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Cider Baked beans August 2, 2015

Posted by aquillam in recipe.
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The original version of this recipe is from Jeff Smith’s “The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American”, from which I stole most of the last paragraph.
2 cups dry navy beans
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 strip bacon
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 pound thick cut bacon, diced, or salt pork
12 oz cider (hard or sweet)
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 – 3 tablespoons brown sugar (1 for dry hard cider, 3 for late season fresh cider)
1/4 teaspoon. black pepper
Pick over and rinse the beans. If you have the time, soak the beans overnight.
Place the beans and baking soda in a large kettle, Add water until the beans are completely covered with 2 – 3 inches of liquid. Simmer for about 30 minutes for soaked beans, 1 – 1.5 hours if you didn’t soak them. They should be slightly firm but not at all crunchy. 
When you start the beans, also cook the strip of bacon over low heat in a covered pan to render the fat. Keep the heat low so it doesn’t brown much. Once it does start to brown and the bacon is somewhat crisp,  remove the bacon and sauté the onion in the fat. Drain and set aside. Eat the bacon. It’s your reward for the extra work of sautéing the onions. 
Drain the beans when they are done.
Place 1/3 of the beans in a 2-quart baking pot with lid. Add 1/3 of the diced bacon and 1/3 of the onion. Add another 1/3 of the beans and repeat the layers, ending with bacon on top. Mix the remaining ingredients with the cider and pour over the beans. If necessary, add enough additional hot water or cider to just cover the beans (it’s ok if a few stick up a little.) Place the lidded baking pot in a 300° oven for about 4 hours, longer if the beans are not tender. Stir only once or twice during the cooking process. You will have to add additional water or cider to the beans as they cook. Keep them just moist. Don’t drown them out!

Lavender shortbread (whole grain) August 25, 2014

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  • 1 cup oats, traditional or quick
  • 2 tbl lavender flowers*
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt**
  • 1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia flavor (vanilla and/or lemon are good alternatives)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

* Smell the lavender, and adjust the amount accordingly. Too much, and your shortbread will be reminiscent of laundry or soap!
**If you use salted butter, reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon

If you have the time, lightly toasting the oats first adds a nice flavor.

Grind the oats and lavender in a food processor, blender or grain mill. It should look like a flour with little flecks in it.
Blend in the confectioners’ sugar, salt,water, flavoring, and butter. You should have a very soft, almost pasty dough.
Let stand far about 10 minutes (let the oats absorb the water).
Add the flour and mix just until you have a smooth dough. The less you work it, the “sandier” the cookie will be.

Press into a prepared pan (I flatten mine into a circle about 8” across on a baking stone and score it into 16 wedges)

Bake 350 for 35 -40 minutes

Allow it to cool until it is still warm but can be handled before cutting it and removing it from the pan.

This is based on the recipe for Classic Scottish Shortbread from King Arthur Flour.

Pumpkin Pie November 4, 2012

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Original recipie: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/smooth-and-spicy-pumpkin-pie-recipe


  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin, frozen or canned ok
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk (depending on pumpkin wetness)
  • 1/2 c egg beaters, beaten
  1. Mix the flour, spices, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add the Splenda, pumpkin, and syrup blending thoroughly.
  3. Stir in the milk.
  4. Allow the mixture to rest for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature; or up to overnight in the refrigerator, if desired; this allows the flavors to meld, and will make the filling smoother.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  6. Line a 9″ pie pan with a crust.
  7. Add the beaten eggs, whisking till combined.
  8. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Cover the edge of the crust with a crust shield, or aluminum foil.
  9. Place the pie on the bottom rack of your oven, and bake it for 15 minutes.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, move the pie to the middle rack, and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until the temperature at the center is at least 175°F, and a knife inserted 1″ from the edge comes out moist, but clean.
  11. Remove the pie from the oven, and cool to room temperature.
  12. Serve with whipped cream, or chill the pie, then sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar on the surface and place the pie under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the sugar.


Chocolate Orange Cake January 22, 2012

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Chocolate Orange Cake

Start by grating and juicing 2 oranges, preferably juice oranges (the kind with thin skins and seeds.) When grating, be careful not to get the white pith. You should end up with about a quarter cup of juice and about 2 tablespoons of orange peel.

Both the cake and ganache filling must cool for several hours, so the best way to make this is to make the cake and ganache the day before.

Chocolate-Orange Cake

Use your favorite chocolate cake recipe. Something dark and slightly dense works best, but I’m personally rather fond of the  German Chocolate Cake recipe in my 1997 Joy of Cooking (which happens to be very similar to the recipe on the German Chocolate box.) Add about half of the fresh grated orange peel to the four when you make the cake, and 1 tsp orange flavoring to the liquid.

Make a 2 layer round cake. The filling and frosting will cover a 9 inch 2 layer cake

Orange-chocolate ganache

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons triple-sec or 2 teaspoons orange flavoring
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Heat the cream and triple-sec or orange flavoring just until boiling.

Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap so a skin can’t form and let stand for 10 minutes. Then stir to ensure the chocolate is melted and mixed in. Re-cover and chill several hours until cold.

Orange Buttercream frosting

  • 1/2 c butter (at room temperature)
  • 4 c powdered sugar
  • Juice and peel from oranges
  • milk or cream
  • extra powdered sugar

Cream the butter on high with the orange peel. Add the powdered sugar 1/4 c at a time until well blended. If it gets too stiff, stop adding the powdered sugar.
Beat in the orange juice.
Add either more powdered sugar or some milk or cream to get the frosting to the right consistency. It should stand up on its own, but be soft enough to spread.


Have the cake and frosting prepared. The frosting should be at room temperature or slightly warm to make it easy to spread.

Whip the ganache on medium speed until it is thickened and spreadable. Do not over-beat, it will start to break down.

Spread the ganache on the bottom layer, as thickly as it will support. You may have leftovers. If there is enough, you can use it as a crumb coat for the top of the cake.

Frost with the buttercream frosting.

Chill a few hours until the frosting is firm. This will help the cake cut nicely.

Just before serving, dust with coco powder.