You all saw Aunt Nettie in her later years when I shared her recipe for Orange Slice Nut Cookies. This recipe is a holiday favorite of old for Home Made Mince Meat. I can’t say that I like mince meat but many people did and still do. My Aunt Nettie in this picture was when she was finishing teaching school and getting ready to begin to teach young children. Such a beautiful young woman. She was raised in Oklahoma during the depression and saw her family go from owning a mining store to being sharecropper on a cotton farm. Times were tough back then but the stories were vast. I hope you enjoy learning about her and seeing her recipes.

When I worked at a bakery this was one of my favorite cookies though this is not their recipe. Luckily, at this bakery,  I could eat all I wanted and didn’t have to pay for the indulgence. Where this particular recipe comes from is a complete mystery since I’ve been making it for over 15 years.  It’s probably been modified many times and I now guiltily claim it as mine.  It’s a fun Holiday treat and packages well for gift baskets.  I couldn’t resist posting this recipe so early since I’m going to a Christmas in July party next month.  If I can find dates, which may be impossible, then this will be my contribution to the desert table.  This is a rich buttery recipe with lots of chopped dates and nuts.

Ingredients

10 Ounces Dates; pitted and chopped 2 large eggs
1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup hot water 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup Pecans; finely chopped, or walnuts 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup soft butter 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Pinwheel-Cookies-on-Cooling-Rack-640x480

Preparation

Combine dates, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; stir in chopped walnuts. Let cool completely.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs; beat well. Stir in vanilla.

Combine flour, soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl; add to creamed mixture, stirring well.

Divide dough into thirds. Roll each portion into a thin 12 – 15 inch square on separate sheets of parchment. To roll thin and avoid sticking, cover dough with a second sheet of parchment; press out dough to form a square shape and finish with rolling-pin over top of second sheet of parchment. Carefully, peel top piece of parchment away from dough; thinly spread the squared dough with one-third of reserved date mixture.

lifting up the edge of the lower parchment, gently peel of the long edge of the dough and roll up jelly roll fashion. Use a pastry knife to slide and roll the dough if necessary. You can use the lower piece of parchment to continue to form the jelly roll shape so as not to tear the dough. Use the same procedure with the remaining two portions of dough.

As formed, wrap each roll in the parchment, and chill overnight. If time is short, you can freeze the dough for a few hours to rapid chill. Remove parchment paper. Cut into 1/4-inch slices, and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cookie browns slightly around edges. If cookies do not brown, may need to increase oven temperature or increase butter next time made.

Prepare dough and chill overnight. Store baked cookies in airtight containers.

If you like the recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

Just a few days ago, I made my favorite Banana Bread recipe and usually it’s a special treat full of goodness and loaded with nuts. Not this time. Oh, there were plenty of nuts (including the cook) but the final baked bread was not what I expected. Only word to describe is “horrible”!! A word to the wise baker. When mixing the final batter for sweet breads DO NOT over mix. I was having so much fun mixing the batter that I over mixed the heck out of it. My thinking was oh, this is going to be so much better because I spent more time and energy mixing. Do not repeat my mistake or the loaves will not rise. The 4 mini loaves ended up 1/2 the normal fullness and were overly dense.   They turned out like over baked hockey pucks. Gus said it tasted good, but normally our mini loaves are gone in 2 to 3 days.  However this time there are still 2 1/2 loaves left. Guess I will just have to take them outside for the birds. Hope the birds like them better than we did.

karens-banana-nut-bread-6
This is what it should look like when cooked right. Full rise and browned. Yummy!

2013-03-31T12-41-25_0
This is how it turned out by overmixing! Flat, dense and not really browned. Yucky!!

Fresh oranges in the relish pair to make a savory accompaniment to rich salmon fillets. Serve the citrus relish with any kind of fish, or with shrimp or scallops.  The oranges were picked fresh from my tree yesterday and after peeling half the basket I’d seen enough orange peel to last a lifetime.  Then it came to mind, lets just peel a couple more choice oranges and make my Citrus Baked Salmon with Orange Relish.  My only mistake with this thought that the recipe is for four servings and there were only two servings of salmon to prepare.  After putting all of the spice rub on the salmon it came to mind that this looked like a little overkill.  After taking the fish from the oven it was obvious that there was too much spice rub.  A good portion of the rub was scraped off and the fish was then edible.  Too much Paprika had made it over powering.  So with that said, it is suggested to make sure to watch your portions and to always add spice rub according to the amount of meat spice.  The pictures that have been added are from when the recipe was originally made and posted on BigOven.com

Ingredients

Marinade: Orange Relish:
1/4 cup Orange juice    2 oranges seedless
2  tablespoons Olive oil 1/2 teaspoon Orange zest fresh
1  teaspoon Dried thyme 1 tablespoon Honey
4 Salmon filets; about 1 pound 1/2 teaspoon Onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Spice Rub: 1 tablespoon Fresh Italian parsley chopped
3/4 teaspoon Paprika 1/2 teaspoon Ginger ground
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoons Dried thyme
Salt & Pepper Fillets Prior to baking

Preparation

MARINATE:

Mix orange juice, oil and 1 teaspoon of the thyme in small bowl. Place salmon in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

BAKE:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix brown sugar, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and salt in small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Rub salmon evenly with paprika mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place salmon on foil-lined baking pan.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Or, grill salmon over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

RELISH:

Peel orange, section and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

citrus-baked-salmon-with-orange-rel-4citrus-baked-salmon-with-orange-rel-3

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀 I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

One of my best friends, Mariette, brought oranges with her on a visit to our under construction Prescott cabin last week.  On a side note, her hubby came up to help Gus with installing tile in the shower enclosures and was that ever an unexpected challenge.  The tile kept slipping down and they had to use wedges to hold up the tile.  Speaking of wedges, that was what helped in peeling the oranges.  I imagine this would also work for lemons.

orange2
Quarter sections and One Orange cut in Half.

We live in Arizona and I have two orange trees and three lemon trees.  There is always so much fruit that I can’t use it all before the next seasonal crop begins to bloom.  Believe it or not we get two full crops each year; summer and winter.

Anyway, I digress. I’m here to talk about peeling an orange and not having all that nasty pulp still stuck to the orange.  I personally don’t like the taste of pith and have in the past spent so long peeling an orange that by the time I’m done I really don’t have any desire to eat the “fruits” of my labor.  So here’s the scoop on “How to Simply Peel an Orange.

Pick as many oranges from your tree as you have energy to peel or eat.  I’m going to cut several into wedges and freeze for juice or cooking later.  I filled one basket with as many oranges as I could comfortably carry into the house.  I’m sure that’s more than enough and will probably wish the basket had been much lighter when done.

Wash the orange outside prior to prepping.  Cut off each end of the rind from the orange with a paring knife so that the fruit shows through.  Then slice from the orange rind through the pith just deep enough into the white pith to barely touch the actual fruit.  I just learned that the pith section between the rind and the fruit is offically called pericarp or albedo.  Didn’t know that until just today.  Anyway, don’t cut too far into the fruit beyond the pith or the orange will section in your hand as you remove the peel and can become quite messy.  Cut three wedges from top to bottom of the orange rind.  This will create four sections; remember our math from 4th or 5th grade?…

It is then very simple to peel away each section of the orange rind and and discard it.  Then cut each of the peeled orange in half and placed in a freezer safe quart size baggie.  Date the bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible and freeze.  I plan to use the frozen fruit one bag at a time to make some orange juice, make an orange relish for one of my favorite salmon dishes (will share this later) or for any idea that my pop into my mind.  Feel free to share your ideas with me on what you might do with the frozen fruit, too.

Placed in Freezer Safe Ziplog Bag
Placed in Freezer Safe Ziplog Bag

Will be making one of our favorite treats for when there are left over banana’s going a little over ripe.  Here’s are some pictures of the yummy treats right out of the oven.  Making four mini loaves this weekend.

This banana bread is loaded with walnuts and has a crusty edge just like the tops of those banana nut muffins we all love.  It’s like just eating the top off a muffin with every slice.   Prepare individual slices and spread with softened butter.  I prefer the four mini loaf version over one loaf.

karens-banana-nut-bread-7

karens-banana-nut-bread-3karens-banana-nut-bread-4

karens-banana-nut-bread

Ingredients

2  cups Unbleached flour 1/3 cup Butter
1  cup Sugar 1/3 cup Shortening
3/4 teaspoon Salt 2  extra large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda 3  tablespoon Half-and-half cream as needed
3 Bananas 1  cup Walnuts chopped
1  teaspoon Vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and up the sides a bit of 1 large non-stick loaf pan; 9″ x 5″ x 2.5″ or 4 non-stick mini-loaf pans.  Lightly coat with flour on the bottom to prevent sticking if pans are not non-stick.

Mix sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in medium size mixing bowl with whisk.   Add shortening, eggs, bananas, and vanilla to the dry ingredients.   Cut the shortening, softnened butter, eggs, banana mixture into the dry mix with double pastry knifes or kitchen knifes then finish mixing with large mixing spoon. Add half-and-half until batter is still somewhat thickened.  Batter may seem to be too thick but it will mix in.  Fold in 3/4 cups of the walnuts and retain around 1/4 cup to top the baking loaf.  Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into the baking pan, or 4 mini loaves and spread to flatten to edges of pan.  Top with remaining walnuts.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 60-75 minutes for large loaf pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes for mini-loaf pans.  Start checking at the lowest bake time and continue cooking until fully cooked.

Place in the middle of the oven for even baking.  Test with toothpick or wooden skewer until it comes out clean, but do not overcook.  If loaf is browned and beginning to split, it may appear to be done,  Don’t be fooled.  Check with “long” toothpick or wooden skewer.  If the toothpick is not coming out clean from the center then cover with a little foil so as not to over brown the top while the center finishes cooking.

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀 I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.