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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.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

BLUEBERRY SCONES (Submitted by the beautiful Sherrye Clark)

♥ Here u go darlin!, I cannot really believe u are using this, I'm a whole new level of dancey right about now ♥ They were so easy I couldn't believe it. When you head back to the coast, I'm on the way, we gotta get together and cook some ridiculously good stuff. I love you.

Blueberry Scones:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
* 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
* 1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

* 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
* 1 lemon, zest finely grated
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.
*I'm gonna add a note here, because I used frozen blueberries. I drained them well, and they still broke apart a little and it made them "bleed into the dough" as warned. Who cares? The color was beautiful. I did need to compensate for the extra juice by working a little self rising flour in. *
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Technically you should make this simple lemon glaze in a double boiler (i.e. over a pot of simmering water with a heatproof bowl set on top) but it's even simpler to zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

"The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce."~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "Over the Teacups," 1891

Saturday, March 27, 2010

ARTICHOKE AND CHEESE PIE

You may have never met a pie like this one before. It is decadent and a mushroom and artichoke lovers delight. When I make this I have to restrain myself from eating half of it at one time.

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 (14oz.) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (4oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder and pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs
2/3 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add onion and next 3 ingredients and saute until tender. Remove from heat and stir in artichoke hearts. Spoon this mixture into a greased 10-inch glass pie dish. Put the sliced mushrooms and the Swiss cheese over this. Combine the milk, eggs, Bisquick, cheese and seasonings in electric blender. Blend 10 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour over artichoke mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.
Serves 6

HOT ARTICHOKE SPREAD

Five of my favorite things strut their stuff in this tasty appetizer....canned and marinated artichoke hearts, diced green chiles, mayo, and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

1 (8oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
1 (16oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 *4oz.) can diced green chiles
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the artichoke hearts from can into small pieces and spread in a medium-size baking dish.

Chop the artichokes from the jar and spread over top of the first layer of artichokes.

Scatter the chiles over the artichokes.

Scatter the mayonnaise over the chiles and spread with a spoon.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with crackers, toasted pita chips and/or tortilla chips.

Excellent for a party dip.

ODE TO AN ARTICHOKE (Submitted by Jo Carpenter)

ODE TO AN ARTICHOKE

By: Pablo Neruda

The artichoke
of delicate heart... See More
erect
in its battle-dress, builds
its minimal cupola;
keeps
stark
in its scallop of
scales.
Around it,
demoniac vegetables
bristle their thicknesses,
devise
tendrils and belfries,
the bulb's agitations;
while under the subsoil
the carrot
sleeps sound in its
rusty mustaches.
Runner and filaments
bleach in the vineyards,
whereon rise the vines.
The sedulous cabbage
arranges its petticoats;
oregano
sweetens a world;
and the artichoke
dulcetly there in a gardenplot,
armed for a skirmish,
goes proud
in its pomegranate
burnishes.
Till, on a day,
each by the other,
the artichoke moves
to its dream
of a market place
in the big willow
hoppers:
a battle formation.
Most warlike
of defilades-
with men
in the market stalls,
white shirts
in the soup-greens,
artichoke field marshals,
close-order conclaves,
commands, detonations,
and voices,
a crashing of crate staves.

And
Maria
come
down
with her hamper
to
make trial
of an artichoke:
she reflects, she examines,
she candles them up to the light like an egg,
never flinching;
she bargains,
she tumbles her prize
in a market bag
among shoes and a
cabbage head,
a bottle
of vinegar; is back
in her kitchen.
The artichoke drowns in a pot.

So you have it:
a vegetable, armed,
a profession
(call it an artichoke)
whose end
is millennial.
We taste of that
sweetness,
dismembering scale after scale.
We eat of a halcyon paste:
it is green at the artichoke heart.

SPINACH ARTICHOKE BAKE (Submitted by Ricky Allen Fortune)

THIS IS GREAT SPINACH-ARTICHOKE BAKE U WILL NEED 2{10-OUNCE} PACKAGES OF FROZEN CHOPPED SPINACH 1{141/2-OUNCE} CAN ARTICHOKE HEARTS. UNDRAINED 1/2 CUPS FINELY CHOPPED ONION 1/4CUPS OF BUTTER OR MARGARINE. MELTED 1{8-OUNCE} OF SOUR CREAM 1/4 TEASPOON SALT. 1/4 TEASPOON PEPPER 1/2 CUPS OF FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE. ...DIVIDED. COOK SPINACH ACCORDING TO PACKAGE DIRECTIONS DRAIN WELL. PRESSING BETWEEN LAYERS OF PAPER TOWELS TO REMOVE EXCESS MOISTURE; SET ASIDE. DRAIN ARTICHOKE HEARTS. RESERVING 1/4 CUP OF LIQUID. CHOP ARTICHOKE HEARTS SAUTE ONION IN BUTTER IN A LARGE SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL TENDER. GENTLY STIR IN SPINACH. ARTICHOKES HEARTS, RESERVED LIQUID, SOUR CREAM, CREAM, SALT, PEPPER, AND 1/4 CUP PARMESAN CHEESE SPOON INTO A LIGHTLY GREASED 1/1/2-QUART CASSEROLE; DISH SPRINKLE WITH REMAINING 1/4 CUP PARMESAN CHEESE. BAKE UNCOVERED, AT 350FOR 25 TO 3O MINUTES. MAKES 6 SERVINGS IT IS SO GOOD. U NEED TO TRY IT,

BAKED ARTICHOKE RISOTTO

Artichokes can be intimidating, but don't allow that to happen in your kitchen. They are actually easy to prepare in the end, and the result is always worth it. This recipe uses fresh or frozen hearts of the artichoke. Frozen makes it way easy. Use what you have.

1 small onion, finely chopped.
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
8 oz of mushrooms, quartered.
2 cups of Arborio rice.
12 oz of artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen), quartered.
5 cups of vegetable stock.
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a suitably sized skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and 1 cup of hot vegetable stock. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the rice mixture into a shallow 2 quart baking dish. Add the remaining broth and stir to combine.

Bake for 1 hour, checking occasionally for dryness. If needed, add a little water to moisten the rice.

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, then bake another 10 minutes.

Serve hot.
Serves 4 to 6

“Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.”~
Bette Davis as Margo Channing in 'All About Eve' (1950)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

GRILLED PINEAPPLE BURGERS

This recipe is not only unique, it is the bomb! I cannot remember where it came from, but I have been making and cooking these burgers on what ever grill I had at the time for many years. Lean ground beef gets seasoned with Italian dressing and pattied out, then a slice of pineapple gets slapped in the middle of the burger and wrapped in bacon. Have I got your attention yet? A bath of BB-Q sauce, brown sugar, honey and lemon juice finishes it off.

2 lbs. lean ground beef
3 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 1/4 oz.) sliced pineapple, drained
8 slices bacon
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon honey

Mix ground beef, Italian dressing, salt and pepper. Shape into 8 patties, 3-inches in diameter. Press pineapple slice into each patty. Wrap each patty with bacon slice; secure with wooden pick. Mix remaining ingredients. Place patties in 13X9 glass dish. Pour barbecue sauce mixture over patties. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Grill patties, pineapple side down, 4-inches from hot coals, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn, brush with barbecue sauce. Grill 10 to 15 minutes until done.

Heat remaining sauce; serve with patties.

Hamburgers in paradise!!!!
Serves 8

GRILLED SALMON with CUCUMBER DILL SAUCE

Fresh salmon fillets
salt and pepper or whatever seasoning you prefer

This is yet another of our very favorites recipes. Start your salmon off on the grill with the skin side up. Grill until golden brown then turn and cook to desired degree of your liking, turning only once.

Serve with:
CUCUMBER DILL SAUCE

Mayonnaise
chopped cucumber
fresh chopped dill
fresh squeezed lemon juice

I made this up at some point when the fresh cucumbers and dill was abundant in the garden. Just put some mayonnaise in a bowl and add remaining ingredients to taste. Don't skip on the dill or lemon juice for that matter. You can add a pinch of sugar if you like. This sauce is great with fresh steamed vegetables as well. Try it with fresh asparagus dressed with lemon.

CHICKEN POT PIE (Submitted by Chad Jayson Smith)

My friend Chad shared this awesome recipe with us and said it came from a Texas church cookbook and that Jessica Simpson shared it on the Rachel Ray show. For some reason that just makes me smile. Thank you my friend for this great recipe.

"ok get yourself some cresent rolls...some chicken breasts cooked (i like them boiled), shred them up.place the shredded chicken in the seperated cresent rolls, and fold them up. place in a casserole dish, then pour over cream of chicken, and cream of celery and put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes!!! and thats it!!!! add some cheese on top if ya want! so quick and easy, not good for ya...but so good!!! my sis is coming to cali from ohio next month, and i cannot wait to make this for her!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

JIMMIE'S NO-BAKE FRUITCAKE (Dated Dec. 9th, 2009)

Jimmie would be none other than Jimmie Daniels of Newland, NC. Jimmie writes the gardening column for the 'Avery Post' newspaper. She is a very special somebody and in the year 2002 won 1st place in a recipe contest in the 'Avery Post', dated Dec. 25th. I was writing the column"Cooking With Adele", at the time and we chose 5 top winners. Jimmie's was number 1 and the other 4 will follow. Enjoy!

"Just one bite of this moist and delicious fruitcake will have you hooked for life. Even non-fruitcake lovers will not be able to take 'just one bite'.
Jimmie Says that she got the recipe out of a Weight Watchers magazine at least 20 years ago and over the years has changed some of the original ingredients in the cake to make it sweeter and a better tasting cake that her whole family enjoys. It is extremely moist and dense enough to cut into bars as well as slices. The No-Bake part does it for me.
Enjoy this cake! It is a must-have for your holiday table as well as a welcome Christmas gift for your family and friends alike.

4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 can Carnation fat-free milk
Soak marshmallows in milk several hours or overnight. In a large bowl add to marshmallow mixture:
2 boxes graham cracker crumbs
1 lb. candied cherries
1 lb. candied pineapple
1 cup light raisins
1 cup dark raisins
2 cups walnuts
2 cups pecans
1/4 cup orange juice

Work above ingredients until moistened and you can no longer see the marshmallows. You may add more orange juice if needed.
Pack mixture very tightly in loaf or spring form pans. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator overnight. Next day unmold and enjoy.

Note: When storing, keep tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. You may also add 1/2 cup chopped dates or 1/2 cup Craisins if you desire.

“This one's been around 15 to 20 years. The first one lasted about that long, too. Fruitcakes are made to withstand the test of time.”-Rikki Rosenburg

Monday, March 22, 2010

PEANUTTY BEEF STIR-FRY

Stir-fry up a pan of this peanutty beefy recipe and stand back and watch as the flavors mingle and marry.

1 1/4 lbs. lean boneless top sirloin steak
3 tablespoons recuced-sodoim soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 medium-size sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Hot cooked rice
Chopped peanuts

Trim fat from steak and slice diagonally across grain into 1/8-inch strips; set aside.

Combine soy sauce and next 6 ingredients, stirring with a whisk until blended; set aside.

Pour oil around top of a preheated nonstick wok or large skillet, coating sides; heat at medium-high 1 minute. Add steak strips and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add sweet red pepper and green onions; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in soy sauce misture; cover and cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice. Sprinkle top with chopped peanuts.
Serves 4

PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE

Discover chunks of peanut butter and chocolate chips throughout each smooth slice of this nut lover's cheesecake. Sprinkle it with chopped peanuts for good measure.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
5 (8oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup (6oz.) peanut butter morsels
1 cup (6oz.) semisweet chocolate morsals
1 (8oz.) sour cream
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted peanuts

Stir together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Firmly press mixture in bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes; cool in pan on a wire rack.

Beat cream cheese at high speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add 3/4 cup peanut butter and vbanilla, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in morsels. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until cheesecake is almost set. Remove from oven; cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes.

Stir together sour cream, powdered sugar, and 3 tablespoons peanut butter. Spread sour cream mixtureover top of cheesecake; sprinkle with peanuts. Run knife around edge of pan to release sides; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Remove sides of pan.
Serves: 14

CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS

Drop-dead delicious chewy chocolate morsels wound tight with butterscotch and salted Spanish peanuts.....

1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 cups salted Spanish peanuts

Place first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in peanuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a bakkiing sheet lined with wax paper. Chill 10 minutes before serving. Store in refrigerator.
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

CREAM OF PEANUT SOUP

Do not let the unusual list of ingredients stop you. This is unbelievably good hot or cold. Serve with a smoked Gouda grilled cheese sandwich with sliced tomato and mayonnaise on whole wheat bread. Don't forget the iced tea with lemon.

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
8 cups chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 3/4 cups half and half
Garnish: salted peanuts

In large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook until soft, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and stir until lumps dissolve. Stir in remaining 6 cups chicken broth and heat to boiling.

Remove from pan. Puree in blender, in batches, until smooth. Return to saucepan and stir in peanut butter and half and half. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Do not boil. Garnish with chopped peanuts. May also be served cold.
Serves 10 to 12

RICH HERSHEY'S P-NUT BUTTER FUDGE (Submitted by Sharon Fitzwater Buchanun)

Rich Hershey's P-nut Butter Fudge

1. Ingredients: 3 cups sugar
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1cup smooth p-nut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract ending

Directions: 1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.

2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)

3. Remove from heat. Add butter, p-nut butter, and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon or mixer until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds

PEANUT BUTTER PIE

This is our favorite Peanut Butter Pie. The end result is two pies which you keep in the freezer so you can always have one on hand for yourself or one to give to a friend.

1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 (16oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 (9-inch) graham cracker crumb crusts

Combine cream cheese and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl, beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add Cool Whip and powdered sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Spoon filling into crusts. Freeze at least 8 hours or overnight. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."~Peanuts
Charlie Brown

Sunday, March 21, 2010

JO'S PICNIC by Jo Carpenter

Jo Carpenter Oh, Adele, (and all her followers), this question caught me off guard, and in a mood to write a melancholy tale...so here it comes...I apologize for the length of it...I hope you don't have these comments on SMS feed or your are gonna get one heck of a long text message...

Jo's Picnic: I step slowly up the steep mountain meadow on the ... See Moreshoulder of Elk Mtn. in Western Avery County. At 3500' I want to stop and admire the view but I do not, knowing that a better view awaits me even higher...like it's a dessert in my picnic basket that I haven't earned yet. I stop, mop my brow with a ragged red bandana to staunch the flow of sweat from turning my light blue shirt to a darker hue, and trudge on. This mountain has beaten me before, and anyone watching can see I am almost beaten by this slope again. I climb, breathless, my lungs stinging clean, but then I finally crest the last hill to the summit. I exhale, close my eyes briefly then open them to the signature of the expanse and to inhale the symphony of the panorama; Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mtns. to the SW; Table Rock and the lip of Linville Gorge to the east; the dark profile of Grandfather to the NE; and the beautiful Hump Mtn and Balds of the Roan to the West. I have no blanket. The grass is my cushion this day. I collapse under the old tree on the summit to rummage and paw around in my backpack until I find my lunch...a small bit of curried potato salad, 10 grapes, 4 slices of sharp white cheddar cheese, a few Mongolian grilled green beans and the bota bag half full of light red wine. Here I eat. Drink. Digest. Nap. I dream I am floating on the air currents in lazy circles with the hawks. I see wild things in the shadows that to others were a mystery; then I am awakened by the sun's last rays and a light but chilly breeze. I sit up, pull my fleece jacket about me and think of all the regrets...but I have none. I have hurdled fear. Risked change. I have come home. Home... to a solitary place where I have found company within the mountains of my youth...where I once explored every thread and fold of mother nature's gown. I sit long into the night and strain to see all that can be seen in the moonlight... watching one ragged white ruffle of foam follow another and another, chasing into so much darkness. The cloud cover clears and stars shower me in light. It is time to return to the world below. A world where adults worry and tease dollar bills out of the trees, a place where all I want to do is live the life of a child pretending to be a frog. A clap of thunder off to the west startles me back to reality. My picnic is long over. I pack up and press my feet into the ground, back down the mountain slope. If it rains, I will imagine shelter. If the wind howls, I will howl back. I still have the moon to the east, if for only a brief while...a white button on the velvet night sky that will guide me as long as it can. This, this is the shape of my life. I will not hurry the horizon. I pause, reach my hand skyward, and grasp the handle of the Big Dipper... a constellation that I have always depended on to quench my thirst for a pattern.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LEMON IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

Ideally this recipe should be started the day before baking.

1 lemon, zest of, cut into julienne
3/4 cup superfine sugar (regular sugar can be processed in a blender of food processor)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups flour
3/4 cup almonds, ground
1 pinch salt

Place julienned lemon zest in a small bowl. Let it soak in whiskey overnight. The next day, preheat oven to 350°F .Grease a 9 inch cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then whisk in the eggs. Sift the flour and add to the butter mixture together with the salt. Stir to blend. Fold in the ground almonds. Strain the whiskey, discarding the zest, and stir the whiskey into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for about one hour, until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 10 servings

"St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic."~Adrienne Cook

REUBEN CASSEROLE

The Reuben is me favorite sandwich....this casserole will make you get up and dance a jig!

3/4 cup cubed rye bread
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 lb deli sliced corned beef, chopped or leftover corned beef brisket, sliced and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
32 ounces sauerkraut, drained
2 medium baking potatoes, thinly sliced •2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 250. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until dry. Crush or process cubes in a food processor until you have medium crumbs; set aside. Increase oven temperature to 350. In large bowl, mix together cream of mushroom soup, milk, onion, corned beef, dry mustard and sugar. Set aside. Spread sauerkraut evenly in bottom of a lightly greased 9x13" baking dish. Place potatoes in single layer, slightly overlapping, over 'kraut. Spoon soup mixture over potatoes and top with cheese. In small bowl, combine melted butter with rye bread crumbs, and sprinkle mixture over cheese. Cover and bake 50 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes more.

"I often looked up at the sky an' assed meself the question - what is the moon, what is the stars?"~Sean O'Casey, Juno and the Paycock

IRISH LAMB STEW

In Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps. Set this dish down on your table and make all the party goers happy.


1 cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 pounds boneless lamb stew meat (preferably shoulder), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cups dark beer
1-pound medium new potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut inch thick diagonally
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge lamb in flour mixture, shaking off excess. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Pour 1/4 cup water into pot, scraping up browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and onion is beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Return lamb to pot; stir in thyme, beer, and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover; simmer until lamb is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (can also be refrigerated, and taken later) Add potatoes, carrots, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely before storing. Stir in parsley just before serving.

"Down by the sally gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the sally gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree."
W. B. Yeats, Down by the Sally Gardens

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GRILLED HAM & GRUYERE CHEESE SANDWICHES

This very impressive sandwich stars Gruyere cheese paired with sour cream, mustard and kirsch. Kirsch is German for "cherry water" and is a clear fruit brandy. It is traditionally made from double-distillation of morello cherries. It is not sweet like a cherry liqueur, but has a refined taste with subtle flavors of cherry and a slight bitter almond taste that is derived from the stone. It compliments the Gruyere which is made from cows milk and is sweet but slightly salty as well as creamy and nutty.

1 cup finely grated Gruyere plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling the sandwiches
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
3/4 teaspoon kirsch
8 slices of homemade-type white bread
4 thin slices cooked ham
1/2 stick butter, softened


In a bowl stir together 1 cup of the Gruyere, the sour cream, the mustard, and the kirsch and spread 1 tablespoon of the mixture evenly over each bread slice. Arrange the ham on 4 of the bread slices and top with the remaining bread slices, spread side down. Remove the crusts with a sharp knife and spread the tops of the sandwiches lightly with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Invert the sandwiches into a large skillet, spread the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and grill the sandwiches over medium-high heat, turning once, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and broil about 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes until cheese is nicely melted.
Serves 4

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

BATTERED CHEDDAR-BACON SANDWICHES

It does not get much better than this! The ham & cheese sandwich gets 'battered' up and fried in butter. Not for the faint of heart....

1 cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 oz. Canadian bacon, sliced
4 slices firm white bread
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Arrange half of cheese and then all of bacon on 2 slices of bread. Top with remaining cheese and bread.

Beat eggs with salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture, turning over and pressing down until all of egg mixture is absorbed.

Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until browned nicely on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over, pressing lightly, and cook until golden brown on bottom.
Serves 2

"Kissing [ex-boyfriend Dwight Yoakam] is like eating a dirt sandwich."~Sharon Stone.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

PURPLE POUND CAKE

Purple plum junior baby food stars in this pound cake recipe along with allspice and black walnuts.

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon allspice
1 jar junior purple plums
1 can black walnuts

Place all ingredients except nuts in mixer bowl. Beat 4 minutes. Add nuts, mixing in well by hand. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Release from pan and allow to cool. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top if you heart so desires.
Serves:16

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field"~ ... The Color Purple.

THAI TOFU & SPICY ASIAN NOODLES

I try to incorporate tofu into my dishes whenever possible due to my need for soy in my diet. Called the perfect food, tofu is made from Soya beans and is high in protein, low in saturated fats and a good source of calcium as well as vitamin E. It is also cholesterol free. Recent studies have also shown that Soya beans and products derived from them may play a role in preventing various types of cancer, particularly breast cancer. It has also been seen to have preventative capacity with regard to osteoporosis and symptoms related to menopause.

1 (8oz.) pkg. linguine
1 (8oz.) pkg. fresh sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 (8oz.) pkg. Thai-flavored or plain tofu cut in cubes
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Cook linguine 5 minutes, add peas, cook 2 minutes.

Combine peanut oil and next 5 ingredients. Drain pasta mixture and return to pan. Stir in peanut sauce and tofu. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Serves 4

"Male menopause is a lot more fun than female menopause. With female menopause you gain weight and get hot flashes. Male menopause - you get to date young girls and drive motorcycles."~Rita Rudner

ORANGE-GINGER CHICKEN SLAW

A dressing of orange juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper delivers 'WOW' factor from the first bite to the last!

1 (10oz) pkg. angel hair slaw
1 (9oz.) pkg. frozen cooked chopped chicken, thawed
1 cup matchstick carrots
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons grated ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Combine orange juice and next 6 ingredients in seperate bowl with whisk. Add to slaw. Spoon into individual shallow bowls. Sprinkle evenly with peanuts.
Serves: 4

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"~Robin Williams

Friday, March 12, 2010

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD

My mother's sister, Nan Vance Hamwey, made this shimmering strawberry salad every Christmas for us and I always felt like I could eat the whole thing. The contrast between the pretzel crust, the cream cheese/Cool Whip layer, and the strawberry/jello layer, topped off with sour cream and pecans none the less, makes it very special at any time on your own table.

1 cup crushed mini pretzels
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 stick butter, melted
cooking spray
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (8oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
1 (6oz.) pkg. strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
2 (10oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 (16oz.) sour cream
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

Combine crushed pretzels, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into a 9X13 pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. (Mixture will be crumbly.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes then allow to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, 5 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla at low speed of an electric mixer until sugar dissolves. Fold in Cool Whip; spread over pretzel layer.

Stir together jello and 2 cups boiling water until dissolved; add strawberries. Chill 1 hour or until just partially set. Spread over cream cheese layer, cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

Stir together sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar; spread over top of strawberry layer; sprinkle with the pecans. Store in refrigerator.
Serves 12 to 15

"Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold."~Judith Olney

BLUEBERRY YUM YUM

Every body's grandmother made this church social staple when I was growing up. It is a creamy, dreamy, pillow of sinful lusciousness. Layers of graham cracker crumbs, blueberry pie filling, Cool Whip, and cream cheese work perfectly together in this memorable refrigerated dessert. I would like to dedicate this to my cousin, Alan Wright

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cans blueberry pie filling
1 (8oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
3/4 cup sugar
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

Mix melted butter and crumbs. Use 1/2 of mixture to cover bottom of 9X13 pan. Cover with pie filling. Add Cool Whip, sugar and cream cheese which has been well blended. Top with remaining cracker mixture. Chill in refrigerator overnight or 8 hours.
Serves 15

"There's no place like home except Grandma's."~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 11, 2010

SHRIMP SCAMPI

I take for granted that others should know how to cook this most special dish, as it's simplicity leads me astray. It is sweet, succulent, and satisfying when cooked to perfection. The main thing to remember when cooking this dish is not to overcook it. It only takes 3 minutes at the most. Remember that, and use a light hand, and the end result will be worth your effort.

1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
splashes of white wine, whatever kind you have
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt butter in skillet, add shrimp and garlic, stir-fry for a couple of minutes then add a healthy splash of white wine. Cook just until shrimp curl up and turn pink. Remove immediately from heat. Serve with a crusty homemade (preferably) bread.
Serves:4

“When we got married in the early '50s, Judy was still very beautiful, ... She was only 5 foot tall — just a shrimp of a girl, really — but she had a very sensuous body and, up close, her skin was like porcelain, pure white. I was crazy about her. She had incredibly kissable lips.”-Sid Luft

SNOW PEAS WITH PINE NUTS (Dated Dec. 7th, 2009)

A delicate, sweet vegetable , one of my very favorites. An excellent accompaniment to FUZZY NAVEL CHICKEN.

1 lb. fresh snow peas, trimmed
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper to taste

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add snow peas then add water; stir and cover. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Add pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and cook a little bit longer, until snow peas are crisp tender.
Serves 4.

"Being pretty on the inside means you don't hit your brother and you eat all your peas - that's what my grandma taught me."u r 2 sweet~Lord Chesterfield

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MAPLE NUT FUDGE

Semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, maple flavoring and 2 cups of walnuts makes this delicious fudge irresistible.

1/2 stick butter
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (11oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (12oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate chips
8oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 (7oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
2 cups chopped walnuts

Combine butter, sugar, salt and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil for 7 minutes. Combine the chocolates, marshmallow creme, flavoring and nuts. Slowly add milk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir vigorously until candy is stiff, may take several minutes. Pour into a well-buttered 9X13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for several hours.
Yield: 2 1/2 lbs.

"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts."~anon

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TROUT OMELET

"A river is water in its loveliest form; rivers have life and sound and movement and infinity of variation, rivers are veins of the earth through which the life blood returns to the heart."~Roderick Haig-Brown

1 large cooked trout
1/2 of a large onion, diced
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large tomato, diced
6 eggs
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated hot-pepper cheese

Flake fish from bones and set aside. Saute onion and bacon in skillet until onion is soft; add garlic and tomato and saute briefly. Set aside.

Mix together eggs, half and half, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Add to large, lightly oiled skillet. Cook over low heat until eggs are slightly set. Add onion mixture and fish flakes to one side of egg. Cover and cook about 5 minutes over very low heat. Fold egg mixture in half to cover fish and onion. Cover with cheese, cover skillet, and cook until cheese melts.
Serves: 6

"Where the pools are bright and deep

Where the gray trout lies asleep,
Up the river and o'er the lea
That's the way for Billy and me."~James Hogg

TONGUE-TINGLIN' SALMON SALAD

This sauce makes an excellent salmon marinade. Its flavor dances all around in your mouth with every tender bite of the sweet salmon. Serve it atop a bed of mixed salad greens.

4 (6oz.) salmon fillets
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons homey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced

Pierce the salmon with a fork and place in a sealable plastic bag. Combine the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour this over the salmon and seal tightly. Turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours, turning occasionally. Grill over medium-high heat for 5 minutes per side or until the fish flakes easily, or to however you prefer it.

"There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process."~Paul O'Neil, 1965

PAN-FRIED TROUT with BACON

I flung my first fishing line when I was a wee child, on the banks of the Toe river, behind my grandparents house where I was raised in Newland, NC. Back then the water was not polluted as it is now. We swam in it and fished it with a sturdy stick that had string tied to it and a large safety pin on the end of it. We dug for the wiggling worms and did a lot of giggling and wiggling ourselves. We caught mostly trout and our 'Mama Joe' was always more than happy to sling a frying pan on the old wood stove and 'fry it up' for us hungry grandchildren. Those were the 'good ol' days and exemplified in the end who we really were and who we have became.

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced green spring onions
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons rinsed drained capers
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
8 slices of a good bacon (Oscar Mayer)
4 (8 to 10-oz.) trout fillets, boned
salt & pepper to taste
flour

Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute 1 1/4 cups of the green onions in the butter for 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, capers and tarragon. Remove from the heat, cover to keep warm.

Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain, reserving the pan drippings. Crumble the bacon and add to the green onion mixture.

Sprinkle the fillets with salt and pepper and coat the fish with flour, shaking off the excess. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the reserved pan drippings. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan drippings. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts. Arrange 2 of the fillets skin side up in the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes; turn. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer or just until opaque in the center. Remove the fillets to oven-proof serving plates. Keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining trout, adding 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet if needed. Reheat the green onion mixture if needed and spoon over the top of each serving. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining green onions.

Serves 4

"All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish."~Harold F. Blaisdell, The Philosophical Fisherman, 1969

Monday, March 8, 2010

MARGARITA ICE CREAM

Well we have margarita drinks, pies, and cupcakes.....why not an ice cream...yummy stuff!

1/2 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons triple sec
2 tablespoons tequila
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Pour the lime juice, triple sec, and tequila into a bowl and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Add the cream and then softly whip until thick and smooth but not stiff. Spoon into an airtight container, freeze overnight. Does not need softening before serving as it will not freeze to hard and melts speedily and voluptuously.
Serve in glasses dipped in salt and sugar. Serves 6

The original Margarita was invented in 1948 by socialite Margarita Sames. According to the legend it was during a party at her cliffside hacienda in Acapulco that Margarita began experimenting with “the drink”. Looking for something to cut the dust of a hot afternoon, she mixed Tequila Herradura, Cointreau and fresh lime juice. Her cocktail kept the party going for two weeks and today the Margarita is the #1 most popular cocktail in the U.S.

LEMON GOOEY BARS

A super easy version of Lemon bars which are quite delectable...
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of finely shredded lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 cup chopped nuts
1 8oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 eggs

Grease a 9X13 baking pan. For crust, stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in dry cake mix and nuts. Press into the bottom of pan. Stir in dry cake mix and nuts. Press into the bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

For topping, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Pour over the hot crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until top is golden and set. Cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into 24 bars.

“Huge lemons, cut in slices, would sink like setting suns into the dusky sea, softly illuminating it with their radiating membranes, and its clear, smooth surface aquiver from the rising bitter essence.”~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

FROZEN STRAWBERRY MARGARITA PIE

I think the title speaks for itself!!!!

1 large graham cracker crust
1 lb. strawberries, halved (3 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

Puree strawberries through triple sec in a blender just until smooth, then pour in a large bowl. Beat cream in electric mixer bowl just until it holds stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 cup of cream into strawberry mixture gently but thoroughly to lighten, then fold in remainder in two batches. Pour into crust, mounding slightly, and freeze uncovered, until firm, about 4 hours. Remove from freezer and let soften in refrigerator about 40 minutes before serving. (Should be semi soft) Garnish with small strawberries to serve.

On average, Americans consume 185,000 Margaritas per hour (Brown-Forman, 2008)...I am feeling a little dizzy

PISTACHIO CHICKEN PASTA

Chicken, garlic, pistachios, limes and linguine team up to make this one of the best pasta dishes ever! It's an easy, yet gastronomic adventure.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, halved
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
2 limes
1/4 teaspoon each of pepper and grated lime rind
1 lb. linguine, cooked

Place 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a deep frying pan; cook together until it foam. Add garlic and cook until brown; remove. Add chicken and cook until fork tender; remove. Add nuts to pan and toast lightly. Stir in pepper, juice of two limes and peel. Re-add chicken and the rest of the butter and stir well. Toss the chicken/pistachio mixture with the warm, cooked linguine and serve.
Serves 4

“People have been cooking and eating for thousands of years, so if you are the very first to have thought of adding fresh lime juice to scalloped potatoes try to understand that there must be a reason for this.”~Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (1978)

PINEAPPLE SALSA

We love this salsa nestled beside of grilled chicken, fish, or pork. It is a delight to your senses of smell, sight, and taste.

1 (20oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Combine all ingredients. Chill well prior to serving.

“Salsa has now passed ketchup as America's favorite condiment. Isn't that amazing? You know it's bad when even our vegetables are starting to lose their jobs to Mexico.”~Jay Leno, on the Tonight Show

LEMON-LIME REFRIGERATOR SHEET CAKE

All it takes is 5 ingredients to make this pretty and positively addictive cake.

1 pkg. lemon supreme cake mix
1 pkg. lime gelatin
1 pkg. lemon instant pudding mix (small box)
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 envelope Dream Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve gelatin in 3/4 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup cold water; set aside at room temperature.

Mix and bake cake as directed in a 9X13 pan. Cool cake 20 to 25 minutes. Poke deep holes through top of warm cake, with meat fork or toothpick, space holes about 1-inch apart. With a cup, slowly pour gelatin mixture into holes. Refrigerate cake while preparing topping.

In a CHILLED, deep bowl, blend and whip topping mix, instant pudding, COLD milk, until stiff, 3 to 8 minutes. Immediately frost cake. Store in refrigerator.

“Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?”~William Shakespeare

LUSCIOUS PINA COLADAS

If you like a Pina Colada then you will love this one...It is one of the best ones I have ever tasted. Get out the little umbrellas...

1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (8 1/2oz.) can cream of coconut
1 large banana, peeled and sliced
12 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light rum
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
15 ice cubes

Throw everything in the blender and give her a whirl!
Yield: 4 cups

“Any sucker can pilot the ship when everything's smooth and the sun's out and you've got a piña colada in your hand with sunglasses and a Cuban (cigar)”~Mike Tice quotes

Sunday, March 7, 2010

FUZZY NAVEL CHICKEN (Dated Dec. 7th, 2009)

The subtle flavor of peach adds a luscious touch to the moist and tender chicken.

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 whole chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
1/2 cup whole roased cashews
fresh orange slices

Combine first six ingredients with a wire whisk. Set aside.

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness with meat mallet, or a hammer if that's all you have. Heat oil in your largest skillet, add chicken. Brown well over medium heat, remove. Add Schnapps to skillet and deglaze pan over medium-high heat reducing liquid by half. Return chicken breasts to skillet and cook, coating on all sides with browned Schnapps. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Add cashews to skillet and stir to coat well. Add orange juice mixture, cooking over medium heat, stirring until sauce is thick and smooth.
Pour sauce over chicken and top with cashews. Garnish with orange slices.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

COOKS NOTE: Deglaze means to add some sort of liquid, usually wine, to a pan in which meat has been cooked or browned. The resulting liquid is then used in a sauce incorporating the flavor of the meat into the sauce.

“What is sauce for the goose may be sauce for the gander but is not necessarily sauce for the chicken, the duck, the turkey or the guinea hen.”-Anne Tyler

QUICK-EASY-TASTY CHILI

Here is another recipe that I have been making since my children were small. Serve with a delicious cake of cornbread and you'll be going back for thirds.
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 can beef broth
2 cans tomato soup
1 soup can water
2 cans kidney beans, undrained
3 cups cooked elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. vinegar

In large pot, brown beef and cook onion with garlic until tender. Stir to separate meat. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes; stir occasionally.
Makes about 12 cups.

"Of soup and loves, the first is best."-anon

ESKIMO COOKIES

I love these little cookies. No baking, just mix everything together and roll into little balls and store in refrigerator.

1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. cocoa
2 cups oatmeal
confectioners sugar

In bowl, beat butter well with mixer. Add sugar, mix well. Add water, vanilla, and cocoa; mix well. Mix in oatmeal with wooden spoon. Shape into little balls and roll in confectioners sugar. Store in refrigerator.

“The Eskimos have 52 words for snow because it is so special to them; there ought to be as many for love!”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

HURRICANE

This recipe comes from Chef John Folse's "Encyclopedia of Creole and Cajun Cuisine", and this is what he has to say about it....'Everyone who visits New Orleans goes to Pat O' Briens for one of his famous Hurricanes. The drink, with its fruit punch taste, has packed a wallop on many unsuspecting parties. To my knowledge, this is the original recipe and not quite the same as the one served at Pat O'Briens today.'

1 ounce of lemon juice
4 ounces dark rum
4 ounces red passion fruit cocktail mix
crushed ice, orange slice for garnish
cherry for garnish

Method: Pour lemon juice, rum, and cocktail mix into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously 1 to 2 minutes. Pacj crushed ice into a 10-oz. highball glass. Pour drink mixture over crushed ice. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
Yield: 1 drink

Friday, March 5, 2010

GOODNESS GRACIOUS GOLDILOCK'S

Perfect for a ski weekend!

3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups 4-grain hot cereal
2/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the cereal. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the raisins through the nutmeg, mix well. Spoon the cereal mixture into a 2-quart baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately with the milk and additional maple syrup.
Serves 6

"Nanny Ogg looked under her bed in case there was a man there. Well, you never knew your luck."
— Terry Pratchett (Lords and Ladies)

SPICY TOMATO ASPIC

Allspice and cloves enhance this favorite aspic.

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teasppon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash of hot sauce
1 small green pepper, diced
1 tablespoon grated onion
Lettuce

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute.

Combine tomato juice and next 7 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add gelatin to hot mixture; stirring until gelatin dissolves. Chill until it is the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.

Fold in green pepper and onion; pour into a lightly oiled 4-cup mold. Cover and chill until firm. Unmold onto a lettuce-lined serving plate.
Serves 6

"Spice it with love and stir it with care, And I'll toast our bright eyes, my sweetheart fair."~Minna Thomas Antrim

RED VELVET PUNCH

Break out your finest glassware when serving this ruby hued beverage that packs its own punch!

1 (12oz.) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed and diluted
1 (7.5oz.) bottle frozen lemon juice, thawed
1 (6oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed and diluted
1 (6oz.) can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed and diluted
2 cups brandy
2 (750-milliliter) bottles champagne, thawed and diluted, chilled

Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring until blended. Chill mixture. To serve, pour mixture into punch bowl, and add champagne. Add an ice ring or ice.
Yield: 5 quarts

"Sunshine has no budget, the sea no red tape."~Jareb Teague

SHRIMP BURGERS

My friend Susie Williams asked me if I had a recipe similar to the shrimp burger that is sold at the Provision Company, located on the Inland Waterway, in Holdens Beach, NC. The Provision Company is my favorite place to eat in Holden Beach. Their version of a shrimp burger is similar to one that I make and love, and it is not the "fried" shrimp burger that you see in a lot of restaurants on the coast that is often topped with tartar sauce, but a boiled chopped shrimp with some veggies thrown in. I don't know their exact recipe but we both have the same idea. I am going to 'blow my horn' here and say that I think mine is better. So if you get to Holden's Beach check out the Provison Company and try their shrimp burger and do sometime try mine and decide for yourself which one you think is best. They have a very relaxed atmosphere with a nice view of the bridge and the waterway, you can drive your boat right up to the dock, and if you're drinking beer you have to get up and get your own out of the cooler......p.s. my favorite thing to eat there is the grilled grouper salad surrounded with marinated tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions...order a side of tartar.

1 lb. fresh shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
3 tablespoons diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup unflavored bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
2 tablespoons peanut oil

Boil shrimp for 2 minutes. Drain, place in a bowl with ice water. Peel and devein shrimp and chop into small dice.

In a large bowl, mix shrimp with scallions, celery, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir in breadcrumbs and the egg and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper and Tabasco.

Form into six patties, about 6-inches in diameter and saute until both sides are nicely browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce.

COOKS NOTE: The shrimp mixture can be prepared ahead, chilled overnight in plastic wrap and removed just before frying. This is how I do it, at least let it get good and chilled before you fry them, they will hold together better. Serve on a good quality bun.

"Thar she blows: the call it came; the boats were launched; the whale was named."~anon

Thursday, March 4, 2010

STRAWBERRY JELLY GLAZED CORNISH HENS

Cornish hens are actually as American as apple pie and chevrolets thanks to the breeding of Cornish gamecocks and White Rock hens. They normally range in weight from 1 to 1 1/2 pounds and can hold up to 1 cup of stuffing and are for the most part all white meat due to being fed on cranberries and acorns.

1 cup strawberry jelly
1/2 cup Madeira wine
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon each of grated orange and lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of red pepper
1 tablespon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
4 Cornish hens

Combine jelly through red pepper in a saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water with a whire wisk, add to sauce mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.

Remove giblets from hens. Rinse inside and out with cold water; pat dry.

Place hens breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a fork, basting every 10 minutes during last 30 minutes of baking time. Serve with any remaining sauce.
Serves 4

CAJUN-FRIED CORNISH HENS

If you like fried chicken you will love deep-fried Cornish hens. The best part is you have your own bird all to yourself as opposed to the deep-fried turkey that everybody is picking at.

3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 Cornish hens
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1 cup flour
peanut oil

Combine seasonings; rub over inside and outside of hens.

Fill the injector needle of a bulb baster with salad dressing and squirt under the skin of hens. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Place flour in a large plastic bag; add hens, one at a time, and shake to coat thoroughly.

Pour oil to a depth of 5 inches into a deep pot of a propane cooker; heat to 350 degrees. Carefully lower hens into hot oil in strainer basket. Fry 18 to 20 minutes until meat thermometer inserted in hen reaches 180 degrees. Remove hens from oil, drain on paper towels.
Serves 4

CORNISH HENS with CRABMEAT STUFFING

This is my second favorite Cornish hen recipe. I like crab meat stuffed in anything!

4 Cornish hens
1 lemon, cut in half
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 stick butter
1 cup crab meat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1/3 cup half-and-half

Rinse the hens inside and out; pat dry. Rub with the lemon; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Saute the garlic, parsley, green onions and celery in the butter in a skillet until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the crab meat, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the bread crumbs. Add the half-and-half gradually, stirring until mixed. Stuff the hens with this mixture and place in a greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until cooked through, basting frequently with pan juices.

"I never met a Cornish hen I didn't like!"~Adele Forbes

APRICOT GLAZED CORNISH HENS with WILD RICE

These delectable hens are glazed with an apricot and orange juice mixture and served on a savory bed of wild rice.

1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
4 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/4 cup orange juice
8 Cornish hens
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup cashews
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup sliced green onions
1 (12oz.) pkg. long grain and wild rice mix
4 2/3 cups chicken broth
dried apricot roses
spinach leaves

Combine apricot preserves, orange rind and orange juice; set aside. Remove giblets from hens; reserve for other uses.Rinse hens with cold water and pat dry. Close cavities and secure with wooden picks; truss. Sprinkle with paprika. Place hens in a lightly greased roasting pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, basting frequently with 1 cup apricot mixture during the last half hour.

Saute cashews in butter in a large skillet until golden. Drain and set aside, reserving butter in skillet. Saute onions in same skillet until tender. Add rice and prepare acording to package directions, substituting chicken broth for water and omitting salt. Add cashews to rice.

Arrange hens on serving platter atop wild rice. Brush hens with remaining glaze. Garnish with apricot roses amd spinach leaves.
Serves 8

COOKS NOTE: To make apricot roses, use a rolling pin to flatten 4 or 5 dried apricots for each rose. Wrap apricots around each other, shaping them to resemble a rose; pinch stem end to amke them adhere.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A PEACH OF A CHEESY FRENCH TOAST

'Very popular' amongst family and friends best describes this definately different French toast recipe. Cream cheese, mozzarella, and ricotta make their presence known in this delightful creation.

2 cups fresh sliced peaches
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 (16oz.) loaf Italian bread with sesame seeds, sliced 1 1/2-inches thick
6 large eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups cornflakes, crushed
melted butter

Cook peaches in a saucepan until thoroughly heated; set aside and keep warm.

Beat cheeses ina mixing bowl at low speed of an electric mixer until blended. Stir in preserves.

Make a horizontal pocket in each bread slice; spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Combine eggs, whipping cream and salt in mixing bowl; beat at low speed until blended. Dip each bread slice in egg mixture, then dredge in crushed cereal. Cook bread slices in butter over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden. Serve with the warm peach slices.
Serves: 6 to 8

COOKS NOTE: You can use canned or frozen peaches when fresh peaches are not in season.

HAM-N-CHEESE FRENCH TOAST

Oh baby! is what you will be saying after you have had a bite of this....I love ham and cheese and mustard and french toast...put it all together and it equals unbridled love in my eyes...

12 slices sandwich bread, I use low carb wheat
1/4 cup mustard
12 slices ham
6 slices whatever cheese you like or have on hand
4 big eggs
2/3 cup milk

Spread mustard over 6 slices of bread. Top each one with ham,cheese and another ham slice, top with remaining slices of bread. The cheese is now nestled in the middle of the ham. I am starting to fill a little faint.

Whisk together eggs and milk and dip each sandwich into it coating both slices of bread.

Place sandwiches on a greased baking sheet with the sides not touching. Place another greased baking sheet over top of the sandwiches. Bake at 475 degrees 15 to 20 minutes until nice and golden. Eat um up now as quick as you can with a tall glass of milk!

HEALTHY ENGLISH MUFFIN FRENCH TOAST

French toast does not always have to be sweeter than maple syrup and loaded with calories. This is a favorite of mine and I am betting that it will be yours too if you are watching out for your figure and heart health.

1 cup egg substitute
1 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 whole wheat English muffins, split
vegetable cooking spray
fruit of your choice

Whisk together first three ingredients. Place in a large zip-lock bag; add muffins. Seal and chill overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove muffins from bag when ready to cook, and fry in batches in a skillet which has been sprayed with cooking spray, 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden. Serve with a low calorie syrup, and/or fresh fruit. I like these topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries and kiwifruit.

BLUEBERRY & CREAM CHEESE FRENCH TOAST

Blueberries star in both the french toast and the syrup in this layered dish that does not have to be served just for breakfast.

12 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed
2 (8oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 cup fresh blueberies
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup

SAUCE

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes; place half in greased 13X9 baking pan. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes; place over bread. Top with blueberies and remaining bread. In a large bowl, beat eggs, add milk and syrup; mix well. Pour over bread mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 30 minutes more or until golden brown and the center is set.

For Sauce: In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch; add water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in blueberries; reduce heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve over French toast.

COOKS NOTE: French toast is not necessarily French in origin, but is thought to have been a case of medievel ingenuity where you dipped and fried out bread just like you would chicken. Whatever its origin it is a time honored dish to look forward to on anyones table.

CANDY APPLE FRENCH TOAST

Rich and fit for royalty, this French toast is prepped the night before, so all you have to do is slip out of bed, tip toe to the kitchen, turn on the coffee pot, set out the French toast on the counter so it can warm up while the oven is heating up, then pop it in and enjoy your coffee in your favorite chair.

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 large tart apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
9 slices day-old bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick

APPLE SYRUP

1 cup applesauce
1 (10oz.) jar apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, butter and corn syrup about 5 to 7 minutes or until thick. Pour into an ungreased 13X9 baking dish and top with sliced apples. Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla. Dip the bread in for a minute and then put it over the apples in the dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the fridge 15 to 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix together all syrup ingredients. Cook until hot. Serve over the French toast.

“We eat fried eggs, biscuits and gravy, French toast, things like that. Let's just say they won't set us at a two-person table anymore. So we have enough elbow room, they set us at a four-person table.”~Josh Taylor

ALMOND CIABATTA FRENCH TOAST

I have made a lot of different French Toast recipes over the years but this one stands out as my all-time favorite! The recipe comes from the most fabulous cookbook; "Gale Gand's Brunch! 100 Fantastic Recipes For The Weekend's Best Meal..
Gale is a member of Les Dames D'escoffier which is the premier association of women culinary chefs and a James Beard award winning pastry chef.

"At Osteria di Tramonto, the Italian restaurant I own with my partners, we serve ciabatta, an Italian bread that has nice big, open holes inside. It's delicious fresh, but it really is not the same the next day...so, what to do with all the leftovers? We tried a bread pudding, but it was to firm for my taste. Then I tried making French toast with it-and it's divine! It's soft and tender from absorbing extra custard into all the spongy holes. Serve this with maple syrup or a dollop of ricotta cheese."~Gail Gand

3 large eggs
2 pinches salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Eight 1-inch slices round ciabatta
Unsalted butter, for cooking
1 cup sliced almonds

Heat a griddle over medium-low heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs well. Whisk in the salt, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Working in batches if necessary, place the bread in the dish and let it soak for 3 minutes; then turn the slices over and soak on the other side.

Butter your griddle and let the butter bubble. Just before placing the soaked bread slices on the griddle, place almonds in a single layer (but fairly densely packed) on the griddle, forming an area the size and shape of a bread slice. Press one side of the bread into the almonds on the griddle, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the bread to the other side and cook until speckled golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 8 pieces of French toast; serves 4 to 6

COOKS NOTE: Unless it is an oven French toast I always use an electric skillet for the cooking process. When I first read this recipe I was a little intimidated at placing the almonds in the buttered skillet to form the exact size of the bread; but there was really nothing to it and it turns out beautifully. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

One of my favorite things, and I really like the use of both beef and pork in this particular recipe. Hope you like it....

1 medium cabbage, 2 1/2 lbs.
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb. ground pork sausage
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups tomato sauce

Remove 12 large cabbage leaves; cook them in boiling water 5 to 8 minutes, until just tender. Drain and set aside. Shred remaining cabbage and set aside.

Combine ground chuck through paprika. Spoon 1/3 cup mixture in center of each cabbage leaf. Fold left and right sides of large leaf over; roll up, beginning at bottom. Repeat procedure with remaining cabbage leaves.

Arrange half of shredded cabbage in bottom of a Dutch oven. Top with cabbage rolls, seam side down. Place remaining shredded cabbage over rolls. Pour tomato sauce over top. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Yield: 6 servings

“"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”~Lewis Carroll quotes (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 1832-1898)

KEY LIME MUFFINS

Bake these sweet/tart muffins in either minature or regular muffin tins. I make all of my muffins in minature pans and just eat one as opposed to eating a whole large muffin. A girl has to do what a girl has to do.....

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/4 cup Key lime juice

Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl; make a well in center. Combine remaining ingredients; stirring just until moistened. Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filling three-quarters full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Remove from pans immediately, allow to cool then sprinkle with some powdered sugar if you like.

“Two old Bachelors were living in one house;/ One caught a Muffin, the other caught a Mouse.”~Edward Lear

BLUE CORN MUFFINS with CHEDDAR CHEESE and PINE NUTS

Increasingly popular blue cornmeal can be found in the specialty section of most supermarkets. Enjoy these gourmet wonders with your favorite soup.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blue cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine egg through buttermilk; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Add Cheddar cheese and remaining ingredients, and stir just until blended.

Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yield: 1 dozen

Well put me in a "paper thingie" and call me a Muffin!

CARROT ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

A healthy version of a favorite muffin.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon's vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded zucchini
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in the center of mixture. Combine egg whites, sugar, oil, and vanilla; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in zucchini, carrot, walnuts, and raisins.


Spoon batter into two greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on a wire rack.Yield: 1 1/2 dozen


One small step for Muffins, One Giant Leap for Muffinkind.

CHEDDAR and BACON MUFFINS

For the perfect accompaniment with a hearty bowl of soup, you can't beat these savoy muffins.

1 lb. bacon
1 cup finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground peper
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons shortening, melted and cooled
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Crumble and set aside.

Saute green onions, salt and pepper in reserved drippings until onion is tender. Set aside.

Combine flour through sugar.

Combine eggs, milk, mustard, shortening, and green onion mixture. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in cheese and crumbled bacon.

Spoon batter into greased muffin pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

May the muffins be with you!

RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS

Sharon Buchanun Fitzwater shared her refrigerated raisin bran muffin with us. Thanks Sharon! Good job......

* 4 eggs beaten
* 1 quart buttermilk
* 5 cups flour
* 5 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 3 cups sugar
* 1 cup oil
* 1 15 ounce box raisin bran


Directions

1. Stir everything together in a large bowl. Cover..
2. Refrigerate over night. Or up to 3 weeks.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Spray regular size muffin pan.
5. Fill 2/3 full.
6. Bake 15 minutes.

"A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins."~Charles Lamb, Last Essays of Elia, 1833

APPLESAUCE SPICE MUFFINS

Here's a mini-muffin recipe that will work around your busy schedule. Once you mix the batter, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to a week, or bake into muffins immediately.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups applesauce
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

Beat butter at electric speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add two cups sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in applesauce. Add applesauce mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Spoon into greased miniature muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Yield 6 dozen

"The smell of buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries."~Kenneth Grahame

Monday, March 1, 2010

COCONUT-LIME THAI SNOWBALLS (Dated Dec. 9th, 2009)

Butter imparts a delicious melt-away texture to this popular wedding cookie reinvented with the vibrant Thai flavors of coconut and lime. Dusted with powdered sugar and coconut, these festive little cookies resemble snowballs and are sure to become a new holiday tradition.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Coating:
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF with racks in the lower and upper thirds.

Combine butter and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat until light and fluffy. Add lime oil; beat to combine.

Gently fold in lime zest, salt, flour and coconut. Blend well.

Lightly flour hands and roll dough into small, approximately 1-inch balls and place about 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until puffy (not browned) and bottoms are just golden, about 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine coating ingredients in a quart or gallon size plastic bag. While cookies are still warm, toss them in the coating. Remove and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

COOKS NOTE: Cookies bake best when the dough is placed on cool cookie sheets (heat causes the cookies to spread immediately and too much). Accelerate the cooling process by running tepid water over the back of your baking sheets. Dry thoroughly.

CHEESY ARTICHOKE ROUNDS

This simple appetizer will be sure to please even the most discriminating palate. A 'most requested' recipe!

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (14oz.) can water packed artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles
French bread baguette, thinly sliced

Preheat broiler. Combine all ingredients, mix well. Spread mixture on French bread slices. Place slices on ungreased cookie sheet and broil until cheeses melt. Serve hot.
Yield: 3 dozen.

"Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.
Bette Davis as Margo Channing in 'All About Eve' (1950)

PIZZA MEATLOAF

I love this meatloaf and anybody that has had the pleasure of tasting it loves it too. It is definately not your ordinary meatloaf, but the combination of all the ingredients come together in a most satisfying way.

2 lb. ground round
2 eggs
1 cup crushed saltines
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano

Mix all the above ingredinets and place in an 8 or 9-inch baking dish or pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

8 oz. can pizza sauce
3 slices mozzarella cheese-halved
sauteed rings of green bell pepper and sliced mushrooms

Spoon the pizza sauce over the baked meatloaf and arrange the mozzarella slices over the sauce to cover meatloaf. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Place bell pepper and mushrooms over the cheese and serve with mashed potatoes and whatever green vegetable that you like.

"OREGANO: Something your kitchen cannot be without. It's strong flavor and penetrating aroma are typical of Mediterranean cuisine. A handful thrown in the bath shared with your partner is an erotic experience. "-Isabel Allende

GINGER PEACH ROLL

When sliced, the peachy cream cheese filling is a nice contrast against the gingerbread cake roll. You'll win rave reviews for this one!

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided
1 (16oz.) can cling peach halves
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10X15X1-inch jelly roll pan with foil. Lightly grease and flour foil. Stir together first 6 ingredients.

In a mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar and molasses. Beat with mixer until thick and light, about 5 minutes. Gently fold in flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sift 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar over cake and cover with a cloth towel. Invert cake pan; carefully remove foil. Roll cake, starting from short side. Cool.

Drain peaches, reserve one peach half for garnish. Chop remaining peaches. In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese with remaining 6 Tbsp. powdered sugar, lemon peel, juice and vanilla. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold peaches and cream into cream cheese mixture. Unroll cake. Spread with peach mixture and reroll. Place on serving plate. Slice reserved peach to form a fan garnish.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

"Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.~Alice Walker

CHOCOLATE WALNUT EUPHORIA COOKIES

These cookies are a chocolate lover's dream come true. They would surely be a hit at a cookie exchange. Recipe is easily doubled.

12 ozs. semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet)
3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. milk
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt half the chocolate chips in double boiler or in microwave until smooth. In separate bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Sift together dry ingredients. Stir melted chocolate and milk in butter mixture. Mix in dry ingredients, then remaining chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes.
Yield: 3 dozen

"Chocolate, men, coffee - some things are better rich."-anon

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER (Dated Dec. 5th, 2009)

Exerted from "FORGET ME NOT", Recipes & Stories to Remember from Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro.

If I had my life to live over I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the "good" living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would have never insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching TV-and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside of me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me imperiously, I would never have said "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you'," more "I'm sorry's."
But...mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute; look at it and really see it, and never give it back. Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us. Let's think about what God has blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.
Life is to short to let it pass you by. We only have one shot at this and then it's gone.-Erma Bombeck

BANANAS FOSTER BARS

If you love Bananas Foster, I simply adore it, then you will fall in love with these bars as well. Pack them in your gift giving Christmas tins and be prepared to share the recipe.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tablespoon dark rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup bananas, diced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped

Frosting:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon rum or pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Cooking Directions:Bars:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour 9-inch square pan*.
In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and rum; mix to combine.

In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to butter mixture. Mix in bananas and pecans; stir to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting:
In large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar and extract with an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; blend until smooth (careful; over mixing will cause separation). Add additional confectioners’ sugar to create desired consistency.
Spread frosting immediately over cooled bars. Cover and store bars in refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, cut bars into 2-inch squares.
*For a thicker bar, use an 8-inch square pan.

" We share half our genes with the banana." [After the announcement Jun 2000 that a working draft of the genetic sequence of humans had been completed by the Human Genome Project.]