Malcolm and Kelley McDowell’s Pink Rigatoni

A few weeks ago I invited my friend Kara over for dinner.  I am trying to practice using my cookbooks and explore recipes a little bit more.  One of the cookbooks that has been in my collection, but which I had yet to try a recipe was the New York Times Cookbook.  In looking through the cookbook, I wanted to try to make something where I had most of the ingredients.  I used a Tisdale Cabaret Sauvignon for the wine and it added great flavor.  I really enjoyed the recipe, wish I would have taken photos, but didn’t.  I plan to make it again soon.

Malcolm and Kelley McDowell’s Pink Rigatoni

10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil

10 to 12 plum tomatoes, quartered (canned may be used off-season)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup red wine

1 pound rigatoni

3/4 stick salted butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Over medium heat, saute garlic in oil till brown (but no darker). Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and saute for 30 minutes till the liquid begins to evaporate. Pour in the wine and cook an additional 20-30 minutes till thickened, then remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

Boil the rigatoni till al dente.

Fold the butter, Parmesan and sugar into the sauce until it turns the famous pink. Dump in the rigatoni, mix and serve.

Carrot Cake

In our family cookbook is my grandma’s recipe for Carrot Cake, with one accidental ingredient lost.  It’s listed without sugar.  I don’t know which of our family members first realized the sugar was missing from the recipe, but I hope they found out before they baked it!  I made the Carrot cake for our gift exchange at work, with a theme of “Thumpety-Thump-Thump.”  I went with a thumper theme instead of the Frosty the Snowman theme.

Grandma Kate’s Carrot Cake

2 c flour

2 c sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

4 eggs

1 ¼ c oil

2 c grated carrots

8 ¾ oz can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 c chopped pecans

1 c grated coconut

Mix dry ingredients.  Add eggs and oil.  Beat well.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bake in greased 9×13 pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat together 1 stick margarine, 8 oz cream package, 4 c powdered sugar, 2 ½ tsp vanilla

Reese’s Peanut Butter Candy Cookies

The final installment of last year’s Christmas cookies, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Candy Cookie.  A standard drop cookie, it’s full of peanut butter and candy goodness.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Candy Cookie

¾ c chunky peanut butter

½ c butter, softened

1 c light brown sugar

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 ¼ c flour

2 c quartered miniature peanut butter cups

1/3 c milk chocolate chips

Beat peanut butter and butter in mixing bowl and medium speed.  Beat in brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda until blended.  Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended.  Beat in flour at low speed until just mixed.  Stir in peanut butter cups.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drop cookie onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Place chocolate chips into small resealable plastic food storage bag; seal bag.  Microwave at medium (50% power) 1 minute.  Turn bag over; microwave at medium 1 minute or until melted.  Knead bag until chocolate is smooth.  Cut off a tiny corner of bag; pipe chocolate decoratively onto cookies.  Let stand until chocolate is set.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

My mom made Date Pinwheels for the first time in history.  I don’t know why she hasn’t made them before, but they’ve never been at the top of our list of favorites.  However, the first thing my dad said when he saw them was that his brother Denny loved date pinwheels.  He shared that his mom baked them for Denny when he was in the seminary.  I might not love them, but I think that makes it worth writing it down and sharing it with the world.


Date Pinwheels

½ c solid vegetable shortening

½ c brown sugar

½ c sugar

½ c smooth peanut butter

1 egg

2 c flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

Chocolate Filling:

1 pkg chocolate chips (6 ounces)

1 Tbsp butter

Date Filling:

½ lb pitted dates, cut into fourths

1/3 c water

¼ c sugar

¼ c chopped nuts

In a mixing bowl, combine shortening, brown sugar, sugar, and peanut butter.  Add egg; beat until light and fluffy.  Sift flour with salt and baking soda.  Add to shortening mixture; blend well.

Roll dough into an oblong shape ¼ in thick.  Cover dough with waxed paper or clean towel while preparing either the chocolate or date filling.

To make chocolate filling: Melt chocolate chips over hot water.  Mix butter with melted chocolate.  Let cool slightly.

To make date filling: Cook dates, water and sugar until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add nuts.  Let cool slightly.

Spread chocolate and date fillings on dough.

Chill at least 2 hours.  Roll, cut and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Peanut Blossoms

I’m pretty sure everyone has a peanut blossom recipe.  They are one of those fan favorites that shows up on just about every plate of cookies at the holidays.  Some folks insist on the standard Hershey kiss, while others prefer the generic, not smooth chocolate kiss.  We’ve always been a smooth kiss family.  I’ve never known which recipe my mom used, but this one tasted good this year on her tray of goodies, so I insisted on copying down the recipe.  Here we are:

Peanut Blossoms

Cream together:

1/3 c peanut butter

½ c margarine

½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar


1 egg

Mix well and add:

1 tsp soda

1 ¾ c flour

2 Tbsp milk

Chill at least 2 hours.  Shape into balls, roll in sugar.

Bake on a greased sheet at 350-375 degrees for 8 minutes

Remove from oven and top immediately with a chocolate kiss.