Corn Pudding

One of my holiday favorites.  Substantial and creamy.


  • 1 stick of butter (can lower to half a stick if you feel weird about butter)
  • 1 pint of sour cream
  • 15 oz can cream corn
  • 15 oz can corn (drained)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 box corn bread (like Jiffy)


  1. Melt butter in 9×9 casserole dish.
  2. In bowl, mix all ingredients.  Be sure to drain the plain canned corn.  It also helps to do all the wet stuff first and then add the dry.
  3. Pour into casserole and bake uncovered at 350 F for 45 minutes to an hour.

Cheesy Kentucky Broccoli

(Made up by Sarah G.)

Some people would say that Miracle Whip has no business being in a vegetable dish.  Those people probably do not live in The South.


  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
  • 2 cups Mild Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
  • 16 oz jar Cheese Whiz
  • 1/3 cup Miracle Whip
  • 24 oz frozen broccoli florets
  • French fried onions (for topping) (optional)


  1. Steam/boil/microwave (whichever is your preferred method for cooking it) broccoli until it is tender.
  2. In large bowl, mix cooked, drained broccoli, cheese whiz, shredded cheeses and Miracle Whip.  Reserve some of the shredded cheese for topping.
  3. Place in greased 9×9 casserole dish and top with reserved shredded cheese and fried onions.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes until bubbly and melty.  Watch to make sure onions don’t burn. If they start to go, you can cover with foil to protect them.


Cheryl’s Monster Biscuits

(from Cheryl White)

Follow recipe on Bisquick box for Waffles – bisquick and milk, no oil. Mix and set aside.

3 c flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 c shortening

3 T baking powder (yes, that’s really 3 Tablespoons!!)

Mix and add to Bisquick and milk mixture. Stir. Knead in extra flour until it can be rolled. Pat it about 1.5-2″ thick. Cut and bake!!!

Cheryl came up with this recipe when her grand-daughter needed to make biscuits for 4H, and Cheryl only had a little bit oif Bisquick! Yummy!

Sweet Spiced Pecans

(adapted from Sally Spicer McPherson)

1 c sugar
1.5 T ground cinnamon
1 scant tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg white
1 T cold water
1 # shelled pecans

Preheat oven to 250. Spray a couple of large cookie sheets with cooking spray. Mix all dry ingredients. Beat egg white with cold water until frothy, not stiff. Add nuts to beaten egg white and stir well. Add sugar mix and stir to coat evenly. Spread nuts on pan and bake for one hour, stirring to separate every 15-20 min. Remove from oven when dry and toasty. Cool. Store in airtight container.
Sally insists that you put the nuts in the spices first and then the egg white. I do the opposite, and it works well for me!

French Fries (beta)

[Note: I’m starting a new category called “needs improvement” and I’m serious about it. Use the comments or contact me directly with suggestions. I’ll be updating these as I discover improvements. If you have one of those recipes that “seems like a good idea” but never seems to work right, send it along and we’ll see what we can do…]

Peter was frying chicken last night (he insists on deep frying but that’s another story) so I made french fries. I’ve done them before with mild success. My best outcome was with sweet potatoes. I’ll keep at this and post updates as I perfect the technique.

The basic technique is generally agreed: cut high-starch potatoes, soak in cold water, dry well, fry in low oil, drain, fry again in high oil, salt and enjoy.

First: high-starch potatoes are generally russets or bakers. This is what I used.

I cut them on our v-slicer/mandoline, using the 1/4″ julienne blade.

This is a departure from how I’ve done fries in the past – by hand with a nice big knife. I don’t think it was an improvement for fries – they were too small for my liking. Using these “fries” for hash browns, fritattas or tortas could be wonderful.

Second: soaking the cut fries. This helps reduce the amount of starch on the surface of the fry so that it doesn’t form a crust during frying. This means the steam can escape from the inside of the fry, making the interior light and fluffy. Allegedly.

Dry them really, really well, or you’ll be sorry.

Next, heat the oil to about 320F. We use peanut oil since it has a nice high smoke point (never heat an oil above its smoke point – it’s dangerous and will break down the oil and make it nasty). We tend to overshoot on the lower temperatures since our fryer has such slow recovery, and dumping a whole potato in makes the temperature drop really fast.

(Our 327F dropped to just under 300F when I dropped in the fries.)

Once the fries are floppy and soggy and generally horrible looking, pull them out and drain them.

These should be more spread out, but I only have so much counter space (and remember, someone in my kitchen is also making fried chicken at the same time).

Heat the oil to 365F or 370F and put the fries back in. These tiny little 1/4″ fries cooked fast – two or three minutes for each step.

The finished product:

What I learned:

  • 1/4″ fries are too small for this application. My hand-cut 3/8-1/2″ fries worked better.
  • Two-step frying really does seem to make a difference. The inside of the fries are pretty fluffy – even at this small size.

Other things to try:

  • Some other starchy roots
  • Much larger fries – planks?
  • Try grapeseed oil for a higher temperature final fry
  • Try a more flavorful oil using these small fries at lower temperatures – walnut? olive?
  • High-temperature bake in lieu of final fry
  • Use these tiny fries in a torta or gratin for different texture than the usual slices

Spicy Thai Lime-Ginger Soup

From the overstuffed drawer of things that looked amazing at one time but I never actually got around to…

1 whole chicken (3-3 1/2 #), rinsed, neck and innards removed
1 6″ pc fresh ginger, unpeeled, cut into 1″ segments
1 onion, unpeeled, cut into quarters
3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into thirds
3 stalks celery, cut in half
1 stalk lemongrass, leaves trimmed and base smashed
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 sm serrano or bird chili
2 limes, halved
1 bunch cilantro stems (leaves reserved for garnish)
2 T salt, plus more to taste

Reserved cilantro leaves
1/2 c. finely diced red onion
2 small chilies, thinly sliced crosswise
2 limes, cut into small wedges
1 c. bean sprouts


1. Place chicken in a large pot; cover  with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add ginger and cook about 1 hr. Add remaining ingredients except salt; cook 3 more hours.

2. Remove broth from heat; let cool slightly. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a large bowl; pour broth through a strainer and discard all solids except the chicken. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin. Using a fork, shred meat (watch out for stray bones). Season to taste with salt and arrange on a platter along with garnishes.

3. Reheat broth; season to taste with salt (this may take more than 2 T).

Have guests take some of the chicken and each of the garnishes to taste.

Soft Fried Pork & Eggs w/ Mandarin Pancakes

More from my mom’s Chinese cooking classes, also something I’ve never found in a restaurant (sadly!). Make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. I remember asking for this a lot as a kid, and since growing up and starting to cook,  I can see that it is a bit more of an ordeal than throwing a box of Hamburger Helper into the oven (stove? what do you do with that stuff, anyway?). Anyway, this was one of my favorites, hope you like it!

p.s. I’d like to try it with some soy sausage, so that it’s vegetarian-friendly.  I think it would work well!

2 c. flour
3/4 c. hot water
1 T. sesame oil

Mix water and flour, knead, roll out to 1/4″ thick. Cut circles 3-5″ in diameter with a glass or cookie cutter. Brush one side with sesame oil, and stack one plain one on each oiled one.  Fry in a dry pan, and separate them while hot.

Soft Fried Pork & Eggs:
1 c. mushrooms, cut fine
1 T. dry wine
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. cornstarch
1 t. sugar
4 T. oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 t. salt
4 or more green onions
1 t. sesame oil
1# finely chopped pork

Mix pork with wine, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Heat 2T oil in wok.  Cook eggs (scrambled). Transfer to a bowl and break into small pieces. Add oil to pan and stir-fry pork 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms.  Add salt and scallions, and stir in eggs. Add sesame oil and stir.

Eat them however you like.  I like to stuff the pancakes so that you can just wrap them closed, but it is a messy sort of deal regardless.

Tian Bing Gan (Sweet Crescents)

More from my mom’s Chinese cooking classes: sweet fried wontons!

1/4 c. chopped salted peanuts
1/4 c. coconut flakes
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten

Mix peanuts, coconut and sugars. Fold wonton squares into triangles, round off the top corner with scissors. Open up to a square again, and place 1 tsp. filling in center. Moisten edges with beaten egg, and seal. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown, turning once.

Drain, cool, and store in an air-tight container.  These will keep 3-4 weeks.

Mom’s Poppyseed Cake

My mom has made this as long as I can remember — it’s the cake that we request most often, when we go home.  The texture is less delicate than a boxed cake as written; it’s closer to a quickbread, so it cuts well and makes a nice cake to put out on the table if you have guests.

1 yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. cream sherry
1/3 c. poppy seeds

Combine everything, beat 5 minutes, bake in a bundt pan at 325-350°F for 1 hour (check after 45 minutes).

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are so easy to make, I don’t know why I’d ever buy them again. I’m not always in the mood to have them at all, but when I am, I use this recipe:
(from, by Stephanie Jaworski)

Mix together:
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Mix together quickly (don’t overmix):
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt

Add dry to wet, then add in:
3/4 c. chopped almonds
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Put dough on parchment-lined baking sheet, form into a log (4″wide  x 12″). Bake 25 minutes at 350°F.

Let cool on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, cut into slices (about 3/4″ thick). Place these slices cut side down back on the baking sheet, and bake 10-15 minutes on each side. Let cool completely, and store in an airtight container.