Monday, May 28, 2012

Leap Year Salad Dressing
I have absolutely no idea where the name for this recipe originated.  I remember my mother getting it from a cousin of hers when I was a small child (over fifty years ago).  I have in recent years seen similar recipes labeled as Russian dressing. They all have the same basic ingredients.  One I saw added two tablespoons of brown sugar.  I think that would give it a richer taste.  Adding bacon bits might also be a nice touch.  With summer coming on, try adding a little of your favorite minced herb.  I think you will find it versatile and it keeps well in the refrigerator.  Just shake well each time before serving.
- Nanette

2/3 cup sugar ( a little less if you wish to add some brown sugar to it )
1/3 cup vinegar (apple cider, or red wine, rice, or balsamic -- pick your favorite)
1 tsp. salt ( kosher or your favorite specialty salt)
1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 cup canola or olive oil
1/3 cup catsup
1  tsp. paprika
Place all of the ingredients in a jar and shake.  Experiment with different variations!

SALAD TIP:  If each person in your family likes a little something different in their salad, try putting a bed of your favorite greens in a 9" by 13" glass pan.  Then put a line of each ingredient on the bed of greens.  Do not toss.  Let each person use salad tongs and pick from the rows of ingredients they like most.  This keeps people from picking out the ingredients they don't like from a tossed salad.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

Cupcakes seem to be all the rage right now.  Maybe we all have wonderful memories of having them as children at school birthday parties (back when homemade treats were allowed) or other celebrations.  They are a fun, portable way to enjoy cake.  This Oreo cupcake recipe has a phenomenal icing of the cream cheese variety and would be good on a carrot cake as well.  They might be just the thing for your Memorial Day get together or other upcoming summer event!  Enjoy!

Oreo Cupcakes


  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves
Recipe from:  Annie's Eats

Oreos, before folding them into the batter...

Cupcakes as the come out of the oven...

Cream cheese frosting...Mmmmm...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Morel Mushrooms

Every spring the conversation between my husband and me begins with vague references to a few warm days and what they may mean to the possibility of morel mushrooms appearing.  Once a few warm days have passed and the mushrooms begin popping up in the woods, the conversations turn to when we might begin seeing them for sale and what somewhat high place we might have to pay to actually enjoy some.  When I was a child, my family would hunt for them in the woods, but I was more adept at finding snakes than mushrooms.  Nonetheless, I grew up enjoying that brief but glorious period in the spring when morels are  at their peak.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband came home with 1/2 pound of the delectable treats.  Since there are only two of us in the household, 1/2 pound equated to two meals that included mushrooms.  If you have never prepared them before, here are the steps to follow:

1.  Soak them at least overnight and change the water often.  These mushrooms are also called sponge mushrooms because their exteriors resemble a sponge and provide a nice place for grit and small bugs to hide.  Soak and rinse repeatedly until you feel confident they are clean.

2.  Cut the mushrooms in half lengthwise.  This provides further inspection for bad spots, dirt, bugs, etc.

3.  Place on a plate a small mound of flour and season it with salt or seasoned salt, pepper, and any other spice you might like.

4.  Dredge each mushroom piece in the flour mixture.

5.  Heat on medium high heat some olive oil and butter--the oil keeps the butter from burning.

6.  Place the floured mushrooms in the pan.  Brown thoroughly on one side the then turn over.

7.  If all of the grease is absorbed, add more olive oil to the pan.

8. When golden brown on both sides, place on a plate and serve.  Yummmmmmmm!

 The picture below shows the finished product.  You may want to divide these on plates before serving or a fight could break out over who got more!  They are just that good.

If you have never tried fried morel mushrooms, give it a whirl.  They are a wonderful addition to any springtime meal.
- Nanette