Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

Here’s a quick & easy recipe for old fashioned rice pudding. As you probably know, all my recipes are quick & easy or I wouldn’t be cooking it! Here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 TSP. salt
  • 1 TSP. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 -1/2 cups milk
  • ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°

In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except cinnamon.  Mix well.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Put baking dish in a pan of hot water in the oven and bake for about 1-1/2 hours or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Can be served warm or cold. Top it with some whipped cream if you like. Enjoy!

recipe by Mountain Republic

Mom Jones’ Cookies

I remember my Mom made these cookies often when I was a kid.  This recipe was from my Grandmother & dated April 1955. I don’t know who Mom Jones’ was or where the recipe originally came from, but I do know these cookies sure are good!

This is definitely one of my favorite cookie recipes and it makes a good, large batch. I’ve baked these cookies for soldiers that I support in Afghanistan several times. The troops have always liked them, since I’ve heard the hard ones make fine projectiles to use on the Taliban!

I’ve made these many times for our family gatherings as well & they always seem to disappear fast. I remember my Mom used coconut more often than raisins, but I like them both ways. If you’re so inclined, you can add both raisins & coconut or cut the fruit out all together. The raisins tend to caramelize a bit in the oven and with the brown sugar, the cookies have a nice chewy texture.

So they don’t get too hard, I only like to bake them about 10 minutes or so. Let them “set” on the cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

This recipe can easily be cut in half. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut or raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups quick oatmeal

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening & sugars together. Mix well.

Beat in eggs.

Add flour, sifted together with baking powder, baking soda & salt.

Blend in oatmeal, nuts, vanilla & raisins or coconut. Dough will be very stiff.

Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 8 – 9 dozen cookies, depending on size.

posted by Mountain Republic                            recipe from Amy Chenevert

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

This may just be one of my favorite dinners. Forget about that stuff in a box they call “The Cheesiest”.  This dish is made the old-fashioned way – with REAL cheese. And the sharper the cheese, the better! I like using Extra Sharp Cheddar for this recipe, but just about any kind of cheese that melts will work just fine.

This dish can easily be altered to fit your family’s own tastes. Some cooked ground beef or sausage, chopped vegetables etc. can be added to give this recipe a little variety.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup buttered fresh bread crumbs* (if desired)

Preparation:

Boil macaroni in salted water. Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Cover the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with layer of cooked macaroni, a layer of shredded cheese, bits of butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Continue making layers until all the ingredients are used, ending with a cheese layer on top.

Whisk the milk, egg & cayenne together and pour over the top. Cover with buttered bread crumbs, if desired.

Bake in a 350° oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*An easy way to make fresh bread crumbs is to process 2 slices of bread in a food processor, mix in 2 to 3 teaspoons of butter and you’re done.

posted by Mountain Republic

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler

Where I live in the mountains of California, blackberries are like an invasive weed. Many folks spend a good portion of time each year trying to eradicate the persistent plant from their property, fighting a good battle, but eventually losing the war.

All that’s mostly forgotten around this time of year, when the blackberries are ready to harvest. Head out into the forest & you’ll find a healthy patch of blackberries growing alongside just about any dirt road or near any damp, shady spot like a creek. Berry patches cover the entrances to many old mines around here.

We like to go hiking along old logging roads. Blackberries grow abundantly along the edges of these now seldom used roads. On our return trip, we’ll pick a gallon of berries to take home. Once home, we wash & drain the berries well. What we don’t use for that night’s cobbler, we will freeze and use later.

The following is my Grandmother’s recipe for Fresh Blackberry Cobbler:

Ingredients & directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan, add:

  • 3 cup fresh or fresh frozen blackberries (washed & drained)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Bring to a boil for about a minute or until it starts to thicken a bit, stirring constantly. Pour the hot berry mixture into a 1 – 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with bits of butter. Dust with cinnamon is desired.

Measure & sift together:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Add to flour mixture:

  • 3 tbsp. soft shortening

(Mix in shortening with a pastry knife or fork until the mixture has the appearance & consistency  of “meal”)

Add to flour mixture & stir until mixed:

  • 1/2 cup milk

Drop spoonfuls of the topping mixture on top of the hot berries until covered.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Serve warm, with cream if desired.

posted by Mountain Republic                                                    recipe by Amy Chenevert

In Praise of Pressure Cooking

Pressure cookers have been used for centuries around the world and are coming back into use. Many use pressure cookers for canning but my grandparents used them for cooking.  A chuck roast made in a pressure cooker just melts in your mouth.  Sear/brown the meat in butter or olive oil in the bottom of the cooker, add onion, bay leaf and carrot, put on the lid and turn up the heat. Why a pressure cooker?

Unlike other gadgets which rise in popularity due to changing technology, pressure cookers and pressure cooker recipes are becoming highly pertinent in the 21st century due to the changing times. That’s because the features that originally made pressure cookers one of the handiest cooking tools are more important now than ever. pressure cookers save energy, save time and open the doors to thousands of healthy, flavorful pressure cooker recipes that retain the nutritious vitamins and minerals in their all-natural ingredients. [Pressure Cooker Recipes]

What is a pressure cooker? How does it work?  There is an excellent Wikipedia article on that here.

Here is an assemblage  of models available at Macy’s and Amazon.com. They start at Amazon at $25.00.

Presto 02160 Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel Electric 

Fagor "Elite" Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt.  

Reg. $90.00
Sale $69.99
AVAILABLE IN-STORE
Fagor "Elite" Pressure Cooker Set  

Reg. $150.00
Sale $119.99
AVAILABLE IN-STORE
Fagor Commercial Stainless Steel 4-Piece Multi Steamer/Cooker Set, 8 Qt.  

$69.99
The following is from Wikipedia:

Pressure cookers are generally made from aluminium or stainless steel. The former may be stamped and buffed or anodized, but this metal is unsuitable for the dishwasher. Higher quality stainless steel pressure cookers are made with heavy, three-ply, or copper-clad bottom (heat spreader) for uniform heating, since stainless steel has lower thermal conductivity. Most modern units are dishwasher safe, although some manufacturers may recommend washing by hand.

A gasket or sealing ring forms a gas-tight seal which does not allow air or steam to escape between the pot and the lid; normally, the only way the steam can escape is through a regulator on the lid when the pressure has built up. In case the regulator is blocked, a safety valve is provided as a backup escape route for steam. The simplest safety valve is a loose-fitting rubber plug in the lid, held in place by steam pressure. If the pressure exceeds design limits, the plug pops out of its seat.

To seal the gasket, some pressure cookers have a lid lock with flanges, similar to a bayonet-style lens mount, that works by placing the lid on the pot and twisting it about 30° to lock it in place. Contemporary designs of this style of cooker also have a pressure-activated interlock mechanism that prevents the lid from being removed while the cooker is pressurized.[

Safety features

Pressure cookers have a reputation as a dangerous method of cooking with the risk of explosion. Early pressure cookers equipped with only a primary safety valve were at risk of explosion if poorly maintained, allowing food residues to contaminate the release valve. Modern pressure cookers typically have two or three independent safety valves, as well as some additional safety features, such as an interlock to prevent opening the lid while internal pressure exceeds atmospheric pressure. However there is still a risk of explosion, especially if cookers are not thoroughly and regularly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The primary safety valve or regulator usually takes the form of a weighted stopper, commonly called “the rocker,” or “vent weight”. This weighted stopper is lifted by the steam pressure, allowing excess pressure to be relieved. There is a backup pressure release mechanism that may employ any of several different techniques to release pressure quickly if the primary pressure release mechanism fails (for example, if food jams the steam discharge path). One such method is in the form of a hole in the lid blocked by a plug of low melting point alloy; another is a rubber grommet with a metal insert at the center. At a sufficiently high pressure, the grommet will distort and the insert will blow out of its mounting hole, relieving the pressure. If the pressure gets still higher, the grommet itself will blow out. A common safety feature is the design of the gasket, which expands and releases excess pressure downward between the lid and the pot.

 

Holiday Cranberry Relish Recipe

Ever since I was a little kid (and that was a while back), we had always eaten canned cranberries with our holiday meals. I remember always looking forward to eating that jello-like substance with my annual turkey dinner.

But over the years, my taste for that cranberry gel seems to have diminished. And lately, my wife & I have enjoyed cooking several birds throughout the year. We cook (or sometimes smoke) the bird, have a nice meal & then freeze the rest for turkey sandwiches.

Can-berry in it's not so natural state.

A few years ago, I ran across this recipe for homemade Holiday Cranberry Relish. It’s supposed to be from a chef in San Francisco and it is absolutely delicious! It makes me want to cook more turkey so I can make more of this relish! It’s so good, I find myself eating it all by itself! And it’s really easy to make. This relish is now a regular part our holiday meals. If you enjoy this recipe, you may want to freeze a bag or two of cranberries for use later in the year.

Holiday Cranberry Relish in it's natural state. Just a bit more appealing.

Cranberry Relish:

  • 2 cups washed raw cranberries
  • 2 skinned and cored tart apples
  • 1 large, whole (peel ON) seedless orange, cut into sections
  • 1 to 2 cups granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want your relish to be)

This recipe calls for the use of an old fashioned hand turn grinder. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a food processor instead.

Make sure to cut the orange and apples into small chunks before chopping. Use short pulses when using the food processor or your relish will turn out mushy. After chopping the orange, apples & cranberries, pick out any oversize chunks for re-chopping.

Add sugar to taste. I like my relish a little tart, so I use about one and a half cups of sugar. After adding the sugar, make sure to let the relish stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour to let the sugar dissolve.

This relish keeps in the fridge for about a week and also freezes well. It’s really great on turkey sandwiches!!

Source: Cranberry Relish Recipe

posted by Mountain Republic