Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Orange Meringue Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This pie was a first for me. I love pies and love baking/making them. But I tend to favor fruit pies where I can highlight whatever fruit is in season. I am not a fan of "foofy" pies-those with lots of ingredients that are like a dessert in a crust. Justin Rashid, founder of American Spoon Foods, once said of my pies that in them, you can taste the pure fruit.

But I tried something new today. And, oh, was it good. And will be repeated. This is citrus season so I used navel oranges for this delicious pie. While I have made various cream pies, this is the first orange one for me. The orange flavor was very subtle. This is a thick and creamy pie.

What you'll need:

1 baked pie crust, cooled

For the filling:

2 c sugar
3/4 c corn starch
1/2 t salt
2 T freshly grated orange zest
3 1/2 c fresh orange juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
3 T butter, softened
5 large eggs, beaten lightly

Mix together the dry ingredients in a saucepan then whisk in the zest and 1/2 of the orange juice and the lemon juice and cook over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter until it is melted. Add the remaining orange juice and eggs and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and fairly thick--you should still be able to move the mixture with the whisk. Force the mixture through a sieve into a bowl--quickly as this will thicken during this process. The difference between the mixture before and after going through the sieve will be very dramatic: the results will be creamy and shiny. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and cool completely.

For the meringue:
3 egg whites at room temperature
1 t cream of tartar
1/3 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Beat the egg whites on low speed until they are frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla and increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Spread the meringue on the pie mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Chill completely for several hours.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mom's Yeast Rolls

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house always included hot yeast rolls.When we were young, our Grandma made them and all the cousins fought over them. Recently, the cousins used Facebook  to reminisce with each other about our huge family gatherings at the holidays and we discovered that in the family there are 3 versions of these rolls: one from our Grandmother, one from our Mom and one from one of the aunts. Grandma's was called Frigidaire yeast rolls because they rested in the Frigidaire. That version didn't include the extra eggs, milk and butter that our Mom's version perhaps because Grandma had a restaurant and didn't include the high fat/high $ ingredients.

I made these roll's yesterday and as always, they were a hit.

Sweet Dough Yeast Rolls
Makes about 42

1 1/2 c lukewarm milk
1 c sugar
2 t salt
1/2 c water
2  packages yeast
3 eggs
3/4 c shortening
7-7 1/2 cups flour

Mix milk, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water, and let proof for 5 minutes. Add yeast mixture, eggs and softened shortening to milk mixture. Stir in flour in two additions. Knead until smooth.

Form into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, covered, until doubled in size. Punch down, knead a couple of times, and let rest for 15 min. Shape into one-inch round balls (roll balls in melted butter first), two per greased muffin cup. Let rise until double in size, 15-30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden, at 425 degrees.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

One of the items on today's menu is coleslaw. But not any coleslaw. Blue cheese coleslaw. This is a favorite family recipe given to me years ago by good friend Sherri Reynolds. If you love blue cheese, you'll love this slaw. And if you don't like slaw, you will like this one! It's tangy and sweet and never lasts long when our boys are home.

Combine, whisk and chill for 1 hour:
3 T apple cider vinegar
2 T finely chopped onion
1 T sugar
3/4 t celery seed
1/4 t salt
1/8 t dry mustard
1/4 t pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c vegetable oil

While it is chilling, finely chop:
1 lb. of cabbage. For color, add some chopped red cabbage and carrots if you like--which we do.

Pour the chilled dressing on the cabbage, stir well and add:
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese

Good luck having any leftover!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This casserole has been a recent addition to Christmas morning. It is too good to eat only once a year! There are many versions of this egg-sausage-bread casserole and this is the version that I have created. We made a pan of it for Christmas morning and it got nibbled on all day!

1 lb breakfast sausage (I use the fresh sausage from my local butcher)

In a medium bowl, mix:
4 eggs
2 1/2 c milk
1 t dried mustard
1 t sweet paprika
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
pepper to taste

Then add in:
6 slices, toasted and cute into cubes
8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese

Stir in the drained sausage. Pour into a well oiled 9 x 13" baking pan, cover and refrigerate over night. Bake in the morning, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes until brown.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Serbian Family Slava Bread--Kolac

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We had a Serbian theme for Christmas Eve. Marty spent four hours making sarmas, stuffed cabbages. My mother-in-law celebrates Orthodox Christmas and one of her traditions is this special yeast bread, called kolach that is often served for the Serbian Slava celebrations. Hidden in it is a coin: he or she who pulls a slice from the loaf and has the coin will have good luck for the next year.

The bread is somewhat sweet and it has sugar, lemon juice, milk, sour cream and butter so it is rich and tasty. Once the dough has risen once and been punched down, the dough is divided into 3 logs and then the logs are braided and placed in an angel food cake pan for the second rising and baking. My bread came out gorgeous and we have been nibbling on it but no one has yet found the coin!

In a small bowl, mix together and let this rise for about 30 minutes.
2 pk yeast
1/2 c warm milk
5 T sugar
5 T flour

In a stand mixer, add and mix:
1 c water
2 t salt
3 egg yolks (save the egg whites to wash the bread)
2 t lemon juice
1 c milk
1/4 c softened butter
1/4 s sour cream

Then add 5-6 c of flour in 1/2 c increments and mix with the dough hook of the stand mixer until the dough just begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. The dough will be sticky.  Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm spot until double.

Punch down the dough, place on a floured bowl and knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each into a log about 3" x 10". Braid the logs, place in an oiled angel food cake pan, overlap the ends of the braids and pinch together. Take a coin wrapped in foil and push it down, vertically, between two of the braid pieces. Let the dough rise again until double.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is browning. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg white and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and invert the bread on a cookie sheet placing another cookie sheet on the bottom of the angel food cake pan. Slide the bread out of the pan onto the cookie sheet (the top of the bread will be on the cookie sheet) and flip the cookie sheets so the bread is top side up again. Bake for 10 minutes, brush the sides with a the egg white wash and bake for another 10 minutes or until the sides are golden. Remove from the oven and take the bread out of the bottom section of the angel food cake pan.

Slice and hope you find the coin!  And if you are lucky, you'll have some leftover the next day for French toast.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

15 Minute Chocolate Walnut Fudge

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I am not a candy maker. Our Mom made pralines, fudge, rum balls, , peanut brittle, nut clusters--you name it, she loved to make it. Not me. It's too time consuming and I'd rather be baking. So this 15 minute fudge recipe that appeared in Cook's Illustrated a few years ago is just for me! It's easy, fool proof, and almost as good as the Mackinac Island fudge that is in my roots.

In the top of a double boiler or in a heat proof bowl, add and toss together:
2c chopped semi chocolate
2 oz coarsely chopped unsweetened chocolate
1/8 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

To this add:
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla

Set the mixture over a saucepan filled with 2 c simmering water. Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is almost melted a a few small pieces remain, 2-4 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in:
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts

Line an 8 x 8" baking pan with foil and oil or use a non stick baking pan. Spread the chocolate mixture into the pan and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove the foil and fudge from the pan, cut into 1" squares and store in an airtight container.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cranberry Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This time of year, cranberry season, this recipe comes out of the recipe box. I cut it out of Redbook magazine years ago and still have it glued to a recipe card. This is an unusual "pie". It's made in a pie plate and has a crust on top but no bottom crust. The introduction that appears on my recipe card says "An out-of-the-ordinary pie, this easy, tasty, nut and berry dessert has a cakelike crust."

Do you ever see a recipe that looks a bit unusual and you make it and not only are surprised at the taste but surprised you were captivated by it because it is a bit different? Growing up with a traditional pie baker in the house, I don't know what drew me to this but I'm glad I found it.

This is an interesting dessert: the cranberries are bright in color and tart while the thin crust is crisp on the top and sweet. Interesting blend of textures and flavors. This is really easy to make, about 5 minutes of preparation time!

3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3.4 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c flour
1/3 c melted butter

Grease a 9 inch pie plate or fluted quiche dish. Add cranberries and sprinkle with nuts and 1/3 sugar. Beat the egg with the remaining 1/4 c sugar and then add the flour and butter and beat until no lumps remain. Pour the batter over the berry mixture and bake 45 min at 325 degrees F until the crust is a light golden brown.

The recipe says to serve with a spoon. Once this completely cools, it can be cut into pie shaped slices. But it usually doesn't last long enough to cool!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BBQ Meatloaf

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This is another of those 'use what is in the fridge' dishes that turned out to be terrific. I had about 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef that needed to be used so I raided the fridge and found some green peppers, onions and a 1/2 jar of homemade BBQ sauce and together with a few other things they made a great BBQ meatloaf.

The type of BBQ sauce used will change the flavors but that creates a different meatloaf every time--exciting! We canned many jars of barbecue sauce this fall so I used our own.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 med onion, 1 chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 c panko bread crumbs--I used homemade panko crumbs
2/3 c BBQ sauce reserving 2 T
1 egg
1 1/2 t chili powder
salt and pepper

Mix the ingredients together. Grease a loaf pan. Put the mixture into the loaf pan and pack it down. Spread the remaining 2 T of BBQ over the top. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. If you are lucky, you'll have leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homemade Dog Treats--Wheat Free

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Ok, this is not a normal Three Siblings post. But what the heck, all three of us have dogs. So I'm blogging with my recipe for home baked dog treats.

Because Bazil, our recently deceased labradoodle, had a wheat allergy, I started making his treats. Dash, labradoodle puppy, doesn't have the wheat problem so I hadn't made any treats for him. In a clean-out-the cabinet mode, I found some ingredients, rice flour and quick oatmeal (not the stuff in the packets!), that I only used for dog treats and decided to make a batch to get rid of them. Dashel stood at the counter as I made them just as Baz did and this was his first baking experience.

I used rice flour because of Bazil's allergies; if that isn't an issue, substitute wheat flour. I use a stand mixer for these because the batter is very thick and heavy.

In the mixer, combine:

3 c rice flour
3 c quick oatmeal--I've tried regular, and the oatmeal flakes don't break down enough when baking
3/4 c peanut butter
1/4 c molasses
3 eggs
1 t cinnamon
1/2-3/4 c apple juice

Mix until well blended and the batter is thick. Because there is no baking soda or powder in these treats, they will not rise so you want a thick batter, so thick you can't drop it from a spoon.

Roll the batter out onto a rice floured cutting board and roll to 1/2" thickness. Cut into whatever shapes or sizes you want. Bake at 350 degrees F for 13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. Cool and store in an airtight container. The ingredients are simple but provide whole grains, protein, and vitamins from the molasses. These finished treats are dark and crisp. Look at this ingredient list and the then the ingredients from most store bought treats--no comparison, this one has no chemicals.

I must have done something right: Dash just stands by the pantry door where these treats are kept and looks at us with sad eyes. He loves them!  Woof!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Broiled Bananas--Super Simple!

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I was in the mood for something sweet tonight but didn't want to go to the effort of a baked good or pudding. So I used what I had: bananas, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. And what a treat!

This simple dessert takes minutes to prepare. I used one banana per person.  I cut the bananas lengthwise and placed them in a baking dish. Brown sugar sprinkled over the bananas topped with just a bit of melted butter and a dash of cinnamon completed the dish. Under the broiler they went for about 3 minutes until the brown sugar started to sizzle.

Once in dishes, I topped each banana with a dollop of plain yogurt (mine, of course, since I make my own). And that is it! Five minutes start to finish.