Saturday, March 17, 2012

Orange Maple Sugar Cookies - Maple Syrup Installment #2

If you've been to summer camp over the last few years, then you know we make cookies everyday for that evenings snack. Each year we change a few of the cookies that we offer. This year a cookie that will be added to our selection will be an Orange & Maple Sugar Cookie. The creation of this formula was purely accidental. I started with our sugar cookie recipe. We exchanged a small amount of the buttermilk for pure maple syrup. This cookie was simply divine. Very soft and chewy. However, in our effort to provide campers with more whole grain, we exchanged most of the white flour for whole wheat flour. We then added orange zest. After baking the cookies and allowing them to cool for 5 minutes we brush them lightly with maple syrup. With the whole wheat flour the maple can get lost. Adding this coating of maple syrup puts it over the top.

Orange & Maple Sugar Cookies

Butter                                                                           1 cup
Eggs                                                                                    2
Buttermilk                                                                 3/4 cup
Pure Maple Syrup                                                     1/4 cup
Baking Powder                                                             4 tsp
Baking Soda                                                                  1 tsp
Ganulated Sugar                                                          2 cups
Vanilla                                                                           1 tsp
Salt                                                                                1 tsp
All-purpose flour, unbleached                                    2 cups
Whole wheat flour                                               2 3/ 4 cups
Orange Zest                                                              1-2 tbsp
Maple Syrup                                                               3 Tbsp

1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Coat baking sheet w/ pan spray (lightly)
2. Cream butter - the butter must be creamed till very soft. This will allow it to incorporate better with the remaining ingredients.
3. Add the sugar. Cream together.
4. Add the eggs - one at a time.
5. Combine the buttermilk, vanilla and maple syrup, set aside.
6. Combine the remaining dry ingredients.
7. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the creamed butter and sugar alternately (ending w/ milk).
8. Add the orange zest. Mix to combine.
9. Using a #30 scoop, scoop cookies onto baking sheet.
10. Bake for 8-9 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool for two minutes.
11. Warm remaining syrup. With a basting brush, coat each cookie w/ maple syrup.
12. Transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool or enjoy warm with a cold glass of milk.

Camp Cookie Facts

The cooks make approximately 15,750 cookies during the 7 week summer camp program each year.
In addition, over the course of a year, the cooks make about 30,000 cookies.
All of our cookies are made at camp. We do not purchase premade cookies.
In cookies alone we use about 1,100 lbs of flour per year.
In addition, we use about 150 dozen eggs for the cookies each year.

I hope you enjoy making this formula! It truly is yummy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maple Season 1st Installment!

This year the LEEP (Lutherlyn Environmental Education Program) staff started collecting sap quite early! Trees were tapped in January! It was the earliest we have ever tapped the trees. Of course, that is great, since the season may end early.  
We use the maple syrup in many ways here in the kitchen. The simplest and most desireable is warmed over fresh made pancakes or French toast.

This month I will be offering a few recipes out for how we use pure maple syrup. I have featured the pecan syrup before, but today I thought I would pass along a small family size recipe. However, if you make the larger, you can store it in the refrigerator for a up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to a month. Replacing the sugar with agave syrup has significantly improved the overall quality of this syrup. With sugar, you have to be concerned with it crystalizing in the refrigerator/freezer.

I also thought I would share our Blueberry Syrup recipe. This recipe tends to change some each time we use it, the outcome is based on what fruits we add to the syrup. It is very versatile. We have used left-over fruit salsa, fresh fruits like kiwi, strawberries, apples and oranges. Honestly, there is not much fruit we wouldn't consider putting in this syrup. Well, okay maybe bananas and grapes! You get the point.
Maple sugar season kicks off Spring. Using the Earth's bounty is great way to come out of the dull-drums of winter. This winter was not incredibly cold as the last few, the lack of green can bring the mood down. Think of the Maple season as the beginning of something great to come.

Today, I am adding a new feature to the blog. The recipes can be printed at my recipe page. As time goes on I will be adding other featured recipes to this page. Click on the Recipe titles below to access the full recipe. After you click on the links below scroll down the page. The recipe is lower on the page. I am working on fixing the error.

Pecan Syrup                                                   Blueberry Syrup


Monday, June 13, 2011

A banquet to celebrate and give thanks!

Every year we host a reception to give thanks to those who help support our camp through the Trinity Pines club.

We always try to find menu selections that are out of the ordinary. It would be easy to serve the same meal from year to year. It is always difficult to find that special meal that will make a mark.

We recently were given the opportunity to purchase round tables to use for banquets. Big thank you for a generous donation.

The dinner started with a salad of spring greens, strawberries, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds and a light vinaigrette.

Marinated grilled chicken topped with monterey jack cheese and a tomato salsa served with a medley of white rice, brown rice and orzo pasta.

Garbanzo bean tagine... a combination of beans, peppers, onions, stewed tomatoes and seasoned with salt, pepper, coriander and cinnamon. Even though this was not the planned vegetarian entree... it had a wonderful flavor. We had about five minutes to toss this entree together since our planned entree failed. I should not say failed... ultimately it worked with a few minor annoyances.

This is by far my favorite dessert that we have ever served here. Who new ice cream and pound cake could be so spectacular. The maple pound cake was indulgent on its own. Topped with a vanilla bean ice cream and maple pecan syrup is was over the top. (I know I previously stated that I do not like pecans. That has not changed... the syrup without the pecans was quite yummy.)


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Was it stepping out of our comfort zone?

Every year for Memorial Day weekend, a branch of the Armenian Youth Federation arrive for a weekend full of fun. This year our numbers topped 275 people in attendance!
We try to organize menus that meet the needs of each group individually. Remember, not everyone is the same! For the last four years... I have made typical everyday food... grilled cheese w/ tomato soup, fried chicken w/ pilaf, spaghetti & meatballs. Every year I get more and more frustrated at either how much food was not taken or the amount of food wasted.
Well, NOT this year! This year I organized a menu that catered to this group specifically! So, the question is did we have to step out of our comfort zone to prepare meals for this group...?????
After researching Armenian recipes, I visited The Armenian Kitchen. Robyn was a tremendous help. She has an extensive list of recipes, many with how to videos! Overall, I was concerned as to which recipes to choose. Imparticularly, I needed an inside scoop as to what Armenian children would eat. Robyn came through! A list of menu selections arrived via email.
Robyn passed on several ideas and recipes to help us on our way. What could have been a difficult menu to put together, was essentially simple. I encourage you to check out Robyn's blog. She really has put together a a great resource. I was able to adapt several of our current recipes to work with our menu selections.

Bokon bread

Zucchini &Eggplant Bake

Oregano & Coriander Roast Beef

Parsley & Oregano Potatoes w/ Lemon

By far this was a success. As each meal went out, my nerves calmed.
One thought I had over and over again was that some of our everyday foods are very similar to Armenian foods. I had to tweak a few of my own recipes / formulas, but overall everything that we incorporated into the menu were simple things.
Stop by some time. Try something new!

So, the question remains... Did we have to step out of our comfort zone? Not at all! Because we strive to make home cooked meals (from scratch) everyday... this simply was just another day! With one main difference... We made a difference! What do you do to make a difference?

In my many thank you's to Robyn for her help on this project I let her know she made a difference for us. She did not have to. But she did! So, out there in this blogosphere world... we have a new friend. Stop on by and say hello!
The Armenian Kitchen">">


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pancakes and Pecan Syrup

It was Open House last weekend. The menu as always was a pancake festival. Here at Lutherlyn we make our own Maple Syrup. Granted, I have the easy part. I just have to serve the syrup. There is another group of incredible individuals commited to using the Earth's bounty. (Thank you LEEP staff)
This year I was committed to keeping it basic. Emphasinzing some key components of the day... maple syrup, pecan syrup and berry syrup and of course the pancakes.
The menu included.... whole wheat pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, maple syrup, triple berry syrup, and pecan syrup. And of course fresh pineapple, cantaloupe and strawberries. We even set out blueberry muffins.
I wanted to share our pecan syrup today.

As with many items I don't have an exact recipe. You see, I strongly dislike pecans. So, this was really trial and error. I have made this syrup before, we coated cinnamon rolls with it.

In my first attempt, I used granulated sugar. In the second attempt, I used agave syrup. What a wonderful switch. If you have not used agave syrup, you need to know that it is 3 times sweeter than granulated sugar. I have used it as a subsitution in many recipes.
The agave sweetened pecan syrup was made with the following ingdients.
Butter - about a pound
Pecans - about 1 1/2 pounds
Maple Syrup - 4 cups
Agave syrup - 2 cups
Water 1/2 gallon
cornstarch - about 1 cup mixed with enough water to dilute the cornstarch
vanilla - to taste
salt - just a dash or two

Remember those blueberry muffins I mentioned earlier.....

Till the next time... Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garbanzo Bean Curry

Book: Quantity Foods
Chapter: Vegetarian

Makes 20 servings

4 medium onions chopped
6 small hot chilies
1 tablespoon garlic
4 tablespoons cumin
4 tablespoons coriander
1 cup olive oil
56 ounces canned - diced tomatoes
32 ounces garbanzo beans drained
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons cilantro
Lemon juice

1. Blend onions, chilies, garlic, cumin, and coriander to a paste. Add a little water if necessary.
2. Cook the paste for 10 minutes or until lightly browned
3. Add the canned tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and stock. Bring to a boil, simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice, just before serving.


Baked Portobello Mushrooms

Book: Quantity Foods
Chapter: Vegetarian

Makes 25 servings

3/4 cup sunflower oil
50 portobello mushrooms cleaned
6 1/4 med onions chopped, fine
6 tablespoons garlic minced
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 pounds can tomatoes chopped with herbs
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups pine nuts
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese Freshly grated

1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
2. Lightly oil/coat with pan spray a baking dish large enough to place the mushroom caps in a single layer.
3. Remove the stalks from the caps. Chop the stalks coarsely and set aside. Place the caps in the pan in a single layer.
4. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and saute' the onion, garlic and mushroom stalks until softened. Stir in the oats and cook for 1 minute.
5. Stir in the canned tomatoes and hot pepper sauce. Season with Salt and Pepper.
6. Evenly divide the filling mixture among all of the caps.
7. Sprinkle the stuffed caps with pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
8. Bake 25 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is golden brown.

NOTE: Other flavorful mushrooms can be substituted for portobellos.