Thursday, December 30, 2010

Side dish: spinach and artichokes

I've made this a couple of times recently and its fairly easy and really good. Plus leafy greens are supposed to be good for you ....

Take a large pan and heat a bit of oil, lard or bacon grease (a tablespoon or two, though I never measure). Meanwhile rinse about a pound of fresh spinach. Throw the spinach in the pan and stir occasionally while it wilts. Season with a bit of onion powder and a bit of garlic (I used one frozen cube of crushed garlic, but garlic powder or fresh garlic will work as well). Add some squeezed lemon juice and sprinkle with salt. Add one can of drained artichoke hearts, preferably the small ones.

Serve warm with dinner!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Aunt Sachi's Clam Dip

Anyone who knows me in person might be surprised to know I had a Japanese Great Aunt. By marriage, but still my aunt, she was a quarterly visitor during my growing up years. She and my Uncle Bob taught me to use chopsticks! After over 90 years on this earth she now rests peacefully in Arlington Cemetary next to my uncle, who retired an Army Colonel.

My sister made her clam dip this past weekend, and you should make it for the upcoming Eagles football game or New Years weekend!

2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2-3 cans of chopped clams, drained with juice reserved
1 tablespoon chopped chives (dried or fresh)
1 tablespoon onion soup mix
2 teaspoons hot sauce (Tabasco, for instance)

Mix about half the reserved clam juice into the cream cheese until smoth. Add clams, chives, soup mix and hot sauce. Thin to desired consistency with remaining clam juice. (make it just a little more moist then you think - it will firm up a bit) Refrigerate overnight for best flavor and consistency.

Serve with ripple chips, crackers and/or cut veggies!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Really, really yummy cocoa Brownies - almost flourless

This recipe will make your arm hurt. But it is soooooo good. Really worth it vs. brownie mix (though I make those often enough too).

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used natural, dutch would work too)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cold large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Grease the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Preheat oven to 325°F.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of just simmering water (I actually do this right in my dutch oven and haven't ruined a batch yet) . Stir frequently, and continue until the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. You will actually see the cocoa powder start to get smooth and shiny.

Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring and stirring adn stirring after each one.

When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, and THEN beat vigorously for another 40 strokes with the wooden spoon.

Spread the mixture in the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

It's fairly easy to make a gluten free version of this - because there is so little flour to start, just replace it with a gluten free all purpose from the grocery store. If you half the recipe, bake in a 8 x 8 pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes.