When I spoke to the St. Clair Woman's Club last week, one of the sources I mentioned as having great impact on my job were food blogs.
I realize that there are some readers who do not have Internet access, but if you love to cook, start thinking about how to enter this amazing world of information and education about food.
Specifically, bookmark Food52.com. It is one of my favorite sites, chock full of photos and how-to videos. This past week I learned how to turn a rimmed baking pan into a smaller-sized tart pan. So simple with a strip of aluminum foil! Why didn't I think of that?
Another tip was to freeze a stick of butter the night before you use it in a recipe that calls for cutting cold cubed butter into flour. Take the frozen stick and grate it with a box grater. The butter will remain very cold and incorporate even better than the cubes. Plus, you won't have to work as hard to get it to come together.
A reader requested a sweet molasses bread recipe. I found the one she wanted, but actually preferred this one from cooks.com.
APPLE MOLASSES BREAD
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside. Combine applesauce and molasses. Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce mixture to egg mixture. Fold in raisins and nuts. Pour into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan and continue cooling on a wire rack.
A reader asked me to find a recipes she'd seen demonstrated on TV. This pie is from "P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes from the Garden."
Buttermilk Pecan Pie
1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 pie crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease the foil.
2. Stir the pecan halves, light brown sugar, and dark corn syrup together in a small bowl. Spread the mixture out on the jelly-roll pan, and bake, stirring every 4 minutes, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the glaze thickens.
3. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the pecans in a single lyer on wax paper. Let the pecans cool complately, separating them a spoon as they cool.
4. Lower the oven to 325 degrees.
5. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, and pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Scatter the chopped glazed pecans evenly on top of the pie filling.
6. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until set. Let the pie cool on a wire rack before serving at room temperature.
Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.