Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Lemon Bars

These Lemon Bars are to die for!  I don’t bake all that often, cooking is more my thing, but I had plenty of lemons and eggs to use up and this recipe fits the ticket on both counts.  The bottom of the bar is a wonderful tasty shortbread crust and then the lemon egg custard bakes on the top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and hope they serve this stuff in heaven!

I was prepping the filling and almost forgot to add the lemon juice (2 cups worth) – I don’t think they would have turned out so lemony.  This makes a huge pan worth.  Be sure you have the right dimensions mentioned in the directions, or if you must split them into smaller pans and bake them slightly shorter time.  (I made the error of using a shallow cookie pan first.. and then ended up making more shortbread crust for  a Pyrex dish, because I had so much filling left and it was too good to waste.  That worked fine too.  I think you could get away with using two Pyrex 8x13x2 inch dishes if you don’t have the 11x17x1 that the recipe calls for.  If you press the shortbread up the sides a little rather than just putting in the bottom I find the custard does not brown as quickly along the sidesNext time I will reduce the sugar some, but not a whole lot)

I found this recipe in a cookbook I have used in the past for the Ginger Cookies and Blueberry Butter Cake which both are fantastic recipes as well.  This recipe is another one that does not disappoint!  Get the book!

Sue’s Luscious Lemon Squares (adapted from Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook pg 202)

24 squares depending on the size you cut.

Crust:

  • 3/4 lbs cold unsalted butter
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur is a great brand!)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (that’s powdered sugar folks)

Filling:

  • 10 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups sugar (I will reduce this by 1/2 cup next time making that 2 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons  grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice (12-14 lemons juiced)
  • 8 Tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven  to 350 F

To make the shortbread crust: cut the butter into smaller pieces.  Add the 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 3 cups of flour and the butter to a food processor and pulse until it starts to come together.  (It will also change color and become slightly darker than when you started and the crumbs will be more like oatmeal grains)  Dump them into the 11x17x1 inch pan and press the crust into the bottom of the un-greased pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden around the edges (it may not be cooked in the center and it will be perfectly okay).

While the crust is baking, mix the filling: Whisk the eggs and sugar together.  Add the grated lemonrind and juice and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer.  The batter will be light and golden and smooth.  Combine the flour and baking powder and beat it into the batter just until combined.

Pour the filling into the crust (it may be easier to use a ladle to ladle the filling into the pan)  Fill right to edge.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool before cutting into squares.  Store in the refrigerator.  Just before serving dust with additional confectioners sugar.  Enjoy.

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Veal Parmesan

This is my husband’s all time favorite meal.  The shame is that veal is not often found in restaurants anymore and many grocery stores stopped carrying it as well.  I do find veal at Baron’s Market.  My favorite use of veal is for Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese Breaded Veal Cutlets).  This week I made Veal Parmesan.  Breaded Veal Cutlets topped with Parmesan Cheese over pasta and served with your favorite spaghetti sauce (I really like Hunt’s Traditional Sauce when I don’t have time to make it from scratch).

Veal Parmesan

Serves 4

  • 3/4 lb pasta (like angel hair or spaghetti) cooked according to directions
  • 16 oz of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 veal cutlets, pounded thin
  • salt and pepper
  • flour
  • 2 eggs
  • dry seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Canola Oil/Vegetable Oil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil (for pasta).
  2. While the water is heating, pound the veal cutlets until they are thin (1/8 inch).  Season the cutlets with salt and pepper, dip in the flour to coat.  Shake off excess.  Dip in beaten eggs.  Coat in breadcrumbs (if you wish stir in about 1/4 cup grated Parmesan into the breadcrumbs).  Heat about 1/4 inch canola or Vegetable oil in a large skillet until hot.
  3. Start cooking the Pasta in boiling salted water.
  4. Fry the cutlets, two at a time, about 2 minutes each side  or until golden brown.  Remove the cutlets to a platter and cook remaining two.
  5. To serve, place a bed of pasta on the plate, drizzle with heated spaghetti sauce.  Top with veal cutlet and grated Parmesan cheese.  Top with more sauce and more Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

My kids have been clamoring for freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookies.  My sweet-tooth of a daughter would settle for the cookie dough that comes ready to bake, but this is my favorite from scratch recipe.  I like to use the Ghirardelli brand semi sweet chocolate chips, because I am a chocolate snob.  Feel free to use any other brand though if you are less picky.

I also use the recipe on the back of the bag of Ghirardelli (link)

Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from Ghirardelli

Yield: 4 dozen

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (original 2 tsp)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand are a terrific product)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix the butter, eggs, vanilla, brown and white sugar in a large mixing bowl until well combined and creamy.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture at at time and start to mix on low (or it will coat your kitchen with a nice coating of flour-it may look like snow, but trust me it’s not nearly as pretty as it sounds!)  Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and make sure it is nicely combined, but you don’t need to over-beat it.
  3. Add chocolate chips and chopped pecans and mix just until combined.
  4. Drop the dough with a teaspoon on a baking sheet.  Depending on the size of the pan, you should fit 12-15 cookies per pan.  Bake at 375 F for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. When the cookies are done, take them from the oven, but do not immediately remove them from the sheet pan.  Let them sit for a few minutes so they firm up a little before you remove them to cool on a wire rack completely.  Store them in an air tight container if they make it to storage at all! 🙂  Best served with a tall glass of cold milk.

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BLTs

BLTs are the ultimate summer comfort food.  I love the ease of preparation and the fact that it contains bacon!  What is better than bacon.  I’m glad I am not kosher- I would have problems! 🙂 I feel odd posting something as simple as BLTs on my blog.  I liked the marble rye that we used on our vacation on the beach.  It made for a very pretty presentation – which is why it is on my blog.

BLTs (Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwiches)

Serves 6

  • 12 slices of bread, (any bread you like) toasted
  • 12 tsp Mayonnaise
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
  • 12 thin slices of tomatoes
  • 6 leaves of lettuce

Toast your bread in the toaster and spread 1 tsp of mayonnaise on one side of each slice (two sides would be overkill).  Top 6 slices of toasted bread with two slices of crisp bacon, top with lettuce, two thin slices of tomato and top sandwiches with remaining slices of bread (mayo side down) on top of the tomatoes.  Ring the mess hall bell and watch them disappear!

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Pinapple Upside Down Muffins

Fresh Pineapple is so delicious and much better than that from a can.  After my kids had descended upon my poor pineapple like vultures I managed to save some for muffins.  Everyone in my family loves Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and these are a miniature version that is a great substitute unbelievably easy to make.  You can use canned if you don’t have fresh pineapple on hand, but fresh is extra good.

My friend Elizabeth who is also on the food committee for our church’s upcoming Christmas Tea came up with the idea of this treat and I decided to make a simpler version at home (without a caramel sugar glaze).  Next time I make them tough, I will use paper cups to line the muffins, they did not always come up nicely (tin ones would probably be even better)

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins – Serves 12

  • 1 Yellow cake mix
  • pineapple juice
  • water
  • eggs
  • oil

prepared as indicated on box (but substituting the water for pineapple juice — I used the 6 oz can and added enough water to come to the correct measurement)

  • Fresh Pineapple tidbits
  • Fresh pitted cherries, sliced in halves

Line the muffin tin with foil cupcake liners.  Place a piece of pineapple in each muffin and add four cherry halves to each.  Pour the prepared cake mix on top, filling 3/4 of the way.  Bake 18-23 minutes at 350F.  (I had more batter left over and saved it for another use.

Place each muffin upside-down on a plate and remove the foil liner. Drizzle with a caramel sauce if desired, or skip that and save a few calories.  It is delicious without any sauce.

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Salmon Cakes

My family is not big on eating fish, but they always seem to enjoy these easy to make salmon cakes.  I have made these for years now.  I think I pulled it from an Chicken By the Sea advertisement in a magazine.  They are delicious.  I hope you try them sometime.  The recipe for sauce is also listed, but I often serve them with store bought tartar sauce and a cucumber tomato salad on the side (Chopped and seeded cucumbers mixed with sliced tomatoes and dressed with bottled Ranch Dressing).

Salmon Cakes – adapted from Chicken By The Sea

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Red Bell, Pepper, finely chopped (or roasted red peppers from the jar, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • dash Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs, Dry
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 12 ounces Salmon, Canned
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oil

Instructions

In a small mixing bowl, combine chopped red pepper (I use the roasted red peppers from a jar) , green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference.  Stir in egg, well drained salmon and 4 Tbsp of the breadcrumbs.  Divide and form mixture into 6-8 balls (I use an ice cream scoop).  Roll Salmon balls in remaining breadcrumbs; flatten into cakes (about 1/2 inch thickness) Fry salmon cakes in melted butter and oil in skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve with Tartar sauce or:
Lemon-Herb Mayonnaise:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 1/2 tsp fresh if on hand)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and blend well.  Serve with Salmon cakes.

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Chicken Cordon Blue

I’ve always wanted to make Chicken Cordon Blue from scratch.  I looked in my Mastering French Cooking by Julia Child for the recipe, but much to my surprise it is not in there!  So I turned to another great source for recipes:  allrecipes.  of course I made a few changes to the recipe.  I found it awkward to wrap the chicken breasts around the ham and cheese and skewer them.  I think next time I will even slice a pocket into the breast instead of pounding them thin and prepare them by rolling them in breadcrumbs.  The sauce is delicious- I doubled it from the original (and I used Panko for breading instead of the flour)

Chicken Cordon Blue II adapted from allrecipes

Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 slices ham
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese Style Breadcrumbs)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Pound chicken breasts thin (placing them in a ziplock bag so the juices do not splatter the kitchen). Place a piece of Swiss cheese (folded into smaller strips to fit) between two slices of ham slices and fold over the cheese to seal in.  Wrap each breast around the ham and cheese “packet” . Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Dip the rolled and secured chicken breasts first in beaten egg and then coat in Panko (or other bread crumbs) to coat the chicken pieces.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides about 10 minutes. Remove browned chicken and put in a baking dish.  Cover with foil and place in  325F oven.  Add the wine and bouillon and paprika to the pan.  Mix the cornstarch with the cream and slowly add to the skillet, whisking constantly.  Pour the gravy over the chicken breasts in the oven and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes until the chicken runs clear.
  3. Remove the toothpicks.  Serve with gravy.This dish pairs nicely with steamed broccoli.