Simple Sisters

What to Cook and How to Cook It!

Sunday, December 31, 2006


You would like to make something impressive, you say. And you do not have many strange ingredients on hand. Yes, we understand. And you're not exactly sure what you're serving for dinner, so it has to be a flexible dish of some sort. We see. Not a problem. This is, in fact, rather a specialty of the SimpleSisters, the taking of ordinary things and whipping up something that you might just call fantastic. And so, to satisfy this need for you today, we now share the recipe for Yorkshire Puddings.

Pudding? Oh, no, not the Jello variety. And though they are British, not the typical British short of pudding, which is to say dessert. These little treasures, my friend, are bread, plain and simple. Bread that you can make without any machines, without any kneading, without any yeasts or other confusing ingredients, and that you may (actually, should) bake in a muffin pan!

These little puppies will puff up and look fabulous, with a little well in the center that shows off their airy goodness. I wish I had a picture of the ones I made tonight, but you can look here and here to get the idea.

Now follow me:

3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh herbs, chopped (or dried!)
(Parsley and thyme are lovely here. Rosemary and sage would work well, too.)
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Beat the eggs. Add the salt, pepper, and herbs. Now add about a third of the flour, and stir to blend. Now a third of the milk and stir to blend. Again with the flour, again with the milk, until it's all in there. Now cover your bowl with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes or up to two days (how's that for flexibility?!).

When you are ready: allow 30 or so minutes before table time. Preheat the oven to 425degrees. Put the muffin pan in there while you're at it. Once the oven's heated up, remove your toasty muffin pan and into each cup, either brush a bit of melted butter, or spray nonstick spray. Add 1/4 cup (or so) of batter to each muffin cup. Pop it back in the oven. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350degrees and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

The only hard part here is NO PEEKING. If you open the oven, your beloved effort will not rise or will slump over. Peek ye not.

These are delicious with roast beef or steak and whatever sauce you're having, also with veggies like mushrooms, onions, etc.

Some inventive types add all kinds of things to the batter, such as 1/2 cup crumbled bacon (wouldn't that be a tasty breakfast?!), 1/2 cup grated cheese, even a dash of cayenne pepper.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

cook while you sleep

For years, Mama has made these wonderful sweets called "Forgotten Cookies." I made some last night, and when I mentioned them to SmallBean, she asked that I email her the recipe. In the process of typing it up, I realized that the recipe originated with my Aunt Margaret. Well thank you, Auntie M, for the delicious treats!

I should say before we get into the nitty gritty that this is a recipe requiring tools. Well, one tool, really: a mixer. SmallBean said she tried to make them once without a mixer and gave up. (SmallBean is not a giver-upper, so I suggest you note her experience.)

The real beauty of these lil puppies is that you turn on the oven, make the cookies, pop 'em in, and then TURN THE OVEN OFF and go to bed.
1. way less work than checking every 30 seconds to see if they're perfectly done
2. you get to go to bed a lot sooner than with any other cookie made late at night
3. when you step into the kitchen in the morning and see the mixer bowl soaking in the sink, you are practically guaranteed to think, "What is that from? Oh! The cookies! I forgot!" Seeeeee?

Aunt Margaret's Forgotten Cookies

2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips (regular or mint*)

Pre-heat oven to 350degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Beat egg whites until foamy, but not stiff. Add sugar and beat until stiff. [This took about ten minutes with my mixer.] Fold in salt, nuts, and chips. (Do NOT use electric mixer to fold.) Drop by teaspoon onto foil-lined cookie sheet. Put cookies in oven and TURN OFF OVEN. Do not open oven door until morning, or at least ten hours. Makes about 18 cookies.

* Mint chocolate chips used to be readily available around the holidays. Alas, they disappeared. Aaah, well, here is how to make them yourself:
Put one 12 oz package of regular chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag. Add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. Seal bag and shake. Let sit overnight.

This recipe doubles very well. Just use two foil-lined baking sheets.

Oh, and we sometimes make these two (or three...) nights in a row. Save and re-use your foil, for heaven's sake.

These are really pretty and oh-so-tasty. :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

we feel free to modify any recipe to suit our tastes

Chex Mix

8 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
3 cups* Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
3 cups Multi-Bran Chex

Heat oven to 250 degrees.
In large (preferably orange) roasting pan, melt butter in oven.
Stir in seasonsings.
Gradually stir in Chex until evenly coated.
Bake one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

* I say three cups, but I generally pour into the measuring cup until it definitely runneth over, so it's probably closer to four cups of each Chex, in case you're a stickler.

You will notice the complete absence of pretzels, nuts, bagel chips, etc. Please see subject line. (You should feel free to modify too!)

If you're comparing this to the Chex box, you will also notice to absence of directions to "spread on paper towels until cooled." As doing so would simply soak up butter and seasonings, (and since I add extra Chex to do this), it seems like a very silly step.

"Store" (like it's ever around for very long) in an airtight container.