Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grandma Mary's Magic Cobbler

We like to double this and make in a 9x13 pan, to serve 8. It's delicious with most soft fruits- strawberry/rhubarb, canned pears, blueberries, etc. When it's browned on top, it's done- it will set up as it cools. Serve hot, about 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven, with Cool Whip, ice cream, or whipped cream. The batter turns to a "boiled dumpling" kind of consistency- it's my favorite cobbler!

Personal tip: eat the leftovers for breakfast, cold. It's delicious!

Serves 4. (Really. No one wants to eat less than a quarter of the pan!)

Grandma Mary's Magic Cobbler

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine in a baking dish, to cover bottom and sides. Make a thin batter of:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
Pinch of salt

Mix and pour into buttered dish. Over batter, spread 4 cups of peaches (fresh or canned). Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes. The batter will rise through the fruit and form a delicious brown crust. Cherries, apricots, or blackberries may be used.

Salmon and Pecan Salad

I made this for dinner tonight, served with Nick Lahey's No-Knead Bread, and topped it with Mondays' baked salmon.

Salmon-Pecan Salad
  1. In a saute pan, slowly cook 3/8 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, about 5 good shakes of chili powder, and a heaping cup of pecans. Cook until sugar caramelizes and pour onto a plate to cool.
  2. In salad bowl, layer 2 heads romaine lettuce, dried goji berries, dried cranberries, flaked salmon, and pecans. Toss with a balsamic vinaigrette (I used a cranberry-walnut-Gorgonzola mix from Trader Joe's.)
Blue cheese crumbles would probably be good too, and you could substitute any mild protein for the fish- chicken or tofu would be nice.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Mr. Bear requested that I post this recipe immediately, as today's lemonade was some of the best he's had.

Could it have been the hour of forced labor he'd just gone through, taking photinias out of the yard with Dad and a chain saw?

Did he know it had three ingredients?

Regardless, here is the recipe- it's straight from the back of our bottle of Real Lemon, which is what I served today. I made it a few weeks ago with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and it was AMAZING. But, so sad...I drank it all before anyone else got home!

Fresh Lemonade

1 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
6 1/2 cups water

berries (frozen or fresh raspberries or strawberries work well)

1. Mix lemon juice and sugar in a pitcher
2. Add water
3. Serve cold.

If desired, throw some berries in the bottom of your glass, muddle slightly with a spoon, and pour the lemonade over everything. This is my favorite! Mint might also be nice, but you may need to use a straw or strain it out. I've heard that lavender is nice, but I think you'd have to boil the lavender, sugar, and lemon juice together to make a flavored simple syrup and then strain before adding the water. And Aunt LoLo can tell you to NOT add the hot mixture to your favorite pitcher, and then pour ice cold water into the mix. Broke that sad little pitcher right down the middle!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

German Potato Salad

There are a lot of recipes out there on the web, but this is the most basic one I could find (meaning fewer items on my grocery list!) We served it at our German Feast a few weeks ago- the entire family LOVED it. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Crunchy Mushy Pudding Treat

So imagine this scenario if you will:

You are sitting at your computer when suddenly it occurs to you: It's dessert time.

You aren't sure how you know, but you are certain beyond any doubt that it is dessert time, that sacred and holy time in which our bodies must be given a sweet and satisfying treat or we will never sleep well, have nightmares and probably be eaten by the boogyman who lives under our bed and in our closet AT THE SAME TIME (his dipresence adds to the holy scary factor)

You go upstairs and your family has eaten the last of the pie. That's ok it was a terrible pie anyways. BUT there is a bigger problem. The only ice cream left is a small dab of strawberry. Not enough to eat a milkshake and not good enough to eat alone. This is a predicament.

Open fridge.
Close fridge.
Open freezer.
Close freezer.
Wander around aimlessly in a lost and deeply restless manner.
Open fridge.

...well you get the idea.

Suddenly, a light bulb appears! Oh yes folks, grand ideas are appearing... still a little fuzzy.. what is it... OH YES! It's PUDDING!

That is brilliant! A GRAND idea!

Wait... no it's not. It's pudding. Anyone who calls pudding grand has pathetically lowered their standards beyond reasonable bounds.

Ok pudding is a building block. A mushy, passably flavorful building block in the grand idea that must occur lest we be eaten by the dipresent boogyman (hope you didn't forget about him did you? Your life IS on the line you know)

We need more flavor... bananas? Ok sure but that texture! You have two mushy things together it'll never work... you should only be eating something that mushy at the beginning and the end of your life, basically when you don't have teeth.

I have teeth, so it won't work.. we need something more.... something... oh. Yes. I see. I got it. I know the answer. Wouldn't you like to know the answer? Luckily I'm a really nice guy. I'll tell you.

Check it ya'll

Crunchy Mushy Pudding Parfait of Excellence

Pudding (I used Vanilla, and I think it'll work best)
Chocolate Chips (Or broken Hershey's, or any crunchy chocolate in small bits)
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (Optional)

In a suitable parfait dish, put a sufficient layer of pudding in the bottom (~half an inch)
On top of pudding, put one layer of sliced banana (Thin slices)
On top of banana put a smattering of chocolate chips, not quite enough to cover the banana layer.
On chocolate chips put a bit of Hershey's syrup, again do NOT make a full layer, just squeeze a bit in for flavor.
New layer of pudding.

I recommend only using the Hershey's on every OTHER banana/chocolate layer (Which for most parfait dishes will only mean the bottom of the two layers ;-)

On the top do some sort of nice looking finish (It'll taste better, trust me). I did 2-3 slices of banana scattered (not a layer) and 4-5 chocolate chips just thrown on.

It was beautiful (padres can attest) and it was delicious (I can attest).

Best of all, I'll be able to wake up tomorrow morning. Take that boogyman, your days are through!

ho ho ho

Friday, April 4, 2008


Another part of my brother's birthday feast- naan! The reviews for this recipe were incredible here but mine didn't rise very well. I wasn't surprised though, because I don't recall ever having bread rise properly for me! We also had a very cold weekend, and I didn't do much to try and make a nice warm environment for the dough (it had to rise in the car during church, with snow on the ground outside!)

It turned out very tasty, and slightly sweet, with a subtle yeasty flavor. One reviewer recommended adding a teaspoon or so of baking soda, to give the finish product the "bubbles" so common in fresh restaurant naan. The recipe is taken directly from the site above- please go check it out. They have lots of great recipes!

One more note- we cooked these on the stove top, on both a griddle and in a skillet. I made a double batch, so we needed a lot of work space to get these cooked up! They were very good the next day, too. We did not add the garlic or use the butter called for- just dry cooked them over medium high heat. I think they would work better NOT in a teflon pan- it tended to smoke a lot.


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Paneer Cheese

I used this recipe for my brother's birthday dinner this past weekend- it was really simple, and had a very creamy (if slightly flavorless) result. Of course, for cheese to really have flavor it has to be aged, which this isn't. It's lightly lemony, and very creamy. The neat thing about this cheese is it doesn't melt- you can fry it, and it will retain its shape. Original recipe can be found here, but there are identical recipes all over the web. Directions include my own comments.

Paneer Cheese
10 cups whole milk
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup lemon juice

1)Bring the milk to a full boil in a 6 quart pot, stirring occasionally. It will foam up at the end- a bigger pot might even be better. I ended up needing to stir, blow, and turn down the heat to keep this from boiling over.
2) Add the salt and lemon juice, and remove from heat. Slowly stir around the edge of the pot as the curd forms in the center, then let sit for 2 minutes. You'll be left with a mess of curds floating in yellow, clear liquid (curds and whey!)
3) Pour into a colander lined with a triple thickness of damp cheese cloth. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth around the curds, and twist gently to get as much liquid out as possible. Wrap the whole package in a kitchen towel and put in a bowl, then cover with another bowl either filled with water or some heavy cans- this will compress the cheese and push any remaining liquid out. Let stand at room temperature for an hour, or until firm. Pour off any accumulated liquid and store in the refrigerator.