Granny’s Chewy Honey Nut Sliced Cookies

(Becky, the Mama.)

My daughter Rachel and I need T-Shirts saying, “We Survived Thanksgiving Camp Week.” But for now this picture of us in our aprons from last week will have to do. (Yes, mine is on backwards. Wore it unknowingly that way ALL Thanksgiving Day.)

Together we made umpteen meals for 8 to 14 people (including vegan alternatives) over an 8 day period. We chased Baby Jackson (and I DO mean CHASE… that baby can run now!) and entertained his 5 year old cousin Georgie. (Who flew here from Seattle all by himself! )

These two cousins were perfect playmates for each other!

It was glorious chaos and though our bodies ached, the good memories will last a lifetime. 

We Laughed, We Cried, We Cooked. But alas, We Did Not Blog.

But now we’re baaaack,  and not just cooking, but writing again.

Today’s cookie recipe began with an email to request to my mom, who my kids call Granny.

My mother “Granny” and my sister with Jackson, Thanksgiving 2011

“Mother, do you have the recipe for Honey Slices that you used to make many years ago? Want to do an unusual nostalgic cookie for Christmas season and I’ve got a hankering for this blast from my past! Love, Becky”

“Dear Becky, I got it! Did you ever make these cookies or watch me do it? It’s a little complicated procedure and different from almost any cookie I’ve ever made or seen, but worth it! I did not have a detailed recipe since I got the recipe from the bakery where I worked when I was in Jr High in Sweetwater, Texas, so I hope this one makes sense!  Love, Mother”

“Wonderful!  I looked in all my classic cookbooks and online for it, and it was no where to be found. Nothing even similar to it. And I DO remember watching you make them so I think I can do it.  Do you have any more memories that go with this recipe?  Love, Becky”

Dearest Daughter, As for the honey slices, about the only story I know about them is one people might not believe. (Becky’s note: this is because my mom hasn’t eaten sugar for years and has a reputation for healthy eating!) When I worked in the bakery where they were made, I went to work on Saturday morning and literally ATE donuts, brownies, date bars and HONEY SLICES all day long. Really. All day long. I weighed 15 pounds more at age 13 than I do now! And, of course, that is probably where I began to develop a physical intolerance for sugar, and now my tummy says plainly, ‘No, thank you. Do not send any sugar down here!’”

This recipe is a rare treasure and my mother may have had the only copy left on earth!  Until now, that is.  And I’m sharing it with you. (Merry Christmas!)  

You may be able to jostle ingredients and up-size the healthy factor, but I wanted the exact same cookie I remember Mother baking when I was a kid so I didn’t mess with it. The cookies cool off to create a chewy moist middle, chocked with nuts.  In fact, if you love pecans, feel free to toss in an extra handful to this recipe. 

Another note: this recipe makes a BUNCH. (50 to 60 cookies, depending on how thin you slice them.)  But you can freeze the logs and use another time; or better yet, share a plate or two with a neighbor or friend.  (Or cut the recipe in half.) This time of year the bigger the cookie batches, the better.

Granny’s Honey Nut Sliced Cookies (“Honey Slices”)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

4 c. flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

2 c. sugar

1 c. Crisco shortening

3 eggs

1/2 c. honey

1 c. chopped pecans

1 t. vanilla

Directions:

Sift together the first 3 ingredients; set aside.

Cream together sugar, Crisco, 3 eggs and honey.

Georgie, my helper, adding honey to the batter

Gradually stir in flour mixture to form batter, then add pecans and vanilla.

The batter needs to be chilled and divided into about 6 lumps:

Then each lump formed into one long, round roll a bit over an inch in diameter. Put the rolls lengthwise onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for a second roll beside it and about 4 inches away from the first roll.

Ta DAH Two one inch diameter “worms” — ready for the oven

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. They should be firm but not very browned.

Continue preparing the rest of the rolls in the same manner. When the rolls are cooled, make slightly diagonal slices across the rolls about every 1 and 1/2 inch to form cookie bars.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Granny’s Chewy Honey Nut Sliced Cookies
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-P9
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

Advertisements

Honey & Lime Tortilla-Sopapillas

(Becky, the Mama.)

Sometimes the simplest things really are the best.  I call this recipe Vacation Sopapillas because I usually have the ingredients lying around the condo or timeshare.  If I were a person of the camping persuasion (which I am not), I would definitely be cooking these babies up around the campfire, using an iron skillet.  Hopefully, however, I’ll never be forced to do that.  My husband bought me this greeting card, and truer words have never been spoken.

I also call these my Vacation Sopapillas because they are so ridiculously addicting that I don’t allow myself this treat on a regular basis.  So I try to only make them on vacation. Seriously, if you cook these… try to eat just one and let me know if it is humanly possible.

This is a recipe you can throw together with minimum mess in a couple of minutes, just for little ol’ marvelous you.  Since they are best eaten fast and warm, I don’t even try to serve these to a crowd.  This a gift you give to yourself, and maybe, just maybe, one other person who you love very, very much.

The trick is to use uncooked tortillas.  If you’ve never tried them, boy, are you in for a treat.  You’ll never go back the pre-cooked varieties again. The brand I like best is called Tortilla Land (click link for $1.00 off coupon) and typically you find them in the refrigerator section of Costco and sometimes Sam’s or Wal-mart.  If I can’t find this brand of tortillas, however, it seems I can almost always find Guerrero brand (click on link for $1.00 coupon) which are soft semi-cooked tortillas, and they are not refrigerated.  They just hang out on the shelves with the other regular tortillas in almost any major grocery store.  Be sure to look for the yellow packaging (as pictured below); they should look very thin, not quite cooked all the way.

The beautiful thing that happens when these uncooked or semi-cooked tortillas hit a very hot skillet with a little olive oil/butter is that they puff up, very much like a big sopapilla. Only without all the work and the frying.  My favorite version of these tortilla sopapillas is simple.  After cooking I quickly slather it with a little butter, honey, a squeeze of lemon or lime, and light sprinkle of raw sugar.  To eat it – you can tear it up in little pieces; roll it up enchilada style; or cut it in fourths, bending it in half, and eating it the way Italians eat flexible pizza.

For variety, I also like filling the puffy tortillas with sliced bananas that have been gently cooked in a skillet with a little butter and brown sugar. Then I roll it up like a burrito and drizzle with a bit of honey.  Cooked apples with cinnamon and sugar make a fabulous filling as well.  The only limits to this simple recipe is your imagination.

Lime & Honey Tortilla-Sopapillas

Ingredients:

1 raw or semi-cooked tortilla (Tortilla Land brand or Guererra preferred)

1 t. olive oil

2 t. soft butter (vegan butter for Vegans)

2 t. honey

small squeeze fresh lemon or lime

1 t. raw sugar

Instructions:

Put 1 t. olive oil and 1 t. soft butter in a hot skillet, and stir until blended.  Put one uncooked tortilla in the pan. When it puffs up and browns on one side, flip it and brown the other side.

Immediately put tortilla-sopapilla on a plate, spread with butter, then honey, a quick squeeze of fresh lime and a sprinkle of raw sugar.

For banana sopapillas: slice one small banana and put in a skillet with a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Stir just until bananas are warm and absorb butter and sugar.  Proceed as above, only fill the tortilla with warm banana slices, roll like a burrito and serve with a little more honey. Eat with knife and fork.  A dollop of ice cream and sprinkle of cinnamon couldn’t hurt either.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Honey & Lime Tortilla-Sopapillas
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Mz
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Sesame Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce

(Becky, the Mama.)

One of my most-repeated cooking mottos is, “It’s all about the sauce.”  Growing up in Texas, pot luck suppers often provided informal competitions for whose mama made the best Bar-B-Que Sauce or home-made Salsa. My palette was set for big flavors at a young age.  And I am still like a kid when it comes to tasty dipping sauces.

One of my favorite flavor combinations are foods that use the following layers of flavor and texture:  crunchy, spicy, savory, garlicky, tangy and sweet.  A tall order, but I think I may have created the perfect irresistible dish that, as we say in the south, “has it ALL going on, ya’ll.”

These spicy oriental style chicken strips get an extra crisp texture by dipping them in a mixture of egg whites and siracha,  then rolling in seasoned flour and cornstarch before pan-frying in healthy coconut oil. 

And wait until you try this sweet garlicky sauce made with honey, soy and a touch of molasses.  So easy and only has to be heated to a boil then simmered for a minute before serving, but the depth and layers of flavor is amazing.

Move over Colonel,  I think I may have given a whole new defination to finger lickin’ good!

Sesame Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce

 

Serves 3 to 4 people

Ingredients:

½ to 1/3 c coconut oil (may substitute other oil, but this is my favorite)

12 chicken tenders (or breasts cut in 12 tender-sized slices)

2 egg whites

1 T. siracha (or Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce)

½ c. flour

½ c. cornstarch

1 ½  t. Tony’s Cajun Seasoning

1 t. steak or grill seasoning

1 T. sesame seeds (black or white, I used black

For sauce:

½ cup honey

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

3 cloves fresh garlic grated

1 T. vinegar

1 T. molasses

1 T. sweet thai chili sauce

1 T. bourbon (may omit and sauce will still be delicious) 

Directions:

Heat Oven to 250 degrees.

Melt about 1/3 to ½ cup coconut oil in a large skillet, so that there is about ¼ inch of oil in the pan.  Heat to medium high.

Rinse and pat dry a dozen chicken tenders.   Lightly salt and pepper them.  In a side shallow bowl, mix egg whites and siracha sauce.   In another bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, Cajun seasoning, grill seasoning and sesame seeds.

Using long tongs, dip tenders first in egg white mixture and then in dry flour mixture, then carefully in hot oil in skillet, about 6 at a time.   Turn when golden brown and crispy on one side.  Repeat on the other side.  Put the first batch in a warm oven on a cookie sheet while waiting for next set of tenders to cook

In the meantime, in a saucepan, mix all the ingredients listed for the sauce.   Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally, and then simmer for one more minute.  Let cool a bit before pouring into small individual dipping bowls. Serve each person 3-4 chicken tenders about 3 T. of dipping sauce.   We enjoy this meal with brown jasmine rice and colorful stir-fried veggies as a side dish.  Fresh sliced pineapple makes the perfect  dessert.

(Vegan variation: use a vegan chicken-substitute product, extra firm tofu or seitan instead of chicken.  Substitute egg white with a 3 Tablespoons water mixed with 1 T. flax meal.)

 
 

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com

The Title: Sesame Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-L9

© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Roasted Cabbage & Sausage with Honey Balsamic Glaze

Roasted Cabbage, Sausage and Honey Balsamic Glaze

(Becky, the Mama.)

Cooking or contemplating new recipes has always, for me, been the perfect Angst-Free Zone. I started copying and collecting recipes from my mother and grandmother when I was ten or eleven years old, painstakingly printing them by hand and tucking them into my $1.00 dime store metal recipe box. This activity was pure pleasure for me, an escape from summer boredom and a refuge from bad days at school.

With the election and crazy world events of late, there seems to be debates or conflict or pressure to “believe what I believe!” at every turn. The phone rings in the evenings with political calls; TV ads blare about Whose Fault Everything Is; and even Facebook, normally an Angst Free Zone for me, now feels like one of those awkward family conflicts that you happen to walk in on, and can’t wait to escape from.

So it was with a huge grin that I spied this little e-card on a friend’s Facebook page:

That’s me!  I’m just over here in my Angst-Free Kitchen Corner saying, “Hey! I made cabbage!”   Although,  I must say it was really, really great cabbage.  Sliced in thick steak-like slices and slathered with butter and seasoning.  Then served with grilled chicken-apple sausages and drizzled with a honey-balsamic reduction.

Every good hostess knows that the best way to break up an awkward family debate is to divert attention by cooking something that smells amazing, and looks so delicious that all conversation stops, as wordless lip-licking and tummy-rubbing take over.   This is one of those simple, delicious, comforting meals that could possibly bring about World Peace.   At least at your dining table.

Roasted Cabbage & Sausage with Honey Balsamic Glaze

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage

2 T. olive oil

1 T. butter

4 chicken-apple sausage links (I used Johnsonville. Of course you can use any kind of sausage links you like in this recipe. Or for vegans, try Rachel’s favorite vegan sausage: Smoked Apple Sage Field Roast Sausages)

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T. honey

Grill Seasoning or Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice cabbage in 3/4 inch pieces as shown below.

Put olive oil and butter on a large baking sheet, and place  in the oven for a minute until butter melts.  Using a pastry brush, mix the oil and butter together and spread evenly on pan.  Lay the cabbage pieces on the buttered-oiled pan, leaving space between each piece. Dip pastry brush into excess oil-butter surrounding the cabbage slices,  and brush the tops of the cabbage.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper or grill seasoning, lightly.  Put in oven to roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottom turns dark brown in places.  With a wide spatula, turn over, and sprinkle this side with salt and pepper or grill seasoning as well. Return to oven for another 10 to 15 minutes or until as soft as you like it.

In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar,  honey and garlic together and stir over a low flame.  Cut sausages in half, lengthwise and brush the cut sides with some of the balsamic mixture.

Put on oiled grill pan, cut side down and grill until nice dark grill marks appear and sausage is sizzling hot. Turn over and heat the other side.

In the meantime allow the balsamic mixture to continue to simmer (at medium to medium high heat) until it is reduced by half, and syrupy.

Arrange the cabbage slices with two sausage halves on plate as shown in picture. Drizzle both cabbage and sausage,  prettily,  with about a tablespoon of balsamic reduction. Serve.  (I added a little side of chunky hash browns as well in photo below.)

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Roasted Cabbage, Sausage with Honey Balsamic Glaze
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Hg
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Broiled Fresh Peaches with Gorgonzola and Honey

Broiled Peaches with Gorgonzola and Honey

(Becky, the Mama)

So much to learn, so many creative foods and wines to try, so many wonderful chefs, photographers and food bloggers to meet at the Foodista sponsored conference (International Food Bloggers) in Portland last week. I have unpacked my suitcase stuffed with notes and free goodies, but it will take a month to unpack my brain and apply what I’ve learned. Andrew Scrivani, New York Times food photographer, gave us dozens of practical tips I cannot wait to try. (Be sure to click on Andrew’s name if you love food photography. If you aren’t hungry now, you will be soon.) In my photo above, you’ll notice the honey dripping slowly from the honey dipper. Who knew that drips and drops makes food look more tantalizing? Well, now I do. I also know that I probably need to upgrade from my $99.00 hot pink Samsung digital camera to a pricey grown up camera sometime in the near future. Sigh.

Another highlight for me, besides the chance to be with my darlin’ daughter Rachel, adorable grandbaby Jackson, and fabulous editor, Carolyn McCready, was to meet some bloggers and food authors I’ve admired. I had just listened to the audio tape of the book Kitchen Counter Cooking School (dubbed as Michael Pollan meets “What Not to Wear”), loved it and recommended it to many.  How fun to meet Kathleen Flinn, the book’s author, in person.  I’ve written dozens of books, but I still get starstruck when I meet an author-in-the-flesh whose work I admire. Kathleen was gracious, down-to-earth and charming. Be sure to click on her name to get more details about her life and books.

You may wonder if I was able to pull off this fairly new role as “professional food blogger” without being detected as the messy, clutzy amateur cook that I actually am. In two words: not really.

I’m not a fan of mingling, so I took a deep breath to suck in all the courage in the air, then entered the huge, elegant wine tasting party bustling with eager bloggers. Pausing near the door, I bravely introduce myself to a cheerful foodie. We exchanged business cards, just before someone informed me I was leaning on the light switches and had turned off all the lights in the room. I smiled weakly, and headed straight for a table of pinot noir, sipped a bit too eagerly, and began to choke so badly that I had to exit the room to the hallway to finish my coughing fit in private. When I looked up, there were two friendly and colorful conferees there, both offering to give me the Heimlich should I need it. Serendipitously, they turned out to be two of my favorite people at the conference. Some people, I hear, gracefully meet and greet their way around a room full of new people. I found that turning off all the lights, then choking and running out in the hallway also works as an attention-getting alternative.

The last evening of the conference was a Farm to Table dinner where beautiful local fresh food was served up on elegant platters, family style, around tables of eight. The food and the company were both amazing.

Pretty Vegan Appetizer of risotto, white asparagus, beets and pesto

Me, Rachel & Carolyn ready to dig in to the Farm to Table Meal at International Food Bloggers Conference

Here’s a peek at the menu.

My favorite was the grilled yellow watermelon and the buttery blackberry shortcake.

Inspired by the simple but flavorful use of fresh local fruits and cheeses and honeys, I came home and invented this easy, elegant sweet-savory recipe using tree-ripened peaches (broiled with just a touch of butter and sprinkle of brown sugar and sea salt), soft pungent Gorgonzola and silky sweet honey. It makes for a pretty appetizer or dessert, especially tasty on a summer eve with a glass of wine.

And you know that if this clutzy cook can make this dish – anyone can!

This is Jackson, exhausted after 5 days of food, fun and family in Portland. His mother and I felt the very same way!

The Littlest Foodie of the Family, Worn Out from All the Fun!

Broiled Peaches with Gorgonzola and Honey

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 fresh peaches, cut in half, pitted

1 oz. soft Gorgonzola or blue cheese

2 t. butter

Pinch sea salt

Pinch brown sugar

3 T. honey

Directions:

Put Oven on Broil.

Place peaches cut side up in a square Pyrex pan.  Put 1/2 t. butter in peach pit indention.  Sprinkle tops of peaches with tiny pinch of salt and sugar.  Broil the peaches about 4 inches from heat source until the tops turn golden brown in spots.  Serve each person two peaches, pour any juices in pan over them. Dot the tops of the peaches with soft crumbles of Gorgonzola or blue cheese.  Drizzle peaches evenly with honey.

Vegan Option: Substitute  Earth Balance for butter and  finely chopped cashews for cheese.

Other Options:  Try this method with other juicy fruits (apricots, pineapple, plums) and other soft or crumbly cheeses.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com

The Title: Broiled Fresh Peaches with Gorgonzola and Honey

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-EN

© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Avocado Mango Jicama “Cocktail” Salad

What would you do if given the gift of one uninterrupted day, a day where your kids, your husband, your friends and your boss gave your their blessing to walk away and create your own perfect 12 hours?  A day to refill your soul?

Some seasons of my life are busier than others and the last two months has been filled to overflowing with people, appointments and a list of “to-dos” that seemed endless.  Seeing his wife was in a state of overwhelm,  Greg hugged me on Friday night and said, “Honey, tomorrow I want you to take the whole Saturday  just do anything you want at any given minute, all day long. Don’t worry about a thing.  I’ll even make my own meals.”

It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard anyone say.  (True to his word, Greg made his own lunch: two pieces of leftover corn on the cob, a piece of leftover blueberry pie and some leftover salad.  Yes, he missed the protein food group, but it was a great improvement over his usual “bachelor diet” when I am away: potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and cereal.)

Saturday dawned with the song “Saturday in the Park” playing in my mind, and the line, “I’ve been waiting such a long time, for Sat-ur-day” echoing again and again.  The feeling of unencumbered space stretched out for the next 12 hours left me near euphoric.

I spent the day writing on our new book in uninterrupted bliss at Denver’s famous Tattered Cover Bookstore, then lunched and wrote some more at The Corner Bakery, over-looking a gorgeous outline of the Rocky Mountains.  When I walked in the house that evening there was a vase of sunny yellow flowers and a loving card from Greg, “Just because.”  I wrote in my Facebook status:  I feel like a wilted flower that has been put in the fresh water of creative work, healing solitude, and the benevolent blessing of a good man who wants little in this life but for me to be happy.  I may yet live!

After I opened the card, Greg and I went to the back porch for our Summertime Happy Hour, a ritual we started in early June to make sure we have a little time to connect before dinner.  One of the things that centenarians the world over have in common is “joyful rituals.” This has become one of our favorites.  I made us clementine mojitos using the mint from my herb garden,  perfectly refreshing.

The day of rest and writing left me infused with creative energy as I cooked supper a little later.   I grabbed a crisp jicama, a vine-ripe tomato, an avocado and a mango out of the crisper.  In my mind’s eye I saw this recipe appear: a pretty salad of orange, green and red nestled in a bed of white grated jicama, drizzled with a fresh lime dressing and served in margarita glasses.  It would be  our “salad course.”   Let me tell you, it  was every bit as tasty as it is beautiful! So cold and refreshing after a 100 degree summer day.

I am delighted to share this recipe  with you,  along with encouragement to take time out for “Fill the Well Day” for your body, mind and soul as soon as you can!

Becky’s Avocado Mango Jicima “Cocktail” Salad

Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups peeled, grated fresh jicama

1 avocado

1 fresh tomato

1 fresh mango

1 T. chopped cilantro or parsley or mint

2 T. chopped green onion

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 t. salt

4 t. honey

4 T. crushed corn or tortilla chips

Cajun seasoning or Tajin chili-lime seasoning to sprinkle on top

Lime slices for garnish

Tajin seasoning: a delightful blend of lime, salt, and chili pepper. Wonderful on this dish!

The flavors of jicama, tomato, mango, green onion and lime blend beautifully

Directions:

Place 1/2 cup grated jicama in each of 4 margarita glasses or pretty glass bowls to create a white “nest.”   Mix avocado, tomato, mango, herb of your choice and green onion together in a bowl and gently toss.  Place this mixture on top of the grated jicama, dividing evenly in to the four glasses.  In a small bowl mix the dressing of lime juice, salt and honey.  Drizzle evenly over each of the salads.  Top each salad with 1 T. crushed chips and a nice sprinkling of Cajun or Tajin seasoning.  Serve with long teaspoons if you have them and put a slice of lime on each rim.  Have guests stir and toss their salads once they are served to make sure everything gets coated with the lime dressing.