In the somewhat belated spirit of the holidays, I am sharing my Grandma’s best friend Marybelle’s (who oddly enough, is also my best friend’s Grandma) recipe for Ginger Snaps!

As the title suggests, they are not snappy – they are actually kind of chewy, but we always called them ginger snaps, so just go with it. The cookie that they are most similar to is actually the Ginger Cookie at Bridgehead, but mine are better – homemade from scratch! Also, I gave them out as Christmas gifts this year, and they were a hit all over, so I am feeling pretty confident now. My bus driver Preston loved them! This recipe is dedicated to you, Preston. : )

Marybelle’s (UnSnappy) Ginger Snaps

  • 2 c. Flour
  • 3/4 c. Margarine (Can be reduced to 1/2 if you are into that – Also, can use butter instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. brown sugar (Can be reduced to 3/4!)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 c. Molasses
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger (Fresh is good!)
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream together margarine or butter with sugar. Mix in egg. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Roll into balls (around 1″ diameter) and roll in white sugar to coat.
  4. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 8-10 minutes until tops are crackly.

(Note – I have just about doubled all of the spices on the list in past batches and they were still really tasty, but use your judgement.)

Marybelle hopes you enjoy! These cookies are festive, but they are really easy and delicious all year. Resolve to eat better cookies in 2010!

Advertisements

Marble Drumstick Cheesecake

October 6, 2009

This is an adaptation of my mom’s most popular dessert ever. I made it the other night because I really felt like having cheesecake for some reason. It is pretty super! And if its homemade, its good for you, right? Riiiight? This is, as the cookbook title below reveals, a great thing to bring if you want to be a popular guest at a Potluck. You have to plan a day or so ahead though. Worth it!!

Drumstick Cake

(Adapted from the Kenora City Hall Potluck Pleasers Cookbook and my mom)

BASE:

  • 1-1/2 c. Graham Wafers, crushed (Or Graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1/4 c. Melted Butter
  • 3 Tbsp.  Crunchy Peanut Butter
  1. In small bowl in microwave, melt butter and peanut butter. Add remaining ingredients, mix.
  2. Press 3/4 of the mix into a layer in the bottom of a 9X12″ cake pan.
  3. Set aside rest of mix for top.

CAKE:

  • 24 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened (I used light, to make myself feel better. Mmmm, guar gum!)
  • 1/2 c. White Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Peanut Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 6 squares Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  1. Heat over to 425 degrees F.
  2. Gently beat together cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until smooth. (Try not to get too much air in)
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then fold in vanilla.
  4. Now we divide the cake mix into chocolate and vanilla. Melt chocolate in another medium bowl, then add half of the cake mix to it, mixing well.
  5. Drop alternating spoonfuls of white and chocolate mix onto the graham crumb base, then drag a spoon or butter knife through to create marble effect. Smooth top.
  6. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
  7. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes with a pan of water on the bottom rack of oven. Reduce temp to 250 and bake 1 hour longer. Run knife around edge of cake. Allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator.

Enjoy! If you drink it with red wine, it keeps your blood thin. 🙂

I had a realization the other day. Falafel is basically hummus, minus the tahini. And it has the added bonus of being fried. No wonder I love it!

Falafel Pita is the easiest dinner for these summer nights when you are only home once a week, and its actually pretty good for you, if you load the pita with fresh veggies. Delicious vegetarian bachelor chow!

Falafel

  • 15 oz. can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsely or Cilantro
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • Olive Oil for Frying
  • Lemon Juice to Taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Form into 1-1/2″ balls, then flatten between hands. (Add water or flour if necessary to get a moist, firm ball.)
  3. Fry in batches in a heavy pan with a thin layer of oil over medium heat.
  4. Serve about three rolled in a warm pita with lettuce, tomato, red onion and tzatziki.

I know Peter doesn’t think of this as official bachelor chow, so to make it more b-chow-ish, you can serve it with McCain SuperFries, but I can’t say I recommend it!

Enjoy your busy summers, mes amis!

Here’s a springish recipe (one that was a hit at the Mediterranean potluck I went to recently!) based on my favourite tzatziki at my favourite restaurant in the entire world, The Plaza in Kenora.  Here is a gratuitous Kenora shot:

I recommend a) going to the plaza and having the lemon soup, kalamari appy and the chicken souvlaki pita, or b) making this recipe to serve with toasted pita triangles, sliced tomato and cucumber sprinkled with sea salt and coarse black pepper. Mmmmm…. Spring-alicious…. This recipe takes a while, but its worth it to follow the first two steps well, otherwise the tzatziki is too runny. Nothing worse than a runny tzatziki! And here goes:

Plaza Style Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain yogourt (FULL FAT!! jk, you could use lo if you like, but why would you?)
  • 1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped dill
  • 2 tsp finely chopped mint (I skip this in the winter – still tasty!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 tsp. white vinegar
  • Olive oil (to garnish)
  1. Line a colander with at least 2 layers of cheese cloth. (Paper towel or a coffee filter will also work as substitutes.) Place colander into large bowl. Mix yogourt well and spoon into cheesecloth. Fold edges over to cover. Allow to rest 1/2 hour, draining liquid from bowl. Scrape yogourt from cheesecloth into medium bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, mix grated cucumbers with 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl, then allow to rest 1/2 hour. (Salt draws liquid from cucumber.) Press cucumbers into bowl, draining excess liquid.
  3. Mince salt into garlic, mashing until mixed.
  4. Mix cucumber into yogourt, adding garlic, dill, mint, vinegar, salt and pepper and stirring well. Chill at least one hour. Drizzle with a little olive oil just before serving, then serve with toasted pita triangles, tomato and cucumber slices. Or if you’re really ambitious, serve with fried calamari! And enjoy!

If you happen to have some mint growing, this would wash down nicely with some mojitos. I will try to post my mojito recipe soon- its almost that time again! Anyway – good luck, and OPA!! (I was Greek in a past life. Did you know?)

hello all!

another delicious winter recipe to share before spring makes itself official. its in the air, but its still far away! the most telling thing has been that it is now officially light out when i walk out my door at 6:28AM each morning. LIGHT! Glorious.

anyway! on to the recipe. I appropriated this one from my sister’s fiancée, who has become quite well known for it. She says the secret is really expensive gruyère from the St. Lawrence Market, but I used Balderson Cheddar and just a regular mozzarella ball and it was still marvellous. Definitely room for experimentation! Enjoy…

French Onion Soup à la Seeley

  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 6-7 cups sliced onions (I used part sweet yellow and part regular white)
  • 4 cups soup broth (beef recommended, I used vegetable)
  • 2 cups water
  • Half Baguette (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, softened
  • 1 cup grated cheese, (gruyère recommended, or a combo of cheddar and mozza)
  1. Melt butter in large pot. Add onions and sauté, stirring regularly until softened and dark golden brown (15 minutes or so.)
  2. Add broth and water, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1  hour.
  3. Heat oven to broil.
  4. Combine garlic and butter to make (wait for it…) GARLIC BUTTER! Surprise. : )
  5. Slice bageutte into toasts,  brush butter over one side and arrange on baking sheet. Toast until brown, 3 minutes or so. Watch carefully, goes from brown to black REALLY FAST! Or so I hear. Repeat on other side of toasts. Set aside, cut into cubes when cooler.
  6. Separate soup into bakeable bowls. Top with bread cubes and cheese as desired. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden. Enjoy!!

So thats my contribution to everyone’s diets for February. Its actually not that bad for you, if you go easy on the sodium and cheese. Protein, calcium… water… : ) All good things! Better than the stuff I had at the Keg for sure.  Have a good February everyone!

This recipe is adapted from a delicious soup my very good friend Anna has made for me on a couple of occasions.  I only helped chop, so its a loose adaptation, but I made it today and it was DELISH! Healthy and awesome fare for a cold winter’s dinner! Serve with crusty bread. In case you don’t know, dropping tomatoes into boiling water and then cold water quickly is an easy way to get the skins off.

Anna’s Hearty Tortellini Vegetable Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 2 Carrots, quartered and sliced
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
  • 1 cup chopped Green Cabbage
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1 small Zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4-1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1-1/2 cups cheese tortellini (fresh preferred – if frozen, add 5-7 minutes earlier)
  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Saute onions, carrots and celery until they begin to soften. (4 minutes) Add pepper and oregano and heat 1 more minute.
  2. Add green pepper, zucchini and cabbage, and continue to saute, stirring occasionally until zucchini and cabbage begin to soften. (5 minutes.) Add tomatoes and stir.
  3. Add broth, bring to boil. Cover partially and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add more seasonings if desired.
  4. Add tortellini to boiling soup, continue simmering partially covered until tortellini is soft. (7-10 minutes.)
  5. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Thanks for always making me delicious soup and letting me absorb your recipe Anna!

Its Almonte in the winter!

I took this picture on the way back from dropping Peter off this morning. The whole downtown of Almonte is covered in frost – so pretty. And cold: -24 with the wind chill this morning! Gross. Worth it though. ANYhoo!

This recipe is always a hit. Basically because you can wrap anything in bacon and people will devour it. A Kenora holiday favourite! Remind me to get some stretchy-waistband pants before I go home this year.

This recipe is from the Pellatt Community Cookbook, circa 2002. I am getting some good mileage out of this cookbook.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

  • 3/4 c. Ketchup
  • 1/4 c. Orange Juice
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 lb. Bacon
  • 2 tins Water Chestnuts (whole)
  • 2 T Soya Sauce
  1. Cut bacon strips in half or thirds. Wrap around water chestnuts and secure with toothpick.
  2. Place on cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree F oven until bacon is done, not crispy.
  3. Boil the ketchup, OJ, sugar and soya sauce until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Place bacon wraps in casserole dish, cover with sauce. Bake at 300 degrees F for around an hour. (Until sauce is well boiled)

Serve with copious amounts of red wine to keep your blood thin enough to get through your arteries. : ) ENJOY!

‘Tis the season to drink delicious milkshakes that have whiskey in them… Making your own winter tipples is a long tradition in my family. Goes right back to my rum-running great great grandfather Peacock. My mom makes Kahlua every year, but I prefer the Irish Cream. This recipe is from a dude in Kenora named Godfrey. : )

Godfrey’s Irish Cream

  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (like Eagle Brand)
  • 1 cup Cream (Half and Half works well)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups Dark Rum or Whiskey (Preferably 2!)
  • 2 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 eggs (This is for thickness – I usually leave it out because I think its weird, and it still tastes fabu.)
  1. Mix all ingredients in blender.
  2. Shake well before pouring.
  3. Store in Fridge up to 1 week (Longer with no egg)
  4. Do not vomit through nose.

And there you have it. Passed down through generations… The Godfrey family Irish Cream recipe. As the liquor ads say, enjoy responsibly this season!

I know, I know, this is my second risotto, but hey, ’tis the season for rib-stickin’ hearty goodness, AND for squash, so its kind of an obvious choice, right? This is adapted from a cookbook of side dishes called “By My Side” which I loved, as I would eat side dishes as main dishes every day if I could. So voila!

Butternut Squash Risotto

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped Onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 2 cups cooked squash, cubed
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup sherry or calvados (I used beer?)
  • 5 – 6 cups hot stock
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In medium pot, bring to simmer 6 cups of stock.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil until soft. Add thyme and sage and stir. heat 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add squash and rice, stir until well coated. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar, saute 2-3 min. Deglaze pan with wine and sherry, reduce 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add stock 1/2 cup at a time with 1 Tbsp of parmesan & salt and pepper.
  5. Repeat until rice is cooked. Move rice around with spoon, so it will absorb maximum liquid.  You may need to use a flame-tamer or ring if rice is sticking.
  6. When rice is creamy and soft outside with a little starchy bite inside, you’re done!

This is a pretty easy and delicious risotto, I hope you enjoy it!

Well this is so simple that its barely a recipe, but hey, ’tis the season, right? And on that note – here is a photo of the pumpkins my friend Anna and I carved this week:

jackolanterns by anna and danielle

jackolanterns by anna and danielle

And we exercised a classic halloween ritual this year: carving jackolanterns, then watching the Nightmare Before Christmas while eating delicious roasted pumpkin seeds! I love that movie especially because its a Christmas movie AND a Halloween movie – twice the enjoyment! You should watch it. And you should roast some pumpkin seeds!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 pumpkin worth of seeds
  • Ground pepper
  • Seasoning salt
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Separate seeds from pulp and rinse in a bowl of water. Drain.
  3. Spread damp seeds out on a baking sheet – if it was a really big pumpkin, you might have to use two.
  4. Sprinkle with pepper, seasoning salt, paprika and garlic powder, then mix. If needed, sprinkle again.
  5. Bake 7-12 minutes. Keep a close eye on them – like all nuts, they go from white to burnt really quickly! Take them out when they start to turn dry and poppy, an dmaybe a little golden.

Enjoy! Also works with squash seeds, if you get a big enough squash. Happy Halloween, Kids!