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 November, 2012
Posted: November 23rd, 2012

Thanksgiving leftovers will probably tide you over today. Or even tomorrow. But sooner or later you'll be craving something else. Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce from Allrecipes.com caught my eye.

I hope everyone had a great meal yesterday. Loyal readers made the list of things I’m thankful for.

Also, big props for tuning in today while others run each other over on their way to the cheap TVs.

I was done with squash. Really done. I kind of overdid it on the butternut variety back in September and October. I couldn’t face the leftovers of one of the soups I made and really haven’t had the taste for it since.
But this recipe for Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce has reeled me back in. It’s vaguely seasonal, but timeless, too. Meatless, but you could definitely toss it with some diced roast turkey if you have any of that lying around.
I have an aging butternut squash sitting on the counter at home. Now that I have this idea, it won’t last the weekend.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 21st, 2012

Enter and you may receive.

First of all: Marnie Mead and I are doing a Thanksgiving cooking live chat on GoErie.com from noon until 1. If you miss it, you can read through it later at your convenience. I’m giving thanks for all of you.

Now, to the business at hand:

I know, I know. None of you have time to read this today, as you’re buried in Thanksgiving preparations, and/or black Friday ads.

But I appreciate those who did cut me a slice of your attention today. Thanks especially to all those who entered the drawing for “Cooking With Love,” by Carla Hall. The winner is Mark Roman. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Mark Roman, you are welcome to enter the drawing for “America’s Best Pies: Nearly 200 recipes You’ll Love,” from the American Pie Council. It’s packed with recipes that have won honors at APC contests over the years.
Luscious-looking ones include Girl Scout Cookie Lemonade Pie, Pina Colada Pie, Blueberry-Cranberry Pie With Pecan Streusel Topping, as well as this soon-to-be-Geisler-Classic Sweet Cider Apple Pie, see recipe below

To enter the drawing, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com
including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want.

I’m also giving thanks for this idea:

2 cups flour
1 cup cake flour
1 cup Crisco
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice water
3 cups sweet apple cider
4 to 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. For the crust, mix all the dry ingredients together and then cut in the Crisco. Beat together egg, vinegar and ice water. Add to thye flour mixture. Mix only until all the flour is moistened. Form dough into a ball. Divide in half. Roll out one half for the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining have for a top crust.
2. For the filling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce the apple cider down to about 1/2 cup. Add the peeled and sliced apples and cook until the apples are about half-way done. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the apples.
3. Pour filling into a pastry-lined pie dish. Add top crust, brush with warm milk and sprinkle with sugar.
4. Bake at 375 to 400 degrees for about an hour or until the crust is a golden brown color.
– “America’s Best Pies,” from the American Pie Council

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 19th, 2012

Why waste calories on plain old white-bread rolls? If you’re going for bread, then go for it. Savory Scones, featuring sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh herbs, might not have made it to the Pilgrims’ table, but, then again, neither did green bean casserole.
These are small enough to qualify as appetizers or gnoshes at your table.
It’s from a new neat-looking cookbook, "Tiny Food Party!" by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park.
Keep these little guys in mind for taking to parties or filling up your own buffet.
The best use of them, though, would probably be as an accompaniment to tomato soup, in the likely event that you’re sick of turkey, etc., by the end of this weekend.
To dress up the classic canned soup, add roasted garlic and bacon pieces.
To roast garlic, buy a head. Slice off the top to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap it in foil and place in a muffin tin. Roast at 400 for half an hour or so. When it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves out of the papery skin. Use a couple of them in the soup, three if they’re small.
What’s left, refrigerate. You can spread it on bread like butter anytime.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut butter into the flour mixture until it is completely incorporated and mixture has a fine, mealy texture. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, herbs and pepper and stir to combine. Fold in buttermilk and stir just until dough comes together.
3. Divide dough into 4 disks. Cut each disk into 6 wedges. Place wedges onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Lightly brush the top of each wedge with heavy cream and bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until scones puff up and the tops just start to brown. Serve warm
Makes 24 scones
– “Tiny Food Party!” by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 15th, 2012

Sorry I failed to show up yesterday. I was trapped under something heavy. Thanks for entering the drawing for “How to Build A Better Pie,” by Millicent Souris. The winner is Marilyn Goss. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Marilyn Goss, you can enter next week’s drawing for “Cooking With Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You,” by Carla Hall.It’s not a fat-fest, but a nice collection of time-tested and beloved dishes with a twist or two. A couple that jumped out at me were Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw, Groundnut Stew, and Matthew’s Chicken Curry, see below.

To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com , including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want.

For those of you just here for the food, this dish looks fabulous.

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola or other neutral oil
l2 large yellow onions, very thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chicken stock or water
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
Toasted cashews for garnish
Cilantro for garnish
Steamed green peas, for serving
Cooked basmati rice, for serving

1. Put the chicken breast chunks in one bowl and the thighs in another. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt and pepper. Divide between the bowls of chicken and turn the chicken pieces to evenly coat. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thigh chunks in a single layer and cook, turning the pieces occasionally, until nice and browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another tablespoon oil and the chicken breast chunks, transferring them to another plate. You just want to sear the chicken, not cook it through.
3. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions and chile. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden and melted, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the stock, stirring in the beautiful browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the garlic, ginger, 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and 1/4 cup of the water. Stir well, bring to a simmer, and return the chicken thighs to the skillet. Cook for 20 minutes, then add the chicken breasts. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining coconut milk and water. Cook 5 minutes longer or until stewy.
5. Tops with cashews and cilantro. Serve with plain steamed peas and basmati rice.
– “Cooking With Love,” by Carla Hall

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 12th, 2012

I can't stop thinking about Cranberry Chutney, which has cranberries in it. Like these. These are cranberries.

My favorite Thanksgiving recipe of all time is Cranberry Chutney. It’s sweet, tangy, bold and beautiful.
The first time I made it, for a Loaves & Dishes column in 2003, my husband, and my sister- and mother-in-law, and I all fell deeply, madly in love with it.
I hate to push the season, I’m getting into the holiday spirit and I can’t wait to make it.
I should try to find something nonThanksgiving, since we’re all deluged by holiday recipes this time of year.
But I can’t think of anything else right now. It’s like enjoying it in advance.
I always make a double batch, because it works three different ways.
1. Pour it room temperature over a brick of cream cheese to spread on crackers as an appetizer.
2. Serve it a little warm at the table, but don’t let it boil. I pour it on just about everything, and forgo the gravy.
3. Chill and spread it on bread as a condiment for leftover turkey sandwiches.
You know, it would even be a great ice cream topping, now that I think about it.
Maybe I’ll make a triple batch this year.

Hint: Turn on the fan and open a window when you stir in the vinegar. My husband and son always whine about the smell. Whatever.

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup peeled, diced apple
1/4 teaspoon each allspice, ginger, cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Combine water and sugar and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Add rest of the ingredients, simmer 10 minutes until berries just begin to split.
3. Pour into a medium glass (or other nonreactive) mixing bowl. Place piece of plastic wrap directly on sauce.
4. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.
Makes 21/2 cups

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 9th, 2012

America's Test Kitchen perfects roasted carrots.

There are two pieces of raw produce I can’t finish, despite how much I love their flavors: apples and carrots.
For some reason, they get stuck in my throat no matter how much I chew. Forcing myself to finish it only prolongs the agony.
Often, I’ll grab an apple anyway, or bring baby-cut carrots to work with my lunch, thinking that somehow this time will be different. It never is.
The odd part is that all of that goes away when they’re cooked. Baked Apples: apple desserts, applesauce, apple butter, all wonderful.
Carrots: Boil until soft in soup, steam them plain for a soft, smooth, slightly sweet vegetable, or roast them, which encourages the sugar to surface and caramelize and deepen their flavor.
I have dozens of carrots in the garden right now. It might be time to dig them up.
Here’s some good advice for making roasted carrots from America's Test Kitchen, where researchers compile the findings reported in "Cooks Illustrated."

Roasted Carrots
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise if necessary to create even pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, combine carrots with butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Transfer carrots to foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in single layer.
2. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook, stirring twice, until carrots are well browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Serves 4 to 6

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 8th, 2012

Shocking revelation: Food writer can't make toast. Plans to make German Apple-Pear Puff Pancakes instead.

Embarrassing confession: I can’t make toast.
We put away our regular toaster in favor of a toaster oven a few years ago. I have not adjusted well.
It has a dial timer, which is useless, and I can’t figure out which heating option, from a list of conventional bake, broil, toast, etc. And no, picking “toast” does nothing to improve my finished product.
I usually wind up having to take the battery out of the smoke detector.
I’d haul out the regular toaster, but, frankly, I never had much luck with that either.
I feel a little like Chuck Knoblach of the Yankees, who all of a sudden late in his career couldn’t throw to second base. I’m not saying I’m a Yankee. I’m saying I should at least know how to make toast.
Despite my ineptitude, I love making hearty breakfasts on Saturday mornings.
That usually consists of simple Bisquick pancakes and bacon, or a frittata of cheese and veggies, and/or an occasional batch of muffins — after another failed attempt at plain old toast.
This weekend, I want to skirt the whole issue with German Apple-Pear Puff Pancakes.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 7th, 2012

"How to Build A Better Pie: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Flaky Crusts, Toppers, and the Things in Between"

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Cooking Italian With the Cake Boss,” by Buddy Valastro. The winner is Julie Miniger. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Julie Miniger, feel free to enter the drawing for "How to Build a Better Pie," by Millicent Souris
To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK, so I don’t get your entry mixed up with any other drawings I have going on.

Well, don’t look now, but Thanksgiving is two weeks away. Two. Weeks.
And pies never shine as brightly as they do on Thanksgiving. Christmas has cookies, Halloween and Easter have candy, Valentine’s Day has chocolate, etc.
But just about everyone tries to leave room for pie after a plate or two of turkey, stuffing, etc.
Apple, pumpkin and pecan pie all vie for a spot on the dessert table, and Souris’ book can help you nail those classics. But you can also find new ideas and twists, and the first 60 pages offer detailed instructions and tricks for the best you’ve ever made.

Feast your eyes on this:
Single pie crust, chilled
1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup bourbon — but not more
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Roll out your chilled pie crust to 1/8-inch thick. It should be about 13 inches in diameter. Place in your pie pan and trim the edges so there is no more than 1/4 inch of overhang. Lift an crimp the overhang along the rim of the pie pan.
2. Prick the bottom and the sides of the crust with a fork to prevent bubbles. Try not to pierce through the crust. If you can, chill your crust in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. If not chill it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. It is important for the crust to be very cold and the fat to re-form and firm up.
3. Pull your pie plate out of the refrigerator and place foil on it. It should sit flush with the plate, come up along the rim, and fold down to cover the edges. This foil protects the crust from overbrowning, but you do not want the foil pressed securely to the edges. Place your baking beans in the bottom and level them out. Put the crust in the oven.
4. Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then pull out the crust, lower your oven to 350 degrees and carefully life the aluminum foil by the edges off your crust with the beans in it. Put your crust back in the oven for 10 minutes. Pull and let cool a bit.
5. Make the filling: Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
6. Melt your butter and let cool. Arrange your nuts on the bottom of the par-baked crust. Whisk together the eggs until homogenized and add the white and brown sugars, then the corn syrups, molasses, bourbon, vanilla melted butter, and salt. Pour the mixture over the nuts and carefully transfer to the oven. The pecans will float.
7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the pie is set. A little wiggle in the middle is all right. The pie will continue cooking as it sites.
8. Let cool at least 1 hour.
“How to Build a Better Pie”
Note: I changed some wording in the recipe.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 6th, 2012

Allrecipes.com to the rescue: Fast, delicious, election-night meal

Pay no attention to those people behind the curtain. They’re just voting.
And from what I’ve heard about turnout, many of them have waited a while in line. Poof! There goes time to make dinner.
Well, how about some heat and eat with a simple spin:
Autumn Spice Ham Steak.

Step one: Vote
Step two: Pick up ingredients: 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 1 (2 pound) ham steak, 1 red apple, cored and thinly sliced, 1 green apple, cored and thinly sliced, 1/2 cup maple flavored pancake syrup, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Step three: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the ham on both sides in the butter until browned. Lay the sliced apple over the ham. Pour the syrup over the apples. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the apples are cooked through.
Step four: Pour a beverage, turn on CNN, and watch the world change before your eyes. Or not.
Just, whatever you do, don’t go hungry. A delicious homemade dinner doesn’t get any easier than this one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 5th, 2012

When life hands you peanut butter cups, make cookies. Photo from allrecipes.com.

Guess the most popular Halloween candy: Ready, set, right. It’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Who doesn’t know this? How on Earth could it be anything else? Is it the color? No. Is it the wrapper? No. Is it just the best candy ever made in the history of the universe? We have a winner.
A bowl of RPBs at my house would last about five seconds. I know. I’ve tried.
This is why I will never be able to make Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
. Ever. I can’t be trusted with unwrapped peanut butter cups. I would be a danger to myself and others.
For those of you who can keep these around long enough to make the batter, this would make excellent use of “leftover” Halloween candy — or RPBs you found at the drug store marked down by 50 percent.
If you’re a masochist, give a gander to this Peanut Butter Cup Cookies Video from Allrecipes.com.

Just for fun, I looked up the most popular Halloween candy, according to www.squidoo.com:
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
Milky Way
Kit Kat
Tootsie Rolls
Candy Corn

Yeah, I know. That wasn’t fair. Sorry. Carry on.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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