Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crockpot Chili

Chili works well for a afternoon meal while the football games are on and family and friends have gathered.

You’ll Need
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 28 ounces stewed tomatoes
  • 15 ½ ounces kidney beans, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

  • Brown beef, drain fat and put in Crockpot.
  • Add rest of ingredients, except kidney beans.
  • Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Add beans about 1 1/2 hours before you serve.

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Well as we all know, the new year is just around the corner. Here is a meal to help you bring in the luck!

You’ll Need
  • 2 cups black-eyed peas, dried
  • 2 quart of water, more if needed
  • 1 ham bone with “trimmings”
  • 3 onions, medium, chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Wash the beans well in cold water several times, then place in a large, heavy stew pot and cover with water.
  • Allow to soak overnight.
  • The next morning (start early - beans like to take their time), pour off the soaking water, and ham bone, 8 cups of water, onion and seasonings.
  • Put on the back of the stove and let simmer gently until beans are very tender, usually about 4 hours.
  • Add more water if needed.
  • Remove and discard ham bone.
  • If the water looks a bit scant pour in 1-2 cups more.
  • When beans are good and tender remove about a cupful of the beans and mash well with some of the bean liquid. (This can be done in a blender)
  • Return mashed beans to pot, taste for seasoning, and serve steaming hot over freshly cooked white rice.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Winter Spice Cake with Caramelized Apple Topping

This dessert take some time but it is well worth the effort. So take advantage of the holiday season and have fun baking away.

You’ll Need

• 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 6 medium Golden Delicious aples (about 2 ¼ pounds), peeled, each cut into 6 wedges, cored
• 4 Tablespoons plus 1 ¾ cups sugar
• 1 cup whipping cream
• ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
• 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon ground allspice
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• ½ cup sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom with foil; grease foil. Wrap outside of pan with foil.
  • Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon sugar. Saute apples until almost tender and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons sugar. Increase heat to high and toss until sugar melts and apples are deep brown, about 4 minutes. Pour apple mixture onto large plate (do not clean skillet).
  • Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add ¾ cup sugar and cook until mixture is deep golden brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes (mixture will be grainy). Add cream and vinegar (do not stir). Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer without stirring until most of the caramel bits dissolve, about 8 minutes. Uncover and whisk until sauce is slightly thick, deep brown and reduced to generous 1 cup, about 3 minutes longer. Pour caramel sauce into small saucepan.
  • Spread 3 Tablespoons caramel sauce over bottom of prepared pan. Arrange apple wedges side by side, rounded side down, in caramel in 2 concentric circles.
  • Sift flour and next 6 ingredients into bowl. Beat 6 Tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl to blend (mixture will be grainy). Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla and ¼ cup caramel sauce. Beat in half of dry ingredients, then sour cream, then remaining dry ingredients.
  • Spoon batter evenly over apples. Bake cake until test inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes.
  • Cut around cake; remove pan sides. Cool cake 15 minutes longer. Place platter atop cake; invert cake onto platter. Remove pan bottom and foil. Replace and dislodged apples. Rewarm remaining caramel sauce. Serve cake warm or at room temperature with sauce.

This recipe is take from the Bon Appetit, March 1999 issue. It is a wonderful dessert for the festive holiday season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Date-Pecan Bread

Breads of all types make wonderful gifts. Need a gift for someone special? Make them a special bread and don't forget the secret ingredient of love.

You’ll Need

  • ½ cup dates, dried, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cup flours, all-purpose, sifted
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

  • Soak dates for 2 hours in water, then drain and dry on paper towels.
  • In a bowl, mix egg, sugar, and butter.
  • Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients alternately with orange juice and water, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  • Stir in dates and pecans and beat until well blended.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 9x5x3" loaf pan.
  • Bake in a preheated 350'F oven for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until bread tests done with a toothpick in the center.
  • Unmold and cool on a rack.

Will Clower Articles Will Clower Audicles

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ginger, Lemon Scones

Expecting holiday guests? These scones would make a nice complement to a relaxing brunch.

You’ll Need:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped, (found in the spice section of store)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and cream of tartar.
  • Stir in ginger and lemon zest.
  • In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and oil.
  • Fold into dry ingredients until blended.
  • Turn the slightly sticky dough out onto a lightly floured board and form into a rectangle about ½ inch in thickness.
  • With a knife, cut each triangles about 4 inches tall (or so).
  • Reroll and cut the scraps, handling the dough as little as possible.
  • Place scones onto a baking sheet.
  • Blend water in w egg in a bowl, and then lightly paint the tops of the scones with the glaze.
  • Sprinkle scones with sugar.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and firm to touch.
  • Serve warm.

Will Clower Articles Will Clower Audicles

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Herbed Goat Cheese Dip

Herbs can be used in many different forms. Not only do they add flavor to our foods, but they are also bonuses to our health. This herb enriched goat cheese dip makes a wonderful appetizer.

You'll Need
  • 8 oz. goat cheese 
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 3 T plain yogurt
  • 2 T chopped fresh chives 
  • 2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

  • Mix goat cheese, oil and yogurt in a food processor until smooth.
  • Transfer to medium bowl.
  • Mix in all herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Chill at least an hour before serving.

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.
Will Clower Articles

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Banana Bread

The yogurt in this bread adds moistness to the final product.  This also can make a very nice  holiday gift.

You’ll Need
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Mix in the bananas.
  • Mix in the remaining ingredients.
  • Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  • Bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Will Clower Articles

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Butterscotch Baked Pear

This is a fabulous dessert to top off a fantastic holiday dinner. And pears are in season. 

You'll Need
  • 6 medium (6 to 7 ounce) ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Scotch
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out core from each pear half.
  • Melt butter in large ovenproof skillet over medium heat.
  • Whisk in brown sugar and salt.
  • Arrange pears, cut side down, in skillet in single layer.
  • Spoon some of sugar mixture over pears.
  • Place skillet in oven; bake until pears are tender, basting once with syrup, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer pears, cut side up, to large shallow bowl, leaving syrup in skillet.
  • Mix Scotch and vanilla extract into syrup.
  • Using oven mitts as aid, place hot skillet over medium-high heat (mixture may ignite).
  • Cook until syrup is reduced by half, whisking often, about 2 minutes.
  • Spoon syrup over pears and serve.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Golden Fruitcake

With the holiday season upon us many goodies are being made, shared and enjoyed. Sometimes when people here fruitcake they run. But this is one that will redefine fruitcake. This has been tested and enjoyed many times by family and I and so I wanted to share it with all of you.

Yield: Makes 4 loaves


• 1 7-ounce package marzipan, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1 1/4 cups chopped dried Calimyrna figs (about 6 ounces)

• 3 cups combined chopped dried pears, dried apricots and pitted dates (about 15 ounces total)

• 1 cup golden raisins (about 5 ounces)

• 1/2 cup brandy

• 4 8 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/2-inch disposable aluminum loaf pans, 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch corrugated paper baking loaf forms*or 8 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pans

• 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

• 1 1/2 cups sugar

• 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

• 8 large eggs

• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3 cups all purpose flour

• 1 1/2 cups pine nuts (about 6 ounces), toasted


Place marzipan on plate; cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight. Combine dried figs and next 3 ingredients in large bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter baking pans or forms. Beat 1 1/2 cups butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until light. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Stir in flour in 4 additions. Stir in pine nuts, dried fruit mixture and any soaking liquid from bowl. Gently stir in marzipan.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Place pans on baking sheet. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on racks. Wrap in plastic. Let stand at least 1 day and up to 3 days at room temperature or chill up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature.

Reference: Bon Appetit 1998

Friday, December 11, 2015

Caramel Sauce

This can be a fun holiday time dessert. Serve with apple and pear slices. 

Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups

You’ll Need
· 2 egg yolks, beaten
· ½ cup packed brown sugar
· ½ cup granulated sugar
· ¼ cup butter
· ½ cup water1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Heat all ingredients to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve warm or cold. 
  • Refrigerate any remaining sauce.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins

Cooking with pumpkins can be very nutritious and delicious. Here are some tips. First off it is always best to cook with smaller pumpkins as they yield more flavor. Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and then place the halves cut-side down in a baking dish and bake at 350 until the flesh is soft. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor and then it is ready to use. The puree can also be placed in the freezer at this time and used later on.

Yields: 24 standard size muffins

You’ll Need:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips or 2 cups chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg, sugar, pumpkin and oil until smooth.
  • In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • Then add to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips or nuts.
  • Fill greased or paper-line muffin cups three-fourths full
  • Bake for 16 to 20 minutes of until a toothpick can be stuck into a muffin and come out clean.
  • Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hollandaise Sauce

Serving broccoli or asparagus as a side dish at a holiday meal? Turn it into a spectacular side dish with a drizzle of some Hollandaise sauce.

You’ll Need
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne

  • Melt the butter and keep it hot, but do not brown.
  • Put the yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in the container of an electric blender.
  • Blend on low speed, gradually adding the hot butter until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

Prepares about 3/4 cup.

Will Clower Articles

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Make Ahead French Toast

Looking for a breakfast for the out of town holiday guests? Try this make ahead French toast

You’ll Need
· 12 eggs
· 2 cups milk
· 1 teaspoon lemon rind
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· ½ teaspoon salt
· ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
· 8 slices of bread, cut on the diagonal

· Grease 9 x 13" shallow baking dish; set aside.
· In large bowl, beat together all ingredients except bread.
· Arrange bread slices so they overlap.
· Pour egg mixture over the bread.
· Cover; refrigerate overnight.
· When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
· Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden and fluffy.
· Serve with syrup or jam.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ginger Snaps

One of the most perfect holiday cookies! Give this ginger snap recipe a try.

Yields: Approximately 3 dozen cookies

You’ll Need:

  • ¼ cup softened, butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar and a bit extra to roll onto cook dough
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger


  • Preheat to 375 degrees F. 
  • Combine butter, sugar, molasses, and egg. Beat well. 
  • Sift all dry ingredients together. Add the dry to the wet mixture. Mix well. Add ginger chips and mix throughout. 
  • Chill mixture for one hour. 
  • Form 1-inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet, approximately 2- inches apart. 
  • Bake 8-10 minutes.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chocolate Truffles

Looking for a special gift for that special someone? Make some chocolate truffles for them! 

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (or another)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 pound dark or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup confectioner's sugar
    *you can use just cocoa or you can mix it up and use finely chopped nuts, or shredded coconut. etc.


Combine all of the truffle ingredients in a double broiler.

Place over low heat; melt the chocolate, stirring ingredients occasionally.
When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and let cool until the mixture begins to thicken. For best results, place saucepan in ice water and stir constantly.

When cool, whip mixture with an electric beater on high until the chocolate is light and fluffy and a color change appears. It should look almost light brown (the color change is really the key). This will take about 12 to 15 minutes.

Using two teaspoons, put small scoops of chocolate on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Then, place sheet in the refrigerator.

Combine your choice of coating ingredients in a strainer and sift into a bowl.
Dip each truffle into the cocoa (or other coating) mixture, roll it between your hands to coat it (make sure your hands are cool, otherwise the truffle will melt). Shape it into a ball and return it to the cookie sheet. Refrigerate when finished.

When firm, transfer the truffles to a tightly covered container and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Yields: approximately 2 1/2 to 3 dozen depending on the size you make the truffles.

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.
Will Clower Articles

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This combination is so surprisingly wonderful together because you basically have a spice cake that is made moist by the zucchini and sweet by the chocolate, that's a win-win! Try making this for a homemade holiday gift.

Double Chocolate Zucchini BreadYou'll Need:
  • 2 Ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 Cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 Sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups grated zucchini
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 Cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F and butter two 9" x 5" loaf pans.

Place the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on low in 30 second increments, until the chocolate has melted and is completely smooth.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix in the zucchini. With a spatula, add the melted chocolate and stir until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips. Fold the flour mixture until it forms a smooth batter. 

Pour the batter into the loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. 

Will Clower Articles