As usual, this will be updated throughout the month with new dishes. You can see previous months’ cooking notes by clicking on the “Cooking Notes” link in the righthand column.
- Almond Cake – Rich delicate almond cake made with feathery light egg whites, filled with heated and pureed apricot preserves and glazed with chocolate. The recipe comes from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters (“Mrs. Fleisher’s Almond Cake”) and tastes like something you’d eat in a Viennese coffee house after an evening at the Staatsoper.
- Boston Cream Cupcakes – Yellow cake cupcakes with Boston Cream filling piped into the middle, and rich chocolate ganache frosting on top. This is a Paula Dean recipe. I’m not usually a fan of her cookbooks since they tend to follow a “can of this, box of that” theme rather than using fresh ingredients, but a coworker in San Antonio used to make these and got me (and the rest of the office) thoroughly addicted. They’re a reliable crowd favorite and flew off the trays at Sunday night Bible study.
- Chocolate Pots de Creme – This is a recipe I clipped out of an old Martha Stewart magazine. Rich chocolate batter baked into thick custardy goodness and topped with whipped cream. I pull this recipe out when I need a special dessert that’s gluten free. What exactly constitutes a pot de creme is a nebulous gray area – Martha Stewart alone seems to have half a dozen different recipes for the same thing.
- Artisan Bread – basic recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Two loaves went to a church potluck, and dough for one more loaf is sitting in the fridge.
- Raisin Oat Bars – These weren’t quite what I’d expected. Unlike normal raisin cookies the recipe didn’t call for any spices, so the primary flavors were butter and sugar. They fulfilled the promise of being fast and easy, though I found they were still raw at 20 minutes and needed ten more minutes in the oven than the recipe called for. Personally I still prefer the spice-laden flavor of normal raisin cookies, but these were fun to try.
- Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce – Apparently I’m on a Pioneer Woman kick this month. I can’t help it – I get hungry every time I open her website. I’d frozen leftover seasoned ground meat from last month’s Natchitoches Meat Pies, so I substituted that for the ground Italian sausage in the recipe. Delicious. After years of not really liking pasta I finally figured out in college that I actually DO like pasta – I just prefer it stuffed with cheese and baked. Lasagna, manicotti, baked ziti, stuffed shells…we get along just fine.
- Potato, Tomato, and Cheese omelette – Omelettes are the best for using up veggie odds and ends.
- Broiled ham, tomato and cheese open-faced sandwiches – An old delicious standby.
- Crispy Asian Chicken – My favorite way to make chicken – tender flavorful meat, and delicious sauce spooned over rice. A friend brought a salad over, and the meal was complete. I have to ration my Tamari soy sauce carefully since it’s not available in our backwoods corner of the world.
- Macaroni and Cheese – I thought I’d try making this from scratch for once. Fail. Next time I’ll try following an actual recipe.
- Cauliflower Soup – Delicious! I like The Pioneer Woman’s trick of putting a spoonful of sour cream in the serving bowl and pouring hot soup over it and will be reusing it for other soups. It’s been a challenge using up fruits and veggies before they go bad with Carl gone. Some things like celery and green onions can’t be bought in smaller amounts than the standard grocery store bunch. My new challenge is figuring out series of dishes that use the same ingredients but don’t taste alike.
- Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and green onions – Chopped up, tossed together with seasonings and olive oil, and served with slices of fresh homemade bread.
- German potato pancakes with fresh applesauce – Potato pancakes are the perfect comfort food. There was a large sack of apples in the fridge starting to go soft, so I made applesauce my favorite way: peel and core 8-10 apples, toss with 2 Tbsp lemon juice, cook on high in the slow cooker for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Mash. Taste and add a little sugar if needed. Couldn’t be easier or tastier.