May 10, 2017

Two recipes today: Italian Crescent Roll Squares and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins!


This morning as I opened the editor to decide on a recipe I thought to myself "I wonder what recipes I posted on this day in the past?"  So I quickly just opened up an old random page and found a post from May 10th.  It just happened to be 2007 which is kind of neat considering it's now 2017.

So todays post is a blast from the past archives - originally posted on this day in 2007.  Re-posting 10 years later for 2017.  A hot Italian Sandwich made with crescent rolls - and a recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins!

Italian Squares

2 pkg. crescent rolls

14 oz jar roasted red peppers (drain)
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
4 T Italian dressing, prepared
1/4 lb. pepperoni
1/4 lb. ham, sliced thin
1/4 lb. Genoa or Hard Salami, sliced thin
1 small can sliced black olives
1/4 lb. Provolone Cheese
1/4 lb Swiss cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs

Spread 1 roll of crescent rolls into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan and seal the edges to make a crust. Layer the Ham, artichokes, Swiss cheese, Salami, Provolone, olives and Pepperoni over crescent roll bottom. Spread well drained peppers over top of the meats and sprinkle with black olives. Beat the eggs and cheese together pour over the top of the olives.

Use the 2nd container of crescent rolls to lay out on a piece of plastic, seal the edges and then lay it over the top, pressing seams to seal. Cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

2 cs (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 t (3.5 grams) salt
1/2 t (2.5 grams) baking soda
1/2 c (113 grams) unsalted butter
1 c (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 c (240 ml) plain yogurt (do not use non fat yogurt)
1 t (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or else spray with a vegetable spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yogurt, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat until well blended.

By hand, stir in flour mixture until just moistened. Do not overmix. Spoon batter using either two spoons or an ice cream scoop into greased or paper lined muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan and serving.

For The Glaze:
1/2 c (60 grams) powdered sugar
1 T fresh lemon juice

Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. The mixture will be runny. Once the muffins are removed from the oven, wait five minutes, and then drizzle the glaze over the muffins with a spoon.

Print Friendly and PDF

May 03, 2017

Homemade Bloomin' Onion and Bloomin' Onion Sauce

I had been craving an Onion Blossom (Blooming Onion) for about 2 weeks so made sure to pick up a couple extra onions during the last grocery shopping trip specifically for this recipe.  We go through a lot of onions and I wanted to make sure I had enough for all our dishes.  I posted an Onion Blossom recipe once previously, back in 2008 and I still make it basically the same except this time I didn't add cumin to the mix and I fried it both upside down and right side up.

I absolutely love these, but I rarely make them (maybe once a year - twice at most) because they are rather messy and the frying oil smells up the house (LOL).  It's much easier to quell the craving by ordering them at your favorite steakhouse restaurant.  However, I will say that I don't order them myself because I find they are usually too greasy.  The home version tends to be less greasy and you can always drain it and squeeze it a bit with paper towels to even get more of the oil out.

When it comes to cutting your onion you can use an onion blossom cutter or do it with a knife.  You just slice 16 times to make the petal without a guide.  

The Southwestern Bloomin Onion Sauce: Prepare ahead of time so it has time to chill

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 tablespoons cream-style horseradish sauce (I use Kraft)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash ground black pepper

Prepare the dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Keep the sauce covered in your refrigerator until needed.

Blooming Onion  (or Onion Blossom)

1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t dried oregano
1/8 t dried thyme
1 giant 'sweet' onion like a Vidalia

Vegetable oil for frying

Beat the egg and combine it with the milk in a medium bowl big enough to hold the onion. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, peppers, oregano & thyme.

To slice the onion - First slice 3/4 inch to 1 inch off the top and bottom of the onion. Remove the papery skin. Use a thin knife to cut a 1-inch diameter core out of the middle of the onion. Using a large knife you will now slice all the way across the onion but not down to the cutting board. You need to only cut 3/4 of the way through the onion so the bottom holds it together. You need to make 16 slices, or as many close to that number as you can to make the petals. Spread the "petals" of the onion apart gently, you'll want to separate them to make coating easier and to get the flour and seasoning mixture down into the onion base.

Dip the onion in the milk mixture, and then coat it liberally with the dry ingredients. Double dip your onions - wet, dry, wet and dry again. Then let the onion rest for at least 15 minutes to 'set' the breading.

Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 350 degrees. Make sure you use enough oil to completely cover the onion when it fries. Fry the onion upside down for about 6 minutes then right side up in the oil for 6 minutes or until it turns golden brown and the petals are done. Remove it from the oil and let it drain on a rack or paper towels.  Salt and serve with the sauce for dipping.

You can slice it without an Onion Blossom Cutter but it's tricky
After slicing 16 slices not all the way through, I flip it over and open the petals

Dry, wet, dry, wet and set 15 minutes

Frying in a deep fryer or a deep pan

Print Friendly and PDF

Everyday Foods in War Time - Focus on Milk

I am first and foremost a history nut.  I love to read more than doing anything else at all and history is one of my favorite topics. 

Everyday Foods in War Time
is today's topic book.  Actually just one little part today (I'll spare you the other almost 900 pages for now).  It was written by Mary Swartz Rose and published in 1918.  Almost 100 years ago.  I smile when I read that! 

I thought perhaps my readers would find a bit of these chapters interesting so today I'm focusing on 'milk'. 

About the Author:  Mary Swartz Rose (October 31, 1874 – February 1, 1941) was an influential American laboratory scientist and educator in the fields of nutrition and dietetics. A prominent American nutritionist during the first half of the 20th century at Columbia University Teachers College in New York City, Rose authored several influential textbooks, the Laboratory Handbook for Dietetics, first published in 1912, and three editions of The Foundations of Nutrition, as well as books for the general public, such as Feeding the Family in 1916. Rose co-founded the American Institute of Nutrition and served as its fifth president in 1937-1938.

Everyday Foods in War Time

"Food is fuel for fighters.  Do not waste it.  Save WHEAT, MEAT, SUGAR and FATS.  Send more to our Soldiers, Sailors and Allies."

The patriotic housewife finds her little domestic boat sailing in uncharted waters.  The above message of the Food Administration disturbs her ordinary routine, upsets her menus and puts her recipes out of commission.  It also renders inoperative some of her usual methods of economy at a time when rising food prices make economy more imperative than ever.  To be patriotic and still live on one's income in a complex problem.  This little book was started in response to a request for "a war message about food." 

And thus starts this free ebook (available for free from many sources because it's public domain).

Milk is unique in that it comes nearest of all foods to being a complete diet in itself. It is like the house with only a door missing. We could be quite comfortable in such a house for a long time though we could make a more complete diet by adding some graham bread or an apple or some spinach. We all associate milk with cows and cows with farms, but how closely is milk associated with the farm table? Is it prized as the most valuable food which the farm produces? Every drop should be used as food; and this applies to skim milk, sour milk, and buttermilk as well as sweet milk. Do we all use milk to the best advantage in the diet?

Here are a few points which it is well to bear in mind: Milk will take the place of meat. The world is facing a meat famine. The famine was on the way before the war began but it has approached with tremendous speed this last year. Every cow killed and eaten means not only so much less meat available but so much less of an adequate substitute. Lean meat contributes to the diet chiefly protein and iron. We eat it primarily for the protein. Hence in comparing meat and milk we think first of their protein content. One and one-fourth cups of milk will supply as much protein as two ounces of lean beef. The protein of milk is largely the part which makes cottage cheese. So cottage cheese is a good meat substitute and a practical way of using part of the skim milk when the cream is taken off for butter. One and one-half ounces of cottage cheese (one-fourth cup) are the protein equivalent of two ounces of lean beef. Skim milk and buttermilk are just as good substitutes for meat as whole milk. Since meat is one of the most expensive items in the food bill, its replacement by milk is a very great financial economy. This is true even if the meat is raised on the farm, as food for cattle is used much more economically in the production of milk than of beef.

Milk is the greatest source of calcium (lime). Lime is one of the components of food that serves two purposes; it is both building material for bones and regulating material for the body as a whole, helping in several important ways to maintain good health. It is essential that everyone have a supply of lime and particularly important that all growing infants, children, and young people have plenty for construction of bones and teeth. There is almost none in meat and bread, none in common fats and sugars, and comparatively few common foods can be taken alone and digested in large enough quantities to insure an adequate supply; whereas a pint of milk (whole, skim, or buttermilk) will guarantee to a grown person a sufficient amount, and a quart a day will provide for the greater needs of growing children. Whatever other foods we have, we cannot afford to leave milk out of the diet because of its lime. Under the most favorable dietary conditions, when the diet is liberal and varied, an adult should be expected to thrive with less than a pint.  

Milk contains a most varied assortment of materials needed in small amounts for the body welfare, partly for constructive and partly for regulating purposes. These are rather irregularly distributed in other kinds of food materials. When eggs, vegetables, and cereals are freely used, we are not likely to suffer any lack; but when war conditions limit the number of foods which we can get, it is well to remember that the more limited the variety of foods in the diet the more important milk becomes. Milk will take the place of bread, butter, sugar, and other foods used chiefly for fuel. The body is an engine which must be stoked regularly in order to work. The more work done the more fuel needed. That is what we mean when we talk about the food giving "working strength." A farmer and his wife and usually all the family need much fuel because they do much physical work. Even people whose work is physically light require considerable fuel. A quart of milk will give as much working force as half a pound of bread, one-fourth of a pound of butter, or six ounces of sugar. And this is in addition to the other advantages already mentioned.

Milk contains specifics for growth. Experiments with animals have taught us that there are two specific substances, known as vitamins, which must be present in the diet if a young animal is to grow. If either one is absent, growth is impossible. Both are to be found in milk, one in the cream and the other in the skim milk or whey. For this reason children should have whole milk rather than skim milk. Of course, butter and skim milk should produce the same result as whole milk. Eggs also have these requisites and can be used to supplement milk for either one, but as a rule it is more practical to depend upon milk, and usually more economical. For little children, milk is best served as a beverage. But as children grow up, the fluidity of milk makes them feel as if it were not food enough and it is generally better to use it freely in the kitchen first, and then, if there is any surplus, put it on the table as a beverage or serve it thus to those who need an extra supply--the half-grown boys, for instance, who need more food in a day than even a hard-working farmer.

A good plan is to set aside definitely, as a day's supply, a quart apiece for each person under sixteen and a pint apiece for each one over this age. Then see at night how well one has succeeded in disposing of it. If there is much left, one should consider ways of using it to advantage. The two simplest probably are, first, as cream sauce for vegetables of all sorts; for macaroni or hominy with or without cheese; or for hard cooked eggs or left-over meats; and next in puddings baked a long time in the oven so that much of the water in the milk is evaporated. Such puddings are easy to prepare on almost any scale and are invaluable for persons with big appetites because they are concentrated without being unwholesome.

The milk pitcher and the vegetable garden are the best friends of the woman wishing to set a wholesome and economical table. Vegetables supplement milk almost ideally, since they contain the vegetable fiber which helps to guard against constipation, and the iron which is the lacking door in the "house that milk built." Vegetables which are not perfect enough to serve uncooked, like the broken leaves of lettuce and the green and tough parts of celery, are excellent cooked and served with a cream sauce. Cream sauce makes it possible also to cook enough of a vegetable for two days at once, sending it to the table simply dressed in its own juices or a little butter the first time and making a scalloped dish with cream sauce and crumbs the next day. Vegetables which do not lend themselves to this treatment can be made into cream soups, which are excellent as the hot dish for supper, because they can be prepared in the morning and merely reheated at serving time. 

Finally, the addition of milk in liberal quantities to tea and coffee (used of course only by adults); its use without dilution with water in cocoa; and instead of water in bread when that is made at home, ought to enable a housewife to dispose satisfactorily of her day's quota of milk.

Rose, Mary Swartz (2004-11-17). Everyday Foods in War Time (p. 6). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Print Friendly and PDF

May 02, 2017

Beer Batter for Fish (You can substitute for the beer)

When I was very small, I remember the taste of fish was beer battered walleye and catfish.  That's the only fish I knew of for years until I was in elementary school and my Mom started to buy us fish sticks sometimes.  Before that however, the only fish I had for the first 7 or 8 years of my life was always fresh caught in the heartland of America.

After I was a teenager and into adulthood, I didn't really like the taste of Walleye anymore but to this day I still love catfish - as long as they aren't too large, where they've acquired that muddy taste.  I like grilled catfish best but a good beer batter recipe is nice to have on hand and this is a good one.  Light American beers work best if you don't know that you love a good, heavy beer flavor.  If you love a nice rich, heavier beer, then use whatever beer you have on hand; Guinness, etc.  You can also substitute seltzer water or even regular water for the beer.  If it has a lemon flavor to it that's ok but don't use a water that has sweeteners in it.

Beer-Battered Fish

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 can beer

Combine the dry ingredients large bowl. Whisk in the beer.

Dip your fish fillets or pieces into the beer batter, letting excess batter drip back into bowl. Fry 3 to 4 minutes for average sized fillets - longer if you have large pieces of fish.  Done when golden brown and crispy on all sides. Drain on paper towels.  Season with salt.Print Friendly and PDF