Buttery Roll: Best Compliment to Any Winter Soup

Buttery Roll: Best Compliment to Any Winter Soup

I love winter soups! The ones filled with savory meats, tons of veggies, and hardy grains like barley and quinoa. The only thing better than a warm filling soup is the soft, buttery roll that is used to sop up the last of the broth at the bottom of the bowl. Soup is a great winter food and even though TN is experiencing a heat wave of 70 degrees in January, I can image it’s cold and that I need a bowl of soup and buttery roll. I have been making bread since I was young. You can imagine with 12 people in the house that bread was a staple and much more economical to have made than try to purchase. Bread making was an all day process and usually involved a bowl large enough to sled in. My old bread recipe produced a hardy bread worthy of dipping but I was looking for something a bit softer. There is a fine line between a bread that chips a tooth, and bread that doesn’t wilt away in soup with one small dunk and I think my sister Deidre may have found it. Courtesy of her friend JoAnn!   Now Deidre lives in a place where winter soup is not only good but necessary for survival; North Dakota. Not sure if you have seen the weather for ND but snow is quite abundant there this winter. SO much so that her and her four kids are often snowed in for 3 or 4 days at a time. Her lovely roll recipe is a perfect accompaniment to a meaty beef stew or cheesy potato soup.... read more
Shortbread Cookie Dough: A Three Ingredient Wonder

Shortbread Cookie Dough: A Three Ingredient Wonder

Are you looking for a sweet, buttery, flakey, crisp nugget of delight that is easy to make? Then you want to make shortbread! Shortbread cookies are basically three ingredients, sugar, flour and butter. Once you have mastered the basic dough, the possibilities for flavor are endless. I like to add citrus zest, dried fruit, spices or toffee bits. I have rolled the dough in spices, nuts, sprinkles or seeds. Once the dough is baked I have dipped them in white and dark chocolate just to make them extra sweet and special. As I said, the only thing that is standing between you an amazing cookie is your imagination.   I started with Martha Stewart’s Icebox Shortbread recipe (Click here to view Martha’s version).   Dough Ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter*, at room temp 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus a bit more for rolling out your dough *Note: If you did not get your butter out of the fridge in time here’s a quick tip. Place both sticks in a microwave safe bowl. Set your microwave to defrost .01 pounds. Let the microwave run for about 10 seconds using the defrost setting. Touch the sticks and see if you can make a dent in the butter. If you finger dips easily into the butter then it is ready to use. Watch this really close. If you leave it to0 long you will get melted butter and that is not what you need for this recipe.         The dough ingredients will create the base for your cookie. The mixings ingredients are... read more
To Can or Not To Can… CAN

To Can or Not To Can… CAN

For the second year in a row my sister, Sarah, and I have joined a local CSA. If you are not sure what that is, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We sign up in the spring and receive fruits and vegetables throughout the spring, summer and fall. Our CSA , Doe Run Farms, has provided tons of great vegetables and delicious fruits. Most weeks we get more than we can eat so we started freezing some items. We freeze blueberries to use later in my Blueberry Boy Bait, a great coffee cake recipe by America’s Test Kitchen. We blitz onions and peppers through our food processor and freeze them in snack size bags to use later in the year for several savory dishes. We also freeze tomatoes by just washing and drying them and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Then we place the clean tomatoes in the freezer for 3-4 hours and then bag them up. We just finished making twelve cups of homemade pizza sauce from our 2014 crop of tomatoes and onions.   This year our mother bought us the new Better Homes and Gardens: Complete Canning Guide to try out. There are several great recipes in there along with helpful hints on everything from Sweet Potato Butter to Apricot Chutney to homemade Cherry Cobbler filling. Spoiler alert the sauce is made from cranberry juice! We have used the book’s recipes for homemade jam include mixed berry, a combination of raspberries, cherries, and blueberries as well as our delectable black berry jam. Their temperature and testing methods for seeing when jam is set is spot on... read more
Grandma Ingrid’s Irish Brack – Tea Bread

Grandma Ingrid’s Irish Brack – Tea Bread

Irish brack is a family tradition at our house. It started when I was about fourteen. When most of my siblings went to the library they would check out adventure stories, or mysteries or the latest romance novels, while I took home cookbooks. Cookbooks from other countries were my absolute favorite and one of the first countries I picked was Ireland. My mother is Irish so naturally I wanted to cook some authentic food from that country. After trying several recipes from the book,  I learned two things about Irish cooking; (1) plain apples and pork chops are not as flavorful as you would think and (2) there is nothing better than a slice of brack with a cup of tea during the cold month of March in Nebraska.   Every Saint Patrick’s Day since I checked out that cookbook I have made a loaf of Brack.  It wasn’t until I met my good friend Elizabeth however that my recipe became officially Irish Brack. Elizabeth was born in Ireland. When she learned I liked to make Brack she shared with me her Grandmother Ingrid’s recipe. The recipe I had been using was similar to the one she gave me with the exception of marmalade. Grandma Ingrid’s recipe adds three tablespoons of orange marmalade, which enhances the spices in the bread and I love seeing the bits of orange rind when I cut into the loaf. Irish Brack is a tea infused, sweet and spicy bread, full of plump raisins. This bread is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of special equipment just a bowl, a bundt pan and a little time.   Here is a... read more