Friday, July 29, 2016

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This was a doorbell kind of night here. We had invited some folks to watch the last night of the convention with us and suspected a few others would be joining us as the evening progressed. I wanted to watch all the evening's speakers, so I suspect I was a less than enthusiastic hostess. One of the benefits of living on the west coast is the early hour at which major events are televised. That, however, means that snacks or a meal must be provided as the evening progresses. I decided early this morning that I'd make a double batch of meatballs and offer pasta or Italian rolls for those who would be here at the dinner hour. Save for cooking pasta and reheating the meatballs, that freed me to watch along with the others. Early birds had pasta and latecomers got to fish their meatballs from the slow cooker and plunk them into some excellent Italian rolls. Everyone got fed. My meatball recipe is one that I learned to make as a child. Back in the day, the meatballs were made with 80% ground beef and day old bread that was grated to make smallish crumbs. I actually prefer to use day old crumbs rather than the prepackaged crumbs that are available in the grocery store. I find the dry crumbs make the meatballs too mealy for my taste, but lots of people prefer their convenience. I'll leave the choice up to you. As to the marinara sauce, you can make your own, or use a jarred sauce if that is your preference. This is a nice meatball recipe. I don't know if it is better than others that are available, but it has worked for me for years. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here is how these meatballs are made.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Zucchini Muffins with Lots of Other Stuff

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Over the years, this has become my go-to recipe for zucchini muffins. I've  made these hearty gems for over 20 years now, and if you glance through the ingredient list, you'll see why my children use to call them "kitchen sink" muffins. Not, mind you, for their scrumptious taste, but because I put everything but the kitchen sink into the batter. I know you will like them. While they are a bit heavier than the usual breakfast muffin, they are moist and delicious and also keep well. That's important when a recipe makes 18 muffins. The recipe is simple enough for young cooks to prepare and if you use a box grater to shred the zucchini, they can be made without special equipment. I spray the paper liners to keep the muffins intact when the liners are peeled back for eating. It's not necessary, but it does make for nicer looking offering. I hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here is how they are made.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lemon Pecan Bread

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I needed something to put out for a get-together tomorrow afternoon. Most of the gals who'll be here will have fruit, but I wanted to have something a bit more tempting for those who look forward to cake or pastry. I must also add that I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this afternoon, so I decided to make this quick and flavorful bread which is very simple to prepare. It is sweet, but barely so, and I must admit that it's the lemon sugar glaze that makes this homely loaf a standout. Years ago, the making of lemon loaves was a rite of passage for girls. Most women my age have several recipes for this old-fashioned treat, but the loaves are rarely made these days. I thought it would be fun to reintroduce one variation of this quick bread to my friends tomorrow. I do have a couple of cautions to share with those of you who decide to give this recipe a try. Be sure to toast the pecans. Toasted nuts add enormous flavor to otherwise plain batters and this bread/cake needs the added flavor boost the toasted nuts provide. It is also important to to pour the lemon glaze over the cake while it is still warm so the cake can absorb the syrup. I think you'll like this one. It packs a lot of flavor for something that is so easy to make. I do hope you'll give it a try. Here is how the bread is made.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Light Salmon Chowder

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This effortless chowder is perfect for a light summer meal. It is simple to make and will take about 10 minutes of your time to assemble. It is delicious, low in calories and will please almost everyone who gathers round your table. The Silver Fox and I are not dieters, but were careful about what we eat, and this is one of the recipes we both have come to like. It comes from the Mayo Clinic, so it ticks a lot of boxes for those who are trying to eat in a more healthy fashion. Whether your goal is weight loss or simply more healthy eating, this soup, or my favorite variation of it - a clam chowder - has your name on it. The vegetables used in the chowder from the grocer's freezer case, and the remainder of the ingredients can be found on the shelves of any large super market. So, if your scissors and can opener are at the ready, grab those bags and cans and get this chowder on the table. I do hope you'll give it a try. It will not disappoint. Here is how the chowder is made.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This simple cake makes a wonderful addition to your summer brunch table. Here in Oregon, we are harvesting blackberries and Marionberries, and this year's crop is abundant and flavorful. Save for raspberries, this year's berry crop has been disappointing, so it's nice to know that blackberries have also managed to escape this summer's cane fruit curse. I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website and it looked so good I had to give it a try. It did not disappoint. I must admit I used fresh berries rather than the frozen ones recommended in the original recipe. I was afraid that thawed blackberries would lose their shape and bleed into the cake batter, so I used still firm, fresh from the field, berries for my coffee cake. I know that those of you who try this recipe will be pleased with your results. The cake stays moist for several days and it freezes beautifully, so it can be made well ahead of serving and free you to enjoy brunch with your family and friends. You'll find the cake is sweet enough to please the most ardent sweet tooth, but it is not cloying. Here is how it is made.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Seasonal Canning Disorder + Refrigerator Dill Pickles

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's time for me to fess up. I've fallen victim to an incurable summer disease. Despite smaller quarters and the surrender of equipment, farm stands continue to lure me much as the Sirens attempted to lure the Argonauts to their destruction. As a child, my mother would liken my odd behaviors to "stages" - temporary fixations that would pass in time. Most of them did. However, this urge to put food by has dogged my adult years, and it shows no sign of abating. The Silver Fox refers to my affliction as Seasonal Canning Disorder and while he doesn't look forward to it, he puts up with my need to put by (food). While thumbing through my condiment recipe collection, I kept coming back to the one for refrigerator dill pickles. It's a personal favorite of mine, but more importantly, it is one of my most popular recipes and has never received negative feedback. No collection of my favorite recipes would be complete without it. I prefer refrigerated pickles to the conventionally processed variety. They are less salty, have better color and retain a crispness that can't be found in the preserved variety. They are also much easier to make and can be prepared at any time of year. These are really great pickles. No special equipment is needed to prepare them and they are ready to eat the day after they are made. They can be safely kept in the refrigerator for two weeks, but I doubt you'll ever be able to put that to a test. The pickles will disappear long before a time trial can be completed. If you like pickles, or want to wow your family and friends with your cooking prowess, I hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here is how the pickles are made.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tomato Jam

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Last month I received an email from a reader who had a special request. I now have 3,000 recipes on One Perfect Bite and she asked if I could sift through them and pick those my family most enjoyed or share the ones I thought were exceptional. I've been giving her suggestion some serious thought, and while I haven't yet committed to the undertaking, I've been taking a more than cursory look at the recipes that I've already featured here. The recipe for Tomato Jam is one I pulled while sorting through my condiment collection. It will seem an odd choice to many, but it was first featured because it was an unusual way to use the tomatoes that drip off vines at this time of year. The jam was originally a summer-only spread, but now that Roma are available year round, I make the jam whenever I get a hankering. When I work with winter tomatoes,  I store them in a brown paper bag and let them sit in the pantry until they are blood red and fully ripe. If I'm patient and let them ripen, the winter tomatoes are every bit as good as their summer cousins, and I can enjoy my jam year round. The spread makes delightfully simple appetizers. Crusty peasant bread is sliced and lightly toasted before being schmeared with cream cheese and topped with spiced tomato jam. While this homely treat may not be fit for the queen of England, your king and mine will enjoy finger food that bears no resemblance to tea sandwiches. The jam is easy to make and is nearly foolproof, but it must be watched and stirred to prevent scorching. I do hope you'll give this simple recipe a try. Here is how my Tomato Jam is made.

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