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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tomato Soup Supreme

The weather is going to be nasty the next couple of days so what better time for soup. And who doesn't love tomato soup. This really is the best. It is also in keeping with our being frugal, which ties back to our giveaway. Don't forget to leave a comment to win this wonderful ebook.

Tomato Soup Supreme
4-6 servings
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1 No 2 1/2 can (large can) tomatoes, well mashed, (I use a quart of home canned)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly slices
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
6 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
Salt and pepper
8 tablespoons butter
6 slices good bread, trimmed and cut in 1-inch squares
Grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all the vegetables and add to boiling broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Then force everything through a sieve. Return the liquid to the heat, add the butter and simmer slowly for 5 minutes.

Saute bread squares lightly in butter. Place in soup tureen and pour hot tomato soup over them. Serve in individual soup plates. Pass grated cheese separately.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pasta E Fagioli and a Give-Away

Two reasons for posting this recipe today. It is one of my favorite soups and it ties in with my wonderful giveaway. More about that in a minute. This is not the Pasta E Fagioli that you normally see. This recipe is over 2000 years old, from a cook book I've used since 1969, Papa Rossi's Secrets of Italian Cooking by Victor Bennett with Antonia Rossi

You are going to say, "too much olive oil". The oil will be completely absorbed and a delicate flavor the result. You will think it needs more spices. Not so. It is perfect the way it is.

Did I mention how frugal a dish this is! Or did I mention I'm linking to Miz Helen's Country Cottagetoday as well as to Tastetastic Thursday at A Little Nosh, Frugal Follies, Thrify Thursday, Vintage Recipe Thursdays, The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, and Food on Fridays

Pasta E. Fagioli
6-8 servings
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1 pound white dried beans, soaked in water to cover (don't used canned)
1 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1 large Italian bay leaf
1/2 pound salad macaroni
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 the garlic and bay leaf.

Cook the macaroni, drain and reserve 1 cup of 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.

Now for the giveaway: My niece Angie, who blogs at The Jammie Girl, has written an ebook. It just came out a week ago and it's called Tight Budget, Tiny Kitchen, and No Time: How to Eat Well in Your First Apartment. It's full of time-saving and frugal recipes plus tips, tutorials, and checklists. It's perfect for young people leaving home for the first time, but it's just as helpful for anyone who is downsizing or trying to live more frugally in these difficult economic times.

It's available in multiple formats at Smashwords and is getting great reviews already, but you can win a copy here! Just leave me a comment with your favorite frugal meal. Entries close at midnight on Wednesday, October fifth and I'll pick one comment at random on Thursday, October sixth as the winner. Please make sure you have an email address linked to the account you use to comment (i.e. your Google account) or I won't be able to contact you to let you know you've won!

Jam Bars or Tart

Don't you love having a couple of dessert recipes to fall back on in a pinch. This one is great because you are almost guaranteed to have everything on hand. If you bake the dough in a tart pan, you can cut it into wedges and serve it as a tart. Otherwise, cut it into small squares.

Don't limit yourself to the preserves shown in the recipe, use what you like. I made one with my homemade Tomato Preserves and a mixture of the reserved dough, chopped walnuts and rolled oats for the topping.

Jam Bars or Tart
about 8-10 servings
print recipe

1/4 pound (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown or white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup preserves, such as fig, raspberry, or marmalade
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg, beat until smooth, then add the dry ingredients except the nuts.

Set aside approximately 3/4 cup of the dough and press the rest evenly into an 8x10-inch baking pan or a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or pie plate. Spread the preserves over the top. Mix the reserved dough with the nuts and crumble it over the top. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 40 minutes. Let cool, then cut into squares. Or serve as a tart, cut into thin wedges.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anchovy or Sardine Vermicelli

Have the courtesy to read past the title please. If even one of you make this or think it sounds good, please let me know. I can remember making this when I was very young (20's) and very broke. I still love it.

Anchovy or Sardine Vermicelli
serves 4-6
print recipe

3 cups cooked vermicelli , cooked al dente
2 cups medium white sauce
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 tablespoons grated cheese, I use Parmesan
2 tablespoons oil from fish
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
12 anchovies or sardines

Put vermicelli in greased baking dish. Combine sauce, onion, cheese, oil, and parsley. Pour over vermicelli. Top with anchovies or sardines. Bake in 400 degree F. oven 20 minutes or until browned.

Cooks Note: You can mash the anchovies or sardines and mix them in the vermicelli. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top and continue as instructed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Your Normal Rice Crispy Squares

A friend had these on the table for her grandchildren the other day and they were killing each other to get to them. I ask what they were, she told me the name and I completely forgot. I do remember her saying they are not your normal rice crispy squares. She wrote the recipe down for me with no name. So here they are.

Not Your Normal Rice Crispy Squares
2 to 2 1/2 dozen
print recipe

4 Milky Way or Mars Bars (2.05 ounces each), cut up
3/4 cup butter, cubed, divided
3 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup (6-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan over low heat or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy bars and 1/2 cup butter; stir until blended. Stir in cereal. Pat into a greased 11-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch pan.

In another saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and remaining butter; stir until smooth. Spread over cereal mixture. Refrigerate until firm.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Realizing Our Goals

Our dreams and desires inspire us to reach beyond our present stopping-place. That which we can achieve will draw our attention, and with certainty, a partner is on hand to help us chart the steps for realizing the goal.

Our lives are purposeful. Each of us is fulfilling a necessary role. The longings that tug at us, longings that bring no harm to ourselves or others, push us to realize our full potential.

Courage and strength, ability and resourcefulness are never lacking when we follow the guidance within and trust in its direction. All the wisdom necessary for succeeding at any task, completing any goal, charting any desire, is as close as our attention is to God.

I will pay heed to my desires today. I will pray for the wisdom to fulfill them. All doors will open and my steps will be guided, when the desire is spiritually sound.

Please take time to visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scriptures Sunday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Favorite Fresh Apple Cake

Today starts the unofficial day of apple harvest. I read that someplace. I've been getting apples for a month. This is the cake that I keep in the freezer during the fall and winter months. It's also the cake I make for our annual Lord's Auction at church each year, which is October 1st.

It's important to make this cake a couple of days ahead of serving. During the holidays I also give it a generous soaking of bourbon after the sauce has soaked in.

Fresh Apple Cake
About 16 servings
print recipe

Butter for greasing pan
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and small chopped apples
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a tube pan.

For the cake: Inn a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, orange juice, flour baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract, and mix well. Fold apples, coconut, and walnuts/pecans into batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shortly before the cake is done, make the sauce; Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda, and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the hot cake in the pan as soon as you remove it from the oven. Let stand 1 hour, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives, and Capers

Everyday gets harder to find beautiful fresh garden tomatoes. But while I have them I'll enjoy. Not enough left for canning, but still enough to make this heavenly sauce. This makes a perfect side dish for grilled fish, steak or chicken, or almost anything. I like mine plain, just like this. I even like it cold for breakfast.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives, and Capers
4-6 Servings
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1/3 cup olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, 2 sliced and 1 chopped
1 pound Roma tomatoes; peeled, seeded, and chopped; 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered; or 1 15-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
24 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
Salt and freshly ground pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Heat the oil with the garlic slices in a wide skillet over medium heat. When the garlic is golden, remove and discard it. Add the chopped garlic, tomatoes, olives, capers, pepper flakes, and marjoram. Simmer briskly for 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water, drain, and add it to the sauce along with the parsley. Toss well and serve.

Variation with Roasted Peppers: Add a red and yellow bell pepper, roasted, or 1 cup bottled roasted peppers, peeled, seeded, and chopped, to the skillett with the tomatoes. I use my Marinated Roasted Red Peppers.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Muffins with Candied Ginger

As usual I got a little carried away buying sweet potatoes for my Sweet Potato Butter last week. Had a few (8) left over. That's okay because they keep well as long as I keep them cool. They'll be gone in 3 days anyway.

If you don't have candied ginger, replace it with chopped dates, raisins, or fresh pineapple. Serve with Brie or any mild cheese, butter or cream cheese. I used the candied ginger and it was great, but next time I'm using dates because I just love dates.

Sweet Potato Muffins with Candied Ginger
10-12 muffins
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1/3 cup chopped candied ginger or chopped fresh pineapple, dates, or raisins
1/4 cup butter, melted, or vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato or winter squash
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil or spray muffin tins. Mix the ginger and wet ingredients in a bowl until smooth; mix the dry ingredients in a second bowl. Combine the two, mixing gently until well blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake on the middle oven rack until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Without a doubt one of the best things I've eaten in a long time. I'm not even sure how to classify it. I think vegetable will be my choice. You can eat it as is, or use for baked eggs, omelets, in quesadillas, enchilada, on a cold biscuit. I don't think it matters. My personal favorite is right out of the skillet standing at the stove.

Serving 4-6
Print recipe

1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
5-6 bell peppers- red, yellow, and green, diced or sliced
Salt and pepper
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and cook over medium heat; stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and raise the heat. Cook briskly until the peppers begin to soften, then add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the excess water from the tomato has cooked away, about 15 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

Cooks's Note Try a big spoonful of this over fried cheese polenta or grits.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweet Potato Butter

It doesn't get much better than this! This is sweet potato season in my world. David called on Friday to announce he had dug a new batch of sweet potatoes if I had any interest. I couldn't get there fast enough. Fresh is the key to anything. I had a batch of this cooking within 2 hours of harvest.

There is a good chance you will never eat apple butter again.

Sweet Potato Butter
about 4 half pints
print recipe

About 2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/8 - 1/4-inch slices
2 cups (about 2 medium apples) peeled, cored, and chopped apples
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if you have it
1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/2 cup water

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy pan with lid. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook until sweet potatoes are fully cooked.

2. Mash or beat with an electric mixer until well blended. The mixture will be thicker than apple butter.

3. Put in hot jars, secure lids and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes. If not canning it will hold in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baked Eggplant with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes

Since today is a special occasion, Monday with no one to bother me, I'm making this about noon so I can eat it all day. Just me! I deserve a me day.

If you have family members that think they can not have a meal without "meat", this also makes an excellent side dish.

This is another slightly altered recipe from the wonderful Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone Cook Book.

I happened to have oven roasted tomatoes in my refrigerator so I'm using those.

Baked Eggplant with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes
4-6 servings or me
print recipes

4 oblong Asian or Italian eggplants, about 6 ounces each
about 1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper freshly ground or House Seasoning
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or oven roasted tomatoes
2 to 3 ounces feta cheese, I'm going for the 3 ounces
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice each eggplant lengthwise in half and score the cut sides in a crisscross pattern.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Add the eggplant, cut side down, and fry over medium -high heat until golden. Fry the second sides for a few minutes, then remove to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon fresh oil in the skillet, add the tomatoes, and cook over medium-high heat until they have broken down into a chunky sauce, 5 to 10 minutes. The oven roasted tomatoes will not take as long. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Set the eggplants, cut side up and snugly side by side, in a baking dish. Crumble the cheese over the tops, spoon the tomato over the cheese, and sprinkle with the oregano. Cover and bake until the eggplant is tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sirloin Pork Roast

You're right, these were on sale at my grocery in the past couple of weeks. There is nothing like a good pork roast to say fall has arrived. A good pork loin roast will work just a well. I love any kind of roast that will yield left-overs.

Sirloin Pork Roast
8-10 servings
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3 pounds pork roast
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
Salt and Pepper
Ground rosemary, I use fresh because I have it
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup red wine, separated, use broth if you'd rather, and it may take more

Heat oven to 225 degrees F.

Rub pork with one of the smashed garlic cloves. Sprinkle lightly on all sides with ground rosemary then season generously with salt and pepper. Can be done the night before, but not necessary.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides then transfer to a plate.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to skillet along with additional oil if needed and coo, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown. Add garlic and thyme and cook a minute longer. Deglaze skillet with 1/2 cup wine or broth.

Place roast on top of vegetables and place skillet in center of oven. Cook until instant read thermometer show the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Start checking after 2 hour. Remove from oven and tent roast with foil.

Add enough additional wine or broth to skillet to completely cover vegetables. Bring to a soft boil and cook about 15 minutes. Puree vegetables in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over sliced pork. This is some good stuff.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dehydrating Shiitake Mushrooms

September is National Mushrooms month. I bet you already knew that! As I mentioned before it is also the time of year when people want to give you stuff from the garden, including mushrooms. My nephews friend, Tom always gives him mushrooms. But this must have been a really good year because we got a medium grocery bag full of these beauties. That's a lot of mushrooms. So its time to dehydrate.

Brush or wipe the mushrooms and slice into 1/8-1/4-inch slices, removing any tough woody stems. Place on the dehydrator tray at 130 degrees F for 8-12 hours. I turn mine every couple of hours if I think about it.

When done, the slices should feel dry and crisp and contain no moisture.

Store in air tight containers (mason jars, for me), and keep in a cool dry area of your pantry.

Use in soups and stews. They will taste like fresh after reconstituted in the liquid.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Green Beans with Rosemary and Basil

I'm so lucky to have David for produce. He does a spring planting and a fall planting for lots of his vegetables, corn, green beans, beets, cabbage, kale, mustard, collards, etc. The garden seasons are quickly coming to a close. Yesterday I got the last of the beautiful sweet corn, green and red peppers and green beans.

It's so sad to see the summer over. But I'm lucky enough to have freezers and pantry full to the brim.

This is so quick and easy and a good chance you will have everything on hand.
I've used this recipe since the 60's.

Green Beans with Rosemary and Basil
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 pound fresh green beans, cut in 1-inch lengths (about 3 cups)
2 or 3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary (1/2 teaspoon if using dried)
2 teaspoons finely chopped basil (1/2 teaspoon if sing dried

Cook beans covered in small amount boiling salted water 10 minutes; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover; cook 10 minutes or till beans are tender.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stuffed Bermuda Onions

How long has it been since you've seen a recipe that called for Bermuda onions? Never, that's what I thought. This is from that old cook book of my moms, New American Cook Book, 1950.

Growing up we all loved canned salmon. Salmon patties with cream sauce, salmon casserole, salmon salad, anyway was fine with us. I made this a few days ago and tried them on my meat and potato nephew. He actually really liked them.

These are really good and very economical.

Stuffed Bermuda Onions
serves 6
print recipe

6 Bermuda onions, any sweet onion will be fine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 hard-cooked egg yolks, crumbled
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped
1 pound canned salmon, remove skin and bones, lightly drain
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Peel onions and cut off tops. Cook in boiling salted water about 10-12 minutes, until just tender. Drain and remove center sections, leaving onion cups. Melt butter in skillet and add flour blending to smooth paste. Add milk and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Add egg yolks,chopped parsley, green pepper, and flaked salmon. Fill mixture into onion cups. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with butter, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sauteed Parsnips

You will not believe how wonderful this simple little recipe is. I found it in one of my moms old cook books, New American Cook Book published in 1950. My mom never made these because she hated parsnips. I happen to love them.

I'll use the same language as the cook book.

Sauteed Parsnips
servings will depend on amount of parsnips used
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Scrape skins from parsnips. Slice lengthwise into sauce pan. Cover with water. Boil slowly until tender, about 45 minutes. Add salt during cooking. Drain. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge with flour. Saute in a little fat (olive oil and butter) until lightly browned.

Cook's Note: Parsnips may be cooked in microwave instead of boiling.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

It's hard to believe I have not posted my favorite Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. Actually Lemon Meringue is my favorite pie. I have tried every new recipe that I've come across, but this is the first one I made in 1963 and it's still the one I love the best.

Lemon Meringue Pie
1 9-inch pie
print recipe

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
Dash of salt
1 1/2 cups of hot water
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 9-inch baked pastry shell
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar

In a saucepan mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt. Gradually blend in hot water. Bring to boiling over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir 8 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Stir small amount hot mixture into eff yolks; return to hot mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add lemon peel and butter. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup lemon juice. Cover entire surface with clear plastic wrap; cool 10 minutes. Now pour into cooled pastry shell. Cool to room temperature (about 1 hour).

For meringue, beat egg whites with 1 teaspoon lemon juice till soft peaks form. Gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar, beating till stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread meringue over filling, sealing to edges of pastry. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 12 to 15 minutes or till meringue is golden. Cool thoroughly before serving.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saint and Scripture Sunday

How many times have you been ask, " Where were you on September 11?" No reason to give the year, everyone knows what you mean.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who lost someone on September 11, 2001. I can not remember a day that upset me as much and has changed so much in our lives. It is always a good reminder to live everyday to the fullest. Don't put things off, be kind and loving to each others. Let's not ever take our freedom for granted and pray for our troops that continue to fight and die for that freedom.

I'm reading the most wonderful book, If you Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat - John Ortberg.. Of course the entire book is bases on Matthew 14:22-36 - He said, "Come" So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. It's all about fear and failure, faith and trust, and recognizing our calling.

Regardless of what congress and all the political powers say, our nation was built on four powerful words. IN GOD WE TRUST.

Please take a minute to visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures - Saint and Scriptures Sunday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Greens With Potatoes

This is comfort food at it's best. A homey and unpretentious looking dish, that is full of taste and comfort. It also begs for a pan of cornbread.

I have been using kale because that's what's in the garden. If you use collards you may have to cook the greens longer.

Greens with Potatoes
serves 4
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4 boiling potatoes, about 1 pound
1 to 2 pounds greens, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced

Cover the potatoes with cold water, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, then peel and coarsely chop. Simmer the greens in a large skillet with a small amount of salted water, until tender, about 10-15 minutes, then drain. You may have to do this in two batches. Return the skillet to the stove, add the oil, and heat with the garlic and pepper flakes. When you can smell the garlic; add the greens, potatoes, and tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the potatoes with a fork and mashing them into the greens to make a kind of rough hash. Taste for salt and serve with olive oil drizzled over the top.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creole Catfish Stew

It is cold here again today. In the low 60's. I'm not ready for this weather. But it is perfect stew and soup weather. After this week of rain I think our gardens will come back with another bounty of goodies. Plus it is going back in the high 70's and 80's next week. If I don't freeze first.

Creole Catfish Stew
serves 4
print recipe

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce ( more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (who cares if it's 2 cups)
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
2 cups frozen baby lima beans ( one 10-ounce package)
2 cups fresh (cut from about 3 ears) or frozen kernels
2 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

In a large pot, heat oil over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, oregano, mustard, Tabasco sauce, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. You can increase the spiciness at the end by increasing the Tabasco sauce or adding a bit of cayenne pepper, as written it should give you a moderate heat level.

Add the tomatoes and broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the lima beans and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in the corn and simmer 4 minutes more. Add the catfish and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, bring back to a simmer, and cook until just done, about 2 minutes. Please don't over cook your fish. Serve topped with chopped parsley or cilantro.

This is a fast meal that serves 4. This recipe was adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, and it is by far the best recipe I have found.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sicilian Stuffed Tomatoes

I'm making tomatoes every way I can think of before they are gone for another year. Stop thinking about the anchovies. You will never know they are there except for the wonderful nutty flavor they give.

Let's take a look and see what else Miz Helen's Country Cottage - Full Plate Thursday has today.

Sicilian Stuffed Tomatoes
serves 4
print recipe

4 large tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 anchovies, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dry white white
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cut the tops from the tomatoes and scoop out the centers. Chop the centers and drain.

3. In a large skillet heat two tablespoons of the olive oil, add the onion and brown lightly. Add the tomato pulp, anchovies, capers, parsley, two tablespoons of the bread crumbs, the wine, salt and pepper and mix.

4. Fill the tomatoes with the stuffing. Mix the remaining crumbs with the remaining oil and spread over the top.

5. Bake in a greased baking dish about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Perfect Apple Pie

Apple Pie is maybe one of the easiest pies in the world to make. As soon as it starts feeling like fall, I'm thinking "Apple Pie'. Remember your pie will only be as good as your apples. Every produce stand, farmers market and road side stand will start having these beauties. You will need a mixture of tart apples.

I use Granny Smith, Grimes Golden and Liberty, this time of the year. Use whatever is grown in your area. Check with your orchard to see what will be available as the weather gets cooler. If you have a choice of picking your own please do. They are so much better and have not been stored in refrigeration.

To me apple pie has to have a big slice of cheddar cheese on top.

Perfect Apple Pie
1 - 9-inch double crust pie
print recipe

6 or 7 tart apples
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg, use fresh grated if you have it
Dash salt
Pastry for 2-crust 9-inch pie
2 tablespoons butter

Pare apples and slice thin. Combine sugar, flour, spices, and salt; mix with apples. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry, fill with apple mixture; (Pile it high) dot with butter. Adjust top crust, sprinkle with sugar. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 50 minutes or till done.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Country Captain with Chicken and Shrimp

This recipe in some form dates back to the 1700-1800's when tall sailing ships sailed between the East Indies and American ports in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, trading cargoes of rich spices for loads of rice and tobacco. During such a trip an inventive ship's cook dipped into the ships store of fragrant spices and used them to flavor the chicken for a special meal for the captain. So pleased was the captain that upon his arrival in the port of Savannah, Georgia he made it for his host. Country Captain is still served in the south today.

This recipe I adapted from Savannah Seasons cookbook published in 1996 by Elizabeth Terry. Mrs Terry is the former owner of the lovely Elizabeth's at 37 Street, in Savannah, Georgia.

I feel sure that's more than you wanted to know about that. But it is a very cool, gloomy, rainy day here and perfect for this dish.

Country Captain with Chicken and Shrimp
6 servings
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1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 1/2 tablespoons currants
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup minced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 14-ounce can diced, pureed tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce
1 recipe Curried Rice (see below)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Using a medium saute' pan, bring the apple juice, curry powder, and currants to medium warm. Add the diced chicken and set aside to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, lidded casserole dish, place the chicken breasts and marinade, then layer the onion, bell pepper, almonds, and apples, followed by the tomato puree, salt, and chili sauce. DO NOT stir.

Place the casserole over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the cooked curried rice, cover, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked.

Remove from oven, stir in the chicken broth, and place the shrimp on top of the rice, chicken, and vegetables. Return to oven, covered for 5 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink.

Serve with a tossed green salad and supper is ready.

Curried Rice

This is to be prepared in advance for Elizabeth Terry's Country Captain with Chicken and Shrimp (above). However, it makes a wonderful dish to accompany many meat and seafood dishes.

Curried Rice
4-6 servings
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2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups raw white basmati rice
2 1/2 cups water

Melt the butter at medium heat in a lidded saucepan. Stir in the curry, ginger, orange zest, and salt, and simmer 1 minute. Stir in the rice and simmer, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the water, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Leave lid on. Remove from the heat and place in pan of warm water for at least 10 minutes. This is to finish cooking the rice and to keep it warm prior to serving. Use according to the recipe above or on its own.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Roasted Onions with Vinegar and Rosemary

Since receiving a beautiful rosemary plant from my friend Edie, that she grew from seed, I have made anything and everything that mentions rosemary. OMG! You will not believe how easy and delicious this dish is. If you have left-overs use them in a salad or spoon them over braschetta with slivered Manchego or Parmesan cheese.

I'm thinking a few of these over a cheese omelet couldn't be a bad thing.

Roasted Onions with Vinegar and Rosemary
4-6 servings
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4 or 5 onions, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the onions with the oil, vinegar, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Put them in a baking dish with a few tablespoons water. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until the onions are browned around the edges and tender, about 30 minutes more. Give them a stir every 10 minutes or so toward the end.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Change

The world is a wheel always turning. Those who are high go down low, and those who've been low go up higher

Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. And letting go of the way things are anticipating instead what they might become, frees us to live each moment more fully.

Time marches on, and our destiny marches with it. There is purpose in how our lives unfold, the ups and downs serve our growth. We must neither resent the doldrums nor savor too long the elation. Giving too much attention to either state interferes with our awareness of the present. And the present has come to teach us.

We must move with time. We must focus our attention on the moment and accept whatever feelings each experience elicits. Emotional maturity is accepting our feelings and letting them go and facing instead the next moment with fresh receptivity. Our lessons are many, and they accompany the lows as well as the highs. We can be grateful for both.

Nothing lasts forever, and with each struggle is the opportunity for real growth.

Please visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scripture Sunday.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil

I'm not a big fan of pasta salads in general. Too many are served cold from the refrigerator where they've been sitting for hours soaking up all that mayonnaise. If you're going to make a pasta salad, try a warm one, or at least room temperature. Or make an Asian noodle salad which are intended to be eaten chilled.

This is a perfect picnic or tailgate salad.

Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil
serves 4-6
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1 pound cheese ravioli or tortellini
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 6-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1 bunch basil, the leaves torn into pieces
1/2 cup Nicoise or Greek olives, pitted and cut into large pieces
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Red wine vinegar

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the ravioli. Blanch the tomatoes for 15 seconds, then scoop them out. Peel, seed, and chop them into large pieces. Put the tomatoes and artichokes in a large bowl with the basil, olives, capers, and oil.

Salt the pasta water. Add the ravioli, cook until done, and drain well. Add them to the bowl and toss gently with a rubber spatula. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and sprinkle with vinegar to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Southwest Chicken Breast with Black Bean Relish

This is perfect for the up coming holiday. You can marinade the chicken and make the relish ahead.

Southwest Chicken Breast with Black Bean Relish
6-8 servings
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8 chicken breast halves, boned and skinless
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
14 ounce can artichoke hearts

2/3 cup black beans, cooked and drained
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup corn
1/3 cup red bell peppers, diced fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the chicken in a dish. Mix the next 6 ingredients and pour over the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Heat grill to medium heat. Place chicken on the frill and cook for 10 minutes. Turn and brush with the marinade. Place the artichokes on the grill. Grill for 10 to 15 minute, until chicken is done.

Mix all the relish ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bev's Cold Tomatoes

Our fresh garden tomatoes are slowly coming to an end. I made this the other day with baby kale in place of the spinach, because I had a ton of it. A great make-ahead dish, and can be used as a salad or vegetable. Also a great winter dish when you have to resort to grocery store tomatoes. Roasting the worse tomato in the world will bring out the great flavor.

Don't forget to visit Miz Helen's Country Cottage today for Full Plate Thursday!

Bev's Cold Tomatoes
6 servings
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2 pounds spinach, cooked briefly, thoroughly drained and finely chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 medium tomatoes
Dried or fresh basil to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Drain the spinach thoroughly, then squeeze out the remaining moisture.

3. In a skillet heat one-quarter cup of the olive oil with the pine nuts and saute until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic and cook briefly until the onions are pale golden in color. Remove from heat.

4. Add the spinach, one-quarter cup of the remaining oil, the salt, and pepper.

5. Cut the stem ends from the tomatoes, hollow them out and sprinkle the insides with salt, pepper and a little sugar and a pinch of basil. Stuff the tomatoes with the spinach mixture.

6. Arrange the tomatoes in a baking pan and pour the remaining oil over them. Bake until the tomatoes wrinkle, about 15 minutes. Chill. At serving time, bring to room temperature.