My Youth

If you lived in western Washington in the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, these guys were on your rotation.  Even though I was an adult when these shows came on, I still spent as much time watching them as the kids; it was time together.  D, the golden child, loved Stan Boreson so much we even went to his concerts.  Thanks for being a part of my life Captain Puget, Brakeman Bill, J. P. Patches, and Stan Boreson.  They were good times.  Big kiss, Lynn

Mini Monkey Bread Muffins

We love having Butterscotch Rolls for Christmas and the 4th of July, but occasionally I’ve been known to forget to start the rise the night before.  My bad.  So, I was ever so glad to see these mini muffins.  My excellent sous chef has been staying here for a few days, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment.

These individual monkey bread servings are perfect hot out of the oven, or 24 hours later. Caramelized bite size pieces of breakfast heaven. Enjoy!  We’re heading to the coast for a few days, Covid virus permitting, and I think this would be a fun treat to take along.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 8 count cans of buttermilk biscuits
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 box butterscotch pudding, not instant

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. pre-heat your oven to 350 F
  2. cut each biscuit into six pieces
  3. Put 2 Cups sugar and 2 Tablespoons cinnamon in a bag and mix, add the biscuit quarters and shake them until all the quarters are fully coated
  4. Place 6 or so biscuit pieces in each muffin cup
  5. Sprinkle with some butterscotch pudding
  6. Melt 2 sticks butter,  and 1/2 Cup brown sugar over low-medium heat, until fully melted and the sugar has dissolved resulting in a gorgeous golden brown, dark caramel color (stir frequently)
  7. Pour the butter mixture over the muffin cups until each is about 3/4 filled
  8. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 25 minutes
  9. Remove from the oven and immediately turn over onto a platter so that all the ooey gooey caramelized butter sugary goodness tips out and covers the monkey bread bites in their caramelized goodness.
  10. If you have some cute little ramekins or serving dishes, place a monkey bread cup into each one and use a spoon to drizzle more caramelized sauce over each cup.
  11. I found several recipes like this on line so I’m not really able to give credit to anyone in particular.

 * From the Recipe Box:

I didn’t tip these out of the muffin pan immediately; I wanted the caramel sauce to firm up a bit so it would stick to the muffins a little better.

We always vote after eating something new and this was voted a winner.

Is there anything better than a tradition?

and remember:    Do something today that your future self will thank you for.  Big kiss, Lynn

Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon

I never think of myself as a finicky eater, but the longer I write this blog the more apparent my finickiness appears.  Of course, it could be I only have so many years left and I’m not going to waste it on food that doesn’t ring my bells.  As I look through cookbooks, I will flip right past recipes that have no appeal or too many ingredients.

So, what do I love?  Don’t you play that game as well?  We spent a couple of years living in Hawaii and I fell in love with Kimchi.  I’ve always liked pickles, but this goes beyond pickles to spicy and funky.  My mom used to always put a bowl of sliced onions and cucumbers in vinegar on the dinner table and this reminds me of that.  Korea, Norway, very similar in its own way.  I could eat it every day.  I love, love, love watermelon, especially cubed with mozzarella and basil.  Or mozzarella with grape tomatoes.  You’re going to notice a little trend, I will never pick cow when I could pick shrimp.  I don’t want heavy pasta, but I do enjoy pasta with vegetables or seafood.

This is my version of linguine and shrimp.  It comes together so quickly and with just a few ingredients.  I’m just cooking for G and I tonight, so the ingredient list will be a little scaled down.  I put enough water for 8 ounces of linguine on to boil.  If my shrimp is frozen, I start thawing it.  I like using 16 to 20 count shrimp.  That simply means 16 to 20 per pound.  I prefer unpeeled, tail on.  I think they last longer in the freezer and it gives me more options.  I put them in a colander and run cold water over them.  When they’re thawed, I peel them.  This was one pound of shrimp.

By this time the water is probably boiling and I throw the pasta in.  I heat butter and olive oil in a fry pan and cook the shrimp.  I add fresh lemon juice, more butter and garlic to taste.  When the pasta is done, I add it to the shrimp with a little pasta water if needed.  A wee drizzle of olive oil to finish.  This is a light yet filling meal and it looks pretty as well.

This is probably more than you needed to know about me, but if you stick around, you’ll hear even more.

* From the Recipe Box:

For those of you paying attention, that is not linguine.  You know the drill, no store runs for one item.  This is angel hair, which is not my favorite pasta, but it will work in a pinch.

and remember:    I’m only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.  Big kiss, Lynn

Grahamookies

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The sous chef and I made some really fun little treats and we’re calling them Grahamookies.  I’d ordered chocolate graham crackers for another project and this recipe was on the side of the box.

Lay graham crackers on a piece of parchment on a rimmed half sheet cookie pan.  We were making chocolate so that’s the cracker we used.  Next we melted 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of cream in the microwave.  We started out at 30 seconds and then gave it a good stir and did it for an additional 30 seconds, continuing until the ganache was smooth and glossy.

Let the ganache cool a smidgy bit and then spread it on each cracker.  Work in sections so the chocolate doesn’t harden too quickly.  The sous chef took all his aggression out on a cup of pretzels in a zip lock bag to sprinkle on top.  Next we sprinkled on Jimmys, but you can use any kind of sprinkles you like.  Finally we added a few baking sized M&M’s left over from Christmas.

The crackers needed to spend about 30 minutes in the refrigerator to firm up.

The sous chef and I had a good time decorating the grahamookies.  We came up with all sorts of ideas.  On regular graham crackers, you could melt peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.  The same toppings would be excellent on them.   Or we would probably chop up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on one or Butterfingers.  Anything would work.  Jimmys and sprinkles really have no flavor, so you can have fun without flavor conflict.  Give this a try the next time you have little helpers around.

* From the Recipe Box:

There are so many variations to this recipe.  You can make something with the chocolate graham crackers or with the honey graham crackers.  The kids love to help decorating.

We upped the recipe a bit.  Why wouldn’t we?  The recipe on the box was 8 chocolate grahams, 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and 8 miniature pretzel twists, crushed.  That’s merely a taste.

and remember what Pee Wee Herman said:  I know you are, but what am I?    Big kiss, Lynn

 

Oven Baked Spare Ribs

My sous chef is here visiting and he is a total spare ribs freak.  I don’t make a lot of ribs:  too messy to eat and they get stuck in my teeth.  Yes, I’m that girl.  We did an online search and came up with this recipe.  It was originally posted by Fifteenspatulas.  I’d never heard of that blog before, but you can’t go wrong with a 4.9 out of 5 rating.  I’m going to look for more of their recipes because these turned out fabulously.

4 to 5 pounds of St. Louis-Style Pork Spare Ribs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

18 ounces barbecue sauce, 1.75 cups, either store bought or homemade

 

Season two racks of St. Louis Style Spare Ribs with 2 teaspoons if salt, concentrating it on the meaty side if the rubs,

Cut the rack into individual ribs, cutting in between the bones

Place the ribs on a rimmed half sheet pan and drizzle with about 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce.  I used Sweet Baby Rays because my sous chef was here and that’s his favorite.  Toss the ribs in the sauce until evenly coated.

Arrange the ribs on the pan, placing them meaty side up.

Cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil.  You really want to create a tight seal here.

Bake the spare ribs for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then remove the foil.  They will look fairly unglazed at this point.

Take half the remaining barbecue sauce and baste the ribs.

Bake the ribs uncovered for another 30 minutes.  They should be starting to get some caramelization on the edges, but they need another basting.  So baste the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce, about 1/3 cup.

Bake the ribs another 20 to 30 minutes in the oven.  They should look wonderfully glazed by now.

 * From the Recipe Box:

Remember to remove the silverskin from the ribs.  You don’t want to eat it and it’s very hard to even bite through.

These were amazing.  Yes, you heard me, the non-meat eater, say that.  Next I’m going to find good Asian sauce recipe to make for the ribs.  I actually can’t wait.  I’ll keep you posted.

and remember what Albert Einstein said:  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.    Big kiss, Lynn

 

Chubby Hubby Clusters

Time for something fun.  These are named after the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor from a few years ago.  I found the recipe on line.  I like having a few things the little ones can help with and potentially make a huge mess.  I love adding sprinkles whenever I can.  The small baking M&M’s are another great addition to anything you want kids to help you with.  They will need to help.  The chips made a fairly stiff dough.

I don’t care about the mess.  In the future, I want the kids to remember the fun times.  There are going to be no statues in my honor.  All I want is someone turning to a cousin or sibling and saying, “remember the time?”  That’s better than any monument.

Wait until you see the other ones we made.  Total cuteness!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup butter (cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup salted peanuts

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butter, and peanut butter. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, stir, and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth (if it isn’t completely melted, return to the microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring after each time).
  2. Add pretzels and peanuts to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until they are completely coated in chocolate.
  3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firm.
  4. Optional: drizzle with melted peanut butter.
  5. If you don’t eat them all in one sitting, store leftovers in an airtight container.

 * From the Recipe Box:

While these weren’t going to win the cookie of the year, they were great fun to make with kids.  There will be sprinkles everywhere due to the enthusiasm of your helpers.

I didn’t have pretzel sticks, I had knots.  That didn’t stop the sous chef from breaking them up into the right sized pieces.

I also didn’t have peanut butter chips so we used butterscotch chips.  Who knew.

and remember:  Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest, it’s about who walked in to your life, said ‘I’m here for you’ and PROVED it.  Big kiss, Lynn

Chicken Parmesan Cutlets

I think this might be SJ’s favorite thing I make.  I was in the mood for it the other night.  They are super easy and you can have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.  I prefer making them with chicken breasts rather than thighs.

We butterfly 3 chicken pieces and pound them out to about 3/8 inches.  I set up a lovely dredging station.  I put approximately 1 cup of flour and S & P on the first plate.  Two beaten eggs on the second plate and 1 cup of Panko on the third plate.  Once the chicken pieces are pounded out, we begin the dredge.  Pat off the chicken, dip both sides in the flour.  Give them a quick dip in the beaten eggs.  Now a quick trip through the panko.  See the first picture.  The crust is really thin, as is the chicken itself.

I put about a quarter inch of canola oil in either a non-stick pan or a cast iron pan.  Cook the chicken on both sides until golden brown.   I usually cover it up with my trusty pizza pan.  Heaven forbid I buy a pan with a lid.  This only takes about 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and place them in a pre-heated 200 degree oven to keep warm while cooking the rest.  Add more oil, let come back to temp and fry more.  For 3 large breasts butterflied, plan on feeding 3 to 4 people.

I like serving them on a bed of arugula, but I didn’t have any tonight.  And, you know the rule, no trips to the grocery for one item.  I drizzle the greens, in this case romaine, with olive oil and balsamic reduction.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

 * From the Recipe Box:

This is such an easy dinner yet so very tasty.  The chicken stays so tender.

Even if it’s just G and I, I will cook up 3 breasts because this makes a great salad protein.  I try and make salads for dinner every other day so we get our greens.

and remember what Padma Lakshmi shared in her Instagram:  Germany doesn’t have Nazi monuments to “remind” citizens of their history.  Instead, they have memorials for the 6 million Jews and others who were murdered.  The U.S. doesn’t need statues of confederate generals to “remind” us.  The confederacy was created solely for the purpose of subjugating and controlling Black people through enslavement.   We need monuments for Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, people who fought the good fight.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

Cornbread Loaf

I almost feel like I’m cheating on an exam or something.  This is a new recipe for me.  Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and forget to try other options even when you aren’t totally happy with the recipe you’re using.  We eat a lot of things that go well with cornbread, so I make it fairly frequently, but lately I’ve not been happy with my old tried and true recipe.  I especially liked the idea of baking it in a loaf pan.  I really like how easy it was to serve.

We had chili last night.  I’m proud of my chili.  I know it would be laughed at in Texas, but it’s perfect for the Pacific NW especially when it’s all dreary and gray like yesterday.  A slab of cornbread next to a warm bowl of chili and we’re a happy family.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and lightly flour a 5 by 9-inch baking loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and honey together until completely smooth and thick. Then, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Avoid over-mixing.
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is cooked through. Use a toothpick to test.  Edges should be crispy at this point.  Allow to slightly cool before slicing and serving. Serve cornbread with butter, honey, jam, or whatever you like.
  4. Wrap leftovers up tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

 * From the Recipe Box:

We actually like our cornbread a little crispier than most, so keep an eye on the cooking time.

You know for a fact, I did not run to the store for buttermilk.  I have milk and I have vinegar, why would I need a store run.

and remember:  Pick your battles.  You don’t have to show up to every argument you’re invited to.  Big kiss, Lynn