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, June 30, 2011

Liptauer Dip

Before we even start let me just say, some of you need to get over this thing you have or think you have about anchovies. You are missing out on a boatload of good stuff. I haven't made this in years, but was looking for appetizer recipes for a friend and came across this. Anchovies, capers, caraway seed, how can this not be fabulous. Plus you make it the day before serving. This is moving back to the top of my appetizer list.

Liptauer Dip
about 2 cups
print recipe

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 pound butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste, or 1 (3/4-ounce) can of anchovies, mashed with their liquid
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup of sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon

Blend cream cheese and butter together thoroughly. Stir in all other ingredients until smooth. The flavor of this dip improves if allowed to mellow overnight in refrigerator. Excellent as a dip for raw vegetables, potato chips, or spread on melba toast, bagel chips, pita chips, or whatever.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


These are perfect for feeding the masses before you are ready to put the main food out. I think this is an old Paula Deen recipe. Keep the recipe handy because you might want a few of these for your July 4th celebration.

48 crabbies
print recipe

1/2 cup (1 stick butter, softened
8 ounces (1 cup) sharp Cheddar cheese spread, any variety
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over twice, no shells please
6 regular-size English muffins, split

1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, cheese spread, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and seasoned salt. Mix well. Gently fold in the crabmeat.

2. Spread the mixture on the muffin halves and sprinkle with paprika. Cut into quarters. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 20 minutes.

3. While the crabbies are freezing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the frozen crabbies for 20 minutes, until the topping is browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mushrooms a la Grecque

Really these are normally served as an appetizer, but they are heavenly served as a salad on a bed of lettuce. Plus, they can be made ahead. You know I'm all about make-a-head anything.

Mushrooms a la Grecque
3 or 4 nice salads
print recipe

1 pound small whole button mushrooms
1 cup water
1 cup salad oil
Juice of 2 lemons, cut into chunks after juicing
3 tablespoons wine vinegar, red or white
1 stalk of celery, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
8 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

Do not remove stems from mushrooms but trim off a thin slice from bottom. Wipe mushrooms with damp cloth. Combine all ingredients except mushrooms in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring several times. Pour into bowl, cover, and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Drain and serve on wooden picks as appetizers or on a bed of lettuce for first course.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot Slaw

Well I have to do something with all this cabbage. My sweet friend David, the produce man, called Friday night and said he had something for me. He is such a love. He had left the gate open and some of his cattle got in the garden. Not much damage but they did damage about 12 head of cabbage. He gave me 6 heads, nothing wrong that I could see. The smallest one weighted 5 pounds. That's a lot of cabbage my friends. If anyone has any ideas I would certainly appreciate them. You can only make so much slaw and sauerkraut.

This is a hot slaw that is a great alternative to the traditional coleslaw made with mayonnaise. It makes a lot, and if you have leftovers, use it as a topping for a barbecue or grilled chicken breast sandwich. Wonderful!

Hot Slaw
Serves 10-12
print recipe

6 slices bacon
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium (3 pounds) head green cabbage, quartered, cored, and shredded
1/4 cup chili powder
Kosher salt
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies

In a 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain, but leave the grease in the skillet. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

In the reserved bacon grease, oook the onion and green pepper until limp, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook until limp but not soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and salt to taste. Add the tomatoes and simmer until just heated through. The slaw should be slightly crisp. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blueberry-Lime Jam

Okay, I'm over my Walmart experience of Saturday. At least I got my jelly jars and was able to make blueberry-lime jam. Did I mention I've never made this before.

My friend, Edie, and I picked our own blueberries at my favorite orchard on Wednesday. She ate more than she paid for. Just kidding Edie. She had to try some from each bush to make sure they were sweet enough. I whipped open my Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserves and the recipe just called to me. It is sooo good and very easy. The lime gives just a hint of citrus and keeps it from being too sweet.

Tell me this isn't going to be wonderful on hot biscuits or homemade English Muffins.

Blueberry-Lime Jam
Yield: about 6 half-pints, I got 8
print recipe

4 1/2 cups blueberries
1 package powdered pectin
5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
1/3 cup lime juice

Crush blueberries one layer at a time. Combine crushed blueberries and powdered pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir in grated lime peel and lime juice. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

This was one of my favorite meditations this week and thought I would pass it along to you.

Give as much of yourself as you can to as much of God as you can understand.

The more we are in concert with God, the greater will be our pleasures in life. Recognizing our partnership with Him makes every decision easier, facilitates the completion of every task, and removes all uncertainty about our value to this world, particularly to those persons around us.

Knowledge that we are never alone, that in every circumstance our best interest are being cared for, softens whatever blow we encounter. The blows teach; they are the lessons the inner self has requested; and let us never forget we have a ready tutor to see us through every assignment.

The more we rely on God to see us through the mundane activities as well as the troubling experiences, the greater will be our certainty that all is well, our lives are on course, and a plan is unfolding little by little that has our best interests at its center.

My understanding of God and the power of that presence is proportionate to my reliance on that power. Not unlike the power of electricity, I can plug into the source of the "light" of understanding and for the strength to see my way through any experience today.

Don't forget to visit The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scripture today. Have a wonderful day. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Hate Walmart

Ranting and raving, why do I even bother. I have allowed a much dreaded trip to Walmart this morning to wreck my whole day, so far. I needed jelly jars and that was the easiest place to go. I arrived before 8:00 a.m. so I would not have to contend with the lines and "Walmart People". Of course there was only two lines open. A regular line and the 10 items or less. I had one case of jelly jars. Yep, the lady in front of me in the 10 items or less line was doing her monthly shopping. It's early in the day and my attitude is still under control. So I wait.

Now it's my turn to put my one item up to be scanned. She said to me, "Could you turn the box so the bar code is facing me". This is while she is chewing and blowing bubbles with her bubblegum. This is not a kid. She had to be 45 or older. She has never said good morning, drop dead or kiss my ass. Now the good attitude is gone and evil has appeared. For some reason I feel it is my duty to tell her how rude she is. This just comes as the biggest surprise to her and she said "I'm going to call the manager". Good. I'm dying to tell the manager about this bimbo. The assistant manager comes over and she must be twelve. I'm telling my story about the bimbo and you are not going to believe this. The assistant manager told me that Walmart did not have a "No bubblegum policy". You got it, and then she blew a big bubble right in my face.

Why is pleasing the customer and being polite and just good manners something these people are not trained to do? I wasn't raise like that. Why aren't these people just happy to have a job! No one else would hire them, that's for sure.

No, I really don't feel any better.

Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Eggplant

I have really been on an eggplant kick this year. Sometimes I forget how versatile they are. Sorry if my instructions are a bit rambling. I made these and then wrote down the recipe. Bad form.

Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Eggplant
8 servings
print recipe

4 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each), split lengthwise
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cups chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped thyme, more if you like
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound crabmeat, drained well, picked over twice
1 cup dry Italian-style breadcrumbs, reserve about 1/4 cup for topping
White wine, about 1/2 cup or enough to make stuffing moist
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping

Preheat broiler. Arrange split eggplants on large baking sheet. Pierce with fork. Broil 4 minutes per side. Scoop out eggplant pulp, leaving 1/2 inch thick shell intact. Place eggplant pulp in heavy medium saucepan. Pour 2 cups water over. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until eggplant is very tender and liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush eggplant shells with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until shells are tender but still hold shape, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add boiled eggplant, shrimp, cayenne, basil, thyme; saute until shrimp are just cooked, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, cheese and crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper. Fill eggplant shells with seafood mixture (Can be prepared 1 day ahead; refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle stuffing with remaining breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake stuffed eggplant until heated through, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Drop-and-Bake Lace Cookies

With all the wonderful homemade ice creams we will be making this summer you have to have a really special cookie. Nothing fancy or fussy. Pretty, simple and delicious works for me.

I found this recipe in Real Simple last December. I guess it really is a Christmas Cookie, but is perfect for summer also.

Drop-and-Bake Lace Cookies
36 cookies
print recipe

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
14 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup very finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugars, and cream and bring to a boil. Boil, atirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans, flour, and salt.

Drop level teaspoons of the warm batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 4 inches apart. If the batter cools between batches and can't be scooped, rewarm it slightly.

Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on the sheets until firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peach Cake

This past week end I fed and brushed my friend Janice's cat, Miss Kitty. She had to be out of town for her granddaughter's graduation. I thought June was wedding month, but this year it has been all about graduations for me. Anyway she left a bag of peaches on her patio table. She didn't actually say or leave a note that she left them for me. I just assumed, and we all know what that can mean. As it turned out she had put the peaches out to ripen a little and forgot to take them in. They were not for me. I took half the cake to Janice. They would have been over ripe by the time she got home anyway.

This cake can be made with fresh ripe peaches or pears.

Peach Cake
12 or so servings - 1 tube pan cake
print recipe

4 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs well; add 1 3/4 cups sugar and the oil, beating until well blended. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; beat into egg and oil mixture alternating with orange juice. Blend in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, toss the sliced peaches (and pecans, if using) with 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Pour about one-third of the batter into a greased, and floured tube pan. Layer one-half peach mixture over it. Cover with another one-third of batter and the remaining batter over the last layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake 10 minutes in pan; turn out onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread

Growing up we either had cornbread or biscuits, homemade, on the table for ever meal. This is the recipe that is most like the one I grew up with. However, I'm sure my mother didn't take the time to bake her cornmeal before making the cornbread, but it certainly does add a lot of flavor.

FYI! There is NO sugar in real Southern cornbread. Not that I don't like cornbread with a little sugar, it's just not the real deal.

The whole secret here is that screamin', almost smokin' hot skillet.

If you happen to have a few wedges leftover, crumble a wedge into a tall glass and fill with buttermilk. How my dad loved that.

Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread
Serves 12
print recipe

2 1/4 cups cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 10-inch ovensafe skillet on middle rack for 10 minutes. Bake cornmeal on rimmed baking sheet set on lower-middle rack until fragrant and color begins to deepen, about 5 minutes. Transfer hot cornmeal to large bowl and whisk in buttermilk; set aside.

2. Add oil to hot skillet and continue to bake until oil is just smokin', about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and add butter, carefully swirling pan until butter is melted. Pour all but i tablespoon oil mixture into cornmeal mixture, leaving remaining fat in pan. Whisk baking, powder, baking soda, salt, and eggs into cornmeal mixture.

3. Pour cornmeal mixture into hot skillet and bake until top begins to crack and sides are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Cut in wedges and serve.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken Kiev

Remember when this dish was on every restaurant menu in town! Okay so I'm old. I believe it was in the 80's. This is the perfect items to have in the freezer, see Note below, to serve with all those wonderful fresh veggies from the garden. It's a practical and versatile dish and very easy to do.

If you have been nice to your butcher he will pound and flatten the chicken breast for you.

Chicken Kiev
serves 8
print recipe

1/4 cup very finely minced onion, or minced chives
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (no substitute)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
8 flattened chicken breasts (4 whole ones, boned, split and pounded; ask butcher to do this for you.
Salt and pepper
All-purpose flour
2 egg, lightly beaten
About 24 buttery round crackers, Ritz, finely crushed

Saute onion in the 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet just until tender but not brown; combine with parsley. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Place equal portions of onion mixture on each piece of chicken, and 1 tablespoon butter over onion mixture; roll up chicken, tucking in sides, making a neat little package. Secure with toothpicks. Roll in flour, dip in egg, then roll in crumbs. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (overnight isn't too long). Fry in 1/2 inch vegetable shortening until golden brown; drain on paper towels; remove wooden picks before serving.

Note: Chicken may be frozen after frying. Wrap individually to freeze. To serve, unwrap frozen chicken; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, then bake on rack in shallow pan at 425 degrees, about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through and crisp.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Mango Chopped Salad

You will not believe how good this is. In my opinion there is nothing you can do wrong to a mango. This is the perfect hot summer night supper.

Don't forget to visit Full Plate Thursday at Mz Helen's Country Cottage each Thursday.

Chicken-Mango Chopped Salad
4 servings
print recipe

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
4 cups chopped Napa cabbage
2 cups peeled, pitted and chopped mango
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion

Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a small bowl.

Combine chicken and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - He Put Our Lives Together

Before we begin, let me say Happy Father's Day to all the dads.

This was our Bible study for this week. Paul's comments to Titus. I just love the last few sentences. I'll highlight it for you. This is hard for me because I sometimes want to keep "making my point".

Titus 3: 1-11 from The Message

Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights, God's people should be bighearted and courteous.

It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and gave us back our lives. And there's more to come - an eternity of Life! You can count of this.

I want you to put your foot down. Take a firm stand on these matters so that those who have put their trust in God will concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone. Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets us nowhere. Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with it. It's obvious that such a person is out of line, rebellious against God. By persisting in divisiveness he cuts himself off.

Don't forget to visit Dianna for more Saint and Scriptures Sunday today.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cilantro Flank Steak

Are you a cilantro lover? Either you are or you're not, no in the middle. I am. I even just love the smell of it. This would be a major hit for Father's Day, if he is a cilantro fan. Quick and Easy, and not expensive.

Cilantro Flank Steak
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 1/2 pounds flank steak
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brush the steak with 1 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with seasoning.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat; cook steak in pan to desired doneness. Three and a half minutes per side will get you rare. Judge from there, but do not cook it to well done.

Process cilantro, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a food processor until smooth. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve sauce with steaks.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Stuff

I almost forgot Father's Day. Too busy this week. Where does the time go!

Most father's, men, are perfectly happy with meat, potatoes, salad and bread. Light on the salad. If your purse permits a nice big strip steak go for it. Use some of the Espresso Steak Rub. If not, one of my favorites is Country-Style Pork Ribs on the grill. These actually cook while you sleep. Make his favorite potato salad or Twice Baked Potato Casserole. Both are done ahead. Throw in a nice green vegetable just because you can, and it's fresh vegetable season. It also makes a good impression on the kids. Look at Dad he eats green stuff!

Don't kill yourself making homemade bread unless he just loves it. A good bakery bread will do fine.

Now, put a little more effort into the dessert, but don't make it an all day deal. He will not notice anyway. I would suggest a nice Pound Cake Banana Pudding. Frozen pound cake (Sara Lee) is just wonderful for this.

Good heavens! Look what a great meal you have and everything was done a day ahead except finishing the steaks or ribs on the grill. I hope he did as well for Mother's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Veggie Ranch Wraps

There is something about making wraps that I love. Maybe it's because you can make them from any ingredients you have on hand. This one is especially refreshing for summer. If there is someone in your house that absolutely has to have meat, a couple of thin slices of turkey would make them happy.

Veggie Ranch Wraps
4 servings
print recipe

4 (6-inch) spinach tortillas, or your favorite
3/4 cup roasted vegetable-ranch dip
1/2 cup packed baby spinach
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, sliced - the ones you canned last summer are great
Spread each tortilla with 3 tablespoons roasted vegetable dip. Layer with spinach.

Slice avocado, and toss with lime juice to prevent browning. Place avocado and red bell pepper slices along bottom edges of tortillas. Roll tightly, cover with plastic, and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crabmeat Gumbo

I really like this in the spring for some reason. Maybe it's such a nice change from all the heavy soups and stews of the winter.

This is a really old Craig Claiborne recipe.

Crabmeat Gumbo
4 to 6 servings
print recipe

1/4 pound salt pork or bacon, cubed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced fresh or frozen (defrosted) okra
2 cups canned tomatoes, undrained
1 clove garlic finely minced
1/4 lemon thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
3 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Few drops of Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups cooked fresh or canned crabmeat, more if you like, picked over twice
4-6 servings cooked rice

1. In a heavy kettle, cook the salt pork or bacon briefly over low heat until rendered of its fat. Add two tablespoons of the butter and the onion and cook until the onion is transparent.

2. Add the okra, tomatoes, garlic, lemon and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and add the boiling water, salt, paprika, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, one hour.

3. Blend the remaining butter with the flour and stir the mixture, bit by bit, into the simmering vegetables. When thickened and smooth, stir in the crabmeat. Heat to boiling and serve with steamed rice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

English Seed Cake

Even if you are not in the habit of having tea every afternoon, this is a great cake for anytime. Not fancy, no frosting, just good.

English Seed Cake
Makes 1 6-inch cake
print recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 6-inch round, 3-inch-deep cake pan. (A souffle dish will work.)

8 tablespoons softened butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seed
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then work in the caraway seeds. Beat in the eggs a little at a time. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients, then fold them into the mixture with a large spoon. Spread mixture in the cake pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the cake pan, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Lets see what Miz Helen at Country Cottage has on Full Plate Thursday

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken-and-Tortellini Salad

With the temperatures hitting almost 90 degrees every day who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This is perfect for an appetizer also.

If you have non-pea eaters in your house as I do, substitute lightly steamed chopped asparagus for the peas. I have also used chopped steamed shrimp in place of the chicken. This is wonderful served with fresh homemade French bread.

Chicken-and-Tortellini Salad
Makes 12 appetizer or 6 entrees
print recipe

2 (9-ounce) packages refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare tortellini according to package directions.

Process olive oil and next 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Toss olive oil mixture with tortellini, chicken, and next 3 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Listening

Boy is this a great message for me today, or any day. I hope I can remember this longer than 5 minutes.

Many of us achieve only the semblance of communication with others; what we say is often not contingent on what the other has just said, and neither of us is aware that we are not communicating. - Desy Safan-Gerard

When we don;t listen fully to each other, when we don't revere the Spirit within others that's trying to talk to us, we destroy the connection that wants to be made between the Spirits. Our inner selves have messages to five and messages to receive for the good of all. Our ego selves often keep us from hearing the very words that would unravel a problem in our lives.

How hard it is, how often, to be still and to fully listen to the words, rather than the person. How much more familiar it is to filter the message with our own ongoing inner dialogue-our own ongoing continual assessment of another's personhood at the very time God is trying to reach us through them.

There are no wasted words. Messages are everywhere. We can learn to listen.

I will hear just what I need to hear today. I will open myself fully to the words.

Let's visit Dianna to see what she has today at The Kennedy Adventures.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Expresso Steak Rub

It seems everyone has a coffee steak rub lately. I happen to like this one because of the espresso beans. I use fresh ginger if I'm only making what I'll use at the time. Ground ginger is fine if you are making a lot of this to store for future use.

Expresso Steak Rub
Yield: Coating for two large New York strips
print recipe

3 tablespoons espresso beans, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoons ginger
2 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

Mix. Brush steaks with extra virgin olive oil. Dredge in rub. Grill.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Braised Pork Chops with Peppers and Onions

I love preparing pork any time of the year. It truly is the other white meat.

Braised Pork Chops with Peppers and Onions
Serves 4
print recipe

4 boneless pork loin chops, about 1-inch thick, trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 small red or yellow bell pepper, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 small red or yellow onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine (can substitute chicken or vegetable broth)

Warm oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season chops with salt and pepper; cook until browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chops and set aside.

Add tomato paste to skillet and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add peppers and onion to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minutes.

Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up and stirring any browned bits in the skillet. Return chops to skillet, nestle them in the liquid and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Turn chops, cover, and cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Serve with pepper and onion mixture on top of pork.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Deep South Cucumber Salad

The cucumbers are ready in the garden! If you are from the south this was probably on your dinner table every day during the summer months. The longer they sit the better they get. This is enough for me. I don't know what everyone else will eat.

Deep South Cucumber Salad
8 servings
print recipe

2 cucumbers
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Black pepper
1 (or more) large sweet white onions, sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar

Peel and slice cucumbers very thin. Arrange in layers in a large shallow dish; sprinkle each layer with salt and place a plate over dish. Weight the plate down with something heavy. I use a brick wrapped in foil. Allow to stand at room temperature about 2 hours. Squeeze liquid from cucumbers with hands; combine with all other ingredients and chill several hours - or days - before serving.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hot Tomato Grits

This reminds me of Tomato Gravy and grits, except it is easier. If you ever have breakfast for dinner this is perfect with scrambled eggs, bacon and homemade biscuits.

Hot Tomato Grits
6 servings
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2 bacon slices, chopped
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking grits, uncooked, not instant
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles
1 cup (4-ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon

Cook bacon in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp. (Do not drain). Gradually add broth and salt; bring to a boil. Stir in grits, tomatoes, and chiles; return to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in cheese; cover and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish is desired.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Caponata

I had volunteer to make a caponata for a party last week and wanted to try something different from my old favorite Sicilian Caponata. The charred and smoky eggplant and onions - mixed with tomatoes, capers, and olives are fabulous, and especially with lamb or steak. If you are lucky enough to have any left, it makes a great pita sandwich.

This should be made at least 6-8 hours before serving (or up to 1 week).

Grilled Vegetable Caponata
makes about 6 cups or 12 servings
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3 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 large red onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juice
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare a medium-hot grill.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously brush the eggplant and onion slices with the olive oil and arrange on separate baking sheets. Roast in the oven, turning once, 10 to 15 minutes, until soft.

3. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the grill and cook, turning often, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Place the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with the wine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook 3 minutes. Set aside to allow the raisins to plump.

5. In a large bowl, combine the raisins and wine, the tomatoes, olives, vinegar, and capers. Chop the grilled eggplant and onions into small pieces and add to the tomato mixture; toss well to combine. Stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture mellows, 6 to 8 hours or over night (or up to 1 week).

6. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Eggs with Anchovy

Get rid of that face! You will never know this has anchovies in it. I'm sitting here flipping through my Charleston Receipts Cook Book and happen to see this. I haven't made this in a hundred years, but remember how wonderful it is. This is perfect for any time of the day and any time of the year.

Eggs with Anchovy
serves 4
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6 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
Salt to taste

Cook butter and flour together until they bubble. Add milk and stir until smooth. Put in anchovy and cayenne and 1 minute later the chopped eggs. Simmer 3 minutes and serve on toast.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - A Favorite Meditation

I feel like a meditation today instead of scripture, but then I feel like a meditation everyday.

Our security lies now and always in our relationship with God. When we are spiritually connected, we don't lack confidence, self-assurance. We don't doubt our value to those around us. Having an active friendship with God keeps us ever aware that whatever is right for each of us at this time be be given us, that each other person in our life is also on a divinely ordained path going somewhere special to their growth.

It's unfortunate, but true, that many of us had painful experiences with other people earlier in our lives. Maybe we lost a lover or a husband/wife to someone we knew. And it's difficult to believe that what is right for us will come to us, that we need never fear another person.

We are offered a daily opportunity to take stock of our assets in order to know that we count. We are promised security and serenity each day we invite God to be our companion. We need never fear someone else's presence. Nor need we fear any new situation. With God at our side, all is well. And we'll know it.

I will make God my friend today and enjoy the ease of living.

Be sure to visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scriptures Sunday.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spinach & Artichoke Rice

When you are in a hurry for a quick delicious side dish, just grab this recipe. How can you go wrong with spinach and artichoke hearts, plus rice. It adds the perfect touch to any meal.

Spinach and Artichoke Rice
4-6 servings
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1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, all moisture squeezed out
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke heats, drained, chopped
4 green onion (including tops), chopped
2 tablespoons minced parsley, preferably flat leaf
1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon grated gingerroot
salt and pepper
3 cups cooked white rice
1/3 cup dry sherry

Melt butter in a deep-sided 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until slightly wilted and transparent (about 5 minutes). Add spinach, artichoke hearts, green onions, parsley, red pepper, black pepper, gingerroot and salt. Cook stirring, 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to blend. Stir in sherry and cook until bubbly and heated through (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and spoon into a serving dish.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lemon Cake With Lemon Glaze

Everyone in the world probably has this recipe, but just in case someone missed it. As my grandmother use to say: You find the best food at church. That is exactly where I found this one. There is nothing like a scratch cake, but no one will know unless you tell. And everyone will want the recipe.

You can dress up the cake with lemon sorbet, or whipped cream. Or fresh berries and creme fraiche can be wickedly good.

Lemon Cake With Lemon Glaze
10-12 Serving
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1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
One 3.5-ounce box instant lemon pudding mix
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Zest of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. First, make the lemon water. Pour the lemon juice into a large measuring cup. Then add enough water to make 2/3 cup. In a bowl, put the eggs, lemon extract, dry cake mix, pudding mix, and oil. Add lemon water. Beat on medium speed four minutes or until blended. Fold in the walnuts and lemon zest. Grease a Bundt pan, preferably with butter, and lightly flour. (Pam will work, too). Pour the mix into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes. When the cake cools, dust with confectioners' sugar or make a lemon glaze.

Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Whisk all the ingredients till blended. using a wooden skewer, poke holes in the cake. Spoon the glaze over the cake.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Simple Meatloaf

We all have our favorite meatloaf recipe. I have several. This is the one that I like to keep frozen for that emergency meal or better yet, sliced, frozen and ready for an emergency meatloaf sandwich. When that craving for a meatloaf sandwich comes on you don't have time to make a meatloaf, especially in the middle of the night. Plop a slice in the micro on defrost for a minute or so and you are on your way to sandwich land. This is just a wonderful thing.

Simple Meatloaf
about 6 servings
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1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats, not instant
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl just until blended; place in a lightly greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Stir together ketchup, brown sugar and mustard; our evenly over meatloaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes, and remove from pan before slicing.

You will thank me every time you have a sandwich, especially around midnight.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stilton & Walnut Crackers

Make extra rolls of dough and freeze them unbaked so you can defrost, slice, and bake the crackers a few hours before you need them. Be creative, use other cheeses and different nuts.

Stilton & Walnut Crackers
about 24 crackers
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1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
8-ounces Stilton, crumbled, at room temperature (12-ounces with rind)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and Stilton together for 1 minute, until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the flour, salt, and pepper and continue beating for 1 minute until the dough is in large crumbles. Add 1 tablespoon water and mix until the dough comes together.

Dump the dough onto a floured board and roll it into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, to distribute them evenly on the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, longer is better or for up to 4 days.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Cut the log into 3/8-inch-thick slices with a small sharp knife and arrange the crackers on the sheet pan. Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned, rotating the pan once during baking. Cool on the pan and serve at room temperature.

Cook's Note: When cutting the log into crackers, don't press on the knife; use it like a saw and let the blade do the work.