Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekend Kitchen Gadget-The Perfect Cookie

I love making cookies and the ones at the kiosk in the mall are very good. Sometime ago I learned the secret in making those soft and chewy cookies. Of course it really isn't a can buy a cookbook from Mrs Fields that tells you how. But since none of my friends have Her cookbook,I can still say it's a secret.

These is some of the tools I use for that perfect size, always the same size cookies. My camera took this photo, it came out like this. I only have the two gadgets on the green mat. The camera setting tiled it for me. I thought it was cool.
The yellow one is a cookies dough scoop. It has a silicon bottom that you press to release the dough. Now the hand metal scoop is one you squeeze the handle and the dough is comes in many sizes. I used the metal type for years. Then one day at a Gadget store I saw the yellow bottom cookie dough scoop. It had a lifetime warranty. I like both, each one works great. Now you can make the perfect size every time.

Since you visited my blog and read all the way through this post I will give you the secret to that Mrs Fields cookie. Now don't tell anyone........It's how you bake them.( 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-22 minutes).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Auntie E's Baps

Baps are a type of bread from Scotland. They are soft crusted and a silky texture roll. I like to make them for hamburgers and breakfast sandwiches. You can cut them in half and toast on a bagel setting and spread marmalade on for a snack.
In trying to make this a more healthier Bread, I have changed the lard out to Shortening and the cream to skim milk. We found the taste to still be there and the texture was not compromised.

Auntie E's Baps

3 3/4 to 4 3/4 cups of Unbleached bread flour.
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast.
1/2 teaspoon organic fine sugar.
1 3/4 cups of half skim milk and water (at 95-105 degrees F),divided
Milk for glazing and flour for dusting.

  • Add yeast,sugar and 2 tablespoon Warm liquid in glass bowl, let stand until foamy about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Sift together 3 3/4 cups flour and salt. Mix in shortening with clean fingertips until fine crumbs are left.. Make well in center.
  • Add rest of liquid and the yeast mixture in center. With wooden spoon start add flour into well. continue until all flour is added.
  • Turn out onto floured Pastry cloth or floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes. Until dough is smooth and silky.
  • Place dough into a lightly greased bowl and turn to greased top. Cover with damp cloth and Let rise in warm, place free of drafts for 1 to 1.5 hrs,until double in size.
  • Turn out onto floured surface or pastry cloth and divided into 12 equal pieces. shape pieces into 3 inch rounds, Place on two lightly greased Baking sheets.
  • Brush with milk and dust with flour, Let rise for 30 minutes in warm place.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sift a little more flour over the tops and lightly press thumb in the middle (this will keep them flattish then domed)- I tend to let them dome some, so do not press so hard.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until golden top and bottom. (about half way through cooking switch baking sheets,if using two racks for cooking)
  • Remove from oven place dry towel over them and let them cool a little before cutting and eating.
copyright 2010 by"AuntieE'sCookBook/M Dubros"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ask Around the Table- Grocery Stores.

I go to a lot of grocery stores; Giant, Superfresh, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Food Lion and Farm fresh. There are some I would like to go to; Whole foods, Wegmans and Traders Joes. Then there are those mega stores who know the ones; Walmart, Sams, Costco and BJ's. Out of of these stores I still shop at the Commissary on Post. I find the prices much better, down to earth. Oh yes I do still shop at Sams once in a while for things. Found I like the chicken at Superfresh better, the Salmon at Sams and the fresh fruits at Giant. The Bread at Harris teeter is great and they have a better international food isle. Where do you grocery shop?
Prices are so high I tend to stick with the Commissary. I can not figure out why and how the prices went up and stayed up. It's like the consumer gave in and just agreed to pay the higher prices. After Katrina the price went up , then there was the gas crunch, the truckers strike, chicken and meat crisis and so one. All while this was going on the prices at the Commissary stayed down. That got me thinking is this Greed? What do you think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shiitake Mushroom Sauce

Stiitake Mushrooms in White Grape Sauce
8 oz of Shittake Mushrooms
2 tablespoon olive oil butter ( I used Fleishmann's)
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup White Grape Juice (used Welches)
1/2 cup heavy whipping Cream
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried Tarragon Leaves
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon Ground pepper

Brush and rub dirt off mushrooms, do not rinse with water, that will make them tough.
Melt olive oil butter in small sauce pan on Medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes (stirring occasionally).
Add Mushrooms and cook until onions are tender and transparent, about 2 minutes, (stirring occasionally).
Stir in Juice, cream, tarragon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
boil Until sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup, this will take about 3 to 4 minutes, stir occasionally during this time.
Serve immediately.
copyright 2010 by"Auntie E's Cookbook/ M Dubros"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Coffee Time- Valentine's Dinner

Coffee in hand, this morning it is flavored with Italian sweet cream. For our Valentine's dinner I cooked steak for the family. I do not eat steak, therefore they usually get it when we go out. However in years past the restaurants have been a nightmare even with reservations. This year I decided to go to the store, buy some steaks and cook in.

The Menu for the family was:
Shrimp cocktails
Shiitake mushroom in white grape sauce (I'll post the recipe tomorrow)
Mashed potatoes.
Texas garlic toast

For me since I can not eat seafood or steak:
Chicken Potsticker
Chicken in shiitake Alfredo sauce
Mashed potatoes
Texas garlic Toast

We had lots of chocolate, candy hearts and Lemon pie.
What did your menu look like? Need some more coffee, want some.....I"ll be right back..I'm listening.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine for you.

Now wouldn't we love this cake on our tables. Happy Valentine's Day.

Cake by Mimi's bakery.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Philadelphia Sticky Buns

With all the winter weather I thought it would be time for a Sticky bun recipe. Some how cinnamon and Hot cocoa are a must in this kind of weather. I use to make these in Germany when it snowed, they were always a hit. Everyone in the neighborhood knew,so when it snowed they would be asking, " Sticky buns Yet?"

Philadelphia Sticky Buns.
for the dough you will need;

1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup organic raw fine sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup Unsalted butter
1/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg
2 and 1/2 cups unsifted unbleached all purpose flour

For the Filling you will need;

Butter or Margarine
Light and Dark brown sugar
1/2 cups Pecans halves
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Making the dough:
Put the yeast in the warm water(105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit). set aside.
In small sauce pan put in milk , heat until bubbles form around edges, remove for heat add sugar, salt and 1/4 cup butter, stirring until butter is melted. cool to 105 degrees F. use a thermometer to measure temp.
Add your yeast mixture to the cooled, 105 degree F, milk mixture, stir.
Add the egg and 2 cups of flour, beat with electric mixture until smooth and leaves the side of the bowl.
At the point I change to the Bread kneader Hook attachment and continue kneading for about 3 to 5 minutes on Low setting ( no.1), you can add the rest of the flour as needed, until it is smooth and blisters(pockets of air) appears.
Place into a light greased large bowl, set in a warm place(about 85 degrees F), free of drafts to rise. About 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until double in size.
Now to the sticky bun part:
Mix with a wooden spoon, 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar together til creamy. spread on botton of a 9x9 inch baking pan, spinkle top with Pecans halves.
Back to the dough:
Once dough has risen, turn out onto Pastry cloth and roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle.
Spread with soft butter, at this point you can use "I can't believe it's not butter spread". However I like the butter, I only make this once a year so butter is okay. use about 1/4 cup for the softened butter/spread.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup dark Brown sugar, raisins, and cinnamon.
Roll up jelly roll fashion, starting with the long 16" side. pinch to seal edge
Cut into 12 pieces; place cut side down into in 9x9 inch prepared pan.

cover and let rise in warm place(85 degrees F) for 1 to 11/2 hour until double in size

Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 25 to 30 minutes til golden brown.
Invert on the platter and let stand for 1 minute; remove pan. Serve warm.

A show stopper for you...view from my solarium room.

This was just a great shot of Natures Gingerbread House with icing on the roofs.
I have never seen anything like this. Now when I build a gingerbread house I can use this Natures model. All the house roofs were like this.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh those Aprons....

I started collecting aprons while in Germany. It just happen, people gave me aprons as gifts. Perhaps they thought I loved to cook, because I always wanted to know how the food was made.
A follower asked if I would post photos of my Apron collection,I speak about them often on other sites. For the next few months I will post some with information of how I received it. Hope you enjoy the memory lane and the aprons.

The first one I received from a friend who went to England. She thought of me and brought back this one of the Tube. That's what they called their underground subway system,according to Kathy. She knew I always wanted to go to London England. Rent a flat and eat at the pubs. Now I have a map of all the stops. Have had this one since 1985. Have study it well all these years and am now ready to go ride the Tube in London. I always remember Kathy when I wear it.

First stop will be.....
What do you think?

Click on photo to enlarge

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Southern Pimiento Cheese Spread.

As a child I remember eating Pimiento spread Sandwiches. I really like them. About twice a year I get the yearning for them. You know the kind, on White bread with no Crust and cut into four pieces.It is easy to make, but taste like it took hours make. I make it much more healthier for today's lifestyle.

Southern Pimiento Cheese Spread.

1 (16oz) package shredded cheddar cheese
1 (8oz) package of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (4oz) jar diced Pimientos-Drained
1/4 cup sliced dill pickles
1 small garlic clove, sliced.
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Mayo.

In a Processor put in first five ingredients, Process by pulsing on and off for about 10 seconds. Be sure not to puree, just mix until pickles and are no longer noticed .The ingredient will be dry.
Remove and transfer to bowl add Olive Oil Mayo and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving .
I like to make it the night before and refrigerate overnight. but of course sometimes I can not wait and make a sandwich right away.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Southern Almond Scones

Southern Almond Scones.

2 and1/2 cups of Cake flour (divided).
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup Raw fine sugar(divided).I use "Wholesome" Organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter
1 egg,beaten
10 oz Buttermilk
8 oz can Pure Almond Paste, I use SOLO brand.
some melted butter
a pastry cloth.

Sift together 2 and 1/4 cup of cake flour with baking powder , sugar and salt.
Cut in Cold butter, until it resembles coarse meal.
make well in center, set aside

Mix together Egg, and buttermilk.
Pour into well and fold into flour. mix until wet ingredients are incorporated.

Prepare pastry cloth by spreading 2 tablespoon of cake flour on it. Turn out dough on to cloth.

This is how I knead it;
1. pat down dough
2 pick up cloth and fold dough over dough. then press down and turn cloth repeat two more times.
Doing it this way keep your hands from melting the butter.
Now to add the Paste;
Make 4 almond paste logs, each about 9 inches long. to do this just roll the paste til you make a long rope.
lay first almond paste log on the top of the dough. fold dough over it. and knead as in kneading section above.
Repeat with each Almond Paste log addition(3 more times).

After the last log addition, Add the rest of flour to pastry cloth and roll dough to make a 10x2x11/2 inch log.Wrap in wax paper and the plastic wrap . Place in refrigerator over night.
In the morning cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices and brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

copyright 2010 "AuntieE CookBook/M Dubros"