Saturday, October 1, 2016

Saturday's Tips from Judy's Kitchen

When it comes to cooking or baking, it seems one is always converting measurements.  Today's tips are all about 'how to measure up'!


Here are some links to free printable versions of handy kitchen charts.



I printed off this conversion chart many years ago and it is always right where I need it...taped inside my 'cupboard door' next to the measuring cups. 

Or this one...



Print out this guide (or download it to the favourites on your phone) and easily translate between metric and standard measurement units without having to Google it each time!

How about pan sizes?  Have you ever wanted to bake a cake in a different size than the one called for?  Here's a chart that will help you figure out what size you should be using.

(Click on image for printable view)

We often get comments on the blog about our recipes being TOO big!  Well...many recipes are easily made smaller.  The following chart helps you do the math.





And here's a chart for those of you who like to move your favorite oven-baked dishes to your slow cooker.


Have a wonderful Saturday!



Friday, September 30, 2016

Flashback Friday - Persian Salad Dressing

The original recipe posted can be found here. This recipe is perfect for salads we serve with our Persian influenced meals that include lamb and rice. As I posted in the original recipe my parents lived many of their formative years in Persia after escaping out of Russia in 1932. They lived in Iran (Persia) near Tehran from 1932-1947. This is a perfect dressing for salads that include tomatoes and cucumbers.

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 C. Olive Oil
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 clove garlic pressed or minced

Method:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until incorporated.
  2. Serve over salad greens with tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.   
This makes enough dressing for a large salad that serves 8-12 people.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Green Beans with Shallots and Proscuitto




Green Beans are often dismissed as too bland, too overcooked, and too boring a vegetable.
However, done right, they are crisp, full of flavour and delicious.
They also lend themselves to added flavours that enhance and delight.
My husband was never a fan of green beans, having had to pick them as a child and 
from having been served bland, canned green beans too often in his travels.
When served like this, he asks for seconds!

I'll not give any quantities as this will depend on how many you are serving and the ratio you prefer. of prosciutto and shallots to beans
  • Green Beans - snip the stem end of each bean and leave whole or cut into 2 inch lengths
  • Several slices of prosciutto or lean bacon,
  • 1 tablespoon butter (this adds another layer of flavour)
  • 1 shallot finely diced (you can use a sweet onion if you don't have shallots)
  • Fresh, chopped basil (optional)
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved with a potato peeler.

**The key to perfect green beans is cooking them only until crisp/tender and still bright green.**
  1. Place the beans in a pot with an inch of  barely simmering, lightly salted water. Cover and let them steam for a few minutes, checking often to make sure they are not overdone.  This doesn't take long.
  2. Drain the water and plunge the beans into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.
  3. Fry the prosciutto  or diced bacon in a frying pan until crisp.  Remove to paper towel. Keep some of the fat in the pan.
  4. Add the  butter and chopped shallots  to the pan and saute until tender.
  5. Add the green beans, cover and cook until they are hot.
  6. Place beans in serving bowl and top with crumbled prosciutto or bacon and shaved Parmesan and serve immediately

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Baked Spaghetti




This is a good old-fashioned one-dish dinner, easy to prepare in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to bake.  It can also be frozen unbaked and partially thawed overnight in the refrigerator before baking.  If I am not cooking for a crowd, I split this recipe into two smaller 9" pans...one to serve and one for the freezer.  Baked spaghetti is a favorite of young and old alike!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 cups prepared pasta sauce (use your favorite bottled variety or prepare your own)
  • 2 cups creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone. Drain and rinse. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until meat is browned. (Use a potato masher to break up the lumps of meat while sautéing.) Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté another minute. Stir in the pasta sauce.
  3. Spray 9" x 13" deep-dish casserole with cooking spray.
  4. Cover bottom with a layer of meat sauce (about half).
  5. Spread cottage cheese over sauce.
  6. Add the pasta and spread evenly in pan.
  7. Spoon remaining sauce over entire dish.
  8. Sprinkle surface with Parmesan cheese and top with mozzarella
  9. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. 
  10. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted  and bubbly. 



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Applesauce Bundt Cake

Our daughter in law cans her own fruit and I had some jars of applesauce from her that I wanted to use in a cake. This recipe that I found on the Food Network site uses 2 cups of applesauce and fit the bill nicely. I omitted some of the ingredients in the original recipe. It was served on a weekend when all of our kids were together at our home and everyone gave it a thumbs up!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened.
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream butter in large bowl.
  3. Add sugar and continue creaming.
  4. Add one egg at a time and continue beating.
  5. Add the vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  7. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the applesauce to the creamed ingredients.
  8. Fold in the walnuts.
  9. Pour evenly into a greased and floured bundt pan. 
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  11. Cool in pan and then invert onto cake plate.
  12. Dust with powdered sugar when completely cooled. 
  13. Serves 10 or more.
 


Monday, September 26, 2016

Light Brown Bread - farmer style


This bread is easy, delicious and includes a healthy choice of grains. Mix it by hand, in a Kitchen Aid mixer or bread machine ( taking it out to rise once it's mixed). It is important to use fresh tasting ingredients, so be sure to store seldom used grain products in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups hot water (from tap)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (approx) 
  • egg wash and sesame seeds, optional
Method:
  1. In large mixing bowl (stand mixer makes it easier but you can do by hand) mix ingredients in order given. Switch to hook attachment if you have, after stirring in the yeast. If not, stir with a strong wooden spoon and knead by hand for a minute or two to smooth out the dough. Oiled or floured hands make it easier.
  2. Cover bowl. Make sure there is enough room to double, or transfer dough to larger bowl before you cover and let rise about 1 hour.
  3. Prepare a large sheet by greasing or lining with parchment paper. Alternately you can just grease three loaf pans.
  4. Divide dough into three parts. Roll each out into a 10 inch oval or circle and roll up. Shape into loaf and cut slit along top. If using loaf pans, you can just knead and shape to fit into pan.
  5. Let rise about 45 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds or rolled oats. 
  6. Bake at 375 F for 30 - 35 mintues. Cool on wire rack. Slice and freeze for your favorite sandwiches or enjoy with a bowl of soup.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bread For the Journey


They Cannot be Counted 


My husband planted some sunflower seeds this spring and we are now enjoying the 'harvest'. 
Studying the sunflower is a very interesting lesson in mathematics. 
Nature has a fascinating numbering system that follows what is called Fibonacci numbers.
  Fibonacci is a sequence of numbers where each number
 is the sum of the two previous numbers  -  1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 etc.   
This order is found in the leaf arrangement in plants, 
in the pattern of florets of a flower, 
the brats of a pine cone, 
or the scales of a pineapple,
 as well as in the spirals of the sunflower seeds.  
Our universe is founded on mathematics -  God counts and patterns 
all the details of His physical creation  
-  and we know He even counts the hair on our head and the stars in the sky.
 But did you know there is something that cannot be numbered
 and does not follow a pattern or 'order' ? 

God's thoughts toward us cannot be counted! 

Our hearts are warmed when we meet someone who greets us with a smile and the words ... 
"Oh, I was thinking about you!"
We so easily feel that God is far away and 'busy' with people and things
 that are more important than we are. 
And yet, God says  that we could never count His thoughts toward us ...
and they are so personal to each of us that they could never be put in any pattern or order. 

  Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works 
Which You have done; 
And Your thoughts toward us 
Cannot be recounted to You in order; 
If I would declare and speak of them, 
They are more than can be numbered. 
Psa_40:5