Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: November 2018

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake

It’s hard to find anything better than a great chocolate cake. A soft tender crumb with deep, rich chocolate flavors and a touch of cinnamon. Then it’s topped with a thin coating of chocolate icing, One of the simplest cakes to make and truly one of the best.

I originally shared this recipe in the summer of 2017. And for one very good reason I’m sharing it again. Food does an amazing job of stimulating memories in most everyone. This chocolate cake is a family favorite and has been for generations. My Dad was born and raised on the Powell family ranch, reared by his parents, his Aunt Mary and Uncle Claude and his great grandparents. He often told the story about being a little boy and having his Grandfather pose the question’ “Don, don’t you think we need a chocolate cake?” And what little boy wouldn’t want a chocolate cake! So off he would go to find his Grandmother. She would always drop whatever she was doing and bake her grandson a cake.

My Dad, about age 5 with his parents, James Lewis and Grace Pearl and his Great Grandparents, M.T. and Maude Olive.

If you grew up in the South, chances are your Mom or Grandmother made the same cake. It’s light and fluffy, just sweet enough and that touch of cinnamon enhances those chocolate tones. All that’s needed to assemble is a whisk and a wooden spoon.

Buttermilk added to the batter makes the cake super moist and gives it that tender bite. A good dose of pure vanilla extract boosts the beautiful flavors. If possible, it’s even better the next day.

Whenever this cake was on the kitchen counter it wasn’t unusual to walk by and see a fork resting in the cake pan, just waiting to tempt you for just one quick bite. This is the first cake I learned to make, and the first one I taught Emily to make. It’s a simple recipe making it a quick, last-minute dessert to pull together for family or friends.

Older versions of this recipe refer to this cake as a Chocolate Sheet Cake or Chocolate Sheath Cake, as the directions call for the cake to be baked in a large, shallow sheet pan. I bake it in a large cake or baking pan (13″ x 9″ x 2″) but either will work. My Grandmother added 1 cup of chopped pecans to the icing. And if it was a special occasion, she would top the cake with pecan halves and maraschino cherries! This is not the most gorgeous cake, but it is one of the most delicious chocolate cakes you’ll ever eat!

So here’s the reason I’m sharing it again. This week we welcomed a precious new member to our family and this darling grandson will always have chocolate cake!

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup butter (1 stick butter)

½ cup shortening

½ cup water

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 extra large eggs

½ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the butter, shortening, water and the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter and shortening have melted.

Stir frequently to keep the chocolate from scorching. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Combine the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla then stir into the chocolate mixture. Add to the dry ingredients, whisking until the mixture is blended and smooth.

Pour the batter into a 13” x 9” baking pan that has been lightly greased or sprayed with a cooking spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the cake tests done.

While cake bakes, make the icing:

¼ cup butter

4 tablespoons half and half

2 tablespoons cocoa

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan add the butter, half and half and cocoa, then cook over medium heat until the butter has melted.

Remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar, about ½ cup at a time, whisking into the chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla, whisk until the icing is smooth.

Pour over warm cake, spread to cover evenly. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Serves 8 to 10.

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 30, 2018
: Serves 8 to 10.

It's hard to find anything better than a great chocolate cake. A soft tender crumb with deep, rich chocolate flavors and a touch of cinnamon. Then it's topped with a thin coating of chocolate icing, One of the simplest cakes to make and truly one of the best.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick butter)
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the icing:
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons half and half
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  • Step 1 For the cake:
  • Step 2 Combine the butter, shortening, water and the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter and shortening have melted. Stir frequently to keep the chocolate from scorching. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Step 3 In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  • Step 4 Combine the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla then stir into the chocolate mixture. Add to the dry ingredients, whisking until the mixture is blended and smooth.
  • Step 5 Pour the batter into a 13” x 9” baking pan, lightly greased or sprayed with a cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the cake tests done.
  • Step 6 While cake bakes, make the icing.
  • Step 7 For the icing:
  • Step 8 In a small saucepan add the butter, half and half and cocoa and cook over low medium heat until the butter has melted.
  • Step 9 Remove from the heat and the powdered sugar, about ½ cup at a time, whisking into the chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla, whisk until the icing is smooth.
  • Step 10 Pour over the warm cake and spread to cover evenly. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.
Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

A soup with a creamy, luxurious texture. The color is vibrant and the flavor is slightly savory, yet bright with a subtle edge of sweetness.

This falls into the category of something simple, quick and “what do I have on hand”! So take those three or four sweet potatoes left from your Thanksgiving feast – pair them with onions and carrots, toss in some ginger, simmer in a rich chicken stock and you’ve got a fabulous soup.

If it could be said about vegetables then this mix makes for strange bedfellows. It’s a beautiful blending of random items – onions, fresh carrots, sweet potatoes and spicy notes of ginger. And somehow it works – really well!

This soup is easy to make and comes together in less than an hour using pantry staples. You only need to add a small amount of cream but in a pinch you can use milk or half and half – just enough to soften the edges.

To get that silky texture an immersion blender is always my “go to” when pureeing soups. It takes just a few minutes and you’ve got a perfectly blended soup. Minimal effort, minimal mess.

Top with a sprinkling of crystalized ginger and you have a unique combination that makes for a delightful first course or full meal!

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 large onions, sliced thin, about 3 cups

1 pound carrots, about 6 carrots scrubbed or peeled and cut into pieces

2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

4 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons chicken concentrate, such as Better Than Bouillon

1-3/4 teaspoons ground ginger

½ cup heavy cream

Crystalized ginger for garnish

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they’re tender and slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the carrots and the sweet potatoes with the kosher salt, pepper, chicken stock and chicken concentrate and stir to combine.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the carrots and the sweet potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until smooth.

Add the ground ginger and the cream then heat through for about 10 minutes.

Garnish with a sprinkling of crystalized ginger.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 28, 2018
: Serves 6

A soup with a creamy, luxurious texture. The color is vibrant and the flavor is slightly savory, yet bright with a subtle edge of sweetness.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin, about 3 cups
  • 1 pound carrots, about 6 carrots scrubbed or peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chicken concentrate, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Crystalized ginger for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  • Step 2 Add the onions and sauté until they’re tender and slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the carrots and the sweet potatoes with the kosher salt, pepper, chicken stock and chicken concentrate and stir to combine.
  • Step 4 Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the carrots and the sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Step 5 Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until smooth.
  • Step 6 Add the ground ginger and the cream then heat through for about 10 minutes.
  • Step 7 Garnish with a sprinkling of crystalized ginger.
Sheet Pan Eggs and Hash Browns

Sheet Pan Eggs and Hash Browns

Layers of Fontina and Parmesan cheese woven into seasoned hash browns make the perfect baking spot for fresh eggs!

Brunch is a favorite meal in my family but there are some dishes that leave such a mess in the kitchen – bacon, eggs and hash browns can all be culprits. I always cook bacon in the oven so this dish is an obvious fit for me. With this being an incredibly busy time of year anything that can minimize meal prep and simplify cleanup is a plus. Sheet pan meals are a great way to tackle both. Cooking hash brown potatoes in the oven will give you fabulous results with minimal effort – but add some fresh eggs and you’ve got an easy, hearty and delicious breakfast.

Start by tossing the hash browns in melted butter and olive oil. Season with a little kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a dash of garlic powder plus just a bite of heat with honey chipotle or your favorite chili powder. Finally fold in a delightful blend of Fontina and Parmesan cheese.

Pop the hash browns in the oven until they’re starting to crisp.

Then slide fresh eggs onto the potatoes and finish baking until they’re set to your liking.

A side of bacon, maybe a biscuit with a slather of butter along with the sheet pan eggs and hash browns – you and your crew will be ready to tackle the day!

Sheet Pan Eggs and Hash Browns

1 package hash brown, about 20 ounces or 4 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon honey chipotle powder or chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup shaved blend of Fontina and Parmesan, such as Sartori’s Reserve Cheese Tuscan Blend

4 to 6 eggs

Line an 18” x 13” x 1” rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the hash browns in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl whisk the olive oil with the melted butter. Add the kosher salt, black pepper, chipotle powder and garlic powder, whisking until well blended.

Toss in the shaved cheese and stir to combine.

Pour the seasoning mixture over the hash brown potatoes and stir well to coat the potatoes.

Spread the hash browns out on the parchment paper, making slight indentions where you’ll place the eggs.

Place the hash browns in a 400-degree oven and bake for 25 minutes. If you like crispier hash browns, add another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Crack each egg into a separate cup then slide the egg into the indentations in the hash browns. Return the hash browns and eggs to the oven and continue baking for another 8 to 13 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your preference.

About 8 to 10 minutes will produce an egg over easy and 13 minutes will be cooked to medium with the yolk slightly set. To serve, use a metal spatula and cut the hash browns around the egg, scooping up potatoes with each egg.

Serves 4 to 6.

Sheet Pan Eggs and Hash Browns, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 26, 2018
: Serves 4 to 6

Layers of Fontina and Parmesan cheese woven into seasoned hash browns make the perfect baking spot for fresh eggs!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 package hash brown, about 20 ounces or 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon honey chipotle powder or chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup shaved blend of Fontina and Parmesan, such as Sartori’s Reserve Cheese Tuscan Blend
  • 4 to 6 eggs
Directions
  • Step 1 Line an 18” x 13” x 1” rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Step 2 Place the hash browns in a large mixing bowl.
  • Step 3 In a small mixing bowl whisk the olive oil with the melted butter. Add the kosher salt, black pepper, chipotle powder and garlic powder, whisking until well blended.
  • Step 4 Toss in the shaved cheese and stir to combine.
  • Step 5 Pour the seasoning mixture over the hash brown potatoes and stir well to coat the potatoes.
  • Step 6 Spread the hash browns out on the parchment paper, making slight indentions where you’ll place the eggs.
  • Step 7 Place the hash browns in a 400-degree oven and bake for 25 minutes. If you like crispier hash browns, add another 5 minutes.
  • Step 8 Remove the pan from the oven. Crack each egg into a separate cup then slide the egg into the indentations in the hash browns. Return the hash browns and the eggs to the oven and continue baking for another 8 to 13 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your preference.
  • Step 9 About 8 to 10 minutes will produce an egg over easy and 13 minutes will be cooked to medium with the yolk slightly set.
  • Step 10 To serve, use a metal spatula and cut the hash browns around the egg, scooping up potatoes with each egg.
Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan

Whether you still have a house full of holiday guests or they’ve left and you’re settling into the quiet – this is a delectable cocktail to usher in this magical time of year.

Having passed through the first celebration of this festive season you might have a few leftovers on hand. I’m always talking about food with Emily and she was recently sharing ideas for leftover cranberry relish. So if you happen to have any cranberry sauce hanging around or better yet, you made the Cranberry Maple Sauce with our Almond Crusted French Toast – you’re all set to make this beautiful beverage that fits the sweet mood of this time of year.

To create the backdrop for this drink, start with smooth, clean vodka then pair it with one of our favorites – Cointreau – to bring a deep citrus note of orange. Then add fresh juice and zest from lime, the aromatics of rosemary and the slightly tart, subtly sweet addition of cranberry sauce.

Shake the cocktail over ice until well chilled…

then served in spectacular fashion with a few fresh cranberries…

and a sprig of fresh rosemary. A delight for all the senses! Cheers to the beauty of the holidays!

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan

3 ounces vodka

4 ounces Cointreau

½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice – 1 tablespoon

¼ teaspoon lime zest

4 tablespoons cranberry maple sauce*

3 fresh rosemary sprigs, divided

Fresh cranberries for garnish

Pour the vodka along with the Cointreau into a cocktail shaker.

Add the fresh lime juice and lime zest, followed by the cranberry maple sauce.

Crush one of the rosemary sprigs in your hands to release the oils and toss it into the shaker.

Fill with ice and shake vigorously until the shaker feels very cold to the touch.

Strain and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries and remaining rosemary sprigs.

This recipe makes two delightful cocktails.

*You can quickly make a batch or half a batch of the cranberry maple sauce. Or use your favorite cranberry sauce instead of fresh cranberries. Then just add the maple syrup, orange juice and almond extract.

For the cranberry maple sauce:

1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup

Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup

1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan.

Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.

Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.

The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance.

Southern Holiday Cosmopolitan, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 23, 2018
: Makes 2 cocktails.

Smooth, clean vodka paired with Cointreau and it’s bright citrus notes. Fresh juice and zest from lime, the aromatics of rosemary and the slightly tart, subtly sweet flavors of cranberry sauce. Shaken over ice until well chilled then served in spectacular fashion with a few fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary. A delight for all the senses!

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces Cointreau
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice – 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoon lime zest
  • 4 tablespoons cranberry maple sauce*
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
  • Fresh cranberries for garnish, optional
  • For the cranberry maple sauce:
  • 1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
  • Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup
  • 1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the vodka along with the Cointreau into a cocktail shaker.
  • Step 2 Add the fresh lime juice and lime zest, then the cranberry maple sauce.
  • Step 3 Crush one of the rosemary sprigs in your hands and toss it into the shaker.
  • Step 4 Fill with ice and shake vigorously until the shaker feels very cold to the touch.
  • Step 5 Strain and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries and remaining rosemary sprigs.
  • Step 6 *You can quickly make a batch or half a batch of the cranberry maple sauce. Or use your favorite cranberry sauce instead of fresh cranberries. Then just add the maple syrup, orange juice and almond extract.
  • Step 7 For the cranberry maple sauce:
  • Step 8 Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 9 Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.
  • Step 10 The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance.
Cheddar Pecan Crackers

Cheddar Pecan Crackers

Cheesy and buttery with just a hint of heat and a little crunch from toasted pecans, these delicate little nibbles are the perfect bite to share with a glass of cheer!

The holidays are officially in full swing and the gatherings with family and friends have begun. Whether you need a light appetizer to serve your guests or an unexpected pleasure as a hostess gift, these golden crackers offer the right touch. And they’re easy to make.

Cheese straws and cheese crackers have long been a delicious Southern staple. They’re a bit more tender than a  traditional cracker and start with simple ingredients beginning with creamy butter blended with a splash of Worcestershire and a shake or two of Tabasco. Then mounds of golden sharp cheddar cheese are shredded and added to the mix. Toss in toasted pecans and you have another wonderful layer of texture and taste!

The cheesy dough is rolled into log then sliced and baked transforming into thin, feathery-light crackers, tender to the tooth with just a hint of crisp.

A quick note, when selecting cheese for the crackers pick a block of sharp cheddar. Cheese that is grated before packaging has a coating added to prevent it from clumping together so it won’t blend in as smoothly as cheese that is freshly grated. Your food processor makes quick work of this task and saves your knuckles!

Whip up a batch for you and maybe a friend!

Cheddar Pecan Crackers

½ cup butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ to 1 teaspoon Tabasco

2-1/2 cups shredded cheese, about ¾ pound cheese

½ cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

1 cup flour, sifted before adding

Toasted pecans halves, optional

Using a mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Then with a large wooden spoon blend the Worcestershire sauce and the Tabasco into the butter. The back of the spoon works best.

Add the shredded cheese, blending into the butter mixture.

Stir in the pecans and about 1/3 cup of the flour. Add the remaining flour 1/3 cup at a time working into the cheese.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface – it will look dry and crumbly. Gently work the dough by hand until the flour is blended into the cheese mixture.

Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 2” in diameter. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

When you’re ready to bake, slice into ¼” thick slices. Place each cheese cracker on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Leave about 2” between each cracker for spreading.

Top all or part of the crackers with a pecan half. Keep the remaining dough chilled until you’re ready to bake. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crackers are barely crisp and starting to brown on the edges. Let the crackers cool on the baking pans for about 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in a container with parchment paper between the layers. Makes about 50 crackers.

Cheddar Pecan Crackers, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 21, 2018
: Makes about 50 crackers

Cheesy and buttery with just a hint of heat and a little crunch from toasted pecans, these delicate little nibbles are the perfect bite to share with a glass of cheer!

By:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheese, about ¾ pound cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup flour, sifted before adding
  • Toasted pecans halves, optional
Directions
  • Step 1 Using a mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then with a large wooden spoon blend the Worcestershire sauce and the Tabasco into the butter. The back of the spoon works best.
  • Step 2 Add the shredded cheese, blending into the butter mixture.
  • Step 3 Stir in the pecans and about 1/3 cup of the flour. Add the remaining flour 1/3 cup at a time working into the cheese.
  • Step 4 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface – it will look dry and crumbly. Gently work the dough by hand until the flour is blended into the cheese mixture.
  • Step 5 Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 2” in diameter. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Step 6 When you’re ready to bake, slice into ¼” thick slices. Place each cheese cracker on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Leave about 2” between each cracker for spreading.
  • Step 7 Top all or part of the crackers with a pecan half. Keep the remaining dough chilled until you’re ready to bake.
  • Step 8 Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crackers are barely crisp and starting to brown on the edges. Let the crackers cool on the baking pans for about 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Step 9 Store in a container with parchment paper between the layers.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

A fluffy cloud of meringue folded into a creamy pumpkin custard bursting with spice then nestled into a ginger snap cookie crust. It’s an old classic recipe and one worth remembering!

I ran across my Grandmother, Grace Pearl’s handwritten recipe for pumpkin chiffon pie and decided this might be the year to revisit my classic pumpkin pie for the holidays. Grace was an excellent cook so anything she had taken the time to write down is definitely worth trying.

Grace Pearl, age 20 and a copy of her Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.

After one bite I must tell you if you’ve never tried a chiffon pie you need to give it a go. Instead of being baked on top, the sweet meringue is blended into the pie filling giving it a delicate, light texture.

My version varies slightly from my Grandmother’s. I use allspice instead of nutmeg, replicating the same spice mix I use when I bake a custard pumpkin pie. The pumpkin filling is made with egg yolks, milk and brown sugar plus those gorgeous holiday spices of cinnamon, ginger and the allspice.

The meringue is the classic recipe – egg whites with a touch of cream of tarter, sweetened with a bit of sugar and accented with pure vanilla extract.

And though you would think the meringue would mute the flavors of the custard, nothing could be further from the truth. Before the meringue is added, the pumpkin custard is cooked deepening those rich autumn tones.

The beauty of this type of pie is not just the taste. It’s best made a day or two in advance taking a little pressure off last minute baking needs.

Though you can whip up a standard pastry shell to hold the pumpkin filling – elevate it and make a ginger snap crust. The cookie crust brings out the ginger notes in your pie and is absolutely delectable!

Holidays are the perfect time for creating new memories and reminiscing on times past. There’s no better way to celebrate with those we love than sharing this utterly divine vintage pie!

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

For the ginger snap crust:

2 cups ginger snap crumbs, about 4 cups of gingersnaps – such as Murray Old-Fashioned Ginger Snaps

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon flour

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 to 2 tablespoon cold water

Using a food processor mix the ginger snap crumbs with the kosher salt and flour, processing for about 10 to 15 seconds.

Add the melted butter and pulse about 6 to 8 times to combine. Press the crumbs together between your fingertips – if they do not hold together add 1 tablespoon and check again. Use the remaining teaspoon only if needed – too much water will make it sticky.

Spray the bottom of 9” deep-dish pie plate. Turn the mixture into the pie plate and press in the bottom and up the sides. If it sticks to your hands, dust them with a bit of flour.

Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350-degrees. Set aside to cool completely while you make the filling.

For the pumpkin filling:

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (For a firmer custard use 1-1/2 tablespoons gelatin, or 2 envelopes gelatin.)

½ cup cold water

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

1 can pumpkin puree, 15-ounces, about 2 cups

3 extra-large egg yolks – reserve the egg whites for the meringue

½ cup milk

One 9” baked gingersnap pie shell or traditional pastry crust

In a small bowl or measuring cup add the gelatin to the cold water, stirring to dissolve.

In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pumpkin puree, egg yolks and milk. Whisk together until the pumpkin mixture is smooth.

Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a boil, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Add the dissolved gelatin to the pumpkin mixture, stirring to blend in completely and set aside to cool, about 20 minutes.

While the pumpkin mixture cools make the meringue.

For the meringue:

3 extra-large egg whites or ½ cup pasteurized egg whites*

¼ teaspoon cream of tarter

6 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites and the cream of tarter in the bowl of a mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until they are frothy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Using medium speed, add the sugar a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the meringue has formed soft peaks, then add the vanilla extract.

Continue beating on medium-high until the meringue is glossy and has formed stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

*The meringue that is folded into the pie filling is made from uncooked egg whites. If you have a concern about using raw eggs, pasteurized eggs are recommended as an alternative.

To assemble the pie:

Gently fold the meringue into the cooled pumpkin custard, taking care not to deflate the meringue.

Pour the pumpkin filling into the cooled gingersnap crust. Chill at least two hours or overnight to allow the filling to set up.

Serve well chilled!

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 19, 2018
: Serves 6 to 8.

A fluffy cloud of meringue folded into a creamy pumpkin custard bursting with spice then nestled into a ginger snap cookie crust. It’s an old classic recipe and one worth remembering!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the ginger snap crust:
  • 2 cups ginger snap crumbs, about 4 cups of gingersnaps – such as Murray Old-Fashioned Ginger Snaps
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon cold water
  • For the pumpkin filling:
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (For a firmer custard use 1-1/2 tablespoons gelatin, or 2 envelopes gelatin.)
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 can pumpkin puree, 15-ounces, about 2 cups
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks – reserve the egg whites for the meringue
  • ½ cup milk
  • One 9” baked gingersnap pie shell or traditional pastry crust
  • For the meringue:
  • 3 extra-large egg whites or ½ cup pasteurized egg whites*
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
  • Step 1 For the ginger snap crust:
  • Step 2 Using a food processor mix the ginger snap crumbs with the kosher salt and flour, processing for about 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Step 3 Add the melted butter and pulse about 6 to 8 times to combine. Press the crumbs together between your fingertips – if they do not hold together add 1 tablespoon and check again. Use the remaining teaspoon only if needed – too much water will make it sticky.
  • Step 4 Spray the bottom of 9” deep-dish pie plate. Turn the mixture into the pie plate and press in the bottom and up the sides. If it sticks to your hands, dust them with a bit of flour.
  • Step 5 Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350-degrees. Set aside to cool completely while you make the filling.
  • Step 6 For the pumpkin filling:
  • Step 7 In a small bowl or measuring cup add the gelatin to the cold water, stirring to dissolve.
  • Step 8 In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pumpkin puree, egg yolks and milk. Whisk together until the pumpkin mixture is smooth.
  • Step 9 Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a boil, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute and remove from the heat.
  • Step 10 Add the dissolved gelatin to the pumpkin mixture, stirring to blend in completely and set aside to cool, about 20 minutes. While the pumpkin mixture cools make the meringue.
  • Step 11 For the meringue:
  • Step 12 Combine the egg whites and the cream of tarter in the bowl of a mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until they are frothy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 13 Using medium speed, add the sugar a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the meringue has formed soft peaks. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating on medium-high until the meringue is glossy and has formed stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 14 *The meringue that is folded into the pie filling is made from uncooked egg whites. If you have a concern about using raw eggs, pasteurized eggs are recommended as an alternative.
  • Step 15 To assemble the pie:
  • Step 16 Gently fold the meringue into the cooled pumpkin custard, taking care not to deflate the meringue.
  • Step 17 Pour the pumpkin filling into the cooled gingersnap crust. Chill at least two hours or overnight to allow the filling to set up.
  • Step 18 Keep the pumpkin chiffon pie refrigerated.
Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce

Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce

The essence of almond and orange baked into slices of creamy, custard-soaked Challah bread topped with toasted almonds swirled in a maple syrup. Then we serve it with a warm cranberry maple sauce – because it’s the holidays!

A number of years ago several women in my family came to the conclusion that since they were cooking they would decide when we would eat the Thanksgiving meal. Okay, to be transparent – those women included my Mom, my daughter Emily and myself.

In the kitchen with my Mom and my “sister from a different Mother” and dear friend Pat!

But to be kind to our dining companions we also felt it was only fair to feed them a little something to tide them over until the main event. Let’s face it the holidays are stressful. Expectations are high, we’re exhausted and visions of the perfect “airbrushed turkey” on every food magazine are taunting us. So in the spirit of allowing just a little time to relax we frequently turn to “make-ahead” breakfast dishes. And this one won’t disappoint. A beautiful loaf of Challah bread, sliced then dipped into an egg custard with notes of almond and orange.

An overnight soak then it’s baked along with a buttery maple syrup topping chock-full of crunchy almonds.

But no need to stop there. Serve it with a vibrant cranberry maple sauce bright with a splash of fresh orange juice and just a tang from those cranberries.

Incredible for brunch and even grand enough for dessert – your guests will be happy to wait on the turkey!

Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce

For the base:

6 extra large eggs

2 cups half and half

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup sugar

Zest of one large orange, about 1 teaspoon

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

½ teaspoon orange extract

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large loaf Challah bread, cut into slices about 1” thick – about 12 slices

For the almond topping:

4 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped

For the cranberry maple sauce:

1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted

Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

For the custard base:

In a large bowl combine the eggs, half and half, maple syrup, sugar, orange zest, almond extract, orange extract and kosher salt. Whisk together until the eggs are well blended into the mixture.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg custard then place them in a 13” x 9” baking dish, that has been lightly coated with a cooking spray. Overlap the slices as needed so they fit into the pan. Pour the remaining custard over the bread. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.

About 45 minutes before baking remove the French toast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the topping.

For the almond topping:

In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and toasted pecans, stirring to combine.

To assemble and bake:

Spoon the sauce over the bread, spreading the toasted almonds evenly across the bread slices.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until the custard is baked. If the top of the bread starts to brown too quickly, just cover the pan loosely with foil.

Let the French toast rest for about 10 minutes to set before serving.

While the French toast bakes, make the cranberry maple sauce:

Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.

Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.

The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance. Serve warm over the Almond Crusted French Toast.

Serves 8.

Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 16, 2018
: Serves 8.

The essence of almond and orange baked into slices of creamy, custard-soaked Challah bread, topped with toasted almonds swirled in a maple sauce. Then we serve it with a warm cranberry maple sauce.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the base:
  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Zest of one large orange, about 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf Challah bread, cut into slices about 1” thick – about 12 slices
  • For the almond topping:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped
  • For the cranberry maple sauce:
  • 1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted
  • Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 For the custard base:
  • Step 2 In a large bowl combine the eggs, half and half, maple syrup, sugar, orange zest, almond extract, orange extract and kosher salt. Whisk together until the eggs are well blended into the mixture.
  • Step 3 Dip each slice of bread into the egg custard then place them in a 13” x 9” baking dish, that has been lightly coated with a cooking spray. Overlap the slices as needed so they fit into the pan. Pour the remaining custard over the bread. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.
  • Step 4 About 45 minutes before baking remove the French toast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the topping.
  • Step 5 For the almond topping:
  • Step 6 In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and toasted pecans, stirring to combine.
  • Step 7 To assemble and bake:
  • Step 8 Spoon the sauce over the bread, spreading the toasted almonds evenly across the bread slices.
  • Step 9 Bake 45 to 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until the custard is baked. If the top of the bread starts to brown too quickly, just cover the pan loosely with foil.
  • Step 10 Let the French toast rest for about 10 minutes to set before serving.
  • Step 11 While the French toast bakes, make the cranberry maple sauce:
  • Step 12 Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 13 Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.
  • Step 14 The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance.
  • Step 15 Serve warm over the Almond Crusted French Toast.
Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potatoes with their natural sweetness make a surprisingly wonderful pie. With freshly grated nutmeg and allspice plus the warmth of cinnamon this pie captures all those familiar holiday notes. Something so delicious you might just decide to bump that traditional pumpkin pie from the table!

Both my grandmothers grew sweet potatoes so this simple Southern pie was a common guest on their tables, whether for a Sunday dinner or a holiday feast! Most gardeners in the Texas Panhandle raised sweet potatoes, harvesting in late summer and storing them in their “root cellars”. These cellars, located steps away from the backdoor of the farm or ranch house were little more than a room of sorts, made from a hole dug deep into the ground. There were wooden steps leading down into the cool, dark space and walls lined with shelves to store the summer’s bounty for the winter ahead. And with tornadoes frequently showing up in the springtime they provided shelter from those fierce storms.

Powell homestead, early 1900s.

Sweet potato pies are made in numerous forms. Some recipes, like the one published in a cookbook of my Grandmother’s – circa 1938 – show the pie finished with a topping of meringue.

But the sweet potato pies in our family were more like a pumpkin pie – starting with roasted sweet potatoes. Roasting reduces any additional liquid that might creep into the potatoes from boiling and deepens the flavor.

Then the potatoes are blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice plus of course butter, sugar, eggs and for extra richness some cream.

The pastry crust is a blend of butter and shortening – butter gives it that wonderful taste and shortening provides a bit more structure. Baking powder offers a little lift for flakiness and just a touch of buttermilk for tenderness.

This tender crust is filled with the lightly sweetened custard then baked until the sweet potato goodness is slightly puffed, set in the center and burnt orange in color.

Served plain or with a dollop of whipped cream – sweet potato pie is pure country, pure Southern and purely delightful!

Sweet Potato Pie

For the crust:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons butter, cubed and chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes

4 tablespoons shortening, chilled

1 tablespoon buttermilk

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Place the flour along with the sugar, kosher salt and the baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 6 to 8 times to combine.

Toss in the shortening and scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour and pulse about 10 times, just until the butter and shortening are about the size of peas.

Sprinkle the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the cold water over the top of the flour and process for about 10 to 15 seconds. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed for the dough to hold together when you press it between your fingers. Don’t over process or your pastry will be tough. The dough will be somewhat crumbly.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, gently pull the dough together and press it into a disc. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface or rolling mat.

Dust the rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a round large enough to fit inside a 9” pie plate. Turn the pastry dough occasionally while rolling so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Using the rolling pin, gently roll the pie dough up and unroll into a 9” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Ease the dough into the pie plate taking care to not stretch it.

Trim the excess dough leaving about 1-1/2” edge then turn it under and crimp to seal the edges. Chill the pie shell until ready to bake.

Note: Once the pie shell is chilled you can also wrap it and freeze it for up to a month.

For the sweet potato pie:

2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed with skin on

3 extra-large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly

Poke holes into the sweet potatoes on all sides. Place in a baking dish lined with foil and roast in a 425-degree oven for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until they are very soft when squeezed. The time will vary depending on the overall size of the potatoes.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them open and scoop out the flesh, measuring 2 cups of potatoes. Using a pastry knife or potato masher, mash the cooked sweet potatoes. Whisk together the eggs with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, kosher salt and cream.

Add the sweet potatoes and butter then whisk until the mixture is fairly smooth.

Pour into the chilled, unbaked 9” pie shell. Cover the edge of the pie crust with a pie shield or strips of foil to prevent the crust from over browning. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center is just set and a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack then chill thoroughly before cutting into the pie.

Sweet Potato Pie, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 14, 2018
: Serves 6 to 8.

Sweet potatoes with their natural sweetness make a surprisingly wonderful pie. With freshly grated nutmeg and allspice plus the warmth of cinnamon this pie captures all those familiar holiday notes. Served plain or with a dollop of whipped cream - sweet potato pie is pure country, pure Southern and purely delightful!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the pie crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cubed and chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
  • 4 tablespoons shortening, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • For the sweet potato pie:
  • 2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed with skin on
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
Directions
  • Step 1 For the pie crust:
  • Step 2 Place the flour along with the sugar, kosher salt and the baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 6 to 8 times to combine.
  • Step 3 Toss in the shortening and scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour and pulse about 10 times, just until the butter and shortening are about the size of peas.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the cold water over the top of the flour and process for about 10 to 15 seconds. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed for the dough to hold together when it’s pressed between your fingers. Don’t over process or your pastry will be tough. The dough will still be somewhat crumbly.
  • Step 5 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, gently pull the dough together and press it into a disc. Wrap the dough and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Step 6 Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface or rolling mat. Dust the rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a round large enough to fit inside a 9” pie plate. Turn the pastry dough occasionally while rolling so it doesn’t stick to the surface.
  • Step 7 Using the rolling pin, gently roll the pie dough up and unroll into a 9” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Ease the dough into the pie plate taking care to not stretch it.
  • Step 8 Trim the excess dough leaving about 1-1/2” edge then turn it under and crimp to seal the edges. Chill the pie shell until ready to bake.
  • Step 9 Note: Once the pie shell is chilled you can also wrap it and freeze it for up to a month.
  • Step 10 For the sweet potato pie:
  • Step 11 Poke holes into the sweet potatoes on all sides. Place in a baking dish lined with foil and roast in a 425-degree oven for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until they are very soft when squeezed. The time will vary depending on the overall size of the potatoes.
  • Step 12 Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them open and scoop out the flesh, measuring 2 cups of potatoes. Using a pastry knife or potato masher, mash the cooked sweet potatoes.
  • Step 13 Whisk the eggs together with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, kosher salt and cream. Add the sweet potatoes and butter then whisk until the mixture is fairly smooth.
  • Step 14 Pour into the chilled, unbaked 9” pie shell.Cover the edge of the pie crust with a pie shield or strips of foil to prevent the crust from over browning.Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center is just set and a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Step 15 Cool completely on a wire rack then chill thoroughly before cutting into the pie.
Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

A creamy chicken stew filled with chunks of tender white meat, potatoes and sweet carrots all nestled underneath plump, fluffy biscuit-like dumplings.

Winter decided to bypass fall and move on into North Texas making it a perfect night for homemade Chicken and Dumplings! This is a country dish and one made in many Southern kitchens but it’s certainly not exclusive to the South. Like any great soup or stew it takes a little patience to develop depth in flavors, starting with the base. Start by stewing chicken in a rich stock along with a bounty of herbs – parsley, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves – along with beautiful aromatics of sweet onions and celery.

Fresh carrots and new potatoes are added to round out the stew in a subtle way.

The chicken and the vegetables are simmered until tender then the stock is thickened with a stock and milk-based rue. Now we’re ready for fluffy dumplings to be cooked on top!

And when it comes to dumplings there are two schools of thought in the South – rolled and cut or drop dumplings. Though my Grandmother made the rolled and cut version my Mom preferred drop dumplings. They’re much like a biscuit so we’re off to a good start!

But making dumplings with just flour and milk can lead to a less than exciting finish for this succulent stew you’ve produced. Instead, these dumplings are full of savory notes from a dash of poultry seasoning, a bit of ground sage and parsley.

Comforting and creamy – a wonderful way to warm up on a chilly night!

Chicken and Dumplings

3 to 3-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, preferably bone-in and skin on

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, or about 4 teaspoons dried

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, or about 2 teaspoons dried and crushed

8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme, or about 2 teaspoons dried

3 bay leaves

1 cup chopped celery, about 1-1/2 stalks

1 cup chopped sweet onion, about 1 small onion

9 cups chicken stock, divided

1 tablespoon concentrated chicken base, such as “Better Than Bouillon”

1-1/2 cups sliced carrots, about 4 carrots

3 cups cubed new potatoes, about 3 to 4 potatoes – peeled

1-1/2 cups milk

5 tablespoons flour

Place the chicken in a large stockpot with the parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, plus the chopped celery and onion.

Add 8 cups of the chicken stock along with the concentrated chicken base and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and continue cooking for an additional hour or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

Remove the chicken from the stock and transfer to a pan or bowl until it’s cool enough to handle. Then remove the meat and shred or chop into bite size pieces.

Combine the remaining cup of stock with the milk and the flour. Whisk until the flour is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into the stockpot, whisking to blend well.

Cook over medium heat until the stock thickens, about 15 minutes. While the stock thickens, mix the dough for the dumplings.

For the dumplings:

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground sage

½ teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1-1/2 cups milk

Combine the flour with the baking powder, poultry seasoning, ground sage, parsley, kosher salt and pepper. Stir in the milk.

Mix until blended together.

Once the stock has thickened, return the shredded chicken to the stockpot.

Using a tablespoon or a small (1”) or medium-size (1-3/4”) ice cream scoop measure out equal amounts of the dumpling dough and gently drop on top of the chicken and stock. Do not stir! The dumplings will plump up as they cook.

Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the tops of the dumplings are “dry” and no longer sticky to the touch.

Serves 6 to 8.

Chicken and Dumplings, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 12, 2018
: Serves 6 to 8.

A creamy chicken stew filled with chunks of tender white meat, potatoes and sweet carrots sit hiding underneath plump, fluffy biscuit-like dumplings.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 to 3-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, preferably bone-in and skin on
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, or about 4 teaspoons dried
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, or about 2 teaspoons dried and crushed
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme, or about 2 teaspoons dried
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped celery, about 1-1/2 stalks
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion, about 1 small onion
  • 9 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated chicken base, such as “Better Than Bouillon”
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced carrots, about 4 carrots
  • 3 cups cubed new potatoes, about 3 to 4 potatoes – peeled
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • For the dumplings:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the chicken in a large stockpot with the parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, plus the chopped celery and onion.
  • Step 2 Add 8 cups of the chicken stock along with the concentrated chicken base and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the carrots and potatoes and continue cooking for an additional hour or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Step 4 Remove the chicken from the stock and transfer to a pan or bowl until it’s cool enough to handle. Then remove the meat and shred or chop into bite size pieces.
  • Step 5 Combine the remaining cup of stock with the milk and the flour. Whisk until the flour is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into the stockpot, whisking to blend well.
  • Step 6 Cook over medium heat until the stock thickens, about 15 minutes. While the stock thickens, mix the dough for the dumplings.
  • Step 7 For the dumplings:
  • Step 8 Combine the flour with the baking powder, poultry seasoning, ground sage, parsley, kosher salt and pepper. Stir in the milk and mix until blended.
  • Step 9 To finish:
  • Step 10 Once the stock has thickened, return the shredded chicken to the stockpot.
  • Step 11 Using a tablespoon or a small (1”) or medium-size (1-3/4”) ice cream scoop measure out equal amounts of the dumpling dough and gently drop on top of the chicken and stock. Do not stir! The dumplings will plump up as they cook.
  • Step 12 Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the tops of the dumplings are “dry” and no longer sticky to the touch.
Southern Pecan Bars

Southern Pecan Bars

Here’s a simple twist on the classic Southern Pecan Pie – Pecan Bars! Start with a tender crust freshly baked and ready to hold that creamy filling full of crunchy toasted pecans – perfect for any holiday buffet!

Pecan pie is a tradition on most Southern holiday tables. But there are other avenues to achieve that nutty decadence and this is one such path.

The crust is very simple with just four ingredients – flour, dark brown sugar, a dash of kosher salt and butter. It comes together quickly in your food processor or you can pull out a pastry knife and whip it up by hand.

Then the tender crust is topped with a luscious filling – very similar to the one used when making a traditional pecan pie. Dark brown sugar, whole eggs, corn syrup, butter and pure vanilla extract provide that familiar foundation for a mound of lightly toasted pecans.

With a quick whisk it’s ready in about 5 minutes then it’s off to the oven!

Pecan bars can be made a day or two before you need them making them an ideal dessert for a stress free holiday. Creamy, crispy nutty goodness in every bite!

Southern Pecan Bars

For the crust:

¾ cup butter – 1-1/2 sticks

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Cut the butter into cubes and freeze for 30 minutes. Toss the flour, the brown sugar and the kosher salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse together 5 to 6 times to combine. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse about 8 to 10 times or until the butter is in small pieces, about the size of peas. The mixture will be very crumbly and look nothing like a pastry dough.

Pour the crust mixture into a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.

Bake the crust in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until it is set. Let the crust cool for about 10 minutes.

While the pastry cools make the filling.

For the pecan filling:

1 cup dark brown sugar

4 extra-large eggs

1 cup corn syrup

¼ cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/4 lightly toasted chopped pecans

In a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar with the eggs, corn syrup, butter, vanilla extract and kosher salt.

Stir in the pecans. Pour the filling over the top of the pastry crust.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is just set in the center. Cool the pecan bars in the baking pan set on a wire rack. Once completely cool, cut into bars.

Makes about 2-dozen pieces.

Southern Pecan Bars, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 9, 2018
: Makes about 24 pieces.

Here’s a simple twist on the classic Southern Pecan Pie – Pecan Bars! Start with a tender crust freshly baked and ready to hold that creamy filling full of crunchy toasted pecans – perfect for any dessert buffet!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • ¾ cup butter – 1-1/2 sticks
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the pecan filling:
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 lightly toasted chopped pecans
Directions
  • Step 1 For the crust:
  • Step 2 Cut the butter into cubes and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Step 3 Toss the flour, the brown sugar and kosher salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse together 5 to 6 times to combine.
  • Step 4 Add the cold butter cubes and pulse about 8 to 10 times or until the butter is in small pieces, about the size of peas. The mixture will be very crumbly and look nothing like a pastry dough.
  • Step 5 Pour the crust mixture into a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Step 6 Bake the crust in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until it is set. Let the crust cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Step 7 While the pastry cools make the filling.
  • Step 8 For the pecan filling:
  • Step 9 In a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar with the eggs, corn syrup, butter, vanilla extract and kosher salt.
  • Step 10 Stir in the pecans. Pour the filling over the top of the pastry crust.
  • Step 11 Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is just set in the center.
  • Step 12 Cool the pecan bars in the baking pan set on a wire rack. Once completely cool, cut into bars.