Archive for December, 2012

Apple Pancakes – A small batch

apple pancakes

When I was a kid, my mother used to make a deep-fried apple fritter that we, as a family, endearingly called ‘apple shits.’ I really don’t like to deep fry, so when a friend served these for a brunch one day, I got very excited. While these aren’t exactly the same as my mothers, they are close enough to satisfy, and a healthier alternative.

By dipping peeled, cored, and sliced apples into pancake batter before cooking, makes for an easy and satisfying change from the usual.



December 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Sweet and Sour Chicken – A small batch

sweet sour

Not your Chinese take-out restaurant version, but that’s probably a good thing.

Altered and adapted from a recipe I got from a friend, who had ‘pinned’ it online. For the record, the recipe as posted did not work out as I had hoped, and it took more than a few rounds of testing, research, and conversation, to finally get it to my liking. After discussing my failures with a friend of a friend, he was kind enough to share his version with me and his hints for the sauce were most helpful.

1/3 cup white or rice vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon soy sauce
dash of hot sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons water

Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, hot sauce, and soy sauce together
bring to a boil in a small pot

Mix cornstarch and water together
add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken

This recipe makes approximately a 1/2 cup, enough for a double batch of chicken; it can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator

1 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper
splash of lemon juice
1 egg
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup oil, for shallow frying

Beat egg with salt, pepper, and lemon juice
toss chicken cubes in egg wash
then toss in cornstarch and coat well
fry chicken until well browned
place on paper towel to drain a bit

In a sauté pan combine prepared chicken and sauce
toss, coat, and heat through

Add sliced green peppers and pineapple chunks if you like

December 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm Leave a comment

Self-Rising Biscuits – A small batch


2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cut pieces (or shortening)
3/4 cup cold dairy (milk, buttermilk, and/or cream)

Preheat the oven to 425°

Work the butter into the flour, just until crumbs are the size of large peas

Add dairy and stir until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface, and fold it over on itself several times, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Pat the dough into a circle, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick

Cut biscuits with a round 2″ cutter
pat the scraps together, and cut additional biscuits

Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet
bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown

Yields 6 biscuits

December 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

DIY Self-Rising Flour – A small batch

It’s impossible to find self-rising flour where I live. I’m grateful for the internet, a few key strokes, and an answer appears in front of me.

2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

December 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

DIY Evaporated Milk – A small batch

1/2 cup water
scant 1/2 cup dry milk powder

December 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

Thai-Fried Rice – A small batch

thai fried rice

The thing that makes Thai-Fried rice different from its Chinese cousin is the use of fish sauce instead of soy sauce. It’s another one of those free-form Asian dishes, if it’s leftover, use it. I had ground pork and cabbage leftover from making pot stickers, so here I am.

1 cup rice, cooked and refrigerated
1/2 cup pork, slice or ground (optional)
1/2 cup cabbage, sliced
1/2 cup any vegetable, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
2 scallions, chopped (or onions)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
red pepper flakes to taste (or a squirt of chili sauce)
salt and pepper
oil for sautéing

heat the oil and cook pork
add garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant
add veggies, toss
add rice, toss
add sugar, fish sauce, and hot sauce
season to taste

December 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Soft Caramels


I’m sharing this recipe barely altered; all I changed was the pan size and clarified some of the instructions. It worked perfectly for me and I think they are everything Elizabeth LaBau from claims, creamy, chewy, and melt in your mouth.

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut into small cubes

Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by lining it with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm, but do not allow it to boil.

In a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy.

Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 F. This takes longer than you’d probably expect and you MUST hit 250 F.

Stir in the softened butter chunks a few at a time and the warm milk/cream mixture. The temperature will drop about 30 degrees. At this point I had to lower the flame a bit and stir to avoid the mixture from bubbling over.

Continue to cook the caramel, stirring to avoid the bottom from scorching. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244 F, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown.

Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour it into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture.

When you are ready to cut the caramel, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel.

Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating approximately 1/2 inch squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary.

Wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting.

Store the caramels at room temperature for up to two weeks.

December 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

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