Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black Bean Soup

I had black bean soup at Ruth Ann's tonight.  Here is my attempt at an ingredient list.

3 cans black beans
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes w garlic
1 can corn
1 onion, sauteed
Lime Juice
Worchestershire Sauce
Jalapenos (a couple rings, cut in pieces)
Cheddar Cheese (garnish)

Note from Ruth Ann: I pureed several ladles of soup (with as little liquid as possible) in the blender and added it back in.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hard Candy

Hard candy is awesome.  It is especially awesome when you make it from scratch and everyone is impressed. 

I used the recipe here as a starting point. 

1 1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/3 c. water
2 t. flavored extract (have used: almond, mint, cinnamon, lemon)
food coloring
powdered sugar for dusting & storage

Put your candy thermometer in a pot along with the first 3 ingredients.  Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil, stirring regularly.  Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring.  While the sugar mixture is heating, grease a metal cookie sheet or cake pan (9x13) with a little bit of butter.  Bring the mixture to a hard crack (300-310*F).  Add the extract, stirring briskly.  Add the food coloring, stirring briskly.  Pour into the prepared pan.  In about 5 minutes, score with a pizza cutter.  Wait until the candy is fully cooled and then break (twisting the pan like an ice cube tray helps).  Combine with a little powdered sugar to keep it from sticking.  Eat/store/give!

Okay... now for some sugar science.  Hard crack temp can vary based on the humidity, so... prep a tumbler (squatty glass) with cold water.  When things get close to 300*, drop a little bit of the sugar into the cold water.  Take the sugar out and crunch it to see if it is crunchy.  If it sticks to your teeth, it is not ready yet. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dressing (Stuffing, but not inside a bird)

This "recipe" (more like an ingredient list) is from my Oma.  She rocks.  :) 

I am only listing the ingredients that I use and trying to put in some measurements

Onion - approx 1/2 of a med one
Celery - approx 2 ribs
Green Pepper - approx 1/4-1/2
Red Pepper - approx 1/4-1/2
Sage, Mrs. Dash, black pepper, basil, parsley, celery seed, sugar
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1 c chicken broth (when I don't have any that is homemade, I just use bouillon)
1 stick butter, melted
1 stick butter, NOT melted
16 oz Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing (I use the little cubes)

Chop & sauté vegetables (you can also microwave if that is your style).  Mix everything together except the unmelted stick of butter.  Taste to ensure seasoning is as desired.  Put mixture in 9x13 glass dish or 2 8x8s.  Add water as necessary (this is the part that freaks me out).  The stuffing absorbs a lot of moisture during baking and it is kind of hard to add water during baking.  I think you want about 1/4-1/2 c.  Cut the last stick of margarine into slivers and poke into the mixture (or lay tabs on top).  Bake at 350* until golden brown.  Freezes well after baking. 

Well, hope that gets you started. :)  It's tasty, but not low calorie.  If you want to trim the calories, my suggestion would be putting only 1/2 a stick of butter on top.  Depending on your saltiness preferences and the saltiness of your broth, you might want to use unsalted butter or you might want to add salt.  Just some ideas...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet, Savory and Spicy Chili

2 lb ground beef (sometimes I use less)
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c diced green bell pepper
1 T crushed red pepper
2 T hot sauce
2 cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes (chili style) (I use one chili style & one regular)
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 lg can tomato sauce (probably could use broth here if you prefer a clearer chili)
1 1/2 T chili powder
1 t salt
Dash of pepper
1 c water
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (*not* pumpkin pie filling)
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 c shredded cheese

Saute beef & onion & peppers.  Pile everything in the slow cooker, except cheese.  Cook on low overnight or while at work.  About 20 mins before serving, stir in cheese (I don't... I just let everyone add at the table.).  12 servings. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sugar Roasted Peanuts

¼ water
1 c sugar
3 c raw peanuts
Dash of salt and/or dash of cinnamon, if desired

Cook over medium heat until peanuts are coated. Place on cookie sheets and bake in oven @ 225* for ~1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Test for doneness by setting a nut or two on the counter to cool and then testing.  They will crisp as they cool.