My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Printable Recipes

I'm movin' on up to the big time. Thanks to my wonderful niece, Angie, you know, the one going to the "blogging boot camp" next Friday and also the Ballard Boys blog.

I can now offer you "printable recipes". This may take some time for me to get to all of them. I will do the newer ones first and gradually get them all done. If you have one that you would like in printable form, just post a comment and I'll get right on it. No reason to use all that extra ink.

I hate finding a recipe that I want to make and having to print the whole blog to get it, or keep running from the kitchen to the computer to check the recipe.

Thanks for your patients while I struggle through this learning to blog business. It really is fun, plus it keeps me from shopping and out of bars.

Breakfast Cookies

It really doesn't get any better than cookies for breakfast, yes, they even have bacon in them. They are suppose to be for fussy little kids that don't like breakfast, however big kids that don't take time for breakfast love them also. Now, the perfect breakfast would be Individual Breakfast Pies as found on Ballard Boys and two Breakfast Cookies. Any kid in the world would eat breakfast then.

For a quick breakfast, make cookie dough in advance, form into tablespoonfuls, and freeze on a cookie sheet. When frozen, remove from cookie sheet, place in a plastic bag, and return to freezer. To bake, as needed, pop frozen cookies into 350 degree F. oven for 18-22 minutes.

Breakfast Cookies
Cookies 12-18 cookies

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups corn flakes
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, beat until well blended. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture until well combined. Stir in bacon, corn flakes, and raisins.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack.

Everyone Is On Their Own Journey

Last week I shared a part of the Daily Lenten Reflections booklet by Paula D'Arcy, that my church had provided for us, and received so many nice comments from church members that I thought I would continue this week from the same booklet.

Everyone Is On There Own Journey

"The path we walk begins at birth, and everyone we love is on their own journey. It's tempting to think that the way I walk the path is the "only" way, or the "right" way, or that I am able to tell someone else how to live their life-or even think that they need me to do this. I have to let that conclusion go. Everyone I love has their own journey and must figure things out for themselves in their own time. Each person has a right in his or her own way.

I can only turn to my own path and the longing that drives it. The specifics of my path are not vital. What matters is whether or not I respond to the call of my own soul. Will I summon enough courage to look at what is not yet loving in me, not yet free, and be willing to grow? Will I allow my hurts and disappointments to transform me? Will I acknowledge the infinite design of things and put down my insistence on my own small story? If I am able to do so, a great door opens."

Today: "I pray for kindness to wash over my judgements and righteousness so I may walk my own journey and let others walk theirs."

Some days this is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. Letting those we love make there own mistakes, or not, without me. How quickly I forget, someone more important is in charge of their journey and He doesn't need my help.

We are so blessed to have two wonderful pastors at our church, Scott and Susan. Susan had a great reminder on Tuesday at Christian Women's Fellowship, to broaden our prayers to include our nation, our men and women in the service, and not to just pray for our small areas of life.

I'm certainly guilty of that and will try to do better.

Have a blessed week.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

The famous opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini made her debt in San Francisco and returned every opera season. Her after-the-opera parties were unrivaled. This recipe combining chicken and pasta is one of her creations. It can be made ahead and popped in the oven while guests enjoy conversation, antipasto, and wine. It is also excellent to pop in the oven while family or guest are yelling at the sporting event on T.V., eating from the veggie tray and drinking beer. It has no limits.

There are numerous recipes for this dish and was very popular in the 70's and 80's until someone told us that half and half was bad for us. Nothing in moderation is bad for you, so enjoy.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
6 generous servings

1/2 pound (8-ounces) spaghettini
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 pound fresh mushroom, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked boneless chicken breast or other parts, diced
3 tablespoons sherry
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mince parsley for garnish

Cook the spaghettini as per package directions "al dente." Do not let it become mushy. Drain a set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Blend in the flour and cook together a minute. Slowly add the half-and-half, stirring until the mixture is slightly thickened (this is a thin sauce). Add the salt , pepper, and cayenne. Stir in the green pepper, mushrooms, chicken, and sherry. Blend well and set aside.

Lightly butter a 3-quart baking dish. Place the pasta on the bottom, and pour the chicken sauce on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Cook uncovered in a 350 degree F. oven for 45 minutes. If you make the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it, allow 15-20 minutes extra for baking. Garnish with parsley.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Suffern Inn Salad

This salad must be prepared 24 hours ahead of time. It is most unusual and very delightful. It is perfect with grilled, steak, chicken, pork or fish. I am so ready to fire up the grill after this awful winter. Anything I can do ahead is great with me, it's just one more thing I don't have to think about. Actually it's more like remember to do. Enjoy!

Suffern Inn Salad
6 servings
Printable Version

6 tablespoons mayonnaise
Juice of one lemon
1 small onion, finely minced; or 2 tablespoons minced chives
2 cups frozen peas (do not thaw)
1 cup Swiss or Cheddar cheese strips
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups lettuce torn into bit-size pieces
8 slices crisp crumbled bacon

Twenty four hours before serving, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, frozen peas, and cheese strips in a bowl. Stir well, add salt and pepper to taste; cover and refrigerate.

Before serving, add lettuce and bacon, toss well and taste again.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I have not made Tuna Noodle Casserole in months, however it is my "go to" recipe when I'm in a hurry or just feel like good comfort food. Everything is in the pantry. I have tried all kinds of "new recipes" for Tuna casserole and some are pretty good. Even to the point of grilling fresh tuna to make it. This is still the way it should be, unless you want Salmon Noddle Casserole, then use a large can of drained salmon instead of the tuna. We all know a little sauteed onion and celery never hurt anything.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 can (10/34) Campbell's Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Celery soup
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons chopped pimentos (optional)
1 cup frozen peas
2 can (about 6-ounce each) tuna, drained and flaked
2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs or 2 handfuls crushed potato chips
1 tablespoon butter

Mix soup, milk, pimiento, peas, tuna and noodles in 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes, or until hot. Stir

Mix bread crumbs or crushed potato chips with butter and sprinkle on top. Bake 5 minutes.

Maybe this is what's for dinner tonight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Couple of Products That I Really Like

I hope you didn't think this was going to be about cooking products. Wrong!. I really can talk about things other then cooking, that's just my favorite. This is products we use everyday, shampoo, well sort of, and skin cream, sort of.

I'm really not impressed with something because of the brand name. Mascara to me is mascara, toothpaste is toothpaste, etc., I still use Pond's Cold Cream. On T.V. about a month ago I heard some doctor talking about his recommendation for cold weather body "ointment". Being almost out of Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, I wrote the name down on my shopping list. I am ashamed to say I do buy a few things from Walmart, never food. The product is made by a fine old company Eucerin and is named Aquaphor. I have seen it a million times. It is usually on the bottom shelf and does not have one of those cute little pump things. I purchase the smallest jar they have, 3.5 ounces.

After a few days I have run out of my Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion and open up the Aquaphor. My first thought is "crap, this stuff looks like Vaseline Petroleum Jelly". Well I put it on anyway, thinking I'll probably have to take another shower to get it off.

This stuff is amazing, it absorbs right away and your skin feels so smooth and soft. Now, after using it for a week, those little wrinkles you get above your knees, are gone. I hate you if you don't get them. Your feet will feel and look like they did when you were 20. I go back in a few days and buy two of the biggest jars they have, because I know they are going to run out, or worse, stop making it. I'm not taking any changes. If you get winter skin this is for you.

Now lets talk about shampoo that has no bubbles. You have seen "Wen" on QVC and other places. I love this product, but it is very pricey. I happen to be in Sally's Beauty Supply a few days ago and overheard this lady talking about a product like Wen. I all but tackled her to find out where she found it. "Right here at Sally's" she said. Sure enough there it was Hair One, Hair Cleanser and Conditioner. If you haven't used a hair cleanser before it takes a little getting use to because it doesn't bubble up. No detergent in the cleanser means no dry frizzy

I have fine, limp, color treated hair and if I can use this anyone can. Give it a try. Don't say I hate this after a few days. It's all in your mind because you are still looking for the bubbles.

That is all the recommendations I have for today.

Simple Southern Baked Grits

The perfect dish for a breakfast/brunch buffet. I really should have waited to closer to Derby Week to post this because it is a must have on a Derby Breakfast Buffet table. I'll bring it back then. Grits are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, any time of the year.

I wanted to post this now because of the Lamb Shanks. Every time I make Lamb Shanks, I make Baked Southern Grits. To me they just go together. See what you think!

Simple Baked Southern Grits
6 servings

1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 cup hominy grits
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Add salt to water; bring to a boil. Stir in grits slowly, keeping water at a brisk boil. Cover and cook slowly for 1 hour, or until grits are soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in butter and milk. Cool to lukewarm; beat in eggs and turn into greased 2-quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Ten minutes before dish is done sprinkle cheese over top and bake until golden.

Variations: For more pronounced cheese flavor, stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese before baking. And for garlic cheese grits, stir in a 6-ounce roll of garlic cheese before baking. For a sharp tangy casserole, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper may be added. If you're a grits fancier, anything you do to this dish is right!

COOK'S NOTE: Yellow Cheddar may also be used. I like the white better just for the color.

Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb is my second favorite meat in the world, next to fresh seafood. If I had to choose between a Fillet Mignon and Braised Lamb Shanks, I'd take the Lamb Shanks. Lamb can be a little pricey, but like everything else it does go on sale. All your larger grocery stores will have them or your butcher shop. Don't forget, make your butcher your best friend.

How many times have I heard, "I don't like lamb" or "I don't eat lamb". My sister being a good example. Every Easter I had Leg of Lamb, every Easter she ate like there was no tomorrow. I simply didn't mention what it was. I have tried many recipes, but this is the one I always go back to. This has been adapted from the New York Times Cookbook copyright 1961.

Braised Lamb Shanks
6 servings - One meaty shank per person is plenty

6 lamb shanks
flour for dredging
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (House Seasoning is better)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup dry red wine - whatever you're having for dinner is fine
3/4 cup beef bouillon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wipe the lamb shanks well with damp cloth. Combine flour, salt, pepper and oregano and dredge the lamb shanks with the seasoned flour. Brown in the oil and transfer to a large earthenware casserole or Dutch oven. Add the vegetables, garlic and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring, five minutes.

Pour the vegetables over the lamb and add the liquids. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Thicken the gravy with a little flour mixed with cold water, if you like.

Serve with Good Rice and Roasted Asparagus for a fabulous meal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Crusty Baked Potatoes

We all know that a baked potato is just about as boring as it gets, unless you pile on the butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon bits. You have also piled on all the calories.

This is a nice easy change of pace and everyone loves potatoes. You know you can't have mashed everyday.

Crusty Baked Potatoes
about 4 servings

The following proportions are for 4 small or medium potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds). Prepare a potato for each person (with 2 extra for emergencies) and multiply recipe as required.

Wash and peel baking potatoes, leaving them whole; pat dry. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan; roll potatoes in butter, then coat evenly with 1 cup of fine dry breadcrumbs which have been mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon paprika.

Place potatoes in shallow buttered casserole, cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until tender. Any butter left from coating potatoes may be added to bottom of casserole. For the last 20 minutes remove cover and turn potatoes to brown evenly.

These will wait nicely in a 200 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or so.

Chicken with Dried Beef

OMG! How long has it been since you had this, or have you ever? This was such a popular dish in the 70's and 80's. I'm going to post this just as it appeared in Southern Living. Take note that this recipe was for 3 servings. Back then a whole chicken breast was a nice serving for 1 person. Now with all the growth hormones and such it's not uncommon to see a chicken breast weigh a pound or more. Just another reason to buy free range or visit a organic farm that raises chickens. You are what you eat.

Chicken with Dried Beef
3 servings, more like 6 servings

3 whole chicken breast
1 (8-ounce package or jar of dried beef, paper thin
6 strips bacon
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 (10 2/4-ounce) can condensed cream of muhroom soup
2 tablespoons sherry (real sherry not cooking sherry)

Bone chicken breast, like that's going to happen, and cut in half; set aside. Arrange dried beef in shallow baking pan large enough to hold chicken in 1 layer. Wrap a strip of bacon around each breast half; arrange over beef.

Saute mushrooms in butter and spread over chicken. Combine soup and sherry, and mix until smooth; pour over chicken.

Cover baking pan with aluminum foil, and bake at 300 degrees F. for 2 hours. Uncover; increase heat to 350 degrees F. and bake an additional 20-30 minutes, basting several times.

NOTE: No seasoning is suggested; black pepper may be added, but do not add salt.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Huhn Fricassee mit Reis

Commonly known as Gourmet Chicken with Rice. So easy and good. If you don't want to stand and cut up a whole chicken, use the pieces you like. Please leave the skin on for cooking, you don't have to eat it, but give it a chance to have some flavor.

Huhn Fricassee mit Reis(Gourmet Chicken With Rice)

1 cup uncooked rice
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 ( 10 1/2-ounce) can onion soup
1 can of white wine or water
1 frying-size chicken, cut up
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper chicken pieces, or use House Seasoning is better, let stand for at least 20 minutes, overnight is better.

Place uncooked rice in bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan, or close; mix cream of mushroom soup, onion soup and wine or water and pour over rice. Mix slightly. Place seasoned chicken pieces on top of rice mixture.

Bake at 325 degrees F. for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken). When chicken has browned on one side turn and allow to brown on other side.

Provencal-Onion Salad

What a strange salad you say, just wait until you've had a bite. This onion salad of Provencal origin has long been served at barbecue dinners in the far western states. It is traditionally served warm or at room temperature. This is excellent served with steak, grilled chicken, pork
or fish. The ultimate is to have Vidalia onions for this salad.

Provencal-Onion Salad
Serves 6

6 medium onion, unpeeled, any variety (red and white make a nice combination)
4 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano, dried or fresh
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

Place the unpeeled onions in an oven-proof dish. Mix the wine and olive oil, and pour over the onions. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. for one hour. If the liquid should dry out during the baking, add a little more oil and wine.

After baking, allow the onions to cool just enough to handle. Peel the onions and slice the best you can---baked onions are a little tricky to slice perfectly. Place the onions in a pretty bowl. Pour the dressing over them.

Mix the dressing, using a fork, then blend with the sliced onions. Garnish with some snipped parsley.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Roasted Turkey Drumsticks

My sister and I use to make these years ago when we were young, broke and lived together. Turkey drumsticks were one of the cheapest meats you could buy then, and we both loved them. Over the years as I got a little more profession in the kitchen and a little more money I think I improved the recipe a little. I'm sure I didn't spent the money for extra-virgin olive oil and real butter at the time. You have to remember this was about the same time they invented canned soup. These truly are wonderful, and are good with any sides.

Roasted Turkey Drumsticks
4 servings

4 medium to large turkey drumsticks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (House Seasoning)
2 carrots, washed, peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, washed and coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
8 springs fresh thyme, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Season the turkey legs with salt and pepper or House Seasoning. If you have time let them set covered in the refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour.

Toss the carrots, celery, and onion with the olive oil, garlic, pepper, thyme and bay leaves.

Spread the vegetables in a large baking dish or roasting pan lined with foil. Spread the sliced butter and pour the water over the vegetables. Arrange turkey legs on top.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast, turning the legs and vegetables every 30 minutes, until the meat is fork tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. I don't always turn them that often and they're fine.

Remove the pan from the oven and let rest about 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve the turkey legs with the roasted vegetable and a starch ( it's always mashed potatoes for me). The Twice Baked Potato Casserole is great with this.

Soul Pork Roast

I love Boston Butt roast and it's on sale this week at Kroger. I have always done the poke a hole insert a sliver of garlic thing, but I found this recipe on Chef John Folse & Company and thought, "how wonderful".

Soul Food to me just screams slow cooked, flavorful, inexpensive and comfort. Lesser cuts of meat, trimmings and leftover vegetables were often thrown into a black iron pot in a slave cabin to create a dish that far surpassed an entree in the "main house" The flavor of soul is all over this pork roast.

Soul Pork Roast

1 (5-pound) Boston Butt roast
1/4 cup garlic, diced
1/4 cup green onions sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
2 jalapeno or cayenne peppers, diced
4 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1/4 cup oil
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, sliced 1-inch
1 quart beef or chicken stock
1 cup green onions
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Dash of hot sauce, or to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine diced garlic, green onions, thyme, basil, jalapeno or cayenne peppers, salt and pepper. Using a paring knife, pierce approximately 10, 1-inch holes through the roast and season each pocket with an equal amount of the mixture. This will give great internal flavor to the roast. Season the outside of the roast completely with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. In a heavy bottomed dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Sear 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetable are wilted. Surround roast with onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and carrots. Pour in stock, bring to a rolling boil and reduce to simmer. Cover, place in oven, and allow to cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until roast is tender. Add green onions, parsley and a dash of hot sauce. Remove roast and place on serving platter. Allow to rest 15 minutes prior to slicing. Serve over steamed white rice with a generous portion of the pan drippings and a slice of corn bread.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Show Up for the Feast

This is from a little booklet that had been place on a table in the foyer in my church last Sunday. Daily Lenten Reflections - Paula D'Arcy. There is a daily reflection for each day of Lent, I just love them. This is the one for today.

Sunday Second Week of Lent
Show Up For The Feast

A women is sitting across the table from me at a hostel in Chartres, France. We have just arrived as part of a group of pilgrims who were following the well-traveled pilgrimage route from Paris on foot. She leans over and shares the single phrase that has filled her mind as she walked: Show up for the feast. Through the long miles she began measuring that phrase against her life. Am I showing up, she asked herself? Showing up to the people on my path, to life's challenges, to a compassion for humankind and to the capacity of my heart? Am I growing, in spite of the pain of growth? Have I showed up to labor in the fields of life, carrying "neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes" "Or am I simply walking in a daze and a frenzy of activity, moving from one event to another? I've made a resolve she finally says. "I'm resolving to show up for the feast."

Today: I want to show up for the feast. I pray for the courage to move past my fears and into the heart of life.

Isn't that wonderful. Have a blessed week, and show up for the feast. See you next Sunday.

Hearty Lentil Stew with Sausage and Something Green

Really, I don't know why I forget about lentils. They are so good and healthy, not to mention they are one of the oldest components of the human diet. Dating back over 12,000 years. Lentils are even mentioned in the Bible. Genesis 25:34 - "Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some stew of lentils. He ate, drank, and then got up and left."

This is a stew, if you want it thinner just add more water and broth. This freezes beautifully.

Check out the calorie count!

Hearty Lentil Stew and Sausage and Something Green
12-14-one cup servings - 80 calories per cup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 -3/4 pound of sweet Italian turkey sausage (use what you like, calories will change)
2 medium carrots,peeled and cut in small dice
2 stalks celery, cut in small dice
1 large onion, cut in small dice
1 pound red or yellow lentils
6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (may need more)
6 cups water (may need more)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaf
1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leafs
1 bunch broccoli (See instructions, almost anything green)
1 tomato, diced, more if you like
Salt and Pepper to taste or House Seasoning

Place the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (4 quarts or larger). On medium high heat, brown the sausage on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Add the diced carrots, celery and onion. Reduce the heat to medium and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Do not allow to brown.

Add the lentils, stock, water, basil, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. Cut the sausage into bite-size pieces and add to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat to a medium simmer. Cook until lentils are tender (about 30 minutes for red, about 60 minutes for yellow).

Now it's time to choose something green. It can be broccoli, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, bok choi, green cabbage, napa cabbage, swiss chard, etc. you get the idea.

When the lentils are tender, add the diced tomato and the chopped green vegetable of choice, stir and continue to cook, covered until the veggie is tender. The kale and collard greens, may take longer to cook, 5-15 minutes depending on the vegetable of choice.

COOK'S NOTE Like almost any soup/stew this improves with standing. Refrigerate and reheat or freeze.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Red Lobster Maryland Crab Cakes

This is from my favorite copycat food blog Recipe Secrets - Ron Douglas. The recipe is in honor of my niece, Angie @ Ballard Boys. Angie is on her way to a big blogging boot camp in the next couple of weeks in Baltimore. I am so jealous! Maryland does have the best crab cakes in the world, but we will let her decide.

I hope I'm not going to make anyone mad or upset, like I really care, but I have had Red Lobster Maryland Crab Cakes and they don't even compare with this recipe. Do you know why? This recipe has no filler, none, pure crab meat and a little seasoning. That is just the way they are suppose to be made. You will never use another crab cake recipe.

Serve them a'la carte, in a sandwich or beside a salad.

Maryland Crab Cakes
Serves 4

1 pound limp crab meat, make sure you check for shells before preparing
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced celery
2 tablespoons good mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil for sauteing

In a bowl combine all ingredients, except the crab and bread crumbs. Mix the ingredients together and then carefully mix in the crab meat.

Spread out the bread crumbs on the counter. Roll crab meat mixture into a ball about 2 inches or so in diameter. Put the ball in the bread crumbs flattening it out into a patty about 1-inch thick by 3-inches in diameter. Refrigerate the crab cakes until you are ready to cook them.

In a skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown the crab cake on each side for about 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes.

Angie, we will be awaiting your comments.

Savory Pot Roast

How long has it been since you made "The Campbell's Soup Pot Roast'? This is the first pot roast I ever made in my adult life. I think I started making this right after they invented can soup. Made it last week when I didn't feel like chopping and watching and adding later and all that stuff. Brown the roast, mix everything else together, pour it over the roast, put it on simmer, set the timer and jump back on the computer.

Savory Pot Roast
6-8 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 boneless beef round roast or chuck roast (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 1/4 cups of water
1 envelope (about 1 ounce) dry onion soup mix
6 medium potatoes, cut into quarters
6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional)

Heat the oil in a 6-quart sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned on all sides. Pour off any fat.

Stir together the mushroom soup, 1 cup water and soup mix in a medium bowl. Add the soup mixture to the sauce pot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Add the potatoes and carrots to the sauce pot. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the beef is fork tender and the vegetables are tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a serving platter.

Stir the flour and remaining water in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Stir the flour mixture in the sauce pot. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Serve the gravy with the beef and vegetables. I don't find this step necessary. The gravy is perfect for me without the thickening. To each his own.

Serve with any green vegetable you like, and good bread for sopping up the gravy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rise and Shine Salmon and Bacon with Grits

I can taste this as I'm typing. What a shame we don't use more of the old economical dishes that our mothers and grandmothers used. Not that either one of mine made this, but you know, like Salmon Cakes with White Cream Sauce, Stewed Chicken Gizzards over Rice. Calves Liver and Onions. I'm getting carried away here. Those are for another time.

Salmon and Bacon and Grits are a very Southern dish and probably more so in South Carolina. This is a breakfast dish, but let me tell you, it's just as good for brunch, lunch or supper. Add a big pile of fluffy scrambled eggs if you want but you don't really need them. A nice cup of fresh fruit on the side is great. This is just plain good. Garnish with a little parsley, if you like.

Rise and Shine Salmon and Bacon with Grits
4 servings

For the Grits:
3 cups of water
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits (I did not say instant)
1/4 teaspoon salt

To Continue:
8 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup green bell pepper
One 15-ounce can salmon (red or pink, how much do you want to spend)

1. To make the grits, bring the water to a boil in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over high heat. Slowly stir the grits into the boiling water. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened. Stir in the salt and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until browned. Remove from the pan and crumble. Save all but 2 tablespoons of the grease for another use.

3. Add the onion and green pepper to the two tablespoons of grease remaining in the skillet cook, stirring, until softened, for about 4 minutes. Break up the salmon and add to the skillet (including the canning liquid), and cook, stirring up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Serve over grits.

California Minestrone Soup

Well, I'm off to the grocery. Me and everyone else in a 20 mile radius because we are suppose to have more snow this weekend. If there is snow on the ground there has to be soup or stew on the stove.

The reason I call this California Minestrone Soup is because it is very uncomplicated, like most California cooking, good ingredients and plenty of herbs and spices. I've seen minestrone soup recipes with a list of ingredients that go on forever. All that is not necessary to have a fabulous soup. This is a thick soup - minestrone means "big soup". If you wish a thinner soup, add more liquid. A little red or white wine always enhances the flavor.

This will serve about 10 for dinner. If you don't have ten, it freezes beautifully.

California Minestrone
10 servings

3 quarts water
1 onion chopped
1-2 pound beef shank bone, or any other soup bone
3 ribs celery, diced
1 cup white great northern or navy beans, soaked over night
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste or House Seasoning
2 medium sized zucchini, diced
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 10-ounce package frozen Lima beans
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup spaghetti (broken in 1-inch lengths)
Parmesan cheese and minced parsley for garnish

In a large soup pot place the onion, garlic, celery, and a splash of olive oil, saute about 3-4 minutes, not brown, add beans, beef shank, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer covered until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half. Remove the cover and add the zucchini, peas, limas, garbanzos, and spaghetti. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Before serving, discard the bone, mince the meat, and return it to the soup. Garnish each bowl with Parmesan cheese and minced parsley.

Tomato-Basil Soup

I have been promising a few low cal recipes. If I hadn't told you it was low-cal you would never know. There is no flavor compromise here. At 70 calories per cup have two.

Since it is dead winter here, I'm going to recommend canned tomatoes. At least we know they were canned at the peek of there flavor season, at least my home canned ones were.

Tomato Basil Soup
7 cups - 70 calories per cup

1 cup onion chopped
1 cup carrots, grated
1 teaspoon canola oil
nonstick cooking spray
6 large tomatoes, or 2 15-ounce cans of whole tomatoes
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped, lightly pack
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
2 cups vegetable broth

Saute onion and carrots in oil and nonstick spay until onion becomes translucent. Add tomatoes, basil, sugar and lemon pepper and bring to a boil. Stir mixture then lower the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

Place mixture in blender or food processor and puree. Return to pot, add broth, stir and heat until steaming. I like the food processor because it leaves some texture.

No reason not to plop a spoonful of sour cream on each serving and garnish with a little chopped basil leaf for garnish. Just because it's low- cal doesn't mean it can't be pretty.

Easy Focaccia

Focaccia Bread is my all time favorite of any bread. It's great for sandwiches, with soups or salads,or appetizers, can be very plain, or have several toppings. I just love it!

This shortcut version starts with frozen bread dough. All you do is thaw it, press it in the pan, and add toppings. Get creative and vary the toppings --try whole pitted olives, slivers of garlic and ham, and grape tomatoes. Even buying the frozen bread dough it is so much cheaper and better than store bought.

Easy Focaccia
2 loaves

2 (1 pound) loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small white or purple onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt - Kosher is fine
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place each portion of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet; slightly flatten each dough into a 12 x 8 x 1/2-inch rectangle. Press your finger or knuckle into dough at 2-inch intervals to create "dimples". Brush with olive oil. Top with onion rings; sprinkle evenly with cheese, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm, or cool completely on wire racks.

COOK'S NOTE: I normally am only baking one loaf at a time so I like using my pizza peel and stone. Make sure you have plenty of corn meal on the peel to keep it from sticking and you can slide it easily onto the preheated stone.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Incredible Pimiento Cheese

I know I already have a Pimiento Cheese recipe posted, Sara's Pimiento Cheese, but this one is different and I love them both.

This one is from the Episcopal Church Women of Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, North Carolina. Church cookbooks are the absolute best place to find fabulous recipes.

This makes a lot, 8 cups, so cut the recipe in half or be prepared to freeze some. It freezes beautifully. Remember to keep some in the refrigerator for quick lunches or suppers with a bowl of soup. Talk about bringing back childhood memories.

Incredible Pimiento Cheese
8 cups

1 (16-ounce) loaf process cheese spread, cubed (Velveeta)
4 cups (16 ounces)shredded mild Cheddar cheese
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups good mayonnaise
2 (4 ounce) jars diced pimiento, drained
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Process half of all ingredients in a food processor until cheese mixture is blended. Remove the processed cheese mixture to a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining half of ingredients.

COOK'S NOTE: Spread two slices of buttered whole wheat bread with pimiento cheese, top with thinly sliced apples; put sandwich together and grill for a wonderful Grilled Cheese and Apple Sandwich

The Best Mashed Potato Pancakes

Have you ever seen anyone that did not love potato pancakes? This was inspired by a recipe on , however since changing 4 ingredients and changing the cooking procedure I doubt they want any credit for it.

Potato pancakes can be a little boring if you don't give them a little bling. The first thing you're going to say after mixing all this stuff together is "That's to thin. They will never hold together when I turn them." This is going to have to be a "trust me". If you follow the instructions they will be perfect, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

The Best Mashed Potato Pancakes
6-8 pancakes maybe more
print recipe

2 cups COLD mashed potatoes, made with butter and milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or Dried Herb Mixture
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Original Seasoning
1 tablespoon seasoned flour or all-purpose flour
2 slices of bacon, fried, drained and crumbled (optional)
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

Combine the egg , spices and flour well; mix in with the cold potatoes; add bacon crumbles, if using. Return the mixture to the refrigerator or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Mixture should be cold. In a medium size skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add potato mixture in heaping tablespoons and smooth into pancakes with the back of the spoon. Not too thick, not to thin. Reduce heat a little and cook for about 8 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn, just brown nicely. Don't try to turn until nice and brown or they will fall apart. Turn and brown other side for 3-4 minutes. These are wonderful for breakfast also.

COOK'S NOTE: Finely diced ham would be a wonderful addition instead of bacon.

Six-Week Bran Muffins

This recipe is as old as I am. Haven't made it in years but am making it today or maybe this weekend since we are suppose to have more snow.

Would you rather offer your kids or husband a fresh baked muffins in the morning rather than cold cereal or processed Pop Tarts. These are so much healthier. I know it looks like a lot of sugar, but you are making a lot of muffins, 5 dozen.

The batter will keep in the refrigerator for 6 weeks, they will never last that long. The batter makes a lovely gift for anyone. Place in a pretty container, (a quart Mason jar with a ribbon works for me) with the baking instructions attached. Don't forget to mention the "Do Not Stir" part of the recipe. People will think you are so smart.

It's very important not to stir the batter as you remove it from the container each time you bake a few.

Six-Week Bran Muffins
5 dozen
print recipe

2 cups boiling water
2 cups whole brain cereal
3 cups sugar (can reduce to 2 cups)
1 cup shortening, melted (not oil)
4 eggs, beaten
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups bran flakes or raisin bran
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt

Pour the boiling water over the whole bran cereal and let stand. Mix the sugar with the melted shortening, well; beat in eggs and buttermilk; add the wet bran mixture. In another bowl combine the flour, they rest of the bran, baking soda and salt. Stir into liquid mixture. The mixture will thicken as it stands.

Store in a crockery-type cookie jar in the refrigerator for up to 6-weeks. When ready to bake, as many or as few as you need, spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes. Do not stir the mixture when you take it out each time.

COOK'S NOTE: For variety take half the batter and add 2 peeled and chopped apples, and 1 cup of raisins. Now you have Apple-Raisin Bran Muffins. These will not save as long because of the apples.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baked Southwestern Tilapia

I for one am very glad that Lent starts today. We have been stuffing rich heavy food in our bodies since Thanksgiving. It's time to start lightening up a little. Time to focus on improving our mind, body and soul. Getting ready for Easter and what that means to us. Fish and seafood are a great way to get started, as well as meatless legumes dishes. This one is always a favorite on my back porch.

Tilapia is a very misunderstood fish, I think. It is very mild in flavor and lends its self to almost any recipe calling for a firm, mild fish. Very inexpensive compared to other fish, and available in almost all areas of the country.

Turn on the oven, whisk together a few spices and dinner is ready before you know it. Feel free to adjust the heat level of the seasonings to your liking. Try this with cod, halibut or trout. Serve with a simple salad and rice pilaf. The fish only has 230 calories per serving.

Baked Southwestern Tilapia
4 servings - 230 calories per serving

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, chili powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Sprinkle over both sides of tilapia.

Coat a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Arrange the tilapia in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle tilapia with the remaining tablespoon of oil and bake until golden brown and the flesh begins to flake, 7 to 9 minutes, don't overcook. Serve with lime wedges.

Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is the parent of the famed San Francisco Rice-a-Roni. You can buy the cute little box with the cable car on it, suggesting the culinary reputation of San Francisco, but if you have a little time, try this traditional pilaf.

Rice Pilaf
4 servings

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup vermicelli or other fine noodles
1 cup long grain rice
Salt and pepper to taste or House Seasoning
2 cups chicken broth (1/4 cup may be white wine)

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Break the noodles in 1/2 to 1/4-inch pieces. Add the noodles and rice to the pan. Stir around in the butter until glazed and very lightly browned. Add liquid, salt, and pepper to blend. Cover and cook over a low flame for 25 minutes, or bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (I prefer the oven method). Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Does Lent Mean To You!

I'm not Catholic, simply try to be a good Christian, and every year during Lent I have always sacrificed something. I'm not talking about starvation and dehydration. It can be almost anything, but it should be important to you in a way. Don't give up green peas if you already hate green peas. For most people it's things like chocolate, meat, alcohol, smoking. I have a friend that only has one meal a day and two smaller meals that don't equal one meal.

I have another friend that gives up cooking every year during Lent. He is an avid cook and prepares lots of stuff for the freezer that can be reheated or baked when needed.

My dear sweet Jesus I love you more than anything, but I just can not give up cooking!

Lent is also about helping others and reflecting on our own lives. Clean out your closet, mentally. physically, and spiritually, and take stuff to the Salvation Army or Hope Center, whatever is in your area.

Before heading to the grocery call an older friend to see if they need anything or would like to go grocery shopping. How long does it take to bake a loaf of sweet bread to take to a neighbor. Share that big pot of soup with someone who lives alone.

A little sacrifice and being nice, everyone has time for that.

This year I'm giving up hot chocolate, which I dearly love. I hope I make it. My niece, Angie, came up with a Lenten challenge that I'm also doing "40 Bags in 40 Days". Every day during Lent I bag up a bag for the trash or to be given away. Neat right! If nothing else I might be able to find things I've been missing forever.

Papa's Pasta E Fagioli

I'm pulling this from the "Archives". It is the perfect Meatless, Ash Wednesday meal. I'm posting this today because you have to soak your beans overnight. This was originally postied the first part of January. It is now the middle of February and I'm ready for some serious whining.

Well yesterday I was all excited about making Snow Cream and put my 6 quart stainless steel bowl outside to gather snow all day. At 4:00 p.m. I went to get it and I might have had a 1/2-inch of snow. Not enough for Snow Cream, maybe next time. We haven't had a day above freezing in 2 weeks and next week only looks a little better. If you think I'm whining now just wait until the middle of February you will stop reading this blog by then. I only know one other person that hates cold weather more than I do, my niece Angie. These other idiots around here just love it. Well it's a good reason to stay in and cook. Cold weather just screams "Soup". I have been making this soup for 20 years. Yes, I'm old, but I'm not telling you how old. This is from a really old cook book, one of my favorites, Papa Rossi's Secret of Italian Cooking, copyright date 1969. This is real, old Italian cooking. If you are looking for an Olive Garden type of Pasta Fagioli, this ain't it. Twenty times better. According to the book, this recipe is over 2,000 years old. Don't be emailing asking about the tomatoes, carrot, onion, etc. found in most of today's recipes, they are not in this. Don't worry about the amount of olive oil , it absorbs into the beans giving them a wonderful flavor. No you can not use canned beans because they will be mush by the time the olive oil absorbs. I hope that's all the questions you had. You really will love this.

I know pictures would be nice but I'm sure you know what white beans look like.

Papa's Pasta E Fagioli
1 pound white dried beans, soaked in water to cover, overnight
1 cup of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, unpeeled
1 large Italian bay leaf
1/2 pound salad macaroni (I like the little shells)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground hot red pepper
Few sprigs parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook beans in water in which they were soaked. Salt to taste, bring to slow boil, skim foam, add oil, garlic and bay leaf. Cook beans gently until tender, approximately 2 hours. The oil will be completely absorbed and a delicate flavor is the result. Remove garlic and bay leaf.

Cook the macaroni, drain and reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Add pasta to the beans, with the reserved liquid and the hot pepper, and simmer until thick.

Garnish with parsley and grated cheese before serving. All you need is a simple salad and hot crusty bread for a complete meal.


Crawfish Etouffee

I was in shock the other day when I saw my meat market actually had crawfish. They really are so wonderful I don't know why I was surprised. If you have never eaten Louisiana crawfish you are really missing something special. With Lent just a few days away this would make a great addition to your menu planning. It was in a small town, Breaux Bridge, in St. Martin Parish, that crawfish etouffee originated. So say the food historians, and not known to the rest of the country until the late 1940's or early 1950's. I'm not sure it has still made it's way to Kentucky.

Crawfish Etouffee
4 servings

1 stick butter, (1/4 pound)
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onion

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell peppers and saute until soft and golden, 10-12 minutes. Add the crawfish and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium. Stirring occasionally, cook until the crawfish begins throwing off a little liquid, 10-12 minutes.

Dissolve the flour in the water. Add to the crawfish mixture and season with salt and cayenne. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Add parsley and green onions and cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and serve.

All credit on this one goes to Emeril Lagasse in Louisiana Real and Rustic

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mushroom Lasagna

Are you having a "Meatless Monday" today, if so this is the perfect recipe. Snow up to my butt and a heavenly lasagna in the oven to sooth my winter blues. This calls for a really good bottle of wine, lets see what I have. How about a Cakebread Cellars - Chardonnay. I don't care if it snows all day.

You wouldn't be making this sauce if you had made some the other day and put in in the freezer.

Mushroom Lasagna
6 generous servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 peeled onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped (see Cook's Note)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes (solid pack or diced)
1/4 cup red or white wine (you can spare 1/4 cup of what's for dinner)
Salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning)
2 eggs
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1/2 pound lasagna noodles (green or white)
1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups sliced Mozzarella cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Fry just until slightly limp. Do not brown. Add the tomato sauce and canned tomatoes (breaking up large pieces), wine, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered, stirring now and then, for 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. This can be done a day or so ahead. This is a good basic sauce and can be used as a topping for any pasta.

To prepare lasagna, beat the eggs lightly and mix with the ricotta cheese. Blend in parsley. Cook the noodles as per package directions. Lightly oil a 3 to 3-1/2 quart baking pan with a little olive oil. Place 3 tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of noodles followed by a layer of the sauce. Plop little dabs of the ricotta mixture next, then sprinkle with Parmesan followed by slices of mozzarella. Repeat the procedure until all ingredients are used. Bake uncovered in a 350 degrees F. oven for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Let stand a few minutes before cutting into squares. Remember to add an extra 15-20 minutes to the baking time, if the dish has been made ahead and refrigerated.

COOK'S NOTE: A mixture of your favorite mushrooms is always nice. I like using portabella's because they are so nice and meaty.

Cheese Pudding for Presidents Day

It really isn't necessary to have a special meal or dish for Presidents Day, but since I just happen to have one, with a great story along with it I thought I would share. To be honest I'm pretty tired of the whole George Washington Cherry Pie thing.

In the 1920s the Lynn Hotel in Hodgenville, Ky, owned and operated by the Wimsetts, was a family-style hotel which drew Sunday dinner crowds from a wide area of Kentucky. In addition to Kentucky country ham with red-eye gravy, fried chicken, fresh vegetables, and homemade ice cream, there was always the traditional Hodgenville casserole known as cheese pudding. In recent years the Hodgenville Woman's club has served it on many occasions and always at the annual Lincoln Day celebration, which draws many famous people to the town. When it was served to the late Vice-President Alben Barkley, he asked for a second helping. A few years later when President Eisenhower was served cheese pudding, he requested not only a second helping but the recipe as well. The recipe has been published in several periodicals and in the Senate Cookbook.

Cheese Pudding

1 cup soda cracker crumbs (saltines)
2 cups medium white sauce
4 eggs, hard cooked, grated
1 (7-ounce can pimientos, grated
1/2 pound American cheese, grated ( Velveeta)
Buttered crumbs

Mix cracker crumbs with white sauce; stir well to be sure all are moist. In a buttered casserole place a layer of crumbs, a layer of eggs, a layer of pimientos, and a layer of cheese. Repeat layers. (If cracker crumbs are not well moistened add a little milk). Top with buttered crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thank you Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs 1976 for your Kentucky Hospitality Cook Book., and this wonderful recipe.

COOK'S NOTE: All this grating that's going on can be done in the food processor.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You're Blessed

I still can not seem to get out of Luke, there must be a reason. I'm going to stay with it.

Luke 6:17-21

You are Blessed

Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a large congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him - so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:

You're blessed when you've lost it all.
God's kingdom is there for the finding.
You're blessed when you're ravenously hungry.
Then you're ready for the Messiaanic meal.
You're blessed when the tears flow freely.
Joy comes with the morning.

"Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You will be glad when that happens - skip like a lamb, if you like! - for even though they don't like it, I do...and all heaven applauds. And that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this."

What a relief to finally understand that the only approval that we need is from our Lord Christ Jesus. I have always loved the little saying "What other people think of me is none of my business." I'm not sure if that takes some of the pressure off or puts more presssure on. I'll have to think about that.

Have a blessed week. Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is upon us. I've already posted Grillades and Grits and now it's time for Jambalaya. There are as many recipes as there are bayous that crisscross the good state of Louisiana. This recipe is from Louisiana Real and Rustic - Emeril Lagasse. Emeril is one of the very few chefs that I don't mess with their recipes a lot. According to Emeril it is believed that the word comes from the French jambon, meaning ham, the African ya meaning rice, and the Acadian (or "Cajun") language where everything is a la. It is a article of faith that jambalays should - must - be brown, like this recipe. The brown color is achieved by caramelizing the onions and browning the sausage and chicken in a black cast-iron pot. In New Orleans and some other parts of the state, jambalays is often red, made so by adding tomatoes. That version may have, instead of chicken, ham and shrimp as well as sausage. The only common ingredient that all jambalayas have is rice. No matter which of the jambalayas you choose to make, the secret to tender, moist rice is the two-to-one ration of liquid to rice.

Get out the cast iron pot and lets get started

Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya
10 - 12 servings

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 pound andouille, chorizo, or other smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/2 pound boneless white and dark chicken meat, cut into 1-inch cubes.
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain white rice, uncooked
6 cups water
1 cup chopped green onions

1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and i teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any brown particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.

2. Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8-10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.

3. Add the rice and stir for 2 or 3 minutes to coat it evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Check this after 18-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

4. Stir in the green onions and serve.

COOK'S NOTE: It takes less time to put this together than it does to read this damn recipe.

Eggs Foo Young

I know it's Valentine Day, but it is also the Chinese New Year - The Year of the Tiger. To be honest I really don't care about the Chinese New Year, but I didn't want to slight anyones holiday. I do however love Eggs Foo Yung. This is a great easy recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The California Cookbook.

Eggs Foo Yung
8 pancakes or 4 servings

3 eggs
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup minced pork, chicken, or shrimp (optional)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced green onion
3-4 tablespoons peanut or salad oil

1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Beat eggs in a bowl until slightly thick. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil and blend. Do not prepare this ahead, as it will get watery. This is a last minute affair.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. When oil is hot, take a large spoon and pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the oil. Repeat the procedure until you have as many pancakes as your pan will hold without overcrowding. Cook a few minutes on one side and then turn. Each side should be light brown. You may need an extra turn to get the perfect doneness.

To make the sauce, place the broth in a saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Heat slowly while whisking until the sauce is slightly thickened. Dribble this over the egg foo yung.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine Day

Well, you all have all the recipes for what will be on my table for Valentine Dinner, Sauerkraut Salad, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon, Twice Baked Potato Casserole and Bourbon Chocolate Cake. Damn, I forgot the bread. Just buy some nice yeast rolls from the bakery, I'm to tired to start making bread.

The really nice thing about this whole menu is that most everything can be made ahead and cooked on "the" day.

Do something nice for someone who might not have a Valentine this year, an elderly neighbor or a friend who has lost a spouse this past year. It doesn't take much to brighten someones day. If it doesn't brighten theirs, I guarantee it will make you happier.

Stay tuned we are getting ready for Mardi Gras, (Fat Tuesday)!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin will be on my table for Valentine Day dinner this year. Unlike Pork Loin Roast that is best cooked low and slow, Pork Tenderloin needs to be cooked high and fast. This is due to it's low fat content. I use the same Dry Herb Mixture to season both. See Roasted Pork Loin for Dry Herb Mixture recipe.

Due to the different sizes of Pork Tenderloin it is hard to give an exact cooking time. You will have to rely on your thermometer. Pork needs to be cooked to 145-150 degrees F., there will be carryover cooking.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin
4 servings

2 pork tenderloin (8-12 ounces each)
4 teaspoons olive oil, this is approx, enough to coat well
4 teaspoons Dried Herb Mixture, approx. 2 teaspoons per tenderloin

Rub each tenderloin with olive oil; rub approx 2 teaspoons of Dried Herb mixture into each. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from refrigerator and let stand until the oven preheats to 500 degrees F. Roast tenderloin on a rack until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F. Start checking after 15-20 minutes for smaller tenderloins. Remove from pan and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Boneless Pork Roast

When I get down to two pork loin roast in the freezer, I start to panic. When they go on sale, $1.89 - $1.99 per pound) I buy 2 whole loins. One for chops, one for roast, and the ends will give you enough for a nice pork stew. This is why your butcher is your best friend. Tell him you want the ends cut into 2-inch cubes, one loin butterflied chops, and one loin into two roast. They should average about 3 pounds each.

Boneless Pork Roast
6- 8 servings

Rub evenly, not sprinkle, over entire surface of pork loin:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon Dried Herb Seasoning (recipe follows)

Let stand at least 20 minutes, or much better covered in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 250 degrees and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 145-150 degrees F. About 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The temperature will continue to rise.

Remove to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil, let stand at least 10 minutes. To make pan gravy, skim off the fat from the pan juices. If desired, place the pan over medium-high heat and add:
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
To make about 1 cup liquid. Boil scraping up the browned bits, until slightly thickened. Cut the meat into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices and spoon the pan juices or pan sauce over.

Dried Herb Mixture
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary,crumbled

In a medium bowl toss all the herbs to combine and use the quantity called for in the recipe.

COOK'S NOTE:When you get home all you have to do is get out the Food Saver or freezer bags, label and freeze the roast. Place the chops on a cookie sheet and freeze them solid. When frozen place in freezer bags, label and put back in the freezer. This way they don't stick together and you can take out as many as you need.

Homemade Sauerkraut-Easy

I love to can, preserve and dehydrate, and cabbage is a year-round vegetable. The easiest recipe in the world. You will never buy sauerkraut again. People who don't like sauerkraut love this. Heaven only knows where I found this recipe, it's written on that famous yellow legal pad with the grease stains. I make several batches of this a year. If you don't make this for any other reason than to make the Sauerkraut Salad or put on hot dogs, it's worth the little bit of effort.

Homemade Sauerkraut - Easy

Per Pint Jar:

Shredded Cabbage
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Distilled water (make sure it's distilled water)

The number of jars will depend on the size of the cabbage. Shred cabbage, I use a knife, cut maybe 1/8-inch shreds, don't get it too fine. Pack cabbage in sterilized and cooled pint jars. Don't use quarts, it doesn't work as well. Add salt, sugar and vinegar. Add distilled water, leaving about 1- inch head space. Remove bubbles by sliding a stainless steel knife around the edges inside the jar. Cap jars (Mason jars). Will be ready in about 3 - 4 weeks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walnut Bourbon Balls

This recipe is directly from the pages of a Good Housekeeping Cook Book copyright 1942. It is very must like one on the Food Network that they call Kentucky Bourbon Balls, which is a candy. These are cookies. How can you make candy with vanilla wafers? That is only one of many reasons I don't use many Food Network recipes.

These would make a perfect Valentine gift, packaged in a pretty heart shaped cookie box. Quick and easy, no baking. Just remember to make them 2 or 3 days ahead to ripen.

Walnut Bourbon Balls
Makes 3 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups finely crushed packaged vanilla wafers (about 5 dozen)
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup confectioners' sugar sifted
1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped, or walnuts and shredded coconut
3 tablespoons corn syrup, white or dark
1/4 cup good bourbon
Confectioners' sugar

Mix well wafer crumbs, cocoa, 1 cup sugar, nuts. Add corn syrup, bourbon; mix well. Form into 1-inch balls; then roll in sugar. Store in covered container a day or so to ripen.

COOK'S NOTE: We have so many more products to chose from than in 1942. I like the dark chocolate cocoa . Usually I use Black Walnuts, if you like English Walnuts better use those. Sometimes I use the mixture of coconut and walnuts, sometimes just walnuts. They really are wonderful no matter what you do.

The Soup

My sister and I have been making this soup for twenty years or more. It has never had a name, we just called it The Soup. In addition to the items below sometimes we would add some chopped cabbage or if I had leftover baked chicken, I'd add a little of that. I really prefer it with no meat. The Soup is quick and easy and very healthy. Served with a salad and a big chunk of Italian bread you have a wonderful meal.

The Soup

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 (19-ounce) cans of Cannellini beans, Great Northern works fine
4-5 cups chicken broth or stock
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste or House Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
4-5 cups of fresh kale, chopped
8 ounces of pasta, cooked al dente , any kind of soup or salad pasta that you like
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot add the olive oil , onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes, saute for 4-5 minutes before adding garlic for a minute or two; add seasonings, stirring for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chicken broth and beans, bring to a slow boil and add chopped kale. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until veggies are done.

While that is cooking, cook you pasta and drain. When ready to serve, place about 1/4 cup of the pasta in a soup bowl, ladle soup over the pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I also like cilantro or parsley for garnish.

COOK'S NOTES: This is just a guide. I'm not sure if it's a very good guide. I mostly chop, dice and dump stuff in the pot. Like most soups and stews it is much better made a day ahead and reheated.

Sebastiani's Spaghetti Sauce

This is what's cooking on the "Back Porch" today. Chuck roast were on sale at every grocery this week. Since I don't put ground beef in my sauce the chuck roast works perfect; check instructions for procedure. It's like cooking two meals at once. Roast for supper tonight and sauce whenever I like.

Over the years I have tried many, many spaghetti sauces. This one has all the flavor and character you might expect to find in a true Italian kitchen. This is the one I try to always have on hand in the freezer, in 1 and 2 cup containers.

Sebastiani's Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound ground beef (optional)
4 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning is better)
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups dried Italian mushrooms (soaked in 1 cup hot water and then chopped)
1 28-ounce can solid pack tomatoes, mashed with liquidd
6 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup red or white wine
1 teaspoon sugar

If using ground meat, brown it in the olive oil and butter. Add the celery and onions, saute until brown, then add garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, then add spices, mushrooms their liquid, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Rinse the tomato sauce cans with 1 1/2 cups water, and add to the sauce along with the wine and sugar. Cook for 3 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally. If not using meat start by browning the onions and celery, and proceed as above.

This is how I do it. Instead of ground beef, a piece of pot roast can be used, chuck roast works well. Brown on all sides and proceed as above, letting meat simmer in sauce. After two hours, remove from sauce and keep warm. Slice and serve as meat course for dinner. If your family likes their sauce hot, add a small chili pepper, chopped very fine, while the sauce is simmering. These peppers are hot and go a long way, so use them with caution. This recipe yields a quantity of sauce greater than you would normally use at one time, so freeze the remainder.

COOK'S NOTE: I always add a cheese rind, about 2 inches long, if you have it, if not add about 1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiana to the sauce about 10 minutes before its finished cooking.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Little Ranting

Have you ever noticed that old recipes will only have a paragraph or so of instructions and new recipes will have 8 to 10 steps for a very simple recipe. I wonder if that's because the average young women/man under the age of 35 doesn't know how to cook today. I didn't know when I left home. My mother didn't want us in the kitchen making a mess.

But I learned because I wanted to. My first cookbook was a Better Homes and Garden, in 1962, with the red and white plaid cover. I still have it and use it for a lot of recipes. My Pumpkin Pie and Lemon Meringue Pie recipes are from that cookbook, as are my New England Clam Chowder and Oyster Stew. The one most special is the Spanish Gazpacho. I've had chefs tell me they have never eaten better gazpacho.

There is a whole section on table setting and entertaining, and not once was a T.V. tray mentioned. I don't know why I'm worried about children being able to set a proper table, they don't even eat at the table, or eat with silverware.

It's a sad nation of children we are raising when after they have graduated from Yale, Harvard, Brown, etc. they have to then take an etiquette course to be able to attend big corporate dinners without embarrassing themselves or their new employers.

Don't let this happen to your children teach them how to cook simple meals and have proper table manners. Have dinner at the table with them, turn off the T.V. and listen to what they have to say. They will love you for it and you will be so proud.

And that's all I have to say about that, for now.

Green Goddess Salad - Palace Hotel

How long has it been since I had Green Goddess Salad, maybe thirty years. Don't ask me why, I have no idea. At one time it was my favorite. Funny how we change.

In 1915, the actor George Arliss, (I'm sure we all remember him well, right.) was a resident at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco while he was appearing in the William Archer play, Green Goddess. The chef created a special salad for the opening night dinner. The dressing became the rage of San Francisco, and has remained very popular. Just a little more unless information in your life.

Green Goddess Salad - Palace Hotel
6 generous servings

2 minced green onions
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 anchovy filets, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise, or 1 cup mayo and 1/2 sour cream
6-8 cups bite sized pieces of lettuce (Romaine, red leaf, butter, etc.), washed and chilled

Mix all the ingredients except the lettuce in a one-quart jar or container. Stir or shake to blend well. Chill for several hours or overnight is better.

To serve, place the chilled greens in a salad bowl. Pour on the dressing and mix well. Serve at once.

For a main dish, just add some cooked chicken, shrimp, or crab.

COOK'S NOTE: Always remember to chill your salad plates and salad forks, I don't care how casual the meals is.


Well, we've talked about the omelet, stratas and now frittatas. If you can not find something in those to make for your sweetie, may I suggest the following. A big old skillet of fluffy scrambled eggs with bacon and sausage, grits and hot biscuits, for sure will do the trick.

The Frittata is a way to combine various ingredients in a sort of flat scramble. This is only a guide. The ingredients can be changed according to what is available in the market or the refrigerator. It really is a dish to let your imagination have a little fun.

Serves 3

6 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Romano or Jack or other may be used
1 1/2 cups of cooked and well drained vegetable (zucchini, spinach, eggplant, olives, broccoli, etc.)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 fresh tomatoes for garnish

Place the eggs, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup of the cheese and the vegetables (or whatever) in a bowl. Mix gently with a fork to combine. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Pour in the egg mixture. Cook over a medium flame until you see that the sides are set and firm. Remove from the flame. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on the top, and place under a broiler until cheese is browned and the center is cooked. Some cooks can flip the frittata over in the pan, but not I.

Cool slightly. Cut in wedges and serve garnished with tomato slices. If you prefer tomatoes cooked, add them before broiling.

Stratas for Fun and Easy Brunches

Maybe I got a little carried away with the Baked Lobster Omelet, but it is wonderful. Stratas are much more budget friendly and equally as good.

The word "strata" from the Latin, simply means horizontal layers of any material. In the cooking world, stratas are layers of bread, cheese and other tidbits, covered with a seasoned egg mixture and allowed to mellow in the refrigerator. This works out well for breakfast or brunch. You prepare the strata the night before. The next morning just pop it in the oven. Serve with fresh sliced fruit, hot rolls, muffins or croissants.

Here is one of my favorites. Feel free to create your own.

Chili Relleno Strata
Serves 6

6 slices of white bread (day old is best) lightly buttered
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheeses
1 1/2 cups Jack Cheese
1 4 ounce can diced green chiles, more if you like
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
Salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning is best)
1 teaspoon cumin seed or powdered cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

Place the bread in a shallow baking pan (11 x 7 1/2 x2-inch or close), buttered side down. Sprinkle the cheddar over the bread. Next sprinkle the Jack over the cheddar and finish with the chilies.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk and seasonings. Blend well and pour over the bread and cheese layers. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Bake uncovered in a 325 degree oven about 50 minutes.

COOK'S NOTE: This can easily have a 1/2 - 1 cup of your favorite cooked sausage crumbles added.

Baked Lobster Omelet

My mouth is watering already! This is from a Bed and Breakfast in St. Augustine, Fl. The reason I know is because that is what I wrote on the yellow legal pad that I found the recipe on, no name of the B&B, typical me.

Baked Lobster Omelet is very much like the breakfast sausage casserole we have been making for years, but with a bit more drama.

This really is a keeper. I've made this with crab meat and also with roasted shrimp. No reason not to mix some of the seafood and call is Seafood Baked Omelet, right.

What a wonderful Valentine breakfast/brunch this would make for your sweetie. February 14th is on a Sunday this year. Serve this with a dish of fresh fruit and a basket of steaming muffins and beverage of your choice. Champagne is always appropriate. Okay I'm getting carried away.

Baked Lobster Omelet
Serves 6

8 eggs
6 slices Italian bread, cubed with crust on
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 cups milk
2 cups cooked lobster, cut into bite-size pieces
1-1/2 cups finely shredded pizza cheese (shred your own)

Coat 9x13-inch glass baking dish with vegetable spray. In a large bowl, whisk eggs lightly, add cubed bread, mix in salt, pepper, dry mustard, and milk, stir in lobster and cheese. Pour into dish, cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

COOK'S NOTE: I shred provolone and mozzarella cheese. I think any mild white cheese would work fine. Cheddar is way to strong to use in this recipe.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fresh Mushroom Salad

I'm making this for dinner and thought I'd take a minute to share it with you. The varieties of mushrooms are many, choose the ones you like. They are low in calories and contain certain minerals we all need in our diets. Along with being healthy, they are pretty and fun to eat.

Fresh Mushroom Salad
Serves 4

1 pound fresh mushrooms, lightly wiped clean
1/3cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste (House Seasoning is better)
1 tablespoon sniped parsley.

Please don't be so obsessive about the "dirt" that you soak the mushrooms to clean them-they only need a quick wipe with a damp paper towel to remove any tiny dirt crumbs.

Trim the mushrooms by cutting a thin slice off the bottom of each stem. Slice the mushrooms crossways in thin slices, and place in a pretty bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, stir well, and mix with the mushrooms. Refrigerate until serving time.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

This is a wonderful thing to have in the refrigerator for breakfast or a fast snack. Okay, so I got the recipe from the Libby's web site, but I used my own canned pumpkin but feel free to use Libby's canned pumpkin. I know they will appreciate it. Pumpkin is not something I would normally can or freeze. It really is amazing to me what people will give you at the end of the gardening season. I was as busy canning, freezing and dehydrating in late October as in July and August. I was freezing turnips in mid November. They were free.

Try this thick and delicious pumpkin-apple butter the next time you make homemade bread, biscuits, cornbread or glob a big spoonful in the middle of your oatmeal. I almost forgot, put some on your toasted raisin bread. Your kids will want this slapped between two pieces of Wonderbread for an after school snack. This also makes a great hostess gift or to drop off to someone who is not feeling well.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100 % Pure Pumpkin (see I gave them credit)
1 medium apple, peeled and grated (I use Granny Smith)
1 cup all natural 100% apple juice
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine pumpkin, apple, apple juice, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a boil reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months. It will never last that long. I store mine in 8-ounce Mason jars.

COOK'S NOTE: This doesn't bubble and jump out of the pan like apple butter. Very easy.

Equine Breakfast

Like most recipes this might not be something you need or like, but for me it is essential. We have a pony, Napoleon, who is a senior citizen. Napoleon has really bad teeth and wasn't eating well, so a solution had to be found. My friend, Cindi, who has all kinds of animals had the solution I was looking for. Off to the feed store I send my brother, of course he wasn't happy.

Now on my "back porch" I have a fifty pound bag each of rolled oats, cracked corn and sweet feed. I am ready to save Napoleon.

In a microwave safe bowl I mix some of all of them, enough to make about a pound. My brother said not to over feed him. Chop two carrots and cook until tender; add to oat mixture; add about 1 cup of water. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. It will be very hot but I want it to still be warm when I get it to him. Now stir in about 1/4 cup of molasses and mix well.

Did I mention you should be dressed, it's 10 degrees,(long underwear, sweatshirt, jeans, heavy socks, boots, down jacket, scarf , gloves) and ready to go to the barn before you start this. Now out the door with the oatmeal, being careful not to burn yourself, and don't fall, there is ice under that snow that's falling.

I hope this has helped with any equine feeding problems you may be having.

What sweet little pony wouldn't love a warm soft bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. He ate it all.

Old Time Spinach Salad

I'm always searching around for a new recipe for this or that. What's wrong with the old recipes! This is the spinach salad of my childhood. It is still my favorite, even though many new fancy, health -obsessional versions are now found on restaurant menus. It is just plain pretty, with the white and golden flecks of the eggs against the green leaves.

I know certain times of the year you have to resort to the spinach in a bag when we live in a fresh produce deprived area. I don't care if the bag does say "prewashed", wash it again. You don't know who prewashed it, or how.

Old Time Spinach Salad
4 servings

1 bunch of fresh spinach
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil or salad oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
4 slices of bacon, fried, and crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

If you have fresh out of the garden spinach, remove the stems and roots. Wash well. Drain and lightly pat dry with a towel. Tear the leaves into bite size pieces, and chill in a plastic bag or dish towel. Just before serving, mix the oil, wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a salad bowl. Add spinach and toss until coated. Next add the bacon and egg, and give another light toss to blend.

Apple Bread

Apple Bread is one of those things that serves lots of needs. Toast in the morning for breakfast, hot out of the oven for dinner, sliced for sandwiches, turkey, tuna salad, or my favorite, a slice of white mild cheese of your choice, avocado slices and a few sprouts. I'm sure you will think of lots of other things.

Apple Bread
1 loaf

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour or substitute 3/4 cup of whole wheat for part of the flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening(not oil)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unpeeled, finely chopped or ground apple with juice
1/2 cup grated sharp cheese
1/4 cup chopped nut meats, walnut, pecans, almonds, etc.

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
3. Cream the shortening, add the sugar gradually and continue working until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating about one minute after each addition. Add the apples, cheese and nuts and mix well.
4. Add the dry ingredients in two portions, mixing only until all the flour is dampened.
5. Turn into a greased 9 x 5x3-inch pan. Push the batter well up into the corners of the pan, leaving the center slightly hollow. Bake one hour.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Traditional Croque Monsieur


Good job boys! I am thrilled the Saints won the Super Bowl. To be honest I'm glad it's over. I don't really care if I never see another pizza, chili, Buffalo wing, or dip recipe. Why don't we have something today a little more belly friendly and soothing to the body.

We can still honor our "Saints" heritage with a Traditional Croque Monsieur. This is the closest version of the original sandwich served in Parisian cafes in the early 1900's. It's a perfect match with a steaming bowl of Tomato Basil or Tomato Rice Soup.

I would not have the nerve to ask you to make homemade tomato soup after all the work on that Super Bowl party. Grab a box of Campbell Tomato Basil Soup or Knorr makes a great one in a package. Doctor it up a little with fresh basil on top and stir in a big chunk of butter, some cooked rice if you have some in the fridge. Now, let's make the sandwich! If you don't stop to get on Facebook this could be a 15 minute meal.

Traditional Croque Monsieur
(Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich)
Serves 4

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 slices sandwich bread
4 ounces (approx.) baked ham, thinly sliced (not shaved)
2 1/2 cups (approx.) grated Gruyere cheese, divided
4 tablespoons butter, softeened

Preheat the broiler. Evenly divide and spread the mustard on 4 slices of bread. Place a few slices of ham, followed by 1/2 cup Gruyere, on the mustard-side of the bread. Cover the cheeese with the remaing slices of bread and spread the butter on the outside of the sandwiches.

Place the sandwiches on an ungreased baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, turn them over, cover with the remaining cheese, and continue cooking until they are crispy and golden brown, about 5 more minutes.

Save-Your-Marriage Supper

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've made this dish. This is perfect for couples, singles, large or small families. Adjust the recipe accordingly. If you have children leave the dinner in the foil packages, poke holes in the top of the foil to let the steam escape. They love their dinner in a pouch. Make a salad, bake the bread and your marriage is saved.

Save-Your-Marriage Supper
Serves 2 servings

1 large baking potato
2 lamb shoulder chops
1 teaspoon dried herb mixture (recipe follows)
2 large or 4 small carrots
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, quartered
Salt and Pepper to taste, (House Seasoning is better)

Rub 1/2 teaspoon dried herb mixture on each chop; let set 20 minutes or overnight is better. Cut two pieces of foil (about 12 x 18 inches). Split potato in half, long ways, and put in center of foil. Place chop on top, stack with other vegetables, and salt and pepper. Fold foil, sealing packages tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Dried Herb Mixture
makes 1 3/4 tablespoons, just double it. You'll use it on everything.

1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

Put all in a small container (4ounce jelly jars are perfect), shake container to mix. Use as needed.

Sicilian Orange Salad

If you haven't used oranges in salads, you will be surprised to find how refreshing and colorful they can be. There are seasons when lettuce is expensive and/or had to use a passport to get to you. To be honest unless it has come from the farmers market or your back yard garden how good can it be. Navel oranges are in season now why not give this a try the next time you're having poultry or fish.

Sicilian Orange Salad
4-5 servings

3 oranges (Valencia or navel), peeled and thinly sliced--slices should be round
1 medium onion, red or white, thinly sliced, half moon slices
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shelled walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
parsley for garnish

Combine the oranges, olives and onions in a shallow bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over them, sprinkle with black pepper, and mix together so they are well coated. Cover and chill, or put in a cool place for an hour or so, for flavors to mingle.

To serve, sprinkle the walnuts on top with a little minced parsley.

Stewed Tomatoes

Just thinking about Stewed Tomatoes means I'm thinking about my grandmother. She made the best. Her secret was to crumble a left over biscuit from breakfast in to thicken the tomatoes. Not on my best day am I going to jump out of bed to make homemade biscuits so I can thicken my Stewed Tomatoes later in the day. Breadcrumbs will have to do.

Stewed Tomatoes
4 servings

6 large tomatoes, quartered or 2 1/2 cups canned (home canned are the best)
Place them in a heavy saucepan over low heat. and add, if you like:
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced onion
2 or 3 whole cloves or 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Cook for about 20 minutes for fresh tomatoes, 10 for canned. Stir occasionally to keep from

Season with:
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons white or brown sugar ( I use one of each)
1/8 teaspoon curry powder or 1 teaspoon chopped parsley or basil
1 tablespoon butter

The tomatoes may be thickened with:
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

COOK'S NOTE: This recipe is from Joy of Cooking - 75th Anniversary Edition

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saints and Scriptures

I love Dianne's blog The Kennedy Adventures, but I think it's wonderful that she invites everyone for Saints and Scriptures Sunday. Post your favorite scripture or talk about your favorite saint, or both. Today I am posting an introduction to Luke that is in one of my favorite contemporary language Bibles. I love the Book of Luke and found this a great help in understanding him.


Most of us, most of the time, feel left out - misfits. We don't belong. Others seem to be so confident, so sure of themselves, "insiders" who know the ropes, old hands in a club from which we are excluded.

One of the ways we have of responding to this is to form our own club, or join one that will have us. Here is a least one place we are "in", and the others "out". The clubs range from informal to formal in gatherings that are variously political, social, cultural, and economic. But one thing they have in common is the principle of exclusion. Identity or worth is achieved by all but the chosen. The terrible price we pay for keeping all those other people out so that we can savor the sweetness of being insiders is a reduction of reality, a shrinkage of life.

Nowhere is this price more terrible than when it is paid in the cause of religion. But religion has a long history of doing just that, of reducing the huge mysteries of God to the respectability of club rules, of shrinking the vast human community to a "membership". But with God there are not outsiders.

Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writer, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the establishment of the day: women, common laborers, the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn't felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.

Remember to always make everyone feel like and "insider" in our churches and communities.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Old-Fashioned Soft Gingerbread

I don't even have to have a pan of this in the oven to smell it, all I have to do is read the recipe. My grandmother made this a lot. She would always say,"Sit down honey I'll cut you a piece while it's warm", and she would always put a pat of butter on top.

Gingerbread is wonderful for breakfast or a nice dessert with fresh peaches and whipped cream, or grab a piece and run out the door.

Your kids will be giving you hugs by the hundreds after a piece of this.

Old-Fashioned Soft Gingerbread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup molasses (any kind, I like dark)
1/4 cup melted butter

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and spices together. Beat the egg, and add the milk and molasses to it; stir the liquid into the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and combine well. Pour into a well greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This may also be baked in cupcake or muffin tins for 20-25 minutes.

Chicken and Rice Perlow

There really is no reason to post a picture of this dish, because there really is nothing pretty about it. I don't care how much chopped cilantro or fresh chopped parsley you put on top. But it is sooo good and better reheated. .

The word comes from pilau, or pilaf, and the dish is always made from some combination of white rice (Carolina Gold if you can get it) and meat, chicken or seafood. This calls for cornbread, get out your favorite recipe, and Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

Chicken and Rice Perlow
6 servings
print recipe

2 pounds chicken parts
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 slices bacon, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion or more if you like
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups converted white rice

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Combine Old Bay seasoning, seasoned salt, pepper, salt, and garlic salt. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasonings. Let stand at least 2 hours or, even better overnight in the refrigerator.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until cooked through but not crisp. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened, for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and 1 cup of the water to the pot. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, you may need to add a little more water to keep it from sticking.

Remove the chicken from the pot and cut the chicken meat into smaller pieces (removing the bones and skin if you are having company).

Add the remaining 2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the rice, covered for 15 minutes. Return the cut-up chicken to the pot and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the chicken is heated.