Archive for the ‘Eat & Drink & Be Chinaberry’ Category

Homemade Bread Recipes

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

These deliciously warm homemade bread recipes–Whole Wheat Rolls, Bran Muffins & Empire State Muffins–are from the Eat, Drink and Be Chinaberry cookbook (sorry, out-of-print).

“Great with soup, or shaped into a burger bun, these are wonderful with anything you want to sandwich in between two halves.”
- Ann Ruethling (from Chinaberry); San Diego, California

2 T dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup hot water
1/4-1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
6 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water and let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes).
Combine the hot water, honey, oil and salt, mixing until the honey is dissolved.
Add eggs and stir well.
Add yeast mixture. (But make sure the hot water has cooled enough so that it doesn’t kill the yeast. Also there is no need to knead!)
Add flour and mix well.
(If you plan to use the dough immediately, add 1/2 cup more flour. Otherwise, refrigerate for 1-3 hours or so, at which point it will be firmer and easier to handle.)
Shape the dough into rolls, slash tops.
Allow to rise. (They will rise very quickly - the warmer your kitchen, the quicker.
Bake at 425° for 10-20 minutes.


Chocolate-Almond Lace Cookies

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Makes about 20 cookies
My most sought after holiday cookie recipe

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup ground, blanched almonds
2 T milk
1 tsp almond extract
3-1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with foil; butter and flour foil.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add sugar, flour and salt and stir until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.

Mix in almonds and milk and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and blend in almond extract. Let cool slightly.

Drop batter onto prepared baking sheets by teaspoons, spacing 3-1/2 to 4 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until light golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Let stand about 2 minutes to firm slightly, then remove cookies from foil and transfer to rack to cool.

Using thin metal spatula, spread layer of chocolate on bottom side of half of cookies. Cover with flat side of plain cookie to form sandwich. Cool on rack until chocolate is set.

Two Scrumptious Holiday Salads

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

From Rev. Holly Whitcomb; Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Serves 6-8

This is a simple, festive and colorful salad for the holidays or just for any day.

6-8 red apples, washed, cored and chopped in small pieces
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
6 oz. package of Craisins (dried cranberries)
1 8-oz carton vanilla yogurt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix together apples, pecans and Craisins. Make a dressing of vanilla yogurt and nutmeg. Pour over fruit and nut mixture and toss together.

From Pamela L. Smith; Flushing, New York

8 cups assorted greens
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 oz mandarin oranges — drained
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup candied pecans or toasted pecans

4 T raspberry wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 T sugar

Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Combine all other ingredients in large bowl. Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

A Huge Holiday Hit: Cranberry Salsa

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

From Janet Kelly at Chinaberry from our cookbook Eat, Drink & Be Chinaberry (sorry, now out-of-print):

1 package fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
3 large oranges
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup finely chopped chives

Put ½ package cranberries in saucepan over low heat. Add sugar, cook slightly, crushing the cranberries. Let cool.

Slightly chop the remaining half package of cranberries. Add to the cooled mixture above.

Add small chunks of fresh orange (remove the pith, otherwise known as the “white stuff”). Then add cilantro and chives.

Chill, then serve with chips

Gingerbread People

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Here is a recipe for Gingerbread People from the Chinaberry book Christmas Cookies by Sharon O’Connor. This set would make a great gift (even for yourself!); it contains recipe cards and a CD with music from The Nutcracker Ballet–a perfect combination of “ingredients.”

From the author: A spicy dough that bakes into delicious, semisoft gingerbread figures. This is the cookie I most look forward to baking every December.

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Powdered Sugar Icing (recipes follows)
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses until blended.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice and stir until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended. On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling out.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into gingerbread people or other fun shapes. Transfer the figures to a baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. If you wish, drizzle or spread the cookies with powdered sugar icing. Or, use a pastry bag to pipe designs onto the cookies and make faces and buttons with raisins and cinnamon red hots. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
    Makes about 40 cookies.

Cook’s Tips: While the cookies are still hot and slightly soft, you can press raisins, cinnamon red hots, and other candy into the dough.

Powdered Sugar Icing: A shiny, easy-to-make icing.
1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, pinch of salt, drops of food coloring (optional)
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until smooth and thick enough to spread.

Tips for Decorating Cookies with Kids

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The following tips for decorating cookies with kids comes from the Chinaberry book Christmas Family Gatherings by Donata Maggipinto.

Photo by France Ruffenach

Photo by France Ruffenach

  • Clear a large work space for decorating, and another space for holding the finished cookies.
  • Protect clothes with aprons; have plenty of clean kitchen towels on hand.
  • Display the “naked” cookies on a counter and invite kids to choose the cookies they’d like to decorate.
  • Divide icing, sugars, candies, confetti, and other decorations among small bowls. Depending on the number of children participating, you may want to form cookie decorating teams and fill bowls with decorations for each team to share.
  • Plastic knives and spoons are helpful for spreading frosting and sprinkling sugar. Little ones will need supervision.
  • Have pitchers of drinking water and bowls of apple wedges and tangerine segments on hand for snacking; decorating is hard work!
  • Don’t forget to corral a few adults to assist you with the supervision.
  • Let children work at their own pace and according to their skill level. Remember, it’s the process that’s fulfilling and fun.

Thanksgiving Traditions & Recipes

Monday, November 10th, 2008

We’d like to start off the conversation on our blog by sharing our Thanksgiving family traditions & recipes with each other. Here’s one of Janet’s Thanksgiving traditions:

I started my family’s Thanksgiving Journal in 1991, when we were selling blank journals and fabric markers. My then 7-year-old daughter decorated the cover with little turkeys and she entitled it, “Our Thanksgiving Album.” Over the years I chronicled who shared this special day with us, what recipes we feasted on, what we were particularly thankful for that year, and any special anecdotes, like the year someone accidentally used the kitty litter scoop as a serving spoon in the turkey dressing.

Share one of your Thanksgiving traditions, recipes or stories, then check back to read what other families had to say.

Halloween Recipes

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The tables are turned--Pow...Blop...Boom. The Dynamic Duo save the day. Mama, it's your turn for a time out.

Last year, these two recipes were the #1 hit of several Halloween parties.

Frozen Jack-O-Lanterns
Serves 12
12 Navel Oranges (I used deep orange grapefruit with great success)
12 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 Gallon Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (Godiva makes a really dark chocolate ice cream which works well.)

Cut off tops of oranges and gently hollow out pulp (a serrated grapefruit knife works really well), leaving a thick shell. Hollow out pulp from the tops too. Cut Jack-O-Lantern faces into each orange. Pack chocolate ice cream into shells. Avoid letting the ice cream come out of the holes. Cut a hole into top of orange top. Set tops back on over the ice cream, and set cinnamon stick stem through the hole.

Creepy Fingers
Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe. I like to use the Hanukkah Triplet Cookie recipe from our Eat, Drink, and be Chinaberry cookbook (sorry, now out-of-print).
Make fingers by rolling the dough into 3″ or 4″ long “ropes” (around 1/2″ wide) For fingernails, place blanched, sliced almonds onto uncooked dough.
Using a knife or any sharp object, draw lines into the dough for detail on the fingers such as knuckles or wrinkles.
Follow instructions for baking, allowing slightly less time for them to bake. Note: Chilled dough works best, as you do not want your fingers to flatten out. If desired, you can paint the fingernails with food coloring, or use red icing for blood.
Feel free to experiment with warts or whatever your imagination comes up with!