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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lentil Dinner Patties/Burgers

 
Lentil Dinner Patties/Burgers are delicious served with potatoes, gravy and vegetables for a satisfying dinner or supper.  They also make excellent burgers served with your favourite condiments and on your favourite buns.  And, to add to their versatility, they can be served cold in a sandwich. 

These patties/burgers are something I threw together last week when I was taking a dish to a church potluck.  Looking for something different for a change I settled on lentil patties. I didn't have a recipe for anything I really liked so I started adding a few ingredients to the bowl and this is what came out--delicous, savoury patties that I think are really good!  

I made them again today, remembering as best I could what I had put in them and they were still really good.  I did add a little more oatmeal today but that was just to see what they would be like a little firmer.  They were great both ways.  When you make these you can add a little more or less oatmeal for a softer or firmer pattie.   And as with any pattie or burger, use your favourite seasonings.  
 

Lentil Patties/Burgers
1 19-ounce (540 ml) can brown lentils, well drained
3 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
¾ cup dry oatmeal
1 medium onion, small dice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon savoury or ½ teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Oil for frying

In a large bowl mix all ingredients together.  Mix well until everything is well combined.  Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the oats and bread crumbs absorb liquid.

Place 1 or 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  While oil is heating, form mixture into 12-14 patties.  Fry patties slowly until golden brown on each side.  While frying add more oil to the pan as needed.


Makes 12-14 patties/burgers.



These patties take only a little preparation.  Drain the lentils, grate the cheese, dice the onions and make a few crumbs. Use fresh bread crumbs for best results.  

 Dump all the ingredients in a large bowl.  

 Mix all the ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.

Heat the oil in the frying pan and add the patties.  Fry slowly over medium heat.

Fry until golden brown on both sides.  When frying add more oil as needed.

We had our Lentil Dinner Patties/Burgers for dinner.  They were delicious with mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato and chopped cabbage. 

Delicious Lentil Dinner Patties/Burgers--quick and easy to make.  
 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Tweed Squares


Tweed Squares are a cross between a cookie and a cake.  Moist and dense, a chocolate speckled cake is spread with vanilla frosting and topped with a layer of semi-sweet chocolate.  Tastes almost like chocolate chip cookies. How good is that?

Tweed Squares weren't something I grew up with as Mom and Dad's tastes ran more to puddings, pies and drop cookies or cake for special occassions.  I first ran across Tweed Squares when I started teaching here in my now hometown.  They showed up at potlucks, parties and just about anywhere there was a cookie tray.  Since that time I've come to know that Tweed Squares were quite popular all around Newfoundland.  You don't see them as often now because so many people buy their cookies and squares instead of baking them at home. 

The squares aren't too complicated.  You do have to whip egg whites and fold them in the batter but that's not hard to do.  And when you grate the chocolate, have it at room temperature (unless your room is very hot) because it will grate much easier.   The recipe I'm using is based on Jean ParĂ©'s from Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares but I've changed it some so now it's mine. 


Tweed Squares
½ cup butter, softened
⅔ cup white sugar
2 egg yolks 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⅓  cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk  
2 egg whites, room temperature
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, finely grated

Vanilla Icing
1½  cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1½ tablespoons water or milk
½ teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Topping
2 ounces/60 grams semisweet chocolate baking squares chopped or ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line with parchment paper a 9x9-inch baking pan. Let the parchment paper hang over the sides for easy removal of squares. Do not use a smaller pan. 

Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. 
   
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. (3 flour and 2 milk)
   
Beat egg whites in separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter until no white streaks remain.  Fold in grated chocolate.  Spread evenly in prepared pan. 

Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden. Let stand in pan on wire rack until cooled completely.
   
Vanilla Icing: Beat the butter, icing sugar, water and vanilla together until smooth, adding more water or icing sugar if needed until spreading consistency. The icing should not be runny but fairly thick.  Spread evenly over the cake layer. Let stand a few minutes until a crust forms.  You may also place in the refrigerator to help set the icing.
   
Chocolate Topping: Heat chocolate and butter in small saucepan on lowest heat, or over water, stirring often, until chocolate is almost melted. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly so it won't melt the icing layer. Carefully spread evenly over icing. This will give you a thin layer.  Chill until top layer is set.

To cut squares, use a long sharp knife.  Dip the knife in hot water and wipe dry and make a cut across the squares.  Wipe crumbs off knife and repeat dipping it in hot water.  Do this for every cut and your squares will look like they were professionally cut at a bakery.

Makes 25-36 squares.


Each square of baking chocolate is 1 ounce or 30 grams.  I used a box grater to to grate the chocolate.


I whip the egg whites before I make the batter.  Then I transfer it to a small bowl until I'm ready to use them.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla.


Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the creamed butter and sugar.  The batter will be quite thick.


Fold in the stifly beaten egg whites.


 Finish the batter by folding in the grated semi-sweet chocolate.  


Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  You can see the specks of chocolate look like a tweedy pattern.

Bake 35 minutes or until golden and baked through the middle.

Beat the ingredients for the icing until fluffy and light.  


Spread the icing over the cake layer.  As you can see I've removed the cake layer from the pan using the parchment paper as handles.


Melt the chocolate and butter together.  Mix until smooth.  


Spread the cooled chocolate evenly over the icing.  Let set until the chocolate has hardened.


The squares can be cut into 25 or 36 cookies.  Use a long sharp knife dipped in hot water to cut neat even squares.


Moist and dense, full of chocolatey goodness--Tweed Squares

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Prune Juice Cake with Almonds and Chocolate Chips


Yes, you read it right. Prune Juice Cake. Prunes get a bad rap on the grocery round. Many people use them as a medicinal product instead of a fruit.  Kids giggle when they see them in the cart.  Adults assume someone is not quite er...ah...um...shall we say "regular" and so the prune ridicule continues. Prune juice gets treated no differently.  It's the "prune" attached to the label.  I noticed California growers call them "dried plums" as a way, I guess, of removing the scorn and ridicule of the prune label.

Actually, prunes and prune juice are delicious and sweet and can be added to cereals and smoothies to add natural sweetness and cut back on sugar.   Prune juice with ginger ale or soda water makes a lovely sweet drink.  And it mixes just great with orange juice.  Too bad the lovely prune juice is such a dark brown as it tends to make a fruit punch an awful colour. 

Sometimes I find myself with a bottle of prune juice left at the back of the fridge, opened and forgotten, and in need of being used immediately. When that happens this recipe really comes in handy to use some of the juice.  Then I make a smoothie with the rest or drink the juice it as soon as possible.  I wonder why that juice gets pushed to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten? 

Prune Juice Cake makes a nice moist and dense cake that can easily be used as a snack cake or fancied up with a cream cheese frosting.  If you sprinkle the top with the optional chocolate chips you might even want to add the grated rind of an orange to the batter before baking. Serve it straight from the cake pan or bake it in a bundt or in layers.  Just adjust the baking time for the different size pans. 


Prune Juice Cake
½ cup butter, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
2¼ cups flour + 2 tablespoons
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1¼ cups prune juice
¾ cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, optional (Try adding grated orange rind to batter if using the chococlate chips.)
¾ cup sliced almonds or favourite nut, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour or line with parchment paper a 9x13-inch cake pan.

Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the the eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and add alternately with the prune juice to the creamed mixture. Beat on medium low only until mixed well. Pour into the prepared pan. If using, sprinkle the almonds and chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter.
  
Bake 45-50 minutes in the preheated oven.  When baked, cool thoroughly in pan.  The cake can be removed by pieces and stored in a covered container. 

Makes 15 servings.   

For a delightful dessert, the cake can be served warm or cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until creamy and light.


Don't forget to add the vanilla to the creamed mixture.

 Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. 

Measure the prune juice.  Add the flour and prune juice alternately to the creamed mixture. 


Beat on medium low until the batter is well combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  You can bake the cake plain but it's so much tastier with the optional ingredients. Sprinkle with the almonds and chocolate chips, if using.

Bake in preheated oven 45-50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Slightly spicy with cinnamon, moist and tender, this cake will be a hit with your family as a snack or dessert.


Serve from the pan warm or cold.
 
A scoop of ice cream goes well with Prune Juice Cake.

 Who'd a thunk a prune could taste so good!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Blueberry Sauce for Pancakes, Waffles & French Toast


At this time of the year, with cold weather closing in and getting colder by the minute, if you have blueberries in your freezer you can bring a little summer into your menu.  This Blueberry Sauce makes a delicious topping for pancakes, waffles or French toast and can also be poured over ice cream for a summery blueberry sundae.  

New Year's Day found us at David's for a breakfast of pancakes with Blueberry Sauce and whipped cream.  While the pancakes were frying Anne and I got the Blueberry Sauce on the go.  It only took a few minutes for the berries to come to a boil and thicken.  By the time the first batch of pancakes were fried the sauce was ready to be served. 


Blueberry Sauce
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
¼ cup water or apple juice
¼ cup sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch or 2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place the berries and water or juice in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  In a small bowl mix the sugar and cornstarch or flour.  Pour the sugar mixture into the hot blueberries and stir until thickened.  Boil about 1 minutes to cook the starch.  Add the tablespoon of lemon juice and stir until combined.  Serve warm over pancakes, waffles or French toast.

Makes about 2 cups. 
 




Place the berries in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Add the water or apple juice and bring to a boil.

Use cornstarch or flour to thicken the sauce.

Mix the cornstarch or flour into the sugar. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed.  If you like a less sweet sauce decrease the sugar or if you like it sweeter increase the sugar.  We like it with the quarter cup of sugar.

Pour the sugar mixture into the boiling blueberries and stir until thickened.

Let the thickened berries boil at least 1 minute to cook the starch.

Pour in the lemon juice and stir through.

 Now comes the best part.  
Serve warm over a stack of homemade pancakes, waffles or French toast.

Blueberry Sauce--a taste of summer during the cold, cold winter.