Hearty Cornmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon & Walnuts

Hearty Cornmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon and Walnuts - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

This morning I woke up to about two inches of lovely, fluffy snow covering the ground and clinging to the tree branches.  We haven’t had much snow here in Western Massachusetts this winter and I was just thrilled when I opened my shades to such splendor!

Winter 2016  - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

These trees have grown sooo much since we moved here in 2004.

Winter 2016 - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Sophie, the stray cat, lives in the barn.

Padding around the kitchen in my favorite red plaid slippers, I decided a hearty, and delicious, breakfast was in order on this lovely snowy morning.  Hearty Cornmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon and Walnuts fit that bill perfectly – and they were one of my sons absolute favorites for breakfast when they were growing up.

Photographing something as bland as pancakes is a real challenge, so I came up with the idea of thickening the maple syrup.  Otherwise the syrup would disappear into the pancakes, which would result in a very boring photo. First I boiled the syrup… but that didn’t make it thick enough.  So I added a bit of cornstarch, mixed in water.  Still not thick enough…  A bit more cornstarch and water was added, then I got caught up doing something else.. and forgot the maple syrup boiling away. (The older I get, the more forgetful I get..)

The end result of my forgetfulness was a REALLY thick syrup which photographed beautifully and I was happy with the results.  However, I was a bit less happy a few minutes later, once the unused portion of thickened syrup cooled and stuck to the pan with an vigorous tenacity!  (If this ever happens to you, just add water, heat to a boil and allow to sit for a while.)

Recipe makes about 12 small pancakes – enjoy!

small red heart

INGREDIENTS   

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs. sugar     ++  You can substitute brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

METHOD

Mix 1 cup cornmeal, 2 Tbs sugar and 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl.  Add 1 cup boiling water and stir briefly.  Cover bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.  ++  I usually put a dinner plate on top.

After 10 minutes add ½ cup flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon to the softened cornmeal. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg, 1/2 milk and 2 Tbs butter until smooth and add to bowl. Stir ingredients quickly until just combined.  Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Heat a buttered skillet over medium heat.  (I use an electric skillet, which I love, because the heat is even throughout.)

++  I suggest using a 1/4 cup measure so each pancake is about the same size.

Cook pancakes until bubbles form on the surface and edges appear dry, then flip and cook just a bit little longer.

Hearty Cornmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon and Walnuts are especially delicious with a side of bacon and lots of maple syrup.   ; o )

 

Big, Fat, Fluffy Southern Style Biscuits – Prepared Two Ways!

Southern-Style Biscuits No. 2 - myyellowfarmhouse.com 003
USE - Southern-Style Biscuits No. 2 - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Makes 11 – 12 yummy biscuits!

This Massachusetts Yankee (of French Canadian descent) has been searching for a long, long time for a really good recipe for Southern Style Biscuits. I’m talking biscuits that are soft and flaky inside, with a slightly crunchy, buttery top.

Believe me, I’ve prepared enough ‘so so’ biscuits to know when I’ve finally found a great recipe – and, actually I found (and adapted just a bit) two excellent recipes! To quote a series of books – these recipes could be called ‘Southern Style Biscuits for Dummies’!

++ In true ‘Cecile Style’, the first time I prepared the 2nd biscuit recipe I didn’t have any vinegar.  So I substituted ‘Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing’.  And, how about this, the biscuits were wonderful !

Quick Story About My Cast Iron Skillet.

We usually went camping for our vacations when I was a child…. that is, when we actually went on a vacation.  (I grew up during the 1950s in a working class neighborhood.)  During one of those trips we woke up to find our cast iron skillet missing.

My Old Cast Iron Skillet - myyellowfarmhouse.com

My father followed the trail of the raccoon who had absconded with it.  At the end of the trail he found not only our cast iron skillet but another one as well, which he brought back.  And that’s the story of the cast iron skillet I use today – – which is the one my father found in the woods laying along side ours!

TIPS !!

Learn from my mistakes…..  1. Make sure the butter is super cold  2.  Ignore directions telling you to ‘ cut slivers of butter with a potato peeler’ … simply because the butter is far too warm (from your hands) by the time you’re done  3.  Cut the butter into the flour, baking powder, salt mixture quickly. If there’s tiny hunks of butter, so much the better.   4.  Keep the kneading down to a minimum.  The more you knead, the softer the dough  gets as the butter warms up.  5.  The VERY best way to bake Southern Style Biscuits is in a cast iron skillet.  I tried… several times… using a cookie sheet but I just wasn’t happy with the results.

biscuit cutter

Biscuit Cutter

pastry blender

Pastry Blend

 

 Biscuit Recipe No. 1 – ‘Southern Style Baking Powder Biscuits’

INGREDIENTS                     Yield = 11 – 12 biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
  • 3/4 cup milk  ++ At least 2%
  • ++ butter for greasing cast iron skillet – and for brushing on top of uncooked biscuits.

METHOD                 Preheat oven to 425 (F)           Butter a  cast iron skillet      

++  I used a 10″ cast iron skillet but a 12″ will work just as well !!    

In a medium bowl mix 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar & 1 Tbs. baking powder.  Cut in 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, either with your fingers, a pastry blender or two table knives.  Mix milk (at least 2%) into flour mixture until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  I have a dish towel (tea towel) I use just for this. I shake it out after each use and put it away until the next time.  Knead dough very briefly… perhaps 30 – 40 seconds.

Pat down the dough using your fingers to form an 8″ circle.  Cut with 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter – or a glass of similar size.  Place biscuits around the edges of a buttered 9 1/2″ to 10″ cast iron skillet, then add others in the middle. (For this recipe, you should have three biscuits in the middle.)  Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake 18 – 20 minutes.  (Mine were ready in 18 minutes.)  To check for doneness, insert a knife or toothpick in the middle biscuits.  No dough should stick.  Let biscuits cool for a few minutes… that is… IF YOU CAN !!  Enjoy!!

 Biscuit Recipe No 2 – ‘Southern Style Biscuits’  

Recipe includes vinegar, baking powder & baking soda.

But…. if you have buttermilk.. or dried buttermilk, as shown below, then skip the vinegar!

 

No buttermilk?  This is a great product.  Just remember to refrigerate after opening!

SACO Cultured - DRIED - Buttermilk -

USE -Southern-Style Biscuits No. 1 - myyellowfarmhouse.com

USE - Southern-Style Biscuits No 1 - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

Makes 11 – 12 yummy biscuits!

INGREDIENTS               Yield = 11 – 12 biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
  • 1 Tbs. vinegar – plus enough milk (at least 2%) to make 3/4 cup
  •   ++ OR 3/4 cup buttermilk    
  •   ++ OR 3/4 cup 2% milk & add I Tbs. dried buttermilk to dry ingredients
  • butter for greasing cast iron skillet – and for brushing on top of uncooked biscuits.

 

METHOD              Preheat oven to 425 (F)           Butter a cast iron skillet

++  I used a 10″ cast iron skillet but a 12″ will work just as well !!

In a medium bowl mix 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbs. white sugar.  Cut in 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, either with your fingers, a pastry blender or two table knives.  Pour in 3/4 cup buttermilk.  (OR place 1 Tbs. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) in a measuring cup and add enough milk (not less than 2%) to make 3/4 cup).  Mix milk/vinegar (or buttermilk) into flour mixture until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  I have a dish towel (tea towel) I use just for this. I shake it out after each use and put it away until the next time.  Knead dough very briefly… perhaps 30 – 40 seconds.

Pat down the dough using your fingers to form an 8″ circle.  Cut with 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter – or a glass of similar size.  Place biscuits around the edges of a buttered 9 1/2″ to 10″ cast iron skillet, then add others in the middle. (For this first recipe, you should have two biscuits in the middle.)  Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake 18 – 20 minutes.  (Mine were ready in 18 minutes.)  To check for doneness, insert a knife or toothpick in the middle biscuits.  No dough should stick.  Let biscuits cool for a few minutes… that is… IF YOU CAN !!  Enjoy!!

Need a bit of inspiration for what to serve with your biscuits?   

How about Salisbury Steak from ‘Rufus’ Guide’ ?  

Greg - 'Rufus Guide' - Salisbury Steak

Here’s the link for the delicious Salisbury Steak recipe!

Breakfast Time?  Perfect white gravy from ‘Mom of the South’.

Gravy Over Biscuits - Mom of the South

Here’s the link to ‘Mom of the South’ and her recipe for perfect white gravy!

++ Biscuit recipe No. 1 adapted from ‘Mom of the South’.     Biscuit recipe No. 2 adapted from ‘Allrecipes.com’.  

Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes

Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

I made these Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes with Oreo cookies but they can be made with whatever cookies you choose.

Cookies 'n Cream ice Cream Cupcakes - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes are so very easy to put together – and you’re going to make every Ice Cream Lover in your life very happy!  (I can’t wait to make these with my grandchildren – speaking of Ice Cream Lovers.)

The east coast of the United States is bracing for a BIG snow storm, arriving here in Massachusetts in a few hours.  I plan to take advantage of being socked in by working on a few new recipes!  I’ve been attempting to perfect a recipe I’m calling Shake, Pour and Bake Pizza Crust.  I’ve prepared it twice so far and the crust is almost right.  Another one or two tweaks and I think I’ll have the results I’m looking for.  In the meantime, both myself and my neighbors are enjoying the results of my ‘pizza crust experiments’.  ; o )

Here’s photos of the two Shake, Pour and Bake Pizzas I’ve prepared so far.  On the left – black and green olives topped with 5-cheese Italian mix.  The 2nd – a Margherita pizza with slices of fresh mozzarella and Parmesan.  (Didn’t have any basil leaves – sprinkled on a bit of fresh Italian parsley.)

Here’s how to put-together today’s recipe – Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  (1.5 quart container ice cream  (Don’t they sell ‘gallons’ anymore?? )    ++  I used French Vanilla
  • 3 Tbs. chocolate syrup     ++  Optional 
  • 2  (7.5 oz)  containers chocolate shell topping  ++ There’ll be some left over.
  • 3/4 cup Oreo cookies, broken into small pieces   ++  You can use any cookie you chose

METHOD         Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners

First Layer – Half the ice cream 

Cut the ice cream in half.  Place HALF in a medium bowl.  (Return the rest of the ice cream to the freezer.)  Optional – add 3 Tbs. chocolate syrup and mix to combine.  Drop  1 1/2 Tbs. into each section of the cupcake pan.  ++ Don’t forget to line with paper liners.   ++  Allow ice cream to soften just a bit – it makes it easier to fill the sections.  Freeze ice cream cupcakes for at least 30 minutes.

Second Layer – Warmed chocolate shell topping

Place VERY HOT water in a small bowl.  Stand the 7.5 oz container of chocolate shell topping in the hot water for about 4 minutes.  Squeeze chocolate shell topping over each ice cream cupcake until you have a layer of chocolate topping.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  ++  I didn’t warm the chocolate shell topping for this layer – it didn’t spread out very well, as you can see in the photo below.

Third Layer – 1/4 of the rest of the ice cream and 3/4 cup broken up cookies

Briefly chop 6 Oreo cookies in a food processo.  Or – put 6 Oreo cookies in a small baggy and ‘smack up’ up the cookies to break them into small pieces.  You should have about 3/4 cup small cookie bits.   ++  You don’t want ‘cookie dust’, so don’t over do it.

Take out the remaining ice cream.  Remove half the ice cream… in other words,  you only need 1/4 of the 1.5 quart container for this layer. Place ice cream in a bowl, mix in 3/4 cup cookie bits.  Again, the softer the ice cream, the easier it will be to fill each section.  You should have enough for 1 Tbs. in each section.  Smooth ice cream a bit using a spoon. Freeze for at least another 30 minutes.

Fourth and Final Layer – Warmed chocolate shell topping and 1/2 a cookie

—  About 5 minutes before you you’re ready to remove ice cream cupcakes for their final layer, place the 2nd container of chocolate shell topping in a bowl with HOT water.  And – cut 6 Oreo cookies in half to use as a garnish.  ++  The best way to avoid breaking the cookies is to cut straight down with a sharp knife.  I went through LOTS of cookies until I figured that out!

Squeeze warmed chocolate shell topping onto each ice cream cupcake – use enough to cover the layer below .  Gently push a cookie half into the middle of each ice cream cupcake.  Freeze for about an hour.

++  Squeeze the warmed chocolate topping onto only one ice cream cupcake at a time, then gently push in a cookie half.  Otherwise, the chocolate shell on the ice cream cupcakes will be hardened by the time you do the rest.  Guess how I learned that??

Enjoy!!

++  Adapted from Good Housekeeping – June 2015 

Butter Brickle Cake Frosted with Whipped Cream & Topped with Crushed Milk Chocolate Toffee

USE - Butter Brickle Cake - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

3b - Butter Brickle Cake - My Yellow Farmhouse.com 025

Butter Brickle Cake Frosted with Whipped Cream & Topped with Crushed Milk Chocolate Toffee starts with a yellow cake mix to which melted butter, milk, eggs, butter brickle baking bits and vanilla are added.  After baking, the two layers are cut in half to form four, and each layer is frosted with whipped cream and sprinkled with crushed milk chocolate toffee.  Yummy!!!

I love the idea that such a delicious – and rather impressive looking dessert – starts with a ‘jazzed up cake mix!!

small red heart

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 box yellow cake mix   ++  I used Betty Crocker
  • 1 cup WHOLE milk  ++ You can use 1% or 2%, the cake just won’t be as rich.
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter  ++  Butter replaces the oil in the recipe.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 cup butter brickle baking bits  ++   I used to ‘Heath’ toffee baking bits

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

  • 2 cups COLD whipping cream  (1 pint)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup confectionery (icing) sugar  ++  I used 1/2 cup  conf. sugar but think I will use 1/3 cup next time.  It all depends how sweet you like your whipped cream. 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • about 2 cups crushed milk chocolate covered toffee candy – such as SKOR or HEATH bars – about 4 – 5 candy bars.  ++  I used 5.

Method      

 2 (9″) greased and floured (nonstick) round cake pans   Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 mins.

Place 1 box yellow cake mix, 1 cup WHOLE milk, 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, 3 eggs and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract in a medium bowl.  Blend the ingredients first, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in butter brickle bits.

Divide batter equally between two greased and floured 9″ round pans.  Smooth tops with a spatula.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Allow pans to cool for 10 minutes on a cake rack before removing and allow layers to cool throughly before frosting with whipped cream.

PREPARING WHIPPED CREAM

With mixer set at medium speed, beat 2 cups whipping cream and 1/2 cup confectionery (icing) sugar until  thickened.  Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract and continue beating until cream is thick enough to hold its shape. ++  When you pull the beaters out, the cream should stand in stiff peaks

PUTTING CAKE TOGETHER

Here’s a trick I learned when I took a cake decorating course A LONG TIME AGO – place a blob of whipped cream in the middle of your serving platter. Place the first layer on top of the cream.  The whipped cream (or, in other cases, frosting, helps keep the cake from sliding.

You’ll be frosting 4 layers, so imagine that you’d divided the whipped cream into quarters so you’ll have enough for the whole cake.  You’ll also be sprinkling on 1/4 of the crushed toffee candy for each of the 4 layers.

Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of the first layer.  Sprinkle on a 1/4 of of the crushed toffee candy bars.

++  Here’s another tip from that cake decorating course.  1. Start frosting by placing a good-sized amount of whipped cream in the center of the layer.  2. Make the whipped cream layer a little thicker when you come to the edge of the cake – almost like a rim.

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Place your 2nd layer on top of first.  Repeat – spreading on a layer of whipped cream and sprinkling 1/4  of the crushed candy bar for each remaining layer.

I love how this cake looks pretty darn impressive, yet is so easy to make.  And it tastes as good as it looks.  Enjoy!!

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++  Recipe was adapted from Taste of Home.com 

Too Cold to Grill Outside? Try Italian Sausages Baked in the Oven – Perhaps with a Side of Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage . . . Two Ideas Too Easy to Even Be Called ‘Recipes’!

Quick 'n Easy Oven Baked Italian Sausage

Sausages cooked this way make excellent grinders, subs or po’boys!!

baby bella mushrooms with balsamic and sage (2)

I was pleased with how delicious these oven-baked Italian sausages turned out!  As you can see in the photo, the sausages were brown and juicy.  I am never again going to bother browning sausages in a skillet again!  No matter how hard I tried, even with a splatter guard, I’d always end up with grease splattered all over my kitchen.

To cook sausages in the oven, simply place sausages on a broiler pan and pierce each one a few times with a sharp knife.  Bake at 400 (F) for 30 minutes.  (It sure beats making a big mess!)

++ Line the bottom of the broiler pan with foil for an easy clean up.         

Baked Italian Sausages 001

 ++  If you don’t own a broiler pan, line a cookie sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top. cooling rack

 

 

Place broiler pan containing sausages in a preheated 400(F) degree oven for 30 minutes.  ++  Don’t forget to ‘prick’ the sausages at least on one side so the fat can drain out.

You can turn the sausages once, but it’s not necessary. I turned them the first time I tried this, the day before Christmas, but yesterday I forgot simply because I was on my computer .. checking on ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’.

++  If you do turn the sausages, you might want to cook them a bit longer – until both sides are nicely browned and crisped, but its not necessary.

I prepared a spaghetti sauce last night with some of the oven baked Italian sausages (I used both sweet and hot), plus the ‘Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage’. I’m keeping some of the sauce for myself and sharing some with one of my neighbors. She’s Italian-American – I hope she likes it!!   

How to Prepare ‘Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage’

baby bella mushrooms with balsamic and sage (2)

Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage

I think you’ll like the earthy flavor the dried sage adds to this dish.  And a bit of balsamic adds a whole other level of flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 (16 oz.) package sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms  
  • 2 Tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. dried sage 
  • 1 Tbs. roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • freshly ground pepper 

++ See if you can find a package of good-sized Baby Bella Mushrooms.  The ones I found were large and meaty, a bit like Portabella mushrooms. In fact, Portabella mushrooms would be wonderful prepared this way!

Put 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet.  Allow butter and olive oil to heat a bit before adding 16 oz. sliced Baby Bella (or Portabella) mushrooms.  Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms begin to soften.

Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage

Add 2 Tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar and 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. dried sage, 1 Tbs. roughly chopped Italian parsley and some freshly ground pepper. 

Continue to cook just a few minutes more, stirring often, until mushrooms are fully cooked.  That’s it!!  

++ Don’t make the mistake of over-cooking mushrooms.  If juice starts pouring out of the mushrooms, you’ve cooked them too long.

A terrific hogie, sub or po’boy can be made with a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage and these mushrooms. Or, the sausages and mushrooms could be added to a big pot of spaghetti sauce, as I did last night. (I’m planning to serve ‘Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage’ as a side for a nice, fat steak or a juicy chicken breast.)  Enjoy!

Baked Italian Sausages 003

Quick ‘n Easy Oven Baked Italian Sausage

baby bella mushrooms with balsamic and sage (2)

Baby Bella Mushrooms with Balsamic and Sage

 

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone – Quick, Easy & Good ! (Uses pre-rolled and pre-formed pizza dough!!)

11 - Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone

10 - Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperon Calzone

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone is loaded with several types of Italian cheeses, roasted red peppers and pepperoni.  And better yet, its prepared with pizza dough found in the refrigerator section of your market and jarred roasted red peppers, which makes this calzone ‘Quick, Easy and Good’!

There is a bit of chopping, and about two seconds spent mixing the two eggs with a few spices and the Italian five-cheese mix, then it’s simply a matter of layering the ingredients on one half of the pizza dough, folding up the calzone and baking it.

INGREDIENTS              

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup Italian five-cheese mix –  OR – 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1/8 tsp. Italian seasonings
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough

++  I used ‘Wewalka Classic Crust’. The dough is rolled in a layer of parchment, so you don’t have to worry about cutting a piece of parchment paper.  

 ++  If you can’t find ‘Wewalka’, use a tubed refrigerated pizza dough. Of course, you could make your own pizza dough but the cooking times may be slightly different.  (You will need a 9″ x 12″ rectangle.)    

  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni, sliced into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred fire-roasted red peppers- sliced and drained
  • 9 slices provolone cheese

TIPS

I placed the pizza dough on the baking sheet when I first began preparing the topping ingredients, but found the dough had dried out a bit on the edges.  I suggest placing the pizza dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet a few minutes before you’re ready to put on the toppings.  ++ If the dough does become dry on the edges, it won’t hold together.  Just moisten one of the edges with a bit of water using your fingers and it’ll hold just fine!

As I mentioned above, I used the new pizza dough which comes rolled in parchment paper.  If you buy another type of prepared dough, be sure to line your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  You’ll be glad you did because the parchment paper will contain any drips and keep the calzone from sticking.

METHOD      Oven at 400F        Bake for a total of 30 minutes

In a small bowl, briefly beat two eggs.  Mix in 1/8 tsp. Italian seasonings and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Set aside half the egg mixture.  To the other half, add 1 cup shredded Italian five-cheese mix (or 1 cup shredded mozzarella).  ++  You’ll be using half the egg mixture as the first layer of the calzone.  The second half is brushed on top of the uncooked calzone.

Chop 4 oz. thinly sliced pepperoni into strips.  Chop the roasted red pepper into strips.  You should have 1 1/2 cups. Drain in a colander and place strips on a few sheets of paper towels.

On one side of the pizza dough spread  the egg and shredded cheese mixture, being sure to to leave a 1″ border around the edges free of filling. Next place pepperoni strips, followed by the drained, roasted red pepper strips.  And finally add the 9 pieces of provolone.  ++  SEE PHOTOS BELOW   

Fold over the other half of the pizza dough, making sure the edges meet.  Using your fingers, press dough down so both sides stick together – fold edges under.  Using a sharp knife, cut a few vent slits on the top of the calzone.

Bake calzone for only 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with reserved egg mixture.  ++ You don’t have to use every single drop of the remaining egg mixture.

Return calzone to oven and bake until crust is golden – about another 15 minutes.  By this time the filling should be bubbling.  ++  A bit of oil from the pepperoni may bubble out but the parchment paper will catch it.

Allow calzone to rest  5 – 8 minutes, which helps the melted cheeses to set up a bit.  Cut into 12 pieces and – enjoy!!

++  If you chose, you can serve your creation with some marinara dipping sauce.  

Step-by-Step Photos – ‘Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoni Calzone’

 

Wishing You the Merriest of Holidays!!

Christmas 2015 001

I had planned to post various recipes for sugar cookies – and was going to call the series ‘The Sugar Cookie Experiment’, but as sometimes happens, life & The Holidays just got in the way.  

I didn’t return from my trip to Italy until late November and, before we could even begin thinking about Christmas, my son and I had to clean out the barn and put away all my outdoor furniture  …. a big and ‘not fun’ project.

Then began the lugging to and fro of lots and lots of Christmas stuff from the 2nd floor of the barn, such as lots of extra chairs and leaves for two tables, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons, plates and platters, tree decorations and lights etc. etc.  (Hay had been kept, many years ago, on the 2nd floor of the barn.  It’s so cute up there with all the gables and the quaint ‘tack room’ from the days when the barn housed horses that I’d love to fix it up sometime with a pool table etc.)

For the first time in years I have a real, live Christmas Tree. I am so in love with it!  This year I had an ‘assistant’ in the form of one of my sons, who helped me pick out a lovely tree and set it up. The decorating he left to me, which was fine ’cause I love decorating for Christmas.  

The lamp my friend Frank made me, based on A Christmas Story, still ‘blazes forth in all it’s glory’!

Christmas 2015 002

As you may remember, our moth-eaten but much beloved angel is placed at the top of the tree by one of my grandchildren.  

Our Traditional Christmas Angel - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Every year our family celebrates what we call Our Roy Christmas in the middle of December.  This year it was Saturday, December 12th and entailed lots of gift buying, gift wrapping, decorating and cooking which had to be done almost two weeks before the 25th!  Somehow – we manage to pull it off each year – and it’s always so much fun.  

Christmas 2015 - 4 001

My yellow farmhouse looked so festive and just so downright happy that I decided to host another party this past weekend.  As I often do, I prepare several heavy appetizers and ask others to also bring something to share.  We always end up with copious amounts of delicious things to eat!

++  A few photos from my December 19th party!  ++  

The cage with my parakeets, Linda (who’s a boy..) and Skye can be seen in the background.  They loved all the noise!

christmas party -1 2015

Christmas pary 2015

Christmas party 2015 2a

 I promise to post a few of the recipes from this year’s parties before New Year’s Eve!!

Christmas 2015 - copy

Happy Thanksgiving from ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’!

Roasted Turkey Bre

Wishing all my American friends a happy Thanksgiving.  (My Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving a month ago, which I think is a really good idea – its FREEZING here in Massachusetts today.)

While running errands yesterday afternoon I saw car after car lined up at various gas stations, preparing to head out to grandma’s or wherever they were going.  I’m staying here in Massachusetts today.  I usually drive – or take the train – down to the Philadelphia area where I spend a truly joyous Thanksgiving with my son and his family.

My son’s in-laws always host Thanksgiving and there’s such a crowd that T. always cooks two turkeys.  (Love you T.!!!)

This browned and beautiful turkey was quickly turned into nothing but a carcass. – from which I made my Saturday-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Noodle Soup.  

THE TURKEY - 'My Yellow Farmhouse.com"

Saturday-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Noodle Soup - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

'Saturday After Thanksgiving' Turkey Soup - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

For the last few years my son has been in charge of preparing the sweet potatoes following my daughter-in-law’s grandmother’s tried and true recipe.  And I, for the last several years, have been in charge of the gravy and the green beans. Oh, and the homemade cranberry sauce.  (I wonder what they’ll do without me this year?!) P.S. My son informed me that my ‘turkey gravy expertise’ WAS greatly missed !! 

I returned home Monday night from a nine-day trip to Italy – it was fabulous! When we lived in Malta we often went to Italy for either business or pleasure – but Italy’s a place you can visit over and over again and never, ever tire of the food, the sights and the Italian people with their generous hearts and ready smiles.

Today I’m heading over to one of my sister-in-law’s homes to celebrate Turkey Day.  I wanted to make sweet potatoes following my daughter-in-law’s grandmother’s recipe, but I didn’t have any dark Karo syrup.  So I ‘doctored’ the recipe with what I did have – namely regular Karo syrup, 1/2 cup apple sauce, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Plus three cut up apples.  I love how it turned out and I’ll be posting the recipe after Turkey Day!!

This magnificent photo of Venice was taken by a wonderful young woman named Cecilia whom we met on our tour.

Venice - by Cecilia Ramirez

Me… in front of the French Embassy in Rome, following the disaster in Paris.  Our hearts were breaking…

French Embassy in Rome

++  Clipart courtesy of www.hdlatestimages.com  

‘Quick ‘n Easy’ – Rustic One Crust Apple Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

Rustic One-Crust Apple Pie - myyellowfarmhouse

'A Little Help from My Friends'-Rustic One Crust Apple Pie - myyellowfarmhouse

Quick and easy to prepare, ‘Rustic One Crust Apple Pie with Maple Whipped Cream’ features thin apple slices bathed in sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, enveloped in a lovely, crunchy crust. Extra yummy with a big dollop of Maple Whipped Cream!

My first attempt, a few weeks ago, preparing this Rustic One Crust Pie yielded great results … BUT … I added too much sugar and butter, which overflowed the crust.  The pie tasted wonderful, just ask my son!  But the crust stuck to the parchment paper and I had a hard time getting the pie onto the serving plate.  I wouldn’t want that to happen to you, so adjustments were made and ‘All is Well’.  This time the pie slid right off the baking sheet!

I few of my friends saw photos of the ‘mistake’ pie on Facebook, and asked me to ‘bring some over’ or told me they were coming to my house for a piece.  They weren’t fast enough.  My son had eaten the last two pieces. My friend, Sue, hearing I was preparing another rustic apple pie today, told me I could NOT allow my son to eat the rest of the pie until she first got a piece.  So I made her a promise.  I won’t let my son have the last piece – I’ll eat it !!  (Only kidding…. that would be really mean.)

  INGREDIENTS         Oven at 450 (F)    Bake pie for 25 minutes…. until apples are tender  

++ If you chose to add chopped nuts, wait until the pie has baked 15 minutes.  Sprinkle on the nuts and bake the pie a further 10 minutes.

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust  ++ Take crust out of refrigerator about 15 minutes before.
  • 4 cups thinly sliced peeled apples
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar     ++ Not ‘packed’ – just leveled off
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. melted butter
  • some water in a glass – to wet the crust folded over the apples, before sprinkling on the sugar
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar – to be sprinkled on crust before baking
  • 2 Tbs. chopped pecans or walnuts    ++  I didn’t put any in the pie, but I think chopped nuts would be nice sprinkled on top of the Maple Whipped Cream!
  • 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 Tbs.REAL maple syrup
   METHOD

Remove purchased refrigerated pie crust from refrigerator about 15 minutes before. ++  This helps the crust unroll easily.  Peel and thinly slice 4 cups of apples – about 4 large.

In small bowl mix 4 tsp. cornstarch, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 Tbs. brown sugar and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg.  In another small bowl melt (in microwave) 1 Tbs. butter.  Pour sugar mixture into bowl containing melted butter – mix well with a fork & mix with 4 cups thinly sliced apples.

Place unrolled crust on an ungreased baking sheet – you don’t have to use parchment paper, but I prefer to.  Spoon apples onto the center of the crust.  Arrange apples so they’re 2″ from the edge of  crust.

Bake at 450 (F) for 25 minutes – until apple slices are tender.  Let pie rest a few minutes.  Loosen with a spatula just to be sure the crust doesn’t stick.  ++ It shouldn’t – now that I’ve adjusted the recipe.  ; o )

++  If you wish to add 2 Tbs chopped pecans or walnuts to your rustic pie, do so after the pie has baked 15 minutes – then bake pie 10 minutes more.

Whip 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream until thick.  Add 2 Tbs. REAL maple syrup.  Beat just until maple syrup is combined with cream.  Place a big dollop on each piece of Rustic One Crust Apple Pie, top with chopped pecans or walnuts and ENJOY!!!!

This little scarecrow made his first appearance November 2012. Click here for ‘Cecile’s Apple Pie Recipe’!

My Yellow Farmhouse - Apple Pie

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'A Little Help from My Friends' - Rustic One Crust Apple Pie - myyellowfarmhouse

'A Little Help from My Friends' - Rustic One Crust Apple Pie - myyellowfarmhouse

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'A Little Help from My Friends' - Rustic One Crust Apple Pie with Maple Whipped Cream - myyellowfarmhouse

Rustic One-Crust Apple Pie - myyellowfarmhouse

Rustic One-Crust Apple Pie - myyellowfarmhouse

++  Recipe adapted from ‘Pillsbury Apple Crostata’.

Thick ‘n Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder

Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder - myyellowfarmhouse.com

red pepper - courtesy of Re Della Produce

The mellow flavor of charred (blackened) red bell peppers adds a big flavor boost to this chowder. Don’t worry – charring the red bell peppers isn’t a lengthy process, as it can sometimes be. The chopped peppers are charred right in the pan, then chopped onions and potatoes are added, along with chicken broth, fresh parsley and a good amount ‘half and half’ cream….  plus a dash of cayenne pepper.  Add some crusty bread – and you’ll have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes!

I made a few changes from the original recipe simply because I’m from the part of the States we call New England.  Massachusetts to be exact, where a chowder (chow-da) should be thick and creamy, full of chunks of potatoes, onions and, quite often, clams. So I substituted ‘half and half’ cream for the milk AND there is no ‘mashing down’ of the potatoes, onions and red bell peppers as suggested in the original.     ; o )

++  Whole milk, 2% milk or 1% can be used instead of the ‘half and half’

++  “Half and half” is a mixture of half heavy cream and milk commonly found in the States.  In Canada, half-and-half is 10% cream.

   INGREDIENTS

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 cups roughly chopped red bell peppers     ++ approx. 2 large 
  • 2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion       ++ approx. 1  1/2 large 
  • 2 cups peeled russet potatoes, chopped into 1/2′ cubes     ++ approx. 1 russet potato
  • 2 cups chicken broth   ++ vegetable broth can be substituted
  • 2 cups ‘half and half’ OR milk    ++  If using milk, you may want to use more cornstarch to thicken the chowder.  
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley  –  ++ plus some to sprinkle on top of chowder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch

  METHOD                   ‘Dutch Oven’ – – A large heavy cooking pot with a lid.

Dutch Oven - Walmart

Spray bottom of a 4-quart Dutch Oven with non-stick cooking spray – heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Add 3 cups roughly chopped red bell peppers. Cook, UNCOVERED, 12 – 15 minutes until peppers are charred, stirring occasionally.

Lower heat a bit.  Add 2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, until onion becomes translucent.  Add 2 cups peeled russet potatoes, chopped into 1/2′ cubes, and 2 cups chicken broth.  ++ Vegetable broth may be substituted.  

Bring to a boil – reduce heat.  Simmer, COVERED, 12 minutes – or until potatoes are tender.

Add 2 cups ‘half and half’ (or milk), 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Simmer, UNCOVERED, until chowder is heated through, stirring occasionally.

Place 3/4 cup of the chowder liquid in a mug and mix in 1 Tb. cornstarch.  Slowly add to chowder, stirring slowly until chowder thickens. ++ If using milk, you may want to use more than 1 Tbs. cornstarch.

Serve with some chopped fresh parsley sprinkled on top of chowder.  (Thick ‘n Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder is even better when eaten the next day.)  Enjoy!

Follow this link for recipe – ‘No Name Bread’ – A Hearty, Moist Loaf, Perfect with Stew, Chili and Chowder

'No Name Bread' - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder - myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder - myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder - myyellowfarmhouse.com

 ++ Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens (Sept. 2105).