Sunday, December 16, 2018
Saturday, December 8, 2018
The recipe for these cookies must be at least 100 years old. I'm guessing this because my grandmother, who was born in 1903, brought Christmas tins of these to our house every holiday season. I remember biting into them - still cold from being in the truck of the car - and literally sinking my teeth into the soft shortbread covered with frosting. Sometimes she decorated them with tiny edible silver balls which seemed to add a magical quality to them. When I was about ten, she gave me the recipe and called them "Aunt Mary's Cookies". I should have asked her who Aunt Mary was! She must have been a relative that was gone before my time. I still love this recipe and even though they don't look very Pinterest or Instagram worthy, they are absolutely delicious! They are especially easy for kids to make which makes them perfect for the season. Merry Christmas!
Aunt Mary's Cookies - Ingredients and Directions for 2 1/2 Dozen
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks, regular salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1 teaspoon cream of tarter*
*4 teaspoons baking powder can be substituted for the baking soda and cream of tarter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
1. and 2. Using a mixer, cream the confectioners sugar and butter together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. and 4. Add egg and extract(s) and mix until well combined
5. and 6. Add flour, soda and cream of tarter (or baking powder) and either stir in or use mixer until the dough is stiff and smooth.
7, Use two spoons to drop rounded mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet lined with either foil or parchment paper and place in preheated 375 Fahrenheit degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Cookies will be done when they are faintly brown in places around edges or on top.
Ingredients and Directions for Basic Butter Cream Frosting - Plenty for 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick regular salted)
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
Using a mixture, cream all ingredients together until light and fluffy.
Frost each cookie and decorate with anything you wish!
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
When we went to Australia a couple of years ago, I'm sorry to say this exhibit in the Melbourne Museum is as close as we got to seeing a kangaroo and an emu.
But in our limited time there we did see the Sydney Opera House and ....
... Melbourne's famous St. Kilda Beach. In fact, we walked all over Melbourne as Allison showed us the sights of the city she lived in for a few months. (Later during her time in Australia she worked up north in an Uranium mine - but that's a whole other story!)
One thing we made sure to do was pop in to one of the pubs by the beach and get a parma - also called a parmy depending where you are in Australia. This dish would be called Chicken Parmesan in the United States, but its Aussie full name is Chicken Parmigiana and it's usually served with french fries, either underneath or on the side. Sometimes there is the option of ordering it with a ham slice under the melted cheese.
It was amazing to me that a dish that would be served in a fine Italian restaurant here, was considered bar food there! I've made this dish for many years, sometimes substituting eggplant or even round steak for the chicken, and the girls always loved it. If you make it, send me a line or two and tell me how it went: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chicken Parmigiana - Serves Four
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
One of the reasons this dish is yummy is that the sauce is nice and rich! So the first thing you want to do is make this quick, easy sauce and let it simmer on low heat while you are preparing the chicken.
Ingredients and Procedures for Parm Sauce
2 (15 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan. Let the mixture simmer over medium/low heat for 20 or 30 minutes.
Ingredients and Procedure for Chicken
4 (4 to 5 oz.) chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon milk or water
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Vegetable or olive oil
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry with paper towels. Set aside.
In a bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper.
In a second bowl whisk together the egg and the milk or water.
In a third bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and dried oregano.
Using tongs, take a chicken breast and dredge it in the flour. Then coat it in the egg mixture and finally cover it with the bread crumb mixture.
Put enough of the oil into a skillet so it covers the pan and is about a 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium heat. Brown both sides of the chicken breasts about 5 minutes per side. Be careful not to let the pan get too hot because you want the chicken to be golden brown and not burnt.
Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and drain the oil out of the skillet. Return chicken back to an oven safe skillet or place it in a baking dish.
Spoon the simmered Parm Sauce over each breast and place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Carefully take hot skillet or baking dish out of the oven. Top each breast with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and continue baking for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is browning and bubbly.
Serve with french fries as they do in the pubs or opt for a nice green salad!
Friday, August 3, 2018
We've been traveling in our motor home for a couple weeks now. We went up through Michigan and crossed over into Canada. Then we traveled across the entire expanse of lower Ontario, went into Quebec and entered the Unites States again via New York. Upstate New York is a lot like upper Michigan; the 45th Parallel runs through both states - except New York has mountains! In both Michigan and New York we were gifted cucumbers and I found myself trying to do something other than just slicing into a lettuce salad. Pairing the cucumber with radishes gave them a kick and the yogurt kept it refreshing. But what I really liked was the flavor the thin red onion slices gave the salad; the yogurt mellowed them out and it made this quick and easy side really yummy!