Saturday, December 14, 2013

Three generations of Christmas cookies

My great grandmother started one of my favorite holiday traditions: cutout sugar cookies. 

Over the years I have made thousands of dozens and shared with many friends. It's only fair to share the recipe as it is the best I've ever tasted as well.

Zella Abbot's Sugar Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks softened) unsalted butter
1.5 cups powdered sugar
2.5 cups flour
2 tablespoon almond flavoring
1 egg
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix all ingredients, refridgerate dough overnight in airtight container. Freeze rolling pin, roll out dough with flour. Bake 10 minutes (no longer) at 350 degrees. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

Basic Frosting 
1 stick butter
1 pound powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla

Happy decorating, and may this recipe bring as much joy to you as it has to me!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Souper Fall leads off with Tomato Bisque

Cost analysis: Campbell's Tomato costs somewhere in the
neighborhood of $.80-1.59 / can. My soup is about $5.60
and works out to about $.46 / bowl for 12. Tasty.
I hate soup in a can.

Soup is one of the easiest things to make and unlike many other leftovers, appreciates as it lives in the fridge. I look forward to soup.

I don't have much time for cooking these days and the plants-only plan waned into a high time for lean proteins in our house over the past 18 months, but I like sharing recipes, so I will revive this forum this fall.

I took my recipe inspiration from a Pinterest post, but I freely experiment with recipes (sometimes with interesting results).

The two things I always try to do: learn something to make the recipe better (in the case of my cherry-banana-oatmeal muffins yesterday, almond flour alone is not a good substitute when you have too many wet ingredients). Also, I never create something new when people are coming over for dinner (I don't have enough frozen homemade-somethings to pull out and heat up as a backup).

Soup's on:

Use a food processor to finely chop these together:
Two handfuls of washed baby carrots
3 large celery stalks (leaves and end of stems removed)
1 large white onion

In a large pot on high heat, melt 1 T butter and cook vegetables, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add 1 T oregano and 1 T basil (I used a few cubes of basil I had chopped and frozen with water in an ice cube tray, which is a good way to preserve fresh herbs) and pepper to your taste. I used three pinches. I did not add salt because I used canned tomatoes.

Add 4 T flour and, using a wooden spoon to keep the ingredients moving around, create and cook a roux.

When slightly browned and thick, pour in 2.5 cups of milk (or cream if you like - I used 1 percent), 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or make your own) and two 24-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (or make your own by cooking down into sauce any kind of fresh tomatoes). I also added one-half a can of water from each can to get all the crushed tomato into the soup. You could use another can of tomatoes and still get the proper consistency without adding water.

Cook your soup to a rolling boil, stirring often to make sure the roux was moved off the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low for 20 minutes.

If you like, stir in up to 1 cup of freshly-grated parmesan cheese (the original recipe called for it - but I did not have any on hand).

The soup can be eaten immediately and makes 10-12 servings.