I used butternut squash)
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped; discard stems
1 small bay leaf
3-1/2 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. honey (optional) (I omitted the honey)
1/3 cup Land o'Lakes fat-free half and half
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup creme fraiche for topping

If you are working from fresh, unroasted, squash, split them in half lengthwise. Preheat oven to 350F. With spoon, scrape out seeds and fibers from cavity. Season cut sides of squash with 1 tsp. salt; place flesh side down in lightly buttered baking dish or 15x10x1-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Add 1/2 cup water to baking pan. Bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until skin is browned and flesh is tender when pierced with knife. Remove from oven; let rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh; discard skin.

In large saucepan or dutch oven, heat Smart Balance over medium heat. Add onions, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Saute till onions are tender and translucent (do not allow them to color), about 10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary. Add squash. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add broth; bring to simmer. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Note: I covered the pot as the soup was thick enough and I didn't want it to reduce further.) Adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf. Stir in honey, if using. Puree soup right in the pot with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor. Reheat soup in pot, stirring in half and half and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg; heat through but do not boil. Adjust seasonings; add salt, pepper and honey as needed. Top each serving with a spoonful of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Here's a shot of my cookie tray for our neighborhood July 3 picnic, with 4 different kinds of cookies:
Even though there were tons of desserts at the party, these were cleaned out!
I also brought this delicious pasta salad -- has this great
pasta salad recipe from food columnist Pam Anderson. Working off Pam's recipe, I created this pasta salad for our July 3 picnic and loved the results. The salad has a lot of ingredients, especially with the vinaigrette, but it's worth the extra time and effort. Trouble is I made way too much. We had company for dinner last night and I served it again, this time with tomatoes chopped in it. Everyone loved it. I actually like it better with the tomatoes, and they add some color. The nice thing about Pam's recipe is that it's a template -- you get to pick your own ingredients. So I opted for mixing the pastas (slipping in some whole wheat penne that fussy Guy never picked up on) and using the veggies I was most interested in at the time. You get to pick your faves also. Let me know if you try this -- leave a comment at the end of any post.

Pasta-Veggie Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
1 lb. pasta (I used 1/3 lb. spirals, 1/3 lb. penne, & 1/3 lb. whole wheat penne)
3 cups fresh broccoli flowerets
1-1/2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, strings removed
1-1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1-1/2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped, pitted olives
2-3 Tbsp. capers, drained
3 large green onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Cook pasta according to package directions, removing about 2 minutes before done. While pasta is cooking, lay out broccoli, snap peas and mushrooms on a large (13x17) baking pan or in the bottom of a very large mixing bowl or bottom of a dutch oven. Drain pasta and place over the veggies. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap for about 30 minutes to let the heat of the pasta very slightly "cook" the veggies. (The veggies won't really cook, but it'll be just enough to take the raw edge off. The mushrooms, however, will turn dark and "cook" more than the peas and broccoli.)In the meantime, prepare the vinaigrette (see recipe below). Transfer pasta and veggies to a large mixing bowl or dutch oven. Add all remaining ingredients, including vinaigrette, and toss to combine. If not serving right away, only add about 1/4 cup of vinaigrette; refrigerate; add remaining vinaigrette immediately before serving. Yield: probably about 16 servings, though Pam says 8 -- we're still eating it and it's already served 8.

Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. sea salt (or more, if preferred)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Measure lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and basil into a small bowl.
Whisk lightly till combined. Slowly whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream to make an emulsified vinaigrette. You can also make this in a blender if you prefer, but put the basil in whole and only blend till it's chopped the way you want.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


There was a lot of good food at our neighborhood picnic on Thursday. This is one of several broccoli dishes, all of which were excellent. Lois gave me the recipe, which is so easy, she didn't even have to write it down. The dressing is thin, something I really like about this dish, and the flavors go perfectly with the veggies. This one is a keeper.

Lois Fragnito's Broccoli Tomato Salad
1 head broccoli, cut into flowerets only
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
2 lbs. tomatoes of any kind, cut into serving pieces (or use grape tomatoes if you wish)
1 bottle Marzetti Blue Cheese dressing

Combine all ingredients. Chill. Yield: 8-10 servings

Friday, July 4, 2008


Happy 4th of July! We had a wonderful neighborhood picnic celebration yesterday in the circle at the end of our street (see slideshow on the right side of this blog.) Today's recipe was part of our celebration.

The Morning Call newspaper of Allentown, PA, recently had a chocolate chip recipe contest, and published the five winning recipes. The #1 winning recipe looked interesting; it had Grape Nuts cereal as one of the ingredients. I would make it, but what would I do with the rest of the box of Grape Nuts? I don't eat Grape Nuts, though I used to.

The recipe posted here won second prize. It calls for York mini peppermint patties chips, but honestly I'd never even heard of them. They must not be widely distributed yet. So, unfortunately, I used plain chocolate chips, and I know that changed the outcome. The cookie, itself, is a soft but sturdy one, almost cakelike, and just very slightly crisp on the edges. There are no nuts in this one, and I am partial to nuts. Still, I liked these, even if they aren't my faves. I mean how can you go wrong with chocolate chip cookies? It's like there are no ugly brides and no bad chocolate chip cookie recipes. I added more chocolate chips than the recipe called for, and I mixed them, using part semi sweet, part milk chocolate, part Hershey's Special Dark. These went to the 3rd of July party and there weren't any left over, so I guess that speaks for itself.

Joanne Heller's Chocolate Chip Patties, adapted (half recipe)
Rating: 8 out of 10
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar, preferably superfine
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg + 1 large white, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2-1/8 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat + 1-1/8 cups all purpose)
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 oz. milk chocolate morsels (2/3 cup)
4 oz. semisweet chocolate morsels (2/3 cup)
4 oz. Hershey's Special Dark morsels (2/3 cup)(or use the Peppermint Pattie chips if you can find them)

In large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. (I do this by hand using a wire whisk, but you can use a mixer if you prefer.) Add the egg, white, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat till smooth and well combined. (If you use a mixer, be sure to use low speed so you don't overheat the dough.) Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt just till combined and fold in the chips. Refrigerate the dough for 1/2 hour. (I left it in the fridge overnight.)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into
1 to 1-1/2" balls and flatten the balls to make a thick disc, using a damp juice glass bottom. (I dropped large tablespoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet and left the dough mounded. I baked one batch at 375F and didn't like the results. For the remaining batches, I heated the oven to 375F, but as soon as I put the cookies in, I reduced the temp to 350F, simulating a commercial oven with decreasing temperature. These turned out better I thought. After a batch came out of the oven, I turned it back up to 375F, then reduced it to 350F again when the new batch went in.) Bake 10-12 minutes (depending on how large your cookies are). Use a toothpick inserted in center of cookie to test for doneness. When it returns with just a few crumbs on it, take the cookies out and let them cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. These are best if you underbake them just slightly. Yield: 25 - 3" cookies

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Tomorrow is our neighborhood's annual July 3 picnic. We each bring what we're grilling plus a side dish or dessert to share. I'm bringing pasta salad and 4 different kinds of cookies. I've already made a peanut butter cookie and a chocolate chip cookie and I still have some Berger cookies in the freezer. The July issue of Southern Living had a Frosted Sugar-'n'-Spice Cookies recipe that caught my eye. Perfect, I thought....until I priced the red and blue sprinkles. No way, not with my new conservationist mode of baking/shopping.
So I improvised. I didn't rush out and buy the 5-sided star cookie cutter; instead I used my 6-sided star cutter. It was smaller, but did the job. Instead of making a spice cookie, I made a lemon cookie; instead of plain white frosting, I made lemon cream cheese frosting. I used up more of the self-rising flour and more of the box of True Lemon. These cookies are soft and cakey and very good. I ate two and wanted more. The brown sugar works well with the lemon. Even though they're not red, white and blue, I think these cookies will be a hit.

Frosted Lemon Cookies, adapted from Southern Living's Frosted Sugar-'n'-Spice Cookies, 1/2 recipe
Rating: 8 out of 10
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 packets True Lemon (or 2 tsp. lemon juice)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used 1-1/2 oz. fat-free + 1-1/2 oz. Neufchatell)
1/4 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Sift together first 4 ingredients in a bowl. In a medium-large bowl, whisk butter, cream cheese and sugars by hand till very smooth. (You can use electric mixer if you prefer; I just think it's easier to do cookies by hand.) Add egg yolk, zests and vanilla and whisk again till very smooth. Stir in flour mixture with spatula, mixing till just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Place dough on floured surface; roll to 1/4" thickness; cut with cookie cutter of choice. Place 1" apart on ungreased, parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or till cookies are set and just beginning to brown around edges. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Yield: 26 cookies

Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened (I used half fat-free, half Neufchatel
good pinch of sea salt
2 packets True Lemon (or 2 tsp. lemon juice)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1-1/2 cups 10X sugar (confectioner's)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp. fat-free half and half (or more if needed to make a spreading consistency)

In small bowl, with electric mixer, whip butter, cream cheese, salt, True Lemon, lemon zest and 1/2 cup of 10X sugar on low speed till combined; then whip at medium speed till smooth and fluffy. Gradually add remaining 10X sugar, vanilla and half and half. Add more half and half, if needed, to make a frosting of spreading consistency. (I only used 1/2 Tbsp.)

When cookies are cool, spread a thin layer of frosting over the tops. Sprinkle with crushed nuts or sprinkles of choice. (If freezing: Air dry on racks for 1 hour before layering them in a container for the freezer. The frosting will harden just enough that you will be able to layer them.)