Thursday, December 30, 2010

Endive Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Walnuts

1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 T. Honey, divided
Cooking spray
¼ cup Baslsamic Vinegar
3 T. orange juice
16 Belgian endive leaves (2 heads)
1/3 cup (1 ½ oz) crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese
16 small orange sections (2 naval oranges)
1 T. minced chives
¼ t. black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine walnuts and 1 T. Honey. Spread on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir halfway through.

Combine 1 T. Honey, vinegar, and orange juice in small saucepan. Bring mixture to boil over high heat and cook until reduced to 3 T. (about 5 minutes).

Fill each endive leaf with 1 orange section. Top each section with 1 t. cheese and 1 t. walnuts.
Arrange on a serving plate.

Drizzle vinegar mixture over leaves and sprinkle with chives and pepper.

A Little Grilled Endive

A few days before Christmas we were having our weekly steak dinner. The husband was nice enough to fix my plate and pour my wine….he even sliced my steak.

All I had to do was enjoy!

Along with our steak we had a baked sweet potato topped with cinnamon and brown sugar and a little grilled endive.


Yes, Belgian Endive. The Belgian form was accidentally discovered by a Belgian botanist named Brezier. He developed his form of “Brussels Endive or French Endive” from a chicory root in 1846. The process to raise Belgian Endive is very labor intensive…..round-the-clock attention is required.

It is not grown from a seed or seedling….instead it is cultivated by forcing a second growth from the cut roots of chicory plants. The white part of the plant is obtained by growing the plants in the dark.

You can find out more about Endive at this link. You can click on the picture above for a closer view.

In order to grill endive slice the head lengthwise. Brush each half with olive oil and season with pepper and coarse salt. Grill 20-30 minutes turning halfway through. It’s great with more olive oil and lemon juice drizzled over it.

Endive is a great source for fiber, Vitamins K and A.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Charcoal Potatoes

1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 stick butter, melted
4-6 all purpose baking potatoes, cut into medium chunks
1 onion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the potato chunks with the chopped onion. Spread the potato/onion mixture in a 9 x 13 roasting pan with sides. Mix the contents of the onion soup envelope with the melted butter and pour over the potato and onions.

Bake approximately 35 minutes….

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pimento Cheese

I wish I could say I found this recipe, and I whipped it up as a quick appetizer to have while we were waiting on our steaks to grill this past Friday night but……it was the husband.

He found it in the April/May issue of Garden and Gun magazine… of our favorite publications.

This recipe makes about 1 pint and can serve 4 as an appetizer

2 cups shredded orange cheddar cheese (8 oz)
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
½ cup pimento peppers, drained and chopped (7 oz. jar)
¼ cup green onions, chopped (use both the green and the white parts)
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
Dash of Tabasco

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir with a rubber spatula. Serve immediately with crackers or cover, refrigerate, and let flavors marinate.

Best to refrigerate first for a bit, but that’s our opinion.

Standing Rib Roast with Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce or Garlic Blue Cheese Sauce

For Christmas Dinner this past year we had a standing rib roast.

It was wonderful.

Prime Rib can be tricky to prepare, but somehow the husband has managed the last couple of years. The information found at the following website has been very helpful in the past.

Perfect Prime Rib website

Following some of the pictures from Christmas, 2009 look for the recipes for two delicious sauces to serve with Prime Rib… involving horseradish and the other with a blue cheese base.

Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce
¼ to ½ cup prepared horseradish (according to your taste)
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 t. salt

In a medium sized bowl, combine horseradish, sour cream, lemon juice and salt; thoroughly mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Note: Can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate

Garlic blue Cheese Sauce

¾ cup heavy cream
1 medium clove garlic, thinly sliced
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sized saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring cream and garlic just to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the cream coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat Stir in crumbled blue cheese. Season to taste with the pepper.

Uncle Chris seems to be enjoying his plate.....

and so is the daughter and her beau.....


Pronounced .......Ben-yays

These little bits of heaven are great anytime, but we served them up last year at the end of a very long Christmas Day…..

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.

Shake confectioners' sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Goat Cheese and Spinach Tartlets

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 ounces mild goat cheese, softened
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 large eggs, separated
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a clean surface (cover the other sheets with a damp towel), brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon parmesan. Cover with another phyllo sheet, brush with more butter and sprinkle with another teaspoon parmesan. Top with the remaining phyllo sheet and brush with butter. Cut the phyllo stack into 24 squares, about 3 inches each. Brush a 24-cup mini muffin tin with oil, then firmly press a phyllo square, buttered-side down, into each cup. Bake until golden, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour, then add the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth, 1 minute. Add the nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the goat cheese, lemon zest and vinegar until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat and mix in the egg yolks, then the spinach.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the spinach filling. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into each phyllo cup and top with the remaining parmesan. Bake until the filling is set, 15 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan; remove and top with the chives

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven Layer Cookies

A 1970s, Better Homes and Garden staple for the holidays.

I didn’t know of a single mom growing up who didn’t make these.

The simple bar cookies were one of the first things I was allowed to make myself.

4 ounces butter
1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 (6 oz) package chocolate chips
1 (6 oz) package butterscotch chips
1 small can shredded coconut (1 1/3 cup)
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 to 1 ½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over melted butter; sprinkle chocolate chips and butterscotch chips over graham cracker crumbs.

Sprinkle coconut over this; then drizzle with the condensed milk evenly over all.

Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oatmeal Butter Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ¼ cup sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups quick cooking oatmeal

throw in a handful of chopped pecans, too if you so desire......

In a large bowl beat butter till smooth. Add sugars, beating until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then add flour, salt and oatmeal.

Chill till firm

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Shape into marble-shape balls and place on cookie sheet. Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar. Re-sugar the glass after each cookie is flattened.

Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool.

36 cookies.

Rum Balls

1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ cup dark rum
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 ½ cups firmly crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

In a large bowl sift 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, the cocoa powder and allspice. Stir in rum and corn syrup. Stir in Vanilla Wafers and walnuts.

Mix well.

Place in refrigerator to firm up about 30 minutes. The mixture may appear to be crumbly/dry. This is okay.

Place ½ cup confectioner’s sugar in a shallow bowl.

Using 1 Tablespoon scoop out portions of chocolate mixture and form 1-inch balls. Using hands roll balls in Confectioner’s Sugar (you can also roll the balls in cocoa powder), coating evenly.
Place on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate overnight. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to two weeks placing waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking.

Breakfast Casserole

1 package sausage links (12 links)
6 English muffins, cut up into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped red pepper
12 eggs
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup bacon bits

Cook sausage and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Place English muffin cubes in 13 x 9-inch casserole dish and drizzle with the melted butter. Layer sausage, cheeses, onion, and red pepper over English muffin cubes. In a bowl mix the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over cheese mixture in casserole dish. Sprinkle with bacon bits. Cover the dish with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove casserole 30 minutes prior to cooking. Remove saran wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

This recipe serves 12

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Grits That Stole Christmas.....

2½ Tablespoons unsalted butter
2¼ cups chicken stock
½ cup stone ground grits
1-2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon thyme
½ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
¾ cup goat cheese
1-2 Tablespoons chives
Salt and White Pepper to taste
Bring the chicken stock and butter to a boil in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the grits and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, allowing the grits to cook for another 15 minutes at a low boil, and until the grits are thick and have absorbed most of the chicken stock.

Stir occasionally to keep the grits from sticking. Add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to the pot and reduce the heat, allowing the grits to cook slowly for another 10 minutes. As the liquid is absorbed, add more cream, cooking the grits until the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste with a total cooking time of at least an hour.

The grits should be thick and full-bodied. Fold in the chopped garlic, thyme and diced tomatoes, crumble the goat cheese on top. Bake in 350 for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped chives Serve very hot!

Serves 2-4

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Quick Soup for a Busy Day....

At some point during the holidays you need a quick home cooked meal…..something that can be prepared with little muss and fuss.

Sooooo…….you are busy with the tree, decorating the house, stringing lights, wrapping gifts or you have even had a very busy day shopping. Then you realize you need to prepare something for lunch or dinner. You want to stay away from the drive-thru, but you don’t want to slave away over the stove.

My husband whipped out a package of Alessi Tuscan White Bean Soup and added some leftover white butterbeans we had had the night before.


Then the Mister took a package of Pillbury Pizza Dough and flattened it out on a baking stone. He brushed the dough with olive oil and added minced garlic and shredded parmesan cheese before baking it. The bread was the perfect pairing with the soup.


Sometimes you just have to open a package and forego the "homemade" stuff.......

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monkey Bread

Several recipes call for using readymade biscuit dough, but I like the idea of making this from scratch.

1 cup milk

½ cup butter or margarine

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry yeast

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

Combine milk, ½ cup butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan; beat until butter melts. Cool to 105 to 115 degrees; add yeast, stirring until dissolved. Place flour in a large bowl; add milk mixture, and stir until well blended.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, about one hour and 20 minutes until doubled in bulk. Roll into 11/2 inch balls; dip each in melted butter.
Layer balls of dough in a 10-inch one piece tube pan or Bundt pan.

Cover and let rise about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes; invert onto serving plate.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hot Buttered Rum

Search the Internet and you can find lots of different recipes for hot buttered rum, but this one is my favorite. I like it because you can mix it up and freeze it until you are ready to use it.

1 pound butter, softened
1 (16 ounce) package light brown sugar
1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
Light rum
Whipped Cream
Cinnamon Sticks

Combine butter, sugar, and spices; beat until light and fluffy. Add ice cream, and stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart freezer proof container; freeze.

To serve, thaw slightly. Place 3 tablespoons butter mixture and 1 jigger of run in a large mug; fill with boiling water, stirring well. (Any unused butter mixture can be refrozen.)

Top with whipped cream, and serve with a cinnamon stick.

Yield: 25 cups

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eggnog Cookies

2 ¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 ¼ cup sugar

¾ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large egg yolks

½ cup eggnog

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Cream together sugar and butter in a large bowl.

Add vanilla, egg yolks and egg nog. Mix on medium till smooth.

Add flour mixture and mix on low till blended.

Drop by heaping teaspoons 1 ½ inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Bake 25 minutes or until bottoms are brown.

****For frosting take 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 2 Tablespoons eggnog and whisk together until smooth. Spoon over cooled cookies.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010

This Thanksgiving the dinner was a bit smaller….just the hubby, the daughter, and her boyfriend….and the kitty.

Nice and quiet.

The dinner menu is given below with links in parentheses if you want to see the recipe.

Roasted Turkey (Recipe here)

Dressing (Recipe here) and Giblet Gravy
Loaded Garlic Smashed Potatoes (Recipe here)

Macaroni and Cheese (Recipe here)

Broccoli Casserole (Recipe here)

Green Beans
Francis Coppola Chardonnay (See website here)


Crescent Rolls
...and for dessert

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe here)

We were all kinda sleepy afterwards including the cat.

But there was time for football, of course....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roast Turkey

…this recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown and also featured in Food Network Magazine


1 (14-16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine….

1 cup kosher salt
½ cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 ½ teaspoons allspice berries
1 ½ teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics……

1 red apple, sliced
½ onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil


2-3 days before roasting begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you would like to eat….Combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8-16 hours turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and one cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for five minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil

Roast the turkey on the lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Set the thermometer alarm to 161 degrees. A 14-16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 ½ hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Cornbread Dressing

1 large cake of cornbread, crumbled

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch celery, chopped

6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups turkey stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine and crumble cornbread, onion, garlic, celery and eggs. Gently stir. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage.

***At this point we added some diced Poblano peppers to the recipe…..along with some diced Cornish Game Hen we had boiled.

Add the chicken and turkey broth 1 cup at a time until the cornbread becomes moist but not wet.

Place stuffing into a dutch oven or loosely pack into a turkey. Bake 1 hour or until stuffing reaches a temperature of 175 degrees.

Serves 7

Broccoli Casserole

I have lost the exact copy of this recipe so this written totally from memory.

Fill a 2-quart pan nearly full with water and a sprinkle or two of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Using a full crown of broccoli chop it up along with one medium sized onion. Add the broccoli and onion to the boiling water and cook till tender. Drain.

In a medium sized pan melt 3-4 Tablespoons butter and add 2-3 Tablespoons all purpose flour. Stir and allow the flour and butter to form a roux.

Add in 1 cup milk and stir constantly with wire whisk. Add a small brick of cream cheese. Stir mixture until cream cheese melts. Mix well. Combine cream cheese mixture with broccoli and onion and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Mix till the shredded cheese melts.

Sprinkle the bottom of a casserole dish with ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour broccoli mixture over the cheese.

Place the casserole in a 350 degree oven until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges.

Loaded Garlic Smashed Potatoes

2 medium garlic bulbs

1 Tablespoon olive oil

6 slices bacon or real bacon bits

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 bag frozen mashed potatos or 4 pounds red potatos

1 (16 oz.) container sour cream

1 ½ cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1/3 cup butter/margarine, softened

¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Garnish with chopped fresh chives

Cut off pointed ends of garlic bulbs and place cut side up on aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil.

Fold and seal foil. Bake garlic at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool.

Squeeze pulp from garlic. Set aside.

Prepare potatos for mashing.

Combine green onions, and bacon bits with a bit of olive oil until onions are tender.

Combine bacon, onions, garlic pulp, sour cream and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese with potatoes till well blended.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking pan and top with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or till cheese melts.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground clove

1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 2 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate, medium size mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix well. In another medium size mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and clove and mix well. In thirds, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the creamed butter, blending gently after each addition.

Using an ice cream scoop or a ¼ cup measure, divide the batter evenly among the 24 cupcake wells and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cupcake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes on a wire rack in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and continue to cool on the wire racks until completely cool.

Frost the cupcakes with the Cream Cheese Frosting (follow the link above for the recipe) and serve.

***Next time I may make this a one layer cake instead of would suit my family better.

This recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse via Good Morning America

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup toasted finely chopped pecans, for garnish, optional

Combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. (If frosting is too thick, thin with a bit of milk to obtain desired consistency.)

Frost cupcakes and then sprinkle with pecans, if desired.

I used this recipe to frost a few Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.

This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse via Good Morning America

Aunt Karen's Macaroni and Cheese

I love technology.

I added a comment on my sister’s Facebook status regarding her Mac n Cheese recipe letting her know I needed it. She then sent me what I needed in a text message.

Here’s what she sent:

Mix together 12 oz. cooked macaroni with 2 small cans evaporated milk, 2 sticks butter melted and ½ cup milk. Pour into greased casserole and top with slices of Kraft Cheddar Cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until cheese melts. My sister advises not to overcook because the dish thickens once you take it out of the oven. After using her recipe I would have to agree.

The photo is before the dish was placed in the oven.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicago Style Pizza

Yes, I have to admit……I’m guilty of not just calling the local Dominos to deliver a pizza, but actually shipping my pizza in from Chicago.

The pizza from Lou Malantis is worth it.

Their website states:

Lou's is the home of the BEST Chicago-style deep dish pizza in the world! If you love a buttery, flakey crust, sweet and tangy tomatoes, gooey mozzarella cheese, perfectly seasoned sausage, and other fresh ingredients- you’ve come to the right place. We pride ourselves on making each handmade pizza just the way you like it.

Head to the website here and you too can have one shipped to you!

Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty and Umami.....Umami?

Think about it….your tongue signals the taste of things to your brain as sweet, sour, bitter or salty, but what about umami?

It’s the meaty sensation in aged or fermented products such as cheese or wine and the word is Japanese in origin.

Umami foods include Parmesan, mushrooms, red wine veal stock and meat and other protein-dense foods.

More than likely out tongues detect the amino acids glutamic acid or the glutamates and transfers them into savory flavor.

Champagne by the Country

Every country has its own way to say the word champagne……



Sekt …..Germany

Sparkling shiraz….Austrailia

Pour me another……My House

Wine Terminology: By the Bottle

Wine bottles larger than the .75-liter standard are mostly named for biblical kings and legends.

Magnum – equivalent to 2 bottles

Marie-Jeanne – equivalent to 3 bottles

Double Magnum or Jeroboam – evivalent to 4 bottles

Jeroboam or Rehoboam – equivalent to 6 bottles

Methuselah – 8 bottles

Salmanazar – 12 bottles

Balthazar – 16 bottles

Nebuchadnezzar – 20 bottles

Mechior or Solomon – 24 bottles

Sovereign – 34 bottles

Primat – 36 bottles

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tomato Chicken Stack Salad

12-15 fresh basil leaves (rinsed)

4-5 fresh Italian parsley sprigs (rinsed)

1 small shallot (rinsed)

4 large red and yellow (or heirloom) tomatoes (rinsed)

1 chilled rotisserie chicken plain or flavored

2 T white balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or avocado) oil

½ t. dried Italian Seasoning

¼ t pepper

½ cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese

Slice basil into thin strips; set aside. Chop parsley coarsely and shallot finely. Cut tomatoes into ¼ inch thick slices

Remove meat of chicken from bones (discard skin and bones). Chop chicken coarsely (wash hands); measure 2 cups (reserve remaining chicken for another use.)

Prepare dressing by combining in medium bowl, vinegar, oil, Italian Seasoning, pepper, parsley and shallots; whisk until well blended.

Arrange salad on serving plates, alternating tomato slices, chicken, basil strips, and crumbled cheese. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Basil and Tomato Pasta Salad

8 oz. dry rotini or penne pasta

6 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 –inch pieces

1/3 cup olive oil

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

½ t salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ t. dry mustard

¼ t. ground black pepper

3 medium tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (about 1 pound)

¾ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (3 ounces)

½ cup sliced pitted ripe olives

1/3 cup finely shredded fresh basil

Shaved Parmesan cheese

Cook Pasta according to package directions, adding green beans the last five minutes of cooking; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

In a screw top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, mustard, and pepper.

In a very large bowl toss together the pasta mixture, dressing, tomatoes, shredded cheese and olives. Cover and child for 4 to 24 hours. Add basil and toss gently before serving.

Top with shaved Parmesan Cheese, if desired

makes 12-16 side-dish servings.

Chicken Divan

I love a good Chicken Divan casserole, but some of the folks at my house don’t like the broccoli, so I took this recipe and prepared it leaving the broccoli out. We had it on the steamed on the side drizzled with olive oil and minced garlic.

I boiled some chicken tenders, chopped them up and set them aside. I also prepared 4-6 cups of rice and set that aside as well.

To make the sauce I melted ¼ cup butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat until melted. I stirred in ¼ cup all purpose flour and 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg. Stir constantly until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.

I added 1 ½ cups chicken stock and 2 T. of white wine heating the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. I turned off the heat and added ½ cup to 1 cup shredded swiss cheese. In a chilled bowl I whipped ½ cup heavy cream until stiff. I then folded the cheese mixture into the whipped cream and stirred until fully mixed.

Add the chicken pieces and broccoli (optional) to the cheese sauce.

Serve the sauce over cooked rice.

Variation: Layer cooked rice in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole. Spread chicken, broccoli and cheese sauce over rice and top with additional shredded cheese. Bake until bubbly at 350.
Serves 6

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chicken Dijon

Melt 1 stick butter/margarine in sauté pan. Saute 4 boneless skinless chicken breast that have have been prepared with garlic powder, pepper and paprika till done.

Remove chicken, set aside

Add 1 cup Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing, 1/3 cup Dijon style mustard, and 1/3 cup dry white wine to the skillet and heat up.

Cook 1 pkg fettucine noodles, according to directions

Serve chicken over noodles topped with sauce.

HashBrown Omelette

4 slices turkey bacon or bacon

2 tsp. cooking oil

2 cups refrigerated shredded hash brown potatos (about ½ of a 20 oz package)

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green sweet pepper

4 eggs

¼ cup milk

½ tsp salt

Dash black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Crumble bacon, set aside.

Heat oil in skillet . Combine potatos, onion, and sweet pepper; pat into skillet. Cook, uncovered , over low heat about 7 minutes or until crisp and brown, turning once.

In a small bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt and black pepper; pour over potato mixture. Top with cheese and bacon. Cook, covered, over low heat for 5-7 minutes or until egg mixture is set.
Loosen omelet from skillet; fold in half. Turn out of skillet onto a serving plate. To serve, cut into wedges.

4 servings

****if using bacon, omit cooking oil and use bacon drippings.

Blueberry Crunch

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple

3 cups blueberries

¾ cup sugar

1 box yellow cake mix (plain)

1 cup nuts

1 stick butter

Pour pineapple in a 9 x 13 ungreased pan. Pour blueberries on pineapple. Sprinkle sugar on blueberries. Sprinkle entire box of dry cake mix over sugar. Spread nuts on top. Put pats of butter all over the top.

Bake and enjoy!

Meat Marinade

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Mix together and pour over meat. Marinade for at least two hours.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Brown Butter Green Beans

3 Tablespoons Butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

½ small sweet onion, sliced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cracked pepper

Microwave butter in a 2-cup glass measuring cup at HIGH 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until butter is brown. Remove from microwave, and immediately add minced garlic.

Place green beans, onion, and 3 Tablespoons water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, folding back a small edge to allow steam to escape.

Microwave at HIGH 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender; Drain. Toss together hot beans and sliced onion, brown butter mixture, and salt; sprinkle with cracked pepper.

This recipe is taken from the August, 2007 Southern Living magazine and states browning butter is a French technique that gives butter a rich and nutty flavor.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 ¼ cup granulated sugar

6 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 bars (1.5 ounce) Godiva Dark Chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 12 cup Bundt cake pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium to high speed until blended.

Gradually add the sugar, beating on medium speed 15 minutes or till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating on low to medium speed for one minute after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Gradually add flour mixture beating on low speed until just combined.

Spread half of the batter in prepared pan. Pour melted chocolate on top and pull knife through batter to marble it. Top with remaining batter.

Bake 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Invert on wire rack and cool completely.

While cake is cooling make the Chocolate Glaze….recipe seen below:

Chocolate Glaze for Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

½ Tablespoon unsalted butter

3 bars (1.5 ounce) Godiva Chocolate bar, coarsely chopped

Heat cream, corn syrup, and butter in small saucepan over medium heat to a gentle boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir gently until smooth. Cool the glaze until it starts to thicken slightly, stirring gently.
Place cake on serving plate. Drizzle with chocolate glaze.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roasted Pork Loin

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

2 pounds boneless pork loin roast

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup white wine

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Crush garlic with rosemary, salt and pepper, making a paste. Pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and press the garlic paste into the openings. Rub the meat with the remaining garlic mixture and olive oil.

Place pork loin into oven for 2 hours, turning and basting with pan liquids. After 2hours remove roast to platter. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Serve with pan juices.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Warm Southwest Vegetable Dip

1 can (14 oz) diced tomatos, drained

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen corn

¾ cup diced green pepper

1 small jalpeno, seeded and chopped

1 small garlic clove, pressed

1 tsp tex-mex seasoning

Blue and yellow corn chips

3 oz cheddar cheese, grated

2 T. fresh chopped cilantro

Place drained tomatos, corn, diced green pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic and seasoning mix in a bowl. Mix well. Crust 8 corn tortilla chips distribute in bottom of mini-baker. Spoon vegetable mixture eveningly over the crunbs
Sprinkle cheese over top of vegetable mixture. Place in microwave. Microwave on high 5-7 minutes till cheese is melted. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over cheese. Serve dip with remaining tortilla chips.

This is a Pampered Chef recipe.....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day-2010

We honor and remember today.....

The enough misery stamps before a star bankrupt.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Watergate Salad

1 package pistachio pudding mix

1 large can crushed pineapple, partly drained

2 cups small marshmallows

1 cup chopped nuts

1 large cool whip

Combine. Chill 2 hours before serving.

Snappy Cheese Wafers

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup butter, soft

¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper

½ teaspoon dry mustard

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup self-rising flour

2 cup crisp rice cereal

Combine cheese and margarine. Cream till smooth using an electric mixer. Add pepper, mustard, and flour; mix well, stir in rice cereal

Form dough into small balls.

Flatten with fork to make wafers. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet

Bake at 300 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hot Chicken Salad

4-6 cups cooked/cubed chicken

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup chopped celery

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cheese nip crackers, crushed

3 cans cream of chicken soup

4 Tablespoons grated onion

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

1 large can mushrooms, chopped

Worcestershire Sauce…..dash

Mix very well and pour into lightly greased casserole. Bake about 45 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Russian Tea....Two Versions

Growing up I remember my mother making this version of Russian Tea.....all of her friends made it as well....usually around Christmas.

Combine all ingredients….

½ cup instant tea

2 cups Tang

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon clover

2 packages lemonade or lemon koolaide mix

Store in an airtight container. To make 1 mug use 1-2 Tablespoons and pour boiling water over it....stir.

This second recipe was recently given to me by a friend my sister and I grew up with. This is a brewed receipe....

4 quarts tea with 4 sticks cinnamon and whole cloves

Add 1/3 can frozen lemonade concentrate

1/3 can frozen organge juice concentrate

2 small cans pineapple juice

Simmer. Serve.....

Nanny Blanton's Fudge

If you want creamy fudge.....then this ISN'T it. If not cooked just right it's very cyrstalized and grainy, but my sister and I made this recipe over and over growing up mainly because it was our grandmother's recipe. It was special to my sister because she had fond memories of Nanny Blanton, and it was special to me because I had none.....she passed away when I was six months old.

3 cups sugar

1 cup milk

3-4 T. cocoa

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix and boil 15 minutes. Add 1 T. vanilla and ½ cup peanut butter. Beat till creamy – pour onto buttered dish or pan. Cut into pieces after it has cooled a bit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless: Cycles Gladiator

Cycles Gadiator is the wine with the interesting label. We’ve tried the Cabernet Sauvignon a couple of times, and we like it.

It’s amazing to me the state of Alabama as banned Cycles Gladiator stating that the label is pornographic……see the link here.

The label is actually taken from a poster created in 1895 by G. Massias that celebrates the Golden Age of Cycling that reached its pinnacle in the same year.

The website for the winery can be found here

Other bloggers are participating in Wordless Wednesday. You can find them here
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