Old Fashioned Pound Cake

This luscious pound cake is made with wholesome, simple ingredients. It is made with fresh home raised eggs and a few other ingredients. The taste is unbeatable, but, one shouldn't eat too much of the good thing. There is a reason it is called a "pound cake", it makes one put on pounds...lol!

3 C. sugar,
3 C. flour,
10 medium eggs,
1-1/2 lb. butter, room temperature,
1-1/2 tsb. vanilla extract,
Optional: zest of 1 lemon and 2 TBSB lemon juice.

Directions: Sift together the sugar and flour. Mix together butter, eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the flour and sugar mixture to the butter and egg mixture. Using the mixing paddle mix the batter at medium speed for about 10 minutes. Pour batter in an Angle Food Pan. Bake at 300F for 1 hr. 30 minutes to 1 hr. 40 minutes, until a knife inserted all the way comes out clean.

Cranbery Candy Sticks

Growing up in China, I always enjoyed this type of candy on a stick, made of a type of large hawthorn fruit. However since that type of hawthorn is hard to find around here, I improvised by substituting it with cranberries. The result? Perfection!!! I think it is even better than the real thing... For this recipe you will need: 1-1/2 C. sugar, 1 Tbsb. water, 1 lb. fresh cranberries (the largest you can find), 1 pk. of bamboo skewers, silicon baking mats make the job a lot easier.
(1) Skewer cranberries on the bamboo sticks, discard soft ones.
(2) Combine the sugar and water, place in a frying pan. Heat the frying pan on medium high heat. Wait until sugar start to melt. 5 minutes or so. The sugar will begin browning at the bottom, let it melt, do not stir too much at this stage. Stir only to incorporate the remaining solid sugar into the molten syrup. Reduce heat so the sugar won’t burn. If you are using a heavy skillet, it might carry enough heat so you can turn the heat off.
(3) Using a large spoon, spoon the syrup over the skewered cranberries, you might need to make multiple passes to cover all the cranberries. Be very careful not to let the syrup come in contact with your hand, it is VERY HOT!
(4) Set the sugar covered cranberry sticks on a silicone mat. Allow them to cool.
That’s it... They are every bit as good as I remembered!

Ossobucco, Oh Sogood

While shopping in the grocery store, I spotted some beef shanks at $1.97/lb. Ossobuco came to mind. This may not be the tender veal shanks the "real" ossobucco calls for, but I think with some LTC, it will do... And sure enough, it did not disappoint. Here's how it was done:
3-1/2 lb. beef shanks,
1 Spanish onion,
2 ribs of celery,
1 carrot,
4 cloves of garlic,
2 C. tomato sauce,
1/4 C. tomato paste,
1-1/2 C. red wine,
1 can chicken broth,
Flour mixed with seasoned salt for dusting,
Olive oil for browning.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Herbs: thyme, rosemary and bay leaves

Mix some flour with seasoned salt, dust the beef shank pieces with flour and seasoned salt. Brown the beef shanks olive oil. Remove the meat and set aside. Add chopped up garlic, onion, celery and carrots to the pan, cook until the vegetables turn translucent. Add the red wine, chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste and herbs. Bring to a boil, add beef shanks back to the pot. Cook on low heat covered for 2 hours or until meat become tender and falling off of the bones... Serve with noodles or rice, garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Bagels Finally!

I have attempted at bagel making many times, none of which turned out to my satisfaction. After taking some tips from my Jewish friend, I tried my hands again. This time, it is a total success! I think I finally mastered the art of bagel making. This method uses a two-stage process: 1. Making a sponge 2. Making the dough. Use this method to make a stiff dough. And stiff dough, according to my friend, is what it takes to make a good bagel. Here's how:

For the sponge: 2 tsp active dry yeast, 1 tsp sugar, 1-1/2 C. warm water, 4C. bread flour (high gluten flour). Mix the water, sugar and yeast together, stir well. Let set until you see yeast bubbles. Add the flour to make a soft spongy dough. Cover the dough and Place it in a warm place until it doubles in size.

For the dough: 1 tsb active dry yeast, 1 tsb sugar, 1/2 C. warm water, 1 TBSB kosher salt, 5 eggs, 1 TBSB honey, 3C. + 1C. bread flour. Mix sugar, yeast and water together, stir and allow yeast to bubble. Pour the liquid in the spongy dough above. Add remaining ingredients except the last cup of flour. Make a dough. Incorporate the last cup of flour, knead until dough develop elasticity, about 10 minutes.

Divided the dough into 12 pieces. Place them on a cookie sheet. Cover with a plastic bag. Allow them to rest in a warm place. Meanwhile boil a big pot of water with 2 tsb of baking soda in it. Make a ring with each piece of the dough and drop it in the boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds per side.

Remove the bagel rings from the water and dip them in some cornmeal. Decorate your bagels as you wish at this stage (onion flakes, sesame seeds, egg wash and what have you...). Place the bagels on a baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels are boiled. Bake the bagels in a pre-heated 500F oven for 8 minutes, reduce heat to 450 bake until golden brown, 5-8 minutes.

Cookie Loafs

Eager to try out my newly acquired cookie press, I set out to make spritz cookies. I found a Youtube video, watched it and said to myself: "That's easy enough". It turned out, as most things do, not as easy as I thought....  I made the dough according to the recipe (below), loaded it to the cookie press and started pressing cookies to the cookie sheet. And then there came the reality: the cookies came out like a globy mess, not the neat little kissables like it is in the video. Hmmm... what to do? what to do? I did the best thing I could under the circumstance, I made long cookies instead of the mini puffs I intended to make. Nonetheless, the cookies turned out delicious, light and fluffy and buttery! This morning, I had some friends stop by for coffee, after hearing my story, my friend Jen said: "We love your cookie loafs!". Therefore, the term "cookie loafs" was born.... I think I will be making some for Santa :)
For the cookie loafs I used:
1 C. Powdered sugar
2 C. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsb salt
Sift above ingredients together, then add:
2 sticks of butter (1/2 lb.)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Mix everything together until forming a smooth dough. Load in cookie press (Although it is just as easy to use small ice cream spoon to make cookie drops). Bake at a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges turn brown. Let cool completely.