Michael (ftmichael) wrote in ljrecipes,

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Today is National Cotton Candy Day in the US.

As always, all measurements are in US units. See http://www.onlineconversion.com/cooking_volume.htm for converting measurements.

* Mrs Fields's Eggnog Cookies: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12021.htm
* Dilled Pot Roast: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12022.htm
* Chicken in Peanut Sauce: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12023.htm
* Pork and Squash Stew: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12024.htm
* Brisket in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12025.htm
* Italian Pepperoni-Cheese Puffs: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12026.htm
* Fresh Vegetable Pasta Salad: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12027.htm
* Bourbon Walnut Pie: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/12028.htm
* Low Carb Bleu Cheese & Brandy Spread: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/1202lc.htm
* Diabetic-Friendly Mexican Christmas Salad: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/1202di.htm
* Low Fat Holiday Cherry Shortcake: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes1/1202lf.htm

Kelley's Cooking Tips

Bread and Roll Tips:

Keep bread fresh longer by placing a rib of celery in the bread bag.

For quick and easy garlic breadsticks, split a hot dog bun down the middle and cut each half lengthwise. Butter each strip; sprinkle with garlic salt or garlic powder. Place on a cookie sheet and bake or broil until toasted.

To butter many slices of bread quickly and evenly, heat the butter until soft, then "paint" it on with a flat pastry brush.

To thaw frozen bread and rolls, place in a brown paper bag and put into a 325F oven for 5 minutes to thaw completely.

Place aluminum foil under the napkin in your roll basket and the rolls will stay hot longer.

Yeast breads are more moist when made with potato water (water in which you have boiled potatoes) than when made with other liquids. The potato water keeps the bread fresh longer and gives it a slightly greater volume, but coarser texture.

Have a cooking question? Kelley has your answer! kelley@e-cookbooks.net

Lighten Up That Doorstop
by Mark Bittman

Pity the poor, maligned fruitcake. Who hasn't heard of the same fruitcake that gets passed around every year and then sits on a shelf until the next holiday season? The poor things are often referred to as bricks, paperweights or doorstops. Most people either love it or hate it. Don't blame the fruitcake, blame the recipe! There are many different styles and recipes to choose from, so give fruitcake another chance.

Fruitcakes have been making the rounds for centuries. In general, fruitcakes can include any and all of the following: candied fruit, dried fruit, fruit rind, nuts, spices and some sort of liquor or brandy. The ratio of fruit and nuts to batter is fairly high, with just enough cake batter to hold it all together. This naturally results in a very dense, moist, heavy cake, no doubt giving rise to the doorstop reference. There are two basic types:

- Light Fruitcake:
This type is made with light-colored ingredients such as granulated sugar, light corn syrup, almonds, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots and the like.

- Dark Fruitcake:
Darker ingredients are used such as molasses, brown sugar, and darker-coloured fruits like raisins, prunes, dates, cherries, pecans and walnuts.

Those who don't like fruitcake generally point the finger at the candied citron or fruits used in the cake. Candied citron is made from the thick peel of the citrus fruit of the same name. Candied fruit, most commonly pineapple, cherry and citrus rind, is made by dipping or boiling pieces of fruit in a heavy syrup and then drying them. They are often rolled in granulated sugar after the drying process. If you don't like candied fruits or peels, try substituting plain dried fruit pieces in your fruitcake.

After being slowly baked, the finished fruitcakes get their preservative treatment. Cheesecloth is soaked in brandy, bourbon, whiskey, rum or other liquor and then wrapped around the cooled fruitcake. The whole shebang is then wrapped in foil to ripen and age.

Fruitcakes soaked in liquor can literally last for years if you periodically add more liquor. Some fruitcake fans won't even touch a fruitcake until it has aged at least three years, although it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcakes be consumed within two years. Fruitcake should be tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator. Unwrap every few months and drizzle with liquor. Re-wrap tightly. Interestingly enough, although fruitcake can be frozen, its life is shorter than if refrigerated, only one year.

When serving liquor-soaked fruitcake, remember a little goes a long way. One fruitcake provides double the amount of servings of a standard cake or loaf of equal size.

Holiday Fruit Cake
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups currants
1 1/4 cups mixed candied citrus peel
1/2 grated nutmeg pod
1 cup slivered almonds
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/4 cups flour
dry sherry for sprinkling

Generously grease and line with parchment paper an 8-inch round pan, or grease and flour a 5-cup ring mould; set aside. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk. In a separate bowl, combine the currants, candied peel, nutmeg, almonds, and lemon zest with 3/4 cup of flour. Add the remaining cup of flour and lemon juice to the egg batter; mix well. Fold in the fruit and nut mixture. Pour into a prepared pan and bake in a 300F oven for 2 hours or until a fine skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan or mould with a knife and allow to cool on a wire rack before unmoulding. Sprinkle the cake with a little sherry, allow to cool completely. Wrap well and refrigerate.

Scallop and Bacon Chowder
1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 (8 oz.) bottles clam juice
1 cup whipping cream
1 pound bay scallops, connective tissue removed

Blend parsley, oil, and salt in blender until smooth. Pour into small bowl.

Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot. Add leeks, garlic, and thyme to pot and sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add corn and saute 2 minutes. Add potatoes, clam juice, and cream; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add scallops and bacon and simmer until scallops are just opaque in centre, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chowder into bowls. Drizzle 1 teaspoon parsley oil atop chowder in each bowl and serve.

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