Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes & imported posts from

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky toffee pudding

Recipe credit: Smitten Kitchen

flickr photo by ted_major shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Cake ingredients

  • 6 ounces pitted dates
  • 118 cups boiling water
  • 34 tsp baking soda
  • 4 TBS (12 stick) butter, melted
  • 6 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 18 tsp salt
  • 12 plus 13 cup flour

Sauce ingredients

  • 4 TBS (12 stick) butter, melted
  • 12 cup whipping cream
  • 12 cup plus 1 TBS dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


The cake:

Chop the dates, put them in a heat-proof bowl or 4-cup pyrex measuring cup, and pour boiling water over them. Mix in the baking powder and let stand half an hour. Preheat oven to 350F.

Puree the date mixture. In the bowl or measuring cup, mix melted butter, sugars, and salt. Whisk in egg, then add flour, stirring until mixed. Mix in date puree. Pour into a prepared 8 x 8 pan (butter and use parchment paper to line the bottom, or just spray with baking non-stick spray). Bake for 30—35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

The sauce:

Combine butter, cream, sugar and vanilla in a large saucepan (3 quarts) over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk for about 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.


Cut into squares, drizzle with sauce, and top with whipped cream or custard sauce.

Best Roast Potatoes Ever

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

J. Kenji López-Alt says it, so it must be true. I skipped the garlic-herb infused oil and didn’t happen to have duck fat on hand (imagine that!), and they were still fantastic. I’m also a little more loosey-goosey with quatities—check the original if you’re more into precision. A parboil in alkaline saltwater before roasting seasons them and creates a starchy slurry that mixes with olive oil to create an amazing crust. It’s definitely worth the extra effort and extra 15 or 20 minutes or so if you have the time.

  • 2 TBS Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut approximately 1-inch chunks
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400F with convection (or 450F without)
  2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add the kosher salt and baking soda.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. López-Alt describes them as two-bite chinks and that seems about right.
  4. Add them to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes after the water comes back to a boil.
  5. Drain the potatoes and add to a mixing bowl; toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Spread them on a baking pan (I line mine with non-stick foil ’cause I’m too lazy to clean), and put them in the oven.
  7. Roast 20 minutes, then turn and roast for another 30 minutes or so, until they’re crispy and golden.

Half-ass tiny batch burger buns

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

  • ½ cup + 2 Tbs water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 3 Tbs powdered milk
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 Tbs butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Pour water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let rest a couple of minutes to hydrate, then whisk in the sugar and powdered milk. Whisk egg yolk into the butter and then whisk the butter-egg mixture into the water-yeast mixture. Add flour and salt and mix until it forms a dough. (If you’ve the time and inclination, use a stand mixer and knead with the dough hook for 6 to 8 minutes.)
  2. Cover the bowl and let rise for a couple of hours if you’ve planned ahead or 30 mins to an hour if it’s a last-minute thing like I usually do.
  3. Divide into four pieces and form into balls for the buns. Let rise for 15 or 20 minutes.
  4. Make an egg wash from the reserved egg white and 1/2 tsp of water. Gently press the tops of the dough balls to form a bun shape and brush with the egg wash.
  5. Bake at 400F for about 15 mins or until they reach 180F in the center.

Sausage & white bean soup

Very loosely adapted from a recipe on a saltine cracker box:

  • 1 pkg. Conecuh sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • I cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 x 19 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)
  • 5 oz package spinach

Sauté vegetables in oil until soft, then add sausage and cook a few more minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and broth, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings, adding salt to taste. Turn off heat and stir in spinach until it wilts. Serve with a fresh loaf of bread.

Moravian Sugar Cake

Moravian sugar cake

My Aunt Nellie used to get Moravian Sugar Cake from a bakery in North Carolina when we had Christmas at her house in Tennessee, and later my mother made a tradition of baking it for Christmas morning. This isn’t exactly her recipe (which made 7 cakes!), but is close enough and makes a more manageable 3 cakes.

flickr photo by ted_major shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license


  • 12 cup mashed boiled potato
  • 34 cup reserved potato water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 14 cup butter
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 13 cup sugar
  • 312 cups flour


  • 14 cup butter
  • 13 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


Peel and boil a small potato until soft. Mash potato and reserve 34 cup of the water.

Rehydrate yeast in the reserved potato water.

Combine egg, butter, salt, mashed potato, and sugar in a mixer and mix with a paddle for 4 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the remaining ingredients, and knead for about 10 minutes.

Turn the dough into a large buttered bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

Punch down, divide dough into three equal portions, and press each portion into a buttered 8 x 8 foil pan. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Mix together topping ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Poke indentations all over the top of the dough—my mother uses the handle of a wooden spoon; I use my fingers. Pour the melted topping over the cake, spreading with a pastry brush as needed.

To bake immediately, let rise for another half hour or so. Otherwise, refrigerate overnight. Can also be frozen after rising. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

Bake at 400F for 18 minutes or until done.

Yeast rolls/cinnamon rolls

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
Bad school cafeteria food is such a cliché that it hardly needs mentioning, but the elementary school cafeteria of my childhood had the exception that proves the rule: cinnamon rolls. I recently acquired a copy of the original yeast roll recipe* that was the basis for the rolls and adapted it for a more sane quantity. The recipe works nicely to make one pan of dinner rolls and one pan of cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

Dough recipe:

  • 1⅓ cups warm milk
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5½ Tbs butter, softened
  • Cinnamon-sugar for cinnamon rolls

Mix milk, sugar, and yeast in the mixer bowl and let yeast rehydrate for a few minutes. Add half the flour, salt, and butter and mix into a batter. Add remaining flour until it forms a dough and switch to the dough hook. Knead with dough hook on medium speed for 10 mins. Butter a large mixing bowl, add the dough and turn to coat with butter. Cover and let rise for a couple of hours. Punch down and divide in half to make two pans of rolls, two of cinnamon rolls, or one of each.


Shape into 12 balls and put into a 9-inch cake pan. Let rise and then bake at 400F for 15 mins.

Cinnamon rolls:

Pat or roll dough into a rectangle about ½ inch thick, roughly twice as long as wide. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and roll into a log. Cut into 12 slices and put in a 9-inch cake pan. Let rise at room temperature to bake immediately or cover and let rise overnight in the refrigerator to cook for tomorrow’s breakfast. Bake at 400F for 15 mins.

*Original version in case you need to produce institutional-size quantitites:


Pots de Crème au Chocolat

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
Which is to say, chocolate pudding. This is based on a recipe from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. We’ve made both of his pots de crème recipes, and frankly he was phoning it in on both of them—it’s obvious that neither of these recipes was tested. The cooking time was way off (15 minutes? try 45), and this particular recipe needed twice the chocolate it called for (though to be fair, how many recipes would really suffer from a doubling of the chocolate?).

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli’s milk chocolate chips)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Heat the cream in a double boiler. When it is just scalded, stir in the chocolate chips until melted and blended. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl. When the chocolate mixture is melted and smoothly blended, slowly add to the egg yolks a bit at a time, stirring well so the eggs don’t scramble. pour into 6 ramekins and cover each with foil. Bake in a water bath for 45 minutes or until set. Chill and serve with whipped cream.

Carrot salad


I picked up some carrots at the farmer’s market this morning and came up with this salad to have with dinner tonight. Sorry, but no measurements because I eyeballed everything. Precise amounts don’t seem too critical here, anyway.


  • carrots, chopped
  • onions, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • craisins


  • juice of 1 lime
  • dollop of mustard (maybe a teaspoon, maybe less?)
  • olive oil

Combine salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with salad.

Sugar Cookies

Claire’s been reminding me to blog this one for awhile. The recipe makes a big batch of cookies (5 dozen!), but you can freeze some of the dough for later.

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
If you want to use cookie cutters, roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and cut into shapes. For round cookies, you can also roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and cut into slices (hint: to save some for later, divide dough into fifths, roll each portion into a 1 1/2 inch cylinder. Wrap four of them in foil and freeze. When you thaw them, just slice into 12 pieces and bake).
Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake 6 to 8 minutes.

Based on a recipe from


IMGP0264 by ted_major
IMGP0264, a photo by ted_major on Flickr.

Went to make biscuits for breakfast this morning, and I realized I’ve never blogged by biscuit recipe. Based on a recipe from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup lard (use shortening if you must, *sigh*)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix dry ingredients in a a large bowl and then cut in the lard with a pastry blender. Add milk (you may need just a splash more to moisten all the flour). The dough wil be sticky, so flour your hands and the counter well. Knead a few times to make sure everything is mixed, but don’t go overboard or you’ll develop the gluten and get a chewy, tough biscuit. I’ve given up on the traditional roll, cut into rounds, roll the leftovers and cut again method. Instead, I pat them out into a rectangle 3/8″ thick, and then cut into 12 squares: no risk of over kneading & no wasted dough.
Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned.