About Me

My photo
I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

Search This Blog

Friday, February 26, 2010

MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH CHOCOLATE MAYO CAKE

My friend, Sharon Buchanun Fitzwater, submitted this recipe that she says is one of the best chocolate cakes ever. Thank you for sharing Ms. Sharon.

2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
4 T. cocoa
1/4 t. salt
1 c. water
1 c. mayo
1 T. mayo
Milk Chocolate Chips sprinkled on top

(If you use the cake mix version, use yellow cake mix and add the mayo, water, and cocoa.)

Mix and pour into greased and floured 8x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

MORNIN' DARLIN' POTATOES (Dated Dec.4th, 2009)

Potatoes at breakfast are always welcome on my plate. Pass the ketchup please. And while you're at it, toss some cheese in with those scrambled eggs.

2 red potatoes, unpeeled
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp. paprika
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Boil the scrubbed potatoes until almost cooked, about 20 minutes. Cool and cut into 1/2 cubes.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring now and then until potatoes are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with a smile :~)
Serves 4.

“"I'm feeling so good. I feel like a million bucks. I'm focused, I'm alert, I'm zippy and top of my game.. I've never felt better! I'm sharp as a tack right now. And what's weird is that I didn't get a good nights sleep last night. And they say that's the most important thing..Or is it breakfast they said?..That's the most important meal of the day, breakfast...yes. And then it's 'i' before 'e' I know that..Um.. diamonds are a girl's best friend. Dog is a man's best friend.. What was I talking about?..Oh that's right, that I feel great and I'm at the top of my game. And it's odd because I didn't get hardly any sleep last night. And, they say that's the most important thing."- Ellen DeGeneres

COOKIES-N-CREAM CAKE (Dated Dec. 4th, 2009)

Today is my daughter-in-law Tonya Oakes Forbes birthday and this cake is for her. She is married to my son Joshua and they have two beautiful and sweet girls, Trinity & Josalyn. Welcome to Facebook Tonya, I wish for you the most wonderful day!

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
3 egg whites
1 cup coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies

In large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Gently fold in crushed cookies. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

FROSTING:
1/2 cup shortening
4 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Oreo cookies-whole and crushed

Beat the shortening, sugar, milk,and vanilla in another large bowl until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Decorate the top with whole cookies and the bottom half of sides with crushed cookies.
Serves 12.

LIME CREAM TORTE (Dated, Dec.4th, 2009)

This refreshing cake goes up for Carol Laws this morning because it is her birthday. Refreshing is what Carol has always been to me. She is pretty, and sweet, and always has a smile for you. Happy Birthday Carol!

1 pkg. butter recipe golden cake mix
3 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

In large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, butter, water and lime juice; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cool for 10 minutes in pans then remove and allow to cool completely before filling with:

1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

In large bowl, combine milk and lime juice. Fold in whipped cream. Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; top with 1 1/4 cups filling. Repeat layers twice. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost the top of the cake with the remaining filling. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before serving. Garnish with fresh lime slices to serve. Store any remaining cake in refrigerator.
Serves: 10 to 14

Cooks Note: This easy to prepare cake is light and refreshing and the flavor improves as it sits in the refrigerator. Anyone who eats it wants the recipe!

HOTTER-N-FIRE SHRIMP

Shrimp, beer, and hot sauce lovers, this is for you. The flavors are unbelieveable. Everytime I make it I have to share the recipe. Hooks them, shrimp, line and sinker everytime.
4 cups water
4 cups dark beer (I use Dos Equis (XX) Dark)
2 lbs. unpeeled large shrimp
2 sticks butter
1 cup olive oil
1 (6oz.) bottle red hot sauce
4 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tablespoons fine herbes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
lemon slices and red leafed lettuce for garnish

Bring water and beer to a boil in a large pot. Add shrimp, cook 3 to 5 minutes, just until shrimp turn pink. Drain in colander; rinse well with cold water. Peel and devein shrimp.

Melt butter in a large heavy pot; add next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add shrimp and marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a serving bowl or platter. Garnish with lemon slices and lettuce. Serve with fresh slices of sourdough bread.

COOKS NOTE: A blend of herbs, finely chopped, and used o garnish or season a dish. It usually consists of a blend of parsley or chervil, chives, tarragon, basil and thyme.

"Fire inside, burns hotter than fire outside."~anon

MAMA JOE'S STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB PIE

Strawberries and rhubarb go together like bread and butter. I was in Harris-Teeter supermarket in Boone, NC last week and they had the prettiest red rhubarb you ever laid your eyes on and my mouth was watering at the thought of one of Mama Joe's strawberry rhubarb pies topped with vanilla bean ice cream. She made her pie crusts from scratch, Adele does not!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pints fresh strawberries, cut into thick slices
refrigerated ready pie crusts
2 tablespoons butter
water and sugar

Mix flour and sugar. Add rhubarb and strawberries. Toss lightly with two forks until well coated. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Fill with fruit mounding in the center. Dot with butter. Place remaining pie crust over fruit filling. Trim and crimp with a fork. Sprinkle lightly with water, then sugar. Place on a baking sheet with rim. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more.
Serves 8

"Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward."~Jasmine Heiler

Thursday, February 25, 2010

THE COOK IS IN THE KITCHEN

I would like to share this column with you that was printed in the 'AVERY POST" newspaper, edited by Ms. Birdie Cantrell, on the 5th day of December, 2001. It features Kentucky Pie which is one of my most very favorite recipes ever. It is a breakfast pie and the recipe came from the 'Dickson Cottage' in Linville Resorts where I have worked for many years. Enjoy!

THE COOK IS IN THE KITCHEN...whipping up breakfast...made up of Granny Smith apples, hot sausage, fresh orange juice, cheddar cheese, nutmeg...won't you please join us? The coffee is brewing and smelling divine...
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day.
"Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."-Adelle Davis

Well, here is a breakfast fit for a King and his Queen and the full entourage.
This breakfast pie will delight and impress even your most discriminating holiday guests. It is the perfect pie to 'wake up to', as it can be prepared a day ahead of time and then simply removed from the fridge and placed in a ready oven. All you need to accompany it is a baked egg, sliced tomatoes and (if you please), a toasted biscuit. Purchase the little frozen biscuits in the aluminum pan in the grocery store for easy, yet flaky, fabulous fair. Bake them the night before, allow to cool, then place in a zip-lock bag. When the eggs are removed from the oven at breakfast, slice the biscuits in half, butter, and then slide under the broiler until lightly toasted.
                                                             
THE MENU:
Kentucky Pie
Baked Eggs
Sliced tomatoes
Little toasted biscuits with jelly
Hot coffee
Fresh squeezed orange juice

KENTUCKY PIE
1 lb. hot sausage
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 stick melted butter
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 deep-dish pie crusts
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Fry sausage, drain well, using paper towels to soak up the excess grease, set aside.
In a saucepan, mix everything but the apples, sausage and cheese. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove sauce from heat. Add apples and stir until coated. Pour into pie shells, sprinkle with sausage and top with cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Serves 6 to 12.

Note: If you don't need both pies, freeze one before baking.

BAKED EGGS

After the pies come out of the oven, set the temperature to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Break an egg, use however many eggs you will need into each cup. Dot with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add about a teaspoon of cream (milk, ect.) over each one. Bake for 10 minutes or so minutes just until set. Remove from the oven and toast the biscuits. Do not over cook the eggs. They will continue to cook when removed from the oven.

"And please don't cook me kind sirs! I am a good cook myself, and cook better than I cook, if you see what I mean. I'll cook for you, a perfectly beautiful breakfast for you, if only you won't have me for supper."-Bilbo Baggins to the Trolls in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"

ADULT CHRISTMAS TREATS

Just because I don't like to eat 'spirits' does not mean that others do not. These little balls are sinful and would make an addictive addition to your Holiday giving treats. Place in the tiny foil baking cups and pack in a Christmas tin with the layers seperated by dollies. Your recipients will be glad you did!

2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup good cocoa
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. white corn syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whiskey (use whatever you have)
confectioners sugar, sifted

Toast pecans in 350 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes, watch carefully and do not allow to burn. (Trust me, burning them is easy to do. Usually when you begin to smell them they are ready.) Combine them with wafer crumbs, confectioners sugar, cocoa and salt. Combine whiskey and corn syrup and add to crumb mixture. Shape into balls using a tablespoon for each one. Roll in the confectioners' sugar.
Yield: Between 6 and 7 dozen.

"Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water." ~W.C. Fields

CHIMNEY CORNER COOKIES

Serve these delicious spicy cookies to Santa Claus with a big glass of milk. He might not be able to get back up the chimney, but wouldn't he be a jolly old fellow to have around.

1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup brown sugar-packed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. mace
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups of plain sifted flour
1 tsp. soda
2 Tbsp. milk
2 cups seedless raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 9 ingredients in mixing bowl and beat well. Sift flour and soda together, add half of it to shortening mixture and blend well. Add milk, then remaining flour. Add raisins and nuts.
Measure out rounded tablespoons of dough on a baking sheet. Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until just starting to turn golden around the edges.
About 4 dozen cookies.

"Be naughty - save Santa a trip."-anon

CRUNCHY GERMAN CHOCOLATE COOKIES (Dated Dec. 2nd, 2009)

I would like to dedicate this recipe to Lydia Cantrell Hoilman, who is sweeter than these cookies. Today is her Birthday and I want her to know much we all love her!

1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix with pudding
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal

Combine cake mix, egg, and butter. Add cerea; stir until blended. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Dip a fork in flour and flatten cookies in a crisscross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly; then remove to wire racks or a towel which is what I use in my house. Yield: 4 dozen

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart." ~Kahlil Gibran

HOT VENISON CHILI (Dated Dec. 2nd, 2009)

For all you deer hunters, I have made this chili many times throughout the years and it is awesome!

2 lbs. lean venison stew meat, in small dice
2 Tbsp.olive oil
1 3/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups water
3 (14oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (10oz.) cans tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. each of dried thyme, oregano, cumin, and salt
1 or 2 cans of kidney beans, undrained
shredded lettuce
4oz. shredded cheddar cheese (that would be 1 cup)..don't ask me why, I just know that's what it is
diced tomato

Brown venison in hot oil in your best large pot. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook until tender. Add water and next 8 ingredients; bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add beans and cook 30 more minutes.
When ready to serve ladle into soup bowls and top with lettuce, cheese and tomato. Yield: 3 quarts

"When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up.... When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pinenuts. We don't chop down the trees."~Wintu Indian, quoted in Julian Burger, The Gaia Atlas of First Peoples, 1990

JALAPENO NUT MIX (Dated Dec. 2nd, 2009

Christmas will be here before we know it and with it comes the need for party foods. Set this spicy nut mix out on your Holiday table and spread the joy.

1 cup whole almonds
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup Brazil nuts
1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp. jalapeno pepper sauce
3 Tbsp. green hot pepper sauce
1 Tbsp. habanaro pepper sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard

Place the nuts in a 15X10 jellyroll pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Combine butter and remaining 6 ingredinets in a saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts. Pour over the nuts, stirring to coat. Bake 20 minutes more, stirring after 10 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool.
Yield: 4 cups

"Warning: the Internet may contain traces of nuts."-anon..haha

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HONEY BUN CAKE

Bake your honey bunny one of these and listen to their heart go pitter patter.

1 (18.25oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix with pudding
4 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 (8oz.) carton sour cream
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl.; beat at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth. Set aside.

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans; set aside.

Pour half of batter into a greased and floured 9X13 pan. Sprinkle half of sugar mixture over batter. Repeat procedure. Gently swirl batter with a knife.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from oven. Drizzle glaze over while cake is still warm.
Serves: 15 to 18

GLAZE

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients; beat with electric mixer until smooth.

"Now babydoll, sweetie-pie, sugarplum, honey-bun, angel face, You know you better be good."~Santa Claus

KEY LIME RUM CAKE

If you love a key lime pie then you will definately love this key lime cake. It is as refreshing as a warm summer rain.

1 (18.25oz.) pkg. lemon supreme cake mix
1 (3.4oz.) pkg. lemon instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup Key Lime juice, the real thing, not bottled
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup Key lime juice

Combine first six ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixer. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13X9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar and the 1/4 cup of Key lime juice; drizzle over cake. Cut into squares.
Serves; 15 to 18

"Don't do the crime if you can't do the KEY LIME!"~Homer Simpson

OLD FASHIONED APPLE STACK CAKE

The 'Dried Apple Stack Cake' was a popular Southern Appalachian staple of the earlier pioneers. It was a favorite "wedding cake" amongst mountain people who usually gathered in their barns to dance and eat potluck food. All the neighbors baked thin layers of ginger flavored sorghum molasses cakes and brought them to the wedding party. The family of the bride cooked the spicy dried apples which were used to spread between the layers. The more layers the bride recieved gauged her popularity. The cake always showed up at family and church reunions as well.

DRIED APPLES

Peel apples, slice very thin and dry just like corn. Don't scald apples, use just the raw apple. You can put them in the sun if you have a nice place wher flies won't get to them or put them around your stove, in the window with screen wire. Put them on something so the air can get to them. Dry and use them in the winter for fried pies, stewed fruit or stack cake.

TO COOK THE DRIED APPLES

Put 1 pound apples in heavy pan and cover with cold water. You may need to add water several times to keep apples from sticking to pan. Cook until soft enough to mash. While still hot, mash apples and add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 1 teaspoon allspice.

MAKE CAKE

CREAM: 1 cup shortening and 1 cup sugar

ADD: 2/3 cup molasses, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda,1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs-beaten well.

Add enough flour to make a dough that can be rolled thin. Cut in rounds the size of cake layers, by using layer cake pan. Bake in hot oven around 375 degrees. Spread layers out to cool.

Spread warm, not hot, stewed apples over the layers one at a time and stack one on top of the other. There should be at least six layers and up to 12. Let 'season' for 8 hours before serving.

"In the fall, any of the apple desserts are just right. It's also a perfect season for pear pie. When the weather begins to cool off and I can get local sweet potatoes and pick up persimmons, I enjoy sweet potato and persimmon puddin'. And as the holidays approach, magic pumpkin pie, fruitcake, and apple stack cake are just right on my table."~Foy Allen Edelman, author of Sweet Carolina: Favorite Desserts and Candies from the Old North State

DECADENT FUDGE CAKE

SINFUL! should have been the name of this cake. 2 sticks butter; 1 1/2 cups sugar; 4 eggs; 1 cup buttermilk, 8oz. sweet baking chocolate; 1 cup chocolate syrup; 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels, 4 oz. white chocolate...enough said.

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 (4oz.) bars sweet baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels, divided
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspons shortening, divided




Cream butter in mixing bowl of electric mixer. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Ad eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine buttermilk and soda, stirring well. Add to creamed mixture alternately with flour, beginning and ending with flour. Add the 2 bars of sweet melted baking chocolate, chocolate syrup and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in 1 -cup mini morsels. Pour batter into a heavily greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert cake immediately onto a serving plate, and allow to cool completely.

ICING: Combine the white chocolate with 2 tablespoons shortening in top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Drizzle mixture over cooled cake.

Melt remaining 1/2 cup mini-morsels and 2 teaspoons shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, stiring until smooth. Remove from heat, and let cool; drizzle over white chocolate.

“Happy birthday to former First Lady Barbara Bush, who turned seventy-seven this week. Unfortunately, where her granddaughters helped blow out the candles on her cake, it exploded.”~Craig Kilborn

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

Anyone who was raised in the mountains of North Carolina probally already has this recipe. If not, by all means do bake one sometime when you are filling the need for an incredibly moist cake with the creamiest of frostings!

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon each of baking soda, salt and cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups mashed bananas

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl (flour through cinnamon). Add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans and bananas. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely before icing.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 (16oz.) box powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy.

Frost layers, inside and out.

IRON SKILLET-PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

My Mama Joe use to make this very cake in the 10-inch cast iron skillet that I use now to make this caramelized version of one of the best cakes you may ever chance to meet.

1/2 stick butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (15 1/4-oz.) can pineapple slices, undrained
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 or 7 maraschino cherries

Melt butter in a 9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add brown sugar and pecans; mix well. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon pineapple juice; set juice aside. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer over brown sugar mixture; set skillet aside.

Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored; gradually add sugar, beating well. Stir in reserved pineapple juice. Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until stiff peaks form; fold into flour mixture. Spoon batter evenly over pineapple slices.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Immediately invert cake onto a serving plate. Place cherries in centers of pineapple rings.

“Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.”~anon

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SMOKEY BLACK BEANS

A big 'Thank You' goes up to Sharon Buchanun Fitzwater for sharing this awesome recipe with all of us!

1 pound dry black beans, soaked overnight
4 teaspoons bacon drippings
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 slices pickled jalapeno peppers


1. Drain the black beans from their soaking water and place in a slow cooker. Fill with enough fresh water to cover them. Cover and set to High.
2. Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir until tender. Stir this into the beans along with the brown sugar, liquid smoke, molasses and jalapeno slices. Stir to blend, then cover and cook on High for 5 to 6 hours, or until beans are tender.

"Friends are kisses blown to us by angels."~anon

FABULOUS FLAN

A new take on an old dish. Rich and sultry!

4 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Beat eggs in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add condensed milk, water and vanilla. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar into each of 6 custard cups. Pour the egg mixture carefully over the brown sugar. Arrange cups in a pan of water. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Unmold onto serving plates. Garnish each with a fresh strawberry.

"Flan is a very sweet, caramelly delicious dessert. Try it next time, unless you are diabetic."~Borrego

MY FAVORITE RICE

Tomatoes, garlic, peas, and chicken broth compliment the white rice in this dish that would go well with all of the other recipes posted today so far.

1 small onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

In a blender puree the onion, tomatoes and garlic.

In a medium nonstick saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the rice and stir until light golden. Stir in the vegetable puree and cook until all the moisture has been absorbed. Stir in the chicken broth and season lightly with salt. If using fresh peas, stir them in. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to very low, cover the pan. Cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. If using frozen peas stir them in at the last minute. Sprinkle with cilantro to serve.
Serves 6 to 8

“Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook”~Chinese Proverb

PICADILLO

Picadillo is a traditional dish served in many Latin American countries. This Cuban recipe would go well with the Black Beans, Hearts of Palm Salad and My Favorite Rice.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. extra lean ground beef, ground
1/4 cup sherry (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each of cumin and oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground red pepper
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

In a large skillet over medium high heat brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic until the onion is tender and the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Drain off all fat. Add all remaining ingredients except the green and red bell peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers and heat through. Serve with rice or bread.
Serves:4

HEARTS OF PALM SALAD

This is one of my favorite salads to make. I think it is one of the best things I have ever ate in my life. Serve it with the GALLO PINTO.

2 (16oz.) cans of hearts of palm
1/3 cup each of red and yellow chopped bell pepper
1 tablespoon each of chopped parsley, fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
grond pepper to taste
a little salt
lettuce leaves

Drain the hearts of palm, cut into 12-inch pieces and put in a large bowl. Stir in the red and yellow pepper and parsley. In a small bow, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, broth and oil. Drizle over the hearts of palm and toss gently. Season to taste.

To Serve: Line a serving bowl with lettuce leaves, spoon the salad on top and serve.

“A salad is not a meal. It is a style.”~Fran Lebowitz

SALSA de DONA ELVIA

Use this salsa in the BLACK BEAN SOUP (GALLO PINTO) recipe. Again, it is very simple but has very lively flavors.

4 (2 green/2 red) large tomatoes
2 large Vidalia or Spanish onions
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons vinegar

Chop tomatoes coarsely and the onions finely. Wash and chop the cilantro very finely (including stems). Cover with lemon juice and vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

"I never met a salsa I didn't like."~Adele Forbes

BLACK BEAN SOUP

This is easy to make and you can enjoy it just the way it is or try it in the attached recipe, GALLO PINTO, which is so very delicious!

2 cups dried black beans
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
12 cups cold water

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain, rinse, place in a soup pot with 12 cups water. Peel garlic cloves, do not chop, and coarsely chop the cilantro, stems too. Add salt, garlic, oregano and cilantro to beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 or more hours (preferably 3 to 4 hours). Remove garlic cloves. Drain and serve. Yield: about 6 cups

GALLO PINTO

1 medium vidalia or Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, diced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups Black Bean Soup
6 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup salsa
salt and pepper to taste
avocado, sliced

Saute onion and cilantro in olive oil until soft (not brown) about 2 minutes. Add beans and mash gently to open up. Add salt and pepper, salsa and rice, ,ix well. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with avocado slices.
Yield: 12 cups

The black turtle bean has a dense, meaty texture and flavor reminiscent of mushrooms, which makes it popular in vegetarian dishes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

EGG NOODLES with CABBAGE and ONIONS

This simple dish makes a great side for pot roast or roast chicken.

1 1/2 lb. cabbage,cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wide strips
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups chopped sweet onion
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4-oz. wide egg noodles (about 2 1/2 cups)

Toss cabbage with salt in a large bowl and let stand, tossing occasionally, 45 minutes. Squeeze cabbage by handfuls to remove as much liquid as possible. Cook onion in 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cabbage, sugar and pepper, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove heat and increase heat to medium high, then cook, stirring frequently, until onion and cabbage are golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

While cabbage is browning, cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and add to browned cabbage along with the remaining tablespoon butter, then cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4.

"Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."~Carl Sandberg

PORK with GINGERED CARAMELIZED ONIONS

You may find caramelized onions addictive, especially in this recipe with an exotic ginger accent. Try them with other meats or poultry or atop mashed potatoes.

2 (3/4lb.) pork tenderloins, cut into 1-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sliced sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 (8oz.) pkg. fresh mushrooms, cut in half
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
3 tablespoons apricot preserves

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add pork, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from skillet; cover and keep warm.

Add onion to pan; cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until onion is browned and tender, stirring often. Add ginger and mushrooms; cook 2 more minutes.

Reduce heat to low; stir in cranberries and preserves. Return pork to skillet; cook until glazed and thoroughly heated.
Serves 4

"Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration." ~Charles Dudley Warner, 'My Summer in a Garden' (1871)

CARAMELIZED ONION PUDDING

Onions never tasted as good as they do in this sinfully rich, creamy pudding.

1/2 stick butter
3 cups sliced sweet onion
3 large eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (4-oz.) package crumbled goat cheese

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 25 to 30 minutes or until onion is browned. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Beat eggs and next 5 ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in goat cheese and onion.our onion mixture into a greased 11X7 baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until golden.
Serves 6

“There are two types of onions, the big white Spanish and the little red Italian. The Spanish has more food value and is therefore chosen to make soup for huntsmen and drunkards, two classes of people who require fast recuperation."~Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

MARINATED MUSHROOMS & ONIONS

I love to cook with tarragon vinegar. Try it in your coleslaw or pickled shrimp. Pair it with onions and mushrooms and listen as your taste buds come alive!

1 lb. whole fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup tarragon vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 dashes Tabasco
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

Saute mushrooms in butter.

Combine vinegar, oil, garlic, sugar, water, salt, Tabasco and pepper.

Combine mushrooms and butter with onion. Add to vinegar mixture.
Store in airtight container overnight in refrigerator, turning several times.

Partially drain before serving.
Serves 10


"Onions can make even heirs and widows weep."~Benjamin Franklin

CREAMY ONION ORZO for 2

A cheesy sauce infused with the trio of onion, green onion, and chives blankets this orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, with enticing aroma and seasoning.

1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup orzo, uncooked
1 green onion, finely chopped

Cook minced onion in hot oil in a small skillet over medium heat 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Combine cooked onion, cream cheese, and next 5 ingredients in a small mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until blended.

Cook orzo according to package dorections, adding green onion during last 2 minutes of cooking time.Drain. Add cream cheese mixture to orzo mixture; stir well. Serve immediately.
Serves: 2

“Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”~Carl Sandburg

CARAMELIZED ONION, WALNUT & BLEU CHEESE PIZZA

Red onions caramelized in butter star along side of walnuts and bleu cheese in this highly tasty pizza. Three of my favorite things!

2 tablespoons butter
5 medium red onions
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Boboli Italian pizza crust
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions. Cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until soft and golden, stirring constantly. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Place the piza crust on a baking sheet. Spread the onion mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the bleu cheese and walnut pieces. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Serves: 6 to 8

"Red onions are especially divine. I hold a slice up to the sunlight pouring in through the kitchen window, and it glows like a fine piece of antique glass. Cool watery-white with layers delicately edged with imperial purple...strong, humble, peaceful...with that fiery nub of spring green in the center..."~Mary Hayes Grieco, 'The Kitchen Mystic'

ONION SHORTCAKE

“The onion and its satin wrappings is among the most beautiful of vegetables and is the only one that represents the essence of things. It can be said to have a soul.”~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden (1871)

2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1/2 stick butter
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8oz.) pkg. corn muffin mix
1 (15-oz.) can cream-style corn
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
4 drops Tabasco sauce

Saute the onion in the butter in a skillet until translucent. Stir in the sour cream, dill weed, salt and half the cheese. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into a buttered 8X11 baking dish. Layer the onion mixture over the corn mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through.
Serves: 8 to 10

Sunday, February 21, 2010

SOUTH-OF-THE-BORDER POTATO SALAD

Potato salad gets a new spin on how things are done when tomatoes, green and purple onions, cilantro, and green chiles are added to the mix along with a lime juice and Dijon mustard dressing. Imagine.....

1 3/4 lbs. new potatoes, unpeeled
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup each of purple onion, green onion and chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Garnishes: chopped tomato, chopped green onions

Cook potatoes in boiling water, to cover 20 minutes or until tender; drain and let cool slightly. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Combine potato, tomato and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently. Combine mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients; stir well. Pour dressing oiver potato mixture; toss. Cover and chill thoroughly. Garnish to serve.
Yield: 12 servings

"South of the Border, West of the Sun
In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment."~Accidental Fame Junkie

OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN with HONEY-BUTTER SAUCE

A basting mixture of honey, butter, and lemon juice gives this chicken a golden color and sweet flavor. A personal favorite.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (3 1/2 to 4lb.) chicken, cut up
3/4 cup butter, melted and divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey

Combine first 4 ingredients; dredge chicken in flour mixture. Place 1/2 cup butter in a shallow roasting pan. Ad chicken, turning to coat. Bake, uncovered, skin side down, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup butter, lemon juice and honey. Turn chicken; pour honey mixture over chicken. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes more or until chicken is done, basting frequently with honey mixture.
Yield: 4 servings

"I never met a fried chicken I didn't like."~Adele Forbes

Saturday, February 20, 2010

BAKED EGGS

Never baked an egg in my life until I started cooking for summer people. Never cooked a lot of things until I started cooking in the area resorts. Let's say that expanded my culinary adventure. Baked eggs are mighty yummy and simple to make. You can also add bits of bacon, diced tomato, onion, cheese, a dab of cream; whatever suits your fancy.

12 eggs
salt and pepper
butter
cream

Break eggs and gently slip into well greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with a pat of butter and a tablespoon of cream. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are soft and creamy. Do not overcook. They will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Leave in pan for a minutes then take a table knife and run around the edges to loosen and then lift out on to plate. Serves 6?

"A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked."-anon

THAI SHRIMP & SESAME NOODLES

Alright, this is it, our all time favorite dish. Everything that is in it works for me all the way around. Exotic is my word for it. Just one bite and you will fall in love.

1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 oz. Newman's oil and vinegar dressing
2 Tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
8 oz. angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Mix the shrimp with 1/2 cup of Newman's dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Whisk the peanut butter through red pepper with the remaining dressing. Prepare pasta to al dente. Heat the oils until very hot. Cook carrot 1 minute. Drain shrimp and add it with onion to the carrot and cook 3 minutes. Toss the pasta with the peanut mixture, shrimp and cilantro. Better the next day! Serves 4.

"“The wildest thing I ever did was, one night at a Thai restaurant in Paris, I got wasted and stood up on a table full of food and sang? I Will Survive.? It was during a modeling industry dinner, so all the bigwigs from my agency were there with a bunch of clients. I know it was inappropriate, but it probably helped my career!”-Charlotte Dodds

Friday, February 19, 2010

THE ONE & ONLY FACEBOOK SALAD

My friend Stephen Bracey put this bug in my ear and it has been playing a tune all day. So the following is what I came up with...one of my all time favorite salads...it has always worked for me...may it always work for all of you!

2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1/2 cup Kraft Tomato & Herb dressing
6 ozs. smoked sausage
1 lb. cooked medium shrimp
1 cup frozen English peas, cooked
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Lettuce leaves
1 tomato, cut into wedges

Combine chicken broth, rice, and saffron in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken broth and rice is tender. Combine rice and dressing in a large bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned; drain well.

Combine rice mixture, shrimp, peas, sausage, chicken, and next 3 ingredients. Cover and chill. To serve, line salad plates with lettuce, and spoon mixture onto prepared plates; top each plate evenly with tomato wedges.
Serves 6

SALAD DEFINITION: A dish, usually cold, of raw or sometimes cooked vegetables or fruits in various combinations, served with a dressing, or molded in gelatin, and sometimes with seafood, poultry, eggs, etc. added

LAYERED SPINACH SALAD

This is not yo' mama's spinach salad...cheese filled tortellini, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, green onions, bacon and ranch dressing strut their stuff when paired up with the fresh spinach!

1 (9oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
2 cups shredded red cabbage
6 cups lightly packed torn fresh spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 (8oz.) bottle Ranch dressing
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cook tortelini according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.

Layer cabbage, spinach, tortellini, tomatoes, and green onions in a 3-quart trifle bowl or 9X13 baking dish. Pour dressing over salad. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon just before serving.
Serves: 6

“He that sups upon salad, goes not to bed fasting”~Thomas Fuller, English clergyman (1608-1661)

LAYERED MEXICAN SALAD # 2

Lively layers of kidney and garbanzo beans pair up with onions, green chiles, olives, tomatoes, avocados, cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, sour cream, taco sauce and crushed tortillas.

You can easily double the ingredients in this colorful salad to feed a crowd. If you do, an 8-qt. punch bowl is the perfect size to hold the salad and show off its layers.

1 (16oz.) can kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons canned chopped green chiles
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped*
1/3 cup sliced ripe olives
2 avocados, mashed*
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 (8oz.) carton sour cream
1/2 cup taco sauce
1 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips

Layer ingredients in order listed in a 4-qt. glass bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with additional tortilla chips.
Yield: 5 servings

*Substitute 3/4 cup salsa for tomatoes and 1 (8oz.) container guacamole for avocados, if you so desire.

“To remember a successful salad is generally to remember a successful dinner; at all events, the perfect dinner necessarily includes the perfect salad.”~George Ellwanger (1848-1906)

LAYERED MEXICAN SALAD with BLACK BEAN RELISH & LIME VINAIGRETTE

A vinaigrette of lime juice and fresh cilantro tops the colorful layers of this supberb Mexican salad.

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
Black Bean Relish
1/2 cup frozen kernal corn, thawed
1 small avocado, sliced
Lime Vinaigrette

Layer lettuce, green pepper, 3/4 cup Black Bean Relish, and corn in a clear straight-sided bowl. Arrange remaining relish and avocado slices over top layer. Serve with Lime Vinaigrette. Yield: 4 to 6 servings

BLACK BEAN RELISH
1 (15oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 serrano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped purple onion
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Yield: 3 cups

LIME VINAIGRETTE

1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Process first 5 ingredients in a food processor. With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream; process until blended.
Yield: 1/2 cup

"We have said how necessary it is that in the composure of a sallet, every plant should come in to bear its part, without being overpower'd by some herb of a stronger taste, so as to endanger the native sapor and virtue of the rest; but fall into their places, like the notes in music, in which there should be nothing harsh or grating: And though admitting some discords (to distinguish and illustrate the rest) striking in all the more sprightly, and sometimes gentler notes, reconcile all dissonances, and melt them into an agreeable composition."~John Evelyn, Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets (1699)

FRUIT AND YOGURT LAYERED SALAD

Only the freshest fruit will do for this low-fat salad that looks best served in a trifle bowl so the layers are visible.

1 (8oz.) container strawberry low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 (8oz.) container reduced-calorie Cool Whip
2 cups diced red apple (Braeburn is nice)
1 (15oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
3 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups seedless green grapes
1 cup diced pear
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 kiwifruit, peeled, halved, and sliced
3 whole fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add Cool Whip; beat until thick and smooth.

Place apple in a 3-quart trifle bowl or deep glass bowl. Layer oranges, 1/3 of yogurt mixture, peaches, grapes, 1/3 of yogurt mixture, pear, sliced strawberries, and remaining yogurt mixture. Arrange kiwifruit around top edge of bowl. Cut 3 strawberries into fourths; arrange on top. Fill in remaining space with blueberries. Chill until ready to serve.
Serves: 12

“To remember a successful salad is generally to remember a successful dinner; at all events, the perfect dinner necessarily includes the perfect salad.~”George Ellwanger 1848-1906)

WINTER WHITE SALAD

Layers of Belgian endive team up with pears, hearts of palm, chickpeas, cauliflower, turkey, and Havarti cheese to form this special salad. Top it all off with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette and listen closely...for when the first fork full passes over your taste buds...you just might hear them singing.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 Belgian endive, thinly sliced
8 stalks of hearts of palm, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2/3 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped pea-size
8-oz. can of pears, drained well and diced
2/3 cup thinly slced turkey
2/3 cup Havarti cheese, cubed

Whisk together first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

In large glass bowl layer 1/4 of the endive, all of the hearts of palm and chickpeas, another 1/4 of the endive, all of the cauliflower and pears, another 1/4 of the endive, all of the turkey and Havarti, and the remaining endive. Top the salad with the dressing. Refrigerate for 4 hours prior to serving.

Toss it all together to serve.

“What is more refreshing than salads when your appetite seems to have deserted you, or even after a capacious dinner - the nice, fresh, green, and crisp salad, full of life and health, which seems to invigorate the palate and dispose the masticating powers to a much lorger duration.”~Alexis Soyer 19th century French chef.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

BUTTER PECAN ICE CREAM

Butter Pecan is my favorite ice cream...though I never met an ice cream I did not like...but this particular flavor speaks to me everytime it crosses over my lips...rich undertones of the earthy buttery nut and vanilla flavored cream...

2 cups chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 quarts milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 (12oz.) cans evaporated milk
2 (3.4oz) packages vanilla instant pudding mix

Saute pecans in butter in a large skillet 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted. Set aside to cool.

Combine remaining ingredients, stiring well with a wire whisk. Pout mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2 to 2 gallon hand-turned or electric freezer. Freeze 10 minutes or until ice cream begins to thicken. Remove dasher, add pecans. Return dasher; freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Pack freezer with additional ice and rock salt, and let stand for 1 hour before serving.
Yield: 1 gallon

“Having in my life been bitten by the jaws of both victory and defeat, I must rush to add that success is to failure as butter pecan ice cream is to death.”~Rupert Holmes

GRASSHOPPER DELIGHT FROZEN PIE

Gather family and friends around the table for this dessert pie starring mint chocolate chip ice cream.

30 Oreo cookies
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
1 (9oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process cookies in a food processor or blender until ground; add butter, and process until blended. Reserve 12 cup crumb mixture. Firmly press remaining crumb mixture in an ungreased 13X9 pan. Chill 30 minutes.

Spoon ice cream over crust; cover and freeze 1 hour. Stir together Cool Whip, powdered sugar, and vanilla; spread over ice cream layer. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup crumb mixture over Cool Whip mixture. Cover and freeze 8 hours. Remove from freezer; let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 servings

"Scoops of mint ice cream with chips of chocolate cows."~Jim Bishop, "On the English Countryside," NY Journal-American, 28 September 1957, quoted in Simpson's Contemporary Quotations compiled by James B. Simpson

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM BALLS

This sinfully delicious dessert is super easy to make. Look for amaretti cokies in the gourmet section of your supermarket. And if chocolate chocolate chip ice cream isn't available, simply substitute your favorite chocolate ice cream.

2 cups amaretti cookies
1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
3/4 cup hot fudge topping, warmed
1/4 cup almond liqueur

Crush cookies in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, using a rolling pin. Shape ice cream into 8 balls, using a small ice cream scoop or spoon. Roll each ball in cookie crums, coating evenly. Reserve remaining crumbs. Place balls in an 8-inch square pan; freeze until firm.

To Serve: Place 2 balls into each of 4 dessert bowls. Drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons fudge sauce and 1 tablespoon liqueur. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Yield: 4 servings

"Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal."~Voltaire

"

UNBELIEVEABLE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

Nothing's better than the cool taste of this soft chocolate ice cream. You'll love the ease of preperation, too.

1/2 gallon chocolate milk
1 (14oz.) can sweetend condenesed milk
1 (12oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
2 tablespons cocoa

Pour all ingredients into freezer container of a 5-qt. hand-turned or electric freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Pack freezer with additional ice and rock salt, and let stand 1 hour before serving.
Yield: 1 gallon

"I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream."~Heywood Broun

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MARINATED CHICKEN PIZZA

A gusty marinade for the chicken provides plenty of flavor for this gourmet pizza.

2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 skinned and boned chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (16oz.) Italian bread shell (Boboli)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Bake pine nuts in a shallow pan at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until toasted. Set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup green onions, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, stirring to coat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade.

Cook chicken in remaining 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 3 minutes or until done, stirring often.

Stir cornstarch into reserved marinade; add to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Spoon mixture onto bread shell. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup green onions and reserved pine nuts, and bake 2 more minutes.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

"It is my experience that those with no vices have very few virtues."~A. Lincoln

PEAR, BRIE, BROWN SUGAR, AND PECAN PIZZA

No one will be able to resist a slice of this gooey pizza that's both sweet and savory with each bite.

8oz. Brie
2 tablespoons butter
2 pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (Bartlett is a good choice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (16-oz.) Italian bread shell, such as Boboli
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 to 4 tablespoons light brown sugar

Remove and discard rind from cheese. Cut cheese into cubes; set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pear, and saute 3 minutes or until tender; sprinkle with cinnamon.

Place bread shell on a large pizza pan or baking sheet. Brush shell with olive oil, and top with cheese cubes. Spread cooked pear mixture over cheese; sprinkle with pecans and brown sugar. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes. Slice pizza into wedges, and serve immediately.
Yield: 8 servings

"Instant gratification is not fast enough."~Carrie Fisher

AUNT JOYCE'S CABBAGE SALAD

From my friend, Steven Michael Millington.. ok here's my Aunt Joyce's cabbage salad then( it is not cole slaw LOL O) ... hehehe
shred that head of cabbage and add to it
2 crisp apples.. one red one green ( makes it pretty and i like the tart with the sweet ) diced with skin on ...
one red onion sliced thin enough to see what that Sarah Palin is talkin about.
Mix that up and add a few heaping tablespoons of Mayo and drizzle with apple cider vinegar about 3 tablespoons and some good veg. oil about the same as vinegar... you will see if it is runny it should not be thin and runny so don't add to much and mix in the mayo first.... toss with LOTS of fresh ground blk pepper and enjoy.......
Now theres some good eatin for ya lady friend...
( i chill mine a bit but if ya work fast will be good just the way it is...)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SPAGHETTI SQUASH LASAGNA

Carb watchers rejoice for now you can have your lasagna and eat it too! Spaghetti squash is an excellant substitution for any pasta dish as they have a very delicate, almost bland flavor, very similar to spaghetti or lasagna noodles.

1 large spaghetti squash
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (8oz.) can tomatoes, undrained
1 (6oz.) can tomato paste
1 (12oz.) carton cream-style ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. sliced mozzarella cheese

Wash squash; cut in half, remove seeds. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool; then , using a fork, remove strands; measure 4 cups of strands, set aside.

Cook ground beef in a large skillet until browned, stirring to crumble; drain off drippings. Add basil, garlic powder, tomatoes, and tomato paste; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Combine cottage cheese through Parmesan cheese; mix well.

Layer half each of squash strands, cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and meat sauce in a lightly greased 12X8 baking dish. Repeat layers. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 to 8


*"What was offered for dinner?"
"There was a selection: fish or steak."
"Ah, yes. I had the lasagna."~anon

GREEN CHILIE CHICKEN LASAGNA

This Mexican type lasagna replaces the noodles with flour tortillas. It is delicious and delightfully different than the lasagna you may be use to. By all means give it a try.

2 (10oz.) cans Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 can cream of onion soup
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
6 green onions, sliced
6 (7-inch) flour tortillas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (8oz.) pkg. Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, shredded

Stir together diced tomatoes and green chilies and onion soup in a saucepan until blended. Cook over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in chicken and green onions.

Arrange 2 tortillas in bottom of a lightly greased 11X7 baking dish, and spread 1/3 of tomato mixture on top; sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese. Repeat layers twice, ending with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6

"I never met a lasagna I didn't like."~Garfield

MEATBALL LASAGNA

This was the first lasagna I ever made so it had to be a long, long, time ago. Over the years I have written down in many different books all of the recipes I liked the most. It took me awhile but I finally found the recipe in one of these books. I am so happy because it is a wonderful dish.

MEATBALLS:
1/2 lb. ground chuck
1/4 lb. ground veal
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

In medium bowl combine all ingredients; toss lightly to mix well. With teaspoon shape mixture into 30 balls, each 3/4-inch in diameter.

SAUCE:
1/4 cup olive or salad oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (1 lb. 12 oz.) can whole tomatoes, undrained
12 oz. tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In hot oil in heavy skillet, brown meatballs; remove. Add onions, garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add rest of sauce ingredients with 1/2 cup water and meatballs; stir to mix. Bring to boiling; reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9X13 baking dish.

1/2 pkg. (1-lb. size) lasagna
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, diced
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna as label directs. Drain; rinse in water. In baking dish, layer half the ingredients: Lasagna, mozzarella, ricotta, tomato sauce with meatballs, Parmesan cheese. Repeat. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Serves 8 to 10

"Due to the shape of the North American elk's esophagus, even if it could speak, it could not pronounce the word lasagna."~Cliff Clavin, 'Cheers'

SEAFOOD LASAGNA

What is not to love about a lasagna brimming with layers of shrimp and crabmeat in a Chablis cream sauce?. I can't think of anything....

6 cups water
2 lbs. of unpeeled medium-size fresh shrimp
12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2/3 cup Chablis or other dry white wine
1 6oz. can crabmeat, drained and flaked
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring water to a boil; add shrimp, and cook about 3 minutes, until just done. Rinse under cold running water. Chill, then peel and devein shrimp. Coarsely chop; set aside. Cook lasagna noodles; drain well, and set side.

Saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat until tender. Add cream cheese; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Stir in cottage cheese and nest 4 ingredients; remove from heat, and set aside.

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in reserved shrimp, wine, and crabmeat.

Layer half of reserved noodles in a greased 9X13 baking dish. Spread half of reserved cream cheese mixture over noodles. Spread half of shrimp mixture over cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture, and shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarrella cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Serves 8 to 10

"Most of the Earth's surface is covered by water."
Garfield: "Who cares? How much of it is covered by lasagna?"~from the movie 'Airplane'

BEEFY CHEESY LASAGNA

Sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and 4 cups of mozzarella cheese makes this one of the creamiest, cheesiest lasagnas out there. A bonus is a wallop of calcium, protein and vitamin A.

1 lb. ground round
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
16oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon each of crushed fennel seeds, garlic powder and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 8oz. pkg. lasagna noodles
1 12oz. carton cottage cheese
1 8oz. carton sour cream
1 3oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded mozzarella

Combine beef, onion and green pepper in a large skillet; cook until beef is browned, stirring to crumble meat. Drain off drippings. Add next 6 ingredients; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook lasagna noodles; drain.

Combine cottage cheese, sour cream and cream cheese, mixing well. Spread 1/2 cup of meat sauce in a greased 9X13 baking dish. Layer half each of the noodles, cottage cheese mixture, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves: 6 to 8

"We shall feast our grape-gleaners with lasagna so tempting to swallow in slippery ropes."~Robert Browning

Monday, February 15, 2010

ADELE'S TRAIL MIX

I prefer to make my own trail mixes so I head to BARE ESSENTIALS health food store in Boone, NC and choose from the large selection of organic ingredients they have on hand. One whole wall of the store is lined with the most awesome collection of anything from raw nuts, dried fruit, seeds, granolas, wasabi peas, and to many more items to mention here. It is my favorite store in Boone and the staff and owners go out of their way to make you feel at home while you are there and assist you in any way they can, be it with your grocery needs or health supplements. Be sure and check them out if you have not been there before and tell them I sent you.

My favorites for trail mix are:

Raw almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and walnuts

Dried apples, cherries, pineapple, cranberries and blueberries

Raw pumpkin, sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds

Organic granola, oat bran sesame sticks, crystalized ginger, chocolate covered crystalized ginger, dark chocolate covered raisins, and wasabi peas

Just mix it all together and enjoy!

"If we eat better, if we eat in a more natural way — regardless of what our budget is, we all can do it — we realize it is possible to feel better, to look better, to make ourselves as healthy as we can be. That's the goal. For me it's all about health.”~Dr. Jana Klauer

GRANDFATHER SHRIMP

Pickled shrimp of any variety flips my trigger but when you add tarragon vinegar, horseradish and mustard to the mixture it really gets me going. Serve with toasted sesame crackers.

1 1/3 cups olive oil
2/3 cup tarragon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon German-style mustard
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons horseradish
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. large shrimp, cooked and peeled

Mix everything except the shrimp in a blender. Pour this mixture over the shrimp and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."~John Muir, 1913, in L.M. Wolfe, ed., John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

Jack Daniels Beef Jerky

I found this recipe on the Internet and I could literally taste it as I was reading it. A Sargent in the USMC had posted it. I don't think he would mind my sharing it with all of you. And if anybody ventures to make it please send or bring me some!

1/2 cup onion
2 tbl. spoons olive oil
1 cup katchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinager (1 cup for stronger flavor)
1 cup Jack Daniels
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbl. spoons worcestershire sauce
3 tbl. spoons chili powder
2 tbl. spoons Tony's Creole seasoning
1 tea spoon thyme
1 tea spoon sage
1 tea spoon garlic powder
3 tbl. spoons Chipotle-Rasberry sauce
2 tbl. spoons lime juice
pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until soft. Add other ingredients. Stir. Bring to boil, reduce heat. Simmer until thick (30 min).

As for meat, I used Costco brand (Kirkland) Beef Round Top Round Roast steaks.

Like I said, it came out quite delicious. Thought you might share this and give me some feedback.

Thanks again,
Chad Cada
SGT., USMC

"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright."~Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 14, 2010

RUTABAGA WHIP

You either like a rutabaga or you don't. It's like cilantro, or an anchovie..and what else??? Help me here. I know there are alot more. Myself I love the mellow earthiness of the rutabaga and when you pair them with regular potatoes, butter, and whipping cream...well, what can I say..it works for me every time.

2 lbs. rutabagas, peeled and chopped
6 cups water
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine rutabagas and water in large pot, bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes. Add potato and cook 15 minutes more or until tender; drain well.
Add remaining ingredients to potatoes and mix with a large wire whisk or electric mixer until nice and fluffy.
Serves 6 to 8.

“Never eat rutabaga on any day of the week that has a "y" in it”-anon

TASTY TACO PIZZA

Tried and true and all ages love it. Fed my children this when they were still at home and the neighbors children, and cousins, and friends. When we lived in Linville there were always people dropping in. Miss those days, but it is SNOWING there right at this moment and NOT here!

1 lb. ground beef
16 oz. can tomato sauce
1 (1.25 oz.) pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 (8oz.) can crescent rolls
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1 small can black olive slices

Brown meat, drain. Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning mix, simmer 5 minutes. Unroll dough, press onto bottom and sides with fork. Bake at 375 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cover crust with meat mixture; top with Velveeta cheese. Continue baking until cheese begins to melt. Top with remaining ingredients. Serve with dollops of sour cream. Serves 4 to 6.

THE HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
"There are hermit souls that live withdrawn, in the peace of their self-content: There are souls like stars, that dwell apart, in a fellowness firmament; there are pioneer souls that blaze their paths, where highways never ran-but let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.
Let me live in a house by the side of the road where the race of men go by-the men who are good and the men who are bad, as good and as bad as I. I would not sit in the scorner's seat, or hurl the cynic's ban-let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.
I see from the house by the side of the road, by the side of the highway of life, the men who press with ardor of hope, the men who are faint with the strife. Bur I turn not away from their smiles or their tears, both parts of an infinate plan-Let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.
I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead, and mountains of wearisome height, that the road passes on through the long afternoon, and stretches way into the night. And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice and weep with the strangers that moan, as I live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man."-Sam Walter Foss

MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE

Serve this delicious potato casserole with your next steak or roast. Delicate layers of mashed potatoes, sauteed onions, mushrooms and sour cream make it extra special. I have been making this for 28 years and it has never failed to please.

4 medium baking potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup hot milk
1/2 cup sour cream
melted butter
paprika

Peel potatoes and cut in large pieces and boil.

Saute onions in butter until yellow. Add drained mushrooms (reserve liquid) and cook about 2 minutes. Remove onions and mushrooms, leaving butter. When potatoes are completely cooked, drain and whip lightly with mixer. Add mushroom juice, butter left in skillet, and enough milk to make the right consistency of mashed potatoes. Season to taste.

In a shallow 10X6 buttered casserole, spread a thin layer of potatoes, cover with a thin layer of onion and mushrooms, and a layer of sour cream. Repeat. End with layer of potatoes. Brush top with melted butter. Sprinkle with paprika.
May be made ahead. Can be frozen before cooking.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes until heated through and bubbly.
Serves 6 to 8.

"Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat." ~Fran Lebowitz

CROCKPOT LASAGNA

Here is another very good recipe that I have been making since my children were still at home. They are both grown now with children of their own. I tried to instill in them the love of good food as they were growing up, just as it had been instilled in me in my grandmothers kitchen. It is a pure and simple love.

1 (10oz.) pkg. lasagna noodles, broken into bite-size pieces
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
12 ozs. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (12oz.) carton cottage cheese
12 oz. tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes

Cook noodles according to package directions until just tender, drain. Brown ground beef and sausage, drain grease. Place in lightly greased crock-pot. Add all remaining ingredients. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover, cook on LOW 7 to 9 hours; or on HIGH 3 to 5.
SERVES: 6 to 8

“We signal the captain, taking time out against the wall. He frowns. He groans. His feet hurt. His ulcer rages. He hates his wife. The risotto will take 25 minutes. Lasagna will take even longer.”-Gael Greene

PASTA PRIMAVERA

This is one of our top 5 pasta dishes ever. I guarantee that if you try it, it will be yours as well. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 lb. fresh snow pea pods, trimmed
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 cup small broccoli florets
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 (16oz.) pkg. linguine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat whipping cream in a small saucepan over low heat until warm Set aside.
Saute vegetables in butter and oil in a large skillet until almost crisp-tender.
Add cream, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Cook linguine according to package directions; drain well. Place on a large serving platter. Top with vegetable mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper, toss gently. Serve immediately.
Serves: 4 to 6

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
Federico Fellini

SPICY TATER WEDGES

Have been making these since my children were little and that has been awhile back. They are crisp and spicy and delicious.

6 medium to large potatoes
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Mix flour and spices. Scrub potatoes, leaving the peel on. Cut into wedges. Put 4 or 5 wedges in a plastic bag with the flour mixture and coat. Melt butter in a pan and add coated wedges. Bake for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Turn after 15 minutes.

“Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food,
For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good,
but don't forget the potatoes.”
John Tyler Pettee

RUSSIAN DRESSING

I like to make my own salad dressings. They are so much better than the ones you buy in the store. Fresh is always best to me.

1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Combine everything but the olive oil in container of electric blender. On low speed slowly add the olive oil until well combined.

"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying."~Friedrich Nietzsche

BACON, LETTUCE, & TOMATO SALAD

If you find yourself yearning for a BLT sandwich, but need to skip out on the fat and carbs, then this little number should work for you.

5 strips turkey bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 cups torn romaine
2 cups iceberg lettuce leaves
1/2 cup diced tomato

Combine oil, vinegar and onion in large bowl, whisking well to combine. Add lettuces, bacon, onion and tomato.

"The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling."
~Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990

GOLEAN CINNAMON MARSHMALLOW CRISPY BARS

Kashi's Golean Crunch multi-grain cereal is one of my favorite breakfast cereals. Here is a new and nutritious way to enjoy it.

3 tablespoons butter
1 (10.5-oz) bag miniature marshmallows
1 (15oz.) box Kashi Golean multi-grain cluster cereal
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries, divided
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
cooking spray

Melt butter in large pot over medium low heat. Add marshmallows, and cook, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and 1 cup cranberries, coating well. Press mixture into a 9X13 baking dish which has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle peacans and remaining cranberries which have veen chopped over mixture. Dust with cinnamon. Allow to stand about 15 minutes until firm. Cut into 24 bars.

"The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around.... Throughout history, "tender loving care" has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing."~Larry Dossey

Saturday, February 13, 2010

HOW TO COOK AN ARTICHOKE

It is said that a person who goes from love affair to love affair has a "heart like an artichoke," scattering leaves right and left. Eat this vegetable slowly, as there is something ritualistic about the process of stripping the artichoke, and removing its leaves one by one to dip them in a dressing of oil, lemon, salt and pepper and then share them with your lover.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the chokes. Cut off the stalk, right to the bottom of the bulb part.
Now cut off the top thistle ends, about one-fourth to one-third down from the top.
Open in the flower, spread the leaves out. Next place the choke in the boiling water, cover with lid, reduce heat to simmer, and steam for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on size) -- they are done when the leaves pull away easily. Drain and then cool. They are best when served cold.


Peel off a leaf, dip the bottom, inside (grayish pulpy) into the sauce lightly. Place it practically all the way to the hilt in your open mouth.
Close mouth, with teeth lightly together on the leaf, and pull the leaf out, scraping the soft underside of the leaf off so it stays in your mouth, while the fibery rest of the leaf comes out as you pull. Now move it around in your mouth like a good wine, make full on contact with your taste buds, chew, and swallow, and you're doing it!

Continue around, leaf by leaf, as they get smaller, and you come to the inedible hair like thistles. Take those out, just lift them up and out of the button bottom.
Eat the bottom. Break off pieces, and dip. Some claim this is the best part.

Sauce: Mix olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper together. This is very exquisite when eating an artichoke. Also, set out a small bowl of good mayonnaise.

OVEN-ROASTED ASPARAGUS IN WALNUT OIL

I love asparagus any way that you cook it, but I especially love it roasted. Nut oils are very flavorful as is toasted sesame oil. Either will work well in this enthusiastic dish.

2 dozen asparagus spears, washed & dried on paper towels
walnut oil
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Trim the lower third of the ends with a vegetable peeler, as you would a carrot. Toss them on a baking sheet in enough of the walnut oil to cover. Place in a single layer on same sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until just crisp-tender. Do not over cook, no one likes for his spear to be wilted.
Serves 2

"He who boils asparagus and then fries them in fat, adding egg yolks and powdered condiments, and eats this dish daily, will see his desire and his powers considerably fortified."~Sheikh Nefzawi from 'The Perfumed Garden'

DREAMY CREAMY TRUFFLES

Share these delectable truffles with your lover; you will both be glad that you did!

2 1/2 packages of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, divided (20 squares)
1 8oz. package softened cream cheese
finely chopped peanuts
multi-colored sprinkles

Melt 8 chocolate squares. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Blend in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until firm. Shape into 36 balls. Place on waxed paper covered baking sheet. Melt remaining chocolate. Use fork to dip truffles; return to baking sheet. Decorate, then refrigerate 1 hour.
Yield: 36 truffles

"Woman is like a fruit which will only yield its fragrance when rubbed by the hands. Take for example the basil: unless it be warmed by the fingers, it emits no perfume. And do you know that unless amber is warmed and manipulated it attains its aroma within? The same with women: if you do not animate her with your frolics and kisses, with nibbling of her thighs and close embraces, you will not obtain what you desire: you will experience no pleasure when she shares your couch and she will feel no affection for you."~The Perfumed Garden, translated into English by Sir Richard Burton, 1886

ROCK LOBSTER TAILS

My first cooking job was at GGCC in the early 80's under the one and only Glen Hicks. He had been an Army cook and I learned many a valuable lesson under his watchful eye. The only lobster I had ever cooked was a live one in a pot of boiling water, and though I love lobster, I felt so sorry for it being cooked alive that I never cooked another. Glen taught me how to cook rock lobster tails and I have been smitten with them ever since. It's really a very simple procedure, so try it. I guarantee you will love it.

4 med. Rock lobster tails, frozen
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 tsp. lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper

Thaw Rock lobster tails and cut off the thin undershell with scissors. Bend tail back to crack shell to prevent curling. Combine melted butter and lemon juice, brush over lobster, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in 350 degree oven meat side up for 10 to 15 minutes or until meat has lost its transparency and is opaque. Serve immediately.
Serves: 2 to 4

"Infatuation is when you think he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners. Love is when you realize that he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford - but you'll take him anyway"~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975

Friday, February 12, 2010

CHILI RELLENO PUFF

Simple, Quick, Delicious

1 (7oz.) can whole green chiles
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Grease 9X9 baking dish. Layer split chiles and Jack cheese in dish. Combine eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and parsley; mix well. Pour over chiles and Jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with:

CHILI SAUCE
1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup hot picante sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
Heat above ingredients for 5 minutes.

George Orwell describes the kitchen at the Hotel X.

"The kitchen was like nothng I had ever seen or imagined — a stifling, low-ceilinged inferno of a cellar, red-lit from the fires, and defeaning with oaths and the clanging of pots and pans. It was so hot that all the metal-work except the stoves had to be covered with cloth. In the middle were the furnaces, where twelve cooks skipped to and fro, their faces dripping sweat in spite of their white hats. Round that were counters where a mob of waiters and plongeurs clamoured with trays. Scullions, naked to the waist, were stoking the fires and scouring huge copper saucepans with sand. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry or a rage."George Orwell, from Down and Out in Paris and London

~

BLACK BOTTOM CUPCAKES

Today is my friend Robert Lee Fosters birthday and a little birdie told me he likes cupcakes and loves chocolate, so I am thinking this should hit his spot. Happy Birthday Robert, I wish for you the most fabulous day!

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Line muffin tins with cupcake papers. Using wooden spoon, blend cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Carefully fold in chocolate chips, set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in another bowl, mixing well. Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 full with bater. Drop 1 heaping tablespoon cream cheese mixture into center of each. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Yield: 18 cupcakes

COOKS NOTE: These stay moist for several weeks. Yummy...

"A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip."~Author Unknown

SAUSAGE EGG CASSEROLE

This is an old stand-by recipe that I have been making for the family that I cook for since the early 80's and it is always a hit. It would be perfect for a large family breakfast or party brunch. Make it the night before and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Do-ahead always works for me.

2 lbs. bulk sausage, 1 mild, 1 hot
6 to 7 slices wheat bread, crusts removed; spread with butter and cubed
2 or more cups shredded sharp cheese
7 to 8 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Cook sausage until done, stirring to crumble well. Remove grease while cooking, then drain well on paper towels. Place buttered bread into 3-qt. casserole baking dish. Sprinkle with sausage and top with cheese. Combine remaining ingredients and beat well. Pour over mixture in baking dish and chill at least 8 to 12 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
Serves: 12

COOKS NOTE: Can use 1 1/2 lb. ham, bacon or Canadian bacon. Can use 1 cup grated cheddar and 1 cup cubed Swiss cheese.

"Never love a wild thing.... He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up.... If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky."~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958, spoken by the character Holly Golightly

Thursday, February 11, 2010

HEATH BAR CAKE

German chocolate cake mix
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 jar hot fudge sauce
1 lg. container Cool Whip
6 Heath candy bars (sub. with Clark bar, etc.)

Bake German chocolate cake. While still warm, punch holes in it and pour Eagle Brand milk over it. Also while still warm, pour a jar of hot fudge sauce over cake. Let cool. Spread with Cool Whip. Then sprinkle 6 crushed Heath Toffee candy bars over that. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MEXICAN CHEESE PIE

We love this Mexican themed pie which is topped with sliced avocado and my homemade salsa and dabs of sour cream. Serve with a green salad and a salt-rimmed Margarita.

6 6-inch flour tortillas
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1 (4-oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons self-rising flour
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
salsa sour cream

Line bottom and sides of a well-greased 9-inch quiche dish with tortillas. Top with onion, tomato, green chiles, and cheese.

Combine flour, milk, and eggs, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture into quiche dish.Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Top with avocado. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Serves: 6

“I remember when I was around 12 I learned about the three A's for the first time: asparagus, artichokes, and avocados. I think I tried all three for the first time in the same year, and they've been favorites of mine ever since.”~David Reiley

AVOCADO TURKEY MELT

The velvety texture of the avocado blends with mayonnaise and garlic powder to form the base for this most delicious sandwich.

2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 slices nutty wheat bread
thin sliced turkey
tomato slices
red onion rings
bacon slices, cooked
mozzarella cheese slices
softened butter

Stir together avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic powder. Spread avbocado mixture on 1 side of 4 bread slices. Top evenly with turkey, tomato, onion, bacon, cheese, and remaining bread slices.

Spread half of butter on 1 side of each sandwich. Place, buttered sides down, in a large hot nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat 6 minutes or until golden.

Spread remaining butter on ungrilled sides; turn and cook 6 more minutes or until golden. Repeat procedure for remaining sandwiches.
Yield: 4 sandwiches

"Give your cats something other than already established houseplants to play with, ... Avocado pits make excellent toys . . . and felines find them fascinating because the lopsided seeds never roll the same way twice.”~Barbara Kelly