Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where did all the recipes go?

I know what you have all been thinking... Where did all the recipes go? Honestly, I've been really lazy about posting them so the obvious answer is...

Start another blog!

The idea is to separate all the food stuff from all the other stuff that I write so in 5 years, it will be so much easier for me to publish my James Beard Award winning cookbook and retire as a woman of leisure. Or... so I can put all my recipes in a place where I can make the formatting not suck quite so much without having to toally overhaul my current blog.

And thus, Perfection Salad was born.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Amaretto Pecan Tassies

This was one of my favorite cookies to make as a little girl. When we lived in San Antonio we had a bunch of pecan trees in the yard so any recipe that used pecans was a favorite.



cup butter



cup packed brown sugar


oz. cream cheese



tsp vanilla


cup all-purpose flour


dash salt





cup chopped pecans


tbsp amaretto



Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter and cream cheese until combined. Stir in flour. Chill for 1 hour. Divide dough into 24 balls. Press balls into mini muffin pans and press dough evenly up the sides of each muffin cup.

Beat the egg well. Add brown sugar, amaretto, vanilla, salt and mix just until smooth. Add pecans. Spoon filling into the pastry cups.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Cool in pans on wire racks. Loosen pastry from cups by running a knife around the edges.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spiced Cocoa Snowballs

This is based on a recipe from the December 2009 Penzeys Spices catalog. I added some cinnamon and chili in an attempt to make Aztec snowballs but they ended up being warm and spicy without the flavor of the cinnamon and chili being at all noticeable.



Cup Butter


Tbsp Vanilla


Cup Cream cheese

1 3/4

Cup All-purpose flour


Cup Powdered hot chocolate mix


Tsp Salt


Cup Powdered sugar


Cup Powdered sugar


Tsp Cinnamon


Tsp Cayenne pepper


Cream the butter, cream cheese, hot chocolate mix, powdered sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll the dough into 1" balls. Place them 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes until firm. Let cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes then roll in powdered sugar and cool on wire rack.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Breakfast for a chilly Sunday morning

Apple Oven Pancake

As the weather turns colder, it is time to turn the oven on to warm up the house in the morning. I like to throw a pan of oven bacon in before I start this recipe.


2 Tbsp



½ Cup





1 Tbps


1 Tsp



¼ Cup


1 Tsp

Lemon Juice


¼ Cup


¼ Cup



¼ Tsp



Lg Eggs



  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Put butter in oven-proof skillet (~10") over med heat
  3. Chop apples roughly. You want enough to cover the bottom of the pan completely.
  4. Toss the apples with a tablespoon of sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
  5. When the butter is nice and bubbly, add the apples to the pan.
  6. Whisk the eggs well and add the milk and vanilla.
  7. Add the flour, cornmeal, and salt and whisk well again.
  8. Pour the batter over the apples.
  9. Put the skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until it is set but still a little jiggly.



The pancake is nice with maple syrup but I prefer it with a little caramel sauce. I suppose I could make it myself but the stuff they sell in the grocery store with the ice cream toppings works just as well for me.



Sunday, October 4, 2009

Avgolemono Soup (my way)

When we lived on the East side of Baltimore, our favorite late dinner was the thick, bottom of the pot Avgolemono soup at the legendary Ikaros restaurant on Eastern Avenue. Since moving to the suburbs, we don't get there as often as we'd like so I turned to the cookbook I got one year at the Greek Festival at the Greek Orthodox cathedral. But being me, the laborious stock making, egg separating process was no match for my laziness and this recipe was born.


2 Lemons

4 Eggs

3 cups Chicken stock (canned or home-made)

1 Carrot

1-2 cups Cooked rice

1-2 cups Cooked chicken (e.g., leftover rotisserie chicken)

Salt & pepper (to taste)


  1. Put chicken stock on to BOIL and then REDUCE to a simmer.
  2. GRATE the carrot and CUBE the chicken.
  3. ZEST both lemons and then JUICE them.
  4. BEAT the eggs in a large bowl until they are foamy.
  5. ADD the lemon juice and half the lemon zest and beat to combine.
  6. ADD ~½ cup of the hot stock to the eggs SLOWLY and BEAT as you ADD it.
  7. REPEAT with another ½ cup of stock.
  8. ADD the egg/lemon/stock mixture to the simmering stock.
  10. ADD chicken, rice, and carrot to the soup and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  11. After the soup has simmered for a while, taste the soup and add salt, pepper, and additional lemon zest as needed.

This soup must be served with hot, crusty bread or rolls and plenty of butter.

This recipe is very forgiving. The critical part is the beaten eggs with lemon juice, tempered with the hot stock. Once you get that part done, the rest is up for interpretation. The original Ikaros soup doesn't actually have the carrot but our next favorite Greek restaurant (Dmitri's on Frederick Road in Catonsville) makes it that way and we like it. Many places use orzo instead of rice. In an attempt to make us appear "healthy" I stopped buying white rice and I always seem to have leftover brown rice pilaf in the fridge, which works really well. The first time I made this it was a desperation dinner made with canned stock, leftover Thanksgiving turkey, wild rice pilaf, and RealLemon bottled lemon juice. It was delicious.

NOTE: If you are lucky enough to have some leftover, you probably want to add some more stock before you put it in the fridge. Otherwise it will seize up and assume the consistency of wallpaper paste.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder…

This week's pathetic attempt at housework involves sorting through the five bookshelves of cookbooks (plus the piles on top and stacks on the floor) trying to figure out if I can get rid of any of them. I was going strong until I got to the retro ones, you know, the ones with the pictures that are so awful they are great. At that point the train came off the housework tracks and I found myself totally engrossed in the food of my ancestors, the boomers. Case in point, "Perfection Salad" from Better Homes and Gardens, Jiffy Cooking, c. 1967.

At first glance, it doesn't look too scary. Until you read the recipe that is…

Yes, that's lemon jell-o with sauerkraut, green onions, and pimento. Give it a minute to sink in. Yep, jell-0 with sauerkraut. WTF were they smoking in the BHG test kitchens when they came up with that one. Was it some kind of sick revenge fantasy for housewives to get back at their oppressor husbands and children? A cunning communist plot? We may never know.

But what we do know is, using kitchen shears to snip the sauerkraut into bite-sized pieces in the can is a handy time saver.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Time for Christianity!

Today is my husband's birthday and I was totally unable to get myself together to prepare anything in advance so I offered up a trip to Hampden to make good on his annual request for Birthday Pie. We made the pilgrimage to Dangerously Delicious Pies (BTW the Hampden location is closing after this weekend so you will have to visit their Federal Hill shop).

After eating three massive pieces of pie between us, we decided we needed to walk some of that pie goodness off. We hit the antique mall and way back in the last section of the second floor, I made my find of the day.

Five glass fronted, mirrored, battery operated clocks depicting important Christian scenes. Why is this such a find? you ask. Because I know multiple people with powder rooms decorated in a style just begging for these clocks. For a mere $10, I have a bag of Christmas presents* ready to go!

*batteries not included
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