Monday, December 31, 2007

Split Pea Soup

This started with the classic Joy of Cooking, but I think I've got almost more notes written on the sides of it than the length of the recipe itself, so it's rather highly adapted. As you can tell, it's a very adaptable, forgiving, non-exact recipe!

1 c. split peas
4-6 c. chicken broth (or water + chicken bouillon*)
1-2 c. chopped ham and/or a bone and/or whatever leftover ham you've got
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
spices as desired - maybe some rosemary, a bay leaf, pepper...
a couple of carrots, sliced into coins
a couple of potatoes, diced into middlish small chunks
some oil/butter

1. Rinse the peas and make sure there are no stones or junk. Simmer them in a big pan with the chicken broth for like an hour, or until they're soft. Pour most of the soup in the blender and blend until smoothish. You could do it all, but I like a little texture. If you've got one of those immersion blender thingies, it'd work great. Stir in the Worchestershire (for the umami, you know) plus any spices you'd like. If it seems a little thick, just thin it down a bit with water or more stock.

2. In a separate pan, (at any time during this process), saute up the carrots until tender, set aside, and do the same with the potatoes. If you've got leftover roasted or baked potatoes (or carrots for that matter), just cut them up and use those instead with no need to cook 'em.

3. Once the peas are blended, add in the carrots, potatoes, and ham pieces, and put on low heat at least until heated through, but you can let it simmer for hours. If you've got a ham bone, I'd throw it in now and just let it all simmer for a long time, later taking it out and trying to cut off some of the meat.

I've also done this in the slow cooker, putting the peas and broth in on high for a few hours (4?) or until they were so mushy I didn't even have to blend them. Then I added in the pre-cooked carrots and potatoes and ham and turned it to low and let it simmer until supper.

*I now swear by "Better than Bouillon" after using it at my mom's because it actually tastes like soup not just salt.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Recipe Request

How about soup with a very large and meaty ham bone? Anyone?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recipe Request

I hope recipe requests are kosher around here. Now that I'm exploring my newfound love of squash and Sunshine has loaned me her pasta crimper thingy, does anyone have a good recipe for butternut squash ravioli?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday Fun #13 - Holiday Food

Ok, did you have some extra-yummy goodies for a Christmas meal? Or a great food or cooking gift in your stocking from Santa? I'm proud of myself for making a delish Christmas dinner last night of stuffed chicken breasts (from an Italian meat market), criss-cross potatoes, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and orange-cranberry relish. Yum! Also, I finally got the lemon zester which I requested from Santa last year. Hey, better late than never.

So, what holiday food stories do you have to share?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Fun #12 - Holiday Food Gifts

When I was teaching, it wasn't uncommon for me to get one or two food gifts any given Christmas, oh, I mean "winter holiday time." Sometimes a gift certificate for a restaurant or kitchen store, but more often homemade caramels, fancy cookies, layered-in-a-jar cookie mix, or other homemade goodies. (Once I even got a bottle of wine, but it was from some English transplants who didn't get the "no alcohol in school" deal. I didn't mind at all!)

Have you ever gotten or given a homemade food gift? What was it? If you've gotten/given several, was there a standout one that you especially loved?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Peep Jousting

Wog feels that if this site is called "recipeeps" that it should have some kind of Peep recipe. Especially since they make Peeps all year round now. This is the closest I can get. Fun for adults and children alike! (My dad loves it.)

1. Place two peeps of any kind on a plate, "standing", and facing each other. (We find this works best with ducks as they have the larger base.)

2. Place toothpicks into peeps as if they were each holding a lance.

3. Choose sides.

4. Place peep plate in microwave and set for one minute.

5. Peeps will expand as microwave runs. First peep to "impale" (hit) the other one with it's "lance" wins! (this will take under 1 min)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Eggnog Cake

Made this for the first time recently and it was a hit. I used my new bunt pan! Next time I make it, I'm going to try drizzling some brandy over the cake before frosting. I'll let you know how it turns out. I didn't use all of the frosting, but you certainly could.

1/2 c butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c. egg nog
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp rum, brandy or extract there of
3 c flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs water

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and flavorings. Alternately add flour and egg nog and water. Beat until smooth. Pour into a greased 10 tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 min or until done. Cool in pan for 15 min then remove from pan to continue cooling.


2 Tbsp karo corn syrup
2 3/4 c powdered sugar
3 Tbs egg nog
1 tsp (or a bit more) rum, brandy, or extract

Wednesday Fun #11 - Cookie Question

Ok, right now, in the mood you're in, what kind of cookie would you most like? And what with it? Classic chocolate chip and cold milk? Crispy sugar cookie and hot tea? Girl Scout mint cookie and hot cocoa? What cookie and drink combo would make your day?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chocolate Crinkles

This is another childhood recipe. I always loved how the powdered sugar makes a crazy quilt sort of pattern over the chocolate once they're baked. Note: These have to chill for a while before baking, so allow time for that (or take advantage of it and mix them up ahead of time).

1/2 c. oil
4 oz. unsweetened bakers' chocolate (or you can sub in 3/4 c. cocoa + 1/4 c. butter)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Powdered sugar for coating - around 1/2 c. or so

Mix together the oil, chocolate (or cocoa and butter) and sugar. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring well between each. Stir in the 2 tsp. vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the sugar mixture and stir well.

Chill several hours. Shape into balls and roll in a bowl of powdered sugar to coat.

Place on Pam-sprayed cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350F oven. Be careful not to overbake them - they're better a little underbaked and squishy than overbaked and hard.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pretzels and Hugs

This is my favorite simple snack item -

Buy a bag of Hershey's Hugs and a bag of small pretzels - but not the stick kind. Put a layer of wax paper on a cookie sheet, lay out the pretzels, and place a hug on each one. Put them in the oven on some ridiculously low temperature (I use 300?) and just watch them for a few minutes until the Hugs are starting to melt into the pretzel.

Remove from oven and throw in the fridge. Remove from paper after about 30 minutes in the fridge.

I've experimented with other Kisses, but these were the original recipe and have turned out the best. I'm not the biggest fan of white chocolate, but it seems to work out on these.

Chocolate Frosting

This is a WONDERFUL all purpose chocolate frosting that is very easy to make. But, it does cool quickly, so it isn't the best choice for cupcakes. If making a 9x13, you can't go wrong. Put this on top of box mix cake, and everyone will think you did the entire thing from scratch.

In saucepan combine:
4 Tbs butter or marg
1 c. sugar
4 1/2 Tbs milk or half and half

Get to a strong boil over medium heat for one minute, not more.

Beat in 1/2 c. chocolate chips until fluffy - about double in size.
(I see no reason you couldn't substitute white chocolate or butterscotch chips)

Spread quickly.

Chocolate Joy Icing

This is a great frosting for angel food cake. It's very light and doesn't dry out.

2 2/3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c soft butter/marg/shortening
4 Tbs cocoa
1/3 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
@ 5 Tbs hot water

Mix until fluffy. Adjust water amount until proper consistency.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oreo Balls

I made these for christmas one year and it was demanded that I make them again. I currently have to take holiday orders for my Dad and my MIL. It's not hard at all, you don't even have to bake them.

1 pkg Oreo cookies (regular old school style)
1 pkg (8oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg Semi-sweet chocolate chips (12oz) *

This recipe works best if you have a stand mixer, but you could probably do alright with a hand mixer or a food processor.

Break the Oreos up in to chunks and throw them in a bowl. (If you are using a food processor, go ahead and chop them up to fine pieces.) Add in the cream cheese. Mix on med. speed until everything is well mixed together and doughy. Refrigerate cookie mixture for 30 min or so, just to make it easier to work with. Scoop dough out into small rounded balls onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.

Melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Dip the balls into the chocolate, place back on the cookie sheet. (this gets a little futzy and messy). Once the chocolate has cooled and hardened you can stack them together. Store in the fridge. I think they are best cold, but they hold up well out on the table all day too.

* You can get fancier with the chocolate if you want to- Some people prefer white chocolate. Some do half and half. I've colored white chocolate to be festive. I've dipped in regular chocolate and then come back later and drizzled the white across the top (or vice versa). You could add crushed candy cane or toffee bits on the top. The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sister Mabel's Caramel Corn

From some religious mag Mama B. used to get. It's not cookies, but the holidays in our household were usually more about candy anyway. I mean, sure, we'd do the shaped sugar cookies and Russian teacakes, but it was also the time of year for cream caramels, peanut brittle, anise candy, and caramel corn. This one seemed the most kid-helper-friendly of the bunch, if only because it looks pretty cool when you add the baking soda.

Sister Mabel's Caramel Corn

Make 6 quarts of popcorn (finished measurement)

2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

Put in heavy pan and boil until candy thermometer reads 260°. Remove from heat, stir in 1 teaspoon of baking soda. The mixture will foam up. Pour foamed mixture over popped corn and stir well.
Bake at 200° for 1 hour, pulling out every 20 minutes to stir. Adding nuts or whatever is optional. It gets less sticky as it bakes, so if you want to make popcorn balls, form them first.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday Fun #10 - Cookie Challenge

All right, folks, we've been suffering a bit of a lag in recipe posting here (with the exception of Diplowhat this week. Yay, Diplowhat!). I know you're all busy, but the NaMo's are over and the holidays are coming, so this week's Wednesday Fun is actually a challenge.

Try to post a cookie/bar/candy/etc. recipe this week. (Pretty please.)

(Yeah, I'm totally looking for yummy stuff to bake with Pumpkin once I've got our kitchen in order, especially since the in-laws are coming to visit for Christmas. *grin*)

(I won't be posting my mom's favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe because I don't want it out on the internet for forever, but if any of you want it, just send me an email or leave a comment and I'll happily share it with any of you guys.)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

White Trash Margaritas

I know it's winter, but sometimes you need an escape. These rock. But, don't put them in the blender (at least not after you've added the beer)!!

1 can limeade
1 can cheap beer (do they still make Schlitz?)
1 can 7 Up

Fill limeade can with tequila and add to mix. Stir. ENJOY over ice.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

This one is a X-mas favorite at the Wog home.

2 1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c. butter or margarine
16oz (4 1/2 c) sifted powdered sugar
3 c rice cereal
12 oz package of chocolate chips OR 6 oz choc chips and 6 oz butterscotch chips OR almond bark

Melt peanut butter and butter in a sauce pan. In a large bowl combine powdered sugar and cereal. Pour peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture. Blend together by hand. It will seem a bit crumbly but will hold together when you form it into balls. Don't worry. Form into 1/2 inch balls. Chill until firm.

Melt chocolate (or chocolate and butterscotch). Dip balls into chocolate. Place on waxed paper and chill. Enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies are a family tradition at X-mas time.

I suggest doubling or trippeling this recipe as it really doesn' t make much.
A double batch makes about 36, 1 1/2 inch cookies.

1/2 c. shortening/butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp salt

On the side, have the egg white and around 3/4 chopped nuts (I recommend walnuts)

Roll into 1 inch balls. Dip in egg white. Roll in finely chopped nuts. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 min at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and quickly press thumb on top of each cookie to make a depression. Return to oven and bake 8 minutes longer. Cool.

Fill the depression with candied fruit, jelly, or tinted frosting. We always do the last one (powdered sugar, almond extract and a bit of cream until smooth but thick - add whatever color you want).