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Lanie’s Green Granny Dressing

My basil plant is flourishing and Saturday evening Hubby grilled steak for dinner, so I hit the garden to whip up a batch of green goddess dressing for our salads. Since it was the first time I referred to my Green Goddess Dressing recipe (June 2016 archives) this season, I realized I was short parsley on the ingredients list. Rather than make a second trip to the market for one ingredient, I tried substituting Granny apple I had on-hand. It’s green, so I decided to give it a whirl, and the apple gave a nice freshness to the dressing. This is my new spin on Green Goddess Dressing I call Green Granny Dressing:

 

 

 

In food processor, blend until creamy green:
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 oz fresh basil, rinsed and patted dry (I loosely fill a regular-sized colander when I go to the back yard to pick basil, and that weighs in at 1 oz when I check it on the kitchen scale. Fresh basil at the market tends to be packaged in 1 oz containers.)
1/4 Granny apple, cored + chopped
2-3 scallions, whites + greens, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed + chopped
2 anchovy filets, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Especially tasty on a BLT salad (February 2015 archives), spinach salad with cucumbers & berries & feta or even on fresh watermelon.

 

Lanie’s “Summer Delight” Strawberry Watermelon Ice Cream

For Hubby & me, Memorial Day marks the start of summer watermelon season. We have watermelon with every meal from Memorial Day through Labor Day. With so much watermelon sliced in the ‘fridge, I decided to create a watermelon ice cream recipe. Strawberry is another summer favorite fruit, so I modified my strawberry lime ice cream recipe (June 2016 archives) to make this summer delight creation. Here is my latest scoop on ice cream:

2 hours in advance, in a small bowl combine:
1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, thinly sliced;
1 cup fresh watermelon, cut in chunks, thinly sliced;
1/2 cup sugar;
Fresh lime juice from 2 limes.
Let fruit macerate. When it’s time to mix the ice cream, strain fruit and reserve fruit juice. Mash half the fruit to mix in the ice cream mix, and reserve half to add in later.

In a large mixing bowl, mix on low speed until sugar is dissolved (2 minutes):
1 cup whole milk;
1/2 cup sugar.

Stir in:
2 cups heavy cream;
1/2 fruit, mashed;
Reserved fruit juice;
1 tsp Tahitian vanilla.

Turn on electric ice cream maker, and pour in ice cream mixture.
Let mix until beginning to thicken, about 15-18 minutes.

Add in:
Reserved sliced fruit.
Let mix another 5 minutes.
Ice cream will be soupy. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer to firm up. If you can wait long enough that ice cream is frozen hard, remove from freezer to soften for about 10 minutes before scooping.

This is a cool, delicious, summer fruit delight! Enjoy!

Unpaid ad, but FYI: My ice cream maker is the Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.

Easter Ham Soup

I started posting recipes on my blog because it’s a convenient way to keep them documented, and one of the first recipes I shared was Easter ham soup. I finished the Easter leftovers yesterday, so this is this year’s soup recipe:

Sauté in warm olive oil: 1 small yellow onion, diced; 1-2 carrots, sliced in nickel discs; 1-2 cloves garlic, minced.
Add seasoning: kosher salt to taste (I end up using 3 tsp); 1 tsp parsley; 1 tsp oregano; 1 tsp thyme; 1/2 tsp basil; freshly ground pepper.
Add: ham hock; other leftover ham, cut into chunks; 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt); 8 cups water; 1 tsp Louisiana or Cholula hot sauce.
Bring to boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer, simmer.
Remove ham hock to a cutting board, and pick off meat and add meat to pot.
Add: 1 lb lentils (rinsed). Simmer another 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Serve with warm, crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich and fresh fruit.

American AppleCherrPear Pie

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Well, this was supposed to be a Pi Day post and I did not get the option to schedule publishing. Now you have time to run to the market for your ingredients and make an American AppleCherrPear pie for National Pi Day.

Happy Pi (Pie) Day! This year I created a new fruit pie recipe based on a family favorite. The town where my Aunt Bonnie & Uncle John & cousins and Grandma & Grandpa lived had a landmark called Bun’s Bakery which served a Delaware, Ohio-famous chappleberry pie. You can figure it out the pie is a decadent fruit combination of cherry + apple + blueberry. Nothing against Bun’s creation nor blueberries, but I don’t like blueberries in pie. I adore blueberries fresh or in a pancake or a muffin, but not so much in pie. So my twist on Bun’s signature pie is apple + cherry + pear. I consulted my Grandma’s 1950s edition of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook to combine a few tried-and-true pie recipes. I always make a homemade pie crust and am baffled that Food Network personalities claim frozen is just as good. It is not. Start this Pi (Pie) Day recipe with a proper homemade pie crust.

Homemade Pie Crust

Sift together: 2 cups flour + 1 tsp salt.
Cut in: 2/3 cup shortening.
Add and toss lightly with a fork to mix dough: 6-7 Tbs cold water, adding and mixing 1 Tbs at a time.
Gather dough into a ball and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two portions; form into disks; wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate to chill until ready to roll.
After making pie filling, roll first portion of dough onto floured board; roll out enough that dough will hang over edge of pie dish. Roll pie dough onto rolling pin and lift gently to transfer rolled dough to pie dish. For fruit pie, I prefer to use a deep pie dish. Fill with delicious apple+pear+cherry mixture. Roll out second portion of dough; transfer rolled dough to top of pie. Fold extra dough under and pinch to seal two crusts; crimp the edges to make a pretty crust; cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.

AppleCherrPear Filling

1 cup frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
1-2 fresh pears (Bartlett); pared, cored, thinly sliced
2-3 fresh baking apples (Granny Smith); pared, cored, thinly sliced
Zest from 1 navel orange
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup sugar (can substitute turbinado raw cane sugar or organic coconut sugar)
2 Tbs unbleached flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch kosher salt
1-2 Tbs butter

Measure frozen cherries into bowl. Add orange zest + almond extract; lightly toss to mix; set aside.
Prepare fresh pears and apples by paring, coring, thinly slicing. Add sliced pears and apples to cherry mixture.
Mix together: sugar + flour + spices + salt. Sprinkle sugar mixture over fruit; lightly toss to evenly coat and mix fruit.
Spoon fruit mixture into bottom pie crust; spoon 1-2 Tbs remaining juices over top of fruit; dot with butter. Place top pie crust; fold extra dough under and pinch to seal two crusts; crimp the edges to make a pretty crust; cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400* for 50 minutes. Check pie at 25-30 minutes; when pie crust is golden cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning; continue baking. Cool pie on wire rack.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, homemade or from your local creamery. Just say “with ice cream” because this is my American AppleCherrPear pie. “A la mode” would be too fancy and, well, not American. Thank you, Bun’s Restaurant, a small-town America establishment, for many happy family memories and the inspiration. 

Latte Sprinkles

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Awhile ago Hubby gave me my own home cappuccino machine for a “Just Because” gift. Isn’t he sweet? I can now make my own perfect mug of vanilla soy latte and never more crave an over-priced coffee from the McCoffee Shop.

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I even make my own special spice blend to sprinkle on my coffee concoction. It’s simple: Grate nutmeg + grate cinnamon stick. I tried a coffee-bean-grinder-turned-spice-grinder, but I get a finer grind by using a hand grater. Fold a piece of wax paper to make a crease; grate spices on the wax paper; transfer grated spices to a little dish…

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Then use a small kitchen funnel to transfer grated spices to a shaker. This adorable rooster is from the Jacques Pepin collection at Sur la table. I asked Mom for the salt ‘n pepper shakers for Christmas, but I don’t often set out salt ‘n pepper shakers. So I put my latte sprinkles in this guy so I can have him greet me every morning. It’s a clever idea to make use of a broken set too.

 

Super Cutie Cherry Muffins

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For my birthday Mom gave me a set of mini muffin tins to add to my kitchen collection, and she included  the printed recipe for cherry muffins. I had seen the Food Network and country singing star bake these muffins on Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, so I was excited to try them. Naturally, I made some adjustments and now I have a recipe which I can call my own. Today I made these cutie muffins with a bright pink cherry to share with the sisters at Inspire Women, and I was flattered when my treat was called, “Divine.” This is my creation:

Cream together: 1/4 cup softened butter + 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Add and mix: 2 eggs.
Add and mix: 3 Tbs maraschino cherry juice + 1/4 tsp almond extract.
Sift together: 1 cup unbleached flour + 1/4 tsp baking powder.
In 3-4 batches, add and mix dry mixture into creamed mixture.
Stir in: 1/2 cup pecan pieces.

Scoop muffin batter into mini cupcake tins lined with mini cupcake papers. (Pampered Chef small scoop is the perfect size to portion 2 tsp batter.)
Lightly press 1/2 maraschino cherry into each mini cup of muffin batter.
Bake @ 400* 8-10 minutes, until muffins are lightly browned on top.
Dust hot muffins with powdered sugar.
Remove individual muffins to wire rack to cool.
Makes about 3 dozen mini muffins.

Serve with love! Package these cutie muffins in a basket to give for a gift or share at a ladies’ gathering. They are so super cute and yummy!

New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

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Happy New Year’s Eve! Last night I soaked the beans, and today I made a big pot of black-eyed peas to ring in the New Year. While I started with my Big Pot o’ Beans recipe (November 2013 archives), this variation is quite a departure from my original soupy beans. This is my new recipe:

1 lb dried black-eyed peas, soaked and strained;
4-6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces;
1/2 small/medium yellow onion, diced;
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced;
2 Tbs tarragon vinegar (or red wine vinegar);
1 15 oz can tomato sauce (I prefer Trader Joe’s organic);
2 cans water;
1 tsp coarse salt;
1 tsp paprika;
1 tsp Tony Cachere’s creole seasoning;
1/2 tsp ground cumin;
1/2 tsp ground ancho chili pepper;
1/2 tsp dried oregano;
1 bay leaf;
1 Tbs Louisiana Hot Sauce.

When you begin cooking, drain off soaking liquid from beans. Then start by frying chopped bacon in large soup (“bean”) pot. When bacon is crisp, drain off most of the rendered fat. Add a little olive oil to the bean pot; Sauté onion; Season with 1/2 tsp salt; Add garlic. Increase heat; Add 2 Tbs vinegar; Scrape brown bits off bottom of pot. Add strained black-eyed peas; Season with another 1/2 tsp salt; Stir! Add tomato sauce; Add 2 cans water; Stir! Add the rest of the spices and Louisiana hot sauce; Stir! Heat to boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer, simmer, simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings. Happy New Year! Wishing you joy, health and prosperity!

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