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Archive for January, 2012

My husband’s mom could always make a really good biscuit.  Still does. So could my grandmother. Effortlessly.  I, on the other hand, could not.  I tried. Lord knows, I tried. But more often than not, I failed miserably. I’m not going to tell you how long it took me to make a biscuit worth eating. Let’s just say it was a long time.

Okay. It was a very long time. 

So, if you’re like me and you have a little trouble with things now and again (like me). Don’t give up.  Keep trying.

 

Here’s the recipe.

Good luck!

Cheesy Biscuit Squares

 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons (20 ml) baking powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt

1 cup (4-ounces) cheddar cheese

1/4 cup (125 ml) shortening

3/4 cup (3-ounces) plus 1 tablespoon milk

Dill Butter

1/4 cup (125 ml) butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dill weed

1/8 teaspoon (1 ml) garlic salt

Method

1.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Stir in

the cheese.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in

milk just until moistened.

2.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out into a 3/4-inch thick square.

Cut into 12 squares.  Place 1/8-inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

3.  Bake at 400°F (200°C) or until golden brown. Combine dill butter

ingredients; brush over hot biscuits.  Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers.

 

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Stir in the

cheese.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in milk just until moistened and gather in a ball.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into 3/4-inch thick squares.

You don’t want to squish the dough down really hard.  Just ever so lightly.

Cut into 9 or 12 squares, depending on how big you want ’em.

I made 12, but feel free to make 9, if you want ’em bigger.

You’ve gotta admit … these are pretty.

And so are these.

Place onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 400° F ( 200°C) for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 1 dozen.

Serve your biscuits warm with butter or honey.

Dip ’em in your soup or your chilli and eat ’em in a hurry.

That way you won’t have to refrigerate the leftovers.

If you’re a dilly kinda girl, and you’d like some dilly biscuits, combine 1/2

teaspoon of dill weed and 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt with 1/4 cup melted butter

and brush over the hot biscuits.

Cheesy biscuits with dill are great served with seafood.

These are yummy! I hope you enjoy ’em.

This Sweet Wife

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These potatoes are yummy and delicious.

And who doesn’t like cheese and bacon?

If you’re looking for great side to dress up a quick meal, these mashed spuds

are sure to fit the bill.  And if you have to feed the neighbours, (which

sometimes happens on a farm), they can easily be doubled or tripled for a

crowd.

Sour Cream Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 cup (250 ml) sour cream

1/4 cup (50 ml) milk

2 tablespoons (25 ml) butter, melted

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheese, divided

5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

2 cloves garlic, with ends cut off

1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt

1/8 tsp (1 ml) pepper

 

Method

1. Boil your potatoes and cloves of garlic in a large pot of cold water. Reduce

the heat once it starts to boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the

potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. 

2. While the potatoes are simmering, heat the milk and butter in a small

saucepan until boiling.

3. When the garlic and potatoes are tender, drain and return them to the pot.

4. Mash the potatoes and garlic. Add the milk and butter, sour cream, 1 cup

(4 oz.) of cheese, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Spoon into a greased

2-qt. baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

3. Bake uncovered, at 350° F(180 °C)  for 30-35 minutes or until heated

through.

 

Quite simply, these potatoes really dress up a meal without a lot of fuss.

They’re great for filling famished farmboys and anyone who just needs to be

fed. Scoop up a helping of these savory flavours and you’ll be all warm and

happy.

And your neighbours will love you for it.

If you have neighbours who don’t love you, (though I don’t know how that

could be), just bring them some of these and then they’ll love you too.

From my table to yours, I hope you have a really wonderful day!

This Sweet Wife

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One of my favourite things to make around the holidays is a pavlova.   A pavlova is a round, pie shaped meringue, filled with curd or custard and topped with cream and fruit.  It’s positively delicious.  Last year I made one my mother-in-law loves to make, called angel pie.  It’s a white meringue, filled with lemon filling and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.  I’m sure it’s called angel pie because it tastes so heavenly.

Looking for holiday dessert ideas, I was flipping through a 2010 Food & Drink Magazine from the LCBO, when I saw a recipe for individual meringues filled with blackberry jam and whipped cream. I  just knew I’d have to try them.

The meringues are quite sweet, with a crispy outer shell, and a nice and chewy marshmallow texture on the inside.  In this desert, the sugary sweetness of the meringue, is balanced by the whipped cream and little pockets of blackberry jam filling.  The burst of fresh blackberry on the top, cuts through the cream and meringue and cleanses your palette, for a nice clean finish.  

  

The result is a really delicious and satisfying desert that may seem simple, but really delivers through layers of tastes and textures. You have the outer crunchy shell of the meringue, followed by a soft chewiness of the centre, filled with a smooth whipped cream flavoured with vanilla, that’s complimented by ribbons of blackberry preserves, and topped with a luscious berry bursting with natural juice and sweetness.  

The recipe originally called for bits of white chocolate and vanilla in the meringue but when I added them, the meringue lost it’s thickness and I ended up with meringue puddles when I piped it onto the parchment. So I started over with just a plain meringue, of egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar.  Once I did that, I was able to pipe the little nests without any trouble at all and they stayed up nice and high so that the filling could easily nestle inside, with the jam.

 

The trick to these meringues is to keep the jam and whipped cream separate until they are being piped into the meringue.  That way you get layers and pockets of jam, instead of a uniform purple blackberry cream, which is fine too, but if you want the two-tone texture you see in my photos, you don’t want to over mix them.  A fold or two, before filling the pastry bag should be enough.  And remember, once the blackberry jam and whipped cream are pushed through the pastry bag in order to fill the nests, they will mix together  even more. 

 

 Blackberry Meringues

Ingredients

3 large egg whites, room temperature

1/4 tsp (50 ml) cream of tartar

3/4 cup (150 ml) of superfine sugar

1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla

1/4 cup (50 ml) blackberry preserves, I used Smucker’s with good results

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200 °F (105 °C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.  

2.  In a large, especially clean bowl, use an electric mixer to beat whites on low-speed, until foamy.  As the whites begin to whiten and foam, add the cream of tartar and beat on medium high-speed until soft peaks form.  Add the superfine sugar, also commonly referred to as castor sugar by the spoonful (I used  Instant Dissolving Sugar, by Redpath, because it was the only superfine sugar I could find, and it dissolves instantly when added to moisture.  Instant Dissolving Sugar by Redpath, used to be called, Fruit Powder Sugar). Beat well after each addition until all of the sugar has been incorporated, the whites are stiff and glossy and when you press a bit of the mixture between your thumb and index finger it doesn’t feel gritty, about 6 minutes.

 3. Spoon half the mixture into a piping bag (I used a Wilton 14″ Piping Bag ) fitted with a swirl piping tip (I used Wilton tip #1M).  If you don’t have a pastry bag you can make one by cutting a corner off of a large plastic ziplock bag. Pipe the mixture into a 1-inch (2.5cm) rosettes, in rows onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a “nest” in the center of each.  Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour (the time will vary depending on the humidity of the environment), until they are crisp and dry.  Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar until the oven and meringues are completely cool (they are best if left overnight).

 Making the Meringue Nests

4.  In a bowl, beat the whipping cream with a whisk or mixer until you see soft peaks begin to form.  Add vanilla and sugar and beat again until incorporated and soft peaks are formed.  Gently fold in the blackberry preserves with a spatula (being careful not to overmix) and fill a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton tip #2A, half full. If you don’t have this tip you can use the piping bag without it, just as well. Pipe the blackberry cream into cooled meringue nests just before serving.  Garnish each meringue with a blackberry and serve immediately.

This recipe is very versatile.  You can replace the berries and jam with one of your favourite flavours. I think it would be absolutely gorgeous and delicious with strawberries, raspberries, or even peaches. You may want to keep the recipe handy as summer fruits begin to ripen and flavours peak,  your family and friends will be delighted.

Good luck & enjoy!

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