Saturday, December 10, 2011

See's Fudge

This was the family fudge recipe that my grandmother made every holiday season as I was growing up. It was one of my grandmother's specialties, but my mother and great-grandmother also made it. I often wondered at the name on the recipe card, "See's Fudge". See's Candy is a favorite in California, but in my memory they never sold fudge.

This is my favorite fudge recipe. My kids love it and I usually make several batches every December because they gift it to their friends.

Now, thanks to the Internet, I've googled this recipe and found several hits. On, they say:

This is the original See's fudge recipe I found when I did a Google search HISTORICAL NOTE: Given to Amy DeVore by Emma Julian c. 1930, this is “supposedly” the original recipe for See's Fudge, produced by the See's Candy Company, Los Angeles. Emma allegedly worked for See's and later owned her own candy store.

Read more:

See's Fudge

  • 1/2 lb (2 cubes) butter
  • 1 tall (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 3-12 oz bags of chocolate chips (36 oz total)
  • 7-oz jar marshmallow cream; original recipe calls for 8-oz jar, but they are now making it as a 7-oz jar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Melt butter.
  2. Add evaporated milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. (Do not stir after this point until the pot is removed from heat.)
  3. Bring to a boil, count 8 minutes from the time the mixture starts to boil.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and marshmallow cream.
  5. Add nuts and vanilla and stir to incorporate.
  6. Pour into buttered 13"x10" pan. Let cool and cut into squares.
  7. When first poured, it appears oily. Once it has cooled, the oiliness is absorbed. (Note that this picture, and the previous picture, are from two different batches.)
  8. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Aging improves flavor.

You should not make this on a rainy day or it may not set properly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

I have been returning to a healthier lifestyle. This means I do more cooking. I concocted this Quinoa-based soup using ingredients I had on-hand. This recipe is more carb-y than I would generally make, but I didn't want the potatoes to go to waste and I couldn't break up the bag of frozen peas, so I had to use the whole thing. :)

My kitchen is slowly reflecting healthier ingredients so, in future, I would change out the potatoes and peas for something else.

This soup is very yummy and only improves with age.

This is the first time I used quinoa that is pre-rinsed - it's nice not to worry about rinsing it to remove the bitterness. Quinoa is absolutely packed with protein. I'm going to make this again tomorrow!

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

  • scant Tblsp oil for frying onion and garlic
  • water, as needed, for water-sauteing other veggies
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cubes frozen garlic
  • 3 red potatoes (med sized), cubed
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 Tblsp (generous) Blend It Up Spice (original flavor)
  • 3 tiny zucchini
  • 3 cubes frozen parsley
  • handful of green beans, cut into pieces
  • 1 box no-chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tblsp (generous) Fuhrman Vegizest powder (optional)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (prewashed)
  • 1 bag frozen peas (it was frozen solid, so I used the entire bag)
  • couple handfuls of baby spinach
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the veggies that taker longer to cook - potatoes and carrots. Add seasoning - the Blend It Up spice, in my case.
  3. Add water, as needed, to water-saute the veggies. The potatoes start to break down after a bit. This is good.
  4. Add the veggies that cook more quickly - zucchini and green beans, along with the parsley.
  5. Once the veggies have cooked a bit, add the liquid - in my case, a mix of Imagine No-Chicken broth and water.
  6. Add the quinoa, frozen peas and spinach. Add the Vegizest, if desired. (A powder that is packed with nutrition, but is purely optional.)
  7. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until all the veggies, and the quinoa, are done.
  8. Remove from heat. At this point it is thick, but it will get even thicker as it cools. This is how I like it - almost a stew. But if you prefer a thinner soup, you can thin it out with water or stock.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Toasted Cheesey Polenta Slices - and other Polenta Log Tales

About a year ago my youngest daughter went on an elimination diet that lasted several months. One month was no gluten. Another month was no sugar. Another month was no dairy.

She kicked off the process with the gluten-free month. Wow, it was a tough month. Gluten is in everything. I immediately started stocking up on gluten-free breads (both fresh and frozen), gluten-free treats, gluten-free pastas, gluten-free cereals, and so on. She pretty much hated all of it. With a passion. As part of this effort, I stocked up on polenta logs from Trader Joes.

I first tried a lasanga recipe that I found on allrecipes that used slices of polenta instead of noodles. She said she liked it, and she ate it all up, but she wasn't eager for me to make it again.

I then tried slicing the polenta into round discs and pan-frying it, with dollops of pasta sauce, and cheese on top. Again, she ate it eagerly, but didn't seem too excited for me to make it more than a couple of times.

My creativity ended about there. I could not figure out a good way to prepare the polenta logs. I think I had another 6 logs and they sat and sat.

Long after she was done with the gluten-free experiment, I decided I wanted to use up the polenta. I wasn't crazy about these logs, and I was home alone, so I had to find some form of preparation that pleased my tastebuds.

I could not find a healthy way to prepare the polenta. In this case, healthy (to me) means no cheese, but polenta is yummiest with cheese. I finally discovered my favorite way to prepare it - by this time I had only one or two loaves left. I finished it off, and I can tell you, I will not be buying polenta logs any time soon.

So, here it is.

Simple - yes. Delicious - yes. Healthy - no.

Toasted Polenta Slices

  • Remove the plastic from the polenta log.
  • Slice the polenta the long way, making the slices as thin as feasible. A scant 1/4" is good.
  • Sprinkle the slices with grated cheese of your choice. (I tried also using various types of red sauce but, in the end, I preferred it sans sauce.)
  • Place the slices directly on the wire rack in the toaster oven. Set to 450° F and bake for 20 minutes. The time will vary slightly depending on the thickness of the slices, but 20 minutes is about right.

You end up with slices of yummitude. The long time in the oven (I also tried shorter times, but it wasn't as good) dries them out and makes them firm and crunchy. These are excellent with a bowl of hearty soup.

If you have healthier, but still yummy, ways to prepare these logs, let me know in the comments. I am glad I finished them up and freed up some pantry space. :)