Category Archives: Food

Sand Tarts

Holiday Traditions

I have written about one of my holiday traditions in the past, baking Sand Tart cookies with my mother each year. Sand Tarts are a Pennsylvania Dutch cookie recipe. I starting helping my mother bake these Christmas cookies at a very young age.

As most kids do, I would put a ton of colored sugar on the cookies. My grandson and step-daughter help me keep holiday traditions alive. And yes, he also loves to load the cookies with colored sugar. We have a new addition to our Sand Tart baking day, we now do a gluten free version. Simply use your favorite gluten free flour in place of the wheat flour.

Sand Tart Recipe

1/2 pound butter (2 sticks) softened, not melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
Mix in a mixer, these two items then add in
3 eggs – mix a few seconds
4 cups flour – add slowly
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar

This makes a very heavy dough. Separate into 3 segments and wrap each segment in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Roll each dough segment on a floured surface (waxed paper works) to about 1/8” thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, place shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle colored sugar on cookies.

Cook for 7 to 8 minutes at 375o

Sprouting Basics

The Basics of Sprouting

Recently, I attended a class on the basics of sprouting at the Windsor Clearview Library. The class was taught by Sapna Von Reich. After reading a few articles about sprouting, I was apprehensive to try it. Some articles said to bleach the beans and seeds, which turned me off completely. Sapna was able to demonstrate the process in a simplistic way to show how easy sprouting can be.

I have purchased sprouts in grocery stores but then heard that half the time these sprouts have mold on them…not too appetizing. During Sapna’s class she explained that sprouting increases vitamins and minerals. And sprouting also makes the protein in nuts, grains and legumes more bio-available to the body.

As part of the Sprouting 101 demonstration, the instructor made hummus out of spouted garbanzo beans. Hummus is a favorite of mine, but I suffer from Acid Reflux Disease and the fresh garlic in hummus can make me horribly sick. The idea of adding my own fresh ingredients to the homemade hummus was quite appealing to me. As part of the class, we were given a few recipes to try. The recipes in this post have been altered for people suffering from Acid Reflux. You can find Sapna’s recipes on her website: http://sapnavonreich.com.

Basics of Sprouting

I would suggest experimenting with sprouting by starting with beans, since they are the easiest. You don’t need to purchase beans in packages that list “for sprouting.” The best way to purchase beans is by buying from the bulk bins in grocers like Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts or Whole Foods.
Dried Beans
All you really need to get started with sprouting is a sterilized wide-mouth Mason Jar and strainer. Place about a ½ cup of dried beans or mung beans (rinse them first) at the bottom of the jar. Fill jar with tap water.

Sprouting Garbanzo Beans
Place jar filled with beans and water on your kitchen counter (not in direct sunlight) for 12 hours. Drain the water off and rinse beans really well and return to empty jar. Let stand for another 12 hours and rinse and drain again and keep doing this until you see little sprouts form at the end of the beans. This can take 2-4 days. The mung beans are a wonderful addition to salads.
Sprouting Garbanzo Beans
I have to admit that I did try and sprout some small seeds with a special sprouting lid that you purchase for Mason Jars. That experiment was disastrous and the finished product was a glob of goop.

Sprouted Hummus

1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans, sprouted – you can use the raw bean mixture or cook the spouted garbanzo beans in enough water to cover and cook for 10 minutes then let sit in pot, covered, for another 10 minutes. You will then add this and the following ingredients to a food processor and mix until creamy.
1 tbsp Tahini
Salt to taste
1-2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon (to taste)
1-2 tbsp of water (can use the liquid used to cook beans)
2 tbsp olive oil (add enough liquid/oil until nice and creamy)

Here is where you can really have fun. One version is a lemony Hummus that you can make by adding Lemon Balm and a little cilantro. If you can tolerate it, you can add a bit of crushed garlic. To make a Mediterranean Hummus add chopped Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil.
Homemade Hummus
Sprouted Mung Bean Salad

2 cups sprouted mung beans
2-4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice
Salt to taste
½ red and ½ orange peppers
Cook one ear of corn on the grill and cut kernels off into salad
(if fresh corn not available, add ½ cup frozen corn – thawed)
¼ cup cilantro
½ cup cucumber
1 diced tomato

For Acid Reflux sufferers, you may need to adjust these recipes; depending on your stomach triggers. The above recipe originally called for a Serrano pepper and a dash of cumin. If you follow any of my recipes, you are forewarned, they are only guidelines. I always make adjustments to my recipes.

Do you think you may be suffering from Acid Reflux Disease? You may want to check out the book: Dropping Acid The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure.

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Quiche Cookbook

Quirky Quiche Story

For most of my life, I have been cooking the same meals that my mother cooked when I was growing up. (the photo below is my mom’s cookbook, on the right, and a cookbook that I created in remembrance of her, on the left.)  Mom cooked lots of spaghetti with red sauce, pot roast, chicken corn soup, vegetable soup, meatloaf, split pea soup, chili, baked ham with mashed potatoes, sand tart cookies and menu items along those lines. These are all fairly simple recipes, but it took me years to master them. The first time I invited friends over for dinner, I decided to make spaghetti. You would have thought I was cooking for a platoon of soldiers. I had an enormous amount of pasta left in the pot at the end of the meal.

Mom's Cookbook

On the next occasion that I tried cooking for friends, I wanted to be more adventuresome so I planned on cooking chicken, a veggie and some potatoes. The dinner seemed to go on forever. The veggies were ready first, the potatoes about a half hour later and finally the chicken was fully cooked within the next half hour. I wouldn’t say that making desserts is my forte and I should have known better than to try to bake a cake on this particular night. I had to hold the cake together with about 20 toothpicks. It didn’t look too bad, once it had icing on it.  Unfortunately, I have always had the same result with my cake baking skills. I no longer stress over this, as long as there is a Whole Foods within driving distance.

Lox & Bagel
I didn’t realize, when I was growing up, that I was missing out on some really superb food choices. I believe I was 19 before I had my first bagel. And I certainly had never had lox before trying a bagel. Now I could eat lox and bagels every single day. Thank you Gib’s Bagels for plopping down a shop in Windsor.

I can distinctly remember the first time I peered down at an artichoke that was placed before me at a dinner party. I was 27 years old and didn’t have a clue how to eat the darn thing. I am pretty sure I broke out in a sweat, while waiting for someone to dive in so I could mimic them.

Artichoke

I was in my 20’s when I first ate quiche, but it took me years to get the courage up to actually try and bake a quiche myself.

When I met my husband and his two daughters I was convinced that I should be cooking them hearty dinners. The three of them were regulars at my restaurant, Matthew’s. Although I knew they were eating well at local restaurants, I felt as if they should be gathering around a kitchen table and eating home cooked food. Hence, the quirky quiche story.

I had been cooking meals for friends for many years leading up to this point. I had even gotten used to the food not always coming out perfectly. I had recently been given a copy of Quiche Cookbook. Quiche had become my “go to” choice when dining out and I wanted to try my hand at cooking the egg custard dish. All the recipes looked fairly easy in my new cookbook and I thought there was no way that I could fail. Well, guess again. On the evening that I planned the debut of my new dish, I brought the steaming quiche out of the oven and served it up to Jay and the girls. It looked beautiful to me. Everyone took a bite at the same time and all of a sudden each person was snickering at the table; including me. And then there was full on laughter which reached a hysterical level. The quiche did not set-up. I have no idea what I did wrong, but ever since that night we have all referred to my quiche as “soup quiche.” The funny thing is, there was no criticism of my cooking. In fact, they were saying it tasted just fine. But we were unable to stop laughing, as each person kindly ate their slice of quiche. So, I kept cooking for them over the years, and I have finally mastered this dish. It is Mother’s Day this Sunday. If your mom is the cook of the house and she occasionally screws up a meal; give her some grace, don’t be critical, and she just may keep cooking for you. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.