American Classics

Grandmother Libby’s Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

December 4, 2013

Oatmeal cookies

Grandmother Libby’s Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

My great grandmother used to make these cookies for the holidays.  One year I asked her for the recipe, which I am delighted to share with you.  They are easy to make.  You can add raisins or leave them out. 


1 Cup Shortening

2 Cups Brown Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Room Temperature Eggs

2 Tablespoons Whole Milk

2 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Additional Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large-size bowl cream shortening, vanilla and brown sugar.  Add eggs and milk.  Mix well. In a medium-size bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, kosher salt and cinnamon.  Add to the creamed mixture.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle tops with additional sugar. Place into oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Remember that all ovens heat differently.  I like to remove my cookies just a tad underdone because they will continue to cook a bit when out of the oven.  Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing.  Remove cookies and let cool on wire racks.  Makes about 4 dozen.


Boston Brown Bread

November 19, 2013

Boston Brown Bread 2

Boston Brown Bread

It’s so easy to make your own Boston Brown Bread that you can forget about buying those canned ones on the grocery store shelves.  I used golden raisins for this recipe, but you can use any kind of raisins or dried fruit that you like best. 


1 Cup Golden Raisins

1 Cup Boiling Water

1 Cup Unbleached Flour

1 Cup Wheat Flour

1 Cup Cornmeal

1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Buttermilk

1 Cup Molasses

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place raisins in a small-size bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for 20 minutes.  In a large-size bowl combine the flours, baking soda, kosher salt and brown sugar.  Mix well.  Drain raisins. In a medium-size bowl combine buttermilk and molasses.  Stir in raisins.  Add molasses mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.  Pour into a parchment paper lined loaf pan.  Place into oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Remove from loaf pan and transfer to serving platter.  Makes 1 loaf

Note: You can also make this Boston Brown Bread into muffins.  

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

Super Easy Cranberry Sauce

November 13, 2013

Cranberry Sauce

Super Easy Cranberry Sauce

Please, please, please don’t buy canned cranberry sauce!  I cringe every time I see it sitting out on a holiday table.  It’s so easy to make your own and here is your Super Easy recipe to get you through the holidays. 


1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

2 Cups (8 Ounces) Fresh Cranberries

In a medium-size saucepan stir together sugar and water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Make sure to stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add cranberries.  Bring back to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-high.  Cook for 5 minutes (uncovered).  You will want cranberries to pop.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Serve either warm or chilled.  Makes 2 cups.  


Traditional Pumpkin Pie

November 11, 2013

pumpkin pie

Traditional Pumpkin Pie

According to a recent survey Pumpkin Pie wins out when it comes to the Thanksgiving pie favorite.  2nd place goes to Apple Pie and the 3rd place goes to Pecan Pie.  I have to admit that I like Pumpkin Pie over apple and pecan although I’ve never turned any of them down.  Here is a nice Traditional Pumpkin Pie recipe to get you started on the upcoming Thanksgiving cooking fun. 


1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin Puree

2 Large Eggs

1 Cup Whole Milk

1/2 Cups Pure Maple Syrup

1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 (9 Inch) Piecrust

Sweetened Whipped Cream Spiked With Bourbon (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place piecrust into pie pan.  In a medium-size bowl whisk together pumpkin and eggs.  Blend Well.  Add milk, maple syrup, flour, cinnamon, ginger, and kosher salt.  Whisk to blend well.  Pour filling into piecrust.  Bake pie for 55 to 60 minutes until center is just set.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Serve with shipped cream spiked with bourbon if you want.  Serves 8


Parsley Potato Salad

September 2, 2013

Parsley Potato SaladPotato Salad with Chili Coriander and Allioli

For a new twist on the traditional potato salad, try this light; fresh-tasting version that combines sliced potatoes with an oil and vinegar dressing. 


2 Pounds Small Red Potatoes

1 Finely Chopped Large Celery Stalk

1 Hard-Boiled Egg

1 Minced Garlic Cloves

4 Canned Anchovy Fillets

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1/2 Teaspoon Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Hot Sauce

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 Finely Chopped Green Onions (Including Green Tops)

1/2 Cup Chopped Parsley

Pour water into a 4-quart pan to a 1 inch depth.  Bring to a boil over a high heat.  Add the potatoes.  Cover and reduce the heat.  Cook for 20 to 30 minutes just until tender when pierced with a fork.  Don’t overcook.  Drain the water and let cool.  Peel and thinly slice into a large-size bowl.  Add the chopped celery.  In a blender or food processor, pulse the cooked egg, garlic, anchovies, mustard, sugar, hot sauce, olive oil and vinegar until smooth.  Add the kosher salt and pepper and pulse for another 30 seconds.  Stir in the green onions and parsley.  Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and stir gently.  Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for at least 4 hours or until the next day.  Transport in a cooler when taking to a picnic.  Serves 6

Blackberry Cheesecake

July 30, 2013

Blackberry CheesecakeBlackberry Cheesecake

Today is National Cheesecake Day!

I love cheesecake.  Growing up I would go blackberry picking in my neighborhood.  There was always some area with overgrown blackberry bushes. Picking up my childhood sandbox bucket I would set myself to the task of bringing home a bucketful of blackberries.  Not many would make it home and the evidence would be all over my face.


40 Crushed Vanilla Wafers

6 Tablespoons Melted Butter

16 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

3/4 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Creamed Cottage Cheese

1/4 Cup Cherry Brandy

3 Eggs

4 Cups Fresh Blackberries

Preheat your oven to 375° F. In a medium size bowl stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch spring form pan and set aside.  In a large bowl stir together cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, flour and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low until smooth and set aside.  Place the cottage cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.  Next, stir in the 1/4 cup cherry brandy.  Beat in the eggs on low speed until combined.  Don’t over mix as you don’t want to incorporate too much air into the batter. Pour half of the cheese cake mixture into the crust lined pan.  Spread 1 cup of the blackberries on top.  Top with the remaining cheese cake mixture and 1/2 cup of the blackberries.  Place in a shallow baking pan in the preheated oven.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until center appears almost set.  Remove from the oven. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Loosen the sides and cool completely.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.  To serve cut the cheesecake into wedges and top each with the blackberries. Serve with additional blackberry sauce if you like. Serves 10

Peach & Blueberry Crisp

July 30, 2013

Peach & Blueberry CrispPeach & Blueberry Crisp

Peaches and blueberries?  What could be better?  You could serve this dessert with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or English clotted cream.


8 Ripe Peaches (Sliced)

2 Cups Fresh Blueberries

1 Cup Butter

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 Cup Unbleached Flour

1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 400° F. In a large size baking pan place the sliced peaches.  Add the blueberries to the top of the peaches.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan melt the butter over a low heat.  When the butter has melted turn off the heat.  Stir in the oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Spread the oat mixture over the top of the blueberries.  Place into the oven for 35 minutes.  Remember that each oven heats differently so check at 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Serve warm or cold.  I served mine warm with English clotted cream, but you could serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or plain.  Serves 4 to 6


Peachy Peach Crisp

July 18, 2013

Peachy Peach Crisp 2Peachy Peach Crisp

This ridiculously easy Peach Crisp recipe is just peachy.  Take advantage of all those delicious peaches out there.  Farmers’ markets are a great place to get local peaches or take a day and find a pick your own place.


6 Cups Sliced Peaches

5 Tablespoons Sugar

1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Butter

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large size bowl combine the peach slices and 5 tablespoons of sugar.  Set aside.  In a separate large size bowl combine the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter.  You will want the topping to look like coarse crumbs.  Pour the peaches into a rectangle baking dish that holds about 2 quarts.  Sprinkle the topping over the peaches and place into the oven.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the topping is golden.  Remove from the oven and let cool or serve warm.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.  Serves 6


Okra Tomato Soup

July 6, 2013

Okra 2Okra Tomato Soup

This soup is super fresh and super yummy!  If you don’t want to use beef stock then use a vegetable stock.


1 Pound Peeled & Chopped Ripe Tomatoes

1 Cup Water

1 Pound Trimmed Fresh Okra

4 Cups Beef Stock or Vegetable Stock

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

In a heavy pot place the tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.  Add the trimmed okra.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the okra is nice and tender.  Add the beef stock, kosher salt, pepper, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a large serving bowl.  Serves 4


Blueberry Shortcakes With Whipped Cream Cheese

July 5, 2013

Blueberries 3Blueberry Shortcakes With Whipped Cream Cheese

These shortcakes are super easy to make and delicious as either a dessert or a brunch dish.  The shortcakes are best the day they are made however.


1 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

3 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Cold Unsalted Butter (Cut into Small Pieces)

2 Ounces Cream Cheese (2 Ounces Cold & 6 Ounces Room Temperature)

5 Ounces Blueberries

3/4 Cup Buttermilk

1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

Extra Blueberries for Garnish

Preheat your oven to 425º F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with cooking spray.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, sugar, kosher salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Incorporate the butter and the cold cream cheese with a pastry cutter.  You could also use your fingers or two forks. Incorporate until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the freezer and add the blueberries.  Gradually stir in the buttermilk.  Gently fold with a rubber spatula until a sticky dough forms.  Make sure not to overmix.  Divide the dough into 8 even mounds and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.  While your shortcakes are cooling in a large size bowl beat together the remaining cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Gradually add the heavy cream beating just until for 1 minute until the mixture becomes smooth and thick. Make sure not to overbeat.  Serve alongside the shortcakes and add extra berries if you wish.  Makes 8 Blueberry Shortcakes.

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