Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 74

How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).









































































1 pkg Yellow Cake Mix (with pudding in the mix)

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon rum (or 1/2 tsp. rum extract)

3/4 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped

Prepare cake mix according to package directions with the following changes: Use milk in place of 1/2 of the water. Bake in THREE round 8" cake pans. (Will not need as

much baking time as two round pans - about 20 minutes.) Using waxed paper or parchment on pan bottoms really helps with cake extraction.

When cool, whip cream, sugar and rum until fairly thick. Reserve 1/3 for top of torte. Mix chopped almonds into remaining 2/3 cream. Remove any crumbs from sides

of cake layers. Place one layer on a plate and spread with half of the almonds/cream mixture. DO NOT COVER SIDES. Place a second cake layer on top and spread

top with remaining almonds/cream. Place final layer on top and cover (top only) with reserved plain cream. Garnish as desired with more toasted almonds (whole,

slivered or chopped), shaved chocolate curls, etc. (Chopped Hershey Nuggets - with almonds or toffee bits -) Chill until ready to serve. Keep refrigerated.

Note: To toast almonds, place in even layer in baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 4 - 7 minutes. WATCH CLOSELY as the difference between toasted and scorched can be less than a minute.


From Lone Star Steakhouse


It saddles on up next to your entree at this huge steakhouse chain, but it's not what it claims to be. Sure, the menu says "baked sweet potato," but you're actually getting a sweet and tender red-skinned yam underneath all that yummy melted butter and cinnamon/sugar. And don't just get any yam for this top secret clone. You want to use garnet yams, if you have a choice. Then be sure to cook them long enough that the sugar in the yams begins to squirt out and burn in a couple of spots. Each yam should be tender, but not mushy. The skin on the outside will turn from red to greyish-brown, and inside it will be a hearty shade of black.

From Top Secret Recipes:


4 garnet yams

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup whipped butter


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake yams for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When they are done, they will be very soft in the center, and you will see liquid from the potato oozing out and charring. When the potato is sliced open, the inside of the skin will be charred black from the caramelizing sugar in the potato. This is a perfectly cooked potato.

3. To serve, slice a potato down the center. Add two tablespoons of whipped butter, then sprinkle some cinnamon/sugar over the top. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com)

Makes 4 servings.



1 quart of stemmed, washed and sliced strawberries

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. of cornstarch

1 small strawberry jello

1 tsp. of lemon juice

Mix together sugar, cornstarch and jello add water and lemon juice, bring to a boil over medium heat. Stirring constantly for about 15 min. Remove from heat, cool till touchable. Then gently fold in 1 quart of FRESH strawberries. Pour into either a pre-baked pie shell or a HOMEMADE graham cracker crust. Refrigerate 4 hrs or until set. Top with Cool Whip and garnish with fresh whole strawberries.

Homemade graham cracker crust:

1 package of graham crackers, crushed

1 stick of butter (melted)

1 Tbs. sugar

Melt butter with sugar add graham crackers. Press into a 9 inch pie pan.

NOTE: You can use any kind of fresh fruit that you matches a Jell-o flavor.



1 bottle alcohol-free champagne

Black cherry juice

Black or maraschino cherries, with stems

Lemon zest

Superfine sugar


Sugar-frost two tall champagne glasses (Wet rim of glass with water or by running a lemon or lime slice around the edge, then turn glass upside down and dip gently in a saucer of superfine sugar.)


Fill glasses with 2/3 chilled champagne and 1/3 chilled cherry juice.


Garnish with a cherry caressed by a piece of lemon zest.



3 ounces blood orange juice (see notes)

3 ounces raspberry seltzer or lemon-lime soda


Garnish: Slice of blood orange


Place orange juice and seltzer (or lemon-lime soda) in tall, thin glass. Gently stir. Fill with ice.


Garnish with thin slice of blood orange. Serve.


(Blood oranges have red-streaked flesh. The juice is almost as red as tomato juice.)



2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

6 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles course cornmeal. Add blueberries and mix.


In another bowl, combine buttermilk, milk and egg. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Knead fifteen times on a floured surface. Do not overwork the dough. Shape dough into a round, 1/2 inch thick. Cut round into 6 wedges. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 15 minutes or until golden brown.



8 medium sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds)

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt more

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup cream

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup white corn syrup

1/2 cup bourbon


Peel sweet potatoes and cut into quarters. Cut each quarter in half again. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Add the 2 teaspoons salt and granulated sugar. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until very tender. Potatoes should mash easily when pressed with a fork.


Drain potatoes and return to pan over very low heat. Return to burner until all moisture has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Rice or mash until very smooth.


Stir in brown sugar. Combine the 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl; stir into potatoes.


Place cream and butter in a saucepan. Heat until butter melts. Stir into potatoes. Stir in the corn syrup and bourbon.


Note: Potatoes may be made up to a day in advance and reheated in a saucepan with an additional 1/4 cup cream.


1 - 3 oz. package cream cheese

1 1/2 C. milk

2 eggs, beaten until no whites remain

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

3 C. chopped broccoli, cooked until barely tender.

Blend cream cheese and milk until mixed. Add beaten eggs, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg, and chopped parsley. Mix well. Stir in broccoli. Pour into a buttered loaf pan. Bake 1 hr. at 325º. Unmold loaf onto serving plate. Cut into slices to serve.


1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/3 cup water

1 cup cauliflower flowerets

1/4 pound fresh snow peas -- trimmed

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Add cauliflower; cover and cook 5 minutes. Add snow pea pods; cover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Yield: 2 servings.



1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's(r) Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 lb. ground beef

1 pouch dry onion soup mix

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup water

MIX thoroughly 1/2 cup mushroom soup, beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs and egg. Shape firmly into 8" x 4" loaf in baking pan. BAKE at 350°F. for 1 hr. 15 min. or until done. MIX 2 tbsp. drippings, remaining mushroom soup and water. Heat through. Serve with meat loaf. Serves 8.



(Oriental Salad)

1 head of Napa cabbage

1 bunch green onions

2 packs Ramen noodles, reserve oriental flavor packets

1 small package slivered almonds


1/2 C olive oil

5Tb. cider vinegar

4 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sugar

Wash and slice cabbage into thin strips. Chop all of onions and mix with cabbage in a large bowl. Break noodles inside of package and brown uncooked noodles in a little oil in a frying pan, setting aside in a small bowl. Brown almonds in same manner. Do not attempt to brown both the noodles and almonds together. Add the almonds and flavor packets to the noodles, mixing well; combine cabbage and noodles mixture. Prepare dressing and add just before serving.



1 pound (4 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pans

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into chunks

3 tablespoons espresso powder (I use Medaglia d'Oro)

8 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pound coarsely chopped pecan or walnut pieces, about 4 cups


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Reduce heat 25 degrees if using a dark finish pan or Pyrex.) Line two 9-by-13-inch baking pans with a 20-inch long piece of aluminum foil so that the ends hang over as handles; grease the bottom and sides.


Place butter and chocolates in a heavy saucepan over low heat and melt, stirring often with a whisk.


Stir in instant coffee and cool 5 minutes.


Combine eggs and sugars in work bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat 5 minutes on medium speed, until creamy. On lowest speed, add chocolate mixture, corn syrup, extracts and salt to egg mixture, scraping bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only to blend.


Attach pour shield. On lowest speed, add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold in nuts, beating as little as possible.


Divide batter between two pans and even out the tops. Bake 35 to 40 minutes in center of oven. They will look slightly moist, and a cake tester will come out with crumbs on it. Cool completely in pans on a wire rack.


Loosen edges with a small knife and lift up to remove brownie from pan. Cut into 24 bars (cutting four across and six down).


Note: I use the India Tree dark brown sugar (available at Andronico's); it adds a really rich flavor to these brownies. You can make these ahead, cool and cut into squares, then freeze in layers separated by parchment in large plastic containers, or wrap each brownie individually in cellophane or waxed paper (not plastic wrap; it'll stick). They are then ready to be portioned out for parties all through the holiday season or as the base for a brownie sundae with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream on top with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.







2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice

2 cups orange juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup honey

2 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice

1 qt. vanilla ice cream

28 oz. ginger ale, well chilled

Blend juices and honey and chill until serving time. When ready to serve, pour juices over small scoops of vanilla ice cream in punch bowl, and stir until ice cream is almost dissolved. Carefully add the ginger ale. Serve immediately. (This "curdles" if left very long. It is better to make small batches, rather than one large one.)



1 small sugar cube

Several drops angostura bitters

Sparkling non-alcoholic apple cider, chilled

Place sugar cube in champagne flute and sprinkle with bitters. Top with chilled sparkling cider. Serve.


Notes: Angostura bitters are sold in the liquor section of most markets with the mixers. They are a distillation of herbs, barks, roots and plants; they contain a small amount of alcohol, but only 1 to 2 drops are used in each drink.



1 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's(r) Cream of Chicken Soup

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 tsp. each paprika and pepper

2 cups Minute(r) White Rice, uncooked*

2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets

HEAT oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken.

ADD soup, water, paprika and pepper; stir. Heat to a boil.

STIR in rice and broccoli. Top with chicken. Season chicken with additional paprika and pepper; cover. Cook over low heat 5 min. or until cooked through. Serves 4.

*For creamier dish, use 1 1/2 cups rice.





1 can Campbell's(r) Cheddar Cheese Soup

1/2 cup milk

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

3/4 cup Pace(r) Picante Sauce

1 tsp. chili powder

8 flour tortillas (8")

Chopped tomato

MIX soup and milk.

MIX 2 tbsp. soup mixture, chicken, picante sauce and chili powder. SPREAD 1/2 cup soup mixture in 3-qt. shallow baking dish. Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll tortilla around filling and place seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining soup mixture. Cover. BAKE at 350°F. for 25 min. or until hot. Garnish with tomato. Serves 4.




For drinks:


6 tablespoons frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed, divided use

6 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed, divided use

1 bottle de-alcoholized sparkling wine


For garnish:


12 whole fresh cranberries

6 orange slices, folded in half

6 bamboo skewers


Place 1 tablespoon cranberry concentrate and 1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate into each of 6 champagne flutes. Top with sparkling wine. Gently stir.


Thread 1 cranberry, 1 orange slice and then another cranberry onto each skewer. Place skewers atop glasses.


3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (Note: Do not use fat-free or candies will not hold their shape)

2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon mint extract OR 4 to 6 drops peppermint oil

6 drops green food coloring

1 cup superfine sugar for coating (OR whirl granulated sugar in a food processor until fine)

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until softened. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar. Beat in mint extract and food coloring until well blended. Add remaining confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time until soft dough is formed.


Turn onto counter or board dusted with confectioners' sugar and knead dough 5 minutes. (Add more confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is too soft and sticky.)


With your hands, roll tablespoonful of dough into balls, then roll each ball into superfine sugar. Flatten balls slightly into patties.


The sugared mint balls also can be pressed into candy molds. The coating of superfine sugar will allow them to release easily from the molds. Adjust amount of dough used for each mint according to shape and size of mold.


Store mints in layers, separated by wax paper, in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs -- separated

1-1/2 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract -- plus 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

1 pie crust (9 inch) -- baked

1 cup whipping cream -- whipped

Diced candied fruit

Ground nutmeg

Soften gelatin in cold water and set aside.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Combine egg yolks and milk; beat well, and add to mixture in saucepan. Cook milk mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add gelatin mixture; stir until gelatin granules dissolve. Stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Allow custard mixture to cool until the consistency of unbeaten egg white.

Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until soft peaks form; gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Fold egg whites into custard. Pour filling into pastry shell; chill at least 8 hours.

Spoon whipped cream in a ring over pie. Arrange candied fruit on whipped cream; sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Yield: 1 pie (about 10 servings).

Note: The above recipe uses fresh uncooked eggs. Always use the freshest eggs possible. If, for some reason, you do not use uncooked eggs, we suggest you do not prepare this recipe.


From Mimi's Cafe


You might not imagine a tough World War II flying ace would open a restaurant called "Mimi's," but that's exactly what happened in the 70's. Arthur J. Simms flew spy missions over France during the war and helped liberate a small French town near Versailles. After the war Arthur ran the commissary at MGM studios in Hollywood, stuffing the bellies of big-time celebs like Judy Garland, Clark Gable and Mickey Rooney. He later joined his son Tom in several restaurant ventures including one called "French Quarter" in West Hollywood. This was the prototype for the French-themed Mimi's Cafe. In 1978, the first Mimi's opened in Anaheim, California. Today there's over 40 Mimi's in the chain with a new one opening every other week; all of them serving this amazing onion soup that can now be part of your culinary repertoire. Oui!

From Top Secret Recipes:

1/4 cup butter

3 medium white onions, sliced

3 14-ounce cans beef broth (Swanson is best)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons Kraft grated parmesan cheese

6 to 12 slices French bread (baguette)

6 slices Swiss cheese

6 slices mozzarella cheese

6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

You've just cloned a batch of the best onion soup from any chain. Got spoon?


1. Sauté onions in melted butter in a large soup pot or saucepan for 15 to 20 minutes or until onions begin to brown and turn transparent.

2. Add beef broth, salt and garlic powder to onions. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Add the grated parmesan cheese in the last 10 minutes of cooking the soup.

3. When soup is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the French bread slices for about 10 to 12 minutes or until they begin to brown. When bread is done, set oven to broil.

4. Build each serving of soup by spooning about 1 cup of soup into an oven-safe bowl. Float a toasted slice or two of bread on top of the soup, then add a slice of Swiss cheese on top of that. Place a slice of mozzarella on next and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese over the top of the other cheeses.

5. Place the soup bowl on a baking sheet and broil for 5 to 6 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com) Makes 6 servings.



1 cup raisins

2 cups water

1 cup shortening, melted

2 cups brown sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

3 cups rolled oats


In a small saucepan, place raisins and water and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes, drain raisins and set aside.


In a large bowl, combine melted shortening and brown sugar and mix well. Add molasses, flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and rolled oats. Mix very well. Add raisins. The dough will be thick.


Grease a 9-by-15-inch baking sheet and pour in the dough. Spread evenly. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. These bars freeze well.


10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

5 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional powdered sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8-inch square glass baking dish with foil. Blend butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in processor. Add flour, ginger, vanilla, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and salt, and process until mixture forms moist clumps. Gather dough into ball. Transfer to prepared dish. Using waxed paper dipped into powdered sugar as aid, press out dough evenly in dish. Freeze 15 minutes. Using ruler as guide, cut dough into six equal strips. Turn dish 45 degrees and cut again into six strips, creating diamond shapes. Pierce each diamond with fork.


Bake shortbread until golden brown and firm to touch, about 50 minutes. Immediately recut shortbread into diamonds. Cool completely in dish on rack. Sift powdered sugar over shortbread, if desired. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)



4 cups water

1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (about 11/2 ounces; see notes)

1/3 cup sugar, or to taste

2 cups ice


In saucepan, bring water to boil and add flowers. Simmer mixture 5 minutes and remove pan from heat. Let mixture stand 30 minutes to infuse.


Pour infusion through sieve into glass pitcher, pressing on solids, and discard flowers. Add sugar and ice, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Chill cooler and stir before serving over ice in tall glasses.


Notes: Dried hibiscus flowers are sold in Mexican markets



1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato

1/2 cup very ripe mashed banana (about 2 small bananas)

1 cup evaporated skim milk

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 beaten egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Nonstick spray coating


In medium bowl, stir together sweet potato and banana. Add milk, blending well. Add brown sugar, beaten egg whites or egg substitute, and salt, mixing thoroughly.


Spray a 1-quart casserole or pie pan with nonstick spray coating. Transfer sweet potato mixture to slightly greased casserole or pie pan.


Combine raisins, sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over top of sweet potato mixture. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for 45 to 75 minutes, depending upon the depth of the pan or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean


1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon baking soda


Combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar in a heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Remove candy from heat, quickly stir in soda and mix well. Pour into a lightly buttered 9-inch by 9-inch by 2-inch pan. Do not spread; candy spreads itself. Cool. Break into pieces and dip in melted chocolate, if desired.


3 medium potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat cut into 1 inch cubes

1 14 1/2 ounce can beef broth

1 14 ounce can chunky tomatoes with garlic and spices

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

2 tablespoons hot style Hungarian paprika or regular paprika

1 teaspoon caraway seed or fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 9 ounce package frozen artichoke hearts thawed

3 cups hot cooked noodles

1/3 cup dairy sour cream

In a 3 1/2, 4 or 5 quart crockery cooker, place potatoes, onions and garlic. Add beef. In a bowl combine broth, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, caraway or fennel seed and salt. Pour over all. cover; cook on low heat setting for 10-12 hours or on high heat setting for 5-6 hours. Stir thawed artichoke hearts into cooker. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked noodles. Top each serving with a spoonful

of sour cream. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from: Better Homes & Gardens New Flavors from your Crockery Cooker






Recipe Cookbook America's Favorite Food Associations

Chapter National Confectioners Association

2 pounds semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips.)

1 pint ice cream, slightly thawed

1 cup chopped pecans, finely chopped, optional


Directions Line an 8" or 9" square pan with foil and lightly butter the foil. Place chopped chocolate in medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave on full power for 1 minute and 45 seconds. Stir. Add thawed ice cream (any type but vanilla) and beat until smooth. Stir in nuts. Turn into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm; cut into squares.


16 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, OR 16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons black tea leaves

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup cocoa powder, for coating

Place chocolate in medium mixing bowl and set aside.


Place cream and tea leaves in small saucepan and set over low heat. Warm cream until small bubbles appear around edge of pan and cream begins to give off a little steam. Remove pan from heat, cover and set aside to steep for at least 30 minutes.


Strain tea leaves from cream and return cream to simmer over low heat. Turn off heat and pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is completely smooth. Add butter and stir until well incorporated.


Place mixture in refrigerator for an hour, or until it is firm enough to shape into balls.


Scoop out a heaping teaspoonful of chocolate mixture and roll it into a ball between your palms. Roll ball in cocoa until it is completely covered. Roll it lightly in your palms again to make sure cocoa sticks, then reroll truffle in cocoa. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture. If mixture gets too soft to hold its shape, place it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until it can be handled easily.


Store truffles in layers, separated by wax paper, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. However, they are best served at room temperature.


Variations: For basil truffles, substitute 1/4 cup packed basil leaves, shredded, for the black tea leaves.

For Earl Grey truffles, substitute 3 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves for the tea leaves. For ginger truffles, substitute 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled ginger for the tea leaves.





Special to the Mercury News


If you read most recipes for making polenta, you get the image of a cook with arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger stirring corn meal mush with a wooden spoon as sturdy as a Louisville Slugger for what seems like an eternity.


Who has the time and energy to do that these days?


Well, with instant polenta, you don't need the time, the biceps or the bat.


Though I'm wary of many instant foods, instant polenta, which cooks in less than 5 minutes (vs. 30 minutes or more for regular polenta), is good stuff and a worthy addition to any 15-minute meal pantry. Like noodles or rice, polenta is a vehicle for soaking up the juices from stews, savory sauces and ragouts.


Or use polenta as a starch like mashed potatoes with roasted or sauteed meats or poultry. (I like it with Venetian-style calf's liver and onions.) Most recipes for polenta use water, but you can make a richer polenta with milk. Or split the difference by using nonfat milk. You can also enrich polenta with butter and Parmesan cheese. Blue cheese like Gorgonzola gives polenta a nice tang.


3 large sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest -- finely chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Scrub the sweet potatoes, place on baking sheet and bake in a hot oven 375 degrees F. or zap in the microwave until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the meat with a spoon. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the lemon juice, zest, and olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water to keep warm. Or

place in an ovenproof dish and return to oven to keep warm. Yield: 4 servings.







Vegetable oil for coating pan

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 cup water

2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind

Superfine sugar for coating candy

Oil an 8-inch square pan. Set aside.


In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water. Let gelatin soften at room temperature for five minutes.


Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup water and granulated sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Place pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely and mixture comes to a boil.


Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and cook, without stirring, until syrup reaches 260 degrees (hard ball stage). Remove pan from heat.


Add gelatin to hot syrup and stir until completely dissolved. Stir in lemon juice and rind.


Pour syrup into prepared pan. Cool at room temperature until candy is set, at least three hours.


Cover top of candy with superfine sugar. Invert pan and gently remove candy in one piece, placing it sugared-side down on a cutting board. Using a wet knife, cut candy into 1-inch squares. Coat each square with additional superfine sugar. Store jellies in an airtight container in layers, separated by wax paper, at room temperature for up to one week.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Pinch ground cloves

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup seedless raspberry jam (or one 12-ounce jar)

2 to 3 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment or foil


In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until soft and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk, zest and cloves. Continue beating until very light, about 3 minutes longer. Stop and scrape down bowl and beater, then on low speed beat in flour.


Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press dough into an 8-inch square and wrap well. Chill dough about 15 minutes. (Note: If you want to chill it longer, make sure dough comes to room temperature to make rolling easier.)


For raspberry filling, measure jam into a medium saucepan and stir it up with a wooden spoon. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. Scrape reduced jam into a small bowl.


After dough has chilled, unwrap it and place it on a floured work surface. Lightly flour dough and press and pound gently with a rolling pin to soften it. Roll dough out into a 10-inch square; cut into two rectangles. Spread each rectangle of dough evenly with cooled reduced jam, then roll each up from a long end, jelly roll style, into a tight cylinder. Do not overfill with jam or else the dough will be difficult to roll up. Try not to stretch or lengthen the cylinder as you roll it or cookies will be too small. Wrap tightly and chill cylinders.


When you are ready to bake the cookies, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Slice cookies 1/4 inch thick, rotating dough often so it doesn't become squashed from the weight of the knife. (Note: For neater looking cookies, dip knife in hot water, then wipe, each time before cutting.)


Arrange cookies on prepared pans about an inch apart in all directions and bake them for about 12 to 15 minutes, until they have puffed somewhat and become dull and feel firm to the touch. Slide papers from pans to racks to cool.


After cookies have cooled, store them between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.



12 large potatoes, peeled and boiled in salted water until tender.

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 8 oz. carton sour cream

1 t. onion powder

1/4 c. melted butter or margarine

Drain potatoes. Combine cooked potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream and onion powder. Whip or mash until fluffy. Add a small amount of milk if necessary. Spread in a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until needed. When ready to use, drizzle melted butter or margarine over top of potatoes. Bake at 350° for one hour. Delicious with any meat, and no gravy is needed.



8 oz grated cheddar cheese

1 large onion, minced

3 0r 4 jalapeno peppers, minced

1 Lb. ground beef browned and drained

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup oil

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 can creamed corn

1 can pinto beans

Mix all ingredients together and pour into large greased cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


1/2 cup butter -- softened

3 ounces cream cheese -- softened

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup mincemeat

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add flour and salt; beat at low speed of an electric mixer until mixture is blended. Gradually stir in milk. Cover and chill dough 1 hour.

Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough with a 1-3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter; place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool.

Spread about 1 teaspoon mincemeat onto bottom side of half of cookies; top with another cookie, top side up. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen



26 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1 quart coffee or chocolate ice cream, softened

11/2 cups hot fudge sauce

1 cup heavy whipping cream, stiffly whipped


Mix cookie crumbs and margarine in a small bowl. Press over bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate.


Fill crust with ice cream. Top with fudge sauce and freeze until firm, about six hours.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup solid vegetable shortening or fresh lard

3/4 cup sugar, plus more for coating cookies

1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds

4-6 tablespoons cold water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 3 baking sheets; set aside. Sift flours, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of wax paper.


Beat shortening or lard with electric mixer at medium speed until soft. Add sugar and anise seeds and beat until light and fluffy. Lower speed to slow, add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Turn off machine and scrape down sides of bowl. Add water gradually, using just enough to hold dough together. You can roll out dough now, or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to make it easier to handle.


Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 3/8 inch. Cut into 1 1/2-inch rounds or other shapes. Pour some sugar into a shallow bowl. Dip tops of cookies in sugar to coat lightly; place them, sugar sides up, about 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.


Bake until cookies are very lightly browned and nearly baked through, usually 20 to 22 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in airtight container.


2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese softened

2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

24 pkg. aspartame sweetener (equiv to 1/2 c.sugar)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Beat cream cheese, chocolate, sweetener and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans.

Pour into an 8" square baking pan lined with foil. Cover and refrigerate overnight.



Toast your holiday health with non-alcoholic drinks



(Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2000)


Cheers. Bottoms up. Down that old ho-ho-ho hatch!


I'm no holiday party Scrooge. I offer good wine and cocktails at seasonal gatherings in my home. But "mocktails" -- luscious drinks without alcohol -- are an important part of my beverage menu, too.


Nonalcoholic libations don't need to be a taste-bud yawn.


Designated drivers and folks who don't drink alcohol deserve more than a boring soda water on the rocks or a cola out of a can. So colorful, alcohol-free concoctions are part of the game plan, as is de-alcoholized wine and beer. (For you science buffs, it involves reverse osmosis.)


Ariel (a division of J. Lohr Winery Corp. based in San Jose), is one of the biggest producers. It makes merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, white zinfandel and brut sparkling wine, as well as a generic white and red wines. Sutter Home makes some, too.


Most of these wines contain less than one half of 1 percent (0.05 percent) alcohol by volume and are moderately priced. A '98 Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon sells in the $7 range.


Admittedly, the taste of de-alcoholized wines are so-so, but you can use this type of wine to good advantage in wine-based mocktails or hot mulled wine.


Add a splash of cassis (black currant syrup -- not creme de cassis, which contains alcohol) to de-alcoholized chardonnay to make kir. Or add a drop or two of cassis to sparkling wine to make a kir royale, or to cabernet to make a cardinal. To make mulled wine, heat eight ounces de-alcoholized cabernet sauvignon or merlot with two whole cloves, a small piece of cinnamon stick, a twist of lemon peel, 1 teaspoon sugar and a pinch of allspice (do not boil); strain into a mug.


Fruit juices combined with bubbly soft drinks or seltzers make glamorous, cold mocktails. Or you can combine those fruit juices with spices, heat and serve piping hot.







1 lb. ground beef

1 cup Pace(r) Grande Garlic Chunky Salsa

8 four tortillas (8")

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

COOK beef in skillet until browned. Pour off fat. ADD salsa and heat through.

SPOON about 1/4 cup meat mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with lettuce and cheese. Fold tortilla around filling. Serve with additional salsa. Serves 4.



4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 pound (4 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

8 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla, orange, almond, or lemon extract, OR the grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, as needed


Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low speed. With machine running, add butter pieces and let it mix until mixture looks like coarse crumbs with bits of butter throughout; do not overmix or dough will be tough. Add yolks and any flavoring. Increase speed to medium-low and let mixture form a very soft ball, dribbling with some of ice water if the dough looks too dry.


Remove dough to a work surface and divide into four portions and form each into a flat disc. Refrigerate 30 minutes, until slightly firm, but still pliable.


Set four 9-inch tart tins to the side of the work surface. Place one portion in a tart tin and press with your fingertips into a 1/4-inch thick crust evenly over the bottom and sides. Slide into a large freezer storage bag. Repeat with the remaining crusts. Store in freezer up to four months. Use crusts frozen.


To bake your crusts, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove a crust from freezer and line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Crust is partially baked at this point and can be filled and returned to oven. Or return empty crust to oven and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, until golden brown and fully baked. Cool before filling.




8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped and divided into two 4-ounce portions

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped and divided into two 4-ounce portions

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted and divided into two 1/2 cup portions


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter baking pan, line it with aluminum foil, and butter the foil.


Put butter and sugar in a large bowl and blend until smooth using electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in peanut butter until smooth.


Stir egg and vanilla together in a bowl and add to peanut butter mixture until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and combine well. Stir in 1 portion each of white and semisweet chocolates and combine. Add 1 portion of pecans and mix until combined.


Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is soft but no longer runny. Remove pan from oven and immediately sprinkle remaining white and semisweet chocolates over top. Cover pan with aluminum foil and set aside to let chocolates melt.


When melted, swirl chocolates together with tip of a sharp knife to make a marble-ized effect. Sprinkle remaining pecans over top. Let bars cool completely in pan on a wire rack. To serve, cut into 2-inch squares and arrange on a serving plate. Note: These are great right out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream for dessert. If you are giving them as cookies, you might want to cut the bars smaller, since these are incredibly rich. Also, for neater cookies, refrigerate the pan for a few hours before cutting into bars.


6 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped

1 small onion -- chopped

1 tomato -- chopped

1/2 kilogram ground pork

1 cup tomato sauce



Cook the penne according to package directions. Cook the garlic, onion, tomato,

and beef in a saucepan. When the meat is a bit brown, start adding the tomato sauce, little by little. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes. When the penne is done, put the sauce on top and then layer it with cheese. Bake it in the oven at 350 F for 10 -15 minutes.




2 large green bell peppers

8 ounces ground turkey -- lean

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup stewed tomatoes -- undrained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup reduced fat Cheddar cheese -- finely shredded

Bring water in a large saucepan to boil. Meanwhile, cut the peppers lengthwise in half. Remove and discard the stems, seeds, and membranes.

Carefully place the peppers in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers and invert them onto paper towels to drain well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray an unheated large skillet with no-stick spray. Add the turkey and onion. Cook over medium heat until the turkey is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice, tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Basil, salt, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the pepper halves in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture into the pepper shells. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake about 10 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.







4 links Italian sausage (sweet or hot), 4 ounces each

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 medium onion, about 8 ounces

2 cloves garlic


One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

4 sprigs parsley, preferably flat leaf variety

1/2 teaspoon good quality dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup instant polenta


Put sausage in skillet large enough to hold it in one layer. Add 1/2 cup hot tap water and put over high heat. Prick sausages a few times with tip of paring knife. Cover and bring to boil. Then uncover and cook about 5 minutes, or until water evaporates and sausages are lightly browned. (Lower heat to medium when water evaporates.) Turn sausages once or twice to brown evenly.


Meanwhile, put olive oil in 12-inch saute pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cut top from green bell pepper. Stand it upright and cut down inside the four walls, separating them from center core and seeds. Then cut the walls into thin strips. Repeat with red bell pepper and add both to pan. Raise heat to high, and stir. Halve and peel onion and peel garlic. Put onion and garlic in food processor and pulse just until chopped (or chop by hand). Add to pan and stir.


Put 1 teaspoon salt and 3 1/2 cups hot tap water in large, heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to boil over high heat, about 3 minutes.


Meanwhile, add tomatoes and wine to vegetables in pan, cover, and bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to brisk simmer. Chop parsley leaves. Add half of chopped parsley, oregano, and salt and black pepper to taste to the tomato and pepper mixture. Stir well and cover.


Cut sausages crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Add to tomato and pepper mixture.


When water boils, gradually pour in polenta while stirring constantly with a sturdy whisk. When polenta boils, lower heat to medium and stir for about 2 minutes, or until polenta thickens and loses its grainy taste and texture. Pour polenta onto a platter and spread it out evenly with a large rubber spatula. Pour sausage mixture over the top. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.




4 to 5 ounces chilled ginger ale or ginger beer (see notes)

1/2 ounce grenadine or pomegranate syrup (see notes)

Cracked ice

Optional garnish: 5 to 7 pomegranate seeds


Combine ingredients (except optional garnish) in glass measuring cup; stir to combine. Strain into chilled martini glass. If desired, garnish with several pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.


Notes: I like to use ginger ale with attitude, such as Vernors, or Stewart's Ginger Beer, but any ginger ale will work.


Grenadine is pomegranate syrup. Make sure you use one that doesn't contain alcohol. Pomegranate syrup is sold in Eastern Mediterranean markets.


Chef Paul Prudhomme's

This Dom DeLuise look-a-like hit it big with his magical brand of Cajun spice blends. Chef Paul developed his seasonings after years of making little batches and passing them out to customers in the restaurants where he worked. Now Magic Seasoning Blends come in several varieties and are produced in a whopping 30,000 square-foot plant by 38 employees. Fortunately it'll take only one of you in a small kitchen to make a clone of one of the most popular versions of the blend. Use it when you barbecue, roast, grill or sauté your favorite chicken, turkey, duck or Cornish game hens.

From Top Secret Recipes:


1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage

dash cumin


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in a covered container. Sprinkle on any poultry to taste. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com) Makes 4 teaspoons.





2 (3oz.)packages cream cheese, softened

1/3 c. sugar

1 T. flour

1 egg

2 t. grated orange peel


1 c. cooked pumpkin

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. cloves

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1 c. pecans, chopped

For filling, beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together in small bowl. Add egg and mix to blend. Stir in orange peel. Set aside. Make bread by combining pumpkin, oil, eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, flour, baking soda and pecans. MIx to blend. Pour 1/4 of batter into two greased and floured 7 1/2x3 1/2x3-inch loaf pans. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over batter. Add remaining batter, covering the filling. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until bread tests done with wooden

pick. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Store in refrigerator. (Ok to put this recipe in a bread loaf pan.) Makes 1 loaf



This makes a perfect canvas for a splash of rum and a sprinkling of ginger, the artful creation at world-famed Erna's Elderberry House in Oakhurst, at the southern entry to Yosemite National Park.


1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, washed

6 tablespoons softened butter

1 tablespoon light rum

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste


Bake potatoes (in skins) at 400 degrees for 50 minutes, or until tender. Peel and mash with butter and rum. Stir in ginger.


Turn into a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to let most of the moisture evaporate from potatoes. Stir in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.


(sand cake)

1 cup butter, softened

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 cup sour cream

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Powdered sugar


In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and blend in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in sour cream.


Sift flour, measure and sift again with the baking powder. Add flour mixture in four or five parts to the first mixture, blending it in well each time. Add vanilla.


Pour batter into a well-buttered 2- to 2 1/2-quart Bundt or tube pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until it tests done when you insert a wooden skewer or toothpick.


When cake is done, remove from oven and let stand five minutes, then invert on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic film or foil and leave for about 24 hours at room temperature before serving. Sprinkle top lightly with powdered sugar before cutting.



2 liters alcohol-free red wine

1 liter grape juice

10 fresh oranges

2 green apples

2 red apples

2 pounds seedless grapes


Spread grapes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze overnight.


Wash oranges with slightly soapy water (removes pesticides). Rinse. Cut into small wedges.


Dice apples into large chunks.


Combine oranges, apples, wine and grape juice in a large serving bowl. Chill overnight. Add frozen grapes immediately before serving.



2 cups cranberry juice

2 quarts apple cider

1/2 cup sugar

1 orange studded with 6 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks, about 3 inches each

Garnish: Orange slices or cinnamon sticks


Combine all ingredients except garnish in slow-cooker. Simmer, covered, on low setting 1 1/2 hours.


Serve in warmed mugs. Garnish each with orange slice OR cinnamon stick.



3 ounces orange juice

1/2 ounce undiluted grapefruit concentrate

1 ounce coconut cream

1 ounce half-and-half

About 3/4 cup cracked ice


Place all ingredients in shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into tall, chilled glass.


1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion -- chopped

2 cloves garlic -- minced

3 slices stale white bread

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 pounds hamburger

1/2 pound ground pork

1 egg -- beaten

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in skillet. Saute onion and garlic until soft. In a small bowl, soak bread with milk and break bread into crumbs. In a large bowl, mix together meats, onion, garlic, bread with milk, and remaining ingredients. Mix well and shape into a loaf. Place in a loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.




1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2 pounds sweet potatoes or 2 (16-ounce) cans, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of black pepper

3/4 cup orange juice


Melt butter or margarine in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat. Layer in the sweet potatoes and sprinkle with the brown sugar, salt and pepper.


Add orange juice. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat 35-40 minutes for fresh potatoes, 20 minutes for canned, or until potato slices are tender.



1/2-1# ground beef (browned)

2 cups diced green peppers

2 cups spaghetti sauce

3 cans(15oz) pureed tomatoes

1 can(15oz) beef broth


1 large can of V8.(48 oz)......instead of the tomatoes and broth

1 cup minute rice

1 teaspoon sugar

optional..2 Tbsp hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce

put into crock pot and simmer until peppers are tender and rice is done.


2 cups tomato sauce

1 cup beef gravy

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon sweet basil

2 pounds ground pork

salt and pepper -- to taste

1 cup bread crumbs

1 pound mozzarella cheese -- chopped

2 8 oz. pkgs. manicotti Romano cheese

Combine tomato sauce, gravy, garlic, sugar, basil, and 4 cups water. Bring to boil and simmer until thick and set aside. Brown beef in large skillet and add salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and mozzarella cheese. Stir over heat until cheese is soft, cool. Prepare 16 Manicotti's fill each with meat mixture. Place in single layers in a baking dish. Cover completely with sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce and sprinkle grated Romano cheese on top.


2/3 cup Vegetable Shortening

3/4 cup Sugar

1 1/4 tablespoons Milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 Egg

2 cups Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

24 Flat Popsicle Sticks -- wooden

Assorted decorations -- choc. chips, candy

-- raisins, etc.

Cream vegetable shortening, sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Add egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl, then add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1-1/2 inch balls. Push ice cream sticks into the centers of the dough balls. Place dough 'suckers' about 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten to 1/2 inch with the bottom of a large glass drinking glass which has been dipped into sugar. Decorate as desired. Be sure to press decorations into dough so they won't fall off after baking. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.

Variation: Flatten dough balls with a greased, flat spatula instead of glass dipped into sugar. To 'paint' cookie 'suckers' mix one egg yolk and 1/4 teaspoon water. Divide evenly into 3 small cups. Add 2 to 3 drops different food colors to each cup. Stir. Use water color brushes to paint cookies before baking. Decorate if desired and bake as directed above.


For cookie dough:

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For filling:

4 ounces almond paste

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon kirsch

Green food coloring

2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment or foil


To make dough, in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, lemon extract, and lemon zest on medium speed until soft and light, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer and use a rubber spatula to incorporate flour. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a square about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap and chill dough until firm -- several hours to several days.


Cut dough in half and refrigerate 1 piece. Place other on a floured surface and flour it lightly. Press and pound dough gently with a rolling pin to soften it, then roll dough about 3/16 inch thick. Use plain or fluted 2- to 2 1/2-inch diamond-shaped cutter to cut dough. Place cookies on prepared pans leaving about 1 inch around each in all directions.


When ready to bake cookies, set racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they are a very pale golden color. Cool them on pans on racks.


While cookies are baking, prepare filling. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together on medium speed the almond paste and butter until soft and very light, about 5 minutes. Lower mixer speed and add confectioners' sugar. Beat for another 2 or 3 minutes on medium speed. Beat in kirsch, then stop mixer and scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in just enough food coloring to tint filling a light green. (Note: Or make them darker green for the Christmas season.)


After cookies have cooled, invert half of them, so that bottoms are facing up. Pipe or spoon about 1 teaspoon almond filling on each. Top with another cookie, bottom to bottom. Gently press them together.


Store finished cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.


8 prunes -- pitted

1-1/2 cups dry sherry

8 walnut -- halves

4 pounds pork loin

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

In small saucepan, bring the prunes and sherry to a boil. Remove prunes, reserve sherry. When cool, insert walnuts into prunes. Cut a deep slit the length of the loin. Insert prunes. Rub pork with thyme. Tie loin with string. Cook 80 minutes at 350 degrees F., basting with pan juices. Roast is done when internal temperature is 160 degrees F. Remove roast from pan to heated platter. Add salt and pepper. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of fat. Add sherry and boil down scraping up pan bits. Serve with roast. Yield: 4 servings


1 cup cranberry juice cocktail

1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/2 cup orange juice -- unsweetened

Combine ingredients; stir well, and pour into a freezer tray. Freeze until firm. Spoon frozen mixture into a small mixing bowl; beat at low speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon into chilled individual freezer-proof compotes; freeze until ready to serve. Yield: 2 servings.


1/2 cup yellow stone-ground cornmeal

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 ounces ( 1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, or lightly grease with butter.


In a food processor, combine cornmeal with flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Process for a few seconds to blend dry ingredients. Add butter and pulse just until mixture has an evenly gritty texture. (Note: If you don't own a food processor, you can make the dough in a bowl, using a pastry blender.)


In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs and vanilla. Pour them evenly over dry ingredients. Pulse machine a few times to blend. Using a rubber spatula, scrape along bottom of bowl. Add cranberries and pulse machine a few more times, just until dough begins to clump.


Turn dough out onto table. Gather it together and gently form into a disk. Using a sharp knife, divide it into two equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, form each piece into a 12-inch log. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet. These will spread more than most other biscotti, so place logs at least 6 inches apart. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of sugar.


Bake for 30 minutes, or until logs begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly on tray, 5 to 10 minutes. Leave oven on.


Using a spatula, transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife and a quick downward motion, cut each log crosswise on a slight diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, discarding (or eating) the ends. Use a spatula to transfer them back to the baking sheet; arrange them cut side up on the prepared sheet. (If baking sheet is buttered, wipe off crumbs but don't grease again.) Bake for 12 minutes, or until undersides of cookies show the barest hint of color. Don't over-bake. Leave them on baking sheet to harden and cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.


1 pound ground pork

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 clove garlic -- minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Mix together ground pork and seasonings, shape into 4 burgers about

3/4-inch in thickness.

2. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place pork patties in skillet

and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 5 more minutes.

3. Serve on sandwich buns and add one of the following toppings, if


Optional Toppings:

BLT Burgers-Top pork burgers with Canadian-style bacon, lettuce leaves and

tomato slices. Place on toasted sandwich buns.

Pizza Burgers-Top pork burgers with pizza sauce, sliced pepperoni, mushrooms

and a slice of mozzarella cheese.

Taco Burgers-Top pork burgers with taco sauce, chopped tomato, shredded

lettuce and cheddar cheese.


1 can cream of chicken soup

1 C chopped turkey

1 bag frozen vegetables

1-1/4 C Bisquick

1/2 c milk

1 egg

Preheat over to 400. Combine soup, turkey and veggies in 9" pie plate. Stir together remaining ingredients, pour over turkey mixture and bake 30 minutes.



4 ounces alcohol-free white zinfandel (see notes)

1/2 ounce pureed and strained raspberries (see notes)

21/2 ounces lemon-lime soda

1/2 ounce grenadine (see notes)

1 teaspoon sugar

Cracked ice


Put all ingredients in tall glass. Stir to combine.


Notes: Most "alcohol-free" wine contains less than 1/2 of 1 percent alcohol by volume. It is often labeled "de-alcoholized."


To make raspberry puree, process frozen (thawed) or fresh raspberries until pureed, then strain to remove seeds. Grenadine is pomegranate syrup. Make sure you use one that doesn't contain alcohol.



1 quart apple juice

1 quart apple cider

8 oranges

4 lemons

16 cinnamon sticks (10 for garnish)

8 whole cloves

6 whole allspice berries

1/4 teaspoon mace


In a large pot, combine apple juice and cider. Wash and slice oranges and add them to the pot.


Create a spice bouquet by wrapping 6 cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and mace in piece of cheesecloth or muslin. Add to juice. Simmer for at least 30 minutes.


Ladle into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.







NANCY FELDMAN: Is it yam or sweet potato?



(Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2000)


How about some food small talk for your holiday meal. Is it a yam or a sweet potato? What do you think?


A "true yam" is a large, starchy root (up to 100 pounds) that is native to Africa and Asia.


We seldom find "true yams" in the United States. What we do find are two varieties of sweet potatoes: one is moist and orange-fleshed; the other is drier and yellow. Both plants are native to America.


Shippers and producers in the Southern United States wanted to distinguish between the yellow and orange variety, so they adopted the African word "nyami," using its English form, "yam."


The yam and the sweet potato in our local stores both are very high in vitamin A, while the "true yam" has no vitamin A. Some stores list the nutrient content for "true yams," so consumers mistakenly think that the yam (really a sweet potato) has no vitamin A.


One-half cup sweet potatoes or yams contains 170 calories -- 560 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, 46 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and 12 percent of the daily value for dietary fiber (percentages are based on a 2000 calorie diet).


Nutritious? Yes. So here are some suggestions on how to incorporate more sweet potatoes or yams into your diet:


Wash, prick in several places with a fork, and bake for 30-60 minutes (depending on the size) or boil for 20-30 minutes. Both versions can be mashed and eaten as is, topped with some brown sugar and nutmeg.


Peel a small sweet potato or yam and chop into bite-size pieces. Add to your favorite homemade vegetable soup.


Slice thin and serve raw with other vegetable dippers.


Slice thin, coat lightly with oil and bake on a cookie sheet until crisp like a chip.


See the yam/sweet potato recipes (supra) in this file.



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