Everything Rub

Years ago, my husband and I came across Szeged brand steak rub in a restaurant supply store. We tried it and were quickly hooked — it’s a great basic flavoring not just for steak, but for chicken, pork, even fish or vegetables. So while we still refer to it as steak rub, we should really call it an everything rub. We probably use it most often for roast chicken.

Over time, we’ve developed our own copycat version of the rub — a mix of spices we actually like better than the original. After all, when you blend your own spices you have a chance to use fresh, high-quality ingredients, and tweak the flavors to your taste.

Ingredients

1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp paprika (sweet)
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp celery seeds

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the rosemary and thyme into small pieces. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in a cool, dry place.

Pictured: Pyrex Town and Country 501 Refrigerator Dish, Hazel Atlas Mixing Bowl

Honey Lemon Dressing with Preserved Kumquats

We have a huge crop of kumquats this year from our patio tree, so I’ve been trying out some new ways to use them. And since I’ve been into fermentation lately, I preserved a jarful of kumquats in brine with a few spices. The result: a little spiced jewel with the pleasant funkiness of a preserved lemon and a fruity taste somewhere between a sour orange and a sweet tangerine.

Now, what to do with these preserved kumquats? They have cocktail potential, or would be great on a cheese board, but to me salad dressing seemed like the easiest place to start. Here I’ve added them to a basic honey lemon dressing, and the result is so good I think I’ll be making it again and again.

Fermenting kumquats is easy and fun — I used this recipe from the Kraut Source website. But you can also make this dressing with fresh kumquats, leave the kumquats out altogether or use a teaspoon of grated zest from another citrus fruit.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp coarse Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 preserved kumquats, thinly sliced (seeds removed)

Whisk together all ingredients except the kumquats, until well combined. Stir in the kumquats, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then whisk before using.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Fire King Gravy Boat, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

Double Streusel Coffee Cake

This is my all-time favorite coffee cake: a simple white cake sturdy enough to hold plenty of crumbly brown sugar streusel. It comes from an old Betty Crocker recipe — when I was growing up, the 1969 edition of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook was my family’s go-to for a lot of baked goods. But over the years I’ve made a few changes — most importantly, I’ve always liked to double the streusel topping. It’s the best part! So here’s my take on updating the recipe with the “proper” amount of streusel.

Ingredients

Streusel:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, softened

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.

For the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter, using a fork or pastry cutter to distribute the butter evenly. Set aside.

For the cake: In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and egg, then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

Pictured: Fire King Meadow Green Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Agee Pyrex Paisley Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

Cranberry Apple Breakfast Cake

When I was growing up, one recipe my family always made for guests was a breakfast cake called Apple Delight. I suspect it might have come from a magazine or newspaper clipping at some point, as many “family recipes” do. But after decades of baking it again and again, it has been imprinted on my family history.

The original recipe just calls for apples, but after stocking up on some post-Thanksgiving cranberries, I decided to try mixing them in. The cranberries add a nice tang and extra dimension to the cake.

Note: I baked this in an 8×8 pan because I wanted to use my Fire King dish, but it’s really too small — the batter ended up ballooning over the top edges of the pan and the top got very brown by the time the cake fully set. If you don’t have a 9×9 pan, 8×8 is doable — just allow for some extra cooking time.

Ingredients

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped granny smith apples (about 2 small apples)
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in apples, cranberries and pecans.

Pour into a greased and floured 9×9 pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Pictured: Fire King Hildi Fruit Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 401 Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate