Cooking

Jan
16
2012

      This recipe is so simple you could make it blindfolded. Well, almost. Its savory, salty,   creamy goodness tastes terrific on toast, an English muffin, celery, crackers, or…your finger. This stuff almost never goes bad in the fridge, and it’s a great go-to snack or sandwich filler for when you’re in a hurry. The best part is this is a LOW-CARB snack if you eat it on raw veggies. If you eat it on bread, you’re on your own.

 

 1. Just a few simple ingredients you probably already have, and you’re good to go. You’ll need 8 oz. of cream cheese at room temperature, 1 cup of green olives, a spatula, spoon, mixer, and bowl. See? Simple.

 2. Drain the olives, and mound them up on your cutting board. Just know that one will roll off and under the cabinets. Expect that.

 3. Chop the olives to a rough chop. That’s kitchen talk for “don’t pulverize the olives.”

 4. They will look like this. Nice and green and pretty. Don’t let the red pimentos scare you.

 5. Put your softened cream cheese in a deep bowl.

 6. Whip up the cream cheese with your hand mixer. You can go fast. You can go faster.

 7. Scoop up your chopped green olives…

 8. And put them in the bowl with the cream cheese.

 9. Ta-da!

 10. I like to grind in a little black pepper. Skip this step if you don’t like ground pepper.

 11. Use a spoon to mix it all together.

 12. Taste some to make sure it’s as yummy as I said it is. Realize that I’m right.

 13. Put the mixture in a container for your refrigerator.

 14. Smooth it all down, and with any luck, this will last all week. Maybe.

 15. Spread it on toasted bread, sandwich rounds, or crackers.

 16. Hurry. Just the smell of this stuff will make you jump up and down.

 17. Grab some chicharrónes…you might call these pork rinds…. Our family calls them chi-chis…And use them to dip up the olive cream cheese.

 18.  Call 911 if you need a chaperone. You can also use it to stuff celery, mushroom caps, little sweet peppers, or lettuce wraps.

19. Look how easy!

 

Dec
23
2011

 

            What is it about pumpkin pie? Why don’t we have it every day of the year? Why do I have to wait until fall? And who made the first pumpkin pie anyway? Who looked at a giant orange squash and said to him or herself, “Hey, if we scooped out all of the horrible webby stuff in the center and boiled the rind, we could add sugar and spices and make an incredible dessert!”

            Whoever this person was, wherever that momentous occasion occurred, I thank him or her. Eating a piece of warm pumpkin pie is like having your grandmother’s arms wrapped around you. Big, fleshy arms that smelled like Avon’s Here’s My Heart and could churn hand-cranked ice cream for an hour without slowing down. There should be anthems written to pumpkin pie. Soliloquies. Sonnets. Eating pumpkin pie is something that must be done with the eyes closed, in a room full of people who love you. You can’t be completely quiet when you’re eating pumpkin pie. Oh, no. There must be sudden gasps and quiet moans of appreciation.

            I think I’m going to keep one in the freezer. Hey, maybe I’ll freeze a couple of them. And then, all during the year when there isn’t enough money, or I get paint on my favorite slacks, or someone says something that hits me the wrong way, I’ll thaw my pie, pop it in the oven, and seek refuge in its savory goodness.

Nov
23
2011

This recipe is slap-your-mama good! Get ready for a quick go-to snack. It’s perfect for lunches, too, and lasts forever in your fridge if you don’t go on too many middle-of-the-night food raids. Easy, easy, easy. Every time I bring a tray of sandwiches to a school or church function, my popularity level soars. I know everybody and his brother has a favorite recipe for pimento cheese, but this is the best I’ve ever tasted. I would not lie. Okay, I’ve been known to lie, but this is still the best. You’ll see.

Start with 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese. You can use fine. This is a medium grate. Grate your own or use the bagged kind like I did. 

 

You’ll need 2 cups (16 oz.) of Velveeta cheese. Don’t substitute another brand. This is the gold standard. 

 

Grate the Velveeta cheese onto a paper plate. There is no need to use the finest grate. Use the larger grate, as it literally melts into the recipe.

 

Velveeta is a bit messy to grate, but keep on mashing until it all goes through the grater. Put that in the bowl with the cheddar cheese. Eat all the little bits of Velveeta that stick to the paper plate. No one’s looking.

 

Open a 4 oz. jar of pimentos. Some people like more. This is the perfect size for my family. You can use sliced or diced. The sliced are a little larger than diced. I used sliced.

 

Pimentos are sweet red cherry peppers packed in their own juices or olive oil. Their delicious flavor is what makes the cheese so special. 

 

Drain the pimentos.

 

Add them to the bowl.

 

Add 1 cup mayonnaise…

 

…and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. If you’re not a pepper fan, leave it out. I happen to love the fresh taste.

 

Stir the mixture well. The Velveeta blends everything together. Mmmmm. Good.

 

And…there you have it. You now have enough pimento cheese to spread on everything you like: crackers, bread, rolls, celery, or your finger, for that matter. Pimento-cheese sandwiches are divine. You can spread them up, wrap them individually, pack them in your refrigerator in a spot where no one else would look…and you’ve got lunch in an instant. No kidding. Pimento cheese will last at least two or three weeks in your fridge.

I divided mine in half and shared it with my daughter and her family. Maybe she’ll be so happy she’ll forget the slapping part.

 

 

Nov
11
2011

Fall is in the air. Even here in Florida, we’ve had the taste of an occasional cool morning…a slight lowering of the thermometer in the evening. And once you’ve had a taste of fall, there’s no turning back, not for all the candy corn in the world. There’s something about fall that takes me back to early school days. Nifty Notebooks, fresh covers on books, sharpened pencils, and white, creamy paste in its own little jar. As leaves began to fall from the trees and the P.T.A. started planning the school carnival, it could only mean one thing: the fundraising bake sale with those mouthwatering peanut butter cookies. Oh, my good glory!

I present to you a recipe so delicious it’ll knock you silly. Trust me. I tasted them this afternoon, and I was immediately knocked silly. I haven’t come out of my silly yet. EVERYONE who tastes these rich morsels of goodness screams, “I must have this recipe!” If I were extremely devious, I would hold it ransom, demanding hoards of baseball cards and whole rolls of Lifesavers in return. But, I am only slightly devious, so I’ve agreed to share. You won’t believe it till you try it. It really is that good.

I cook all the time, and there are many of you who do, too. But for those who are new to cooking, here’s the step-by-step recipe in photos.

1. What is so amazing about these peanut butter cookies is the recipe is only three ingredients: 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 egg. No kidding! The cookies are sweet, so if you like things not-so-sweet, add one fat pinch of salt. I like them sweet.

2. Spray a medium-size bowl with cooking spray.

3. Add 1 cup of your favorite peanut butter. I’m a creamy girl, but crunchy will do fine.

4. Add 1 cup of sugar….

5. And 1 egg. I break mine into a small bowl to make sure there’s no shell or creepy chicken stuff.

6. Stir it until things are mixed together. This might take 30 seconds. You’ll be surprised that the dough becomes stiff right away.

7. Wet your hands with a little water. Scoop the dough up with a teaspoon so that it’s about the size of a large marble. You remember shooters, don’t you?

8. Dip the top of each peanut butter ball into some extra sugar. Resist the urge to eat ten or so.

9. Place them on a cookie sheet. I use the kind that doesn’t require cooking spray, but if your cookie sheets tend to stick, spray away.

10. Use the tines of a fork to make a fun little crisscross on the top of each cookie.

11. Aren’t they pretty? This recipe makes about 18 cookies if you haven’t eaten any of the dough.

12. Pop them into an oven heated to 320 degrees for 14 minutes.

13. When they are set and JUST BEGINNING TO BROWN, take them out. You don’t ever, ever, ever want to burn or scorch the edges of your peanut butter cookies.

14. Gently lift them to a cooling rack, and let them cool until they are just barely warm.

15. Now, before you try one, remember: you have been warned! Are you ready to get your silly on? Try one. And another. And another and another and another and another.

16. Try them with a delicious mug of Constant Comment tea. If you’ve never tried Constant Comment, come on over to the dark side! By this time, you will be sharing your peanut butter cookies with your friends. Tell them not to hold it against you if you demand baseball cards and whole rolls of Lifesavers in return.

Lissa’s Incredible Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (any size)
  • Pinch of salt (if you don’t like sweet cookies)

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until mixed, about 30 seconds. Wet hands and roll dough into walnut-size balls. Dip the top of each peanut butter ball in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 14 minutes at 320 degrees or until set and turning golden brown. Do not brown too much! Transfer to a wire cooling rack until cool. Makes 18.