Mocha Toffee Dessert

I got this recipe from my mother over 45 years ago and have no idea where she got it from.

serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 1- 3 or 3 1/4 ounce package regular vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2/3 cup of evaporated milk
  • 2 chocolate covered English toffee bars (5/8 ounces each) coarsely crushed
  • whipped cream
Method:

1. In medium saucepan, combine pudding mix and coffee powder.
Gradually stir in 1 3/4 cups milk till mixture is blended.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and cover surface of pudding with waxed paper or plastic wrap, cool and chill.
4. In small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture boils and chocolate is melted. Cool and chill.
4. Remove paper from pudding mixture.
5. Spoon the pudding mixture equally into 4 parfait glasses.
6. Sprinkle crushed candy onto top of layer.
7. Top with a good portion of chocolate sauce and top with more crushed candy.
8. Finish off with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candy.

If you use taller and narrower glasses you can make more layers before you top it off with whipped cream.

I found the smaller containers to work better as this is a very rich dessert.
Instead of crushing two candy bars I found these packaged toffee bits that worked real well.

Poblano Boats

These Poblano halves are filled with a mixture of Blue Cheese, diced apples, and walnuts. The heat of the Poblano pepper adds a nice kick to these crunchy boats of goodness. Serve as a salad or an appetizer. You can increase the recipe if you’d like to serve more than two people. You can also leave the Poblano whole, cutting a slit in it when you remove the seed instead of cutting the pepper in half, then stuffing it with the filling.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1 Poblano Pepper, roasting over open flame, peeled and seeded, some instructions to follow
  • 1 cup finely chopped diced apples
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Methods for roasting peppers:

  1. If you have a gas stove top you can turn one burner to medium and hold the pepper over the open flame with tongs, turning until all sides are blackened and blistered, make sure your oven fan is on.
  2. After roasting the pepper place in brown paper bag and seal the bag to keep the steam inside the bag.
  3. When it cools put disposable gloves on and take the pepper out of the bag.
  4. The peel should come off easily at this point, you can use paper towels to rub the skin off.
  5. After peeling it, cut a slit down one side and using your gloved hands remove all the seeds.
  6. At this point place on a paper towel and refrigerate the pepper till you are ready to stuff it.
  7. Another method is to roast the peppers under the broiler of your oven for 5 minutes.
  8. You can also use your outdoor grill to roast the peppers.
  9. Whichever method you use, don’t forget step 2.

Method for the filling:

  1. Place the apples in a ceramic bowl and lightly coat them with the lemon juice.
  2. Combine the cheese and walnuts with the apples and toss.
  3. Cut the chilled pepper in half and place on top of a platter of salad greens.
  4. Fill each half of the pepper with the mixture of apples, walnuts and cheese.
  5. Whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar well and drizzle generously over the filled peppers.
  6. Serve immediately.

Tip: If you want to make more of these to serve 4-8 people you could roast 4 peppers ahead of time and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to serve these as an appetizer or salad. Just double the filling portion of the recipe.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

We really enjoyed this dessert while traveling in Great Britain so duplicating it for special meals here on the other side of the Pond was a fun adventure for me. It’s a warm dense cake with a caramelized sauce. There are many versions of Sticky Toffee Pudding and this is one that has been successful and good. Don’t let the pudding confuse you. It’s not like our creamy soft pudding. This “pudding” is cake like.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch pan

Pudding:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 8 ounces dates (pitted and chopped into pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups boiling water

Sauce:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 – 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream

You will need extra whipping cream to top off the cake with when ready to serve.

Directions:

For the pudding:

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time and incorporate completely.
  3. Fold in flour.
  4. Put the chopped dates in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour the boiling water over the dates and add the soda to this mixture.
  6. Give the water time to be absorbed into the dates.
  7. When water is mostly absorbed add the flour mixture and blend well.
  8. Pour the mixture into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes. Time may vary slightly depending on your oven.

Sauce:

  1. Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. When cake comes out of the oven poke the top of the cake evenly with many holes.
  3. Pour half of the sauce over the top of the cake evenly.
  4. Allow Sauce to soak into cake.
  5. When ready to serve cut cake into squares and place the squares on your dessert plates.
  6. Top with remaining sauce that is hot onto the warm cake.
  7. Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream.

 

We’ve been dreaming about going to England again so this is a recipe that came to mind.

Tasty Breakfast Casserole

This a tasty breakfast casserole that will feed about 8 people.

Ingredients:

30 oz. package of frozen hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (10-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup scallions/green onions
1/2 cup cilantro (optional)
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped (optional) You can add a small can of diced green chiles
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
7 oz. (approx.)  Canadian Bacon chopped into bite size pieces. (you could substitute farmers sausage or other breakfast meat)
8 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 11 x 14 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Mix all the ingredients together adding the hash browns last, place in prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Your baking time could take up to 70 minutes depending on the type of pan you use. Check the casserole initially at 45 minutes and continue cooking till cooked through if needed.

Note: I put this in a pan that was too small and it was filled to the brim and took 90 minutes to bake. I suggest you put it in a larger pan and watch it after 45 minutes.

Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

First you’ll want to cook the mushroom sauce and then you will saute the Polenta cakes assemble and serve.

Mushroom Sauce:

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 2 shallots sliced thinly
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 Cup dry white wine
  • 6 ounces cream
  • 1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese (optional)
  • 2 fresh sprigs of thyme to yield 1-2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • Polenta
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish.

Mushroom Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter over a medium low heat in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Add the sliced shallots and saute for 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir all of the ingredients together and cook until the mushrooms have softened and darkened in colour.
  6. Turn the heat up on the stove and pour in the white wine.
  7. Stir the ingredients and cook until the wine has reduced by two-thirds.
  8. Turn the heat down and stir in the cream and heat through. If you are using the Gorgonzola cheese stir it in now and heat through.
  9. Stir in the thyme.

Polenta:

Cut the Polenta into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Heat pan with Olive oil and saute Polenta over medium heat for approx. 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and crisp on the surface.

To serve pour a little mushroom sauce on a serving plate. Arrange 2 slices of Polenta on the sauce and then pour more sauce over and sprinkle fresh chopped parsley to garnish.

Other ways to serve Polenta: With a zesty spaghetti sauce of your choice. I’ve also seen it served fried in small cubes and used in place of croutons on a salad.

Polenta is available in grocery stores in the states. I purchased this chub of Polenta at Trader Joe’s. In reading up about Polenta you can make your own using cornmeal. If you are interested in doing that just google “How to Make Polenta”. I just bought the chub that has been prepared already.

Later this week I’ll share about our Easter Weekend that includes JJ’s 3rd birthday party.

Nadia’s Kulich and Seernaya Paska

What many of you call Paska we call Kulich. This is my mom’s Russian Easter Bread Recipe that I quartered because the amount she would make is quite daunting for me. We have cut it in half in years past. Now what you need to know about my mom and recipes is that she ends up tweaking them from year to year so this recipe is for her Kulich from 2001. I have a 2009 and 2012 recipe, too. This one was easier to quarter. Here’s the link to the original. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes.

Ingredients:

2 packets rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar

4 egg yolks
1 egg
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1-1/2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half a lemon
About 2-1/2 pounds of flour, sifted (about 7 cups)
Vegetable oil to coat the rising dough

6 to 7 one pound or two pound cans for baking. You can use loaf pans or large muffin tins if you don’t have the cans to bake them in.

Add yeast to the lukewarm water and milk and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Make sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit.

Beat the egg yolks and egg together.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture slowly mixing to combine and then beat to incorporate well.
Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm, not hot, and slowly incorporate into the creamed mixture.
Mix in the vanilla and brandy.
Add the yeast mixture and the salt and beat with a mixer.
Continue beating and add the lemon zest.
Continue beating and add the sifted flour about a cup at a time.
Once you cannot beat the dough any longer using the mixer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the remaining flour by kneading the dough.
The dough should be kneaded very well, approximately 10 minutes.
You should knead the dough until you can cut it with a knife and it is smooth without any holes.
Place the dough in a stainless steel bowl. Take some oil and pour a little on the dough and spread it all over the dough. Make sure to turn the dough so it is coated evenly.
Cover with plastic wrap right on the dough and a dish towel on top of that.
Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise. (My sister usually puts it into the oven that has been warmed slightly.

It is now time to prepare the coffee cans (1 lb. and 2 lb. cans are the best) Cut circles the size of the bottom of the cans out of wax paper. You will need four circles per can. Make sure the cans are well greased. Put the 4 circles in the bottom of the cans.

Use a empty and clean coffee can like the ones above. If there is a label make sure to take it off. If the can has a lip at the top you’ll need to use a can opener to cut the lip off the can. I hope these pictures will make the process easier to understand.

Cut sheets of wax paper long enough to line the sides of the can and tall enough to be 2″ above the rim of the can. Use Crisco to seal the ends of the paper.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over.
Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. Punch it down again.
Now the dough is ready to put into the prepared cans.
You will take a portion of dough about 1/3 the size of the can. Knead it and form it into a smooth ball that you can easily drop into the can.

Let the dough rise again inside the can until it is at least double in size.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top.(approximately 30 minutes or more depending on your oven.)

Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely standing up. Some people cool them on their sides turning them often to keep their shape. We found this time that they cool just fine and keep their shape standing up so we didn’t bother with that step!

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To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes. For my mom’s Sernaya Paska (cheese spread) recipe click here.

We like to serve the kulich with the spread and strawberries.

This blast from the past was probably our first Easter in Washington State, 1989.

2014-03-027

I’m not sure if I’ll be trying this Kulich/Paska recipe quartered at the end of this week. I’ll let you know if I do and how many coffee can shaped loaves it makes. We got seven loaves out of this recipe although we shorted some of the cans.

Are you preparing for Easter?

Open House in April

We had a very busy weekend and full to the brim Sunday.

Back in the end of 2021 we invited several folk from our church to come over for a Happy New Year get together on January 3rd of 2022. We had to cancel that event because of snow and icy conditions with a promise to reschedule when our front area would be safe for walking without anyone breaking a hip on the ice! Well that day finally arrived and we rescheduled the event for April 3rd!

Twenty Five folk from our church stopped by after church for food and fellowship. It was a houseful with all possible seats filled in three different rooms. The food was enjoyed and I forgot to take one photo of the spread! We had pulled pork sliders, coleslaw (Kathy’s recipe without mayo that you should try, delicious), Vinegret (Russian Beet Salad), baked beans, and Applesauce Spice cupcakes for dessert. Some folk went back through the buffet line for thirds so we knew the food tasted just fine.

Everyone left by 3pm and then our kids and grands came over for leftovers at 5:30. We prayed that our food would be enough to feed all and it did with lots to spare. Thank you Lord.

Not expected at all but fun to receive these hostess/host gifts from some of the folk who came.

From sweet Diana, my trusty helper in the church kitchen.

From Gene and Marilyn, a newer couple who moved to Colville from Southern California.

Soup cozies for Dear and me.

From Gordon and Christine long time residents of Colville who host our Monday evening Bible Study.

A good day with a promise kept.

Happy first full week in April everyone!

Vinegrette ~ Russian Potato Salad

Although the Russian name for this salad is Vinegrette it shouldn’t be confused with the salad dressings called Vinaigrette. This was a traditional salad that we enjoyed growing up. It could be our version of potato salad. I’m sharing an easier version using canned beets but you can also cook and julienne your own beets. The photo is my sister Lana’s.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15oz.) julienne beets (partly drained)
  • 2 cans (15oz.) kidney beans (drained well)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sauerkraut (drained and squeezed)
  • 3 boiled potatoes
  • 3 large kosher dill pickles, diced
  • 1/4 onion, grated
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pickle juice from the jarred dill pickles

Method:

  1. Dice potatoes while warm then salt and coat with oil and chill.
  2. Once the potatoes are chilled add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine, add enough pickle juice to taste.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Serves 8-16

Our family prefers using the Clausen Dill Pickles found in the refrigerator section. You will find some versions of this Russian salad using carrots and not kidney beans. This is the version our family has always enjoyed.

I’m making this salad for an event here on Sunday for our vegetarian friends who will be attending.

Sweet and Salty Snack

This sweet and salty snack is hard to resist. The ingredients are few and the method is simple. This is also a Gluten Free recipe depending on the corn chips you purchase.

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 package of corn chips (10-1/2 oz.)

Prepare a 15 x 10 sheet pan lightly greasing it. Distribute the corn chips evenly in the pan.
In a medium sized pot cook the sugar and corn syrup until it bubbles and the sugar is completely dissolved. Take pot off stove top and blend in the peanut butter. Pour the blended sugar, corn syrup, peanut butter mixture over the corn chips evenly. Let it cool and enjoy!

Best enjoyed soon after making it.