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Friday, February 12, 2016

It Was A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Perfect for Lemon Cornmeal Scones

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...There are days I truly believe that the universe conspires to drive us mad. I'm sure I lost a cosmic card game, because today the fates and furies turned on me and anything that could go wrong did. My "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" began before eight o'clock this morning, when HVAC and electrical specialists arrived to install a new heat pump and furnace for our home. The old equipment died yesterday despite heroic attempts to resuscitate it, and we needed it replaced as soon as possible. It was obvious from the get-go that some rivalry existed between the two trades sent to install the new equipment. Their first hour together reminded me of road trips when my children were preteens and hated each other. I became so intent on avoiding the conflict that I managed to trip over a toolbox as I tried to get out of the room. The fall was not life threatening, but when I got up I was bleeding rather copiously from the mouth and had to pay the dentist an emergency visit. It seems I broke the post of one tooth and managed to crack two others. The only man who loves me more than the Silver Fox is my dentist. I have single-handedly put his children through the finest schools in the country. He was very glad to see me this morning. I was at his office for several hours while he put me back together as best he could, and when we returned the HVAC guy and his apprentice were eating pizza. "I have some bad news for you," he said. "There's a 'possum in your crawl space, and we won't go in there until he's gone. We don't do wild animals." Now, the Silver Fox and I do rats and roaches, but neither of us has worked with 'possums, so I got out the phone book and found someone who does - for $500 - when he has time - next week. We don't have time, so the Silver Fox dashed to a local farm store and bought what we think is a humane trap. Understanding my frustration, which was approaching volcanic proportions, the electrician and HVAC guy jury rigged the furnace so we could operate it on emergency power tonight. I'm happy to report we will not freeze to death this evening, and if the 'possum takes the bait, they will return tomorrow to install our beautiful and expensive new heating system. I can't let myself ponder what will happen if they don't. Now, I know you are asking what all this has to do with scones. Time had boxed me into a corner and I needed a fast and simple recipe if I was to share a feature with you tonight. I remembered these unusual scones, and thought those of you who enjoy barely sweet European desserts might like to give them a try. They take about 15 minutes to prepare and they can be table ready in less than an hour. The recipe is straight forward and the scones are foolproof. Here is how they are made.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Amish-Style Pork and Vegetable Stew

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Even bad cooks have good days. My mother was not known for her cooking, but every so often she would make something that we all enjoyed. This Amish-style stew is based on one she occasionally made for us. It is a slightly sweet, mildly spiced dish that one might expect to find on an Amish table. If you are deft with a vegetable peeler, the stew can be made in about 15 minutes. It requires an additional hour to cook, but this is a dish that is really easy on the cook. I lost my mother's recipe ages ago, but came on one that is quite similar to it in the Land O' Lakes recipe collection. I used sirloin chops to make the stew because pork steaks were not available, but other than that, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written. This is a great dish to prepare for small families. It will comfortably feed four adults, but leftovers, if there are any, will be scant. If you generally enjoy Amish cooking, I know you'll love this stew. I hope you'll give it a try. Here is how it is made.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spiced Yogurt Muffins

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm feeding the freezer this week. I have some "events" coming up towards the end of the month, and I'll be so busy baking for them, that I want to make sure that I've stored some treats the Silver Fox can enjoy while I am otherwise engaged and his stomach starts to growl. These simple, moist and healthy muffins are a favorite of his, so I've made a batch to store in the freezer for reheating when his sweet tooth starts to ache. The yogurt and applesauce make the muffins moist and tender and the spices give them wonderful flavor. This is a very easy recipe to prepare and I know you'll enjoy these spice-kissed muffins. Here is how they are made.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes with Chocolate Chips and Cinnamon Cream

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, precedes the first day of Lent. It's called Shrove Tuesday because centuries ago it was custom for confessions to be heard on that day and those who were absolved were said to be shrove or shriven of sin. In more secular countries, particularly those that are English speaking, it is also known as Pancake Day. The tradition of serving pancakes on the eve of Lent is centuries old and it came about because there was a need to consume rich and restricted ingredients such as sugar, fat, flour and eggs before the 40 day Lenten fast began. Pancakes were an easy way to do that. While fast requirements are considerably easier these days, it is still fun to observe the pancake ritual. This year I found an old Paula Dean recipe to use as my feature for the day. I know you'll love these, but I must admit I think you'll find them more dessert than breakfast-like. No matter! They are delicious, easy to make and good enough that you might want to use a heart mold and serve them on Valentine's Day, unless, of course, you have given up sugar, fat, flour and eggs. Then you are on your own. Here is how these pancakes, and the delicious cinnamon cream that accompanies them are made.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I took out my can opener and put this soup together before heading to the coast early this afternoon. The Silver Fox was going to spend the afternoon watching the Super Bowl with friends, and while they did not watch the game here, I suspected they'd be at my table when the game ended. After an afternoon of snacks and junk food, I wanted something that was filling and substantial, but easy to make. This is one of the easiest recipes I have in my rotation. It is effortless to make and if you enjoy spicy Mexican food I think you'll love this soup. I served it with a "guy-type" salad and skillet cornbread and I can happily report that I have no leftovers to deal with. Here is how the soup is made.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Miniature Chocolate Chip Scones

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I love scones, but I usually serve them only for breakfast or brunch. These little gems are very sweet and can also be served for dessert or tea. They are quite simple to make and I know those of you who have a sweet tooth will love them. I do, however, have a caution or two to share with you. I think you'll find 2 cups of miniature chips to be a bit much. In that quantity they make a very stiff dough that is hard to work, and I think you'll have the best results if you use only 1 cup of the miniature chips. It is also important not to skip the freezer time. These small scones will burn if you pop them into the oven without thoroughly chilling the dough. These scones are not great keepers, but unglazed scones can be frozen, brought to room temperature and glazed about an hour before serving. This is a nice recipe and I hope you'll give it a try. Here is how the scones are made.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The Silver Fox had one of his favorite meals tonight - smoked sausage with really, really sour sauerkraut. Though I have tried to eat it with the same gusto he displays, a little of it goes a long way for me. So, I, instead, opted for a large salad, some soup and oatmeal dinner rolls that I experimented with this afternoon. I'm in the throes of spring cleaning and my task for the day was cleaning my kitchen cabinets. Since I'd be in the kitchen anyway, I thought it would be a great day to bake some bread. I had seen a recipe for oatmeal dinner rolls in Taste of Home magazine, and since I don't have a lot of bread recipes that use oatmeal, I thought I'd give the rolls a try. I liked the base recipe but thought it sounded a bit bland, so I added some whole wheat flour, some molasses and slightly increased the amount of salt I used to prepare the rolls. This is an easy recipe. As a matter of fact your mixer will do most of the work. I thought the rolls, which turned out to be light and fluffy, needed additional baking time to assure they were not damp and gummy, so I gave them an additional 5 minutes. These are tasty rolls and I'll be making them again. I hope you'll give them a try. Here is how they are made.

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