27 December, 2010

Simmered Black Beans | The New York Times

Beans are nature’s health food. They have an exceptionally high fiber content, and they’re a fine source of protein, as well as calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium. Black beans stand out because in that shiny black coating, there are at least eight different flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Called anthocyanins, they’re found in red grapes and red wine, red cabbage and other dark red fruits and vegetables. Black beans also contain small amounts of omega-3 fats, three times as much as other legumes provide.
Any successful dish made with black beans begins with a great pot of beans, sufficiently seasoned and slowly simmered with lots of onion and garlic until the beans are soft pillows suspended in a thick, inky, savory broth. There’s no comparison between that pot of black beans and the black beans that come in a can. Canned beans lack both flavor and nutrients.
Photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
The key to a great pot of black beans is using enough onion, garlic and salt for seasoning, and then cooking the beans for a long time at a slow simmer. In Mexico, a sprig of epazote or a few dried avocado leaves are usually added to the pot. Those ingredients aren’t as easy to find as cilantro, which is what I routinely use to season the beans. ~Martha Rose Shulman
Simmered Black Beans ingredients
Makes 6 servings
1-LB black beans, washed and picked over for stones
2-QTS water
1 Tbsp canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish if desired
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

Notes: If you can get hold of a sprig of fresh epazote (read more), add it to the beans with the cilantro. The cooked beans will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator and will freeze well.

21 December, 2010

Snowmen Inspirations

Better Homes and Gardens Melted Snowman 'Christmas Cookies'
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, mini chocolate chips and Orange sprinkles

Candy corn and mini chocolate chips

Gingerbread Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Head: donut holes dipped in white chocolate 
Eyes and buttons: little chocolate candies
Scarf: Twizzler Pull&Peels
Arms: mini pretzel rods
Carrot noses: little bits of fondant dyed orange (could use orange tic-tacs)

Coarse sugar
Chocolate wafers
Semisweet chocolate chips and miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Orange candy slices
Additional vanilla frosting
Blue food coloring, pearl dragees, blue jumbo diamond sprinkles
and edible glitter, optional

18 December, 2010

Sunny Citrus Bars | Coastal Living

Photo: Alan Richardson; Styling: Betty Alfenito via Coastal Living

Sunny Citrus Bars ingredients (10)
Makes 24
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (divided use)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Powdered sugar
Orange zest

Coconut-Pineapple Bars: Prepare crust as directed. Omit orange zest and orange and lemon juices. Add 3/4 cup or 1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice and 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut to egg mixture. Bake as directed. Garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.

Key Lime Bars: Prepare crust as directed. Omit orange zest and orange and lemon juices. Add 3/4 cup Key lime juice to egg mixture. Bake as directed. Garnish with lime zest, if desired.

13 December, 2010

Easy Cranberry Yam Bread | Holly Clegg

The natural sweetness of the yams with the burst of cranberries will keep this easy bread tops on everyone’s list. ~Louisiana Cookin' Magazine
Photo and recipe via Louisiana Cookin'

Easy Cranberry Yam Bread
Makes 16 servings
1 (8-oz) pkg reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 (15-oz) can Louisiana yams (sweet potatoes), drained and mashed
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup dried cranberries or chopped fresh cranberries

07 December, 2010

Shelley Lindgren's Spiced Nuts | Country Living

Shelley Lindgren is co-owner of San Francisco's A16 and Rye

Shelley Lindgren's Spiced Nuts ingredients
Makes 2.5-LBS
1/2-LB almonds
1/4-LB hazelnuts
1/4-LB walnuts
1/4-LB pecans
1/4-LB cashews
2 Tbsp rosemary, coarsely chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp dark-brown sugar
1/2 tsp paprika, ground
1/4 tsp allspice, ground

05 December, 2010

Red Velvet Cheesecake | Southern Living

If you love both red velvet cake and cheeescake, this recipe is for you. A red velvet filling is spiked with cocoa, topped with a creamy cheesecake layer, and baked in a dark chocolate crust–making a wickedly-delicious combination. ~Southern Living
Image credit

Red Velvet Cheesecake ingredients
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1-1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 (8-oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 (1-oz) bottles red food coloring
1 (3-oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh mint sprigs

04 December, 2010

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Rods | Good Housekeeping

Photo and recipe on Good Housekeeping 

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Rods ingredients
Makes 27 pieces 
8-oz milk chocolate, broken into pieces
27 (8-inch long) pretzel rods

Lemon Squares | Louisiana Cookin'

Here’s the ultimate lemon bar recipe. Beware lemon lovers as you might find yourself eating lots of these lemon luxuries. ~Louisiana Cookin' 

Photo via Louisiana Cookin'

Lemon Squares
Makes 48
1+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup margarine

1+1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp baking powder
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp butter extract

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Advance preparations
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 13- x 9-x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare the crust 
Combine the flour and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl; cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake twenty (20) minutes, or until lightly browned.

Prepare the filling
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, lemon rind, baking powder, egg whites and egg and blend with a whisk. Stir in the lemon juice and butter extract.

Pour the mixture over the prepared crust. Bake twenty (20) minutes, or until set.

Prepare the glaze
In a small dish, combine the glaze ingredients. Spread the glaze over the hot lemon squares. Cool completely in the pan.

You might like:
Rich Lemon Squares
Lemonade Cake

03 December, 2010

Cranberry Salsa

  • Cranberry-Jalapeño Salsa
  • Cranberry Clementine Salsa Fresca

Photo: Jennifer Davick via Southern Living

Cranberry-Jalapeño Salsa ingredients
Makes 2 cups
1 (12-oz) pkg fresh cranberries
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 to 3 chopped green onions
1 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp fresh lemon lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For garnish:
Lime wedges

For serving:
Tortilla chips

Notes: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed, omitting fresh cilantro. Freeze in an airtight container up to 1 month; then, thaw in refrigerator for 12 hours. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

02 December, 2010

Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas | Woman's Day

These savory and salty chickpeas, which are coated in Parmesan and garlic powder, pack a delicious crunch—with protein and fiber to boot! ~Woman's Day

Photo and recipe via Woman's Day

Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas ingredients
Makes 2 cups (8 appetizer servings)
2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Dipping Sauce recipes & links

Use these sauces to accompany frozen, fully cooked meatballs or fully cooked smoked sausage served with toothpicks as an appetizer or on hoagie buns.

BBQ Sauce
Makes enough for 25 to 30 cocktail meatballs
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce


In a bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well; add a small amount of water if sauce is too thick. Pour sauce over the cocktail meatballs; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat meatballs.

Eva C. contributed the BBQ Sauce recipe to Dunedin Youth Guild, Inc, Suncoast Seasons: A Culinary Collection (Orlando: Moran Printing Company, 1984), 82.

Creamy Dill Sauce
Makes enough to accompany 6-dozen cocktail meatballs
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp dill weed


In a small saucepan, melt butter; blend in flour and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, just until mixture bubbles. Slowly stir in water; continue cooking and stirring until sauce thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute more. Stir in sour cream, ketchup and dill weed; heat just to boiling.

Wanda S. contributed the Creamy Dill Sauce recipe to Dunedin Youth Guild, Inc, Suncoast Seasons: A Culinary Collection (Orlando: Moran Printing Company, 1984), 83.

Ginger Chili Sauce
For 1-LB sausage slices in Crock-Pot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2/3 cup ginger ale
2/3 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup apricot jam
3 Tbsp onion soup mix

For variation(s):
Ginger Ale Meatballs:  For 1 1/2-LBS frozen, fully cooked meatballs, use 2 cups ginger ale, 2 cups ketchup and 1 teaspoon minced garlic.

01 December, 2010

Christmas Ice Rings | The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (1963 Edition)

Holly-Wreath Ice Ring
In 1/4-inch of water in a 5-cup ring mold, arrange whole fresh cranberries and lime rind cut to resemble a bow. Freeze firm. Fill to top with water; freeze again. Unmold as below.
Christmas Wreath
Wash excess color from 13 red and 13 green maraschino cherries. Arrange cherries, alternating colors, in bottom of 1-1/4-quart ring mold. Pour on just enough boiling water to cover cherries; freeze solid. Fill to top with col boiled water; freeze solid. Unmold as below.
Unmold Ice Rings
Dip pan in hot water until block slips out easily. Float in punch bowl.

These tips are from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook Edited by Dorothy B Marsh (Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc, 1963), 687.