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Category Archives: Favorite Traditions

Favorite recipes repeated and updated

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.

 

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.

Lanie’s Strawberry (lime) Ice Cream

strawberry ice cream

I am blessed each month to attend Inspire Women’s Inner Circle where the sweet staff and wonderful teacher, Anita Carman, refresh and encourage women’s ministry leaders. Since one of my personal missions is to “feed the sheep,” I enjoy taking a dish to share for the refreshments. Because the summer heat has hit Houston, this month I offered cold, sweet, homemade strawberry ice cream for the sisters. Here is my strawberry ice cream creation:

2 hours in advance, in a small bowl combine:
1 pint fresh strawberries; rinsed, hulled, thinly sliced;
1/2 cup sugar;
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice (juice 1/2 lemon);
2 Tbs fresh lime juice (juice 2 limes).
Let berries macerate. When it’s time to mix the ice cream, strain berries and reserve strawberry juice. Mash half the berries 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 berries, mashed;
Reserved strawberry 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 berries.
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 so fresh and delicious! Sweet! Happy summer!

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

Lanie’s Garden Green Goddess Dressing

I have been enjoying hosting luncheons for girlfriends in my new home. We find it’s more relaxed, healthier and more cost-effective than meeting at a restaurant. Homemade green goddess dressing, blended with fresh herbs from my urban patch of garden, has emerged as a new specialty. Since Greek yogurt has become a staple in my ‘fridge, my salad dressing recipe has evolved since last time I posted it. This is my updated recipe:

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.)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, rinsed and patted dry
2-3 scallions, whites + greens, sliced (I’ve substituted 1 large shallot, sliced.)
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed + chopped
2 anchovy filets, chopped (You can skip the anchovies, but this is the secret ingredient which gives a big impact in the dressing.)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 – 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 Decadent Green Pea Salad

green pea salad
I am blessed each month to attend Inspire Women’s Inner Circle where the sweet staff and wonderful teacher, Anita Carman, refresh and encourage women’s ministry leaders. Since one of my personal missions is to “feed the sheep,” I enjoy taking a dish to share for the refreshments. And since busy women can tend to rush and not eat well, I try to offer something a little substantial and nutritious for the sisters. This week I made green pea salad, a fresh, delicious spring dish with blue cheese dressing as the finishing touch to make this salad decadent. This is my recipe:

Green Pea Salad

1 (16 oz) bag frozen peas
3-4 eggs, hard boiled
1 garlic clove
3 carrots
1 radish
1 scallion
2 tsp Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
fresh finely ground pepper
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing

Hard boil eggs. While eggs are boiling, drop garlic clove in pot to blanch for 20 seconds; then remove garlic, peel and finely dice. Remove eggs from pot; add salt to hot water to season; add frozen peas; bring back to boiling and boil for just a minute. Strain peas into colander; transfer peas to large bowl of ice water to shock and preserve color; pour peas back into colander to drain.

Slice in food processor: finely diced garlic + carrots + radish. Transfer veggie mix to mixing bowl.
Add to veggie mix: finely sliced scallion + peas + seasonings. Toss veggie mix and peas.
Add: peeled and chopped hard boiled eggs. (Pampered Chef chopper is a good gadget for chopping hard boiled eggs.) Toss lightly.
Add blue cheese dressing; toss to coat salad evenly.

Options: Add crumbled bacon or diced ham for extra smokey, meaty flavor.

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

1 cup real mayo
1/4 cup milk (Whole milk or butter milk are best, but use what you have.)
fresh juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp seasoned pepper medley
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Whisk until smooth: mayo + milk + lemon juice + spices.
Fold in blue cheese.

Use 3/4 cup for decadent green pea salad, and store the rest in a jar with tight lid to dress salads or tomato slices.

Company Chicken ‘n Dumplings

Prior to our Easter visit I’d made chicken ‘n dumplings, so I packed some, along with a pan of hot cross buns (March 2016 archives), to take to my father-in-law. Hubby raves about my chicken ‘n dumplings and my father-in-law sent one of the most touching thank you notes I’ve ever received, so this dish is pretty delicious, or at least the wonderful men in my life think so. The chicken ‘n dumplings recipe actually started with Hubby; it was the dinner he had waiting on the stove the first time I flew to Houston to visit him. It’s a great dish for company because you can make it ahead and then serve it when company arrives and everyone is ready to eat, and the dumplings get better as the flavors get acquainted. Naturally, I added to Hubby’s original recipe. This is my variation:

Chicken + Broth

Heat large soup pot and melt: 1 Tbs butter + 1 Tbs olive oil.
Add and sweat on medium heat: 1/2 yellow onion, sliced + 1 stalk celery, sliced. Season with kosher salt + freshly ground pepper.
Reduce heat to low and add: 1-2 cloves garlic, minced. Stir a minute to soften garlic.
Add: Whole chicken, rinsed, patted dry and cut in half or quarters.
Season with: 1/2 tsp kosher salt + freshly ground pepper + 1/2 tsp celery salt + 1/2 tsp dried oregano.
Add: 4 cups water; bring to boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked through.
When chicken is cooked, remove it from broth to cool. When cool enough to handle, pick chicken meat from bones and set aside in a bowl. Season to taste. I usually repeat the same mix of spices, about 1/4 tsp each.

Dumplings

In a large mixing bowl sift together: 3 cups flour + 1+1/2 tsp salt.
Cut in with pastry cutter: 3/4 cup vegetable shortening. Cut shortening until it is the size of peas.
Add: 3/4 cup cold water. Mix with large spoon until dough comes together.
Turn dough onto floured surface and knead a few times to bring dough together. Roll dough out until 1/4″ thick; the shape of the dough does not matter. Slice dough into 1/2″-1″ strips. I use a pizza wheel for this task, but a knife works fine.
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add strips of dough and cook until dumplings rise to top of soup pot. Reduce heat and add seasoned chicken pieces. Stir gently, and be sure dumplings are not sticking on the bottom of the pot.
To thicken the broth, mash together: 1 Tbs softened butter + 1 Tbs flour; whisk butter mixture into dumpling mixture; cook a few minutes to cook out the flour taste.
Now turn off the heat and just let the chicken ‘n dumplings hang out and get more and more delicious until it’s time to serve dinner.

Serve with green peas and fresh fruit. I put my peas in the same dish right on top of the chicken ‘n dumplings. Reheat leftovers on the stove or in the microwave for a comfort-food lunch.

Hot Cross Buns

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Friday is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus Christ our Savior went to the cross to die for our sins and offer eternal life to those who believe in him and call him Lord. To honor Jesus’s sacrifice and the Easter celebration I have been baking hot cross buns. I had first been inspired to make hot cross buns when Food Network’s Pioneer Woman made them and shared the tradition that delivering hot cross buns to friends on Good Friday ensures lasting friendship. I googled several recipes, and, of course, I’ve developed my own variation. One special addition to my recipe is a combination of dried cranberries and golden raisins. To me, the red fruit symbolizes Jesus’s blood which he willingly shed for us and the golden fruit symbolizes his glory when he rose on the third day. This is my creation:

Hot Cross Buns

Set out 4 Tbs butter to soften.
Combine in small glass bowl: 1/2 cup dried cranberries + 1/2 cup golden raisins + fresh juice from 1 orange. If the dried fruit is not covered in juice, add hot water to cover fruit.
Let fruit soak and plump for about 10 minutes. Then strain juice from fruit.

Combine in another glass bowl: 1/4 cup very warm milk + 1/2 tsp sugar + 1 envelope (2+1/4 tsp) yeast.
Stir a bit. Let yeast activate for about 10 minutes.

Combine in large bowl of stand mixer: 1/2 cup very warm milk + 1/4 cup packed brown sugar + 4 Tbs softened butter. Start mixer.
Sift together: 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground allspice + 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Add spices to bowl; continue mixing.
Add: 2 beaten eggs + proofed yeast mixture. Continue mixing.
Change to dough hook attachment. Add 3+1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time and mixing between additions until soft dough forms. It’s sticky.

Working with floured hands, turn sticky dough out onto floured surface. Knead dough a few times and pat it flat; Sprinkle 1/3 of the drained fruit onto the dough; Knead dough to mix in the fruit; Pat it flat; Sprinkle another portion of the drained fruit onto the dough; Knead dough to mix in the fruit; Repeat with final portion of drained fruit. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl; Cover with a tea towel; Let rise until double in volume, about 1+1/2 hours.

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Working with floured hands, turn dough out onto floured surface. Use a large sharp knife or dough cutter to cut ball of dough into 3 equal portions; Cut each third in half; Then half again so you end up with 12 bun-size pieces. Form each bun into a ball and place in buttered 9″x13″ baking dish. Cover buns with tea towel and let rise until puffed, about 30 minutes.

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When buns are ready to bake, brush them generously with egg wash (beat 1 egg with a splash of water until frothy) to give a glossy glow.
Bake @375* until golden, approx. 15-18 minutes.
Cool tray of buns on wire rack. While buns cool set out cream cheese to soften. When completely cooled decorate with cream cheese icing.

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Cream Cheese Icing

Mix together: 2 oz softened cream cheese + 1 cup powdered sugar + 1/2 tsp vanilla. Add a splash of reserved fruit juice or milk if needed to loosen frosting.
Spoon icing into a plastic baggie and cut a tip off corner to pipe the icing through. Decorate buns with nice thick crosses – because frosting is yummy and because my Savior gave himself on a solid cross, not some wimpy thin tree.

Remember to share with friends. Happy Easter! Christ Is Risen!

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