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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Lemon Sauce

This is still the bread pudding recipe I go to after trying many others over the years. The recipe is from an old Southern Living cookbook, published in 1973. I still find that most foods prepared without a lot of fuss are still the best.

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Lemon Sauce
8 servings
print recipe

4 slices bread (see Cook's Note)
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup white raisins
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter bread and cut into cubes. Cream eggs with sugar and add scalded milk gradually. Add bread cubes, raisins, butter, and vanilla extract. Blend well. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake in a pan of boiling water at 300 degrees F. for 1 hour, or until tester comes out clean. Cool and serve with Lemon Sauce.

Lemon Sauce
4 egg yolks 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Beat egg yolks slightly; add sugar and flour. Gradually pour into scalded milk. Cook over low heat until thick. Remove and add lemon juice.

COOK'S NOTE: I also love to use Croissants instead of the bread.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shredded Potatoes au Gratin

Before you even start reading, this is NOT a skinny recipe. But oh so good and easy.

Shredded Potatoes au Gratin
serves 4
print recipe

4 cups (1 pound refrigerated shredded hash-brown potatoes
2 cups whipping cream (that is not a misprint)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onions (about 4 medium)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or use your House Seasoning)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray four 1-cup ramekins with nonstock cooking spray. You can also use one 11 x 7-inch baking dish and increase your cooking time by 12 minutes.

Combine the hash-browns, cream, 1 1/4 cups Cheddar, the onions, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.

Spoon the potatoe mixture into prepared ramkins. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden brown and the potatoes are cooked, 35-45 minutes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sausage and Peppers

Remember Scotty's Basic Tomato Sauce we made at the end of August? I just had to try a jar in my Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches.

I need to also tell you that my spoiled nephew Randy doesn't consider a sandwich a meal. If I'm making this for him I serve it over rice instead of on a hoagie roll. I wish I had an Aunt Bev.

Sausage and Peppers
6 servings
print recipe

6-8 (4-ounce) fresh Italian sausage links. Hot, mild, spicy, your choice!
1 jar of Scotty's Basic Tomato Sauce, blended smooth or 1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 large bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced

Lightly brown the sausages in a heavy skillet. Throw all this in your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or so. Serve over rice or on hoagie rolls.

This can also be cooked in the oven at 300 degrees for a couple or hours or simmered on top of the stove. Stir to prevent sticking.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunflower Seed Bread

Finally another Lucy recipe. I would like to tell you she gave me this recipe, but that would not be true. I just helped myself to her recipe box. Maybe she will miss reading the blog today. If you have a secret recipe you really need to hide it if I'm around. Hey, I gave her credit for it.

Now is the time to start baking breads, rolls and foccocia's to have along with our hearty soups and stews. I feel all warm and cozy talking about it.

This is really good with Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup.

Sunflower Seed Bread
1 loaf - Bread maker
Print recipe

1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Use basic setting.
At beep add:
1/2 cup sunflower seed
1/4 cup raisins

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saint and Scriptures Sunday-Being Gentle With Ourselves During Times of Grief

This has been an awful week for my friend Linda, who lost her husband last Sunday and had already committed to a home move for yesterday. Her friends and family have been there for her through funeral and packing and moving. But reality will eventually come to her and the grief will be there.

I hope this might be a comfort for her or anyone else going through a change or loss.

Being Gentle with Ourselves During Times of Grief

The process of adapting to change and loss takes energy. Grief is draining, sometimes exhausting. Some people need to "cocoon for transformation", while going through grief.

We may feel more tired than usual. Our ability to function well in other areas of our life may be reduce, temporarily. We may want to hide in the safety of our bedroom.

Grief is heavy. It can wear you down.

It's okay to be gentle with ourselves when we're going through change and grief. But we can be compassionate with ourselves. We do not have to expect more from ourselves than we can deliver during this time. We do not even have to expect as much from ourselves as we would normally and reasonably expect.

We need more rest, more sleep, more comfort. We may be more needy and have less to give. It is okay to accept ourselves, and our changed needs, during times of grief, stress, and change.

It is okay to allow ourselves to cocoon during times of transformation. We can surrender to the process, and trust that a new, exciting energy is being created within us.

God, help me to accept my changed needs during times of grief, change, and loss.

More Saint and Scriptures Sunday can be found at The Kennedy Adventures each Sunday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Simple Pilaf

I know there are lots of people that love plain steamed white rice. I'm just not one of them. My rice has to be flavored up a little bit, and that's why I love a simple pilaf. To tell the truth I also want some gravy over it. It doesn't matter to me if it's chicken, beef, pork or out of a jar.

Maybe I don't even like rice because I'm covering it up with everything I can find. This really is good.

8 servings
print recipe

1 1/2 cups regular rice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
1 13 3/4-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a 10-inch skillet cook the rice and finely chopped onion in butter till the rice is golden, stirring frequently. Stir in the chicken broth, water, and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer till the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feel Good Friday - Amazing

I'm saying amazing because it really should not have been a "feel good" week. Last Sunday my friend Linda called to tell me her husband of 47 years had passed away, suddenly. Ed (64) had had a bad heart for several years but still managed to work and do what needed to be done. Linda you may remember is a breast cancer survivor of less than a year. Plus they were in the process of downsizing and moving to a smaller home.

So this week she has had to bury her husband and pack and move from a home of 25 years, going through all that stuff that we all accumulate and still not lose her mind. All of this basically in 6 days. When asked how she's doing, she just has a little smile and says, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."

I think my faith is strong, but I'm not sure it compares to Linda's. I feel good today because I have such a wonderful friend.

I hope I stop and think about her week the next time I'm whinny about how busy I am or have a case of the "Poor Me's".

More Feel Good Friday can be found at The Girl Next Door Grows Up, please stop by.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pears With Roquefort Cheese

What is it about fruit and cheese that makes me crazy. It is absolutely the perfect dessert for any meal. If I can make dessert on the grill so much the better.

This time of the year my favorite orchard, Reed Valley Orchard, has Meigeitsu and Korean Giant and maybe some Chojuro. I don't care they are all wonderful.

Pears With Roquefort Cheese
Serves 6
print recipe

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fruit vinegar, If my country grocery has it, piece of cake for you to find.
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons apricot preserves
6 pears, ripe but firm
12 ounces Roquefort cheese

Mix the first 4 ingredients. Do not peel the pears. Cut the pears in half and remove the cores. Pour marinade over them. Let stand for 2 hours. Preheat the grill to medium-low. Place the pears on the grill and grill until golden, turning and basting with the marinade. Serve hot with slices of Roquefort cheese.

I could eat the whole batch!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scotch Broth

Scotch Broth is one of my favorite soups. I can remember the first time I had it back in the middle 70's in New York at Lord and Taylor's. They had these cute little soups bars on different levels in the store.

It was the soup of the day and the chef was so kind and recommended I try it. I loved it so much he wrote down the ingredients for me. Portions I had to figure out when I got home. I don't actually measure the vegetables, just what looks right.

I make and freeze this in 1 cup portions.

Scotch Broth
4-5 servings
print recipe

1 pound lamb shanks
1/4 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 sprigs parsley, snipped
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped turnip

In a 4-quart Dutch oven combine lamb shanks, barley, salt, parsley, cloves, bay leaf, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, till tender, about 1 hour. Remove shanks from soup. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into pieces; return to soup. Add vegetables; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and cloves.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chantilly Raisin Rice Pudding

Okay, so you hate raisins, leave them out. How long has it been since you made homemade rice pudding? Please don't tell me never! This could almost be considered a "healthy dessert". Well, a little half and half never hurt anyone.

Chantilly Raisin Rice Pudding
6 servings
print recipe

2/3 cup seedless raisins (optional)
2 1/2 cups half-and-half (milk and cream)
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Combine raisins and half-and-half and heat slowly. Meanwhile, beat eggs with nutmeg, salt, sugar, and vanilla. Combine with cooked rice. Stir in hot half-and-half and raisins. Turn into 1-quart baking dish; set in shallow pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with nuts and continue baking 10 to 15 minutes longer until custard is barely set in center. Place pudding dish in pan of cold water to cool quickly and keep custard creamy. Serve warm or cold. May be topped with sweetened whipping cream if desired.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Canned Pumpkin Shortage!

I don't care if Angie got her post on before mine. I'm still posting mine because I can tell you how to roast and freeze your pumpkin. Did you realize there is a canned pumpkin shortage? I didn't. Of course if anything happens during canning season I don't know til a few months later. I really do live on my own planet.

I never really look for pumpkin until around Thanksgiving then I stock up for the winter. I'm out, zero cans left in the pantry. None in the stores because it seems we have had a rainy growing season for the past 2 or 3 years, according to the Washington Post. In June Libby's had 6 cans in their warehouses and 2 cans on E-Bay were selling for $30.00.

I need to get busy freezing some pumpkin or I'll be having Sweet Potato Pie for the holidays, that's not all bad either. The USDA does not recommend canning pumpkin puree so I'll freeze chunks for puree later.

Off to Reed Valley Orchard tomorrow for Sugar Pumpkins , the smaller sweeter ones.

Freezing Pumpkins

Wash pumpkins well; cut in half; remove seeds and stringy stuff. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet and the cut flesh of the pumpkin. Lay pumpkin cut side down on cookie sheet and bake until a knife easily pierce the skin of the pumpkin, about an hour or so at 350 degrees.

Let cool enough to handle and peel pumpkin. Cut into chunks, let cool completely and pack into freezer bags or containers. I normally pack these in 1 pound amounts.

I will not be caught without pumpkin for the holidays!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saint and Scriptures Sunday-Be Still and Listen

We have been talking about the power of prayer for the past couple of weeks, but do we take time to listen. Prayer is when we talk to God and meditation is when we listen to Him. I'm sometimes better at the talking than the listening.

No answer eludes us if we turn to the source of all answers - the stillness within. Prayer accompanied by meditation will always provide the answers we need for the situations facing us. The answers we want are not guaranteed, however. We must trust that we will be directed to take the right steps. Our well-being is assured if we let go the control and turn our wills over to the care of God, our messenger within.

How comforting to know that all answers are as close as our quiet moments. God never chooses to keep them from us. We simply fail to quiet our thoughts long enough to listen. Our minds race, obsessively, all too often. We jump from one scenario to another, one fear to another, one emotion to another. And each time our thoughts capture a new focus, we push the answer we seek further into the background.

The process is simple, if I want to follow it. The answer awaits me if I truly want them. I need only sit quietly and ask God to offer the guidance I need. An then I will sit quietly some more.

Please visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scriptures Sunday. Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pizza In A Burger

How could I have forgotten this recipe! It truly was one of the first things I learned to cook. This is so easy and good. A really nice change from a plain old burger. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1968, can you believe!

Pizza In A Burger
8 burgers
print recipe

" 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped pitted olives
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
4 slices, mozzarella cheese, cut in strips
8 cherry tomatoes; halved
8 slices French bread, toasted

Combine first 8 ingredients; shape into 8 patties. Broil over medium coals 10 minutes. Turn; top each with cheese and tomatoes. Broil 5 minutes or until desired doneness. Serve on toasted French Bread."

Cooks Note: I now use fresh mozzarella and a whole slice of tomato. I also brush the french bread with olive oil and toast on the grill.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feel Good Friday - And I Really Do

Thank you all so much for your get well wishes last week. I got more sympathy from you guys than from some of my family. Not unusual, I think it's a guy thing. Anyway I'm back to normal, as normal as I can be.

It really was a little "touch and go" there for a few days. Got my flu shot on Wednesday, came down with the cold/flu thing on Thursday. Had a big knot on my arm from that. And on Saturday while walking the puppies a big walnut fell out of a tree in the yard and smacked me on the top of the head. Now I had a knot on the arm and on on the head. Both hurt like hell.

People kept bringing me stuff to can, tomatoes, green beans, pears. It was just too much, so I went to bed. I have also discovered the reason children need a nap. They don't get tired and grumpy. I need a nap everyday for the same reason. So everyday at 2:00 I'm taking a nap. So if you happen to call between 2:00 and 3:00 the only thing I can say is God have mercy on your soul. I am not a happy camper if you wake me up for any reason.

So my advise to everyone is "Take a Nap Every Day" and visit Feel Good Friday every week. See you next week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Low Country Breakfast Casserole

It really is getting to be the time of year when we can enjoy a more hardy breakfast. All your favorites - sausage, eggs, and grits - are cooked in one dish. Add hot biscuits and juice, maybe some sliced tomatoes from the garden, and you are ready to tackle the day. This would also make a wonderful Simple Sunday Supper.

Prepare the casserole up to the point of popping it into the oven to bake, then cover and refrigerate overnight. This is a great make ahead dish if you're hosting a brunch.

Low Country Breakfast Casserole
servings 6
print recipe

1 pound ground pork sausage, mild or hot, your choice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits (not instant)
1 1/2 cups (6-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Brown sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink, drain.

Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in grits. Return to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add 1 cup cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in sausage, eggs, and remaining 3 ingredients.

Pour mixture into a greased 11 x7-inch baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Easy Old Fashion Apple Crisp

I know I just posted an apple recipe, but this is what is for Bible Study today along with a Boys R Us Bean Casserole. I would have made anything with those last green beans to keep from having to can or freeze them.

Yes, there are apples every where so get ready for the apple recipes. This is so easy the kids can do it any night for dessert.

In my neck of the woods I have a large selection to choose from. Liberty, Stayman Winesap, Grimes Golden just to name a few. I love a nice tart apple that will hold it shape when cooking.

For a Blueberry Crisp just subsitute one quart of blueberries for the apples. You might want to forget about the cheddar cheese with the blueberries.

Easy Old Fashion Apple Crisp
Serves 6
print recipe
3 or 4 tart cooking apples
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal or old fashioned, not instant
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Arrange apples, pared, cored, and thinly sliced in a well-buttered shallow baking dish. Melt the butter and stir in the sugar, oatmeal, flour, and cinnamon until well mixed. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the apples are soft. Serve the crisp warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or my personal favorite, thinly sliced cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rum Balls

I am so in the mood to make Christmas Cookies. Maybe it's because of the cooler weather we're having or maybe it's because I'm sick to death of canning and freezing. Anyway these are so easy and so good it will help carry you over for a few months. These are very Southern and here in Kentucky we are more likely to use a good Kentucky bourbon instead of the rum.

Rum Balls
3 dozen
print recipe

1 cup vanilla wafers (crushed)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup light rum (or 3 tablespoons cream and 1 teaspoon rum extract)
granulated sugar for rolling

Combine vanilla wafers, sugar, 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans,, and cocoa. Add corn syrup and rum. Mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll half in fine graulated sugar and the rest in the remaining chopped pecans. DO NOT BAKE.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fresh Apple Cake In A Jar

If Angie can have pie in a jar I can have cake in a jar. I had totally forgotten this recipe until she posted her pie in a jar . I made so many of these a few years ago to sell at an antique farm equipment show that I promised myself I would never make them again. So much for promises!

These little cakes are prefect to have on hand for unexpected company, hostess gifts or to send back to school with college kids. Serve them with Lemon Curd or just plain. Slices with butter for breakfast are a real treat. You will find tons of ways to use these.

Pay attention to the Cook's Note at the bottom or you will be eating this cake with a spoon out of the jar.

Fresh Apple Cake In A Jar
each jar 3-4 slices
print recipe

2/3 cup shortening
2-2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup water
3 cups small coarse chopped peeled apples (I use Granny Smith, use what you like)
1/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (I use Black Walnuts, use what you like)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, one at a time, in order given.

Meanwhile, sterilize 9-WIDE MOUTH pint jars. You may only need seven. Grease jars with shortening. Fill the jars halfway with batter, about 1 cup, and bake, without lids, on the middle oven rack for 45 minutes. I find placing the jars on a sheet pan with sides makes this easier. As soon as the cakes are done, remove the jars from the oven ONE AT A TIME. Wipe the rims and secure on the lids. Set aside to cool.

COOK'S NOTE: DO NOT USE SMALL-MOUTH JARS, or add other ingredients. As the cakes cool in the sealed jars, they will pull away from the sides of the jar and come out easily when ready to serve. Cakes have at least a one year shelf life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Gratitude and Acceptance

I have received many an evil eye for suggesting to someone to make a gratitude list or be grateful for what you have. So when yesterdays morning meditation was on this subject I could not resist sharing it today.

The Magic of Gratitude and Acceptance

Gratitude and acceptance are two magic tricks available to all of us. No matter who we are, where we are, or what we have, gratitude and acceptance work.

We may eventually become so happy that we realize our present circumstances are good. Or we master our present circumstances and then move forward into the next set of circumstances.

If we become stuck, miserable, feeling trapped and hopeless, try gratitude and acceptance. If we have tried unsuccessfully to alter our present circumstances and have begun to feel like we're beating our head against a brick wall, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel scared and uncertain, try gratitude and acceptance.

If you've been fighting something, try gratitude and acceptance.

When all else fails, go back to basics.
Gratitude and acceptance work.

A little prayer will help:
God, help me let go of my resistance. Help me know the pain of a circumstance will stop hurting so much if I accept it. I will practice the basics of gratitude and acceptance in my life and for all my present circumstances.

For real Saint and Scriptures visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures each Sunday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Little Things

We all remember where we were on 9/11/01. Please let's all take time for a prayer for those that lost loved ones on that awful day. I remember it like it was yesterday and the days and weeks that followed with all of us glued to the television praying for more survivors. What a tragic time.

My friend Sara e-mailed me this back in April of this year and I loved it so much I saved it to post today. For those of you that have read it, read it again. This may give you a new outlook on life.

The Little Things

As you might remember, the head of a company survived
9/11 because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.

One women was late because her
Alarm clock didn't go off on time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.

One couldn't
Get a taxi

The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning. Took the various means to get to work, before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.

That is why these people are alive today.

Now when I am stuck in traffic miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone. All the little things that annoy me. I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this moment.

Next time your morning seems to be going wrong,you can't find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don't get mad or frustrated; it may be just that God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless all of us with those annoying little things, and may we remember their possible purpose.

Pass this on to someone else, if you'd like. There is No Luck attached. If you delete this, it's okay;
God's Love is Not Dependent on E-Mail

Thank you Sara for sharing this with me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feel Good Friday - Not So Much

I don't feel so hot, actually I feel very hot, but it's from a fever. I have a word of warning here so pay attention. This early flu thing that is going around is very contagious from blogging. My niece, Angie, had it last week end and I have it now. I have not seen her or even talked to her on the phone, just on her blog. I probably shouldn't even be telling you this I could be spreading this around now. So if you stop reading I'll understand.

Sometimes it's nice to be sick for a few days. Take a shower and put your jammies on and hang a sign on the door that says "I Have The Flu - Go Away!"

Before "flu bug" appeared I was having a really good week. My birthday slipped right over into September. Randy, my nephew, gave me a wonderful new bread maker. So, be prepared for lots of bread recipes later. A fabulous new cook book from my sister, Sandy, in California arrived also. You will be hearing lots about this one. It is a Michael Chiarello's The Tra Vigne Cook Book. Don't you just love him. There is a Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Peppers in Tomato Sauce that I'm dying to make. But for today I think I'll be defrosting chicken soup.

Check out other Feel Good Fridays, they are probably having a better day than I am. See you next week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Greek Stefado

While reading My Farmhouse Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs, it almost made me sad. She was showing pictures of all this fall stuff, candy corn, maple syrup, Halloween magazine covers, etc. My friends, summer is almost over. I love fall, but that means winter is close behind. Yuck, how I hate winter.

I thought I would cheer myself up by sharing a wonderful Greek beef stew that my sister, Sandy sent me. Yes she does cook on occasion and is a wonderful cook.

Greek Stefado
6-8 servings
print recipe

2 medium to large onions, thinly sliced
1 stick butter
3 pounds lean stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons currants
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine, have some while you're cooking and the rest with dinner
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 large clove garlic, minced or mashed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese or Monterey Jack, or domestic Muenster
3/4 cup walnut halves
1 small jar of sliced pimento stuffed olives (optional) I like them

In a heavy kettle, that is oven proof, saute' onion in butter until limp. Season meat generously with salt and pepper; add to kettle, and gently stir to coat each piece with onion mixture. Add bay leaf and currants. Stir together tomato paste, wine, vinegar, sugar, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and add to kettle. Cover and simmer until meat is very tender, at least 2 hours in the oven at 325 degrees. Stir to blend. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts and olives, heat until cheese just softens.

Like most stew this is best made a day or two ahead of serving. Add the cheese, walnuts and olives after reheating.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cheesy Fried Grits

If this ain't good, then grits ain't groceries! I would have to say that fried grits are my favorite way to eat grits. Love them just boiled with salt, pepper and butter, but there is something special about them fried. As a kid any leftover grits from one breakfast would be packed into a loaf pan, chilled, sliced and fried the next morning for breakfast. Maybe with butter and maple syrup . Heavenly!

These are fancy grits to eat with Beef Stew or Grillades. Put a square of Cheesy Fried Grits in the bottom of a shallow bowl and spoon your stew over top. Plain grits are fried the same way.

Cheesy Fried Grits
6-8 servings
print recipe

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup old fashioned grits (instant will not work)
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped green onions (scallions)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Emeril's Essence
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup to 1 cup vegetable oil, for pan frying

Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking sheet with the butter and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Slowly add the grits, salt and pepper, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, add the cheese, green onions, and garlic, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Turn out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and using an offset cake spreader or rubber spatula, spread evenly across the bottom. Refrigerate until completely cooked and firm, at least 1 hour, longer is better. Cut the grits into squares and refrigerate until ready to fry.

In a large, heavy skillet or saute pan, heat 1/2 cup of the oil to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flour and Essence in a shallow dish. Combine the eggs and milk in another show dish, whisking to combine.

Dredge the squares in the seasoned flour, dip into eggwash, and then back into the flour, 1 at a time. Fry in batches, turning, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more oil as necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Adapted from "New New Orleans Cooking" by Emeril Lagassee

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scotty's Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

Every time I find 7-8 tomatoes still on the vine I make a batch of this. This is another wonderful Scotty recipe. I will be making another batch tomorrow. I think that will be four. She sent me two more tomato soup recipes but I can't get past this one.

Just a word of caution, make this when no one is home, if not you will never have enough left to can.

Scotty's Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup
about 6 pints
print recipe

7-8 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Toss all this together on a cookie sheet with sides. Roast for 35-45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a 4 quart pot add:
5 cups chicken broth
2 15.5 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add the roasted tomato mixture and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Toss everything into your blender and blend until smooth.

If canning the soup, fill jars and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

For a super smooth soup press the soup through a fine wire sieve after processing in the blender. Not necessary but I like the really smooth texture.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Derby Breakfast Yeast Biscuits

I know Kentucky Derby was in May. I just couldn't find the recipe. Just found it in all this mess. Call them Labor Day Biscuits. I don't care.

When fall starts rolling in I'm looking for homemade breads to put some of the jams, preserves and fruit butters I've been canning all summer to use. Or all you need is sausage gravy. These can actually be half baked the night before and finished in the morning. Who wants to get up at 5:00 a.m. to make biscuits.

Derby Breakfast Yeast Biscuits
depends on the size you make
print recipe

1 cup warm buttermilk
1 package yeast
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening (lard is best)

Dissolve yeast in warm buttermilk; set aside. Sift soda, salt, sugar, and flour into a bowl; cut in shortening. Add yeast mixture; stir until blended. Knead and roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter; dip in melted butter and place in a greased pan. Let rise 1 hour. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

If biscuits are made for future use, bake only 6 minutes and brown when reheating.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Last Sunday we were talking about the importance of prayer and praying. Prayers don't always have to be formal. I would love to share some of my favorite prayers with you.

Here they are:

Help. Please. Don't.
Show Me. Guide me. Change me.
Are you there?
Why'd you do that?
Thank you.

See how easy it is to pray!

Today I will tell God what I want to tell God, and listen for God's answer. I will remember that I can trust God.

Look for more Saint and Scriptures with Dianna@The Kennedy Adventures.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grilled Portobello and Mozzarella

There is nothing to say about these. My mouth is watering just typing the recipe. Look at the ingredients, how could it be anything but fabulous. I could make this and nothing else just for me.

My inspiration for this recipe was Angie's Roasted Red Peppers and Scotty's Basic Tomato Sauce.

Maybe this will be my incentive to make my own mozzarella!

Grilled Portobello and Mozzarella
4 servings
print recipe

4 large portobello mushroom caps
1/2-8-ounce bottle Italian dressing
1-14 ounce jar marinara sauce or better yet Scotty's Basic Tomato Sauce
1-7 ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and sliced, or Angie's Roasted Red Peppers
8 slices fresh Mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, use fresh if you have it
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, use fresh if you have it

Place the mushrooms in a plastic bag with the salad dressing. Seal and marinate for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Heat the marinara sauce in a saucepan and keep warm. Oil the grill grate. Place the mushrooms on the grill and cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, until lightly toasted. Preheat the oven broiler. Spread the bottom of a shallow baking dish with just enough marinara sauce to cover the bottom. Place the mushrooms in the dish, bottom-side up. and top with the peppers and marinara sauce. Place 2 slices of cheese on each mushroom and sprinkle the oregano and basil on each. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Feel Good Friday

What is it about getting your hair did, yes I said did, that makes you feel so good?
Well that's what I did yesterday. I bet I hadn't bothered getting a haircut in 2 months or longer. If a piece starts to look a little strange I just snip it off with the manicure scissors. The next thing you know instead of a sleek short bob I have a punk rock haircut. Thanks to my sweet Mary with the golden scissors I am back to sleek, cute and feelin' good.

Next week I think I'll get a pedicure. Is there anything more wonderful than having someone massage your feet and legs, clip your toenails and then paint them some god awful color. I love it.

When I worked all this stuff was just part of the regular maintenance program each month like working out three times a week. It is so nice to be old and not have people expect all that stuff of you.

I dated a guy once that would go with me for pedicures sometimes and he would also get one. When it was time to choose a color he would have them paint each nail a different color. The girls in the shop just loved him. I wonder what happened to him!

I'm feeling good today and hope you are also. For more Feel Good Friday visit The Girl Next Door Grows Up. See you next week.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Simple Pear Preserves

Pears are one of my favorite fruits. This year has been a great pear year for some reason. This is the way my Mom made Pear Preserves. Simple and Easy. What I like is you start it one day and finish it the next.

Simple Pear Preserves
about 5 half-pints
print recipe

3 cups sugar, divided
3 cups water
6-8 medium halved or quartered, peeled, cored pears (about 3 pounds)
1/2 cup thinly sliced and seeded lemon ( about 1 lemon)

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and water in a large saucepot. Cook rapidly 2 minutes. Add pear; boil gently 15 minutes. Add remaining sugar and sliced lemon, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until fruit is transparent. Cover and let stand 12-24 hours in a cool place. Remove pears from syrup, set aside. Cook syrup 20-25 minutes or longer, until thicken. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Pack pears into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over pears, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Cook's Note: A piece of candied ginger may be added to each jar.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grilled Quesadillas

Yes, it really is September already! Time to get ready for tailgate parties and camping in the fall. My brother, Larry, is camping this weekend I hope he is reading the blog. You can only eat so many hamburgers and hot dogs. Not that I don't love them, but this is a great change with a big bowl of chili or alone.

There is no law that says you can't throw anything else on that sounds good. I have this thing about pine nuts.

Grilled Quesadillas
Serves 8 - don't count on it
print recipe

8 flour tortillas
6 ounces Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 fresh jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons, melted butter

On one half of the flour tortilla, arrange a few slices of the cheese, tomato and jalapeno. Top with some scallion and cilantro. Fold the tortillas in half. Preheat rill to medium-high. Place on the grill and grill 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Brush with the butter as it grills. Cut into wedges.