Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Boston Cream Pie

The other day I made an attempt at making eclairs. They did not turn out very well and I ended up with a lot of the creme filling. I didn't want that to go to waste, so I made a Boston Cream Pie /cake.

Boston Cream Pie

1 Yellow Cake Mix
Cream Filling
Chocolate Ganache/chocolate frosting

Cream Filling
1 4 oz Vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1/2 c heavy whipping cream 
1/4 c powdered sugar
--Combing pudding mix and milk. Beat whipping cream and add to the pudding along with the powdered sugar.

Make yellow cake as directed on the box in 2 8 or 9 inch round pans. I let mine cool and then wrapped and froze them for a few hours. Trim off curve from the cake you put on the bottom, top with cream filling (you may have leftovers), top with the other cake and frost only the top with chocolate ganache or frosting. I accidently frosted all the sides but it was still delicious!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Table for 1, please

I have a problem.  I hate making a box of mac-n-cheese and having most of it go to waste because only one kid wants to eat it.  So, a few months ago I did the math and figured out how to make one serving of mac-n-cheese from a box.  (I know, I know, they already have this product, but it's not as good as the box, and my kids won't eat it.)

Single Serving Mac-n-Cheese

1/3 c. noodles
1/2-1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp cheese powder

This recipe will feed one small kid.  (Katrina can usually eat all of it.)  For a bigger kid, we double it.
We make this in a pan on the stove, but you could also make it in the microwave.  A box of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese has four servings in it.  After I open the box, I put the noodles and cheese powder in zip-loc baggies and put them back in the opened box.

Here's my other problem.  Sometimes, just at bed time, I feel a mite peckish.  I often don't want to eat anything nutritious at this point, but there's not usually a substantial treat available.  After sampling many emergency chocolate cake recipes, I came up with this one.

Emergency Chocolate Cake

1 Tbsp chocolate chips, dark is best
1/2 Tbsp butter, I eyeball this
3 Tbsp hot chocolate mix, use a high quality mix.  (I like Stephen's Mexican Chocolate.)
4 Tbsp flour
pinch baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp water

Put the chocolate chips and butter into a mug.  Microwave 20 seconds to melt, mix.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  (The baking powder and vanilla are optional.)  Mix together.  Microwave for one minute.  There will be a little slick of uncooked batter on the top.  Eat while it's still warm.  Ignore your spouse's glares for eating in bed and not making him one.

If this seems a little dry to you, try upping the butter.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lemon Pound Cake

A while ago I wanted a REALLY lemony cake.  No wimpy lemon flavor need apply.  I was perusing Martha Stewart and came across this cake that contains 4 ENTIRE lemons.  Oh yeah!  It was a little fussy, so I simplified it, but you can get the recipe at

Bill Yosses's Modified Lemon Pound Cake

4 lemons, Meyer, if you can get them
2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c milk
6 large eggs
11 Tbsp butter, melted

2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice

Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans generously with cooking spray.  Grate zest from lemons; set aside.  Remove white pith from lemons.  Hold lemon over a bowl, and cut between the membranes into sections, allowing sections and any juice to fall into bowl.  Squeeze juice from membranes.  Repeat with remaining 3 lemons.  Sift flour, sugar, and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Begin mixing on low speed, then add milk.  Increase speed to medium, and beat in eggs, one at time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then beat in butter.  Add lemon segments, juice, and grated zest.  Beat for about 30 seconds to combine and break up lemons a bit.  Pour evenly into pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs.  Unmold cakes onto a wire rack set over a cookie sheet.

Make the glaze:
In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice, stirring until combined.  While the cakes are still warm, brush sides and top with glaze.  Wait 5-10 minutes and brush with glaze again.  Repeat glazing process until glaze is used up.  Let cool completely and enjoy.

The technique for cutting the lemons is called supreming.  I'm sure you can see a video of someone doing it somewhere.  I use it all the time for citrus salads. It's a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's a really useful skill.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Coconut Rice Pudding

I was reading Martha Stewart a while ago, and she had a recipe for coconut rice pudding.  I was intrigued.  I wanted to make it today, but I was concerned about the eggs in her recipe.  I often find pudding made with eggs has an eggy flavor which I don't like.  Plus, she only called for 1/2 c. coconut milk.  That didn't sound like nearly enough coconut flavor.  After looking around, I decided to make my own recipe.  Here it is.  I think it turned out delicious.  5 out of 7 Abbotts concurred.  Well, you can't win them all.

Coconut Rice Pudding

1 1/2 c. cooked rice (from 1 c. uncooked, I think)
1/2 c. coconut
1 can cream of coconut
whole milk to make 4 cups
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Measure the cream of coconut, add the whole milk to equal 4 cups liquid.  Combine the rice, coconut, liquids, and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, turn down to low/med. low to keep a slow simmer.  Cook for 40-45 minutes until it looks like pudding, stirring often. (It will be a little loose when hot, but will thicken up as it cools.)  Stir in the vanilla.  Cool and refrigerate or serve warm.

Look for cream of coconut in the mixed drinks section of the grocery store.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Let's Salsa

It's finally that moment at my house.  The moment when 5 lbs of tomatoes is sitting on my counter, fresh from the garden.  Now I can make salsa and go to my happy place.  MaryRuth told me she didn't have Mom's salsa recipe, so here it is along with a salsa I came up with.

Mom's Salsa

2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
5 lb tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb tomatillos, chopped finely
3/4 head garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped finely
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped finely
2 limes, juiced
2 TB salt
2 tsp vinegar

If you've gone through all the work to actually follow the directions and chopped everything finely, you just have to mix it together at this point.  Let's say you're lazy and have a food processor; process everything until finely chopped.  You can store this in the fridge for 2 weeks, if it lasts that long.  One note, the tomatoes give off a lot of juice.  You can keep it in your salsa, or you can strain the tomatoes after you chop them.  I like it both ways.

Guacaverde Salsa

1 lb tomatillos
1/2 package prepared guacamole
1 tsp salt
1 TB lime juice
1/2 jalepeno
dash chili powder
dash cumin
1/4 c diced onions
handful of cilantro

Process the tomatillos and jalepeno in the food processor until finely chopped, drain, reserving juice.  Mix tomatillos and jalepeno with the rest of the ingredients.  Add juice until desired consistency is reached--I usually aim for thin guacamole.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Hot Sandwiches

One of our favorite things to eat this time of year is hot sandwiches.  It's warm, so it's comforting, but it's a sandwich, so it's also light and summery.  Also, no matter what my kids like, I can customize the sandwich for them.  Hannah's not fond of provolone, so she has cheddar or Monteray Jack instead, for example.  Here's how I work it: I have the kids tell me how they are making their sandwich that evening.  While they are getting their bread ready, I cut the meat into strips and cook it in a skillet.  I can do two or three sandwiches at a time.  When I flip the meat over, I put on the cheese.  When the cheese is melty, I put the meat and cheese on the sandwich.  Another way would be to make the sandwiches and put them under the broiler to toast.  I've also wrapped them in tin foil and taken them with us for a picnic.  Here are three really good sandwiches.

Philly Cheesesteak

rolls or hoagie rolls
roast beef
provolone cheese (cheddar, if you're from that camp)
onion, sliced thin
red pepper, sliced thin
sandwich spread

For this sandwich, saute the onion and pepper first and set it aside.  Then when you're making the sandwiches, add it to the meat so it warms up.

Reuben Sandwich

rye bread
swiss cheese
sandwich spread or thousand island dressing

For this sandwich, squeeze the sauerkraut dry before you put it on the sandwich, or it will make the sandwich soggy.  I also like to make this sandwich and toast it like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Primanti Bros sandwich
(Who?  The Primanti Bros have a sandwich shop, I think in Philly.  I saw this on Lidia's Italy and had to try it.  The kids were skeptical at first--fries on a sandwich? But, after I tried it and told them how good it was, they tried it and liked it.)

Italian bread (white sandwich bread works too)
capricola (or if you want something cheaper and more familiar, ham)
provolone cheese
cole slaw
french fries
sandwich spread

Yes, you put all this on the sandwich.  It's really a meal in itself.  And also really yummy.

Sandwich Spread

pepper, fresh cracked if you can get it

Mix together equal parts mayo and mustard, add the pepper.  You can tweak this to have more mayo or more mustard flavor depending on what you like.  I usually make 1/3 to 1/2 c. for our sandwiches.

Cole Slaw
This is a variation of what Lidia did for the Primanti Bros. sandwich.

1/4 cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste--about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. celery seed

Whisk together the vinegar, oil and sugar.  Add the seasonings and mix together.  Toss with the cabbage and carrot.  One way to keep the cabbage from diluting your dressing is to mix it with 1/2 tsp. salt and let it sit in a colander for 1/2 hour or so.  Rinse it and wring it dry in a towel before you add it to the salad.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More Ham

I have Mom's ham soup recipe.  It's really good.  It just has an unwieldy name.

Cabbage-Apple-Ham-Dumpling Soup

1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. sliced celery
2 Tbsp. oil
2 lbs. (8 cups) shredded cabbage
2 lrg. red apples, diced
3 c. julienne ham
4 c. chicken broth (I always want more.)
1 c. water
5 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sage

In a large soup pot saute onion and celery in oil until tender.  Add cabbage, cook and stir 5 min.  Add remaining ingredients, except ham.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 min.  Add ham and dumplings (see below).  Cover and cook 15 min.

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. oil

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a mixing bowl.  Combine milk and oil.  Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Drop from tablespoon atop soup or stew.  Cover tightly; let mixture return to boiling.  Reduce heat (don't lift cover).  Simmer 12-15 minutes.  Makes 10 dumplings.