Thursday, May 24, 2012

Old Fashion Blackberry Cobbler

One of my dear high school friends from Alabama asked for a recipe for Blackberry Cobbler. I wish I could say, "Yes, I have my grandmother's recipe that I learned at her knee." But, truth is, I don't! Oh, what I wouldn't give to turn back time and write down the recipe. Grandmother lived to be 102 and I sat her down at about age 94 and recorded her telling about my Daddy when he was a little boy and how she and my grandaddy met. But, I did not ask about cooking. WHAT was I thinking????

This recipe is very similiar to hers and a little different from THE one everyone else makes. Everyone has the "old fashion Dump Pie" recipe ... a cup of fruit, one of self-rising flour, one of sugar, one of milk and a stick of melted butter. But, not everyone has this recipe! When you bake it, be assured that my grandmother is watching over you.  (And remember, this is NOT meant to be pretty, just good!)

Old Fashioned Blackberry Cobbler

 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
 2 tablespoons sugar
 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
 ½ teaspoon salt
 5 tablespoons very cold butter, cut in small pieces
 1/2 cup milk

 Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture with two knives or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add milk and mix only until dough sticks together. Gently knead a few times to bring dough together. Dust with flour. Roll or pat out dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips for lattice, or roll into small, slightly flattened balls to be placed on top of fruit.

 6 cups fresh blackberries (or blueberries)
 1/2 to 1 cup sugar
 2 tablespoons cornstarch
 1 teaspoon grated lime zest, optional
Wash berries and pat dry. Combine sugar, cornstarch and lime zest; mix with berries.

Preheat oven to 375. Spread fruit mixture evenly in baking dish. Cover with biscuit mixture. Sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake until the top is golden brown and the fruit juices are slightly thickened, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with whipped cream, chilled heavy cream or ice cream.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Riley Family Cookbook and Hash Brown Casserole

Today was THE day! The Riley Family Cookbook arrived! It's been a "labor of love" and I'm so happy to have it printed and in my hands for the family reunion in KY next week. The 240 recipes are from cousins and their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers... etc. Some are really old. Some are not so old. There is great variety in the book; recipes range from Chocolate Gravy (seriously!) to Red Eye Gravy. Our family loves Banana Pudding (more on that in the intro to the book), homemade rolls, pies (of all kinds), lasagna and more! You have to know that I left the recipe instructions just as they were submitted. At first, I went along "cleaning them up" and putting them into a certain format. But, I realized that I was losing the "voice" of the cooks. So, some of them may sound odd and some of the instructions ramble (we are talkers!) but you can still figure them out without a problem.

Following is the introduction to the book and a sample recipe. If you're truly interested and would like a copy, I have extras. The cost is $10 plus shipping. Just send me an e-mail to order

Introduction to The Riley Family Cookbook: Recipes and Remembrances

As a little girl, my summers were spent standing in a ladder back chair at my grandmother’s side. We rolled dough across her large wooden biscuit board that was stretched across the wooden chest-like “flour stand”. In the depths below I could just barely reach the big bags of flour and the tall can of lard. When the dinner rolls were in the pan and set aside to rise, I got to “play” with the remaining dough rolling it and shaping it until it was dirty! We picked blackberries in the morning sun until we both had purple stains on our faces and hands. Then grandmother (Aunt Lizzie to many of you.) worked her magic and made them into a deep dish cobbler with layers of dumplings and sweetened juices that bubbled over the sides of the enamel pan. The top crust was sprinkled with sugar and as brown as my summer tan.

When company came (family from Bowling Green and other faraway places) a spread was laid out with fresh vegetables from the garden, Granddaddy’s (Uncle Leo to many of you.) smoked ham, pans of rolls the size of small footballs and always Banana Pudding. After dinner (never lunch, always midday dinner) a white tablecloth was spread over the food on the table in case anyone needed a snack later. The adults sat in chairs under the spread of the big oak tree and I sat under the dining room table stuffing myself with more Banana Pudding! When we made trips to visit family, it was always the same (except for me sitting under the table!).

 And so, it stands to reason that this collection of recipes came to be. Most of our grandmothers did not cook from recipes but simply went into the kitchen and baked by instinct. Grandmother put a mound of flour on the biscuit board, scooped up some lard and worked it with the tips of her fingers until it felt right then added buttermilk until it was sticky enough but not too wet to roll out. Some of us watched and wrote down how family favorites were made. Some of us just have wonderful memories of the feel, smell, and taste of our grandmother’s cooking. Whichever the case, the recipes in this collection are from family.

Some are old recipes, some are “new” and some are in between. But they are all shared with the love of good food and family in mind.

Hash Brown Casserole                                                 Teresa Garmon

1 (2-lb) bag frozen hash browns
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 (10-oz.) bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 lrg carton sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 stick margarine, melted

Mix all together. Put in a 3-quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 mintues.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Creamy Fruit Dip

Have you tried Pinterest? I am addicted! At least 3 times a week, I search for new recipes, gardening hints (did you know vinegar kills weeds?), travel ideas, things for the grands and beautiful ideas for the house.This is one of things I found on Pinterest and I just have to share it quickly. You're going to LOVE it;I promise. It is addictive! Don't forget the fruit - no eating this with a spoon!!

Creamy Fruit Dip
1( 8oz)  pkg cream cheese, softened
1 (7oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup powdered sugar,optional

Mix all ingredients until combined. Serve with fruit!!!

Note: try it with strawberry cream cheese

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Orignal Toll House (Chocolate Chip) Cookies

I had a craving yesterday for really good, chewy chocolate chip cookies. Toll House cookies are my favorite! Do you know the story of how they came to be? This is really interesting....

In 1709 , a toll house was built midway between Boston and New Bedford at Whitman, Mass. Coaches stopped to have refreshment, to change horses and to pay a toll. In 1930, Mrs. Ruth Wakefield and her husband (Mr. Wakefield) converted the house into an inn; it became famous for its food. One day, Mrs. Wakefield chopped up a chocolate bar and added it to a colonial cookie recipe, assuming it would melt. It didn't. Her customers loved the cookies. Nestle introduced chocolate chips in 1939 and, with Mrs. Wakefield's permission, put her recipe on the package.

 NOW you know the story.... and of course, I'm going to share the Toll House Cookie recipe!

I usually double the recipe (I have a Kitchen Aid mixer that will handle all the dough easily!). Make the dough in time to refrigerate it at least a few hours (overnight is best) especially if you like soft, chewy cookies. Since I double the recipe, I use one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and one of Ghiradelli 60% chocolate (dark and dense). Add nuts, if you wish. Either chopped pecans (lightly toasted) or walnuts. You can bake all the dough, or refrigerate the dough and bake cookies over several days (especially if you like soft, warm, gooey cookies), or shape the dough into balls and freeze. Then you can thaw out a few (or just one - seriously?) and bake only that amount. I usually shape the dough with a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon!

Original Toll House Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and Crisco in large bowl of electric mixer; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Combine flour, soda and salt in a small mixing bowl. Gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring well.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. CHILL.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. (If you like really chewy, gooey cookies, slightly underbake.) Cool slightly on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks and cool completely.  Yield: 8 dozen, depending on size!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

This recipe is "adapted" or borrowed (or stolen) from a couple of sources, which tells me it must be good! I love the flavor combinations, so I believe this is definitely a keeper.You could serve it with pasta tossed with olive oil and lemon juice and roasted or steamed broccoli (as pictured). I'll bet leftovers would make a great panini.

It dawned on me today that I need to get to the garden center for basil and other herbs to grow in pots on my porch/deck. Last summer, I placed a huge pot of basil and one of cilantro in the "flower bed" (I use that term lightly!) by the front door. Either is just a step away from my kitchen. The sage is blooming and growing this year already. I have a HUGE rosemary bush that began as a 4-inch pot several years ago. Even if I don't cook with them, I love the aroma of fresh herbs in the yard and in the kitchen. Sometimes I cut them and put them in a vase on the kitchen counter just to smell them. And usually, that inspires me to cook with them sooner or later!

Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Adapted from Allrecipes and The Girl Who Ate Everything blog

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dry Italian bread crumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic (1/2 teaspoon minced)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place milk and bread crumbs in separate, shallow bowls. Make sure the chicken breasts are thin. Either slice each breast in half horizontally or pound them with a meat mallet to ¼-inch thickness.

Heat butter in a large skillet. Dip chicken in milk, then coat with crumbs. Cook chicken in butter, turning once, until juices run clear (about 10 minutes). Remove and keep warm.

Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; stir to loosen browned bits.Stir in cream and sun-dried tomatoes; boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat.  Add Parmesan cheese, basil and pepper. Stir sauce and cook until heated through. For a thicker sauce cook it longer. Serve chicken topped with sauce.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doesn't this picture bring back memories? Daddy wanted expected dessert after every meal. He would say, "Just a bite of something sweet...." which meant cake, pie or other dessert (or butter, syrup and biscuits). This was one of mama's standby desserts that she could whip up in a flash! One of mama's favorite sayings was "Awww... I could whip that up before breakfast!" (meaning No Problem for her!)

Pineapple Upside- Down Cake is best baked in an iron skillet and eaten warm from the oven while the pineapple is soft, the cake moist and the brown sugar a little crunchy. But, leftovers were never turned down at our house, either! You could easily use a one layer cake mix (Jiffy) for the cake base and bake it in a 2-inch deep cake pan. Or make the cake from scratch. Either way, this old fashion dessert is sure to be a family favorite.

Pineapple Upside-down Cake
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (8-oz.) can sliced pineapple, drained
9 Maraschino cherries, drained
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour melted butter in bottom of pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over butter and press into butter until sugar is moist. Arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar and cherries around pineapple slices.

Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Combine flour and salt; add to egg yolk mixture with water, stirring well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Spoon batter evenly over pineapple slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool 30 minutes in pan, then invert pan over a serving dish.