Keeping Recipes …

How do you keep recipes?

I tend to print recipes and keep them in several binders. Then I also have a drive with folders and some are on Evernote and some on my old blog. Some I just know by heart and need nothing to make them – there are many of those. I just spent two evenings this week sorting through recipes (new and old) and along the way, I edited – looked at each recipe and then think, “Will I really make this?” Lots ended up in the recycle bin which makes me feel bad (dead trees) and I need to edit earlier in the process – like before printing.

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Yes, I have a binder for Crackers. No judgement.  See: Cracker Challenge.

I wish I could develop a system that truly works for me, but using cookbooks, family recipes that I know by heart, a few magazines, recipe “ideas” (with no step by step instructions), and things found on the recipe sites I trust, and of course, other blogs – How are you supposed to keep it all straight?

Looking at my photo, I am, obviously, not consistent in the way I make my binder labels.

My first blog, and this one too, were/are a way to keep up with things, but sometimes it gets a bit out of hand. I wander around the house with a stack of recipes I want to try – just printed, pulled from binders, etc. Trying to make them fit into the right time of year makes it even more difficult. Ugh. I am supposing this is a complete first world problem, but I would like to have a set of things to pass down to the Boy and his future wife and their kids. Otherwise, why are we here? You get my genetics by default, but I would love for you to know the recipes that come from different people in our family.

Such as my spinster (yep, they used the word) Aunt Rhodie’s chow chow recipe. She was really my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister and was partially deaf (seems mostly like when she wanted to be – that is what my grandma always said anyway) and never married but lived with my grandmother and grandfather, but she could totally rock the chow chow.  Now the recipe makes gallons so I’ll have to down size it to make it manageable, but is it worth the effort?

I believe it is. Especially when you put that chow chow on black-eyed peas – my favorite way to eat it. Otherwise black-eyed peas – kind of meh. Interesting the only reason I have the recipe is because my mom asked for it. This was my father’s aunt, but my mom appreciated it – probably because it could get me to eat black-eyed peas if for no other reason. I don’t remember my mom ever making it. Can’t blame her. Why do that when Aunt Rhodie+ would do it for us? Just get a few jars from the dug-in-clay basement of my grandmother’s house – which also held the washing machine – clothes were dried on the line out back. There is something really nice about that and I miss it. Clean sheets dried in the wind, so fresh and comforting and a cool clay basement.  Something you do not, nor will ever have, in Florida.

+Rhodie was short for Rosebud. I think Rosebud is so much better, and to be honest, that is what my grandmother called her sister most of the time.

I am going to have to work on the recipe to take it down from gallons into something that I can handle.  This is not the time of year for green tomatoes, but I think this might be my “winter” (winter being a questionable word for us right now) project to make it into something smaller that might work for our family. I also wonder … will it taste like I remember? Lord, I hope so.

 

Butter / Egg Usage – November 2016

4 November 2016 –  Walnut Tartlets – 16 Tbs (8 for crust / 8 for filling) / 1 large egg

4 November 2016 – Sour Cream Pecan Sandies – 8 Tbs / 1 large egg

4 November 2016 – Keebler’s Pecan Sandies – 8 Tbs / 1 large egg

12 November 2016 – Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes – 1 large eggdd_1645

13 November 2016 – Parmesan Walnut Crackers –  8 Tbs

18 November 2016 – Nut Tassie Dough – 16 Tbs

18 November 2016 – Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies – 16 Tbs / 2 large eggs

23 November 2016 – Cornbread for Dressing, two pans – 2 eggs

23 November 2016 – Sugar Cookies with Hershey’s Kiss – 8 Tbs / 1 large egg

23 November 2016 – Butter Crust – 5  1/3 Tbs butter

23 November 2016 – Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie – 4 Tbs / 6 large eggs (yolks only)

23 November 2016 – Sunday Sweet Potatoes – 5 1/3 Tbs / 2 large eggs / 4 Tbs

24 November 2016 – Cornbread Dressing – 3 Tbs / 2 large eggs

25 November 2016 – Lemon Bars – 8 Tbs / 5 large eggs

 

114.9 Tbs butter = 14.3625 sticks = 57.45 ozs = 3.59 pounds

7 eggs

 

Chex Mix or something like it – round 1

My mom, (here we go again), always made chex mix for Christmas Eve. No idea why really. Actually that is kind of strange – Christmas was always banana nut bread, magic bars, M&M cookies, vanilla taffy, and chex mix, oh, and then the very strange cheese ball that I always made. Once again I mention that. Strange.

Take away story: yes, do let your eleven year-old run Christmas Eve. It makes for some great stories. But not necessarily great cheese balls. Just saying.

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This is so not my mom’s recipe, but mine since I decided to make it for Christmas Eve this year. That said, this is an experiment and I want to see what I like and what I want to change. I think my “part 2” will be for the Super Bowl. Yep.

4 cups Crispix Cereal
8 ozs lightly salted cashews
1 cup pretzels twists
1 cups of bagel chips and/or pita chips
8 Tbs unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, bruised – not too mashed
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
good pinch kosher salt

In a heavy bottomed pot over low heat, melt butter with garlic, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, ground garlic, Herbs de Provence. Let simmer super low while preheating oven to 250 degrees.

Remove thyme and garlic clove. Add Crispix, cashews, pretzels, and bagel chips to a heavy-duty foil lined baking pan. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and mix well to combine and let soak in just a bit, 2 – 3 minutes. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes and if you are like me adding just a bit more Worcestershire sauce each time. Spread on paper towels to cool and then store in an zip top bag. I plan to make it dinner several times this week. I mean it is cereal for dinner, right?

Modified from : www.halfbakedharvest.com/moms-secret-Christmas-eve-Chex-mix

Guess I’m not the only person who had a mom that made this for Christmas Eve. Cool.

 

Thanksgiving

So I have mostly always made my same Thanksgiving appetizer, and I have to say it really is pretty much amazing. Sweet potato biscuits with ham and horseradish cream.  Just going to say, thank you once again to JW because this was all him. He was the best caterer for UNC-Chapel Hill while I was there and I totally took the idea and ran with it.DD_0184

Even so, I wanted to find a new appetizer for this Thanksgiving. But I do think I will make my small little sweet potato biscuits with all the best things, just because I can. But maybe this year my excellent cranberry sauce will be part of this mix.  Indeed.

That said, I have been looking for Thanksgiving appetizers – they all seem to involve cranberries or Rosemary – thank you most overwhelming pinterest. Sigh. Do love some Rosemary, but isn’t there anything else?

When I was young, Thanksgiving was a huge deal at our house. The only downer part about it was being stuck at the kids’ table. Really? Ugh. I understand that my older brother and sister were a LOT older and were pretty much married by the time I was 9-ish, but I was stuck with my younger sister and nieces and nephews – it was just insulting.

One of those weird things that I remember was a glass dish that my mother would take out for Thanksgiving and put gerkins on one side and olives on the other. Olives = ick. Gerkins = loved them. Besides Bread ‘n Butter pickles, gerkins were the only pickles I ever liked.

I  can totally see that glass dish. Should have asked for it long ago and now it is too late. Let that be a lesson – do not wait –  ask for what you want from your parents because if you do not you will be forever disappointed. I know I will be giving things away very early – like my Dad’s mom did. Simplify everything.

That just got slightly strange – but on to the Thanksgiving plans. And planning is involved – lots of it.

Apparently spell check does not like the word gerkins. No, it sure doesn’t.

So we are about a week-ish out from the big day and, my friends, this is go time.

1. Make decisions on what to make and how much depending on your guest list – my list, this year, is small. But that is not a bad thing because The Boy will be joining us and that makes me very happy.

2. Develop a grocery list of what you need and when you need to buy it. And then develop the “making” list – ie. when you can/will make each thing, but do what I do … plan for a catch up day on the Wednesday before the big day. That day, with nothing planned, will save you.

3. Order your turkey from the butcher shop. And also call your favorite bakery to order Parker House Rolls – I have been doing this forever. No need to make yourself crazy at this point. They will, pretty much, be better than anything you can make – unless you are making biscuits for Thanksgiving – and in that case, I salute you.

4. Pick one, just one, no seriously just one, new recipe to try. I will try.

5. Figure out what appetizer to make. Just don’t go overboard – less is more in this case. See above.

6. Add staples (butter, eggs, heavy cream, lemons, chocolate chips, local pecans, etc.) to your regular grocery list.

7. Watch grocery ads for Thanksgiving specials. Traditional there are lots of them. Hello fresh cranberries.

8. Decide if you want girkins. Hope you do for my sake.

Lemon Crisps

I do love lemon – I know, I know,  everyone is astonished by this fact right, but there it is.  I honestly don’t think there are too many lemon recipes in the world. I will try to come up with a few if my own. A goal of this year. There we go, me and my lists again. Sigh.

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Lemon Crisp Cookies

You know I have learned a few things about cookie dough over the years and in one case most recently. One thing is particularly important. If the raw dough does not taste good, the cookies (or cakes or whatever) will not taste good either. My mom would have had a hissy fit over this. She was a firm believer in not eating raw eggs*, but I’ve always eaten raw cookie dough. Though she did not know it. I mean, come on, raw chocolate chip cookie dough is kind of way better, in my opinion, than actual baked chocolate chip cookies.

All this said, this dough tastes so good I am not sure I want to make the cookies. That is a huge complement. But I will make these cookies just to see how they turn out.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over a piece of waxed paper.

Cream together butter and sugar, then add egg until combined. Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients.

Drop by 1 1/2 tsp size  (or roll into 1 1/2 sized balls – way easier to be more exact) onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on sheet for a minute then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Icing
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 – 6 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Beat together and drizzle over cooled cookies.

Notes:  Snappy little lemon cookies  – what could be better? I honestly have no idea.  But I did top the lemon icing with lemon sugar from King Arthur Flour. Let’s just gild that lily then. These were also so easy to make. I also let them sit in the fridge for a couple of days – no problem. That is my favorite kind of cookie. Easy. Non-fussy.

*This is total bullshit, but at that time eggs – or at least in my mom’s mind,  uncooked eggs were evil. It did not take long to learn that was not real. I did mess with her a bit about that, because I was that daughter, Raw chocolate chip cookie dough – probably my favorite chocolate delivery system, um, ever.

Butter Usage – by month (December 2015)

2 December – 16 Tbs Rugelach – this dough works …

8 December – 4 Tbs – Rugelach filling – but the filling does not.

11 December – 4 Tbs – Rugelach filling – again did not – annoying – total failure – should really do a better job of reading the comments.

12 December – 8 Tbs – Banana Nut Bread – competition

14 December – 8 Tbs – Brownie Cookie

17 December – 8 Tbs – Glazed Lemon Cookies

19 December – 16 Tbs – Butterscotch Blondies

20 December – 4 Tbs – Everyday Orzo – yes. Again.

20 December – 12 Tbs – Lime Sugar Cookies

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Lime Sugar Cookies – pretty damn amazing.

23 December – 2 Tbs – Cheddar-Stuffed Mushrooms

23 December  – 13.5 Tbs – Sunday Sweet Potatoes

23 December – 16 Tbs – Walnut/Pecan Tassies

25 December – 1 Tbs – Toasted Banana Nut Bread

26 December – 12 Tbs – Sweet Potato Biscuits

29 December – 8 Tbs – The Browniest Cookies See Above.

30 December – 13 Tbs – Chess Tart

Total 145.5 Tbs = 18.1875 sticks = 4.5468875 pounds

Not my best month this year, but a damn good month by any measure.

I’m a bit frightened by what the total for the year will be if this is any indication. I may not keep up with this again, or maybe I’ll add keeping up with eggs too in 2016. Again, slightly frightening. But what the hell – makes for an excellent recap in an odd sort of way.

 

 

I do this every year – make a list. Sigh.

I make a list of things I want to try in the kitchen, but this year I am going to plan this out in some way that makes it possible. Not sure  how (not good), but at least I have motivation for a few things. This is a hallmark year for me (shut up Super Bowl), but something needs to kick me in the arse and I think this just might be it. So I am starting the list now. I expect it will get longer (and be updated) as the remaining days of this month – hell, probably the whole year –  go on. Who knows?

Venison – I kind of have a freezer full of it since the MotH’s brother is a hunter. I have NEVER cooked it. That said, I have eaten it and really enjoy it.  I have talked to my favorite hunter once about it and will do it again over the holidays – and make notes this time. I know venison is on the lean side, so right there I need to figure out how to make that work for me = add fat. I have the following types of venison in the freezer – sausage (!!), ground, chili, and something that may be backstrap, I will not know until I thaw that last one  and I can damn well guarantee that will be last one I try to figure out how to cook because in my head that is the most challenging. But I think this is a January project. Right now, unfortunately, leading right up to New Years here it is in the 60’s /70’s and rainy. Ugh. So save this project for some colder weather.

Pate a Choux (not sure how to add all the cool French accents)  – I will not go 1980’s crazy and make a croquembouche, but I think I will make gougeres since cheese is involved. And, sigh, this was on the list last year. Lord, I am a loser.

Beef Tenderloin – I cannot believe I have never made this. It is supposed to be dead simple – a favorite cooking method of mine. I even have a couple of recipes from America’s Test Kitchen for it which means it should turn out perfect – they are ATK for a reason, after all . I guess it is the fact that is it so much beef and now, it is just me and the MotH. Either way, I will have to get over that and just get to it.

Panatonne – I am going all in on this since the only bread I have ever made is soda bread (it was good, but it is kind of not real bread = no yeast).  I will not make it for Christmas / New Years, but for sometime while it is cold outside – Mardi Gras isn’t that far away – excellent thought! I may temper the dried fruit a little and there will be pecans involved – it is my Southern version of the thing after all – but I know my starting point will be the recipe I just saw on Martha Bakes. I really like this show – it is kind of like taking a master class in baking. I can watch it for ages. It is on PBS and really wonderful.  You may have missed my earlier MS reference – 1980’s croquembouche – first time I ever saw one was in her Christmas book. It is what I compare them all to. Need to get a copy of that book again. It is completely over the top, especially for me in the, um, 80’s. May still be way out of my league. There is a great deal of trepidation involved in this.

As I type, it is raining buckets – again. Ugh. Another front that brings rain not much cooler temperatures. And more rain due in two days. Not the Christmas / New Years that we wanted. Weather guessers (meteorologists) are not terrible accurate, Best job to have – you can be totally wrong and NOT get fired. This wreaks havoc on my candy making. Cannot make decent candy in anything but very low humidity. Every Southern candy make will tell you that. Our window is very very small, and this year getting smaller by the day.