Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Favorite Snack

Kettle Chips (Salt and Pepper)..with my light sour crean, sweet onion, dill dip. I figured this particular plate was 230 calories.

Cookie of the Month for February

Molly gave John a coupon enrolling him in her "Cookie of the Month" club. Here is February's shipment. Tangy molasses cookies made with raw sugar ..arrived early this month. Thank you, Molly!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Friday night last we had fritatta for so easy. I love it. It is stove top in an iron skillet.
2 cups cooked brown rice, a cup of finely chopped kale
some diced onion and red pepper, sauteed
7 eggs ( usually 8, but I only had 7)
a handful of grated cheese.
Pour into skilled that has some melted butter in it. Cook on low with lid on skillet...for 15 minutes or till done. For this one, I put some grape tomatoes in the skillet on top the egg mixture 10 minutes before it was done. Perfect! Hot sweet juicy tomatoe-y bites!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Punchka Time

I did it! I made punchka's!

I made them the way my mom used to make them where they turn out like a round ball. I rolled them in granulated sugar. The filling? Cooked prunes! Yum! They are always the best the first day! I did give some away. You can microwave them to soften and warm them the day after. I did use lard to fry them in.

This is a tradition that dates way back. Polish Catholic housewives needed to use up their stores of fat before Lent (the 40 day period before Easter Sunday that begins with Ash Wednesday).
Lent starts Ash Wednesday...Feb 22nd this year (2012).

Now, they have been selling punchka's in Missouri and Wisconsin at the bakeries and at local churches (made and sold by enthusiastic home cooks) for the past 2-3 weeks...I know because I have talked to my people in those states. Here in my neck of the woods in Southern California,  such items are rarely if ever available commercially or sought after or consumed.

So, feeling nostalgic for the old days, and wondering why I never really carried on this tradition when we had kids at home (I think I was too busy or tired to make them), I got my mom's recipe (she mailed me a freshly written recipe) and got busy.

I recall when we were school kids, we'd come home from school on one of the days before Ash Wednesday and there would be big round fresh punchka's in a large ceramic bowl on the kitchen counter, covered with a white dish towel.

This is the best after school snack ever! Maybe they tasted so good because we only had them once a year.

Evelyn's Punchka Recipe ( from her mother-in-law)

P U N C H K A ' S ~ makes 24

2 cups scalded milk ( Joan used soy milk)
When lukewarm, put in big bowl, not plastic.
Add 1 cake fresh yeast and 2 cups of sifted flour
(Joan used 1 Tablespoon dry yeast)
Mix well and let stand 1/2 hour.
Add 1 egg and 4 yolks (Joan used 3 yolks and 1 egg)
Beat well then add 1/2 cup sugar (Joan used 1/4 cup sugar)
1 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter (Joan used 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough. Mix By Hand, Evelyn wrote. I stirred mine with a wooden spoon and then kneaded it for a few minutes on the counter, making sure to keep the dough soft. Then I put it back in the bow (which I washed out and oiled)
Let rise, covered, until double in bulk.
Put dough on floured board and pat (with hands) until dough
is 1/2 inch think.
Cut with plain round cookie cutter.
or can or use a glass.

Put filling of one or 2 cooked prunes or a date filling or jelly in center
of round and gather dough around. Squeeze ends closed good so don't leak.

Let, rise covered with clean cloth, about 1 hour.

Put in hot grease until one side gets brown.
Turn over. 2-3 minutes. For cooking grease use pure lard or Crisco.
(Joan found on Internet to heat fat to 350 degrees).
Remove finished punchkas with slotted spoon and place in big bowl with paper towel to absorb grease. When cooled, roll in sugar.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A French Bread Mood

French Bread
(from Christy Alfrey)
Dissolve the following ingredients in a small bowl:
2 TBS yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 tsp sugar

In a mixing bowl combine:
2 c. hot water
3 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
1/2 c. oil

Add 3 cups of flour to the mixing bowl mixture and mix well. Stir in yeast mixture until well blended. (I do all of this in a kitchen aid). Add 2-3 cups more of flour (always 3 for me). Mixture will still be a bit sticky, but not sticking to the bowl while being mixed. Leave in the bowl and let rise 1 hr mixing a few strokes a couple of times. (Yeah, I never do that. Just leave it in the bowl to rise for an hour). Divide dough into 2 or 3 pieces. (I do two) Roll out onto a floured surface and then roll lengthwise like a jelly roll. Slash the top diagonally with a knife. Brush with egg white. Let rise 15 min. Bake at 400 for 25 mins.

Joan used a wooden spoon...not a Kitchen Aid mixer.

Chocolate on Bacon

My first experiment. The bacon was too thin, the chocolate too thick..but still scrumptious!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bacon Lovers Delight

Why I love bacon: It smells so good when cooking! And to eat them crisp and salty and somewhat chewy: heaven!

I bake them on a big cookie sheet in a 350 degree are some samples of my latest bacon cooking spree!

Why We Make Cookies

Because they smell so good baking! And to eat one is a quick "pick me up" !

I have taken to making thin crispy chewy kind of cookies rather than the thicker cake-y kind.

Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Deluxe Cookies

· 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 pound (2 sticks)  butter, room temperature
· 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar minus 2 TBSP.
· 3/4 cup granulated sugar minus 2TBSP.
· 1 large egg
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1 1/2 cups quick oats
· 1 cup raisins or less (craisins OK)
· 1-1 1/2 cups choc. chips
· 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking soda.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice during mixing. Add the egg; mix on high speed to combine. Add the vanilla; mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Wait: Joan just uses a wooden spoon!
Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and mix on low speed until well combined. Add the oats, raisins, chocolate, and walnut pieces; mix to combine after each addition.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon of dough onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat, spacing 2 inches apart.
I did 8 cookies to a pan.
Bake cookies until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days