Tag-Archive for ◊ raisin ◊

31 Jan 2011 Strawberry Sandwiches

I have never seen a recipe published for this sandwich, but it’s one of my favorites (probably because it’s more like dessert than a sandwich.  I have my demons, and all of them are sweet…).  I first encountered this sandwich on the campus of San Diego State University, in the late 1970’s, then I never saw it anywhere else, except in my own kitchen. I’ve made my version a lot over the years, usually for tea (tea-the-meal, the one with finger sandwiches, scones, little cakes, and  served on fancy china).  I love tea-the-meal.  It’s a grazers delight; little bits of everything, and everything tasty and pretty. But I digress, back to the Strawberry Sandwich.  (I have never been able to spell “sandwich” without spell check…, it just doesn’t look right without another “h” in there. And I digress yet again…) With strawberries now showing up in our farmer’s markets (yes, in January!) I had a hankering for this sandwich, so I made one, or two.

Like I said, this s-a-n-d-w-h-i-c-h is a great addition to any tea, but it’s a good treat to serve at play dates (PB&J for the kids, SBS for the moms), pack for a walk or a picnic, or to pull together if someone stops by and you want to keep them around for awhile.  The trick to pulling these together at the last minute?  Keep a loaf of raisin bread in the freezer!  Pull out 2 or 4 slices when needed, by the time you get the honey and cream cheese out, the strawberries sliced, and the tea brewing, the bread will be defrosted and ready to use.  These sandwiches would also be good for a Valentine’s Day treat, or a special Mother’s Day event. My daughter had a catering gig on Sunday and I suggested this sandwich to round out a fabulous spread of finger sandwiches. This sandwich could fit in anywhere!  I really can’t understand why no one else makes it.

So, a big Thank You to the cafeteria ladies of San Diego State University for this lovely sandwich.  I hope you get your day in the sun 🙂

Strawberry Sandwich

For each sandwich:

2 slices of good quality raisin bread or cinnamon-raisin bread

approx 1T cream cheese (whatever kind you like, full fat, low fat, no fat…)

approx 1 teaspoon honey (or a little less)

3-4 strawberries, thickly sliced, rounded edges set aside for another use.

Thinly spread the cream cheese on both sides of the raisin bread.  On one side, drizzle the honey and spread evenly over the cream cheese.  On the other slice, lay thick, flat slices of strawberry.  It’s bit of a jigsaw puzzle to get them all to fit without leaving too much space between the slices, but it’s only a small puzzle, nothing intimidating.  Put the bread with honey on top of the bread with the strawberries.  For easiest slicing, flip the sandwich over.  Cut off all the crusts, and then slice as desired.  I usually get three rectangular shaped finger sandwiches from each, but in the picture above I cut in half on the diagonal.  Eat within a few hours.  The sandwich does not keep long, and definitely not overnight.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  If you are looking for a more savory sandwich to serve with this, check out the post for Smoked Chicken & Almond Sandwiches!

29 Oct 2010 Rum-Pum Pumpkin Bundt Cake

It’s Fall!  The goal is to eat a pumpkin rich food every day, right?  Today, Rum-Pum Pumpkin Cake!  I’ve been making this cake since I cut the recipe out of a newspaper in the nineteen-eighties.  The cake is moist, pumpkin rich, studded with 2 cups of dried fruit and nuts, with a splash o’ rum, a hearty heap o’ cinnamon and topped with an orange-cinnamon glaze.  What’s not to like?

Bundt cakes serve a lot of people, so invite the neighbors over for coffee and cake.  It’s a fun thing to do, and there’s no stress if you do it on-the-spur-of-the-moment.  While the cake is baking, send this email,  “Hi Neighbors, I’ve baked a cake, and we can’t eat it all ourselves.  Soooo, we’d like to invite you to drop by our house for coffee and a slice of pumpkin cake between 3 and 4 PM this afternoon.  Stay for 10 minutes, or stay for 30…just come on by! Come as you are, of course. We’ll see you soon.”  See how easy that is?  Now, no one would blame you if you wanted to close the blinds, encircle the cake, and eat it all yourself…the choice is yours!

Rum-Pum Pumpkin Cake

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 ½ cup vegetable oil OR 3/4 cup applesauce plus 3/4 cup  veg. oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons dark rum (The rum flavor is not very pronounced.  If you want a stronger rum flavor, use rum extract for part of the rum)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon (yes, 2 tablespoons–it works, and is not overpowering)
2 teaspoons grated orange peel (optional)
2 cups dried fruit (Last time I used 1 cup dark raisins, 1/2 cup cherries, and 1/2 cup apricots. Use any dried fruit that appeals to you, or that you have on hand.  I think golden raisins and snipped apricots are especially good. Dried cranberries are also good)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I substitute 1 cup diced chopped and peeled Granny Smith apple)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with a baking spray or butter and flour.

Mix pumpkin, oil, applesauce and sugar together with an electric mixer.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in rum.

In another bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and optional grated orange peel.

In a third bowl combine the dried fruit, and the nuts or chopped apple.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoonful of the flour mixture over the dried fruit mixture and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Add remaining flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat well.

Stir flour dusted dried fruit and nuts/chopped apple into pumpkin-flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 1 hour.  (Original recipe said 1 hour and 25 minutes, but I have never had to cook the cake for that long.

Remove cake from oven when done, cool for 3 – 5 minutes, then turn out to a baking rack to cool completely.

When cool, drizzle with cinnamon-orange glaze.

Cinnamon-Orange Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange extract OR grated rind of one orange
2 tablespoons dark rum

Beat all ingredients together until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake.

Now invite some friends over (or close the blinds).  Enjoy your impromptu party to welcome Fall! Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.

06 Feb 2010 Chocolate Chip Cookies with Four Variations

My recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies…, the only one I’ve used since 1981.  I haven’t even looked at another chocolate chip cookie recipe since then. This recipe makes a straight-up chocolate chip cookie; nothing fancy, just pure goodness. The ingredients are butter, sugar, chocolate, and flour with a leavening agent and some eggs thrown in. No spices. The cookie is not cakey.  It’s not crisp. It’s slightly crunchy around the edges, slightly chewy in the middle, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  Like I said, pure goodness!   This recipe doesn’t fool around either.  You start with a pound of butter and end up with about 6 dozen good sized cookies. (They freeze well.  They travel well, too.  My son in college is getting 3 dozen by US Mail for Valentine’s Day.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell him 🙂

Pure Goodness Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 lb. salted butter, at room temperature (there is no other salt in the recipe, so don’t use unsalted butter)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 T. vanilla extract
6 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
12 oz (about 4 cups) chocolate chips (semi sweet is usual choice, but some people prefer milk chocolate, or a combination)
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl.  Beat with a whisk to aerate then set aside. In another bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds, add in white sugar and beat for 2 minutes, then add in brown sugar and beat for 3 additional minutes or until light and fluffy.  Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add in flour mixture to creamed egg-butter mixture.  Once the flour has been incorporated stir in 12 oz (about 4 cups) chocolate chips. Scoop about 1 T of dough for each cookie and place onto ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheets.  For a more refined looking cookie, roll the balls and then flatten slightly with the heel of your palm.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes.  I bake mine, in my current oven, for 11 minutes, which means I take them out of the oven when they still look a smidgen-and I mean a smidgen-undercooked.  Cookies firm up on cooling.  Cool on trays for a few minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely. Makes approx. 6 dozen good sized cookies.

Chocolate Raisin Cookies I love chocolate covered raisins, and Chocolate Raisin cookies are one of my all-time favorites.  Omit the nuts, and use 3 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet or milk) and 3 cups raisins. YUM.

Mixed Chip Cookies My daughter Abby uses 1 cup butterscotch chips, 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1 cup milk chocolate chips, and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. In high school, she was famous for her chocolate chip cookies. She rolls the cookies in nice neat balls, flattens them, and then tops them with one of each kind of chip…to die for!

M&M Cookies Mix in 2-3 cups of the chocolate chips, roll dough into balls, flatten a bit, then press 3-5 M&Ms (depending on the size of the ball) into the top of each cookie.  The M&Ms can be color coordinated to the holiday…red and green M&Ms for Christmas; pink, red and White for Valentine’s Day; orange, purple and black for Halloween; pastels for Easter…

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies For Christmas, of course.  In place of nuts stir in 2 cups coarsely crushed candy canes.  Be sure to bake on parchment covered cookie sheets.

Thanks for stopping by!  What variation is calling out to you?