Saturday, January 31, 2009

Custard bites

By Perry Washburn

Dilemma: Company coming for dinner. Accomplished cooks, each bringing a dish. Southern food on the menu. I am making "smothered chicken," a Southern-inspired dish that I made up on the fly. Others are bring cheesey grits, collards, black-eyed pea salad, corn bread. But no one has chosen dessert.

I am WHIPPED. Out of time. Bread pudding? No. I have a great original recipe for Buttermilk Praline Pie. Some friends call this "Slice of Heaven." :) But it takes about 3 hours to make.

What to do?

What if I made small custard bites? I love the custard and custard pies my grandmothers' generation used to make. Part of my "Heaven" is essentially a custard layer. And to make them "light" after a heavy meal, I'll make them in my silicone mini-muffin pan.

So, here's what I did, after consulting my custard layer recipe and comparing with an old custard pie recipe in a 1940s cookbook Kath gave to Carolyn recently.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
dash of salt
2 Tbs of buttermilk powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs flour
Brown sugar to sprinkle

(I always have buttermilk powder around. It would probably work fine to omit the powder and ad a dash more flour, or substitute real buttermilk for the powder and the milk.)

Beat the eggs, and beat in the remaining ingredients except pecans and remaining brown sugar.
Spray the muffin pan (mine has 24 mini muffins in the sheet). Place a pecan half in each mini muffin cup. Fill 2/3 full with custard; the pecan will float. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar. It will sink, but it's ok.

Bake for 3 minutes at 450. Turn down to 325, and bake a few minutes more, until the custard is puffy and browning. Cool on a rack. I then threw my whole sheet in the fridge for about 2 hours.

After dinner I popped them out of the pan (silicone is great, because you can run a knife easily around the edge). Put them on the plate, act like this is an old family recipe from the Deep South. Yum!

Makes 24.

Friday, January 30, 2009


By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

When I was in Russia a few years ago with cousin Jan Washburn, we had various versions of borscht. I was hooked. The complexity of flavors surprised me as did the use of fresh dill in this stew. So here is my version:

Brown 1 1/2 pounds of stew meat--I used caribou, just run down to your local butcher and make sure he/she trims the fat off the caribou. I had it in my freezer just as, I'm sure, you do--doesn't everyone?

To the browned meat add these ingredients and simmer for 90 minutes:
10 cups beef broth, Penzey's, of course
1 can tomato paste
salt and pepper

Saute in 2 T olive oil and then add to the pot:
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced

Add to pot:
2 c shredded cabbage
2 c peeled and shredded beets
1 c shredded carrots
1 c thinly sliced celery
2 T fresh dill
1 t celery seed
4 bay leaves
2 t sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer 45-60 minutes until thick. This is a rich red and orange colored dish and oh, so tasty. Top with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill.

This makes a lot!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cornbread Roxie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I have made this cornbread hundreds of times: the recipe came from Gourmet magazine in January 1984. This would be particularly good with Spring Mill Cornmeal. But I don't have any of that. However, my brothers do...wonder how that happened.

This takes 5 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to bake. Easy!

1 1/4 c yellow cornmeal
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c flour
1 1/4 c buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
2 T vegetable oil

Into a bowl, mix together 1 c plus 2 T of the cornmeal with the remaining dry ingredients. Stir in buttermilk and eggs and combine well.

Heat a 10" cast iron skillet over high heat for 1 min. Add oil and sprinkle with remaining 2 T cornmeal, spoon in the batter. Bake at 450 degrees F in the upper 1/3 of the oven for 10 minutes until it is firm in the center and pulls away slightly from the edges of the skillet.

Serve with lots of butter or honey!

How to order gristmill cornmeal from Spring Mill Indiana State Park:

Sunday, January 25, 2009


By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This recipe is from the Original Silver Palate cookbook and the page in my cookbook is well worn: this recipe is really good! Great flavor and texture, simple to make. This is a cake that I'll throw in the oven if we have unexpected company coming.

1 2/3 c flour
1 1/4 t baking soda
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t ginger
3/4 t salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c boiling water
1/2 vegetable oil

Stir dry ingedients together; add egg, sugar and molasses. Mix well.

Pour boiling water and oil over the mixture and stir until completely smooth.

Pour into a 9" baking pan, bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees F, for 35-40 min. until the top springs back and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

While it is baking, mix 2/3 c confectioners' sugar with 3 T fresh lemon juice. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the glaze over the top. Cool.

This cake never lasts long in our house and there are only 2 of us left here!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shrimp Pil Pil

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Shrimp Pil Pil is our go to dinner: the one we fix when nothing else was planned! We can't go down to our local shrimp shack for shrimp so Costco frozen shrimp has to suffice. This dinner is super fast to prepare, less than 10 minutes including prep, and we serve with saffron rice.

12-24 shrimp (depending on size and how hungry you are, about a pound total)
1/2 c olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 t sweet paprika
1 t cayenne pepper
2 T fresh parsley

Add garlic to hot oil, along with paprika and cayenne and stir for 30 seconds until a deep red. Add shrimp, lightly salted, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until opaque. Top with chopped parsley. That's it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Minestrone Soup

by Dave Washburn

This is a recipe that we got from one of Karen's co-workers years ago- don't know it's origins but it is a really good solid soup- simple, thick, rich and you can feed a lot of people. Serve with garlic bread and a good salad.

1 lb. Italian sausage
olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion chopped
1 C sliced carrots
1 t dried basil
2 small zucchini sliced
1 large can tomatoes undrained
2 cans beef broth or 2 cups water and 1 tbs Penzeys beef base
2 C finely shredded cabbage
1 small can great northern beans undrained

Partially freeze the sausage- I use 3 links of sweet and 2 links of hot- slice with a serrated knife in to bite size pieces.
Brown the sausage in the olive oil in your favorite pot.
Add the carrot, onion, garlic and basil- cook for five minutes.
Add the zucchini, tomatoes(undrained) (I usually squish them up at this point) cabbage and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour.
Add the beans undrained and cook for another 30 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in large bowls and stuff madly into your pie hole.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Drying Sourdough Starter

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Uncle Gene's Housatonic River, Massachusetts sourdough starter lives on and has been in the family for about 50 years. My sourdough starter buddy sujo had a starter crisis: her starter got tossed by mistake. Since she is in warmer climates for the winter and sending liquid starter by airplane is a recipe for an in air explosion, I dried the starter to send to her.

Just like the night before using the starter, I fed it with 1 c flour, 1 c water and 1 t sugar and left it at room temperature. The next morning, I removed 1 c of starter and spread thinly on the fruit roll up liner for my dehydrator and turned the heat to the lowest setting, 95 degrees F.

24 hours later, the starter had dried on one side and could be peeled away from the surface. I turned it over and broke it into pieces to continue drying for another 24 hours.

On day 3, the pieces were flaking and I put them in the food processor, pulverized and put in a ziplock plastic bag.

To rehydrate, mix 2 t of dried starter with 1 T water and let soften. Add 1/4 c each of flour and water and mix until smooth. Let stand 12-24 hours until it begins to bubble. Then add another 1/4 c each of flour and water, mix and let stand again 4-8 hours until the starter bubbles.

Add 1/2 c each of flour and water, let stand another 4-8 hours until it bubbles. This will make about 1 1/2 c of starter.

Anyone want any starter?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

It is cold outside so I am on the hunt for dishes that are hearty. This recipe came from fellow foodie Kathy Gibbons 20 years ago! I make it about once a year and make enough to freeze. Perry, your girls will love this!

10 chicken breasts with skin and bones
6 c chicken broth
2 chopped carrots
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves
4 parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves

6 T butter
1 T oil
3 med. onions, chopped
1 box frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 c sour cream
4 green onions, chopped
1 or 2 4-oz. cans of diced jalapeno chilies, drained

6 c grated Monterey jack cheese
Corn tortillas

Filling: Place chicken and broth (for broth, you can also use 6 c water and appropriate Penzey's chicken stock base) in large saucepan with all filling ingredients. Bring to boil, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand until chicken is cooked through, about one hour.

Remove chicken from broth; remove skin and bones and shred meat and place in medium bowl and chill. Strain cooking liquid and return the saucepan to heat and simmer the broth is reduced to 3 cups.

Sauce: Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook until light brown, stirring frequently, javascript:void(0)about 5 min. Whisk in reduced chicken stock, increase heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens. Cool.

Heat 1 T oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a food processor with sauce, sour cream, green onions, and chilies.

Grease two 9 x 13" baking pans. Spread 1/2 c sauce over the bottom of each. Add 1 c of sauce to chicken and mix in 5 c grated cheese. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle and cook each tortilla for a few seconds per side, just to soften. Divide chicken filling among tortillas and roll up. Place seam side down in the baking pans. Spoon remaining sauce over the top.

Cover with foil; bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, uncover, top with remaining 1 c cheese and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

This makes a lot of enchiladas. Two 13 x 9 pans, each pan holds 12.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Granola or Toasted Oats

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I try to add whole grains to our diet as much as possible: bulgar, quinoa (love it!), brown rice, barley--these grains are so versatile. Breakfast grains like oatmeal or steel cut oats are great. Uncle Gene's steel cut oatmeal cooked over the camp stove on our camping trips when we were kids got me hooked on this creamy porridge for breakfast!

I love granolas but they are often expensive, high fat, and filled with a variety of tastes that I don't always like. So I decided to pursue a simple, home made version.

This actually is more like toasted oats than granola because I prefer the loose texture of this granola vs. clumps. A little oil is required to successfully coat the ingredients as is a bit of sugar to help with browning. I tried this without oil or sugar and I ended up with baked but not browned oats.

3 cups rolled oats, not instant or quick
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 t almond extract or 1 t vanilla (depending on your taste)
2 T brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c maple syrup or honey
2 T oil
2 T water
1/4 c apple juice or tart cherry concentrate

Dried fruits: raisins, cherries, cranberries, apricots, at least 1/2 cup, more if you like the fruits (I do).

Mix the dry ingredients. Combine the liquid ingredients and heat for 1 min. in the microwave; this helps thin the syrup or honey so it will coat the oats. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees F for 30 min. stirring frequently. The oats will be a crispy brown. The kitchen smells heavenly while this is baking. Puppy Dashel loves this granola and strolls past the oven the entire time it is baking.

Pour into a mixing bowl while still warm and add in dried fruit. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

I make my own yogurt and this granola is excellent with yogurt.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pasties--Michigan's Upper Peninsula Style

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Pasties are really wonderful and it surprises me how many people have not had this tasty meat pie. Legend has it that immigrants moving to the Upper Peninsula brought the pastie tradition with them. Miners wrapped the pasties in newspaper to keep them warm in their lunch pails.

Even though we live just 30 minutes from the Upper Peninsula, very few restaurants in our area serve pasties. So I have to make them. This recipe makes 10 pasties and is adapted from a recipe given to me years ago by former food editor and current restaurant owner Kathy Gibbons. Kathy got it from an Upper Peninsula pasty maker. Each pastie is enough for a meal.

2 lbs. of ground or chopped meat; beef or a beef/pork blend
4 large potatoes
1 med. rutabaga (don't skip the rutabaga!)
1 large onion
2 t. Penzey's beef base dissolved in 2 T hot water
salt and pepper to taste

And pie dough--enough to make 5 single pies. Each pastie requires 1/2 of the dough used in a single crust. So for our Mom's pie crust, I made 2 batches for double pies, and 1 batch for a single pie crust recipe giving me enough for 10 pasties: 5 cups of flour, 1 2/3 cups of Crisco, 2 1/2 t salt, about 1 1/4 cups ice water. I made the pie dough in separate batches, divided into 10 small pieces, wrapped each piece and chilled. When making each pastie, I removed one piece of dough from the fridge at a time leaving the rest to stay chilled.

Chop the potatoes and rutabaga into cubes. Chop the onion. Mix all the ingredients until well blended.

Roll out pie dough for one pastie into a circle. Place the meat filling on 1/2 of the circle, fold the dough over the meat filling to make a 1/2 circle. Brush with milk. Repeat for remaining 9 pasties. This takes a while but these freeze well so I usually make this large batch.

To prepare for freezing and later use, bake pasties at 350 degrees F for 20 min. until the crust is slightly firm. Flip over the pastie and bake for another 10 min. to firm up the other side. Cool, wrap, and freeze. To reheat, bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes until the crust is brown.

If you are eating the pasties the same day you make them, bake for 45-50 min. at 350 degrees F until the pasties are nicely browned.

We serve the pasties with gravy made from Penzey's beef base, flour, and water. Many pastie die hards only use Ketchup on their pasties!

This website,, illustrates how to make a pastie although the recipe is a bit different and it uses store bought pie crust (shame, shame!).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Panko Fried Shrimp

By Dave Washburn

This is a simple recipe a lot like the fried green tomatoes.

1 lb. large shrimp peeled and deveined, tails on- go down to the shrimp house and get them off the boat. (Ha! A joke! You don't have shrimp houses in Iowa or Michigan! Too bad! I do!) Oh well, get them where you can.
1 C corn starch
2 eggs
2 C panko
hot sauce
BBQ rub mix
salt & pepper

In a small bowl toss the shrimp in the corn starch, shake off the excess.
In a bigger bowl beat the eggs with a little water and the hot sauce.
In a BIGGER bowl mix the panko and the BBQ rub with salt and pepper.
Take each shrimp out of the corn starch and dip in the egg wash, and then into the panko, pressing to coat- remove to a wax paper lined baking sheet- repeat until all shrimp are coated.
Heat a large dutch oven (or deep fryer) with oil to 350 degrees.
Fry in batches until golden, turning once. Remove to paper towel lined baking sheet, salting once and turning over. Serve with Uncle Dave's Really Spicy Cocktail Sauce.

Uncle Dave's Really Spicy Cocktail Sauce:
Quarter cup good ketchup
Quarter cup good BBQ sauce (we're using Billy Bones)
HUGE tablespoon really good horseradish (don't use that creamy stuff, it really sucks)
shot Worcestershire
salt and pepper to taste
This recipe can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, whatever-
Remember- horseradish is your friend.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dave's Fried Green Tomatoes

By Dave Washburn

Fried Green Tomatoes

Shift on the recipe we grew up on- mom always liked the slightly burnt taste of the flour but I have found a crunchy variation without the burnt taste.

3-4 green tomatoes
2 eggs
2 cups panko
hot sauce (your fave)
salt & pepper
1 tsp. each garlic powder, thyme, oregano and cayenne

Slice tomatoes rather thick- beat eggs in medium bowl, add hot sauce to taste, along with a dash of salt and pepper. Put the tomato slices in the bowl turning to coat.

In another bowl add the panko and the spices, along with another shot of salt and pepper. Mix well.

Heat a large skillet with about a quarter inch of oil- hot but not smoking.

Take each slice of tomato out of the egg wash and place in the bowl of panko-turning to coat- pressing the panko into each side with a fork or your hands- place in the skillet. It should sizzle but not hard- frying slow is the key. fry gently until golden, turn over, brown until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined cookie sheet- salt, turn over, salt again. Keep warm in low oven until ready to serve.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sourdough Pancakes

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Perry is right that we can do several posts just on sourdough recipes and sourdough starter. The starter that I use was given to me by our Uncle Gene years ago; we estimate that it is at least 50 years old! It has survived in my refrigerator despite some serious neglect a few times. A few years ago, we had house guests and I took the starter out of the fridge to begin the process for pancakes and discovered that there was mold on the top of the starter. This was a first and it was such a shock that I looked at it going "Oh, no, oh, no" and then Marty came to see what the problem was and had the same reaction. Our guests, who are not sourdough starter people, could not understand our concern.

But I saved it: I scraped off the mold and found about 1 teaspoon of good starter at the bottom of the jar. Over the course of a few days time, I mixed it with equal parts of flour and water and let it bubble until I had a cup of starter again!

Sourdough pancakes are not like buttermilk pancakes. They are flat and slightly sour and completely delicious. The starter needs to be fed the night before it is used. To 1 cup of starter, I add 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of water and a bit of sugar. I only use wood stirring implements with sourdough as metal or plastic impacts the reaction of the starter. Then I cover the starter and let it sit on the counter overnight. The next morning, I remove 1 cup of the starter and put it back in the refrigerator for the next time.

When our Serbian daughter, Milica, lived with us during high school, sourdough pancakes were a weekend tradition. So much so that when we visited her and her family in Serbia, she asked us to bring starter. Since we were traveling only with carryons, there was no way to carry a liquid with us.

So thanks to my friend sujo who is also a sourdough fan (and has been the recipient of this starter a couple of times), I learned how to dry the starter. I spread a thin layer of the starter on a Silpat baking sheet and let it dry at room temperature for several days. Then I put all of the dried flakes of starter in the food processor and ground it until a fine powder. Voila! A transportable starter.

In Serbia, I fed the starter with flour and water for a day or so until it bubbled. For the pancakes, baking soda is required at the end of the mixing process to help the pancakes rise. My dilemma was trying to explain to a Serbian grocery store clerk that I needed baking soda. I was unsuccessful. Milica came to the rescue and went to the store with me.

We had sourdough pancakes this morning. This is the recipe that I use:

2 cups of sourdough starter (started the night before with 1 cup reserved for later use)
4 T vegetable oil
1 egg
2 T sugar (this helps in browning the pancakes)
1/2 t salt

Just before putting on the griddle, stir in 1/2-1 t of baking soda. The larger amount, 1 t, is used is the starter is very sour or if it has been awhile since last used. As you blend in the soda, the batter will nearly double in volume.

Ok, Perry: your turn to talk about sourdough!

Pie Crust--Homemade, Of Course

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We Washburns were lucky to grow up with a Mom who loved baking pies. And she has passed that love onto us. I often serve pies for desserts to guests and the pies are a surprise to many; great pies are really a wonderful dessert. There are too many bad pie crusts out there and they have given pies a bad reputation.

Everyone in Mom's family made pies including our Grandma Bond who owned a restaurant, and Mom's sister, Phyllis, who also owned a restaurant. We love good pies!

Mom's pie crust recipe is simple. This is for a two crust pie.

2 cups flour
2/3 cup Crisco shortening (Mom only used Crisco)
1 t salt
a scant 1/2 cup of ice water

Making a pie crust is really easy. Cut in the shortening to the flour and salt with a fork or pastry blender until pea size clumps of flour/shortening form. This should take about 30 seconds. Drizzle small quantities of the ice water into the mixture blending just until the mixture comes together. There will be small grains of flour mixture left in the bowl but the bulk of the mixture will be in one mass.

The trick with pie dough is always the amount of water. Too much and the pie crust is tough, too little and it is difficult to roll out. That's why instructions usually say that the dough should just come together and not be in loose pieces or be wet.

In the last year or so, I have been chilling the dough before rolling it out. I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and this makes the dough easier to roll out. Flaky pie dough comes from the explosion of the shortening fragments in the hot oven. So the colder these fragments, the better the explosion! I also chill the dough after I roll it out and put in a pie pan, usually 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10-15 minutes in the freezer. Last summer, I tried chilling all the ingredients before assembling. I didn't like the result; it takes more water to make the flour come together when the flour is cold and thus, the crusts were too tough for my Washburn taste.

It takes very little time to make pie crust. I spend more time cleaning off the cutting board that I roll the dough out on then I do with making the crust. I read recipes for the perfect pie crust which may include using a food processor and include other ingredients like sugar, butter, egg, lard, vinegar, or vodka; but this one is the tried and true.

Follow specific pie recipes for baking times. For some pies like cream pies, the crust is baked without filling for a short time before adding the filling. I typically bake fruit pies for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F and then turn the heat to 350 for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble. Baking times will vary based on individual ovens and the temperature of the filling--frozen fruit added to a pie will take longer.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Turkey Pot Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

My friend Carolyn is the pot pie queen. If you have a craving for really wonderful pot pies, visit Carolyn's website,
, where you can order her chicken pot pies. So in trying to live up to her standards, I made a turkey pot pie tonight. It scored an A+.

We had leftover turkey, about 2 cups of bite size pieces, that I tossed with:
4 cubed potatoes
1 c chopped carrots
2 chopped celery stalks
1 chopped onion.

We also had leftover turkey gravy; but I've done this before without the gravy and just made a roux of flour and oil and then stirred in seasonings and chicken stock to make a thick stock. I thinned the gravy with milk, about 2/3 gravy to 1/3 milk, tossed this with all of the ingredients using enough gravy to just coat all of the ingredients and poured into a large pie plate. I used about 1 1/2 cups of gravy/milk mixture. Because the gravy was already seasoned, I didn't need to add additional salt or pepper.

Then, of course, came Mom's pie crust recipe. Since I was also making pumpkin pecan pie tonight, I made a double crust and used one for the dessert pie and the other for this pie. I topped the turkey mixture with the pie crust, cut 6 small slits in the crust, and baked at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. There is not a bite left for leftovers!

2nd chance: Sourdough Pancakes

By Perry Washburn

I happened to have leftover sourdough pancakes in my fridge. Now, sourdough would be a fun topic for later. Worth noting now, though, that my starter, and my pancakes, are really sharp and soury. And, I am the KING of repurposing food. So, I made:

Sourdough pancake appetizers
10 leftover sourdough pancakes
1 cup shredded smoked swiss
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbs finely diced onion
1 Tbs finely dices capers

I mixed the sour cream, the onions and capers. I heated one of my griddles with a bit of oil. Shredded some smoked swiss cheese. The pancakes, unlike conventional pancakes, are thin and remain moist and pliable. I placed 5 on the hot griddle, topped with some cheese, and placed another cake on top of each. After the bottoms were rebrowning and the cheese was beginning to melt, I flipped them quesadilla style. When the other side is rebrowned and the cheese melted, I put them on a cutting board to "rest." (A tip from my pizza making life: let cheese rest for a couple of minutes after baking it, or it will run everywhere.)

Cut each cake into four pieces, put on a pretty plate, top each triangle with a dollop of the sour cream mixture. Presto: appetizer. My family thought I was a genius. And I was just trying to get rid of a bag of pancakes!

Cranberry Orange Relish with Honey & Triple Sec

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I sampled a fresh cranberry orange relish like this several years ago at Wild Oats in Park City, Utah. This relish always surprises people because the cranberries are not cooked. During the time of year when cranberries and oranges are in season, we frequently have this relish.

2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, membrane removed
12 oz. cranberries, fresh if possible, but frozen works great
1/2 c honey (local, of course)
2 T triple sec

Completely puree the orange sections in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until desired consistency. I like the cranberries to still be chunky. This relish will keep for several days in the refrigerator-or our back porch during the winter--Dave does not have a back porch 'refrigerator'; he lives in Florida.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Perry is right about Penzey's; a wonderful place for herbs and spices. Perry is lucky because there is a Penzey's in Des Moines where he lives. Dave and I have to settle for online ordering.

This recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Pie came from Penzey's (
in 2007 and it is now a holiday favorite for our family and of course, I use only Penzey's spices in this recipe! The Washburns are Pie People. Our Mom was a champion pie baker. So you'll often see pies on the table in are our homes. I think I'll make this pie tonight!

One 9" unbaked pie shell
1 15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t powdered ginger
1/8 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 eggs, beaten well
1/2 c milk

1/4 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pie shell--in the Washburn family, this means using Mom's tried and true recipe with Crisco--no store bought shells for us. We seriously frown on those who use anything but home made pie crust.

Combine all of the pie filling ingredients and mix until well blended. Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 for 40 min. Meanwhile, mix the topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping on the pie and bake an additional 25 min. Cool and then refrigerate at least a few hours for easiest slicing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Black-eyed peas!

By Perry Washburn

In honor of the new year, I made black-eyed peas today. This is a take-off on an Emeril recipe, with a nod to my friend Suzette, who stunned me years ago with her New Orleans red beans recipe. I also made etoufee, a staple for us on New Years. I EXPECT that to be great. But the peas were really the star of the meal today.

1 lb dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and soaked overnight
2 Tbs bacon grease (come on Kath, admit you have some in your fridge)
1/2 lb andouille roughly chopped (I used 3 links of Emeril's Kicked Up)
2 onions chopped
2 Tbs garlic chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
3 Tbs parsley (I used dried)
8 cups stock
2 tsp Penzey's chicken base (Penzey's ROCKS)
1 tsp salt
4 bay leaves
2 Tbs Worchestershire sauce
1 small ham bone

Dried bean recipes always call for rinsing and picking over beans (in this case, peas). Fine. Did that. But they then want you to drain the beans/peas. For this dish, I did not do that, as I assumed the rinsing had cleaned the peas, and I hate to throw away flavor. If you have to throw the soak water away, OK. But for this dish, I soaked the beans in 2 quarts of water, which yielded 6 cups. For the stock, I used that, with 2 cups of water added.

Brown the andouille in the bacon grease. Add the onions and garlic, and sautee for a few minutes. Add in the thyme, parsley and cumin and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add in the soak water (or stock, or just water). As I was using soak water, and not stock, I added Penzey's chicken base; omit if using stock. Add the salt, the Woo-sauce, and the ham bone (doesn't everybody save, in their freezers, ham bones, rib bones and roasted chicken carcuses?).

Bring to boil. Reduce to a bare simmer, and cover. Stir frequently. Simmer for 3 hrs or so. An hour or so before dinner, take the lid off if this is still soupy. Mine was.

Remove the bone and the bay leaves. Serve over rice. This was creamy and spicy and fantastic.

Prebanac-Serbian Beans With Paprika

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner
A trip to Serbia and Hungary opened our eyes to paprika. More than just a garnish for deviled eggs, paprika is dried and then ground peppers. In Serbia, what we refer to as peppers are called paprikas. Last summer, we grew Serbian peppers/paprikas in our garden and they are thicker skinned--perfect for drying and grinding.

This is a recipe for Prebanac, Serbian BBQ Beans.
1 lb large lima beans
3 large onions, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 large carrot, sliced
3 bay leaves
6 T paprika powder
4 T olive oil

Soak beans overnight, or bring to boil, then turn off the heat and let the beans sit, covered, for one hour. Discard water and replace it with new water. Add salt and sliced carrot. Cook until beans are slightly tender but still firm. Remove beans from water reserving water. Saute onions in 2 T oil until golden brown. Add 1 1/2 T of paprika powder, mix it well for 30 sec and remove from the heat.

Layer 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the sauteed onions, salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 T paprika and 1 bay leaf. Repeat with two more layers of beans, onions, and seasonings. Top with reserved water and 2 T oil adding enough liquid to just cover the beans. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes until the beans begin to brown. Do not stir while baking.

Prebranac can be served both hot or cold and depending on amount of water you add, it can be almost completely dry or it can be like a very thick sauce. I usually do these with 1 1/2 T of hot paprika; for the remaining paprika, I use sweet. The surprise to me when first making this recipe was how rich the color is because of the paprika. If you think you don't like paprika, then you really haven't used it.

Mom's Cranberry Jello Salad

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

The first recipe on our site has to be one from our Mom, Rose Washburn. Mom always made this Cranberry Jello Salad for our huge holiday family gatherings. It's a favorite in our house, too, and we are having it today. I always think of Mom when I make this!

1 pkg red jello, less 1/2 cup water
1/2 pkg fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1 apple
1 orange
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup celery

Peel orange and separate into pieces. Loosely chop celery and apple. Freeze these three ingredients for at least 30 minutes. Individually in a food processor, chop the slightly frozen celery, apple, and cranberries. Then puree the orange segments.

Mix jello and sugar in an 8" square pan or dish. Add in hot water and stir until the jello and sugar are dissolved. Add in the chopped fruits, walnuts, and pineapple. Refrigerate until firm, approximately four hours.

Mom always served this with a topping she called "Dip Shit." Her recipe was to blend 1/2 cup of Miracle Whip with 2 t. sugar and 2 t. lemon juice.

When Perry sent me a copy of this recipe a few years ago, he noted that this recipe can be doubled for a 13 x 9" pan. We usually double the recipe because it does not last very long!