Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

Here is a light, luscious and lemony 'no-bake' cheesecake that is the perfect ending to a special occasion meal.  Or forget the meal and just enjoy this dessert with with good friends!  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought I'd share a recipe that I served recently...a dessert that would be the perfect finale on February 14th.  You may just want to put it on your 'Saturday in the kitchen' agenda for next weekend!

  • 1 1/3 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter

  • 1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • zest of 1 lemon (finely grated)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons) 
  • 1 - 8 oz /250 gr package cream cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream

  1. Combine chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter. Pat into a 9-inch spring-form pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; then add hot water while stirring.  Stir in lemon zest and juice.  Allow to cool for several minutes (but do not let set). 
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until very smooth.  Add gelatin mixture and combine well. 
  4. In a separate bowl, whip cream until stiff. Gently fold whipped cream into cheese mixture.  
  5. Pour filling into crust.  Refrigerate for  at least four hours or overnight. 
  6. Remove from pan and serve, topped with raspberry sauce (below), fresh raspberries and additional whipped cream.

Easy Raspberry Sauce:

  • 2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in blender and process until liquidy. (Add more sugar to taste, if desired.)
At this point, you can eliminate the seeds by passing through a strainer.  We like the seeds!
Store in closed container in fridge for several days.

This dessert can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.  It also freezes well.

Serves 8.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Orange Chiffon Cake

For Flashback Friday I'm sharing my favourite cake. 
My Mom baked it often and I think of her each time I make it. 
It is light, full of fresh orange flavour and is a wonderful dessert after a heavy meal. 
 It bakes up best in a 9" tube pan - it won't look as nice if baked in an angelfood pan.
 I found mine at a garage sale but I'm sure you could buy one in a specialty kitchen store.
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Make a well and add in order, oil, orange juice, egg yolks and orange rind.
  3. Beat with a spoon until smooth.
  4. In another bowl, using a mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  5. With a spatula, gently fold beaten eggs whites into orange batter. Pour into an 8 or 9 inch ungreased tube pan.
  6. Bake at 325˚ F for about 1/2 hour or until top springs back when touched lightly.
  7. Immediately invert and suspend so that cake surface does not touch anything. Cool completely.
  8. Remove from pan. 
  9. Fill with orange filling and ice with 7-minute frosting or use the pudding cream variation below.

Orange filling
  • 6 level tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  1. Sift sugar flour and salt into the top of a double boiler, 
  2. Add boiling water to sifted dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring between additions. Mix well. 
  3. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  4. When thick, cover saucepan and cook on low for 20 minutes.
  5. Beat egg yolks slightly, add a little of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue adding hot mixture, a little at a time. 
  7. Return to double boiler and stir for 2 minutes. 
  8. Remove from heat, add orange juice and rind and butter and mix well.

Orange Pudding Cream
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • grated orange rind or toasted coconut or mandarin orange segments
  1. Empty vanilla instant pudding mix into a bowl.
  2. Add orange juice and blend well.
  3. Let stand while you whip cream in another bowl.
  4. Fold pudding into whipped cream.
  5. Cut cake into one or more layers.
  6. To assemble cake, spread orange marmalade between each layer and cover marmalade with some of the pudding cream.
  7. Spread remaining pudding cream over top and sides of cake.
  8. Garnish with grated orange rind or toasted coconut or mandarin orange segments. 
  9. Refrigerate until serving.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chicago Crispies

Cookies are for sharing. A plate of these was brought to my work place many years back with the recipe printed out for the taking. February is good time to bake and share your favourite treat.
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup Corn Flakes
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 
  1. Cream together butter, sugars, egg, milk and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl stir together all dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
  3. Alternately beat oil and dry ingredients into creamed butter mixture until well blended.
  4. Drop tablespoon mounds of dough onto cookie sheets and bake at 350ยบ F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on pan for 1 minutes and remove to cooling racks. 
Yields: 6 dozen cookies

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jalapeno Chicken and Bacon Pasta Casserole

 This is a great potluck casserole is full of flavour and has a bit of zip!
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces uncooked rotini pasta (about 8 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced 
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 average sized boneless chicken breasts, sliced thin 
  • 1 8 ounce / 250 gram package cream cheese
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 jalapenos (half cut in rings and half minced)
  • 5 cups mexican blend cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Arrange tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 30 minutes until the moisture has evaporated and tomatoes are beginning to brown. 
  2. In a large saucepan, cook pasta in boiling salted water until just tender.  Don't overcook.  Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
  3. In a large dutch oven, fry bacon until crisp.  Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon. Set aside. Reserve drippings.
  4. In the same pan, fry onion in 1 tablespoon bacon drippings until onion is lightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add pieces chicken to the skillet (don't crowd the pan or they won't brown) at a time adding a bit of bacon drippings as necessary to brown the chicken on both sides.  Continue with all pieces of chicken until they are all browned. Set aside.
  6. In the same skillet, over medium heat stir together cream cheese, broth and cream until smooth.  Add 4 cups of cheese and stir to melt. 
  7. Add the pasta, half the roasted tomatoes, sauce, chicken,  about 2/3 of the bacon, minced jalapeno.  
  8. Leave in the dutch oven or transfer to a greased casserole dish. 
  9. Sprinkled with remaining cheese, tomato, bacon, jalapeno slices.  
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake uncovered 45 minutes. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Individual Beef Wellingtons

Will you be cooking or going out for Valentines? Why not surprise your special someone with this fillet mignon dinner? While the steaks are pricey, the rest of the meal is not and very easy to put together. These can be made several hours before and put in the fridge to cook half hour before dinner.


steak and marinade
  • 2 - 6 oz thick cut fillet mignon steaks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Montreal steak spice
mushroom filling
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot or 1/4 onion, minced
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup wine or broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped very fine
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped fine
optional mushroom sauce for presentation
  • 1/4 cup wine or broth for deglazing pan
  • 1/2 - 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • remaining cooked mushroom filling after preparing the beef wellingtons
  • 1/2 pkg frozen puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water to make egg wash
  1. Thaw pastry sheet in fridge all day or on counter for a few hours.
  2. Mix up the marinade and pour over steaks. Refrigerate half to one hour.
  3. In large fry pan, heat olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. 
  4. Stir in wine or broth and thyme. Cook until liquid evaporates. 
  5. Add parsley and remove to another dish to cool.
  6. In the same fry pan, sear steaks about 1 - 2 minutes on each side. Refrigerate to cool down.
  7. Roll out pastry to about 12 x 10. Cut in half so that each piece is 6x10. Brush lightly with egg wash to seal bottom. Make slits on each narrow end that your will wrap up and over the steak. (wellingtons usually have the seam side down, but I like it up and crossed) 
  8. Scoop about 1/4 cup mushroom filling in center of each. Top with steak and a bit more mushroom filling if you like. 
  9. Wrap pastry up, pulling a bit and braid cut ends like hands in prayer, making sure meat is covered.  Fold short sides and tuck to seal, under or up. Brush with egg wash and place on small parchment lined pan that you will bake it in. Return to fridge until half hour before serving. ( if some liquid escapes during this time, simply soak it up with paper towel)
  10. If making the optional mushroom sauce (so good), deglaze pan that was used to sear the steaks with 2 - 4 Tbsp wine or broth. Stir in flour and slowly stir in water to make a thick sauce. Add left over cooked mushrooms. Set aside to reheat when plating food. 
  11. Bake Wellingtons at 400 F for 20 - 25 minutes. Test with instant read meat thermometer to your liking. 130 F for medium well. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

The filling recipe comes from  Ellen's Beef Wellington in the Celebrations Cookbook.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Konigsberger Klopse (German Meatballs)

This recipe was invented in the city of Konigsberg, today known as Kaliningrad, Russia.
My aunt, Tanta Hanna was born and raised in East Prussia, Germany and this was one of her signature dishes. Later in her life when they moved to the Fraser Valley she was one of the top cooks at Menno Hospital.  I have always interpreted this recipe as 'Meatballs for a King' and once you have taken the time to work through the processes, you'll know why it's worth it. The traditional creamy sauce is made from the broth in which the meatballs were cooked. This dish was only served on special occasions.  February is birthday month for our family.  So this past weekend I served this to our family as they ramped and raved about this 'old fashioned comfort food.'


Broth ~ Prepare Broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole all spice
  • 6 pepper kernels
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 onions chopped medium size
  1. Add water to soup pot.
  2. Add spices. 
  3. Chop your onions medium size and add to broth.
  4. Wait till the onions drop to the bottom of the pot.
Let this broth simmer for about 30 minutes while you prepare your onion mixture.

Onion Mixture ~ Prepare while broth is cooking.
  • 2 onions chopped fine 
  • 4 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  1. Melt butter in frying pan.
  2. Fry onions in butter and add parsley. Do this slowly.
  3. Fry the onions till caramelized.  This reduces excess moisture.
  4. Now add this mixture to the meat mixture 

Meat Mixture: Meatballs ~ Prepare meatballs and spices while your onion mixture is frying.
  • 2 pounds ground veal (optional: ground beef)
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • add onion mixture (above) to this meat mixture
  1. Combine veal and other ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add one more chopped fine onion.
  3. Now add the onion mixture from above.
  4. Form meat into golf-size balls.
  5. They may be a bit delicate to work with but the final result will be moist.  
  6. Lay the meat balls on a baking sheet and carefully place them into the hot broth.
  7. Let cook for 30 minutes and remove meatballs from hot broth.
  8. Do not stir, as they will fall apart.
  9. Discard bay leaves.

To Make Creamy Sauce
  • Mix 1/4 cup water with 6 tablespoons flour and mix well.
  • Add this to your beef broth and it will thicken.
  • Add 2 beef bouillon to the broth.
  • Add 1 cup sour cream to broth and stir.
  • Make sure it has a thickening consistency.  You may need to add a bit more flour considering your amount of broth.  You will never have enough broth sauce.
  • Add the cooked meatballs back to the heated sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve meatballs and cream sauce with new boiled potatoes or buttered spaetzle noodles.
We always serve this on potatoes, add capers and fresh parsley.

You won't be making this every day, but remember, when you's for a special occasion.
It freezes well and has been served on many a ski holiday. 

A feast fit for any birthday!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bread for The Journey

It's been my habit to read through the Psalms - usually one Psalm each day. 
I am amazed by the breadth and scope of emotions they cover and
the freedom with which the writers expressed their hearts  to God.
One Psalm I've read and re-read recently is Psalm 34.
 It speaks of determination, trust, praise, despair, hope, petition and resolve.
As you read this familiar Psalm, make it your heart's expression to God.

I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. 
I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.
I will boast of all His kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart.
Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt His name.

For I cried to Him and He answered me!
  He freed me from all my fears.
Others too were radiant at what He did for them. Theirs was no downcast look of rejection!
This poor man cried to the Lord - and the Lord heard him and saved him 
out of his troubles.
For the angel of the Lord guards and rescues all who reverence Him.

Oh, put God to the test and see how kind He is! 
See for yourself the way His mercies shower down on all who trust in Him.
If you belong to the Lord, reverence Him; for everyone who does this has everything he needs.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those of us who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing.

Sons and daughters, come and listen 
and let me teach you the importance of trusting and fearing the Lord.
Do you want a long, good life?
Then watch your tongue!  Keep your lips from lying.
Turn from all known sin and spend your time in doing good.  
Try to live in peace with everyone; work hard at it.

For the eyes of the Lord are intently watching all who live good lives
and He gives attention when they cry to Him.
But the Lord has made up His mind to wipe out even the memory of evil men from the earth.
Yes the Lord hears the good man when he calls to Him for help, and saves him out of all his troubles.

The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; 
He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.
The good man does not escape all troubles - he has them too.  
But the Lord helps him in each and every one.
God even protects him from accidents.

Calamity will surely overtake the wicked; heavy penalties are meted out to those who hate the good.
But as for those who serve the Lord, He will redeem them; 
everyone who takes refuge in Him will be freely pardoned.
 Psalm 34 The Living Bible