Vegan Cherry Almond Scones

I came across a recipe for vegan scones, since I have a dairy free family member, and thought I could adapt it to use what I had on hand and suited my taste cravings. So, Cherry Almond was the winning combo!

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2022

These were very easy, though my confidence level was low. I am not experienced at vegan baking, and to be honest, not a fan of vegan baked goods. These were quite tender and not too sweet, of course with a swipe of butter, vegan or regular, on a warm scone, the whole gray blustery weather melted away.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond or soy milk
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of dried cherries (I used Montmorency Red Tart Cherries)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat your oven to 375° F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Measure out your almond milk and lemon juice, mix together, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine all your dry ingredients, including cherries. Whisk together until everything is evenly dispersed. Add in your oil, extracts and ‘buttermilk’ and mix until fully combined. You might want to use your hands.
  • Lightly flour a countertop and divide your dough in half, evenly. Drop one half of the dough onto the counter and start forming the dough into a circle. Keeping the thickness as even as possible so everything cooks the same.
  • Cut into 8 even triangles. Line your baking sheet, keeping them about 2 inches apart from each other. Then repeat with the other half of the dough. Finish with a brush of soy milk and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake, checking at 16-20 minutes, for golden brown tops. Alternating baking sheets midway through is a good way to ensure even baking.
Photo credit: ©️ Debra M. Kirsch 2022

Flank Steak Tacos with Smoky Salsa

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2022

I came across this recipe recently in The Chicago Tribune, however, when I looked it up online it was actually from 2014! I guess it’s a tried and true recipe, and making the rounds again, our gain!

I substituted flour tortillas for the corn, because that’s my preference, and omitted the sour cream for the same reason. But after all, cooking is like that, flexible and to be enjoyed. Feel free to make all the condiments available and let everyone choose the combo that works best for them!

The recipe starts with making the salsa, it is a key ingredient in the marinade, as well as on top of the tacos. I found it mellowed quite a lot over time. So you might want to check the flavor before serving time and stir in a little extra kick with extra the adobo sauce from the chilis.

Smoky Salsa

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2022

Chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce, which can be found in Mexican markets, are used here. Chipotles are smoked jalapeño chilies that take on a charred flavor when dried.

Grilling the ingredients first provides a smoky undertone. This salsa is great with a big basket of warm crisp tortilla chips.

Ingredients: (Makes 2 cups.)

5 large Roma tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, cut into thick slices

3 scallions, white and light green parts only

1/3 medium bunch of cilantro, bottom stems removed

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon canned chipotle peppers

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chicken stock

1. Prepare a barbecue for medium-high-heat grilling. Grill the tomatoes, onion slices and scallions until partially charred, turning occasionally. The red onions will take the longest. Transfer to a plate. Grill the cilantro for about 30 seconds, just to wilt and give off a slight smoky flavor.

2. With the motor running, add the garlic cloves to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until pureed. Add the grilled vegetables and remaining ingredients and process until all the vegetables are pureed. Taste for seasoning. (For a thinner consistency, add more chicken stock.) Serve with chips and guacamole or as a condiment for grilled chicken or meat.

Recipe can be prepared up to one week ahead, covered tightly and refrigerated.

Photo credit: ©️ Debra M. Kirsch 2022

Flank Steak

1 cup Smoky Salsa (see above)

1 cup full-bodied beer

1-2 pound flank steak

1. Combine 1/2 cup of the salsa and 3/4 cup of the beer in a medium mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Flatten out the flank steak in a shallow, large nonaluminum dish. Pour the marinade over it and marinate for 2 to 24 hours covered in the refrigerator; the longer, the more tender.

2. In a small serving bowl, combine the remaining salsa and beer for the sauce and mix together. Taste for seasoning.

3. Prepare a barbecue for medium-heat grilling. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill it 3 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for a medium-rare. Place on a carving platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain. Serve immediately with the sauce and condiments

Tacos

Shredded fresh cabbage

Shredded carrot

Sliced avocado

Queso fresco

Sour cream

Chopped fresh cilantro

Corn (or flour) tortillas

Assemble your tacos with sliced steak as a base layer and any combination of condiments that you like! Have fun with them, they are perfect for a weekend barbecue and leftover flank steak always makes a great sandwich, extra salsa is awesome with chips as a snack, too!

Enjoy!😃

Country Apple Fritter Bread

A friend posted this recipe on Facebook, and I just happened to be long some early Michigan apples, and everything else, so I gave it a try. This turned out to be fairly easy and quick, though it turned out a bit sweet for my taste. It’s moist and dense, with a good amount of cinnamon.

Photo credit: Debra M. Kirsch ©️2021

Ingredients & Directions

Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Mixture:
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bread loaf:
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs room temp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or almond milk room temp
Chopped Apple Mixture
  • 2 large apples any kind, peeled and chopped small, but not fine. Then toss apples with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon just before adding it to the cake mixture.
Old-Fashioned Creme Glaze
  1. 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  2. 1-3 tablespoons of milk or cream-depending on thickness of glaze wanted. For more apple fritter style, like an apple fritter donut- use more milk for a thinner glaze that you can pour over the whole loaf.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9×5-inch loaf pan and spray with non-stick spray or line with foil and spray with non-stick spray to get out easily for slicing.
  2. Mix 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine & whisk 1 & 1/2 cups flour and 1 & 3/4 teaspoons baking powder together in another bowl and set aside.
  4. In another medium-sized bowl, beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter together using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  5. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time until blended in; add in 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and mix in.
  6. Add the flour mixture into creamed butter mixture and mix until blended.
  7. Mix 1/2 cup milk into batter and continue mixing until smooth.
  8. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the chopped apple mixture with the sugar and cinnamon added in.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture you set aside earlier, on top of apple layer.
  10. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer and top with remaining chopped apples, then the remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
  11. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using knife or spoon.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 60 minutes.
  13. To make glaze, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 to 3 tablespoons milk or cream together until well mixed. (Place mixture in microwave for 10 seconds to get it pourable if it needs a boost.)
  14. Let loaf rest in pan for about 15 minutes before removing from pan to let cool off completely on a cooling rack. Drizzle with glaze.
  15. If you want more glaze, make a double batch.
Photo credit: Debra M. Kirsch ©️2021

The recipe credit goes to Tasty Recipes https://recipesfiber.com/awesome-country-apple-fritter-bread

French Crepes for breakfast!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Beautiful French Crepes make a lovely breakfast, even on short notice! Requiring only a few ingredients, that are likely on hand, these come together quickly, with some sugar and fresh berries, they are ready to make the day feel special!

The beauty of this recipe is that it doubles for both sweet and savory dishes. So if breakfast isn’t the right time, they can easily be made and rolled around savory dishes such as shrimp with butter & fresh herbs, chicken & broccoli with a cream sauce, or ham & shredded cheese with a fried egg!

I used a simple recipe from https://thestayathomechef.com/crepe-recipe/ that I would highly recommend!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 C flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C milk
  • Butter for cooking
  • Fresh berries or fruit for topping
  • Granulated or powdered sugar for topping
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add in eggs and whisk to combine.
  • Slowly pour in milk, whisking until you have a smooth, pourable batter.
  • Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Let about 1/2 tablespoon of butter melt in the pan.
  • Pour a little of the crepe batter in the pan and swirl it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Let cook about 1 minute, until surface loses its shine. Flip carefully.
  • Repeat until all batter has been used, melting another 1/2 tablespoon of butter for each. This recipe makes about 5 large 10-inch crepes, or 10 small crepes. (I got 7 8-inch crepes.)
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Puffed Pancakes with Orange-Apricot Sauce from The White River Inn, Cotter, AR

Right out of the oven!
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2021

These delectable treats were served to us on a recent visit to The White River Inn, in Cotter, Arkansas. The lovely proprietor happily shared the recipe, and I am so thankful. These come out looking fancy, but in reality, they are very quick and easy to make. The accompanying Orange-Apricot Sauce can be made ahead, and is supposed to keep for quite awhile in the fridge so it could be ready to go on any given day.

I think these would also be great with a dusting of powdered sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon, just like a miniature Dutch Baby pancake, or even with a scoop of Peach ice cream and some fresh whipped cream for dessert. A truly versatile dish, in my mind!

Though I got this recipe in Arkansas, it seems to have originated at The Featherbed Inn, in Waltsfield, VT, at least that’s what the copy of the recipe says. http:/www.featherbedinn.com, so credit is due there. It’s great that Inns, Lodges, and B&Bs around the country can share recipes that work well for groups, and can be easily adjusted for the expected number of guests on short notice. 👍🏻 I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Pancakes (2 servings)

  • 1/4 C Flour
  • 1/4 C milk (we use 1%)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (I used orange extract)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 6 oz ramekins or 2 12 oz ramekins or oven proof bowls
  • 1-2 T butter
  • PAM spray
  • 1 C Orange juice
  • 1/8 C sugar
  • 1/2 C Apricot Jam
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Sliced almonds, Orange twist, or Strawberry as garnish
Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Preheat oven to 475°F. Spray oven-proof ramekins with PAM Cooking Spray and place ~1/2 T butter in each. Beat egg until piled high. Beat in milk, add flour and beat until smooth. Mix in extract. Place ramekins into oven to melt butter, remove and pour batter into center of each dish. Bake about 10 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with Orange-Apricot sauce or topping of your choice.

For sauce: in a small saucepan, place orange juice and sugar, bring to a slow boil mixing until sugar is melted. Add Apricot Jam and simmer until slightly thickened and jam is melted. Add more juice if needed. Add about 4 Mandarin Oranges per pancake and vanilla (optional) and warm until oranges are heated through. Sauce keeps in the fridge for awhile (just like jam or jelly) and can be reheated as needed. Spoon over pancake and garnish with sliced almonds, an orange twist, or a strawberry for color. ENJOY!

*Note: Nutrition information calculated for pancake with Orange-Apricot Sauce.

Faux Spaghetti!

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2021

Faux “Spaghetti”! I came up with this simple idea last night since I’ve made great progress shedding my Covid gain, down 10 pounds as of today! Simply, zoodles (zucchini noodles) sautéed with a spray of Pam cooking spray, and an easy sauce of mild Italian sausage, browned with 1/2 of a sliced onion & a little minced garlic, 1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes crushed with the hand blender, and 2 tblsp of red wine. All brought to a simmer and served on top with a light sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Healthy and filling, I could eat this anytime!

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2021

This was my solution to not having any crushed tomatoes on hand… I really need to check my inventories and stock the cupboards again!

Skinny Blueberry Muffins

Photo credit: ©️Debra M Kirsch 2021

I came across this recipe for “skinny” muffins and thought “Viola, just what I need as I try to shed some of these Covid pounds that I acquired over the last year!”

With a simple to follow recipe, and only a couple of items that I needed to grab from the store, I got cookin’, or should I say baking! It’s been a little while since I had the house smell so good.

I made one additional substitution, in addition to a couple that were listed with the recipe, and that was 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce instead of 1/4 C of vegetable/canola oil.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk*
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil**
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt***
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries tossed in 2 tablespoons flour (helps prevent sinking)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray the cavities of a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan very well with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside. (I don’t prefer the cosmetic look of muffin liners.)
  2. To a large bowl, add all the flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. To a separate large bowl, add the egg, sugar, milk, canola oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until smooth and combined, without needlessly over-mixing or muffins will become tough.
  5. Add the blueberries and fold gently to incorporate. I haven’t tried the recipe using frozen blueberries but if you do, I recommend adding them to the batter frozen because they’ll run and bleed less than if thawed, adjust baking time accordingly if necessary.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop or 1/4-cup measure, evenly distribute the batter into the cavities of the prepared pan, filling each cavity about 3/4-full. Tip – Add a couple blueberries to the top of each muffin for a nice pop of color.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. The short baking time at very high heat helps the muffins get a more domed top.
  8. Lower the temp to 375F and bake for about 19 to 20 minutes or until tops are set, lightly golden, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Use your judgment when evaluating doneness because muffin pans, ovens, ingredients, and climates vary. Start watching closely at about 16 minutes.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing and placing on rack to cool completely. Gently rim each cavity with a knife if necessary for easier removal. Muffins are best fresh but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

So, here’s the link to the recipe, I really hope you enjoy it and I highly recommend following Averie Sunshine! She hasn’t failed me yet. 😃

https://www.averiecooks.com/skinny-blueberry-muffins/

Photo credit: ©️Debra M. Kirsch 2021

NOTES

*Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk or another milk may be substituted

**Liquid-state coconut oil may be substituted or unsweetened applesauce

***I used 0% fat but other Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted

Dutch Baby Pancake, it’s cold outside🎶🎵🎶

For Christmas Bruch we dove into 2 of these “babies”! Super quick and easy, it’s made with everything you have on hand. I found the recipe on Allrecipes https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23898/dutch-babies-ii/

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 T butter
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place 10 inch cast iron skillet in to preheat.
  2. In a small bowl mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs together, then add milk and whisk again.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk together until smooth.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and reduce temp to 425 degrees F.
  6. Add butter to hot skillet and melt. There should be an ample amount covering the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour all the batter into the center of the skillet, return it to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. It will puff up and become golden brown.
  8. With a large spatula, you can remove the pancake to a cutting board or plate for serving.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with lemon wedges.
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Holiday Cookies

🎶 It’s the most wonderful time of the year…🎶 Cookie time!! We can bake sweets galore and not feel guilty about it. Give them as gifts, nibble a few while you address cards, or just enjoy that wonderful feeling you have thinking about how blessed we truly are, despite the challenges we face.

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

These charming cookies are just the thing to spread some holiday cheer. This time I used a recipe from Willams-Sonoma that came with a cookie cutter set, sometime in the past.

They are a bit thicker than I typically make them, but I will admit they are sturdier and held their shape well while baking. *TIP! I learned that if you roll the dough out directly on a silpat sheet (no flour needed), and cut the cookies there, you can just remove the excess and pop the silpat on a baking sheet) and into the oven. This makes for less handling of the cookies, but the best part is that you can easily re-roll the scraps to cut more cookies, and not have all the extra flour from rolling!!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Here’s the recipe, it was super easy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose glour
  • 1/4 tsp baking oowder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1egg
  • Royal icing (recipe below)
  • Sprinkles, sugars, candy decorations
  1. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. Mix until just combined.
  3. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or use Silpat nonstick liners.
  5. On a slightly floured surface (or directly on Silpat), cut out cookie shapes. Space cookies about an inch apart and bake until just golden around the edges, about +/- 10-12 minutes. Cool on Pan for 5 minutes and remove to cooling rack. Decorate as desired. Makes about 12-18 cookies (more if you roll them on the Silpat!).
Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Royal Icing

  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 egg whites (or equivalent meringue powder & water)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla, or other flavored extract, I used peppermint
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they get foamy, add sugar, vanilla, and cream of tarter. Beat on high speed until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Use immediately, or store covered tightly with plastic wrap at room temp for up to 6 hours. (It will last longer if you used meringue powder instead of egg whites). Divide into several bowls and tint with food coloring. Have fun!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

This is a fun project, that can be done in one day, or spread over a couple. Beware, there are always sprinkles and icing in the strangest places afterwards😂

Happy holidays!!

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Thai Red Curry Soup

Photo credit: © Debra M. Kirsch 2020

My daughter sent me this recipe, she tried it first and was so happy with it, and the cold fall nights were the perfect time to try it.

I admit, I had to do a little shopping because there were a few things that I don’t regularly keep on hand, but it was worth a run to the store! It think it took about 30 minutes start to finish, to pull together, so that adds up to a great weeknight meal as well.

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 2 t sugar
  • 6 oz cremini mushrooms (can sub white mushrooms) trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 oz snow peas, strings removed and cut in half
  • 2 t Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Pat chicken dry, season with salty& pepper. Heat oil in large sauce pan until just smoking. Brown chicken lightly, 2-3 minutes per side and transfer to a plate and cover.
  2. Ad shallot to pan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, and sugar. Scrape up any browned bits.
  3. Add browned chicken and any juices that have accumulated, bring to a simmer about 10 minutes. Flip chicken halfway through. Remove chicken to a cutting board, cool slightly and shred.
  4. Return soup to a simmer, stir in mushrooms & snow peas, cooking until tender, about three minutes. Whisk lime juice, curry paste and remaining fish sauce together in a small bowl. Remove soup from heat and stir in lime/curry mixture and shredded chicken. Let sit for about 2 minutes while chicken heats through. Taste for seasoning, add salt/pepper as needed.
  5. Garnish individual portions with a healthy sprinkle of fresh cilantro and enjoy!