Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1885
Archive for October, 2011
Posted: October 31st, 2011

Gingersnaps sighted on an office counter near my head.

Yesterday was one of those days that the kitchen sink was so full of dishes from my projects that I had to wash my hands in the bathroom.
Tuna Noodle Casserole from “Joy of Cooking” was dinner. More on that tomorrow. But Halloween night calls for sweet treats.
I make gingersnaps for my dad at least once every holiday season. We’re having pizza at the ‘rents house tonight before trick-or-treating, and I thought I’d contribute even more ridiculous amounts of sugar into the occasion.
This is one of my favorite cookie recipes, from friend Marlene Trambley.
Probably having to do with my technique, the weather and my oven, sometimes they come out soft. This year they were crisp. Either way is fine with me. Crisp is great for dunking into coffee.
Happy haunting.
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons dried powdered ginger
1 1/2 cups butter-flavored Crisco
2 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses

1. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and ginger in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Mix in molasses.
4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on an insulated baking sheet.
5. Bake each sheet of cookies separately, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand a minute on the sheet and move to a rack to cool completely.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 27th, 2011

This is a little craft from Martha Stewart that I pinned to my board on Pinterest.com.

The clamor for Pinterest.com has reached fever pitch among my circle of crafty cooking friends. I feel like the last to know.
It’s become my newest obsession ( “time suck,” as one friend put it) is like a combination of FaceBook and Twitter where people “Pin” stuff they like on the web and share it with their friends.
It can be a recipe, a craft, a video, art, “products I love,” home decor, clothes, books, music, just about anything. If you see it online and love it, you hit a little button at the top of your toolbar to “Pin it.” The program takes the website and picture and puts it on your “Bulletin Board.” Your friends can see it. You can follow anyone else on the site, and you build followers just like you do with FaceBook friends and Twitter followers.
The items need to have a photo, and you comment on the item before you post it.
If you see something on somebody else’s board that you like, you can “Repin it,” so your followers get a chance to see it, too.
The Food and Drink boards are amazing.
Yes, you could spend hours clicking around, finding people to follow and “Pinning” stuff to your board.
Just today I found Caramel-Coated Marshmallows, Caramelized Pecan Bread, an incredible looking chip dip with caramelized onions and goat cheese.
Check. It. Out.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 26th, 2011

Every Wednesday, as supplies allow, I offer up a cookbook for a random drawing.
Kathy Allen was the winner of last week’s “The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes Second Edition,” by Judith Finlayson.

If you are not Kathy Allen, you are encouraged to throw your name in the hat for “Robin Takes 5,” by Robin Miller, star of “Quick Fix Meals,” on the Food Network. The book offers 500 recipes with 5 ingredients or fewer, 500 calories or fewer, for 5 weeknights at 5 p.m.
If you want the book, give me a high five, and then send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com with your name and mailing address.

By the way, I don’t do anything with that information except send your book. I delete all the entrants’ e-mails every Wednesday.

That said, I would love to invite any food lovers to be part of my Foodie Reader Group. Whenever I’m working on food stories, I like to send out an e-mail to the group asking for their comments and input. For that, all I need is your e-mail. I don’t do anything else with that information either.

So, to sum up, if you want a book, and/or to be part of the Reader Group, drop me an e-mail and give me your 411.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 25th, 2011

I picked, and fell in love with, Ida Red apples last weekend. Crisp, sweet, juicy, just a little tart. Perfection.

At a pumpkin fest last weekend, I was tempted into the adjoining apple orchard for some pick-your-own action. There wasn’t much challenge to it, and we had more than we could carry in about 20 minutes. After consulting with the farmer, I picked Ida Reds, good for baking and snacking, and was instantly smitten. (He said it would be OK to try them out in the field.) The more I ate of that first delicious fruit, the more I wanted to bring home. I left with 18 pounds.
As we drove home, I got fixated on trying to make apple dumplings. I knew they’d be a lot of work, so I left it for Sunday afternoon.
I was right about the work. I don’t know if I’ll ever make them again, but it sure won’t be because of the taste. They were absolutely phenomenal.
I used the recipe from “Joy of Cooking.”
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 single pie crust
6 small apples, about 4 ounces each
1 egg lightly beaten
For the syrup
1 cup water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix dark brown sugar, cinnamon and salt with a fork. Cut in butter until mixed well.
3. Fill the apples with the mixture and pat any remaining mixture on top of the fruit.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the crust into an 18-inch-by-12-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 6 6-inch squares, then roll each square a little larger, into a 7-inch square.
5. Place an apple in the center of each square and bring the corners up around the apple, pinching to seal. Prick the top of the pastry. Place in 11-by-7-inch baking dish and bake 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan whisk syrup ingredients and bring to a boil. Let boil 5 minutes and pour over the dumplings.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 30 to 35 minutes, basting occasionally, until apples are tender.
– adapted from “Joy of Cooking”
Did I do the nutritional numbers? No.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 19th, 2011

You can enter to win my copy of this book by sending an e-mail to Jennie.Geisler@timesnews.com

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the cookbook drawings.
The winner of “Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition,” by Jodi Rhonden, is Beth Pizzuto.
The winner of “50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker,” by Lynn Alley, is Erin Conn.
I’ll mail the books out.
If you are not Beth Pizzuto or Erin Conn, you can enter the drawing to win by “The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, Second Edition,” by Judith Finlayson.
To enter the drawing, send e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com: Please include the title of the book you want, and include your mailing address.
Please understand that this is a random drawing. I (usually) only have one copy of each book to give away.

Good luck!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 18th, 2011

Cracked Wheat Bread will give you an excuse to check out the bulk foods section at the Whole Foods Cooperative.

It’s National Bulk Foods Week, which makes it a good opportunity for me to show off how little I know about it.
I know it refers to foods available in bins equipped with scoops, and you take as much as you need and put it in a bag or tub and pay for it by weight at the cash register.
It’s a great way to buy just how much you need, instead of buying a whole package of something packed for retail, and storing the leftovers in your pantry for the rest of your life.
We have a great source of bulk foods in town at the Whole Foods Cooperative at 1341 W. 26th St. They have dozens of whole grains, spices, sweeteners, nuts, granola and more, available in reusable packages, eliminating the need for plastic, cardboard etc., spent on whole packages at retail.
Now why don’t I know anything about it? Because I always forget to check there before going to the regular supermarket. So I’m telling you to remember for me.
The co-op stocks cracked wheat in bulk. Here’s the scoop. (Sorry, a little bulk foods humor)
Cracked Wheat Bread II

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 17th, 2011

I fought back the weekend's rainy chill armed with a wooden spoon.

To me, 40s and rainy is the worst kind of non-disaster weather. Even 20 degrees and snowing doesn’t leave me as cold and depressed as that inevitable mid-fall (and mid-spring) miserable day.
I fight misery by cooking something, and decided that yesterday was a chicken noodle soup kind of day.
I lacked proper chicken stock, so I kind of improvised by cutting chicken breast meat into 1-inch cubes and cooking them in the soup. I also lacked celery, so I used celery salt. Fresh herbs and carrots from my garden helped, even if did require me to don boots and a jacket to fetch them.
One of my laws, in fact my only law, about making chicken noodle soup is it must contain Kluski noodles. They’re big and fat and hearty, and nothing else compares. I keep them in the pantry for just such an occasion.
That beat back the chills, and steamed up all the windows on the ground floor.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery (I didn’t have any, so I used celery salt in place of some of the table salt.)
4 quarts water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 (16-ounce) bag Kluski noodles

1. Heat olive oil until a drop of water or piece of onion sizzles. Add onion, carrots and celery and saute 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.
2. Add water, chicken and sesonings. Don’t worry too much if the soup looks watery. It’ll thicken as it cooks down and after you add the noodles.
3. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add noodles and bring back to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally 10 to 20 minutes or until noodles are fat.
Serve with crusty French bread

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 12th, 2011

If you want me, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Include your name, address and the name of the book.

Last week I screwed up free-book Wednesday by posting it on Tuesday. Then I couldn’t post it again until Thursday. So free-book Wednesday kind of didn’t really happen.
This might be why no one wrote in looking for my copy of “Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition,” by Jodi Rhoden. It’s a book for committed bakers, but the finished products look like they’re worth the trouble.
I’m also offering up “50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker,” by Lynn Alley. That’s where I got the recipe for Hot and Sour Soup I wrote about in my column Sept. 28.
If you want either book or both, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Give me your name, your mailing address (just so I can send the book. It will not be published) and the name of the book you want.

For those of you who are just here for the food, here’s a recipe I tried on Monday. My husband called it decadent. I tried to defend it by saying it contained pumpkin and walnuts, but he’s right. It probably is kind of decadent.
Pumpkin Muffins
I added a a 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the muffin batter, and a streusel topping from another recipe:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold butter
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Combine sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until it makes coarse crumbs, stir in nuts and sprinkle on top of muffin batter before baking..

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 7th, 2011

Butternut squash, apples, soup, tonight.

I got a hankering about an hour ago for butternut squash soup with apples.
Don’t ask me why my hankering machine came up with something so specific. It might be because I have a squash and a bushel of apples hanging out in my kitchen. It might be because I got a recipe for squash and apple soup at some point and it was holed up in my brain somewhere. It might be because I’ve been reading Rhonda Shember’s columns. Wednesday she wrote about squash. Next Wednesday she’s writing about apples.
What might have tipped the balance was an e-mail I got from The Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program, alerting me to the fact that October is National Apple Month.
They provide some fun numbers:
Hundreds of apple varieties are grown in Pa.
The state produces 440 million pounds of apples a year.
Pa. is the fourth largest apple producer in the country.
35 percent of the apples grown are sold at retail
65 percent are used for processed products, such as canning, juice and cider

All those numbers just made me hungry.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 4th, 2011

This book is for the fearless, experienced baker. I shudder to think what would happen if I tried these recipes. But if you feel up to it, by all means, drop me a line.

Yes, I know it’s Thursday. The book drawings are Wednesday. This post was supposed to go up yesterday. But it didn’t. I was trapped under something heavy.
I figure you’ll like it tomorrow rather than never.

Thanks for all the response to the book drawing last week. “So Sweet! Cookies, Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies and More,” by Sur La Table goes to Carla Gutting.

If you are not Carla Gutting, and would like my copy of “Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition,” by Jodi Rhoden, send me an e-mail with your name, the name of the book and your mailing address. I’ll pick one name and ship the book off to its new home.
I’d include a recipe, but they’re all 800 years long. This book is for serious bakers, or at least those who like looking at food as a work of art.

Here’s a good-looking one from the new “Big Batch of Home Cooking,” from Gooseberry Patch. I might use this book for an upcoming Loaves & Dishes recipe.
1 pound ground beef
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (2.5-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons biscuit baking mix, divided
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped green chiles
1 egg, beaten

1. Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until browned; drain. Stir in corn, tomatoes with juice, olives, 2 tablespoons baking mix, chili powder, cumin and salt.
2. Bring to a boil, and boil stirring frequently, 1 minute. Keep warm over low heat.
3. Stir together remaining baking mix and remaining ingredients until blended. Pour beef mixture into an ungreased 9-inch-by-9-inch baking pan.
4. Spread cornmeal mixture over beef mixture. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden.
Serves 6

Posted in: Uncategorized

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