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No fail pie crust
http://easyrecipesly.com/ruths-grandmas-pie-crust/

Ruth’s Grandma’s Pie Crust

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt

1 egg
1/2 cup water

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly.

In a small bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
Source: allrecipes.com
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Lemonade
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_lemonade/

Lemonade: If you stir Lemon Juice, sugar, and water together the sugar will sink to the bottom. A better way is to make a simple syrup heating water and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then add the lemon juice.

The sweetness and strength of your lemonade depends on how sour your lemons are. Lemons earlier in the year are more sour than later in the season. Meyer lemons are sweeter than standard lemons.



Ingredients

Simple Syrup
1 cup white, granulated sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water

1 cup lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons = 1 Cup of juice depending on their size)
2 to 3 cups cold water (to dilute)

Method

"Simple syrup"
Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stirring so that the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat. Simple Syrup can be chilled to use later.


1. While the water is heating for the simple syrup, juice your lemons.

2. Combine juice and simple syrup into container.

Add 2 to 3 cups cold water to taste.

Add more water if you like it more diluted (ice will dilute the lemonade as it melts *).

If the lemonade tastes too sweet for you, add a bit more straight lemon juice.

Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons


Quick Tip –

If you have extra lemons, they can be squeezed and the juice frozen to use later.

*Make ice cubes of some of the lemonade in an ice cube tray to serve with the drink. This prevents the lemonade from getting watered down as the ice melts.

For more intense lemon flavor, grate the zest from one fresh lemon and add to the simple syrup as you are making it. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let the zest seep in the simple syrup for several minutes, strain out the zest when you add the simple syrup to the lemon juice.


Lemonade

Old Fashioned Pink Lemonade
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/old_fashioned_pink_lemonade/

Simple Syrup
1 1/4 C sugar (using unsweetened cranberry juice; 1 cup if using sweetened)
1 C water

3 C water
1 C cranberry juice
1 C lemon juice

Combine the rest of ingredients to the simple syrup.
Chill or serve over ice.
pink lemonade
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BBQ sauce
http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/brown-sugar-barbecue-sauce/

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

Homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce with a spicy kick.
YIELD: 2 CUPS TOTAL TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 1/4 cups Heinz ketchup

1 1/2 Tbsp molasses

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp ground mustard

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder


Directions

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until it begins to boil.

Reduce to low heat and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Sauce can be used immediately or allowed to cool and put in an air tight container in the refrigerator.


Quick Tip:
Add red pepper flakes for a little spice in addition to this sweet flavor.
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Sausage biscuit bites
http://tasteerecipe.com/2016/09/23/three-wise-men-sausage-biscuit-bites-3-ingredients/2/

Three Wise Men Sausage Biscuit Bites

These 3-ingredient biscuit bites are insanely tasty and filling. This recipe is super simple to scale down or double in order to meet your needs.

Ingredients

1 lb. hot sausage (pork or turkey)

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

2 packages crescent rolls*

Dash salt & ground black pepper





Instructions

In a saute pan, brown sausage; drain. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Blend in cream cheese until the cream cheese is melted.

Unroll one package of crescent rolls and place on a baking sheet. With your fingers, gently press the seams together to seal them. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the crescent roll dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border along the edges.

Unroll the remaining package of crescent rolls and place on top of the sausage mixture. Press the edges together to seal. Gently press the seams together.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until crescent roll dough is golden brown.

Cut into small squares and serve. (A pizza cutter makes really quick and easy work of the cutting.)

~~~~~~~~

crescent rolls
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/7000/golden-crescent-rolls/

Golden Crescent Rolls

"This is a great recipe for sweet, fluffy crescent rolls (kind of like a croissant but more dense)."

Prep 25 min, Bake 15 min, Total 3 h 10 min 20 servings 181 cals

Ingredients
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened

Directions

Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle. Spread with butter. Cut into 10 to 15 wedge. Roll up the wedges starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour).

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 12-15 minute or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out of the oven.
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Italian seasoning

combine 1 tablespoon of each dried spice:

thyme
basil
oregano
rosemary
marjoram.
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pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/

Prep time: 15 minutesYield: Makes 1 cup

Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air, so to store, cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air. The pesto will stay greener longer that way. Halving the basil with spinach will mute the flavor if you don't like it so strongly flavored.


Ingredients
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (or 1 C basil leaves 1 C baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (or chopped walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Method
1 Process basil leaves and nuts in food processor and pulse a several times.

Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream, while the food processor is running, this will help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.

Stir in some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.



If you want to make and save pesto:
Omit the cheese (it doesn’t freeze well).
Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill with the pesto.
Freeze and then store pesto cubes in freezer bag.
To use, defrost and add in grated cheese.

Rolling Pin

Aug. 4th, 2017 07:59 pm
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Rolling Pin

https://food52.com/blog/20058-don-t-avoid-rolling-pins-just-use-the-right-one?bxid=58e7c829cbcf48b1688b4fa5&utm_campaign=20170804_eds_pies_nonbuyer&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_term=10223017

I especially like the skinny pin for cookies, because I don’t follow the usual cookie dough order of things. Instead of chilling and resting dough before I roll and cut cookies, I roll out the freshly made soft dough first (between sheets of wax paper), and then stack and rest the rolled out sheets in the refrigerator before I cut and bake my cookies. This means I’m rolling extremely soft dough and a heavy pin would be very hard to control—the light one is perfect.
rolling pin

If you are already good at rolling dough and love your rolling pin, don’t change a thing. If you are new at baking or just have trouble rolling dough, cast an eye towards your rolling pin. Is it tapered? Try a straight pin. Is it heavy? Try a lighter one. If you want to test drive something like my skinny pin, go to the hardware store or lumberyard and get a 13-inch length of dowel 7/8-inch in diameter!
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pumpkin butter2 http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2011/11/09/pumpkin-butter/#more-6312

Pumpkin Butter
Adapted from Serious Eats

Pumpkin is too dense for safe canning, so it’s best stored in the fridge and enjoyed now or frozen for later. I still put mine in little jars so I can give it to friends and family, and I’ll just explain that it’s perishable. Fruit butters don’t actually contain butter. Instead, it’s when fruit is cooked down then pureed into a thick, creamy spread. You can spread it on toast, scones, and biscuits or stir it into oatmeal and yogurt.


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Apple Butter http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2011/11/07/slow-cooker-monday-apple-butter/

There are 3 kitchen appliances that make this process so much easier:

A slow cooker of course (although you can make this on the stove instead).

One of those old-fashioned peeler/corer/slicers cuts prep time in more than half.

An immersion blender (AKA hand blender, blender stick, etc.) to puree the apple butter right in the pot.

Apple Butter
Makes 3 1/2-4 pints


6 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced*
1 1/2-2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

**I used 3 Granny Smith apples and equal parts McIntosh and Jonagold apples. You can use whatever apples you like, but some types are better than other for apple butter. McIntosh are very soft and tart Granny Smith counterbalance the sweet flavors, adding some depth.


Place prepared apple slices in a 6 quart slow cooker. Add brown sugar and spices, then stir to mix everything together.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is dark brown and thickened. Uncover, add vanilla and stir to combine.

Cook uncovered on high for around 2 hours. Puree using a hand blender or by transferring to your blender in 2 batches and returning to pot.

For immediate use or freezing:
Pour into clean containers and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
To can: Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Seal and process in boiling water for the amount listed below. Remove from water and let sit for a day. Check to make sure jars sealed. (If you want more information on canning, see my photo tutorial on canning jam.)
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Rosemary Olive Oil Bread -made in a Crockpot

Rosemary olive oil break crock pot
http://hostthetoast.com/rosemary-olive-oil-crock-pot-bread-take-2-plus-recipe-olive-oil-herb-dip/

Prep Time: 1 hour 35 mins Cook Time: 2 hours Yield: 6

FOR THE BREAD:

3½ cups all purpose flour
1 packet dry active yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
1¼ cups warm water
¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, divided

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

Parchment paper
Paper towels
Crock Pot

FOR THE DIP:

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. The mixture should become bubbly.

Stir in half of the salt (1/2 teaspoon), half of the rosemary (2 tablespoons), the 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and all of the flour. Mix until fully combined. Work it together with your hands, if necessary.

Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave the dough in a warm, draft-free area. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently roll it into a ball on a floured surface. Let it sit for another 20 minutes.

Set the crock pot to high. Line the crock pot with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches hanging out of each side of the crock pot. Place the dough in the crock pot and sprinkle it with the remaining salt and rosemary.

Drape paper towels over the top of the crock pot and then place the lid on. This should capture any moisture that would sit on the lid and prevent it from dripping back onto your bread.

Cook the bread for 2 hours, and remove from the crock pot. It will most likely still be a bit pale on the outside. It tastes great this way, but I like to put mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it under the broiler for a quick few minutes to get a crunchier, darker crust. Watch the bread the whole time to ensure that it does not burn.

Let cool before slicing. As the bread cools, combine all of the dip ingredients in a bowl or dish and mix well. Serve the bread warm with the Olive Oil Herb Dip!
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“Pat a Pan” Pie Crust

Pat in the pan pie crust
http://tasteerecipe.com/2017/06/29/farmers-daughter-pat-a-pan-pie-crust-it-never-falls/2/

Ingredients

1½ cups of flour
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons cold milk



Instructions

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the pie pan and mix with fingertips until evenly blended.

In a measuring cup combine the oil and milk and beat until creamy.

Pour all at once over the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until the flour mixture is completely moistened.

Pat the dough with your fingers, first at the sides of the plate and then across the bottom.
Flute the edges.
Shell is now ready to be filled.



If you are preparing a shell to fill later or your recipe requires a prebaked crust, preheat oven to 425.
Prick the surface of the pastry with a fork and bake 15 minutes.

Check often and prick more if needed.
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Spicy Ginger & Apple Self-Saucing Pudding
http://queen.com.au/recipes/spicy-apple-ginger-self-saucing-pudding/



Prep:20 min COOK:55 min
SERVES:8

Arm yourself with a spoon and a bowl of this comforting pudding. It’s full of warming ginger and juicy apple chunks, making easy to battle those chilly winter nights.


Ingredients

Pudding
800g (approx. 4) granny smith apples
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
150g butter, melted (7 T)
1 ¼ cups (190g) self-raising flour
1/4 cup (55g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
60g crystallised ginger, finely sliced
½ cup (125ml) milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons golden syrup (corn syrup might work)*

Sauce
1 cup (150g) lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp corn flour
20g butter, room temperature (~ 1.5 T)
2 teaspoons Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
1 3/4 cups (435ml) boiling water


Method - Pudding

STEP 1
Peel and core the apples, cutting each apple into 8 wedges. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook apples, caster sugar and 50 grams of the butter, turning occasionally, until caramelised (approximately 7-8 minutes). Set aside to cool.

STEP 2
Preheat oven to 180C (fan forced) (356 F). Grease a 2 litre ovenproof dish and spoon in apple mixture.

STEP 3
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger and crystallised ginger in a bowl. Add milk, egg, golden syrup and remaining butter (100g) and stir until smooth. Spoon batter over apples, spreading to cover.

Method - Sauce

STEP 1
In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar and corn flour. Add butter, Vanilla Bean Paste, salt and boiling water. Stir until butter has melted and mixture is combined. Gently pour over pudding batter, being sure to leave at least 2cm of room at the top of the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes and serve warm with ice cream.

*recipe - Golden Syrup
This is an inverted syrup (which is one of the things that seem to be sold as "golden syrup"). Recipe that works for me: cook 1:1 (by weight) sugar and water for ~1h at 80-90°C with the juice of one lemon per litre water, then boil it down to ~118°C (gives a light golden color, a thin honey like viscosity)
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Creamy Lemon Squares
http://www.marthastewart.com/337330/creamy-lemon-squares

The lemon bars of your dreams take just 15 minutes of prep: Stir together a mere three ingredients to create a sunny, puckery filling for a buttery shortbread crust.

PREP: 15 MINS TOTAL TIME: 45 MINS YIELD: MAKES 16

INGREDIENTS

Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

Filling
4 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

Make crust:
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
Add flour, and mix on low just until combined.
Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan; prick all over with a fork.
Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Make filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth.
Pour over hot crust in pan; return to oven, and bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely in pan.
Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares, and dust with confectioners sugar.
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https://food52.com/blog/19782-a-buttery-better-than-breadcrumbs-topping-for-all-your-summer-dinners



Use on soup! Or salads. Or pasta.
Lower the sugar and add some umami oomph—say, chili powder or potato chips—and streusel adopts the role that we normally default to breadcrumbs. Except it’s more adaptable. And buttery.

Master Recipe for Any Savory Streusel
https://food52.com/recipes/71132-master-recipe-for-any-savory-streusel

Makes 5 to 6 cups
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt, to taste
12 ounces cold unsalted butter, cubed

Directions
1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture begins to form a crumbly, curdy—not cohesive—dough. Process more for big clumps and less for a pebbly, sandy texture. (You can also do this step in a bowl with your hands!)

2. Dump onto a plate and continue to squeeze and break-apart the mixture until it looks right to you. (Streusel is very personal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) Refrigerate for a few hours or freeze for 30-ish minutes until firm. (This will reinforce the streusel’s crumby personality.) Bag and store in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

3. To make streusel crunch, heat the oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Spread into a single layer (you may need to use 2 sheets if you can't spread the streusel out adequately) and bake until the streusel begins to brown and crisp—about 20 minutes total, tossing with a fork halfway through. It will continue to crisp as it cools. Cool completely before sprinkling on everything from soups to pastas. Store in an airtight bag or jar for up to 3 days.


HOW TO MAKE IT YOUR OWN

Use this chart to customize your streusel based on your favorite flavors, the ingredients hanging out in your fridge and pantry, or its final destination.
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https://food52.com/recipes/71130-base-recipe-for-any-kind-of-sweet-streusel

Streusel—better known by its street name, crumb topping—is simply flour, sugar, and salt that’s cut with lots of butter until it turns, well, crumbly—like a free-spirited cookie dough.

It takes just minutes to whip up, can be baked straight from the freezer, and keeps there for months. It can be piled on pies or layered into cakes.
Or—à la Dorie Greenspan, who writes about “streusel crunch” in her book Dorie's Cookies—it can be baked solo on a sheet tray, then scattered over ice cream. Or yogurt.

Or soup! Or salads. Or pasta. That's right: Lower the sugar and add some umami oomph—say, chili powder or potato chips—and streusel adopts the role that we normally default to breadcrumbs. Except it’s more adaptable. And buttery. 

THE BARE BONES BASE RECIPE
Makes 5 to 6 cups

2cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4cups sugar
3/4teaspoon salt
8ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Directions
1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture begins to form a crumbly, curdy—not cohesive—dough. Process more for big clumps and less for a pebbly, sandy texture. (You can also do this step in a bowl with your hands!)

2. Dump onto a plate and continue to squeeze and break-apart the mixture until it looks right to you. (Streusel is very personal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) Refrigerate for a few hours or freeze for 30-ish minutes until firm. (This will reinforce the streusel’s crumby personality.) Bag and store in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

3. Put it to good use! Mound 1 to 1 1/2 cups on top of a pie before baking. For cake, follow your pan size and your heart, but figure a very thick layer of streusel in the middle and on top. The more, I say, the better. Or, to make streusel crunch, preheat the oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silicone mat. Spread into a single layer and bake until the streusel begins to brown and crisp—about 20 minutes total, tossing with a fork halfway through. It will continue to crisp as it cools. Cool completely before sprinkling on everything from yogurt and ice cream. (You can even serve it with milk, like the cereal of your dreams.) Store in an airtight bag or jar for up to 3 days.


HOW TO DRESS IT UP
Use this chart to customize your streusel based on your favorite flavors, the ingredients hanging out in your fridge and pantry, or its final destination.



A note on the mixing order: Streusel is rustic by nature, so the only crucial step is under-mixing (too dry) or over-mixing (too cohesive). Any "bonuses" can be included with the other dry ingredients, and the fat should always be last.

HOW TO USE THE ENTIRE BAG

For pies, mound 1 to 1 1/2 cups on top before baking.
For cake, follow your pan size and your heart, but figure you'll want a very thick layer in the middle and on top (pour in half the batter, add streusel, add the rest of the batter, then sprinkle on more streusel). The more streusel, I say, the better.

To make streusel crunch, preheat the oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silicone mat. Spread streusel into a single layer (use two baking sheets if you have to) and bake until the streusel begins to brown and crisp, about 20 minutes total, tossing with a fork halfway through. It will continue to crisp as it cools. Cool completely before sprinkling on everything from yogurt to ice cream to macerated fruit. You can even serve it with milk, like the cereal of your dreams. Store in an airtight bag or jar for up to 3 days.

For more ideas, check out this flow chart (https://s3.amazonaws.com/food52/Sweet-and-Savory-Streusel-Flowchart.pdf), which well help you figure out what flavor of streusel to make depending on what you're cooking. For example, peach pie with salty brown butter streusel. Or frozen yogurt with wheat germ streusel. Or chocolate babka with hazelnut-rye streusel.
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Homemade Pickling Spice Recipe
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-pickling-spice

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 10 min. MAKES: 128 servings Yield: 1/3 cup.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon whole allspice
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)

Directions

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight jar or container. Use in favorite pickle recipes.

Originally published as Homemade Pickling Spice in Country Woman July/August 1992, p38


pickling Spice
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Was checking the difference between vanilla and artificial vanilla.

Artificial vanilla: is a byproduct of paper production or a derivative of coal tar. Coal tar has in the past had a possible link to cancer. Am still researching this.

Natural vanilla though: Cancer: Numerous studies have demonstrated that vanillin, the major component of vanilla, has anti-carcinogenic properties, killing human cancer cells, limiting metastasis (movement of cancer cells from the original site to the rest of the body), inhibiting angiogenesis (creation of new blood supply for tumor). Bromovanin, a vanillin derivative, has been found to stop the advance of a broad spectrum of human cancers. Research at New York University School of Medicine concluded that vanillin is antimutagenic – in human cells it reduced by up to 73% the ability of toxins to mutate DNA in 64 genes that may play a role in cancer.*

*Vanillin is generally regarded as safe for use in food and cosmetics. However, this does not suggest it is safe when inhaled from smoking cigarettes.Vanillin is known to release several substances when burnt. These include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have been classed as human cancer causing agents by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a leading expert cancer organisation). http://health.gov.mt/en/environmental/Pages/Policy-Coordinating-Unit/PITOC/Vanillin.aspx

So don't smoke it.

Home Brew: Vanilla Extract

A lot of commercial "pure" vanilla extracts may contain sugar, corn syrup, caramel or artificial colors as well as stabilizers, and just minimum amounts of low-grade alcohol. To avoid all that stuff and enjoy superior flavor, why not make your own? Here's how:
Take 5-6 vanilla pods (or more!), slice lengthwise, exposing the seeds.
Place pods in a clean jar with an airtight lid. A recycled jar (16 oz.) works well. (You can cut pods in shorter pieces, if too long for the container.)
Pour in enough vodka to cover the beans – any kind of vodka will do (many liquor stores now carry organic!) – and seal tightly. Put it in a cool place out of sunlight. Each day for a week, shake the jar gently, then shake once a week or so for at least 8 weeks, though many aficionados recommend 3 – 5 months for optimum flavor. That's it!
You can remove the beans or keep them in the jar, adding more vodka as you start using the extract. The beans will continue to add flavor for up to a year, but the extract will last for years. For a unique gift: pour into smaller bottles with a pod or two. Cheers!

http://www.rethinkingcancer.org/resources/recipes/vanilla-extract.php

source: http://www.rethinkingcancer.org/blog/spice-of-the-month-vanilla/

In the Kitchen

In Europe and the U.S., vanilla is traditionally found in sweet dishes, though vanilla itself is not sweet. It’s gentle, full-bodied fragrance enhances puddings, cakes, custards, creams, soufflés, ice cream, even liqueurs like Crème de Cacao and Galliano. In Africa and other tropical countries, however, it’s used more in savory stews than sweet treats. Western chefs are just beginning to catch on, adding vanilla to sauces, mostly for fish.
If possible, use fresh beans instead of extract, though both can be used in cooking. To prepare the bean, slit the pod and scrape out the seeds; both pod and seeds can be added. Here are a few different ways of cooking with vanilla:

The spice is exceptional with lobster, shrimp, scallops. Make a cream sauce and spike with vanilla beans.
Vanilla marries well with butter. Add a little to butter sauces for savory dishes featuring fish or chicken.
Use vanilla to round out stronger flavors in salsa, chutney, curries.

Steep a vanilla bean in coffee, cover and chill. Serve with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.
Add vanilla to fruit compotes with apples, gooseberries, rhubarb.
Add a drop or 2 of vanilla extract to holiday eggnog or when whipping fresh cream.

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