Friday, September 28, 2012

Peach Pie Cookies

To download a copy of the recipe for Peach Pie Cookies, click HERE.

Real food is all well and good, but every so often a person has to have cookies. With that in mind, this week’s recipe for Peach Pie Cookies makes a soft, peach flavored cookie, seasoned similar to peach pie, bakes them into a miniature pie shape, and tops it with peach-flavored icing made to look like a lattice top. (These cookies are not only delicious; they’re fun to make and to eat!)

This recipe makes about 30 cookies. (The number you get will vary with exactly how you spoon out the cookie dough.)

We'll start by making the peach puree.

In a saucepan, combine the juice of one lemon, 2 Tbsp water, and a 28 ounce can of sliced peaches (well drained but not rinsed) over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.

Simmer until the peaches have broken down to a sauce consistency, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Mash the peach flesh with a spoon or masher if necessary.) This should make about 1 cup of peach puree.

Place the puree in a separate container and let cool a little in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Next, we'll make the cookie dough.

In a medium size bowl, mix ¼ cup of granulated sugar, ¼ cup of light brown sugar, and 6 Tbsp of softened butter substitute together until combined and creamy.

Stir in ½ tsp of vanilla and ¾ cup of the peach puree, reserving the remaining puree.

Sift 1 cup of all-purpose flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg into the mixture, and stir to combine.

To bake the cookies:

Drop a heaping teaspoon of the mixture into each cup of a medium-size (12 cup/pan) muffin pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. (You can also drop them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon baking sheet, but it’s the muffin tin that gives the cookie its pie-like shape.)

Bake the cookies until golden and the edges are browned, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely before applying the glaze as described below.

To glaze the cookies:
While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze by combining 1 Tbsp of the reserved peach puree and 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar until thick (but spreadable) and smooth. It’s ok to use a little more of the puree if necessary, but make sure the glaze remains thick; if the glaze is too thin, it will tend to soak into the cookies.

After the cookies have cooled completely, apply the glaze and wait 30 minutes for the glaze to get firm. (As an added touch, you can apply the glaze in a lattice-top pattern!)

To download a copy of the recipe for Peach Pie Cookies, click HERE.

I hope you’ll make and enjoy these delicious, and slightly unusual, cookies. And that you’ll visit again next week for another recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sausage and Pepper Sauce with Breaded Turkey Cutlets

To download a copy of the recipe for Sausage and Pepper Sauce, click HERE. For the breaded turkey cutlets recipe, click HERE

What is Sausage and Pepper Sauce, and why are we using a sauce made with one meat as a topping for another meat? Good questions. Here are the answers.

Sausage and Pepper Sauce is a nice change from the usual tomato sauce. It’s a savory red sauce, but instead of being made from tomatoes, it’s made from freshly roasted red peppers that have been pureed, seasoned, and combined with browned sausage meat. (Some tomatoes are used, but the flavor of the sauce is really defined by the roasted red peppers and the sausage meat.) It’s simple to make, and ideal anywhere you’d usually use tomato sauce.

Why turkey cutlets? The idea of using meat as a condiment, either on vegetables or on other meats, is one that has been around a long time, and that has gained new traction in recent years after Chef Michael Symon began to champion it.) Sausage, with its deeply seasoned flavor, seems a natural choice to be used this way. Even if you put it on more traditional dishes like pasta, however, this is a sauce you will be very glad to have in your arsenal.

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin:
  • This recipe makes more sauce than you’re likely to need for any one dinner. Homemade sauce is one of those things it’s just as easy to make more of than less, so make the extra and save it to use with another meal.
  • I usually roast red peppers on the stove top. That’s fine for one, or perhaps two, peppers. In this case I roasted three peppers, so the stove top would have been cumbersome. As described in the recipe, in this case I used the oven broiler.
  • In the photos, you’ll see the sauced cutlets served with rice and baked zucchini sticks. Needless to say, feel free to serve them with whatever sides you like.
This recipe makes one quart of sauce (about twice what you’ll need), and four breaded cutlets.

First, we’ll marinate our cutlets.

To make the marinade, combine 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar; ¼ tsp salt; ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper; and 1 Tbsp fresh thyme in a bowl. Whisk in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Place four turkey cutlets in a sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Let the cutlets marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, turning occasionally.

When the cutlets are almost finished marinating, begin making the sauce. First, we’ll roast our red peppers. Set the oven on broil, and prepare the peppers as follows.

Remove the tops, bottoms and cores from three red bell peppers. CCut into quarters; remove any remaining seeds; and trim away the ribs.

Place the peppers, skin side up, on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

Broil for several minutes until the skins of the peppers are blackened. (Be sure to keep an eye on them. You’re looking to blacken the skin, not cremate your peppers!)

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, Wrap the blackened peppers in the foil and set aside while the peppers steam and gradually cool a bit.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the blackened skins.

Cut the pepper flesh into pieces and set aside.

Next, we’ll cook the sausage.

Remove one pound of sausage meat from the casings.

In a non-stick pan, cook the sausage till well browned, breaking any large pieces up into small pieces as it cooks. Set the cooked sausage aside.

Now it’s time to cook the remaining sauce ingredients.

Add a little olive oil to the sausage pan. Add 1 medium chopped onion and cook until translucent.


Add ¼ tsp red pepper flakes; 2 chopped garlic cloves; ½ cup chopped fresh basil; ½ Tbsp chopped fresh oregano; 1 tsp chopped fresh mint; and 15 ounce can diced tomatoes. Cook for another two minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, and the chopped roasted red peppers.

In a blender or food processor, or in a bowl using an immersion blender, puree the pepper mixture.

Add the cooked sausage to the pureed pepper mixture, stir to combine, and set aside till needed.

To make the turkey cutlets:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Shake the excess marinade from the cutlets. Bread the cutlets by dredging in all-purpose flour, dipping in 2 egg-substitute eggs, and coating with seasoned panko breadcrumbs.

Place the cutlets on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until cooked through and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

To plate:

Place the turkey cutlets and your side dishes on the plate. Top the cutlet with sauce, remembering not to over-sauce the turkey. Serve hot, pausing only long enough to accept compliments from your family and guests!

To download a copy of the recipe for Sausage and Pepper Sauce, click HERE. For the breaded turkey cutlets recipe, click HERE.

All that’s left is to decide what you’ll put the extra sauce on for another special dinner soon!

Looking forward to seeing you here again next week for another tasty, home-style recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Challah Bread Three Ways

To download a copy of the recipe for Challah Bread Three Ways, click HERE.

You no doubt know by now that challah bread has reached far beyond its original Hebrew cultural beginnings and is widely-enjoyed in the mainstream. World over, people who don’t know the difference between nachas and nachos recognize this sweet egg bread as something that is both delicious in its own right, and that one of the best breads anywhere for making French Toast.

As the title suggests, this week’s recipe uses the challah dough in three ways:
  • traditional braided loaf;
  • in a loaf pan for use in making French Toast;
  • with raisins and dried apricots, sweetened with extra honey, and formed into a round shape,  as it is traditionally served for the Jewish New Year. (Imagine a bread pudding made with that!)

You can use the recipe to make two larger loaves or three smaller loaves. I chose to make the three smaller loaves to show each of the three ways listed above. (For that reason, in this batch shown in the photographs below, I added only 1/3 of the raisins, apricots and extra honey to 1/3 of the dough batch since, for demonstration purposes, I was only making one of the challahs round.)

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin:
  • If you’ve never baked bread before, you might be tempted to let yourself be put off by what you’ve heard about how long it takes. I hope to convince you otherwise. While it’s true that there are several hours between the time you break out the flour and the time you take the fresh-baked loaves out of the oven, almost all of that is inactive time: the dough is doing the work while you’re going about your day.
  • Although honey is recommended, sugar may be used instead.
  • If you’ve never braided, it’s not hard to do. You can find many explanations on line. One  excellent source of braiding methods can be found at (It’s a hair-braiding article, but the method is applicable to challah also.)

As noted, this recipe makes 2 larger loaves or 3 smaller loaves.

We’ll start by preparing the yeast mixture:

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine 2 packets of yeast, 1/3 cup warm (110 degree) water, and 1 Tbsp honey. Set aside for a few minutes while continuing with the next steps.

To make the dough:

In a large bowl (such as the bowl of a stand mixer), combine ½ cup of olive oil, ½ cup of honey (use ¾ cup if you’re making the round New Year challah), and 1 Tbsp salt. Add 1-1/2 cups of warm (110 degree) water to the bowl and stir until all is dissolved.

By now the yeast mixture should be foamy.

Add the yeast mixture to the large bowl, along with 3 cups of all-purpose flour and three egg-substitute eggs. (If you’re making the round New Year challah, add ¼ cup of raisins and ¼ cup of chopped, dried apricots also.)

Mix to combine.

Add 4 additional cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. (Be mindful of mixer speed so that flour does not fly out of the bowl!)

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. (If using a stand mixer, you can knead the dough using the dough hook.)

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for two hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down. Turn in onto a floured surface and knead for another minute.

Divide the dough into two or three equal portions, depending on whether you’re making two larger loaves or three smaller loaves.

Here’s where we form the different loaf types. If you’re making a traditional braided challah:

Cut off 1/3 of the dough portion.

Cut the 2/3 portion into three equal parts and roll each into a snake.

Braid the three larger snakes.

Cut the 1/3 portion into three equal parts and roll each into a snake the same length as the larger snakes. Braid the three smaller snakes.

Place the smaller braid on top of the larger braid, and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicon sheet.

Making the challah as a loaf for making French Toast is similar to the above, except you're using the entire portion to make and braid only one set of snakes:

Cut the dough portion into three equal parts and roll each into a snake.Braid the snakes, and place the dough into a two pound loaf pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

If you’re making the round, sweetened challah:

Roll the dough portion into a single large, thick snake.

Arrange the snake in a spiral in a round baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Repeat the above for the remaining dough portions.

Next, we'll “bench proof” the loaves:

Regardless of which shape(s) you have chosen to make, cover the formed loaves with plastic wrap and set aside to proof for one hour.

To bake the loaves:

Preheat the oven to to 375 degrees.

Brush the top of each dough gently with a sweet egg wash made by combining one egg-substitute egg, 1 Tbsp water, and ½ Tbsp honey. (If using poppy seeds or sesame seeds, sprinkle them on now.) Bake till well browned, about 35 minutes. Be careful not to let the loaves burn.

Let the loaves cool on racks.

To download a copy of the recipe for Challah Bread Three Ways, click HERE.

So now you can enjoy fresh-baked challah bread, any time you like!

Hope to see you next week for another delicious home-cooked recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Smoked Salmon Quiche Potato Skins with Irish Potato Farls

To download a copy of the recipe for Smoked Salmon Quiche Potato Skins with Irish Potato Farls, click HERE.

Quiche remains one of the great versatile dishes; it’s easy to make, the varieties of filling ingredients you can use are limited only by your imagination, and it serves equally well for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

I guess you can tell I like quiche.

In this week’s recipe, we give quiche a delicious, Irish-inspired twist: Smoked Salmon Quiche Potato Skins. And, for good measure, we’ll use the scooped-out potato flesh to make Irish Potato Farls, a tasty potato pancake that works nicely as a side with the quiche.

A few Cook’s Notes to get us started.
  • You’ll notice that the quiche filling includes some pancake batter ingredients. This is done to lighten the texture of the filling a bit.
  • If any of the potato skins tear while you’re scooping out the inside, don’t worry. Using your fingers, just press some of the soft potato flesh you’ve scooped out onto the tear to patch it. (If you’ve ever spackled nail holes before painting a wall, you’ll have the idea.)
  • Rather than making individual patties as we’ll do in this recipe, farls are normally made as a large patty that is then cut into four wedges. (“Farl” is from the Gaelic fardel, meaning “four parts.”) You can do that here too, if you like.
  • If you have any extra quiche filling, save it. It makes a great frittata!
  • You’ll see some chopped tomatoes and herbs in the background of several of the photos, but that are not mentioned in the recipe. These were for the simple salad I served with the quiche.

This recipe makes 8 half-potatoes quiches. (That’s 4 hearty servings or 8 light-meal servings.) It also makes 6 – 8 farls.

To bake the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pierce four large russet potatoes with a fork several times. Lightly rub the outside of each with some butter substitute.

Bake until the inside is soft and the fork penetrates easily, about 60 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, prepare the quiche filling as described below.

When the potatoes have finished baking, set them aside till they have cooled enough to be handled.

To make the quiche filling:

Prepare ¾ C shredded Irish cheddar cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup fine-diced onion, and 8 ounces of chopped smoked salmon. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the following ingredients together to make a batter:  1 C plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour; 1 tsp baking powder; ¼ tsp salt; 1 Tbsp sugar; 1 egg-substitute egg; ½ C skim milk; and 2 Tbsp melted butter substitute.

In a bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, garlic, onion, and smoked salmon; 2 egg-substitute eggs; ½ C skim milk; ½ tsp salt; a pinch of fresh ground black pepper; 2 Tbsp capers; and 2 tsp dried dill.Whisk in the batter, and set aside until ready to use.

To make the quiches:

When the potatoes have finished baking and have cooled enough to handle, cut each in half length-wise. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the inside of each half-potato, leaving about ¼“ thickness. Reserve the scooped-out potato flesh in a bowl.

Place the potato skins on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon sheet. Fill each with the quiche filling. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the baking sheet half-way, until the filling is firm and a knife or skewer inserted comes out clean. When done, let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

While the quiches are baking, make the farls as described below.

To make the farls:

Combine the scooped out potato flesh with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour; 1-1/2 Tbsp melted butter substitute; 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion; 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary; 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme; ½ Tbsp salt (plus additional to taste); and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper (plus additional to taste). Mix until it has a dough-like consistency, adding a little more flour if necessary. (The batch in the photos required the addition of another ¼ cup of flour; a lot will depend on your potatoes.) Knead the dough lightly for about a minute.

Cut the dough ball into six or eight pieces. Roll or pat each piece out to about ¼” thick.

Place them in batches in a lightly-oil non-stick pan and cook until browned, 3 – 4 minutes per side. As you finish each batch, place the cooked farls on a plate and cover with a clean towel while you cook the others.

When the quiches are farls are ready, serve one or two potato skins and one or two farls on each plate. Garnish the quiches with a bit of dried or fresh parsley. (For a nice added touch, serve a salad on the side. It’s the perfect accompaniment to quiche!)

To download a copy of the recipe for Smoked Salmon Quiche Potato Skins with Irish Potato Farls, click HERE

And there you have it: a lovely (and easy!) Irish-inspired meal that you didn’t even have to wait till St. Patrick’s Day to make. (These reheat pretty well, too, so enjoy any leftovers the next day.)

Please come back next week to enjoy another kitchen-tested recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)