Thursday, March 22, 2012

Irish recipes - including candy

While it's still March, I thought I'd put my Irish info down. I did a fun presentation on Ireland a year ago and this is the food portion of it.....The first recipe (gems) were the best candy, I thought.

“The art of having fun with music, food and family all together or ‘craic’ (pronounced crack) as the Irish all it, is embodied here by these ideals”. (quote from a website for a restaurant named MacCool’s).

Recipes:,1-0,boxty,FF.html for boxty – Irish potato cakes or pancakes

Irish (Potato) Gems (from )
3/4 c mashed potatoes
1 bx powdered sugar
4 c coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 6-oz pkg chocolate chips
1/2 oz paraffin

Directions: Blend together mashed potatoes and sugar. Add coconut, vanilla and salt.
Drop from tsp onto wax paper or greased cookie sheet. Shape into peaks. Let stand uncovered 30 minutes.
Melt in saucepan over very low heat, chocolate chips and paraffin. 4
Using a teaspoon, pour chocolate mixture over peaks of candy. Cool.
Makes approximately 4 dozen.
Note: I usually add about 2 cups of chopped pecans.
Note: If you shape the mixture around an almond and dip the ball in the chocolate you have a mini faux Almond Joy!

Potato Candy:
1 large potato
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 cups confectioners' sugar
5 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Peel the potato and boil it in water until soft. In a mixing bowl, mash the cooked potato with the salt and butter. Then -- this is key -- let it cool completely, or else it will melt the sugar when you add it.
Mix in the vanilla extract and 4 cups of sugar. At this point, the mixture should be stiff. If it isn't, add more sugar.
Sprinkle half of the coconut onto a waxed-paper-covered surface and turn the potato mixture onto it. Roll the batter until all of the coconut has been mixed in, then shape teaspoonfuls into small balls.
Roll the balls individually in the remaining coconut. Chill the finished candies until you're ready to serve them. Makes about 4 dozen

Corned Beef (from website above)
4 pounds corned beef brisket
1 cup brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
2. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.
3. Cover, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Footnotes Editor's Note: During the last hour, you may put vegetables in the roasting pan as well. Try a wedge of cabbage, new potatoes, onion, carrots, etc. You may need to add a little more beer with your vegetables.

Guava Chiffon Cake - the hardest, most delicious dessert I've made

If you've ever had DeeLite Bakery's Guava Chiffon Cake (only found in Hawaii) - this is a very close second. It takes a very long time, but for me it was worth it.

Guava Chiffon Cake by Chef Don SprinkleYield: 2 – 9” rounds (Variations- any concentrate can be used instead of Guava).

Cake Ingredients:
2 c sugar, 3 c cake flour, 1 tsp salt, ¾ tsp baking powder.
1 c. vegetable oil, 5 large whole eggs, ½ c. guava juice concentrate,
1 tsp vanilla, ½ tsp red food coloring.
16 large egg whites, 1 ¼ c. sugar, pinch of cream of tartar.

Icing Ingredients: 1 qt whipping cream,
1c guava concentrate

Guava Glaze Ingredients: 1 c guava concentrate, 1 T cornstarch, 2 T water

*1* Separate the 16 eggs placing the egg whites in a very large mixing bowl you can whip them in later (My Kitchen Aid 5 Qt was barely big enough).

*2* Make the guava glaze (see directions below) and place it in the fridge for later.
Guava Glaze – Mix cornstarch with water until dissolved. Bring guava juice to a quick boil and add cornstarch mixture. Stir. Simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and chill well before using.

*3* Make the cake (see below).
Cake - Mix the first four (dry) ingredients for the cake. Set aside. Blend oil, 5 eggs, guava juice concentrate, vanilla and food coloring in a large bowl. Add 1st mix of dry ingredients and blend well 5 min. on med. speed). Take your very large mixing bowl with the egg whites and whip until triple in volume. Slowly add 1 ¼ c. sugar and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks form. Fold first mixture into egg white mixture and mix until smooth. Pour batter into two 9” round cake pans (filled to top) and bake at 350 F 18-20 min or until done.
[Note: this is very deceiving – I checked the cake at 20 min and it was not done. I looked at some notes at the end of the recipe and found this: “Oven temperature is critical, one effort with this recipe had the oven 50* hotter than the dial indicates and the insides were raw after an extended cooking time. The best test was with a 300* (dial set at 350) oven and the cake cooked for 33 min.”
My experience was this – cook for 20 min at 350 and then turn the oven down to 300. Check after 7 min, then another 5 min. Using a wooden skewer was the best way to check for doneness].

Remove from oven and immediately turn over pans onto cooling racks. Cool with pan in place.

*4* Cool the cake down (best overnight in fridge, but can be done in the freezer until firm).

*5* Make the icing (see below).

Icing – Whip cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold in guava juice concentrate and blend well. Use to fill and ice cake.

*6* Put it all together- placing the guava glaze in the center like a little pond.

(found on-line in 2001 by me on a page that I can no longer find - Maui Community College’s Food Service Program’s recipes).

Most requested desserts and holiday treats

These are the most requested desserts and Holiday treats. Enjoy!

Easy Fantasy Fudge (makes 6 lbs)
1 1/2 c. marg. (3 sticks)
6 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. evaporated milk
2 pkg. (12 oz each) semi sweet chips* (3 c.)
1 jar (13 oz) Marshmallow creme +
2 c. chopped nuts
2 tsp vanilla

* variations- milk chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter chips, mini snickers
+ I double the recipe and substitute the 13 oz for 2-7 oz jars in each batch
Mix marg., sugar, milk in heavy 5 qt. saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 min. over medium or, if you really want to use a candy thermometer, until 234 F (soft ball); stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased pans. Either use 3- 9 x 9 or 2- 13 x 9 pans. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares. Makes 6 lbs.

Special K Bars (my tweak on Grandma’s special treat)
1 c. lite Karo Syrup & 1 c. white sugar
Put in med. Saucepan on med heat until it just boils. Take off heat.
Add: 1 1/3 c. peanut butter (any variety) 1 tsp vanilla
Put peanut butter mixture in large bowl with:
7-8 c. flake cereal (Special K or Cornflakes are good)
Mix until evenly coated. Meanwhile, melt ½ pkg chocolate chips and ½ pkg (6 oz each) of peanut butter chips. Put ½ of cereal mixture in rectangle pan. Pour and spread melted chips on top. Add remaining cereal and press down. Cut into small pieces. Put in fridge until hardened (45 min).
Variety: Add raisins or chunky peanut butter. Use butterscotch chips instead of p.b. chips.

Cream Cheese Mints (from my grandmother, LAF)
3 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 tsp. flavoring (lemon, almond, peppermint, orange, cinnamon)
3 c. sifted pwd. sugar
few drops of food coloring
granulated sugar
waxed paper

In a small mixing bowl stir together softened cream cheese and flavoring. Gradually add pwd. sugar. Stir until mixture is smooth (knead in the last of the sugar with your hands). Add food coloring. Knead until evenly distributed. Form into 3/4" balls. Roll in sugar and place on waxed paper. Flatten each ball with tines of fork or bottom of glass or use molds. If using molds, sprinkle them with sugar and place 1 tsp at a time in mold. Cover with paper towels and dry overnight at room temperature. Store in tightly covered container in fridge or freezer. Lasts up to 1 month in freezer. Makes 48-60.

Molasses Sugar Cookies
3/4 c. marg. (step 1- melt and let cool)
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. dark molasses
1 egg (step 2- add all these 3 to marg. and beat well)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
Sift these dry ingredients and then all to above mixture. Chill for at lest 1 hour. Form 1" balls, roll in sugar, and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Will still be soft. They harden a bit as they cool.
Variations- substitute olive oil for melted marg. and increase flour to 2 1/3 c. I also like to change around the flour, adding some wheat flour or oat flour in place of part of the white flour. I always keep at least 1/2 of it white.

Almond Triangles (a great cookbook find by me)
Line 15x10 pan with foil (shiny side up).
1) Beat 2 c. butter & ½ c. granulated sugar until creamy.
Add ½ tsp. salt, ¾ tsp. almond extract; then beat in 1 egg.
Add 2 ¼ c. flour. Mix then pat into pan (spreading up the sides). Refrigerate until cool (12-15 min). Prick with fork, then bake 10 min. at 375° F.
2) Meanwhile (while dough is in fridge), Take a 4-5 qt heavy saucepan and add 2 c. butter, 1/3 c. honey, 1 c. brown sugar, ¼ c. granulated sugar. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until boiling. Once it boils, let it boil for an additional 3 minutes, without stirring. Take off the heat and add ¼ c. heavy whipping cream and 1 lb (5 ¼ c.) sliced almonds.
3) Place on dough hot out of the oven and bake an additional 15 min. at 375° F. It should be bubbling evenly when you take it out.
4) Cool and then cut into 2” squares and then again into triangles.
Note: Step 1 takes about 15 min. before you start on step 2. I usually preheat the oven at the same time I put the pan on for #2. That way, your dough comes hot out of the oven at the right time. Makes 80.

Butter Toffee (from my mother-in-law)
6 small Hershey bars (or 15 miniatures)
1 c. finely chopped nuts
1 lb. marg.
1/3 c. water
2 c. sugar
Cook and stir only last three ingredients every minute until when tested in cold water it makes a good hard ball (260 on a candy therm.- takes about 22 minutes on medium heat). Pour into a 13 x 9 pan. Use 6 small Hershey bars and put on top of hot candy mixture. Spread evenly with a spatula. Candy will melt as you go. Pour (or sprinkle) nuts over top of chocolate. Let cool. Break into pieces.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Two More Reicpes - this time from N.S.

We had our Crock Pot Cooking Lesson today. Here is a couple of recipes from one participant - N.S. Thanks for the recipe donation!
Note: this is not my post 3 of 3. I will do the last three recipes I promised soon.

Crock Pot Lasagna

1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
29 oz Tomato Sauce
6 oz Tomato Paste
16 oz Cottage Cheese
Salt & Oregano (to taste)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Shredded Mozzarella
16 oz Lasagna Noodles

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in fry pan. Drain fat.

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, and oregano.
Cook until meat sauce is warm.

Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the crock pot.
Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with layer of the cheeses.
Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up.

Add 1/2 cup of water around the outside edge of the lasagna.
Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours.

Serves 6.

Pork Barbacoa

4 lbs Pork Roast (Boneless)
5 8 ounce cans Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
4 cups Dr. Pepper
3 tsp Garlic Powder
4 tsp Cumin
3 tsp Molasses
Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream

Mix garlic powder, cumin, molasses, tomato sauce, brown sugar, and Dr. Pepper in a large bowl.
Pour mixture over pork roast and cook in crock pot on low 6 - 7 hours.
Shred meat, return to crock pot and cook 1 hour in the sauce on low.
Keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve in tortillas.
Garnish with shredded cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.

NOTE: This recipe made a lot of sauce. I used a little more than half to cook the pork roast which was between 4 and 5 pounds. Since pork roasts are pretty fatty, I dumped the sauce it cooked in, and put in the remaining sauce once the meat was shredded. My boys loved it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crock Pot Recipes - 2nd group of three; all Chicken

Three Easy Chicken recipes-----
The first recipe came in a booklet with my original crock pot. One of the reasons I like it is the absence of pineapple juice. One thing that bugs me is when recipes are called "Hawaiian" or "Tropical" when there's pineapple juice added to a very non-traditional dish that no one eats in the islands. You may wonder why OJ doesn't bother me. For some reason it doesn't.
The next one is written in my book by hand and I have no idea where I got it; probably on-line. The last is from the same book I listed in the first post.

Once again, I have tried all of these and my family likes them.

AND - All of these are fairly easy.

Chicken with Tropical BBQ sauce
1/4 c. molasses
2 T cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
1/8 - 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 T orange juice
3 whole bone in chicken breasts, halved
Combine all but chicken in a 2 c. glass measuring cup. Arrange rinsed and dried (w/ paper towel) chicken in crock pot. Brush sauce over chicken. Flip and repeat. Cover and cook on Low 7-9 hours or High 3-4 hours.
Sauce is also excellent over ribs or chops.

Whole Chicken Crock Pot Recipe (p. 194)
1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried (w/ paper towel)
4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion pwd
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic pwd
1/4 c. minced dried onions

You can substitute the whole chicken with a crock pot full of chicken drumsticks (w/ bones of course). Rub spices on chicken. Place onion on bottom. Place chicken on top. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom (p. 178)
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
12 oz jar mushroom gravy
1 c milk
8 oz pkg cream cheese, cubed (not fat free)
4 1/2 oz can chopped green chilies (opt.)
1 pkg dry Italian salad dressing
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on Low 6 hours. Serve over noodles or rice.

My variation-
Use 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 pkgs Country Gravy mixed with water (as pkg directs) but not cooked
1 tsp each- garlic, pepper, oregano
16 oz Ricotta (do not substitute cottage cheese)
1/3 c. Italian dressing (already mixed)
Combine all ingredients. Cook on High for 3 hours.

Crock Pot Favorites - 1st three

I'll be doing a small cooking class soon, so I thought I'd post some of my favorite slow cooking recipes on here for class members. I have made all of these recipes myself.

Great tip: I find if the meat is already to go (either cooked and frozen or in the fridge) it's a lot easier to throw together. When my week is really busy, I look at my menus for the week and cook my meats for them on the weekend. Then I freeze the items that are for meals three days + out. The rest are fine in the fridge. Saves a lot of dishes and at least 15 min per meal; even when I'm not using my crock pot.

The first three are: Sloppy Joes, Fajitas, and Scandanavian Beans. They are listed from easiest to most difficult. All of these come from my cookbook- Fix It and Forget It by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. I strongly suggest you get a copy of it.

I have tweaked one a bit. If I put optional that means it's in the original recipe but when I make it I don't do it. One more note- I always use apple cider vinegar. In my world, the white stuff is really meant for cleaning- not eating.

Nan's Sloppy Joes (p. 132) - I'm cooking this tonight for us
1 lb cooked ground beef
1 onion chopped (or 2T dried)
3/4 c. ketchup
1-2T chili sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T prepared mustard
1 T vinegar
1 T sugar
6-8 buns
Once your ground beef (and fresh onion if used) is browned and drained, combine all ingredients into crock pot. Cover and cook on Low 4-5 hrs or High for 2-2.5 hrs. Serve on buns.

Fajitas (variation on Mexican Pot Roast found on p. 102)
2 lb. Fajita beef meat strips (replaces 3 lbs beef brisket in recipe)
2 T oil
1/2 c. slivered almonds (opt.)
1 1/2 c. salsa
2 T vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each: cinnamon, thyme, oregano
1/8 tsp each: ground cloves, pepper
1/2-3/4 c water as needed

12-15 flour tortillas
Other additions as desired to make the fajitas

Brown beef in pan with oil. combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker. Add cooked beef. Cover. Cook on High for 2 hrs. Then switch to Low for another 1 hour. Serves 10.
Fills 12-15 tortillas.

Scandinavian Bean (p. 206) - freezes well;
great way to use up remaining Easter ham.
1 lb dried pinto beans
6 cups water
12 oz bacon or 1 ham hock
1 onion, chopped (or 2 T dried)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I keep mine in the freezer, peel what I need and then use a cheese grater when it's still frozen - much cleaner)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. molasses
Tabasco to taste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Soak beans in water in soup pot for 8 hours. Drain water and replace with fresh. (if needed: three remedies for avoiding unwanted side affects while eating beans- add peeled and sliced apple or carrot or 1/2 tsp ginger). Bring beans (and either of first two items above, if added) to a boil and cook 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until soft. Drain, reserving liquid. Combine all ingredients (including ginger if wanted) in slow cooker, using just enough boiled bean liquid to cover everything. Cook on low 5-6 hours. If using ham hock, debone, cut ham into bite sized pieces and mix into beans.

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