Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cousin Joan's Beef Brisket in Oven Bag

Beef brisket roasted in oven bag.

Several years ago when visiting my cousin Joan in Maryland, she served a wonderful beef brisket that she had cooked in an oven bag.  Here's her recipe:

Beef Brisket (recipe from Joan)
1  3 to 4 lb. brisket without bone
2 Tbs flour
3 medium carrots chopped
3 medium onions chopped
1 15 oz can tomatoes (cut up)
½ cup port wine or water
1 envelope onion soup mix (or part of one)
1 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
(I added a few mushrooms that I had on hand.)

Trim fat from brisket and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place flour in large oven cooking bag and shake.  Add brisket, place in roasting pan.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over brisket.  Cut slits in top of bag, close bag and seal.
325 degree oven preheated for 2 ½ to 3 hours.

When cleaning out a drawer in our kitchen, I ran across the box of oven bags and decided to make this. 
Add flour to oven bag.

Salt and pepper brisket and put in oven bag. 

Cut up vegetables to add to oven bag.

Add tomatoes and cut up vegetables and roast.

Ready to serve.

Ready to enjoy. 

 I served this with mashed potatoes and the gravy from the vegetables in the oven bag.  This is delicious on a cold, cold day or any day for that matter.  It is so easy too.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Michealette

Today is my friend Michealette's birthday up in Cape Breton. But her two daughters Michealette (Jr.) and Frances gave her a birthday party back in September when we were in Marble Mountain so we had the privilege of attending the party which was great fun.
Michealette with her girls.  Frances on left and Michealette Jr. on right. (Photo by Jack Ronalds.)

It was a beautiful sunny day, and we enjoyed sitting outdoors with music provided by Michealette (Jr.) and Norman (Frances' husband).

Michaelette (Jr.) and Norman provided music for the afternoon.
It was great to see lots of friends and family.
Michealette, the birthday lady, with her grandson Matthew.
Michealette and her grandson John. (Photo by Jack Ronalds.)

Friends and family.  Standing Christene, seated right Theresa next to Grant and on left Alice.
Lawrence arrives to wish Michealette a happy birthday. (Photo by Jack Ronalds.)

Wendy and her grandson Blake.  (Photo by Jack Ronalds.)
Michealette with Dan, Laura, and Anthony. (Photo by Jack Ronalds.)
Frances greeting Alice and me on our arrival. (Photo by Jack Ronalds.)

Donna (left) and Linda (right) wishing the birthday lady a happy birthday.(Photo by Jack Ronalds.)
 Our neighbor Maggie arrived with a lovely bouquet of flowers from her garden.

Maggie bringing home-grown flowers for the birthday lady.
There was a spread of scrumptious finger food and a chilled pink punch.
Beautiful and delicious finger food.
Chilled pink punch.

One of the highlights of the party was Alice, our friend and caretaker who accompanied us to Canada last summer, dancing to her own beat--dancing without music yet musical with her rhythm. 
Alice making "music" with her feet. 

I'm glad the girls decided to give their Mom a party in the summer, because it is much too cold in Port Hastings today to enjoy the outdoors as we did in September.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN MICHEALETTE. This time on the actual day of your birthday.

 (Jack Ronalds' photos courtesy of Michealette Jr.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ebelskivers for Brunch on Sunday

Ebelskivers with whipped cream.  Yummy!
We were having a late brunch today, and I wanted to make something different.  I checked the pantry and discovered that I had a half can of chocolate ebelskiver mix from Williams-Sonoma.  A year or so ago I had bought an ebelskiver pan, and I had bought the mix rather than make these from scratch.  Ebelskivers are Danish pancakes that puff up when cooked and that can be made with some kind of filling inside.  Ebelskiver actually means apple slice, because in Denmark the filling is often apples. 

I had some delicious cherry preserves so I decided on using those as the filling, chocolate and cherries go so nicely together. 

Ebelskiver chocolate pancake mix and cherry preserves.
Here is how to make these step by step:

Place mix in a large bowl.  I added a teaspoon of espresso powder.
I added one teaspoon of espresso powder to the chocolate mix.
 Mix together the wet ingredients and beat the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks.

Egg whites and wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to chocolate mix and fold in egg whites. 
Fold in egg whites.

Add 1/4 teaspoon butter to each well of the ebelskiver pan over medium heat until butter bubbles.
Butter is bubbly and ready for the batter to be added.

Add 1 tablespoon of batter to each well of the pan and top each with a teaspoon of cherry preserves.
Top with cherry preserves.

Top each well with another tablespoon of batter.  When pancake has browned flip it over (This is the hard part.  I used two wooden skewers to do this.)
Top each well with one tablespoon of batter.

When brown flip out and onto plate for serving.  Add a dollop of whipped cream.

Brown and ready to serve.
These are often served with powdered sugar or maple syrup, but we are trying to cut down on our sugar consumption so we found the pancakes sweet enough with just the whipped cream.
Topped with whipped cream and ready to enjoy.

Here's a recipe if you would like to try this different type of pancake. 


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting
  • Maple syrup for serving


In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, granulated sugar and salt.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the egg yolks and buttermilk. Whisk the yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.

Put 1/2 tsp. butter in each well of a filled-pancake pan. Place over medium heat and heat until the butter begins to bubble. Pour 1 Tbs. batter into each well and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Put 5 or 6 blueberries in the center of each pancake and top with 1 Tbs. batter. Using 2 wooden skewers, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and blueberries.

Dust the pancakes with confectioners' sugar and serve warm with maple syrup. Makes about 40. 
You will need an ebelskiver pan however.  You can buy one at Kohls or at Chef's Catalog.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Potato Soup with Leeks, Carrots, Peas

Potato soup with leeks, carrots, and peas.

It is cold, cold weather here, and just the right time to try this recipe from Dan Eaton of Cooking At Home on Channel 14. 
4 – 6
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups thinly sliced peeled potato
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1 cup peeled, small diced carrot
1 small leek sliced
2-3 Tbs butter
1/2 cup diced smoked ham
1/2 - 1 cup frozen peas
milk as needed
salt and pepper to taste
Thinly slice a couple of cloves of garlic and 4 cups of potatoes and add these to a soup pot with 4 cups of chicken broth and bring it up to a simmer.
Thinly sliced potatoes and garlic.
Add potatoes and garlic to chicken stock.

Once the potatoes are going, finely chop about 1 Tbs fresh thyme and peel and cut about 1 cup of carrots into pea size dice.
Cut the dark green part off and the root end off of the leek, cut it in half lengthwise and then thinly crosswise and then rinse the sliced leeks in a colander in the sink.
Next, melt a couple of Tbs of butter in another large saute pan and add the diced carrot and well drained leeks and the chopped thyme.  Add a ladle of the chicken broth from the potato pot and cook that along until the carrots and leeks are nice and soft, adding a little more broth or water if you need to.

Saute carrots and leeks in butter.

Add thyme (I used dried thyme.)
Then add about 1 cup of frozen peas and as much diced smoked ham as you like, stir that in and turn the heat off.
Add frozen peas and smoked ham.
Once the potatoes are nice and soft, use a hand blender to puree the soup, adding a little milk as you need to, to give it a creamy soup consistency.
Puree potatoes with hand blender.

Fold in the vegetables, season to taste and it's good to go.

This was so good on a cold night like tonight.  I often use Dan Eaton's recipes. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Odds and Ends Drawer

Our "junk" kitchen drawer organized. 
I'm sure every kitchen has one of these---a drawer where you keep odds and ends and everything but the kitchen sink.  Our kitchen sink is close---just to the left of the junk drawer, and I've been waiting until almost last to tackle this drawer.  It was actually pretty easy.  I just threw lots of stuff away (grocery receipts, used birthday candles, drinking straws) or put things in a bag to take to Goodwill. 

Here is the drawer "before":
Junk drawer "before".

And here is
All the "stuff" out on the counter.
everything out on the counter to sort through.

Dan likes to have his knife sharpening tools (actually two of them) in this drawer.  It's handy to have nearby to sharpen knives.

I keep bag twist ties in this drawer, as well as Post It Note Pads and pens. 
Twist ties in junk drawer.

I have a cute story to share about twist ties.  When Dan's oldest grandson, Sam, was about three he was in the kitchen asking what was in each drawer.  I would open a drawer and explain "the linens are in here" or "this is the cutlery drawer".  Upon opening the junk drawer, he asked "What's in here?"  I said "odds and ends".  He held up a twist tie and asked, "Is this an odd or an end?"  Whenever I see the twist ties in the drawer I think of little three-year old Sam who is now a grown man in his late twenties. 
Is this an odd or an end?  I still don't know.

Much in this drawer was jettisoned, and many things were put in a bag to donate to the Thrift Shop.
This bagful will go to Thrift Store.
The organized junk drawer in our kitchen.
I'm glad to have this drawer decluttered.  It probably needs to be cleaned out weekly, since we tend to put "stuff" in here when there doesn't seem to be another place for it or if we are too lazy to put it where it really belongs.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dishcloths and Kitchen Towels

Our kitchen towels and dishcloths in organized drawer.
As a continue with my New Year's Resolution here on day eight, I have cleaned out and organized the drawer in which we keep the kitchen towels and dishcloths.  There were a few pot holders that were in this drawer that I moved to the appropriate drawer.  Other than that not much to do except to tidy up a bit.

I decided to throw all the cloths and towels into the washer for a quick hot wash and then into the dryer.  I tend to use the ones that are near the top all the time, so I will try to rotate ones from the bottom of the stack each time I replace them. 
Ready for the wash.

I still use the hand crocheted dishcloths that my mother made.  During her last five or six years when she couldn't crochet more complicated items, she crocheted dishcloths.  My sister and I have enough to last our lifetime, and enough to give our children and grandchildren.  They are great to use, and they give me happy memories of Mama when I use them.
Dishcloths hand-crocheted by my Mama. 

I try to change the dishcloths for washing and the ones for drying as well as the hand towels every day.  I throw the used ones in a plastic bag and keep the bag in the freezer so they won't mildew and become "smelly".  I wash these once a week by themselves in hot water and dry them on the hot cycle in the dryer.   We have paper towels on hand, but we try to use cloth as much as possible for environmental reasons. 
Hand towel on door of oven. 

I usually keep one hand towel on the door of the oven, a hand towel and a dish towel for drying on the bar at the end of the kitchen counter.  The dishcloth for washing I keep hanging over the faucet. 
Hand towel and dish towel for drying.
Dishcloth for washing.

This drawer was easy to organize.