Wives with Knives http://www.wiveswithknives.net always fun ... sometimes edgy Sat, 20 Jun 2015 15:45:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Fried Chicken and Potato Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/06/20/fried-chicken-and-potato-salad-with-sweet-and-sour-dressing/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/06/20/fried-chicken-and-potato-salad-with-sweet-and-sour-dressing/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 15:45:47 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15759 For some reason, probably just habit, many of our favorite recipes as seasonal:  spritz cookies are for Christmas, potato salad for summer meals on the patio, and baked beans with brats grilled on the BBQ.  And most of us have very definite ideas of how these recipes should be prepared.  I was curious about the [Read More]

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Potato SaladFor some reason, probably just habit, many of our favorite recipes as seasonal:  spritz cookies are for Christmas, potato salad for summer meals on the patio, and baked beans with brats grilled on the BBQ.  And most of us have very definite ideas of how these recipes should be prepared.  I was curious about the history of potato salad…yes, my mind does go to such places…and 8,300,000 recipe sites were listed in my Google search. Most of the recipes I checked use a mayonnaise dressing.  German Kartoffelsalat is an exception with a dressing of vinegar and vegetable or chicken stock.  There are millions of versions of the same recipe with a mayonnaise base.  We love our traditional potato salad recipe but every so often it’s fun to try something a little different…just for the heck of it.  Potato Salad

A neighbor gave me this recipe for potato salad dressing way back in the mid 1960’s.  The sweet and sour flavors are from sugar and vinegar cooked in a light, creamy egg based sauce.  It’s a great change from the tired, bland flavor of a mayonnaise dressing.   I use all the same ingredients in my salad:  potatoes, celery, hard boiled egg, onion, pickle relish, a few chopped olives…it’s this very flavorful dressing that gives it a whole new personality.  My favorite way to serve potato salad is with fried chicken cutlets.  As much as I like it I don’t fry bone-in, skin-on chicken any more.  Way too messy and greasy for my taste,  Cutlets are the way to go and they cook in just a few minutes.  If you’ve never tried them, this is how you do it.  Slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half, horizontally.  Even out the thickness which a couple whacks with a meat mallet.  Dip the cutlets in flour, then in beaten eggs, then in panko, and fry in a medium hot skillet until golden brown and crispy on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side depending on the thickness).  The best tip I can give you is to use high quality oil to fry the chicken.  I prefer Planter’s Peanut Oil for this because the flavor is delicate and it produces a beautiful, golden crispy crust.  Splurge on a bottle and save it for frying fish too.  You won’t believe the difference it makes.Potato Salad

I live smack in the middle of Oregon’s great wine region and belong to the wine club at Vista Hills Winery.  I served their 2013 Treehouse Pinot Gris with our meal.Potato Salad

Summer officially arrives this weekend, and from what I hear we may be in for a dry, hot one.  There is nothing better with grilled meats and poultry than a big bowl of homemade potato salad, especially when it can be prepared in the cool early morning hours.  Why not surprise your family with this delicious version of a classic American dish.

Potato Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing
 
:
Ingredients
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the beaten eggs, sugar, dry mustard, vinegar, water, flour, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly, Remove from heat and add butter. Cool and add mayonnaise. Mix well.

 

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Coconut Madeleines http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/06/09/coconut-madeleines/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/06/09/coconut-madeleines/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 17:03:34 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15775 We get a week or two of hot weather here in the Pacific NW, usually in August, but this year it’s starting early and we have been in the 90’s for the past four days.  Ugh, way too hot to do much baking, but I did get up early yesterday and baked a batch of [Read More]

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Coconut MadeleinesWe get a week or two of hot weather here in the Pacific NW, usually in August, but this year it’s starting early and we have been in the 90’s for the past four days.  Ugh, way too hot to do much baking, but I did get up early yesterday and baked a batch of Ina Garten’s coconut madeleines.  I like almost anything coconut and have a love affair with madeleines that I give in to way too often. They are easy to make, rich and dense like poundcake, and are the perfect treat for picnics and cookouts.  You can’t beat homemade cookies and fresh fruit for a great summer snack or dessert.

P1020198I’m not a big fan of kitchen gadgets and pans that have a single purpose.  I’m trying to scale back and get rid of things I use maybe once a year.  I don’t need a dozen different cupcake pans or half a dozen bundt cake pans in varying shapes and sizes.  As I get older there is something comforting about looking into an organized cupboard and not having to take out stacks of this and that to get to the loaf pan that has worked its way to the back.  My one exception to my multi-use rule is my madeleine pans.  I know the divine little buttery cakes wouldn’t taste the same if they were made in any other shape.  The pan is a must.  They are easy to find in any cookware shop in both a nonstick metal and silicone.  They are so worth the investment and once you see how easy to make these little cakes are and how delicious they taste you will wonder how you every got along with the pans.Coconut Madeleines

Madeleines are best the day they are baked and tend to dry out fairly quickly.  I like to add a powdered sugar glaze that seals one side and goes a long way to keep them soft and fresh for several days.  The dough isn’t very sweet so the glaze adds a nice texture to the little cakes, especially when its flavored with something like coconut extract.  Despite the nonstick surface of my metal pans I generously brush them with melted butter to ensure that they don’t stick.P1020207

There are endless variations of madeleines and several of my favorites are buckwheat browned butter (from David Lebovitz’s brilliant book, Ready for Dessert, and vanilla bean madeleines from my Mom’s recipe files.

I’m not a big hot weather person…thank heavens we don’t have many days like this…so early morning is my favorite time of day.  I love having my first cup of coffee on the deck where I can hear birds tuning up for the day and listen to two resident owls “whooing” to each other. This is when I like to indulge in homemade cookies.

Ina's Coconut Madeleines
 
:
: 18-24 cakes
Ingredients
Cake Batter:
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter, to grease the pans
  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup sweetened, shredded coconut, coarsely chopped
Glaze:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • water
  • Several drops coconut flavoring
Instructions
To Make Cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly butter and flour the madeleine pans.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add ¼ pound of melted butter and mix. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the coconut.
  3. With a soup spoon, drop the batter into the pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake the madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed and are light golden brown. . Tap the madeleines out onto parchment paper and allow to cool.
Glaze:
  1. Add water to confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it has a pourable consistency. Mix in the coconut flavoring. Place madeleines on a wire rack and spoon the glaze over them, allowing excess to drip off. Let dry for 2 hours or until glaze has set.

 

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Mocha Cream Hazelnut Strawberry Torte http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/05/29/mocha-cream-hazelnut-strawberry-torte/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/05/29/mocha-cream-hazelnut-strawberry-torte/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 14:36:53 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15700   I have lived my whole life here in the Pacific Northwest.  My great grandmother was born in Portland in 1869 and the family has been here ever since. I live in the heart of America’s hazelnut producing area, second only to Turkey in the quantity of hazelnuts (filberts to Oregonians) grown and shipped worldwide.  My [Read More]

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Hazelnut Torte

I have lived my whole life here in the Pacific Northwest.  My great grandmother was born in Portland in 1869 and the family has been here ever since. I live in the heart of America’s hazelnut producing area, second only to Turkey in the quantity of hazelnuts (filberts to Oregonians) grown and shipped worldwide.  My neighborhood is surrounded by hazelnut orchards and in the fall nuts can be purchased in many farmers’ markets and roadside stands.  I’ve collected recipes over the years that use hazelnuts in umpteen different ways and this is one of my favorite cakes. The cake batter is simple and, yes, the amount of flour listed is correct:  2 tablespoons.  It’s the hazelnut flour that makes the magic in this cake:  delicate, light, nutty  layers wrapped in  creamy smooth rich chocolate mocha frosting…what could be better than that.Hazelnut TorteThe beauty of the cake and the frosting is that they are so versatile and can be used in many different ways.  A banana whipped cream cake made with hazelnut cake layers is out of this world, and the creamy frosting that is a cross between whipped cream and butter cream is a great filling for a Swiss cake roll.P1020101The cake ingredients go together quickly and easily.  It may look like you have spent hours in the kitchen but the truth is that it takes only a few minutes to make this delicious, nutty cake.  If hazelnut flour isn’t available where you live you can grind whole toasted hazelnuts in a blender until they are almost like flour.  Be careful not to over grind or you have hazelnut butter.  The recipe doesn’t make a lot of batter…just enough for about a half-inch layer of battter in two 8-inch cake pans.Hazelnut TorteA layer of ripe sweet strawberries was a delicious addition to the cake.  Just press the slices into the frosting and top with the second layer of cake.  Don’t limit yourself to strawberries…bananas or raspberries would be good too.Hazelnut TorteMany of the recipes in my mother’s files are from the early days of the FoodDay Section of the Portland Oregonian.  The insert was in the Thursday edition and my mom read it from front to back.  There were very few cooking magazines back in the 1960’s and no cooking shows that I can remember so this newspaper insert was the main source for housewives to keep up on what was new in the cooking world.  They published recipes from well known local restaurants, bakeries and delis and my mom cut out and saved most of them…which turned out to be very lucky for me. In 2012 The Oregonian published a cookbook, The Oregonian Cookbook, edited by Katherine Miller, and many of the great old recipes are in this 403 page book.  This recipe is from that cookbook.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mocha Cream Hazelnut Strawberry Torte
 
:
Ingredients
Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) raw hazelnuts
  • Or 2-1/4 cups (6 ounces) hazelnut flour
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Frosting
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
To Make Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottoms and sides of two 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with greased wax paper or parchment rounds.
  2. If you are using whole nuts, place them in a blender and pulse until they are very finely ground. Then add the eggs and sugar and blend until well combined. If you are using hazelnut flour, mix the eggs, sugar and hazelnut flour in a medium bowl and stir well to combine.
  3. Sift together the all-purpose flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the nut mixture and blend until incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the sides come away from the pan and the tops are just firm. Do not over bake. The layers will be thin.
To Make Frosting:
  1. In a small bowl combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and coffee granules. In a separate bowl beat the cream until almost whipped, gradually adding the sugar mixture and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread the frosting between the cooled torte layers and on the sides. Keep the torte refrigerated and remove about 30 minutes before serving.
  2. Berries can be added between the layers and on top of the cake if desired. Just place them on top of the frosting.
  3. This torte is best if it is made ahead and allowed to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Even on the third day it was moist and delicious and the flavors had mellowed. There is something magical about the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.

 

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Lindy’s Famous Cheesecake http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/05/18/lindys-famous-cheesecake/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/05/18/lindys-famous-cheesecake/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 13:25:40 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15617 I have tried dozens of cheesecake recipes over the years and my favorite is the recipe for the first one I ever made.  I found the recipe for Lindy’s Famous Cheesecake in the first edition (1963) of McCall’s Cookbook that I received from my grandmother at my bridal shower.  It was a very popular cookbook and [Read More]

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P1020050

I have tried dozens of cheesecake recipes over the years and my favorite is the recipe for the first one I ever made.  I found the recipe for Lindy’s Famous Cheesecake in the first edition (1963) of McCall’s Cookbook that I received from my grandmother at my bridal shower.  It was a very popular cookbook and I’m sure everybody who got married in the 60’s got one as a gift on some occasion.   This cake is big and heavy (2-1/2 pounds of cream cheese and 7 eggs), New York style, dense and rich, and if you ever try it you won’t forget it.

FullSizeRender (4)

Lindy’s Cheesecake has a long history in New York when Leo Lindermann opened his first deli on Broadway in 1921. If you are interested in the history of this famous dessert you can read about it here and here.  Cheesecake has been a part of America’s culinary history since the early 1730’s but didn’t evolve into the cheesecake we know today until the development of cream cheese around 1910.

Lindy's cheesecake

The original Lindy’s cheesecake has a cookie crust.  I tried it several times and never cared for it.  It isn’t possible to get a nice crisp crust so I substituted a graham cracker crust early in my baking days and have used it ever since.  I found a big box of Biscoff cookies at Costco recently and made a crumb crust of  them instead of the graham crackers.  The crust was more flavorful than one made with graham crackers, but I like the nuttiness of the graham flour and will stick with that in the future.  The cake is all about the incredibly delicious filling so I never get any complaints about the crust I use. I have included the original crust in the recipe so you can try it if you are curious.

IMG_0187 (1)

This cheesecake is easy to make.  The trick is baking a cake that doesn’t crack.  Let the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs stand at room temperature for at least thirty minutes before using. After adding the eggs, do not over beat or the air will cause a crack in the center. Baking at too high a temperature or over baking also contributes to cracking. Baking in a water bath reduces the possibility of cracking and produces the creamiest texture.  I try all these techniques and, as you can see in the photos, my cake has the Grand Canyon running down the center. It usually doesn’t matter because a topping covers it up nicely so don’t worry about it.

Lindys Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for my daughter’s April birthday and passed a selection of toppings rather than choosing one for the top of the cake.  Homemade caramel sauce was delicious and sliced strawberries are always a winner.  I cut small pieces because we had a big platter of fried razor clams and roasted asparagus for the birthday dinner.  If you have never made a New York style cheesecake I urge you to try it.  It’s truly one of the most wonderful desserts and is so easy to make at home.

Razor Clams

Lindy's Famous Cheesecake
 
:
Ingredients
FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • (A graham cracker crust can be substituted for the cookie crust)
FOR THE FILLING:
  • 2½ lb. cream cheese, softened
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1½ tsp. orange zest
  • 1½ tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 whole eggs, plus 2 yolks
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
Instructions
For the cookie crust: Combine flour, butter, sugar, zest, salt, yolk, and vanilla in a bowl; rub with fingers until dough forms. Form dough into 2 rounds; wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. Press 1 dough round onto bottom of a 9" springform pan; pull off pieces from remaining dough and press around sides of pan. Set aside.
For the filling: Heat oven to 500°. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, zests, and vanilla in a large bowl on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition, until smooth; stir in cream. Pour filling into pan, and bake until top begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 200°, and bake until just set, about 1 hour more. Transfer to a rack, and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove cake from pan and cut into slices to serve.

 

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Spring Salmon and Asparagus Salad http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/05/12/spring-salmon-and-asparagus-salad-and-a-time-capsule/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/05/12/spring-salmon-and-asparagus-salad-and-a-time-capsule/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 16:38:14 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15653 What a week!  My Chicago daughter was here for a visit and for the first time in a long time I spent Mother’s Day with all three of my children and two of my five grandkids.  My son invited us to his home for brunch on Sunday and the weather was beautiful so we sat outside and [Read More]

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Salmon Salad

What a week!  My Chicago daughter was here for a visit and for the first time in a long time I spent Mother’s Day with all three of my children and two of my five grandkids.  My son invited us to his home for brunch on Sunday and the weather was beautiful so we sat outside and enjoyed a wonderful Spring day.

On Saturday afternoon my family assembled for another purpose.  In January, 2000, we made a family time capsule.  We all wrote letters to be read in the future (the year 2015) and added memorabilia to the box:  pictures, magazines, the daily newspaper, whatever we thought would be interesting to us fifteen years ahead.  Little did we know…the world has changed a lot since the year 2000 and so has our family.  I was nervous because I couldn’t remember what I said in my four page letter.  My children felt the same way and it was a little stressful to know that we would be reading these missives out loud, to everyone.  But nervousness quickly disappeared as we started reading our letters and it was replaced by intense interest as we listened to each other’s sometimes funny, sometimes very touching and sometimes sad recounts of life in 2000.   My daughter read letters from my parents because they weren’t there to do it themselves.  That got some tears flowing.  Both my son and I added VHS tapes of family activities to the time capsule but we don’t have anything to play them on!  We  never guessed that would be the case.  I wonder what kinds of far out electronic devices we will be dealing with fifteen years from now, in 2030. It might be fun to make some guesses.

I’m sharing this little story because this was a big event for my family.  We all shook our heads at how fast the past fifteen years flew by and how much life can change from one day to the next.  It was an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our own lives and to celebrate the ups and downs in the lives of family members and how important each person is in the fabric of our family.  We are talking about assembling another capsule for 15 years in the future.  I’ll be 87 years old then…it makes me stop and think. If there are things in life I want to do I need to do them now.  I’m working on my bucket list. If the idea of a time capsule sounds interesting to you and your family I can’t urge you strongly enough to do it.  It’s a very powerful experience that has brought us closer together. And it was fun.

Quail Eggs

OK, so now on to dinner. One of my favorite summer meals is a large composed salad…one that can serve two people or a dozen.  It can be made of whatever is in season and the salads I make are always different. A friend of mine gave me some eggs and the little quail eggs were a great garnish for the salad.   The goose egg (top right) is about twice the size of the four duck eggs, and the little spotted eggs are from quail.  I have seen them at the farmers’ market but have never tried them.  All these eggs are richer than chicken eggs and have huge, dark orange yolks.  I just hard boiled the little ones (4 minutes) and then peeled them and cut them in half.

IMG_1355

We are just getting into salmon season here in the Pacific NW and I chose a big piece of Chinook for our dinner salad.  Wrapping it in foil is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon because I’m not so likely to over cook it.  That is the fastest way to ruin a piece of wonderful, very expensive, fish.  Place the fish on a sheet of foil and season with salt, pepper and herbs (fresh dill here).  Don’t limit yourself to this combo…you can use anything you like for seasoning.  A garnish of lemon slices is nice and just before I close up the foil pouch I add a tablespoon or two of a dry white wine. Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes.  If you aren’t sure if it’s done open the top of the packet and lightly press the fish.  If it feels squishy it isn’t done.  It need to feel slightly firm to the touch.  If it need more cooking, reseal the foil and bake for another minute or two.  If you leave the packet sealed when you take the fish out of the oven it continues to cook.  If it’s done, open the foil and let it cool slightly and then refrigerate.

IMG_0351

What other ingredients you add to your salad is your choice:  tomatoes,  asparagus, French carrot bistro salad,  roasted potatoes, radishes, eggs.  Good alternatives are couscous salad, green beans, grilled zucchini, shrimp, chicken…endless possibilities.  I usually pass a cruet of homemade vinaigrette or a light, creamy herb dressing just in case somebody wants it.

P1020064

Big, fat asparagus spears are my favorite and I always look for them when I’m shopping.  Apparently Costco customers like the skinny ones because they toss the packages of the big ones to the back of the display.  Perfect for me.  The big spears are usually tough so I peel them and they become fork tender.  The large spears hold up better on the grill and get nice little char marks from being on the grill longer.  Composed salads are perfect for summer entertaining because everything can be made and assembled ahead of time.  Add some good bread, nice wine and a yummy dessert and you will have a great meal you can sit back and enjoy. With this dinner each person helps him or her self.

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Black Forest Cake Bars http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/27/black-forest-cake-bars/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/27/black-forest-cake-bars/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:13:20 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15539   If using a cake mix isn’t your thing and you cringe at the thought of opening a can of fruit pie filling then this recipe isn’t for you. I pride myself on my “made from scratch” recipes but every so often one comes along that is so good I have to make an exception [Read More]

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Black Forest BarsIf using a cake mix isn’t your thing and you cringe at the thought of opening a can of fruit pie filling then this recipe isn’t for you. I pride myself on my “made from scratch” recipes but every so often one comes along that is so good I have to make an exception and make it despite the fact that it is full of mystery ingredients.  That this cake takes only five minutes to put together isn’t the issue.  What’s important is that this tender, moist, absolutely delicious chocolate  cake is so close to my favorite Black Forest Cake that I know it will soon become one of our family favorites.

Black Forest BarsI have a stack of old Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks that I bought on ebay years ago.  I recently found this grand prize winning recipe for what they called “Cherry Chocolate Bars” in the 1974 edition of the Bake-off book.  It looks so simple, and sometimes those easy recipes are among the best.  The dollop of whipped cream on top  is the perfect garnish and, if I close my eyes, I can picture myself in the Black Forest of Germany with a big slice of this rich chocolate cake mit schlag.

Black Forest BarsThe cake is baked in a 9″x 13″ pan.  While still warm a syrupy chocolate frosting is poured over the cake and it fills up all the indentation made by the cherries. Wait to make the frosting until the cake comes out of the oven because  sets up quickly.

Black Forest BarsDon’t worry about its appearance because a spoonful of whipped cream covers up any imperfections.  I usually don’t have a problem passing on dessert, but this one is too much for me.  My challenge is to not go back for seconds.

Black Forest BarsIf you have a box of dark chocolate cake mix and a can of cherry pie filling in your pantry you can make this over the top delicious cake in a flash.  Be sure to add that spoonful of whipped cream and a cherry.

Black Forest Bars

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Black Forest Cake Bars
 
:
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 1-lb.2.25 ounce box of Devil's Food or dark chocolate "Moist" cake mix
  • 1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
Frosting:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
Instructions
Cake
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13"x9" baking pan. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, almond extract and eggs and mix until well blended and there are no lumps of dry cake mix. It helps to press the dry cake mix through a medium sieve or whisk with a wire whisk to break up any lumps. Add the can of cherry pie filling and mix well. Spread in the greased and floured baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
Frosting:
  1. In a small saucepan combine sugar, milk and butter; mixing well. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Pour over warm bars and quickly spread with an offset spatula. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Make the frosting right after the cake comes out of the oven and immediately pour it over the cake. It quickly sets up as it cools and won't spread well.

 

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Chicken and Shrimp Paella http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/22/chicken-and-shrimp-paella/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/22/chicken-and-shrimp-paella/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:32:38 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15527 With summer just around the corner I’m looking for recipes that can be easily prepared and served on the patio…one dish creations where everyone can help themselves and I don’t have to be running back and forth between the patio table and the kitchen.  Although I love the dish I’ve never made paella before and when I [Read More]

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With summer just around the corner I’m looking for recipes that can be easily prepared and served on the patio…one dish creations where everyone can help themselves and I don’t have to be running back and forth between the patio table and the kitchen.  Although I love the dish I’ve never made paella before and when I recently saw it on my friend, Sam’s, blog, My Carolina Kitchen, I knew this would be a great addition to our summer menus.  One of the many good things about a recipe like this is that you can change it up each time you make it…chicken, shrimp, sausage, seafood, whatever is best at the market at the time.  I chose chicken and shrimp plus a very small piece of sausage because that was all I had, and the results were fantastic.

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The first time I visited E. Dehillerin in Paris I fell in love with the most beautiful copper tatin pan and I absolutely had to buy it.  It didn’t look huge next to all the large pots and pans in the store but when I got it home I realized a tatin made in it would serve at least 20 people.  I haven’t used it much because I don’t often have that many people for dinner anymore.  But now I’m very happy I have this beautiful pan because it makes the perfect paella for 6-8 people and I’m tickled pink to put it right in the center of the table.  FYI – it’s 12″ x 2″ and 1 cup of uncooked rice fills it up.

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Start off by browning chicken pieces in a little bit of olive oil, then add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until soft.  Add wine, tomatoes and their liquid, broth, rice, spices and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Add shrimp and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

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Stir in the peas, olives and chopped chorizo and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes until rice and shrimp are done. If you have all your ingredients ready to go, this fantastic dish assembles easily and quickly and dinner is ready to serve in about 25 minutes.  I made a few little changes in Sam’s recipe so I urge you to visit her blog to see how she made this paella.  I reduced the amount of tomatoes and added a little more broth.  I didn’t have any saffron and used Hungarian sweet paprika and a bay leaf instead.  Chorizo is an important ingredients in this paella because its spiciness helps flavor the dish. Be sure to garnish the dish with slices of fresh lemon to brighten up the yummy flavors of the shrimp.  The beauty of this recipe is that it can be changed up in many different ways.

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One of the great things about this dish is that it can go directly from the stove to the table.  I served a green salad and garlic bread along side and added a delicious pinot gris rose from Vista Hills Vineyard…just up the road from my house, by the way. If you are out wine tasting in the Dundee Hills this is a must stop place.   Serving a scrumptiously wonderful meal doesn’t have to take all day to put together.  And it doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks, Sam, for sharing this recipe.  I know this will be one of my most often prepared summer meals.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken and Shrimp Paella
 
:
Ingredients
  • i tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-1/2" pieces. I used boneless chicken thighs.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth or clam broth
  • ¼ teaspoon dried saffron (I didn't have saffron and used 1 tablespoon sweet paprika and 1 bay leaf instead)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • ¾ cup peeled and deveined wild caught shrimp (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 4-5 ounces Spanish chorizo, roughly diced (optional)
  • ¼ cup flat-leafed parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish.
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or saute pan over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until golden brown, 2 minutes per side.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and their liquid, whatever spices you are using, rice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until 5 minutes before the rice is done. Stir in shrimp and continue to cook for 5 more minutes until rice & shrimp are done.
  3. Stir the peas, olives, & chopped chorizo into the rice and chicken and cook, covered, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Spoon the chicken and rice into a platter or onto individual plates and sprinkle with the parsley. I did it the easy way and served the paella in the pan I cooked it in. A few lemon slices were added for garnish.

 

 

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Almond Caramel Tart http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/13/almond-caramel-tart/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/13/almond-caramel-tart/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:16:29 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15471 Desserts is the biggest recipe category on my blog and if I had to pick my top five favorite dessert recipes this heavenly tart would be on the short list.  I hadn’t been blogging more than a few months when I posted the recipe back in 2008 and I don’t think it was seen by more than [Read More]

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Almond tart

Desserts is the biggest recipe category on my blog and if I had to pick my top five favorite dessert recipes this heavenly tart would be on the short list.  I hadn’t been blogging more than a few months when I posted the recipe back in 2008 and I don’t think it was seen by more than a few dozen readers.  I made it for Easter brunch last week and thought I would share it again because it’s a recipe we love and it’s oh, so good.  My mother first made this tart for my daughter when she was in high school and it was the recipe she always requested when we celebrated special occasions.  The recipe is hand written on a small sheet of paper and my mom didn’t make a note of where she got it.  I found a very similar recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog where he wrote that ” the recipe came from Lindsey Shere who was the executive pastry chef and co-owner of Chez Panisse. Her Almond Tart was the most infamous dessert at Chez Panisse for decades until too many customers apparently had a hard time eating it with a fork, so off the menu it went.”   I think David makes this recipe sound much more complicated than it is and I probably wouldn’t have tried it had I read his blog post about it first.  It is a cross between a tart and a cookie and we have never had a problem using a fork to eat it.  If it’s baked in a rectangular pan it can be cut into bars and eaten without a fork.  Either way, it is so delicious and caramely and nutty that using a utensil or not is insignificant.  His post is interesting and he goes through the steps of making this tart so if you are a fan of his like I am you might want to read what he writes about this fantastic, infamous dessert.

Almond tart

The tart crust can be made in a food processor as well as by hand with a pastry blender.  Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the flour and salt in the processor bowl.  Process to a coarse meal, then add egg yolks and pulse a time or two until blended.  If the dough doesn’t hold together add a tablespoon or two of ice water and process a few seconds until it forms a ball. Press the dough onto the bottom and sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom.  Don’t try to roll it out. It’s too sticky and you will have a giant mess on your hands. Don’t worry if the crust doesn’t look perfect.  The filling covers it up.  Save a walnut size piece of dough to make any little repairs in the crust after it bakes the first time.  Sometimes little cracks appear and a patch with the raw dough prevents the filling from oozing out and burning.

Almond tart

Cook the whipping cream and butter in a saucepan for 5 minutes and then add the flavorings and slivered almonds.  The mixtures doesn’t thicken up at this point so carefully ladle it into the tart crust.  Evenly distribute the almonds with the side of a silicone spatula.  In David’s post he wrote about the tart forming a nut crust and the necessity of breaking it up with a spatula.  I have never had that problem, but bubbles do form on the filling as it bakes and I use the side of the spatula to pop them for a smoother top.  Just a little tap or two does the trick. Do this several times during baking.

Almond tart

Bake the tart in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until it is a nice golden brown.  Let it cool on a wire rack and then check to make sure there aren’t spots where the crust is stuck to the removable ring of the pan.  If there are, gently loosen the crust with the tip of a small paring knife.

Almond Tart

 

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All the gooey caramel holds the nuts together well enough that pieces can be picked up and eaten like a cookie.  It can even be made in a rectangular baking pan if you want to cut it into squares and make finger food out of it. I served it with a small scoop of French vanilla ice cream.  A bit of whipped cream is delicious as well.

Almond tart

I managed to snag this last sliver of tart before it was too late so you at least can see how caramely and full of almonds it is. This dessert is so good I’m thinking of making another one so I can have a bigger slice.  I don’t usually eat dessert right after dinner and am hungry for it later in the evening or even with a cup of coffee in the morning.  I better get baking because I definitely need a bigger piece.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Almond Caramel Tart
 
:
Ingredients
CRUST:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1-2 tablespoons ice water if needed
FILLING:
  • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • dash salt
Instructions
CRUST:
  1. Blend flour, sugar and butter with a pastry blender. Stir in the egg yolks and mix till dough forms a ball. You can also make this dough in a food processor. Press onto the bottom and sides of a 11 – 12 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Don’t try to roll out this pastry. Spread evenly and bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
FILLING:
  1. Combine whipping cream, sugar, orange peel and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt, orange peel and almonds. Carefully pour into shell and bake at 375 degrees till lightly browned, about 30 – 35 minutes. Watch carefully. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Carefully loosen the crust from the tart rim and cool completely..

 

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Ham Asparagus and Cheese Rollups http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/07/ham-asparagus-and-cheese-rollups/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/07/ham-asparagus-and-cheese-rollups/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:37:08 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15483 I’m disappointed by the photos of this ham casserole, but I was lucky to get them at all.  If my daughter hadn’t said at the very last minute “Mom, didn’t you want to take pictures of that?” I wouldn’t even have these to show you.  I swear I’m going to get a GoPro camera and attach it [Read More]

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Ham Asparagus Rollups

I’m disappointed by the photos of this ham casserole, but I was lucky to get them at all.  If my daughter hadn’t said at the very last minute “Mom, didn’t you want to take pictures of that?” I wouldn’t even have these to show you.  I swear I’m going to get a GoPro camera and attach it to a head band so I don’t forget to get those last photos before a dish is served. I do it over and over….and over.  I get so concerned about getting everything to the table hot that all other thoughts just pop out of my brain.  Aside from all that, this is one of our favorite brunch dishes and the beauty of it is that it can be made the day before.  It has all the essential Easter brunch or dinner ingredients:  ham, asparagus, and cheese and the leftovers are worth fighting over…so to avoid that I usually make extra so there are small servings for the kids to take home.

Ham Asparagus Rollups

Ham, asparagus, cheese and rice are rolled up in a slice of ham, covered with a rich, creamy cheese sauce, topped with grated Gruyere and cheddar cheeses and baked until bubbly golden brown.

Ham Asparagus Rollups

I bought ham at my local German deli that was sliced just thick enough to hold together but not so thick that the slices won’t easily roll up.  They cut several for me to make sure they were just right. A pound and a half of ham yielded 15 nice slices.  I have tried using spiral cut ham (too thick) and slicing bone-in unsliced ham but I can’t get uniformly thin large slices.

Ham Asparagus Rollups

A small amount of cheese sauce is mixed with cooked rice and spread on a ham slice.  The asparagus was small so I used 4 spears in each roll.   Roll up the ham slice and secure with a toothpick if necessary.

Ham Asparagus Rollups

Lay them in a buttered casserole dish, seam side down.  Leave a tiny bit of room between rolls for a little cheese sauce to ooze down in the space as the dish bakes.

Ham Asparagus Rollups

Cover the roll ups with cheese sauce and a generous amount of grated cheese.  We like a combination of Gruyere and cheddar.

Ham Asparagus Rollups

 

Ham Asparagus Rollups

If the ham rolls have been refrigerated let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting them in a 350 degree oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese has melted and is nicely brown and bubbly.  I served this with buttered herbed white rice, a fruit salad, deviled eggs,homemade rolls and an almond caramel tart (recipe coming soon).

Ham Asparagus Rollups

 

Deviled Eggs

Almond tart

Ham Asparagus and Cheese Rollups
 
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Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon onion salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup swiss cheese, grated
  • 1-1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 10-12 slices good quality cooked ham, sliced thick enough to hold together when rolled
  • 24-32 fresh asparagus spears, roasted and cooled
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (preferably Gruyere) mixed with
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top of unbaked casserole
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, nutmeg and salt. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in milk and cook, stirring until thickened. Add 1 cup swiss cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Blend ¾ cup sauce into the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread equal amounts of rice mixture on ham slices. Top with 3 or 4 asparagus spears, roll ham around the filling and secure with toothpicks if necessary.
  3. Arrange rolls in shallow baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over rolls and top with grated Swiss cheese and Gruyere. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and heated through, about 25-30 minutes.

 

 

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Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/03/chocolate-dipped-coconut-macaroons/ http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2015/04/03/chocolate-dipped-coconut-macaroons/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:09:34 +0000 http://www.wiveswithknives.net/?p=15405 Coconut has always been one of my favorite foods.  I love it in savory dishes and in the endless number of sweets that are made with it.  When it’s combined with chocolate it’s just about perfect.  My favorite macaroon recipes is one I found at How to Cook a Wolf, my friend Linda’s blog that I have [Read More]

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Coconut Macaroons

Coconut has always been one of my favorite foods.  I love it in savory dishes and in the endless number of sweets that are made with it.  When it’s combined with chocolate it’s just about perfect.  My favorite macaroon recipes is one I found at How to Cook a Wolf, my friend Linda’s blog that I have followed from almost my first day of blogging. This macaroon recipe contains sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)  that keeps the cookies moist and chewy and insanely good.  I put them into the freezer to try to stop myself from eating every single cookie, but they are delicious frozen as well so that didn’t deter me for a minute. These are good any time of year, but I always think of them at Easter, probably because of the big coconut cake my mom always used to make for Easter dinner.

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Easter is a special day for me that has many happy memories attached to it.  It was my mother’s favorite holiday and she always set her holiday table with all her good things…the same china and silver I use today.  My china is an old pattern by Lenox, designed by Frank Holmes for the company in 1922.  The pattern was discontinued in 1946.  It is classic cream colored china with a gold band and hand painted embellishments.  The silver is Grande Baroque, released by Wallace Silversmiths in 1941.  According to the company Grande Baroque “reflected the very essence of merriment and an adventure of artistic progress.” The “essence of merriment” makes me laugh but we have set many tables with these beautiful things so I guess it’s true.   After 75 years this is still one of their most popular silver patterns.   I’m the third generation of my family to set the table with these china, silver and goldware patterns which were purchased around 1945.  There is a lot of history and many memories in all this.  I have never posted tablescapes but I may do a post now and then so I can share some of the family treasures that I have.

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I used a 1-1/2 inch diameter ice cream scoop to form the mounds of dough.  The cookies hold their shape better than if they are scooped with a tablespoon, but either way is fine. Remove the cookies from the oven when they are a nice light golden brown. You want them to be soft and chewy so it’s important not to over bake them. When the cookies have cooled dip the bottoms into melted chocolate, remove extra chocolate with a little spreader or knife and let dry on sheets of waxed paper or parchment.  This way they will have a nice flat bottom.  Drizzle any leftover chocolate over the tops of the cookies.  They keep well if stored in an airtight container.Coconut Macaroons

If you have some good bittersweet chocolate now is the time to use it.  It’s perfect with the sweetness of the coconut.  I’m a dark chocolate person and 70% is what I usually buy for recipes like this.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 14 ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. In a medium bowl combine coconut, with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg white with the salt until firm peaks form. Fold the beaten whites into the coconut mixture.
  2. Scoop tablespoon size mounds of the mixture onto the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. (I used a 1-1/2 inch diameter ice cream scoop that made a perfect size) Bake in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool completely.
  3. Dip the bottoms of the macaroons into the melted chocolate and place on sheets of waxed paper or parchment to set. Drizzle any remaining chocolate on top.Store in an airtight container.

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