Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pear Dessert


  • Pears
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • Flat, wafer cookies
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • Butter
  • Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • Shake of Nutmeg (optional)
  1. Peel pears and slice of top stem and bottom (so it sits flat in the pan)
  2. Butter the pan
  3. Sprinkle the brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon on the pears (just enough to lighly dust the top)
  4. Dot the top of the pear with butter
  5. Crush cookies (rolling pin + ziplock bag = good) and sprinkle them on top of pears
  6. Spoon the OJ on top of the pears
  7. Bake for an hour at 350 degrees
  8. Every 20 minutes, baste the pears (scoop out the juices at the bottom of the pan and douse the pears with them)

Use the softest pears possible

Cioppino (from Mom's JB cookbook)

makes 6 servings...tasty, but expensive

  • 1/2 lb clams (can also substitute mussels or oysters)
  • 1 cup dry white or red wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 lb dried mushrooms, soaked in water and drained
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Italian tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Zinfandel
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 sea bass or striped bass, about 3 lbs, cut into serving pieces or 3 lbs thick fish fillets, cut into serving pieces (or hallibut, or cod... 2 lbs is also fine)
  • 1 lb crab meat
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, shelled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Steam the clams in the 1 cup white or red wine until they open -- discard any that do not open.
  2. Strain the broth through two thicknesses of cheese-cloth and reserve (this step to make broth finer... optional).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a deep 8-qt pot and cook the onion, garlic, pepper, and mushrooms for three minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook four minutes.
  5. Add the strained clam broth, tomato paste, and two cups red wine.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.
  7. Add the basil and the fish, and just cook the fish through about three to five minutes.
  8. Finally, add the steamed clams, crab meat, and shrimp. Heat just until shrimp are cooked. Do not overcook.
  9. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
  • You COULD get clams fresh, but it's much simpler to get them frozen or canned because then you don't need to steam them yourself, which is a lot of work.
  • The red wine is crucial... don't get the cheap stuff!!!
  • Make sure the broth does NOT boil when it's supposed to be "simmering"... check on it once in a while
  • Make sure to wash off frozen shrimp

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mom's Cream/Mushroom Chicken and Rice


  • white rice
  • Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • chicken breasts (bone in)
  • paprika
  1. Spray some cooking oil on the bottom of a glass pan (13 x 9 inches). OR rub some vegetable oil on the bottom (just a little).
  2. open 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and mix with quantity of three cans of water. Mix with a fork.
  3. Add quantity of one can of rice (you are effectively using the can as a measuring cup). Stir the rice into the mushroom/water mix.
  4. Place chicken on top. Add salt & pepper (paprika is highly recommended!). Cover with aluminum foil which will keep chicken moist.
  5. Bake the whole thing for 1 and 1/2 hour or less at 350 degrees.
  6. Uncover the chicken the last 1/2 hour to have the chicken skin bake nicely.
Remember to wash your hands after handling raw chicken!

Mom's Grapefruit-Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

There is nothing like a homemade dressing, and few people take the
time. Here's the recipe:

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon DRY mustard (found in the spices isle)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tBs. grated onion
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (not olive)
  • 1 1/2 tBs. poppy seeds (found in the spices isle)
Salad Ingredients:
  • 4 heads bibb lettuce, torn (any kind will do, Bibb lettuce is
  • especially tender)
  • 2 avocados, peeled & cut into medium size pieces
  • 2 grapefruit, sectioned and cut into medium size pieces
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, and onion in blender
or food processor (or shake very hard in a container). Add oil and mix
well. Just before serving, add poppy seeds.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, and pour dressing over.

Mom says:
Obviously, if you don't want 4 heads of lettuce, either cut
down amount of dressing, or save some for another day. It stores well.

ALSO, the most important ingredients for the salad are the lettuce and
grapefruit. I usually never add the avocado because lots of people
don't like it. Strawberries I feel are optional also, depending on
availability. I actually don't like them in this salad. Enjoy!

Aunt Lisa's English Toffee


  • 1 pound butter (4 sticks)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 24 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • Chopped almonds (approx. 3 cups)


  • Candy thermometer
  • Heavy saucepan
  • 11 x 13 cookie sheet


Grease cookie sheet with butter.

Combine butter and sugar in large heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat until ingredients are combined. Stirring constantly, cook until mixture reaches the hard crack stage, (300 degrees on a candy thermometer). Don't be tempted to speed the process by turning up the heat; the result will not be as favorable.

When the mixture reaches 300° remove from heat, stir in one cup sliced almonds and two teaspoons vanilla, pour mixture onto a well greased cookie sheet. With a spatula spread toffee to evenly distribute. While the toffee is still hot sprinkle with chocolate chips, the heat of the toffee will melt the chocolate. Spread melted chocolate chips evenly over toffee and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Once chocolate has set, run knife along edge of pan. Cover toffee with plastic wrap and flip pan, releasing toffee onto another surface (the bottom of another cookie sheet works well).

Melt remaining chocolate chips, it is recommended to melt the chocolate in the microwave, it is important not to over heat the chocolate. It is not necessary to melt the chocolate completely; the heat of the chocolate will melt any remaining bits. Pour melted chocolate onto the flip side of the toffee. Spread evenly and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

When cooled, break into bite sized pieces and store in covered container.


Helpful Tips:

  • Never attempt to make toffee when in is raining, moisture in the air in not conducive to candy making.
  • To determine if the toffee mixture is at the hardball stage, drizzle a bit of the hot toffee mixture into a cup of ice water. The toffee will quickly harden. If the mixture is too soft/chewy it has not reached the correct temperature. Continue cooking!
  • If the chocolate is over heated when cooled it will become chalky and will not adhere to the toffee.
  • Toffee stores very will in the freezer.