Friday, August 31, 2007

Flash Back Friday ..... A Tribute To Diana

Like most everyone else I remember where I was ten years ago when the news was shared that Diana had died from an auto accident in Paris. We were boating at Pelee Island, Canada and I was walking up the dock while Don was returning from his morning shower at the marina. I can hear his words, "I just heard that Princess Diana was killed last night in Paris in a car wreck".
Five years ago we visited Paris and London. We saw the exact spot where the fatal accident occurred and Kennsington Palace. Flowers were left at both sites and it most probably is a daily occurrence of admirers yet today.
Much can be written about Diana and it would tend to be slanted toward our opinion of her life as we perceived it rather than factual. I would prefer to say she may have been only a Princess but truly she was the Queen of Hearts. We all loved the human side of her that Buckingham Palace had never shown prior to her arrival at the palace. Her name Diana needs no further identification. We all know there was only one Diana. May she rest in peace.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Caramel Apple Cookies ..... Are you looking for a good cookie recipe for the lunch box or after school treat?

Caramel Apple Cookies
This is a recipe from Midwest Living magazine. This magazine has never let me down with a recipe that hasn't been rated delicious or a five star!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup apple juice or milk
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
1 large tart apple such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and coarsely shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons apple juice
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, baking soda, apple pie spice and salt. Beat until well combined scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg until well combined. Add 1/2 cup apple juice; beat on low speed until combined ( mixture will look curdled). Beat in as much of the flours as you can with the mixer; stir in any remaining flour. Fold in apple.
Drop by slightly rounded teaspoons on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake in 350 oven about 10 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Let stand two minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
In a small saucepan, heat and stir 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons butter and three Tablespoons apple juice over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Whisk in powdered sugar. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and immediately sprinkle with toasted pecans. If frosting begins to harden, stir in a very small amount of apple juice to make spreading consistency.

Wednesday .... The Day We Must Say Good-bye.

Wednesday August 29, 2007
Our daughter Mary and family had been spending a two week visit with us. Her husband had an earlier return due to his work. We somehow have become accustomed to this frenzy that precedes the departure.
Tuesday evening we had a dinner with daughter Anne and family. Anne was returning from a three day meeting and it gave everyone a chance to say their good-bye. Granddaughter Anna is so fond of her cousins that are her age. It was so fun to see again how seven and eight year old girls interact and laugh together. You just wish you could bottle this and save it. It takes so little to make them so happy and what great imaginations. Good-byes are even difficult at this age.
We returned home after dinner for the last minute (which lasts a few hours) packing of the suitcases. Mary seems to be brand loyal. Many of her favorite American brands cost triple the amount in Italy and with the great exchange rate of the euro at 1.367 to our dollar, Mary can't afford to not buy it!!! Because of her frequent flier classification with the airline she is allowed more weight with her luggage and we know she uses it.
Following about a two hour session of packing we loaded her rental car and our van with six of the largest size suitcases. We were all exhausted from a two week fun filled time. We all went to bed knowing the alarms would be ringing in less than six hours.
I awoke at 4:58 a.m. to find Mary in the family room doing some last minute work with her computer. The girls were called and amazingly both got out of bed on the first call. Breakfast was quick and we were off for Mary's morning fix of a Cappuccino and then to the airport.
I can still see them as they waved their last good-bye with a thrown kiss before walking into the airport terminal to board their flight. I always say a prayer for a safe flight.
We returned back home from our first trip to the airport to do some quick laundry remake the beds, clean up the house (some) and head back to the airport with daughter Anne. We boarded our noon flights and arrived back in Ohio after eleven o'clock p.m.
I might add that today an email arrived saying they were there safe and sound, tired but back in Milano.
Today I feel like I just need this day to slow down to my usual pace! Who said children keep you young?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Penna Pasta With Tomato-Basil Butter

Penne Pasta With Tomato-Basil Butter
Last evening for dinner our daughter Mary made a Pasta dish with a sauce that seemed to easy to be true. Mary continues to tell me that pasta dishes in Italy are made in 15 minutes or less. As her stay with us concludes, I think she has me convinced. I will give you the ingredients and you can adjust them according to your preferences as an Italian cook would do.
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves
about 4 to 6 basil leaves
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup butter
Penne Pasta
Place in food processor and process until butter is small "curd" shapes.
Cook penne pasta in salted boiling water according to directions, drain, toss with tomato-basil butter and serve!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pasta Trofie ..... This is my favorite pasta dish. Each time we visit with our daughter and family, Mary always serves this dish at least once!

Pasta Trofie
This dish is called trofie because that is the name of the pasta used. If the trofie pasta is not available, a pasta that will require about eleven minutes to cook will work also. The trofie pasta look like string-like egg pasta with an occasional flat or twisted spot. Like most pasta recipes, this is a quick dish with minimal preparation. I usually return from Italy with several bags of trofie pasta when I visit.
Fresh green beans, tipped and cut into 1" lengths
Potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2"
Pasta Trofie
Basil Pesto (recipe follows)
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add plenty of salt. Add all at once, the potatoes, beans, and the pasta. Your combined vegetables should equal about half of the finished pasta. When cooked drain pasta and vegetables. Add basil pesto and stir to coat. The amounts vary according to taste and also the size of your group.
Pesto: There are many commercial Pesto on the market. Many I have tried have mint or parsley used as fillers. None are as tasty as the pesto made fresh.
Place in a food processor:
Basil leaves
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Sea Salt (to taste)
Garlic clove, if you wish
Place approximately equal amounts of basil leaves and pine nuts in food processor. I will give a suggested amount of 1/2 cup of each. Add 3 tablespoons high quality olive oil, salt and garlic if you wish. Process until it is the consistency of a thin paste. It will keep for a few days in a jar in the refrigerator. It also is great on sliced tomatoes.
TIP: Never add salt to a pot of cold water. You will see small grey spot in the bottom of your pan which are pits. It will ruin your pans. Always remember to add salt to hot or boiling water.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Parpadelle Pasta With Eggplant

Parpadelle Pasta With Eggplant

This is a typical Italian pasta dish serving vegetables with the pasta. Many dishes do not have the tomato sauce that most Americans associate with "Italian" foods.


3/4 pound parpadelle pasta

1 cup vegetable stock

2 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 eggplant

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup buffalo mozzarella, chopped

4 teaspoons olive oil


Cut the eggplant (1/8" thin slices) and fry with a little olive oil in a non stick saucepan until nicely browned. Add the chopped garlic and paprika. Now add the tomatoes and leave to cook for a few minutes. Boil the pasta and remove from the heat just before al dente. Drain. Add to the sauce with the vegetable stock and leave on a low heat for a few minutes. Remove from the heat, add the chopped mozzarella and the oregano and toss quickly. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Cilentana Penne ..... Each region of Italy has a specialty. This recipe comes from the Cilemtana coastline in Campania.

Cilentana Penne
As I wrote earlier, many Americans think tomato sauce with oregano makes a recipe an "Italian dish". I also wrote you might be amazed at the many varieties of pasta and how they are served.
3/4 lb. penne pasta
1/2 cup potatoes, diced
1/4 lb. bacon, cut into strips
1/3 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, gently brown the chopped onion with the bacon and the tomatoes. When the pasta is ready, drain, add immediately to the sauce and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese. Serves 4

Friday, August 24, 2007

GAZPACHO ..... The wonderful chilled vegetable soup that is a treat for the hot summer days.

Today is Flash Back Friday. The recipe I offer today came from my husband's late Aunt Maryann. A family get together was always such fun because dinners were a real taste treat. The remainder of the day was spent playing cards and visiting. What a great memory!
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped with seeds removed
1 mild onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or more
2 10 1/2 cans consomme
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive or cooking oil
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
Directions: Chill at least 24 hours.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bonet ..... This recipe is an Italian Flan.

This week we are featuring the recipes from Italy. Our daughter Mary is very accomplished with the dishes of Northern Italy. This flan can be served plain or with a macaroon glace or glazed fruits.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup extra heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon amaretto
2 Tablespoons crushed almond biscuits
3 small eggs
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
Ground cinnamon
Lemon zest
Blend all of the ingredients and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins and cover with foil. Cook in a water bath for 45 minutes in a 325 oven. Remove and cool. Once the custards are cold, place them in the refrigerator for two hours before serving. Serves 4

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sweet Melon And Fresh Fig

Sweet Melon And Fresh Fig.
This dish always reminds me of my first visit to Milano to meet a new granddaughter and visit our daughter and son-in-law. Italians eat foods prepared with fresh ingredients. Daily shopping at the market is the norm. Our son-in-law who is an excellent cook tried to prepare many different dishes for my pleasure. For dessert one evening we had figs and cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto. What a treat!!! So naturally when I have that dish I always remember the trip to Italy I made to meet my new granddaughter Laura.
1 1/2 pounds good quality prosciutto
12 melon balls of honey dew
12 melon balls of cantaloupe
3 fresh figs quartered
Parsley-Basil Oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt and cracked black pepper
Mix the parsley-basil oil ingredients together and let stand at room temperature. Arrange the prosciutto and fruit on plate. Serve the salt and cracked pepper.
To eat, wrap the prosciutto around the fruit and eat the combination together.
You will never think of figs and melons again without thinking of this dish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tomato Based Pasta Sauce ..... Monday Evening Pasta ..... Mary's "Make it Quick" Recipe

Tomato Based Pasta Sauce  
Monday Evening Pasta
Daughter Mary never has a name for her pasta sauces but the taste buds are awakened and you know something this good should definitely have a written recipe to share. I will share the approximate amounts from my observations.
2 cups vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves
1 generous Tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 or 3 Tablespoons whipping cream
Parmesan cheese
Place in food processor the tomatoes, red pepper, garlic and olive oil, pulse to smooth. Place in a pan and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, cream and Parmesan cheese. Do not return to heat. Allow to set a few minutes for flavors to steep.
When cooking pasta. always add plenty of salt to boiling water before adding pasta cooking only to al dente. Place drained pasta in bowl, add sauce and toss to coat. Pass the Parmesan cheese for those wishing a little more on the pasta.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Artichoke Parmesan Crostini ..... Is Five O'Clock Happy Hour At Your House? Here is a healthy appetizer.

Artichoke Parmesan Crostini
If you need a low fat recipe for an appetizer, this recipe is quick, easy and healthy.

8 slices (1/4" thick) baguette
2 Tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 jar (6.5 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350. Make crostini: Brush baguette slices on both sides with a total of 1 Tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet, and bake turning over once, until golden 10 to 12 minutes. Cool.
Meanwhile make topping: Finely chop artichoke hearts, and combine with Parmesan and parsley, and remaining Tablespoon olive oil.
Divide evenly, spoon topping onto crostini, and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Serve with white wine.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Wonderful Weekend ..... Summer is for family reunions and great times together.

Our Family Reunion
Today I have decided to share the wonderful weekend we had with our four children, their spouses and of course the grandchildren. Friday afternoon following an afternoon at the ocean at Torrey Pines State Park, we drove over to a designated site in LaJolla. Our four children gave us an anniversary gift early allowing everyone to participate in the fun of watching the take off and the landing. The gift was a Hot Air Balloon ride. If you ever have the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride, my advice is to take advantage of it. The view is absolutely spectacular. Our pilot Mark pointed out the homes and the identity of the owners as well as many of the landmarks as we lifted over some of San Diego's most exclusive neighborhoods. Just drifting aloft with the breeze and an occasional "shot" of propane was such an exhilarating experience.
It was so interesting to see how the balloon is inflated which was approximately one-half hour of physical work with a crew of three people. Fans powered by small gasoline engines are used to inflate the balloon which took almost 1/2 hour. The crew of three later are also used as the crew in the "chase vehicle" once the balloon lands. They return the passengers back to the area where you originally boarded the vans to be driven to the launch site.
Following the hot air balloon ride we went to our favorite Haunt in LaJolla for dinner with the family. The children were served dinner first while the adults enjoyed some "adult time". The children then retreated to the beach where they sat in a circle on the sand and just had a fun "cousin time together". It is so great to see this relationship grow.
Saturday afternoon we gathered at the home of our daughter Anne and son-in-law Greg. We had our family photo session with neighbors Christine and Dennis as our photographers. We are truly amazed to see what changes two years has made with our grandchildren not to mention the adults. Our two fifteen year old granddaughters have become such young ladies. Both girls are now taller than grandma.
Daughter Mary was the featured Saturday dinner chef with her great Italian cuisine. Mary prepared Pasta Carbonara and another pasta with a tomato-roasted pepper sauce. Everyone oohed and aaahed with delight as they devoured some of the tastiest pasta ever. Of course this is routine for Mary to hear when she is our cook! Son-in-law Silvano carefully selected the steaks which were grilled and served with a salad. Son Tom who is our wine expert paired the wines for the courses of dinner. Many hands assisted in the kitchen with the prep-work and that is what makes for great camaraderie as well as "sharing the load".
This week I will try to share many of the dishes that Mary will prepare. I am sure you will be surprised what real Italian cooking really is. Most American think tomato sauce and oregano makes the dish Italian. Stay tuned!
We do the family talent shows or plays by the grandchildren which is our finale. The two oldest granddaughters acted as emcees. The older girls used to preform such clever acts as magicians, tricks with the cards, mind reading and that was so much fun! This year we had dancers and guitar players. It is always interesting to watch the grandchildren develop their self confidence and talents.
Today we send the families back home with much regrets that the weekend has come to an end. It is a rare occasion for us to have our entire family together and we do appreciate our Milano contingency making the effort to come to California and spend their vacation time with us. It was a wonderful weekend.
Remember to check back this week for great Italian cooking. Mary and their daughters will be with us until August 29.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

ZABAGLIONE ..... A Traditional Warm Italian Dessert and also used as a sauce with fruit and also cakes.

Our daughter and son-in-law and granddaughters from Milano arrived for a brief stay. They took a cruise to the islands of Hawaii prior to their visit. They came with the gift of a cookbook. I decided this traditional Italian dessert would be appropriate since they brought the recipes.
Lady Fingers
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 egg whites
Castor sugar for dusting
9 egg yolks
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup Marsala
1/2 cup white wine
Lady Fingers:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift the dry ingredients for the Lady Fingers together. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract together until thickened. Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the egg whites. Place the mixture into a piping bag or cookie press and pipe 3 to 4 inch long fingers onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until dry and light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Dust with Castor sugar and finish cooling.
Place the egg yolks and sugar over a double boiler for the Sabayon and whisk for 10 to 15 minutes until tripled in volume and thickened. Continue to whisk slowly adding the Marsala and white wine.
Serve the Sabayon warm in a footed sherbet with a lady finger. Garnish with fruit if desired. A slice of star fruit is a nice compliment.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cinnabon Rolls ..... This recipe is as close to the original Cinnabun recipe as you can get.

Cinnabon Rolls
It is Flashback Friday and a recipe that is a family favorite and always requested at a family get-together. It was shared by a friend from South Dakota several years ago.
1 package Vanilla pudding made according to directions using 1 1/2 cups milk instead of 2cups.
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
6 cups flour
1/2 cup soft butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large bowl prepare pudding according to directions. In another bowl combine water yeast and sugar. Stir until well mixed and set aside. Add butter, salt and eggs, mix well. Add yeast mixture and blend; combine pudding into mixture. Gradually add flour, knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Roll out on floured surface to a 34" wide x 21" high in size. (I apply a film of butter to my rolling pin and dust with flour.)
In a bowl mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together. Spread soft butter over surface, leaving an one inch margin top and bottom. Sprinkle surface with brown sugar mixture. Roll up very tightly. Cut at two inch intervals with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet 2" apart. Cover and let rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven when the rolls start to turn golden. Do not over bake. Frost warm with frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
Mix ingredients until smooth.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fudge Cookies For Ice Cream Sandwiches ..... Are you old enough to you remember the days of an "Eskimo Pie?"

Fudge Cookies For Ice Cream Sandwiches
The recipe today is being shared by a neighbor in San Diego. The suggestion was made of placing the dough on the cookie sheet and flattening it rather than baking it mounded
1/4 cup unsalted butter
12 ounces bitter sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a double boiler over hot water. Stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature.
Sift together flour and baking powder. Stir in salt. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, whip eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour mixture and let rest for 5 minutes.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter onto prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake until tops crack, about 10 minutes. The cookies will look set and no longer shiny on top. Let cool on baking sheets, then remove with spatula.
To assemble sandwiches: Place half of the cookies, bottom side up, on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper: Place a scoop of ice cream on each cookie. Top with a second cookie and gently press down. Serve immediately, or freeze until ready to serve.
Adapted from "A Passion for Ice Cream" by Emily Luchetti.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Turtle Bars ..... A quick "sweet treat" made with a moments notice!

Turtle Bars

Our weather has been hot and humid. This is a recipe that will satisfy every sweet tooth and not require heating up the kitchen or much time to prepare.

1 12 ounce package NILLA Wafers
3/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 10 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup pecan pieces, chopped
1 (12 1/4 ounce) jar caramel topping
Crush vanilla wafers into fine crumbs. Stir together vanilla wafer crumbs and butter; press into bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. 

Sprinkle with chocolate morsels and chopped pecans. 

Drizzle with caramel topping. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Chill 30 minutes. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Yield 4 Dozen.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quinoa Salad ..... This grain has a very high protein content and is sought for it health benefits.

Quinoa Salad
I have a neighbor who told me about this grain and how delicious it is. Then I searched for more information and learned that it is such a great source of protein, B vitamins and minerals and omega 3 oil. I was able to purchase the grain at Whole Foods. This salad also contains edamame which if you have never eaten them they are a type of soybean touted as a source of protein as well as used for natural estrogen replacement for women in mid life. Makes 1 serving
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup shelled edamame
1/8 cup sliced onion ( I use green onions)
1/8 cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
White Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
Cook quinoa (same way as oatmeal), cool and toss with red pepper, edamame, onion, and dried cranberries.
For white wine vinaigrette dressing, whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and sugar. Mix 2 Tablespoons dressing or more to taste into salad and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fruit Smoothie ..... This drink is a refreshing way to start any day.

Fruit Smoothie
This is such a delicious way to add calcium, potassium, or fiber to a diet. The recipe is so versatile and makes a nice breakfast drink. It is a nice way to use the fresh fruit in season.
Fruit juice( I use orange juice)
yogurt, any flavor
fresh fruit, any variety
a banana is a must
Place the juice in a blender and add your choice of ingredients. Blend until smooth. Yogurt makes the drink creamy and adds calcium and other benefits to the diet.
The amounts are calculated according to the number of servings. I use frozen fruit in the winter when fresh fruit is very expensive or very limited. If you use a banana, mango or fresh peach in your drink you will not need to add sugar to the fruit.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lumberjack Cookies ..... It is Flashback Friday to the days of a visit to Grandma and Grandpa Myers. The recipe made famous by my mother-in-law.

Lumberjack Cookies
My mother-in-law always had a batch of these cookies on hand for the grandchildren. When ever she made "goody packages" for the children, these cookies were included. Grandma used this recipe all year long. She could decorate these cookies for a season or serve them plain.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup dark molasses
2 eggs
4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs. unbeaten, and molasses. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Put 1/4 sugar in a bowl. Dip fingers in sugar and pinch off dough the size of a walnut. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes. Dough will keep in refrigerator.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mississippi Mud Pie ..... Serve dessert without heating up the house.

Mississippi Mud Pie
If you are short on time boxed pudding mix will work but the flavor of fresh ingredients without the preservatives makes this a great recipe.
25 chocolate wafer cookies (about half of a 9 oz. pkg.)
1/2 cup pecan halves plus more for garnish
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, grind wafers and pecans until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter, process until moistened. Transfer mix to pie dish; press into bottom and up sides (use the back of a spoon or the base of a dry ingredient measuring cup to help). Bake until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes, let cool.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. A few tablespoons at a time, whisk in milk, being sure to incorporate the cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
Over medium heat, whisking constantly, cook mixture until the first sputtering bubble forms. Reduce heat to low; continue to whisk constantly, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons cold butter.
Pour pudding into crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface (to prevent a skin from forming), chill at least 2 hours and up to one day. Just before serving, beat cream, remaining teaspoon sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread whipped topping cream over pudding and sprinkle with pecans.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baby Beet Salad with Feta, Walnuts & Arugula

Baby Beet Salad with Feta, Walnuts & Arugula
For forty years we lived near Celeryville, Ohio where the Dutch farmers grew vegetables in the muck land and shipped them all over the United States. As you drove through the area on the State Highway the aroma awakened the taste buds. How lucky we were to have access to the fresh picture perfect vegetables!
24 beets (2" across)
Salt to taste
3/4 cup walnut pieces
2 Tablespoons minced mint
2 Tablespoons minced chives
3 Tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil plus more to drizzle
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups arugula, loosely packed
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the beets until fork tender about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 and place the walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast until fragrant about 8 minutes.
Drain and let the beets cool. Remove skins from beets. Slightly "pinch" the beets and the skins slide off. Cut the beets in half lengthwise. Toss in the mint, chives and vinegar. Set aside until most of the moisture is absorbed, 5 minutes or more if you like. Toss in the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place the arugula in a round on a large plate. Mound the beets in the center and drizzle any extra olive oil and vinegar from the beets on the arugula. Season the arugula with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter the top with the feta and walnuts.
Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tomatoes In Spicy Yogurt Sauce

Tomatoes In Spicy Yogurt Sauce
The tomatoes are warmed not fully cooked in the sauce leaving their softly solid texture intact. Serve these alongside broiled, steamed, or grilled fish and be sure to serve plenty of rice to soak up the sauce. Capture the best of the tomatoes fresh from the garden!
8 ripe but firm tomatoes (about 2 lbs. total)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Cilantro sprigs, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile fill a bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes and set near the pot. Immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water for ten seconds each and then using a slotted spoon transfer them to the ice water. Drain tomatoes and pat dry. Core and peel the tomatoes and set aside.
In a large fry pan, heat oil over high heat. When hot add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and reduce heat to medium-high. Cover and cook until seeds start to pop, about 2 minutes. Remove cover and add butter. When butter is melted, add turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic, chiles and salt stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add yogurt and stir in one direction until smooth. Add tomatoes. Gently stir to coat with sauce. Cook until tomatoes are just warm, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro if you like and serve warm with plenty of sauce.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Spinach And Bacon-Stuffed Pork Loin With White Wine And Rosemary Cream Sauce

Spinach And Bacon Stuffed Pork Loin With White Wine Cream Sauce This pork roast is my all time favorite pork roast recipe for entertaining (only because it is too much for just two people). It does go together fast and easy. Just sit back and let the compliments roll!
6 slices bacon, diced
2 shallots, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-10 ounce package spinach, trimmed
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 to 4 pound single boneless pork loin
1/2 teasoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
White Wine and Rosemary Cream Sauce
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large frying pan over medium high heat, fry bacon until crisp. Drain off fat. Reduce heat to medium and add shallots and garlic. Saute for 1 minute or until translucent. Add wine and spinach and saute just until wilted. Transfer to bowl and let cool.
Meanwhile place pork with fat side up on a cutting board. Starting at right side and knife parallel with board, cut pork almost in half stopping about one-half inch to left side. *I find at this point it works best for me to roll the roast where the cut is vertical rather than horizontal and I can see the bottom edge that I do not want to cut through. Place the freshly cut sides down on the cutting board. Your roast now looks like two small "humps". Starting from the center cutting toward each outside edge but not all of the way through again, cut each half again stopping about one-half inch from that outside edge. You should be able to flip each cut toward the outside edge giving you one long piece of pork in four "segments" but all attached. If you need to even any thick spots of the roast, lay a piece of waxed paper over the meat and use a mallet, heavy pan or fry pan and pound the meat. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Spread cooled spinach mixture evenly over over cut side of pork, leaving about 1 inch at one side bare. Starting opposite bare edge, tightly roll up jelly-roll style and tie with kitchen string. Heat clean frying pan over high heat until hot heat until hot. Add roast fat side down, then sear on all sides. Place in roasting pan; set frying pan aside. Roast the pork, uncovered 50 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 155 to 160 degrees and a hint of pink remains in the pork. Place on a cutting board and tent with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
To make sauce, heat reserved frying pan over medium heat. Add any juices from roasting pan and bring to a boil. Add shallots and rosemary and saute f0r 2 minutes or until soft. Add wine and bring to a boil, stirring. Add cream and boil until slightly reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve slices of roast drizzled with sauce.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fresh Tomato Sauce For 1/2 Pound Spaghetti ..... It is so easy and also freezes well.

Fresh Tomato Sauce For Pasta
2 lbs. very ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil
About 1 teaspoon salt
10 basil leaves
Core and halve tomatoes. Remove seeds (either scoop them out with a spoon or hold in your hand and squeeze out the seeds) and cut the tomatoes into 1/2 dice. Set aside.
Thinly slice garlic. In a 10 to 12 inch frying pan over low heat, cook garlic in olive oil until it is soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt and increase heat to medium high. Cook until tomatoes give off their liquid and start to bubble. Reduce heat to medium-low or low, so the sauce gently simmers. Cook uncovered and undisturbed, until oil separates from the sauce and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop basil. When sauce is done, stir in basil and add salt to taste.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Black Beans With Lime ..... Hot or Cold, It is a Great Side Dish or Salad

Black Beans With Lime
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, white and green
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans black beans (19 ounces each)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup water
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add white part of scallions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add beans, chili powder and water. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the green parts of the scallions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Zucchini Cupcakes..... If you have zucchini in your garden, you need a variety of recipes!

Zucchini Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bar cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugars
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in nuts.
In another bowl combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not over mix). Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. Meanwhile make the Cream Cheese Frosting. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes.
In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat room temp butter and room temp cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla: beat until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be refrigerated up to one day. Yields 12 cupcakes and frosting.

A Cruise into the high seas!!!

My husband and I planned to cruise in our boat across Lake Erie to Canada on Sunday which was his birthday. We realized the strength of the wind as we left dock but we held hope that our 28' boat could handle the sea. We pulled into Kellys Island for lunch and thought if we spent a little time on the island the wind would settle down and the lake would be navigable. About four o'clock and yet at Kellys Island, we knew if we were going to make it to Leamington Canada we had better give it a try. We had another 27 miles to go. When the first big wave splashed water over the bow of the boat and into where we were seated we said, this is not going to work. We knew the water north of the American Islands would yet have a higher sea. We decided to go no further and pulled into the new State Marina on Middle Bass Island. We decided to spend a few days there. I will say Middle Bass Island is as remote as an island can get. If you go TAKE PLENTY OF READING MATERIAL and drinking water!