Monday, September 29, 2014

Chocolate-Almond Cake

Our family loves to celebrate, so birthdays are a big deal at our house. Today is our oldest son’s 28th birthday. I can’t bake him a cake this year since he now lives far away, so I’m sharing this recipe in his honor.
Happy birthday, Jordan!

Chocolate-Almond Cake

3 ½ cups (525 g) flour
2 ½ cups (500 g) sugar
1 cup (100 g) ground almonds
½ cup (75 g) cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2.4 dl) oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 2/3 cups (4 dl) lukewarm water
2 eggs

Stir together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and beat well. Pour into two well-greased and floured round 9-inch pans. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 45-50 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).

Dark Chocolate Icing

7 oz (200 g) semi-sweet chocolate
¼ cup (60 ml) boiling water
¼ cup (50 g) butter
slivered almonds

Pour boiling water over chocolate and stir. Microwave for a few seconds and stir again until the chocolate is completely melted. Return to microwave if necessary. Mix in butter till creamy. Spread over cake before the chocolate hardens. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.

Cake au chocolat et aux amandes
525 g de farine
500 g de sucre
100 g d’amandes moulues
1 cuillère à café de bicarbonate
1 cuillère à café de poudre à lever
1 cuillère à café de sel
75 g de cacao
2,4 dl d’huile
2 cuillères à soupe de vinaigre
1 cuillère à café d’extrait d’amandes
4 dl d’eau
2 œufs

Bien mélanger les 7 premiers ingrédients. Ajouter les derniers 5 ingrédients et bien battre. Verser dans deux moules ronds (22 cm) bien graissés. Cuire à 170° pendant environ 45-50 minutes.

Glaçage chocolat
200 g de chocolat de ménage
60 ml d’eau bouillante
50 g de beurre
amandes effilés

Casser le chocolat en petits morceaux et ajouter l’eau pour commencer à le fondre. Mettre quelques secondes au micro-ondes et remuer jusqu’à ce que le chocolat soit complètement fondu (remettre au micro-ondes si nécessaire). Couper le beurre en petits morceaux et incorporer au chocolat en remuant bien. Napper le cake pendant que le glaçage est encore tiède. Saupoudrer d’amandes effilés.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Betty Crocker’s Boys and Girls Cook Book

Who remembers this cookbook? Was it your first cookbook too? Who still has a copy? I wonder just how many of us made these masterpieces. I know my siblings and I did, then my kids discovered the book and proudly began their cooking careers.
Long before deciding to become a forensic scientist, Jordan, our eldest, wanted to be a chef.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grape Jelly

A few years ago we thought our grape vine was terminally ill. The guy from the nursery looked at the withering brown leaves and told us the vine had a year or two left. The news was hard to take because you become attached to a plant the grew along with your kids. Fortunately, the guy was wrong and the grape vine is thriving again.

I use some of the juice to make grape jelly, which you can’t find in grocery stores in Switzerland.

Grape Jelly
4 cups of grape juice
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix ingredients in a 4-5 quart pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the mixture boil gently for 15-20 minutes. Check setting point by pouring a few drops of jelly on a cold saucer and place in the fridge for a few minutes. If the few drops have set, the jelly is ready. If the jelly is not set yet, continue boiling for 5 minutes and test again. Skim the foam off the top and pour into sterilized jars.

Gelée de Raisin
1 litre de jus de raisin
1 kg de sucre
1 cuillère à café de jus de citron

Mélanger les ingrédients dans une casserole de 4-5 litres et porter à ébullition. Baisser la température et laisser bouillir pendant 15-20 minutes. Vérifier si la gelée a pris en mettant quelques gouttes sur une soucoupe au frigo pendant quelques minutes. Si les quelques gouttes ont pris, la gelée est prête. Si ce n’est pas le cas, cuire encore 5 minutes et tester de nouveau. Enlever l’écume et verser dans des bocaux stérilises.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Purple Cow

Twenty-five years ago, Dad planted a Concord grape vine that a friend of his brought back from California. That one vine, that Brady patiently trained over the years to create a pergola, provides welcome shade on hot summer days. The vine also yields enough grapes to make gallons of delicious grape juice. Making grape juice is a time-consuming process, to say the least. After picking the grapes, I pull them off the stems and sort out all the spoiled grapes. I fill my biggest pot (3-gallon) with the grapes, mash them and bring them to a boil. I strain the juice from the pulp in a colander and let it sit in the fridge overnight before filtering out the sediment. The result is well worth the trouble.

Our kids thought it was really something special to have Purple Cows during grape harvest. They are a much healthier alternative to Root-Beer floats.
Purple Cow
½ cup grape juice
½ cup carbonated water
1 scoop vanilla ice-cream
Pour the juice and the carbonated water in a glass, add the scoop of ice-cream.

Vache violette
1 dl de jus de raisin
1 dl d’eau gazéifiée
1 boule de glace vanille
Verser le jus et l’eau dans un verre, ajouter la boule de glace.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fruit Smoothies

Our vine peaches (the size of plums) ripen soon after the pears. Brady planted our two trees five or six years ago and even though they are small, they bear a lot of fruit.
Searching for the peaches that fall among the wild strawberries reminds me of hunting for Easter eggs.
I drop the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to remove the skin easily.
Then they are ready to use in pie or cobbler, or to be frozen or canned for later.

I cut up some of the peaches bite-size to freeze for smoothies, a great after school snack or light desert. Caution! These will give you a brain freeze!

Fruit Smoothies
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup bite-size frozen fruit
1-2 tablespoons jam
Mix in blender. Depending on desired consistency, add a bit of juice or a banana (frozen or fresh).

Smoothies aux fruits

2,5 dl de yogourt nature

2,5 dl de fruits coupés en petits morceaux et congelés

1-2 cuillères à soupe de confiture
Mixer tous les ingrédients ensemble. Selon la consistance souhaitée, ajouter un peu de jus ou une banane (congelée ou non).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tarte Tatin

This is an upside-down pie. You can make it with apples or peaches, but I like it best with pears.

Tarte Tatin
¼ cup (50 g) butter
½ cup (100 g) sugar, or brown sugar
a pinch de cinnamon
6 pears
1 unbaked 9-inch flaky pie crust

Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the sugar. Cook on low for 5 minutes and pour over the bottom of a non-stick 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Peel and half the pears and remove the core. Place pear halves in the pie plate. Cover with the pie crust. Bake at 350° F 175° C) for 30-40 minutes. Turn over onto a plate. Serve warm.

Tarte Tatin
50 g de beurre
100 g de sucre
une pincée de cannelle
6 poires
1 pâte feuilletée ronde 

Faire fonder le beurre dans une poêle puis ajouter le sucre. Cuire à petit feu pendant 5 minutes et verser dans un moule à tarte antiadhésif de 22 cm. Saupoudrer de cannelle. Peler et couper en deux les poires, puis enlever le cœur. Disposer les moitiés de poires dans le moule. Recouvrir de pâte feuilletée. Cuire à 175° C pendant 30-40 minutes. Retourner sur une assiette. Servir tiède.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Poires au Chocolat

When Dad bought our house there were quite a few old fruit trees in the back yard. The old pear tree was crazy tall and impossible to climb. When the pears all the way at the top got over-ripe they would fall. They picked up so much momentum that they would disintegrate when the hit the ground and, I kid you not, nothing would be left but the stem! Dad finally cut the tree down and planted this one when our daughter Kathleen was born. Since it’s next to the south wall of the house, its pears are our first Fall fruit to ripen.

I can eat three of four pears a day when they ripen. The rest I peal, half and core. then I blanch then for a couple of minutes in boiling water with a teaspoon of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. They will keep in a jar in the fridge for several days. I like to serve them with chocolate pudding.

Chocolate Pudding
3.5 ounces (100 g) semi-sweet chocolate
1 ½ cup (3.5 dl) milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup (50 g) sugar

Melt the chocolate in a pot over very low heat. Mix the cornstarch in the milk and mix into the melted chocolate, then stir in the sugar. Turn the stove on high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat at once. Stir again after a few minutes. Serve hot or cold with pears halves.

Crème dessert chocolat
100 g de chocolat de ménage
3,5 dl de lai
2 cuillères à soupe de maïzena
50 g de sucre

Fondre le chocolat dans une casserole à feu très, très doux. Délayer la maïzena dans le lait et mélanger au chocolat. Ajouter le sucre et bien mélanger. Augmenter le feu et porter à ébullition en remuant continuellement. Enlever tout de suite du feu. Remuer encore une fois après quelques minutes. Servir chaud ou froid.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Boeuf Bourguignon

Last night was our first Thursday evening Pepperdine meal of the semester. Once a week we invite 12 students from the Lausanne study abroad program to eat with us. At the beginning of the semester I like to serve European meals. As time goes on and the students begin to get homesick, I'll fix them good old American standbys.

Boeuf Bourguignon
2 pounds (1 kg) stew meat
2 cups (5 dl) red wine
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2 onions
1 clove garlic
2 carrots
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ pound (250 g) mushrooms

Cube the meat and marinate in the wine for 24 hours. Chop the onions, and press the garlic. Brown in butter with meat (reserve the liquid). Peal and slice the carrots. Add to the pot with the herbs, salt, pepper and wine. Cover and let simmer on low for 3-4 hours. Slice the mushrooms, add to the pot and simmer 30 more minutes. Great with mashed potatoes. (8-10 servings)
some of our regulars, 2007-2008
last night's group

Bœuf Bourguignon
1 kg de ragout de bœuf
5 dl de vin rouge
50 g de beurre
2 oignons
1 gousse d’ail
2 carottes
1 feuille de laurier
3 cuillères à soupe de persil haché
½ cuillère à café de thym séché
1 cuillère à café de sel
½ cuillère à café de poivre
250 g de champignons de Paris
Mariner la viande dans le vin pendant 24 heures. Hacher les oignons, et presser l’ail. Faire revenir dans le beurre avec le bœuf (garder le liquide). Peler les carottes et couper en rondelles. Ajouter à la casserole avec le vin, les herbes, le sel et le poivre. Couvercle et laisser mijoter à feu doux pendant 3-4 heures. Ajouter les champignons coupés en tranches et mijoter encore 30 min. (8-10 portions)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pasta Salad

Here’s another dish I like to take to summer potlucks. You can make so many pretty varieties. Some people like more or less meat and cheese, and more or less vegetables. Paste salad is also a good way to use up whatever leftovers you have in the fridge and lets you be creative!

Pasta Salad
6 cups of cooked pasta
5 to 6 ounces (140-170 g) of meat
3 to 4 ounces (80-120 g) of cheese
2/3 to 1 cup chopped vegetables
¼ to 1/3 cup dressing
salt and pepper to taste (5-6 servings)

Here are just three examples.
Three-colored farfalle, shrimp, black olives, artichoke hearts. The dressing has a mayonnaise and ketchup base.
Penne, crumbled bacon, mozzarella, tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, basil. The dressing has an olive oil and balsamic vinegar base.
Macaroni, ham, gruyère, green olives. The dressing has a mayonnaise and mustard base.
Salade pâtes
350 g de pâtes
140-170 g de viande
80-120 g de fromage
une grosse louche de légumes coupés en morceaux
1 petite louche de sauce à salade
sel et poivre

Cuire puis refroidir les pâtes. Ajouter tous les autres ingrédients (5-6 portions).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chicken Raman Salad

This family favorite is Brady’s Mom’s recipe. It’s perfect for summer potlucks at Church because there’s no need to wait in line to use the oven. All you have to do is toss in the last three ingredients just before serving. I use Savoy cabbage because it adds more color and is less bitter than regular cabbage.

Chicken Raman Salad 
½ pound (250 g) chicken, cooked and cubed
1 medium Savoy cabbage
2 carrots
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup (1.2 dl) oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 package Ramen noodles
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Finely chop cabbage and grate carrots. Add chicken. Mix together the sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce and salt and pepper and add to salad. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Just before serving, crumble the Ramen noodles and mix into the salad along with the almonds, and sesame seeds.
ready to go to the potluck

Salade au chou et au poulet

250 g de poulet
1 chou frisé
2 carottes
2 cuillères à soupe de sucre
1.2 dl d’huile
3 cuillères à soupe de vinaigre
2 cuillères à café de sauce soja
1 cuillères à café de sel
½ cuillères à café de poivre
1 paquet de nouilles Ramen
30 g d’amandes effilés
1 cuillères à soupe de graines de sésame

Hacher finement le chou et râper les carottes. Ajouter le poulet cuit et coupé en petits morceaux. Mélanger le sucre, l'huile, le vinaigre, la sauce soja, le sel et le poivre et verser sur la salade. Laisser reposer au réfrigérateur pendant plusieurs heures. Juste avant de servir, casser en tout petits morceaux les nouilles Ramen et les ajouter à la salade avec les amandes et les graines de sésame.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cherry Cobbler

We get most of our cherries from the healthier of our two trees. The other tree is older and doesn’t bear much, but our kids sure had fun climbing it when they were little. Most years I freeze enough cherries to have cherry cobbler – the last item on my pop-up restaurant menu – at least twice a month. It's also best warm with vanilla ice-cream!

2 cups (600 g) fruit (cherries, peaches, berries) with juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Mix well and pour into bottom of 8x8-inch (20x20 cm) baking dish.

1 cup (150 g) flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2/3 cup (1.6 dl) milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter (till mealy). Stir in milk. Drop by spoonfuls onto fruit mixture. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. 6 servings.


600 g de fruits (cerises, pêches, baies) avec leur jus
2 cuillères à soupe de sucre
1 cuillères à soupe de maïzena

Bien mélanger et verser dans un moule de 20x20 cm.

150 g de farine
2 cuillères à soupe de sucre
1 ½ cuillère à café de poudre à lever
½ cuillère à café de sel
50 g de beurre
1 ½ dl de lait

Mélanger les ingrédients secs, puis ajouter le beurre et malaxer jusqu’à ce que le mélange devienne grumeleux. Ajouter le lait et bien remuer. En napper les fruits et cuire à 180° C pendant 25-30 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que la croûte soit dorée.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chocolate-Almond Brownies

After the applesauce cake recipe, this is my most often requested recipe. Our family loves brownies topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and melted semi-sweet chocolate! When people realized they could order them this way on Restaurant Day, the demand went way up.

Chocolate-Almond Brownies
7 oz (200 g) semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 cup (140 g) butter
1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (200 g) flour
1 cup (100 g) ground almonds

Put chocolate and butter in a pot and melt slowly on lowest stove setting (or in double boiler). Mix in sugar. Beat eggs and add to chocolate mixture with extract. Stir in flour and salt, then almonds. Pour into greased and floured 9x13-inch (22x32 cm) pan. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 25 minutes. Cut into squares. Makes 2 dozen.

Brownies aux amandes
200 gr de chocolat de ménage
140 gr de beurre
300 gr de sucre
4 œufs
1 cuillère à café d’extrait d’amandes
1/4 cuillère à café de sel
200 gr de farine
100 gr d’amandes moulues

Fondre le chocolat et le beurre à feu très doux. Ajouter le sucre puis les œufs battus et l’extrait d’amandes. Incorporer la farine, le sel et les amandes moulues. Verser dans un moule rectangulaire (24-30 cm) bien graissé. Cuire à 175° pendant 25 minutes. Une fois refroidi, couper en carrés (env. 24).