Archive for Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Comfort-Food Recipes

January 9, 2002


Pumpkin Chess Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 egg
1 can pumpkin
3 eggs
2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon (to taste)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Pumpkin chess cake

Pumpkin chess cake

Set aside 1 cup of the cake mix.
Combine remaining cake mix, 1/2 cup melted margarine and egg and press into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Mix together pumpkin, 3 eggs, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and milk. Pour over pressed batter in the pan. Take reserved cake mix and add the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine and chopped pecans. Crumble over cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cake is best when served warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped topping or by itself.

Recipe by Amy Wierman

Chicken Enchilada Dip

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (to taste)
4 green onions, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Place chicken in enough simmering water to cover and cook over low heat 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. When chicken is cool, finely chop the meat and reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cheeses until creamy and well blended. Add garlic and taco seasoning. Mix well. Add chicken, green onions and tomatoes and fold into cheese mixture. Refrigerate overnight for full flavor. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe by Amy Wierman


1 pound butter
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
white bread, for breadcrumbs
two egg yolks
powdered sugar

Mix butter, flour, sugar and vanilla in a bowl by hand. The dough will be very crumbly. (I usually separate the dough in half. It's easier to work with a smaller amount.) Wrap it in wax paper and chill a few hours.

Make about 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs. Cut the crusts off white bread and discard. Let bread dry out or put it in the oven on low heat to dry don't toast it. Make fine bread crumbs and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Work the dough by hand until you can roll it on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut dough into pieces no longer than 2 1/2 inches. It is traditional to use a diamond-shape cookie cutter, but circles or hearts can be used.

Place cutouts on ungreased cookie sheets. (It is best to cut all dough, place cutouts on cookie sheets and place all sheets in the refrigerator until ready for dusting with breadcrumbs. {Make an egg wash with two egg yolks and a little bit of milk. With a pastry brush, lightly brush cutouts with egg wash and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake cookies until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. (Watch cookies, as they bake quickly.)

Cool cookies and store. Line an empty coffee can with a plastic bag and carefully stack the cookies. Close bag with a twist tie. (Do not store them in plastic containers.)

On the following day, use tart preserves such as red currant, cherry or wild plum jam to make sandwich cookies. Thinly spread the jam on one cookie and top with another cookie. Place all the finished sandwiched cookies on a cookie sheet or table and use a sifter to dust heavily with powdered sugar. Flip cookies and dust other side. Store sandwich cookies as described above.

Recipe by Amy Wierman


2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 medium tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups) or 1 16-ounce can plum tomatoes, chopped and drained
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or a little more if you like spice)
2 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I add just
a bit more, because I like the flavor)
1/2 cup water
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1 cup cooked ham or smoked sausage, cubed
3 cup cooked rice (I like Texmati)
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked shrimp (1/2 pound)
parsley, for garnish

In a large, deep-sided sautan, sauthe garlic and onion in the butter; do not brown. Add the tomatoes and stir. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme, cayenne, bay leaves and cloves. Add water. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to its lowest setting. Stir in the chicken, ham and rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice and adding a little water, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Add shrimp in the last 5 minutes to keep the shrimp from becoming overcooked. Remove bay leaves. Garnish with parsley. Serve with Tabasco or other hot-pepper sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe by Chris Anderson

Potato, Corn And Cheese Chowder

3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided use
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried chives)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated

Boil diced potatoes in water with bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon salt until barely tender. While potatoes are cooking, sautnions in oil over medium-low heat until tender and nearly transparent (add a few tablespoons of water if onions begin to stick). Add flour to saut onions and mix thoroughly. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly.

Pour this mixture slowly into the cooked potatoes and their water, along with the corn kernels. Add cumin, chives, parsley, nutmeg, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Let the soup simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Add grated cheese and stir until completely melted. If chowder is too thick, add milk or water.
Makes 4 servings.

Recipe by Nancy O'Connor

Rosemary Focaccia With Onions And Garlic

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 cups flour (unbleached white, or white mixed with no more than 1 cup whole-wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely minced rosemary, divided use
extra flour for kneading
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic to pan and sautlowly until completely tender and golden. Set aside.

Place warm water in a small bowl. Dissolve sugar or honey in the water, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir to mix well. Allow yeast mixture to sit for several minutes until yeast begins to bubble to surface. Transfer this mixture to a larger bowl, add 1 tablespoon oil, saut onions and garlic, and half of the flour. Beat mixture with a wooden spoon for two minutes. Add salt and 1 tablespoon rosemary.

Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until dough comes together. It should be soft but not too sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes, adding extra flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands and work surface. The dough should be fairly smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a medium-size, oiled bowl. Cover with a light towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 45 minutes or until double in size. Punch dough down, and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly, then using your fingers or a rolling pin, begin working the dough out into a flat rectangular shape. Allow to rest a few minutes while you oil a large, flat baking sheet with olive oil. Dust the sheet with cornmeal.
Carefully lift the focaccia onto the sheet, and use your fingers to press the dough out to its final size, about 10 inches by 14 inches. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again, about 30 minutes. Toward the end of the rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Before placing the focaccia in the oven, use your fingers to press a number of indentations on top. Brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of rosemary (and grated parmesan for a real treat). Bake for about 20 minutes. The focaccia should be golden brown and sound hollow when lightly tapped. Serve hot.

Makes 9 large pieces.

Recipe by Nancy O'Connor

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