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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thyme-Smothered Chicken

This is sooo good and sooo economical. Talk about comfort food!

Traditionally, "smothered" anything, meat, poultry or vegetables are served with (and often cooked in) a heavy flour-thickened gray. Here the chicken is cooked in it's own juices, with plenty of thyme, onions and butter. No water or stock is added, so both chicken and sauce are lighter and more intensely flavored. Delicious served over stone-ground grits or rice.

Thyme-Smothered Chicken
4-6 servings
print recipe

4 chicken legs, 4 thighs and 4 wings, brined for 8-12 hours (see note)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme (dried will give a more intense flavor than fresh)
4 tablespoons (1/2-stick) unsalted butter
3 large onions, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch wedges
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse the chicken pieces, and dry them thoroughly with paper towel. Sprinkle the chicken all over with the pepper and thyme. Heat the butter in a large covered skillet or Dutch oven until hot and foaming. Put the chicken pieces, skin side down, into the pan, and cook over moderately high heat until the chicken is a rich golden brown. Turn the pieces as needed until they are golden brown all over.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Immediately toss the sliced onions into the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the onions become limp and translucent. Use a wooden spoon to dislodge from the bottom of the pan any browned bits left from cooking the chicken. Add the garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, stir well to distribute the seasonings, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Return to the pan the browned chicken pieces and any juices they have given off while resting. Bury them in the onions and cover. Cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is fork-tender. Serve hot.

Note: For brine, stir kosher salt into cold water until dissolved, in the proportion of 1/4 cup of salt to 1 quart water. (Don't use table salt in this formula, it will be too salty). Mix enough brine to cover the chicken in a (non reactive) bowl or pot. Store refrigerated for the times specified in recipe

Monday, January 30, 2012

My First Recipe Box and Lipton Onion Roasted Potatoes

This may sound strange to some of you, since I'm always cooking. But I have never owned a recipe box. Until now. I have always stuck recipes in a big yellow notebook binder or a box. Now most are on the computer. I love hand written recipe cards. In one of the boxes of books that Joyce sent the other day was a metal recipe box like the one she has of her mothers. I just love it. In the recipe box was this recipe I haven't made in 35 years. Don't forget to check the Note at the bottom. I made mine today with Italian Herb with Tomato Soup Mix. How long has it been since you made these?

Lipton Onion-Roasted Potatoes
6-8 servings
I think you can remember the recipe.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

1 envelope Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
2 pounds potatoes, cut into large chunks
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil. I like to mix the two

In plastic bag or bowl, add all ingredients. Close bag and shake, or toss in bowl, until potatoes are coated. Empty potatoes into 13 9-inch baking pan; discard bag. Bake, stirring occasionally, 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Garnish, if desired, with fresh parsley.

Cook's Note" Also terrific with Lipton's Onion Mushroom, Savory Herb with Garlic, or Italian Herb with Tomato Soup Mix.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Egg Custard Baked in Custard Cups

Someone at church this morning was talking about Egg Custard, which of course brought to mind my mom and grandmother making this when we were kids. This classic Southern dessert is rarely made these days, which is unfortunate, because it is a refreshing and simple, not to mention delicious dessert. Its sweet nutmeg flavor brought back wonderful taste memories of my life. Made you wish you were 6 years old again. I whipped these up when I got home and have already had two.

You can top them with a lightly sweetened whipped cream or fresh fresh. I like it best the old-fashioned way, completely unadorned.

Egg Custard Baked in Custard Cups
8 custards
print recipe

6 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the eggs in a mixing bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon just until mixed. Add the sugar, salt, and milk, and mix until well blended. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, and stir in the grated nutmeg and vanilla. Divide evenly among eight 6-ounce custard cups. Put the cups in a deep baking pan, and fill the pan halfway up the cups with hot water.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, just until custards are set. Remove from the hot-water bath and cool. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Mine were warm. I can't wait.

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Moment By Moment

This is a meditation I should do more than I do!

Let me tell thee, time is a very precious gift of God; so precious that it's only given to us moment by moment. - Amelia Barr

Where are our minds right now? Are we focused fully on this mediation? Or are our minds wandering off to events scheduled for later today or tomorrow perhaps? The simple truth is that this moment is all God has allowed right now. It's God's design that we will live fully every moment, as it comes. Therein lies the richness of our lives. Each moment contributes to the full pattern that's uniquely our own.

We must not miss the potential pleasure of any experience because our thoughts are elsewhere. We never know when a particular moment, a certain situation, may be a door to our future. What we do know is that God often has to work hard getting our attention, perhaps allowing many stumbling blocks in order to get us back on target.

Being in tune with now, this moment, guarantees a direct line of communication to God. It also guarantees a full, yet simple life. Our purpose becomes clear as we trust our steps to God's guidance. How terribly complicated we make life by living in the past, the present, and many future times, all at once.

One step, one moment, and then the next step and its moment. How the simple life brings me freedom.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Potato Chip Sandwich

Don't worry, I'm really busy next week and will not have so much time to blog. I was back in The White Trash Cook Book again and found this oh so familiar old sandwich. This was our hang-over prevention food back in the day. Got home too late, drank too much and forgot to eat, Don't say you never did that! Wash this down with a Pepsi and you would feel great in the morning. The secret here is don't be using those healthy baked potato chips. You have to have the grease to soak up the alcohol.

If you have kids in college make sure they have this recipe.

Potato Chip Sandwich
1 sandwich

2 slices of bread
mayonnaise (not low fat or no fat)
potato chips

Spread the mayo generously across the bread. Pile the potato chips on to one of the slices as high as you can. Then top it with the other slice and mash down until all the potato chips are crushed.

You will be so glad in the morning you took the time to do this.

Boursin Cheese Potatoes

You have had plenty of time to make your Boursin Cheese. Here is just one beautiful way to use some of it, if you have any left. It will take about half of the recipe for this. These are wonderful served with any meat.

Boursin Cheese Potatoes
serves 6-8
print recipe

3 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pint heavy cream
One 5-ounce package Boursin cheese, homemade is better
Fresh chives or parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and slice potatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Toss potatoes with salt and pepper. Heat cream and cheese together, on top of stove or in microwave, until cheese has melted. Stir mixture until thoroughly blended. Layer half of the potatoes into a 2-quart baking dish (this is best if done in a deep dish instead of a long, flat dish). Cover potatoes with half of the cream mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes and cream mixture. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle top with chopped chives or parsley.

Friday, January 27, 2012

High Calorie Pick-Me-Up

I had so much fun yesterday reading my cook books from Joyce. Yes, I read cook books, not just look at the recipes. White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler, is one of the funniest books ever.

I have never thought of any of my family or friends as "white trash". After reading this book I may have to re-visit that thought. How many times have I seen my brother do this very thing. I wonder if he knows it's a "white trash" thing? He does now!

High Calorie Pick-Me-Up

Pour a small bag of Tom's peanuts into a cold bottle of Pepsi. Turn it up and eat and drink at the same time.

This needs to be done in a bottle not a can so you can see how gross it looks.

I may have to try this!

John's Grandmother's White Bean Soup

This recipe is from a wonderful chef that I'm proud to call friend. Chef John Ash is a culinary instructor, restaurant owner, cookbook author, radio host, etc., in California. Most of all he is just a really nice guy. Please visit his blog. This recipe appears in his last cookbook From the Earth to the Table. He has a new one scheduled for next year, Culinary Birds. The name may change, but not the wonderful "John" recipes. Did I mention this is one of my favorite white bean soups! It's the shredded cabbage.

This looks like a long list of ingredients, and it is, but most, or all you will already have on hand. Thank you John and your Grandma.

John's Grandmother's White Bean Soup
10-12 servings
print recipe

2 cups dried Great Northern Beans or navy beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
8 cups rich chicken or vegetable stock, homemade preferred
2 cups dry white wine
1 pound meaty smoked ham hocks
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 large bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups seeded and diced fresh ripe tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, include juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
Freshly grated Parmesan or dry Jack cheese for garnish

Sort through the beans to remove any debris. Rinse thoroughly and soak overnight in enough water to cover the beans by at least 3 inches. Drain before adding to the pot the next day.

In a stockpot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until they just begin to color. Add the drained beans, stock, wine, ham hocks, thyme, fennel seeds, bay leaves, and pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes (mine usually take an hour), or until the beans are tender, not mushy. Add the tomatoes and parsley. Remove from the heat. (At this point, the soup can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator overnight, if you want, to develop the flavors and to congeal the fat so that it is easily removed.)

Skim any fat from the soup. Remove the bay leaves and the ham hocks, discard any skin or fat, shred the meat, and return it to the soup. Heat to a simmer. Just before serving, stir in the cabbage. Serve the soup and pass the Parmesan cheese.

Cook's Note: I find it easier to shred the meat from the ham hocks before storing it overnight. Plus the puppies don't have to wait for their ham bones.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Pie

Puff pastry is one of the staples of life. Keep some in the freezer for quick meals that look like you have slaved all day. I found this recipe in an old Marshall Field's cookbook that Joyce sent. This is how I made chicken pie when I first started cooking. It's still wonderful.

Did I mention two more boxes of cook books arrived from Joyce yesterday. The woman is an angel. It's cold and rainy today and I'm not leaving the house, or my jammies. I'm cooking and reading.

Catherine, this one's for you sweet girl!

Chicken Pie
4 pies
print recipe

1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
3 tablespoons chicken fat or butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces cooked chicken breast meat, cut into strips
1/4 cup tiny frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup diced cooked carrot

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Have ready 4 individual casseroles with 1 1/2-2-cup capacity.

Cut circles from the puff pastry to fit the tops of the casseroles. Make two 1-inch slits in the center of each casserole.

Melt fat or butter in a medium pan and stir in flour. Cook 1 minute. Add broth, whisking until smooth. Heat to a boil and cook 1 to 2 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Add chicken, peas, and carrot. Divide mixture among the casseroles. Top with a pastry round, tucking the edges in.

Bake 22 to 27 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve hot.

Rosemary Bacon Mashed Potatoes

How could anything this simple be sooo good! I have a nephew that thinks mashed potatoes should be on the table 7 nights a week. Do you know how boring it is to make plain old mashed potatoes everyday! These are a wonderful change of pace.

Rosemary Bacon Mashed Potatoes
4 servings
print recipe

1 1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Peel and cube potatoes. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return to burner to remove any excess water.

Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Add cream, butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Whip by hand until light and fluffy. Add bacon. Serve hot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pickled Knockwurst

This might sound a little strange to some of you, but it's never to early to start thinking about Super Bowl and gathering your recipes together. When I lived in Marathon, actually Duck Key, Fl. in the early 80's we had a dive bar there that always had these. Perfect for guy type gatherings that include lots of beer. Make these at least 5 days before serving, plus they will last several weeks in the refrigerator. Plus it is nice to have something to grab a bite of when you are starving to death.

Pickled Knockwurst
Serves 4 or 5
print recipe

2 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
20 peppercorns
16 whole allspice
1 1/2 pounds knockwurst, sliced on angle into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium white sweet onion, sliced into rings

In a saucepan combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns and allspice. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Let the marinade cool until it is lukewarm. Slice knockwurst and onions and arrange them in a 2-quart jar, alternating layers. Pour marinade over knockwurst, cover jar and refrigerate 3-5 days. WIll keep in refrigerator for several weeks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Best Lemonade

There are some things that are just not seasonal with me. I see no reason not to drink lemonade, sweet tea, and iced coffee any time of the year. You don't eat homemade ice cream just in the summer, right!

I think I have the best sweet tea and iced coffee recipes in the world. Now I feel the same about my lemonade. If you've had better lemonade, please send me the recipe! Make this at least an hour before serving and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

The Best Lemonade
serves 8
print recipe

6 juicy lemons
1 cup sugar
6 cups water
Fresh mint sprigs

Scrub the lemons with a little soapy water to remove any oil or wax coating. Rinse them well. Cut the lemons in half and put in a 2-quart heat resistant pitcher. Add the cup of sugar

Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the lemons, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the lemons are cool enough to handle (30 to 40 minutes), squeeze the juice out of them into the pitcher. Discard the lemons. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Pour the lemonade into iced glasses, garnishing with sprigs of mint.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Don't we all love having a container of this in the refrigerator. I find it a little pricy at the grocery. Homemade is always fresher and tastier anyway, not to mention more economical. Spread on your bagel chips that you just made, or a cracker, add some to a simple white sauce to pour over roasted chicken breast. Blanch snow peas or sugar snaps and pipe boursin inside or on top. I guess one of my favorite ways is, take a spoon and have a bite anytime you open the refrigerator.

makes about 1 1/2 cups
print recipe

4 ounces butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 teaspoons EACH
dried oregano
dried basil
dill weed
dried marjoram
dried thyme
black pepper

Mix together cheeses and garlic. In another small bowl mix all dried herbs and pepper. Don't forget to rub the herbs between your fingers as to add to the cheese mixture to release their flavors. Blend all together. Spoon into a 1 1/2-2-cup container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Parmesan Bagel Chips

Can't remember if I've posted this before or not, but it's worth a repeat. These are so easy, who would ever buy bagel chips. If you want to really get crazy, make your own bagels.

Parmesan Bagel Chips
32 chips
print recipe

4 plain, egg, sesame, poppy seed, or onion bagels
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Have baking sheets ready.

Cut each bagel horizontally into 8 thin slices. A mandoline is a great tool for this.

Melt the butter with the oil; cool to lukewarm. Stir in the cheese. Add to the bag and shake the bag to coat all the slices with the butter mixture.

Arrange in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden, turning the slices once.

Cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Million-Dollar Pound Cake

I have no idea what happened to the Saint and Scriptures Sunday post that I had ready for this morning. We will have to do with food for the mind, body and soul today. I think the dogs ate it!

This really is a billion dollar pound cake. The real deal. Pound cake the old-fashioned way. Eat half and freeze half. Enough said!

Use shortening to grease the pan, covering every nook and cranny. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface. Tap out any excess flour

Million-Dollar Pound Cake
10-12 servings
print recipe

1 pound butter, softened, yes 1 pound
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 cups soft-wheat-all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, blueberries, sliced peaches

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Generously grease and lightly flour a 10-inch (14-cup) tube pan.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until light yellow in color and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs; 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition.

3. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (Batter should be smooth.) Stir in extracts. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. Garnish, if desired, or grab a slice and go.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Magic Cookie Bars

Can you believe I would have the nerve to post another cookie recipe after all the cookies we had over the holidays. Well, the devil made me do it! I bought Keebler graham crackers to make my Ultimate Cheese Cake with Lemon Blueberry Glaze, for Bible study and didn't know what to do with the remainder of the crackers. There on the back of the box was this amazing recipe. Just had to do it! You can hide these in a cookie tin in the refrigerator and they last longer.

Magic Cookie Bars
32 bars
print recipe

1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups Keebler Graham Crackers, finely crushed
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, low-fat if you want
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels or milk chocolate morsels
3/4 cup peanut butter chips or butterscotch morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds (optional) not really

1. Spread butter in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Sprinkle cracker crumbs over butter. Evenly pat crumbs into pan. Drizzle milk over crumbs.

2. Sprinkle coconut, semi-sweet morsels, peanut butter chips and nuts over top.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes or until light brown around edges. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pickled Shrimp

In the low country this is considered a condiment, because they are "put up" as often as traditional relishes and chutneys. Of course if we lived in the low country we could walk out in the yard and pick our bay leaves from an old Roman laurels bay tree, and buy our sweet creek shrimp from a street vendor. But we will make do with what we have. Make these at least twenty-four hours in advance of serving. They'll last for two week refrigerated, if you hide them well. If you put these out at a party they will be the first thing to go.

Pickled Shrimp
Makes 1 quart
print recipe

1 1/2 quarts water
1/4 cup crab or shrimp boil, such as Old Bay Seasoning
2 pounds small to medium shrimp (about 50 per pound)
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
25 to 30 bay leaves
1 medium onion, thinly sliced

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice cubes ready. Add the shrimp boil to the boiling water, drop the shrimp into the pot, and cook until the shrimp are just done - no more than 3 minutes. Do no let the water return to a boil. Drain, then plunge the shrimp into ice to stop the cooking. Peel the shrimp when they're cool enough to handle and set aside.

Sterilize a quart jar (wide-mouth) in a pot of boiling water. Combine the salt, oil, lemon juice, mustard and celery seeds, and garlic and set aside. Place about 15 shrimp in the jar, then add a layer of about 4 bay leaves, then a layer of onion slices. Continue making layers until the jar is filled and all the ingredients are used. Pack the jar tightly, pushing down on the ingredients with a tall, narrow olive or capers jar if necessary.

When the jar is full, stir the oil mixture well and pour slowly into the jar. Use a spatula handle or a tool made for the purpose to run down the sides to release air bubbles and to make sure the jar fills. If well packed, the jar will hold all the ingredients perfectly. Put the lid on the jar and turn it over once to make sure everything is coated with oil and the air bubbles are out. Open the jar again and push down on the ingredients again so that they are covered with a film of oil.

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Always use a clean fork to remove the shrimp, never a finger, and when returning the jar to the refrigerate, make sure the remaining ingredients are covered with a film of oil.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Hash

If you haven't made Joyce's "The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat" you are sooo missing out. But when you do, make a little extra and about a gallon of extra gravy. Maybe not a gallon, but extra. You can make this with any left over chicken, but that extra flavor is wonderful. And the extra gravy over this hash is beyond words. All that mess on top of a piece of cornbread, we may have to patent this dish. This is Southern like you have never tasted!

Chicken Hash
2 servings, double if you like
print recipe

1 large all-purpose potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 cup)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 stalk celery, preferably with tender young leaves, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock, heated
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Put the cubed potato into a saucepan and cover with water. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Cook just until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet until melted and foaming. Add the onion and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery, and sprinkle again with a little salt and a few grinding of black pepper. Stir well to coat the vegetables with the hot butter and seasonings, and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the reserved potato, the chicken, chicken stock, and cream.

Cook over moderate heat until the liquid is absorbed and the bottom is glazed. Turn with a spatula, and brown the other side.

This is wonderful just like this, but if you made the cornbread and gravy, here we go. Split a piece of cornbread and pile on the hash, cover with the gravy. Unbelievable!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lemon Raspberry Cookie Sandwich

If you don't fill the cookies you will have delicious Lemon Butter Wafers. Either way they are fabulous. I like filling these with different jams and preserves, blueberry, strawberry, apricot, etc.

Lemon Raspberry Cookie Sandwich
Makes about 64 wafers
print recipe

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
2 tablespoons very finely minced lemon zest
1/3 cup finely ground almonds

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and add the sugar, beating until creamy. Beat in the eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, beating just until combined. Add the lemon zest and almonds, stirring until well incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until well chilled, at least 3 hours. I like overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a nonstick cookie sheet. Using a 1/2 tablespoon measure, spoon out level 1/2 tablespoons of chilled cookie dough onto the cookie sheet, placing them 3 inches apart. Bake for about 1o minutes or until the cookies have just flattened and are lightly browned around the edges. Cool the cookies on racks. Store in a covered tin.

On the day you will be serving, spread a healthy teaspoon good quality seedless raspberry jam on the bottom of one cookie, then place the bottom of another cookie on top.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Braised Cabbage

My Southern/Country is coming out today. Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables, any time of the year. I even freeze cabbage from the summer crops. If I'm home alone a great dinner for me is braised cabbage, a few homemade pickled beets and a couple of piece of cornbread. Why would anyone eat fast food!

You can use butter or olive oil here if you prefer (or even omit the onions), but bacon fat gives this dish a distinctive, Southern flavor.

Braised Cabbage
serves about 6
print recipe

3 tablespoons bacon fat, butter, or olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced 1/3-inch thick
1 large head green cabbage, washed, cored, and cut crosswise into 1-by-2-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the bacon fat or butter in a large covered skillet or Dutch oven until hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Stir the cabbage well, to coat with cooking fat and distribute seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and cook, tightly covered, for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, until cabbage is very tender. Taste carefully for seasoning, and adjust if needed.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creamy Rice Pudding with Praline Sauce

It's going to be hard to find a more pure and simple old-fashioned southern dessert than rice pudding, but to add the praline sauce will be the killer. You will think you are in Savannah... Georgia that is.

Creamy Rice Pudding With Praline Sauce
6-8 servings
print recipe

2 cups milk
1 cup uncooked extra-long grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups half-and-half, divided
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 caramels
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

1. Stir together first 3 ingredients and 2 cups half-and-half in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium low heat, stirring often, 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender.

2. Whisk together egg yolk, 1/2 cup half-and-half, and sugar. Gradually stir about one-fourth of the hot rice mixture into yolk mixture; stir yolk mixture into remaining hot mixture.. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160 degrees F and is thickened and bubbly (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

3. Stir together caramels and remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Stir in pecans. Serve praline sauce over rice pudding.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homemade Baking Powder

Do you make your own baking powder? Me either, until today. It's cold and some snow still on the ground and I'm bored. This takes less than 5 minutes to make and you always have fresh baking powder. Plus it has no aluminum-sulfate based powders to leave that metallic "tingle" on your tongue. Go ahead, read the back of your baking powder can!

This is all you do: sift together 1/4 cup of cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons baking soda, sift THREE times. Store in a clean, tight-sealing jar (mason jar). Store at room temperature, away from sunlight, for up to 6 weeks.

When I start talking about rendering my own lard you guys need to calm me down.

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

In a culture where approval/ disapproval has become the predominant regulator of effort and position, and often the substitute for love, our personal freedoms are dissipated. - Viola Spolin

Wanting others to approve of our efforts, our appearance, our aspirations and behavior is perfectly normal, certainly not unhealthy. However, needing the approval in order to proceed with our lives is.

Giving away our power to the whims of others weakens our Spirit. Personal freedom means choosing our own behavior; it means acting rather than reacting. It also means allowing ourselves the full adventure of living, of meeting each moment wholly, of responding in a pure, spontaneous, personally honest manner. Only then can we give life what is ours to give.

Each of us has a unique part to play in the drama of life. And we need to rely on God for our cues, not on those whose approval we think we need. When we turn within for guidance, all the approval we could hope for will be ours.

I will be free to day. I will let no one control my actions. I will let God give the only approval that counts. Aligning my will with God's will guarantees it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cuban Black Bean Soup

A memorable soup for a cold winter's evening. January is National Soup month. If it were up to me, every month would be national soup month. This is the first recipe I used for Cuban Black Bean Soup, back when Moses was 10, and it's the one I still use. This is one of my favorites.

Cuban Black Bean Soup
6-8 servings
print recipe
adapted from a 1972 Southern Living recipe

1 pound dried black beans (sometimes called "turtle beans")
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt (for beans)
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt (for the soup)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 or 2 green sweet peppers, chopped
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Soak beans in water overnight. Next day, using same water, add the 1 tablespoon salt, bring to a boil, cover and cook until beans are almost tender. (These beans require longer cooking than other varieties.)

Crush together garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and dry mustard. Heat oil and saute onions about 5 minutes in large skillet; add green pepper and continue sauteing until onions are tender. Stir in seasoning mixture and lemon juice, then about 1/2 cup of the hot bean liquid. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add to beans and continue cooking until flavors are blended, about 1 hour.

To thicken soup, remove 1 cup of beans and liquid and put through blender or fine sieve, returning puree to soup kettle. Check seasonings and correct if necessary.

Serve in bowls with mound of hot dry rice in center. Garnish top with finely diced green onion tops; or soup may be garnished with diced hard-cooked egg with thinly sliced lemon floating on surface. The ideal accompaniment for this soup is Cuban Bread or Italian Bread Sticks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hot Chocolate

When the wind chill is zero like it is today, all I can think of is soup and/or hot chocolate. Maybe a shot of straight bourbon, but it's a little early to be drinking shots. While I'm, waiting for my Cuban Black Bean Soup (posted tomorrow) to cook I made a batch of this. What comfort!

This recipe can be made up to the point of adding the milk to make a base syrup that can be stored for a month. To make a cup of hot chocolate in a jiffy, simply whisk 1/4 cup of the syrup into 1 cup of heated milk. The cognac adds a depth of flavor but doesn't leave a taste of alcohol.

Hot Chocolate
enough to serve 6
print recipe

1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cognac (optional)
4 1/2 cups milk, heated

Put the cocoa, sugar, and salt in a heavy nonreactive pan. Slowly whisk in the boiling water, and cook at a simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream, bring back to a simmer, and remove from heat. Add the chopped chocolate, and whisk until melted and smooth. Add the vanilla and optional cognac, and slowly stir in the heated milk. Cover tightly and let rest for 5 minutes before serving, so that the flavors can marry and develop. If the hot chocolate cools, gently heat to just below a simmer. Serve with marshmallows floating on top.

Scallops In Tomato Sauce

Today is my wonderful sister's birthday. Don't worry I'm not telling your age. She is younger than me. The whole world is younger than me. Living in California she eats more seafood and veggies than bacon grease and meatloaf.

This is an old recipe that I found again in the mess of cook books Joyce sent last week. I thought she might enjoy making this. She may or may not remember it from years ago.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Scallops In Tomato Sauce
4-6 servings
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2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
Parsley, finely chopped
2/3 cup chili sauce, homemade or Heinz
1/3 cup catsup, Heinz
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine all ingredients for sauce and set aside.

Saute scallops in butter until brown and tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour sauce around scallops and heat just to boiling. DO NOT boil. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hot Pepper Vinegar

Yesterday was a rainy, gloomy day, perfect for catching up on important things that need doing inside. Not cleaning, don't get crazy. I was almost out of Hot Pepper Vinegar, House Seasoning and Sauerkraut. All of which are essential in my kitchen.

Hot Pepper Vinegar is always passed with cooked greens in the south. It's also used on vegetables and meats. You can make it very simply by replacing about a quarter of the vinegar in a bottle with hot peppers and setting aside for a week. It is very common to see these peppers in old catsup bottles or liquor bottles. Spiciness varies with peppers. The following recipe is a little more trouble, but the resulting vinegar is will worth the effort.

Hot Pepper Vinegar
Yield: 1 quart or 2 pints
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Mixed hot peppers, about 1 pound
1-2 garlic clove, peeled
3 cups white vinegar (I like half cider and half white vinegar)
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds

Pack sterilized quart, or 2 pint jars with the mixed hot peppers, then add garlic clove. Mix the remaining ingredients in a nonreactive pot and cook at a low boil for about 30 minutes, covered.

Pour the boiling liquid over the peppers, seal the jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Turnip and Cumin Puree

It's time for more turnips! And you thought turnip season was over at my house. Wrong! We really haven't had a long hard freeze this winter. Starting Thursday that will be a different story. I was killing time waiting for the furnace guys to finish repairing the furnace a few days ago by reading more of the cook books Joyce sent. This jumped right off the page to me. Off to the turnip patch I go. It was 38 degrees F. What was I thinking! No one in their right mind wouldn't love these.
Serve them with almost any simple meat, such as a roast chicken or duck.

We Southern (USA) folks can cook French.

Turnip and Cumin Puree
4 servings
print recipe
From Patricia Wells at Home in Provence

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces (750 g) turnips, peeled and cubed
Sea Salt to taste
A big pinch of sugar
About 1 cup (25 cl) chicken stock, homemade is best
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1. In a large skillet, heat the butter over moderate heat until it sizzles. Add the cubed turnips and salt lightly. Add the sugar and saute', tossing until turnips are lightly browned all over, about 7 minutes. Cover with chicken stock and cook over low heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.

2. Transfer to a food mill or the bowl of a food processor and puree. Season to taste with cumin. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm, as a vegetable side dish. (The puree can be prepared several hours in advance. Keep warm in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Chart House Bleu Cheese Dressing

It has been years since I've dined at The Chart House restaurants, but I still remember the beautiful decor, fabulous food and great Happy Hours. I think it was one of the first truly wonderful salad bars in my memory. I am not a salad bar person or a buffet of any kind. But I do remember this wonderful Bleu Cheese Dressing. Serve it on any salad you like, but I'm happy with an icy cold wedge of iceberg. Sprinkle more bleu cheese on top if you like.

A specialty of The Chart House

The Chart House Bleu Cheese Dressing
yields about 2 1/2 cups
print recipe

3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, scant
1/3 teaspoon garlic powder, scant
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
4 ounces Danish bleu cheese
More bleu cheese for sprinkling, if you like

Blend all ingredients except mayonnaise and bleu cheese at low speed for 2 minutes. Add mayonnaise and blend 1/2 minute at low speed, then blend 2 minutes at medium speed. Crumble and add bleu cheese, blend at low speed no longer than 4 minutes.

Must sit 24 hours before serving.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Baked Oysters and Wild Rice

I have done absolutely nothing worth while all weekend, but it's not my fault. My friend, Joyce at Octoberfarm, sent me two boxes, yes boxes, of cookbooks. I have been taking cookbooks to bed with me. There are recipes in those books I haven't thought about in years, and love. Recipes I can't wait to try and share with you. What a wonderful year this is going to be.

Some people think you can't be too rich or too thin. I think you can't have too many really good recipes. This is an old favorite I haven't made for 10 years or more.

Baked Oysters and Wild Rice
4 servings
print recipe
adapted from A Cookbook by The Junior League of Savannah, Inc.

1 cup oysters (sneak in a few more)
1/2 cup wild rice, raw
1/2 cup butter melted
2 1/4 cups cracker crumbs (I use saltines and whole wheat Ritz)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Chicken broth

Drain oysters thoroughly and reserve liquid. Check for shell pieces. Precook wild rice until it begins to open.

Combine 1/2 cup melted butter, cracker crumbs and Tabasco. Arrange in layers in buttered casserole in this order: 1/2 crumb mixture, 1/2 wild rice, 1/2 oysters; repeat. Top with 3 tablespoons melted butter. Add enough chicken broth to oyster liquor to make 1 1/2 cups and pour over casserole. Top with remaining crumbs.

Bake in covered casserole 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until light brown.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Could Be Randy's Favorite Recipe

My sweet nephew, Randy will be moving to his new mini-farm in a few weeks and I will only be cooking for him a couple of times a week, I hope. Twelve miles in a long way to drive for a five course meal everyday. Edie and his dad gave him a red crock pot for Christmas so he would have dinner waiting when he came in from work. Providing he put something in it before he left home. Plus a huge cookbook for crock pot cooking. He was a little overwhelmed with the cookbook. He will be fine after he overcomes his fear of words like, saute', thyme, rosemary, etc.

He has ask me to put together a few of his favorite recipes that he enjoys now suitable for crock pot cooking. I'm happy to do that. However to get him started I thought I should start with an appliance he is familiar with, the microwave. How does this sound?

Pork and Beans
serves 1
no printed recipe required

1 tin of Pork and Beans
1 fork
1 plate
2 slices buttered bread

Open tin, place contents on plate. Cover lightly with Saran Wrap. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes. While heating, butter bread. Enjoy.

Randy can prepare this tasty dish all by himself. He can even slice and add a hot dog later as he becomes more proficient in the kitchen.

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

There must be a reference to a scripture somewhere in this. Actually, it was my morning meditation yesterday. I loved it so much I thought I'd share, because it's so true.

A complete revaluation takes place in your physical and mental being when you've laughed and had some fun.

Norman Cousins, in his book Anatomy of an Illness, describes how he cured his fatal illness with laughter. Laughter recharges our entire being; every cell is activated. We come alive, and full vitality restores us physically and emotionally. Many of us need both emotional and physical healing, but perhaps we've overlooked the times to laugh because we've been caught in a negative posture.

Unfortunately, negativity becomes habitual for many of us. However, it's never too late to turn our lives around, to laugh instead of complain. Choosing to see the bright side of life, to laugh at our mistakes, lessens our pain, emotional and physical. Laughter encourages wellness. It is habit forming and, better yet, contagious. Bringing laughter to others can heal them as well.

We all want health and happiness in ourselves and others, and we can find it by creating it. The best prescription for whatever ails us may well be a good laugh.

Today I'll seek out those chances to dispense a little medicine.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cola Pot Roast with Vegetables

This is one of my favorite pot roast recipes. It's perfect for Sunday after church. The roast is started on the day before and put in the oven before church and ready when you get home. Throw together a quick salad while the bread is baking and instant Sunday dinner.

The cola, used instead of broth, adds a slightly sweet flavor to the meat and vegetables. Grind some fresh pepper over the roast before serving, if desired.

Cola Pot Roast with Vegetables
6-8 servings
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1 (12-ounce) can cola soft drink
1 medium onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (3-4 pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground pepper
8 large carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
7 Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into quarters
2 large onions, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
Garnish with fresh oregano or thyme sprigs

1. Combine first 5 ingredients and 2 tablespoons oil in a large zip-lock freezer bag. Add roast, turning to coat. Seal and chill 8-24 hours. Remove roast from marinade; discard lemon slices, and reserve marinade. Sprinkle roast with pepper.

2. Brown roast 4 minutes on each side in remaining 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove roast from skillet, and transfer to a large roasting pan. Add reserved marinade to skillet, stirring to loosen particles from bottom. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange carrots, potatoes, and onions around roast in pan; pour hot marinade over roast and vegetables.

4. Bake, covered, at 300 degrees F. for 4 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Transfer roast and vegetables to a serving platter. Skim fat from juices in roasting pan.

5. Whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture into juices in pan; cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until thickened, whisking to loosen particles. Serve gravy with roast and vegetables. Garnish if desired.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sour Cream-Raisin Coffeecake

In searching through my freezer this morning I discovered, I have nothing, nothing in reserve. No cookie dough, no Rum Cake, no Hot Brown, no meatloaf, zero for emergency food. This makes me nervous. What would I do if there were an unexpected death! If nothing else I'm making and freezing this old favorite coffeecake. At least it's a start.

Sour Cream Coffeecake
1 coffeecake
print recipe

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white raisins

Cream together butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl of mixer. Add eggs, beating well after each, then add sour cream and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, and soda together three times; add to batter and mix well.

Spread half the batter in greased 12 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon, and raisins. Carefully spread remaining batter over that. A small spatula does this best, without tearing up the layer underneath.

Combine 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over batter, then drizzle 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter over top. Bake at 325 degrees F. (350 if using metal pan) for about 40 minutes, or until cake tests done. Freezes beautifully.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chicken Sauce Piquante

Here's a traditional New Orleans dish for the slow cooker in all it's peppery glory. This is perfect spooned over white rice.

I get a little carried away when meat goes on sale for 99 cents a pound or less. I seem to have several big beautiful Perdue chickens that I have acquired in that fashion.

Chicken Sauce Piquante
4 servings
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1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds) cut into 8 pieces
1 tablespoon of your favorite Creole Seasoning, I like Emeril's
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 jalapeno chile, minced, more if you like
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 bay leaves
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Steamed white rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Add the chicken pieces to a large mixing bowl and season all over with the creole seasoning. Add the flour and mix well until the chicken is evenly coated. Shake the chicken to remove any excess flour, then set it aside on a plate.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden grown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker.

3. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and jalapeno to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to incorporate the crowned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, thyme, cayenne, and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up into pieces with the spoon, the tomato paste, Worcestershire, sugar, and salt. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved tomato juice and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute, then transfer the hot sauce to the slow cooker. Cover and cook the chicken on low until tender, about 3 hours. Remove bay leaves.

4. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with parsley.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baked Wild Rice with Onion and Pecans

This is a recipe from the cookbook my sweet sister send me for Christmas, The Bryant Family Vineyard Cookbook by Barbara Bryan and Betsy Fentress, plus great chefs and friends. Most of the recipes are very simple and would please anyone.

You know how I am about make ahead dishes. This can be assembled early in the day or a day ahead, refrigerate and bake just before serving.

Baked Wild Rice with Onion and Pecans
serves 6-8
print recipe

5 tablespoons butter, plus additional for buttering pan
1 pound small white mushrooms, stemmed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow 2-quart covered casserole and set aside.

In a large saute' pan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute' until they are browned and release their juices. Continue to cook until the juices are reduced and the pan is nearly dry. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter and return the unwashed pan to the stovetop over medium heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the onions. Saute until the onions are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the onion to the platter with the mushrooms, and again return the unwashed pan to the stovetop over medium heat.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the pecans. Saute' the pecans until fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, broth, mushrooms, and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the rice mixture to the casserole. Cover and bake until the rice is just tender, about 1 hour. Serve hot.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Poppy Seed-Chicken Casserole

It doesn't get any easier than this timeless casserole. Great way to use up some more leftover turkey. I think this is an old Southern Living recipe. I've made it for years. You can give it a healthy spin with whole wheat crackers or use the buttery ones if you like.

Poppy Seed-Chicken Casserole
about 6 servings
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3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can of chicken and mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups (6-ounce) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 sleeve whole wheat round buttery crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Top with crushed crackers. Drizzle with melted butter.

2. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Linguine with Onions, Peas, and Basil

January 2, 2012! How many times am I going to write that wrong. Don't get up this morning vowing to go on some big starvation diet. Diets don't work. Moderation does work. Increase the size of your salads and decrease the size of the meat portions. Increase your fluid intake, no I don't mean soft drinks. Eat fresh fruit, in moderation, for dessert. Heaven knows we've all had plenty of sugar and butter this holiday season. Try a few vegetarian dishes.

This is such a wonderful change from all the heavy holiday foods.

Linguine with Onions, Peas, and Basil
2-4 servings
print recipe
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone

3 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/2 pounds fresh peas, shucked or 2 cups frozen
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
8 ounces fresh or dried linguine
1/4 cup small basil leaves, plucked into pieces
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Start heating a large pot of water for the pasta. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a wide skillet. Add the onion and a few spoonsfuls water and stew over low heat until the onions are soft, 8-10 minutes. Add the peas and cook until they're bright green and tender, a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water, then scoop it out and add it to the peas, allowing a little water to fall into the pan. Add the basil and remaining butter, then toss with a large fork and spoon. Distribute the pasta among heated plates, then go back for the peas that have stayed behind and spoon them over the pasta. Add a dusting of Parmesan to each plate.

Cook's Note: Nothing wrong with adding a few sauteed mushrooms to the mix for a little extra character.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. I've been so blessed to have all of you this past year or two. No way am I going to start naming names of how much I appreciate each of you. I'm sure to miss someone.

You have listened to me rant and rave about stupid things and read a zillion of my recipes. I've listened to you talk about building a new home and moving to a different state, husbands losing jobs, battling cancer, sick children, killing your kids (the next day they are precious), sick pets, surgeries and fighting insurance companies. The list goes on and on. But, you know what, we all made it. God's Grace at work.

I've found new friends in Turkey, Albania, England, Japan, etc. There are people that say blogging is a waste of time. I hardly think any of you are a waste of time. I may not comment as much as I should, but I read and enjoy all your blogs.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Let's see how much trouble we can cause, and how much fun we can have in 2012!