Cooking with Robert
Robert lives on an Island in the California Delta. He is a very good cook (according to friends and family). He has been persuaded to share a few recipes with us. He does not like to write down his recipes, but if I chase him around and nag he will stop for a while and list the ingredients and some cooking instructions. Much time passes, but this week I was able to force him to write down a recipe.
January 5, 2008 -- Robert makes bread almost every day. Here is his recipe:
4 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon shortening (Crisco). I used to use lard for better loft
1 tablespoon sugar (food for yeast)
½ tablespoon salt for flavor
Scant tablespoon rapid rise yeast (I now use Bakipan® for good flavor and good price)
1 ¼ cups hot water (plus or minus depending on the weather
* * *
Mix dry ingredients with Crisco in a large bowl
Add hot water and mix thoroughly
Knead for 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with its dough hook, but I used to use my hands and arms and my back)
Cover the bowl and let it relax for a short while
Grease bread pan
Shape a loaf, kneading and pulling the relaxed dough
Put the loaf shape in the bread pan, cover and let it rise until double in bulk.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F
* * *
Use a knife to split the top of the loaf into a nice design
Put loaf pan in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F and bake for 35 minutes
Today -- August 16, 2007 -- Robert made some wild blackberry refrigerator jam which we enjoyed warm on homemade bread toast
Robert's Wild Blackberry Jam
Find some wild blackberries in your back yard.
Pick them. Rinse off the wildlife.
One pound of pears (more or less)
One pound of berries
Two cups of sugar
Large, sturdy cooking pot
Candy thermometer (very helpful)
Find pears in your refrigerator.
Peel and core pears, then chop them into very small pieces (almost pear sauce)
Put in pot.
Chop up or break up berries so they are not big clumps
Put the berries on top of pears in the pot
Pour in two cups of sugar, stir the pot
Put pot over low to medium flame.
Bring to a boil (slowly), stirring once in a while.
Low boil, slowly until it cooks down and starts to thicken (20 to 30 minutes).
If there are large clumps of berries left in pot, whisk with wire whisk until broken up.
Test to see if it is jelling. Take a small, cold plate and drop a few drops on the plate.
If it is real runny, keep cooking and testing. When it forms a mound on the plate stop cooking.
Put jam in two bowls.
Let them cool a while.
Cover bowls with saran wrap and secure with a rubber band.
Refrigerate jam in bowls. This is refrigerator jam so it will only last a month or so. It is not preserved jam.
Note: Testing plate needs to be kept clean. After each test lick plate. Wash plate. Cool plate, dry plate, and test again.
Enjoy to the last bite.
My mother-in-law, Frances, made this dessert for us in the 1970s. We've been enjoying it ever since (except when our regular supermarkets stopped carrying the Jiffy mix). I found it again at WinCo Foods.
- 1 Jiffy Golden Yellow Cake Mix, 9 oz.
- 1 15.25 oz. can unpeeled apricot halves in heavy syrup (the cheaper brands have more, smaller apricots to spread out and that's good)
- 1/2 cube unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- 8" x 8" glass baking pan
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place apricots evenly (cup side up) in the 8" x 8" pan. Include the syrup from the can. Sprinkle the cake mix over the top evenly. Place butter slices evenly on top of the cake mix.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.
Serve warm with or without vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. We think it is good just plain. This recipe will serve six, but the two of us manage to eat the whole thing in two days. Approximately 1800 calories for the entire recipe. It costs about $1.50.
Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies
This week -- February 12, 2007 -- Robert tried something new for cookies. He decided to skip his tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe and, instead, made Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Preheat your convection oven to 325 degrees
Beat until light
- 1 cube sweet butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl
- 1 1/2 cups (9 crackers) finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 4 Tablespoons flour (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 Tsp baking soda
- 1/2 Tsp salt
Beat dry mixture into butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Place rounded tablespoon portions on cookie trays.
Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool cookies on brown paper bag paper. Makes approximately 30 cookies.
Yesterday -- February 13, 2003 -- he made some Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. I thought they were worth sharing.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat convection oven to 375° F
Cream the following ingredients together until light:
Mix these dry ingredients together in a separate bowl until even in color:
- 1 cube margarine at room temperature
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Then, beat the combined dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until even in color. Then,
stir 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips into mixture
- 1 cup flour + 2 tablespoons
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Drop rounded tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheets
- Bake 9 to 10 minutes
- Put finished cookies on kraft paper to cool (makes approximately 30 cookies)
- Enjoy with a glass of milk
Today -- February 18, 2003 -- Robert made a wonderful pot of soup for a winter lunch. It was beautiful and delicious.
Robert's Beet Soup (or Borsch)
Chop beets into small pieces. Chop celery into similar size pieces to make 3/4 cup. Chop potato into similar size pieces. Mince onion to make 1/4 cup. Slice the carrot into thin slices.
- A beautiful bunch of beets (there were three in this bunch)
- Yellow onion
- 1 Yukon Gold potato -- 3/4 pound
- 1 medium-large carrot
- 1 14.5 ounce can of beef broth
- Extra virgin olive oil
- McCormick all purpose seasoning
- Sour cream
- Salt and pepper
In a stainless steel pot (that has a cover) saute vegetables in olive oil. Add broth to the pot and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Add 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Bring to a boil. Cover pot, turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste to check for flavor. Add salt and pepper and all purpose seasoning to your satisfaction. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Serve the soup with a big dollop of sour cream on top. Rye bread goes well with this soup.
You can send e-mail to Robert or, go back to the his KITCHEN
Created by Christine Thresh: 2/14/03 Updated: 1/6/2008