Saturday, May 31, 2008

Walnut Bread

Walnut Bread
The Food Editor of the San Diego Union Tribune had an entertaining article this week on learning to economize in a time of increased costs of living. For many of us who have been full-time homemakers and have enjoyed cooking have followed many of her "cost cutting measures" routinely but not intended as cost cutting. These choices were made mainly as healthy benefits.
***
This recipe was published this week with the statement that she went to the store and her favorite loaf of walnut bread was $6.00 so it was time to pull out the bread machine because she could make it for 69 cents. (The cost of her nuts exceeds that so I am not to sure about her math.)
***
I am on my third bread machine which has been semi retired since moving to California. My husband enjoys the artisan breads available which offer types unavailable in many locations. Some of his favorites are the sourdough baguette, Asagio cheese bread, Olive bread, rosemary bread, many varieties of grain breads and foccia. Along with the taste of wonderful homemade bread, making your own bread offers the simple fact that you know what ingredients are in the bread you eat.
***
Walnut Bread (in 7 minutes active time)
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups, plus 1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Cooking oil spray
Extra flour for forming loaves.
***
Directions:
Place yeast flour, water olive oil, salt sugar, and walnuts into bread machine in order listed. Choose dough setting (or the setting which does not bake the bread.) Turn on the machine.
***
Spray a loaf pan or baking sheet with cooking oil spray and set aside. When dough cycle ends, sprinkle a small amount of flour on a clean counter. Punch the dough a couple of times to let the air escape, and place dough on floured surface, turning lightly to coat surface. Pull and stretch the dough into an oblong loaf shape. Cut oblong in half, and tap cut ends in flour. Pull each half into baguette shape (or form into two round loaves. Let loaves rise uncovered, at room temperature for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they reach the desired size.
***
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a kitchen scissors, snip three slashes into top of each loaf. Place the loaves in the hot oven and spray with a little water on sides of oven. Bake uncovered until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, about 25 to 35 minutes. Spray the oven again after 10 minutes if desired. If not eating the bread immediately, remove it form the pan, preferably to a wire rack.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hamburger Soup

Hamburger Soup
I was humored by an article which appeared in the San Diego Tribune Food Section which included the recipe for this soup. The notation was that plenty of parents and grandparents remember ways they penny-pinched in tough times with frugal dinners like this Hamburger Soup. I hope none of our children read this posting and get the idea that the soup they so enjoyed as a comfort food was a penny-pinching dish and was served because of tough times. It amazes me the difference in meal preparation of forty years ago and today when most foods are prepared from a box, mix, or a combination of both, or with a telephone number for the delivery of their dinner or a drive thru for the pick-up. Forty years ago a convenience food was left-overs.
***
Ingredients: 
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 
1 large onion, diced, 
 1 green bell pepper, diced, 
 2 stalks celery, diced, 
 1 garlic clove, minced, 
 1 (28 ounce can) diced tomatoes, 
 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce, 
 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, 
 1 cup grated or chopped green cabbage, 
 1 tablespoon chili powder, 
 2 handfuls raw macaroni, 
 5 cups water, 
 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil,
Salt, to taste.
***
Directions:
Brown meat in skillet, discard fat. In a large pot, saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic in oil. Add meat tomatoes and tomato sauce, beans, cabbage, chili powder, macaroni and water to pot and combine. Simmer for 45 minutes and salt to taste.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spring Rice Salad With Lemon-Dill Dressing

Spring Rice Salad With Lemon-Dill Dressing
Ingredients:
1 cup long-grain white rice or basmati rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into slices 1/4
inch thick
1/2 pound sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges for garnish
Fresh dill sprigs for garnish
***
Directions:
If using basmati rice, rinse well and drain.
In a heavy saucepan bring the vegetable stock or water to a boil and add salt. Slowly add the rice, reduce the heat to low and cover, and cook, without stirring for 20 minutes, do not remove the cover. After 20 minutes, uncover to see if the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. If not re-cover and and cook a few minutes longer until the rice is done. Remove from the heat, fluff the grains with a fork, and transfer to a bowl to cool.
***
Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add salt to a taste, the fennel, the peas, and blanch for two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and let cool. Add the asparagus to the same water and simmer just until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and let cool with other vegetables.
***
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, dill, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooled rice and vegetables and toss together.
***
Place the salad in a bowl or on a platter and garnish with lemon wedges and dill sprigs. Serves 6 to 8
***
TIP* This salad is versatile as you can substitute green beans, broccoli, zucchini, or even fresh peas if any of the vegetables are not available at your market.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Madeleines

Guest contributor: Barbara Myers, our youngest daughter.
MADELEINES
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for brushing molds
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
Confectioners sugar for dusting


Special equipment:
3 madeleine pans, each with 12 (1/8-cup) molds
***

Directions: Set oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Brush molds with some melted butter.
***

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and foamy, about 30 seconds with a standing mixer or 1 minute with a handheld, then beat in vanilla. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating constantly at high speed, and continue to beat until mixture is tripled in volume, about 3 minutes with standing mixer or 5 minutes with handheld. Sift flour mixture in 3 or 4 batches over egg, folding in each batch until just combined. Then fold in zest and 3/4 cup melted butter. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into each mold (they will be about two-thirds full) and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven (2 pans will fit on 1 rack), switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden around edges and a tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes total. Invert madeleines onto a rack and dust scalloped sides with confectioners sugar.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Alfred Dunner, designer of the brass plaque honoring all who served our country. "We sleep safe in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm". George Orwell.

Milano Monday

click on photo to enhance
A Spire To Inspire
The Duomo (Cathedral) of Milano, Italy

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden of Eden Sauce

Garden of Eden Sauce
I was paging through the latest edition of Cooks Country Magazine. This recipe was a Grand Prize Winner of the pasta sauce contest. As I considered the ingredients I thought to myself that we have an abundance of the ingredients during the summer months as well as all year long but nothing is better than a tomato fresh fresh from the vine. On a hot day what could be easier than a no cook pasta sauce. This recipe is enough for one pound of pasta.
***
Ingredients:
2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in 1/2" chunks
2 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
***
Directions:
Combine tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, cheese, scallions, basil, and salt in large bowl. Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, cumin, and oregano in a small bowl. Pour oil mixture over tomato mixture and toss to coat. Cover and let stand for one hour at room temperature.
***
Toss tomato mixture with cooked pasta and reserved pasta cooking water, if needed. (use penne, farfalle, or campanelle pasta)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spiced Blueberry Pie

Spiced Blueberry Pie
Ingredients:
Pastry
2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 to 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons very cold butter, cut into small pieces
7 Tablespoons very cold shortening, cut into pieces
Fruit Filling
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 pints fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
***
Directions:
Mix 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 Tablespoon sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Drop in 7 Tablespoons butter and the shortening. Cut the shortening and butter into the flour mixture until it resembles corn meal with some pea size pieces.
***
Using a fork quickly stir in 1/2 cup very cold water. Turn chunks of dough and crumbs onto a clean surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together, 5 or 10 times. Divide dough into halves and pat each half into a 6 inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate and chill 15 minutes or up to overnight.
***
Put an oven rack at the lowest rung. Preheat oven to 375. Unwrap one disk of dough and put on a floured surface. Roll into a 1 inch circle, (about 1/8 inch thick), turning 90 degrees after each pass with a rolling pin to keep it from sticking. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish, letting the dough fall into place. (If you push or stretch the dough into place, it will shrink while baking. Trim dough to 1/4 inch past rim of pie dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill for 15 minutes.
***
While crust chills, mix remaining flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, tapioca, remaining salt, the cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and cloves in a bowl. Add blueberries and lemon juice; toss. Taste and add more granulated sugar if you like, (up to 1/4 cup) Pour berry mixture into crust and dot with remaining butter.
***
Weave a lattice crust on top of pie. Lay five strips vertically spacing evenly. Take the top of every other strip and fold it back half way. Lay a strip horizontally across the center of pie, next to folds of vertically strips. Fold back vertical strips that were left flat with last weave placing it above the first strip. Repeat alternating strip to complete lattice top of pie.
***
Fold bottom crust edge up over top crust and crimp edges together. Bake until crust is browned and filling is bubbling in the center, 60 to 75 minutes. Cover edges with strips of foil browning too quickly. Let cool until bottom of pie is room temperature.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Morels with Scallops and Asparagus

Last week I received an email from Marxfoods.com soliciting a mushroom recipe for their contest. The winner received 2 pounds of fresh morel mushrooms. Obviously I was not the winner but this is the winning recipe.
Morels with Scallops and Asparagus
Submitted by Albert Casciero
Ingredients:
8 large fresh Scallops
36 Morels, depending on their size
12 Asparagus spears
1 teaspoon diced shallot
6 oz. heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper
***
Directions:
Brush clean the morels, slice them length wise or leave whole depending on size.Clean the asparagus, peeling the lower part is desired.Dust the scallops lightly with flour. Steam or boil the asparagus to “al dente” consistency. You may wish to sauté them slightly in butter before serving On a sautéing pan, melt the butter, put in the shallot and sauté for about 1 min. Add the morels and toss to coat them well with butter, (depending on the freshness of the mushroom, you may want to add some more butter, now or at the end, to have sufficient sauce for the asparagus).Add the scallops and sauté about a minute on each side. (Make sure not to overcook them). Then add the cream, cover the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, turning the scallops once. Watch carefully not to overcook the scallops and if necessary add more cream and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a hot plate, napping the asparagus with sauce.
TIP* I soak morels in a salt water solution for about one hour to kill any insects that might remain in the morels rather than brushing the delicate morels. They are Spring’s flavors at its best. Enjoy it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blondies With Chocolate Chips

Dot's Blondies With Chocolate Chips
Beverly Mills, a writer for the San Diego Tribune, is sharing her mother's "secret weapon" for all occasions. Need a dessert for a pot-luck or picnic? Beverly says she spends the better part of an evening explaining how she makes the moist, chewy, buttery morsels. Beverly says it is easy and you don't even need a mixer. Just stir everything together and stick it in the oven!
***
Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 pound firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans *optional
***
Directions:
Preheat ovn to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 12 inch baking pan well with butter. Set the pan aside.
Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl covered with a paper towel. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the brown sugar. Stir well. Add the baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract, stirring until fully incorporated.
***
Crack the eggs in a small bowl, and beat with a fork or whisk. Add the eggs to the batter and stir with a spoon until they are completely incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts if using.
***
Spread the batter in a 9 x 12 pan which has been greased with additional butter. The batter will be stiff and sticky. Just spread to the edges with the back of the spoon, but don't worry as the batter spreads as it bakes.
***
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the top begins to get golden brown and the sides pull away from the sides of the pan, Do not overbake. Cool for at least 20 minutes and cut into squares and store in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap. These bars freeze well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mussels Milano

Mussels Milano
A favorite dish when we visit Milano is mussels. Our daughter Mary says the recipe is a little labor intensive but we all agree it is well worth the effort.

Directions:
Scrub and de-beard the mussel shells. Place in a large pot with 1 cup water and 1 cup dry white wine. I prefer sauvignon blanc when I cook with seafood. Bring to a boil and watch the pot. Don't overcook When the shells open, remove from heat and drain.
***
While the mussels are cooling prepare a bread crumb mixture with fine ground bread crumbs, add olive oil and finely chopped flat leaf parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to moisten the bread crumbs and mix all ingredients.
***
When the shells are cooled, break shells at hinge and remove top shell. Leave mussel intact in shell. Place bread crumb mixture on mussel shells packing it down slightly.  If a shell does not open, discard it.
***
Place in oven at 350 and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until top is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Milano Monday

click on photo to enhance
The centerpiece of Milano, Italy is the cathedral dedicated to Maria Nascente (The Blessed Virgin) which took over 500 year to complete. The cathedral which is third largest to St. Peters in the Vatican, and Seville cathedral, is topped with 135 spires, 3159 statues of which 2245 are on the outside besides the 96 giants on the spouts and 3600 scenes and figures that gleam on the stained glass windows. An elevator takes visitors to the roof top for a view of the architecture, the city, and the Alps to the north which are visible on many days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Milano Torte

Anna with her prized confection Meet Juanita
Anna emailed Grandma that she would like her to bring some marshmallows on her recent visit to Italy. Marshmallows are not an item available in Europe. Juanita is the "domestica" who assists our daughter with managing the household. Juanita helped Anna bake the cake and Anna decorated the cake with ... marshmallows. This is a favorite cake when we visit. I call it the Milano Torte.
***
Ingredients:
5 eggs,
9 Tablespoons sugar
8 Tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
11 ounces dark sweet chocolate
8 Tablespoons water (or coffee)
***
Directions:
Beat egg whites and gradually add 5 Tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff. Grind nuts and mix with 4 Tablespoons sugar. Melt chocolate in 4 tablespoons water and cooled. Mix egg yolks with chocolate stirring until well blended. Gently fold ground nut-sugar mixture in beaten egg whites in four additions. Mix remaining ingredients being careful not to overbeat mixture. Prepare a cake pan with a loose bottom. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Remove, turn out and cool. Cake will fall when cool. Frost if you wish.
Tip: Toast the hazelnuts at 300 for 8-10 minutes until skins blister. Remove from Oven and place in a cotton towel to finish steaming. When cool twist towel to make a pouch and rub nuts together to remove skins. Not all skins can be removed. This will intensify the flavor of the nuts.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Grilled Potato Salad

Grilled Potato Salad
Ingredients:
2 lbs. new red or white potatoes, unpeeled
Vegetable oil for brushing
5 slices lean bacon
***
Mustard Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons chopped dill pickle
salt and freshly ground pepper
***
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley (optional)
***
Directions:
Parboil the potatoes just so they can be pierced with the point of a knife but not completely tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain, pat dry, Brush the potatoes with oil. Place on a grill over the hottest part of the fire, turning once or twice until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
***
Chop the bacon into small bite size pieces and cook until crisp. Drain on paper towels to remove any excess fat.
***
Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board, let cool just until they can be handled, and then slice into chunks discarding any loose skin.
***
To make the mustard vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, pickle, and salt and pepper to taste.
***
In a large serving bowl, toss the warm potatoes, bell pepper, and onion with the vinaigrette until all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Let stand for up to 30 minutes to blend flavors. Add the bacon to the salad and mix it into the salad. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Vegetables
Summer time with the abundance of fresh vegetables and the opportunity to grill make dinner preparation such a breeze! This is a Williams and Sonoma recipe which is a favorite. I hope it will become your favorite.
Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 Tablespoons for brushing
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 eggplant( 1-1/4 lb.) trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/2" thick slices
2 zucchini trimmed and thickly sliced lengthwise
2 red or yellow bell peppers
6 green onions, including the tops, trimmed
Sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, *optional
Directions:
Mince together the garlic and parsley. Transfer to a small bowl and add the 1/2 cup olive oil and the vinegar and mix well.
***
Oil the grilling rack. Brush the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using tongs lay the eggplant and zucchini slices, the peppers and the green onions over the hottest part of the coals or grill. Cook the eggplant and zucchini slices, turning once, until both sides have grill marks and the slices are tender, about six minutes total for the egg[plant and about 3 minutes total for the zucchini. Grill the green onions, turning as needed, until the skin is blackened and evenly blistered on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Grill the peppers, turning as needed, until the skin is blackened and evenly blistered on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
As the vegetables finish cooking, transfer the eggplant, zucchini, and onions to a platter. Place the peppers in a bag and fold over the top so they will steam. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove from bag and remove the skins and stems. Slit the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips. Add the peppers to the platter.
***
Drizzle the olive oil-parsley mixture evenly over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and if using the red pepper flakes. Serve at once.
***
TIP I grill my bell peppers first and then proceed with the remaining vegetables so everything is completed at about the same time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Slices

Fresh Mozzarella On Tomato With Fresh Basil
A dish we enjoy is sliced fresh mozzarella cheese on tomato slices drizzled with olive oil and chopped fresh basil or if not available just top wiith olive oil and basil pesto. If you have never tried fresh mozzarella cheese, it is a great source of calcium and protein. Looking for a new way to serve tomatoes this summer? It is quick and easy and the ingredients are so available.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Milano Monday Anna

Place Favors and Cards Made by Anna
The Garden Setting Salad and Vegetable Pasta Risotto and Tortellini Roasted Veal and Potates
Meringue Layer Cake
***
We Celebrate Anna's First Communion Day
To mark the first anniversary of blogging I would like to invite everyone to sit back, picture yourself at the 15Th century hunting lodge of the Duke Of Milan and you are seated in the empty chair at the table in the lower left of the photo. Dine With Donna.
***
To commemorate Anna's First Communion Day we are serving a dinner prepared by the most highly qualified Italian chefs. I will try to describe the dishes hoping to encourage salivating of imaginary tastes!
***
The table is set with beautiful china, silver, linens, wines from the region, and place favors made by Anna accompanied by place cards scripted by Anna. To begin your pleasure, a plate of antipasto and another plate with chunks of the freshest Parmesan cheese is placed on the table. Our salad is a plate of mixed greens with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar accompanied by a wonderful fresh pasta layered with artichoke and leeks and completed with a light cream sauce. Dinner rolls are warmed and crusty with such a soft interior. The next course is a creamy vegetable risotto and a porcini tortellini fresh from the kitchen. This is followed by a plate of fork tender veal roast and oven roasted potatoes. Dessert is a meringue layered cake with a cream middle layer and decorated with confetti. The centerpiece is Miss Anna wide eyed and smiles unending.
***
I am sorry I could not capture the exhilaration of Anna opening her gifts and seeing the smiles of being so appreciative of the moments. It had to be Anna's happiest day! I enjoyed having you present at the table. Thank you for being a guest!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Granddaughter Laura

Laura and Her Spring Fashion
Laura was so eager to help celebrate her sister's First Communion which is such a special time. I happened to notice another group of women commenting and looking at Laura and noticing her shoes. I took a look and the heel is a stem of a flower. Laura, Anna and Mary are photographed awaiting the arrival of Silvano who had to park the car.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Anna and Her First Communion Class

Anna
Anna (3rd From Left) and Her First Communion Class
The occasion for our trip to Milano was the First Communion celebration of our granddaughter Anna, Sunday May 11, 2008. It was such a special day to have the time all about Anna. It was the culmination of a two year preparation and Anna was thrilled. We all enjoyed sharing Anna's excitement.
The original cornerstone of this church, San Nazaro Maggoire is dated 386 A.D. and now is incorporated in the interior of the church's later additions. It is said to be the second oldest church in Milano.
My camera batteries failed and our daughter Barbara is sending me a CD of her photos and I will post more later this week.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dry Rubs and Marinades

Dry Rubs and Marinades
Spring is that wonderful time of the year that puts a little excitement back into meal preparation. Grills are dusted off and food preparation is for many a joint effort. Recently I had a question emailed to me about Dry-Rubs and Marinades. From my years of experience, reading, and classes, I will give you my opinion.
Marinades: Marinades were designed to not only flavor meat but also to tenderize a less tender cut. Usually when you see a recipe for a London Broil or Flank Steak, a recipe for a marinade will accompany. The acid in lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, or wine will break down the protein which is the tenderizing factor. Left in the marinade too long, the meat will tun grey and become mushy. Marinades can be used on tender cuts.
***
Dry Rubs: Dry rubs have recently gained popularity. Dry rubs consist of nothing more than spices and herbs used to infuse or enhance the flavor of meats. When using a dry rub you actually rub it into the meat. A word of caution; when using dry rubs on fish do not rub it on but sprinkle it on and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The friction of your hands can turn the flesh mushy. I will offer some dry rubs that I use.
***
All Purpose Herb Rub
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
***
In a small bowl, sir together the ingredients to mix well. Rub the mixture on all sides of the meat or poultry, rubbing well to cause some friction.
***
:-)
***
Dry Rub For Pork
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
***
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl stirring well to mix. Rub on all surfaces of meat rubbing well to create some friction.
***
:-)
***
Dry Rub For Poultry
1 Tablespoon ground ancho chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
***
In a small bowl mix ingredients together and mix well. Rub on all surfaces of the poultry rubbing well to create some friction.
***
:-)
***
Dry Rub For Beef
1 Tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1 Tablespoons cracked white peppercorns
1 Tablespoons green peppercorns
1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
***
In a small bowl mix ingredients well. Rub on all sides of beef rubbing well on all sides of beef to create some friction.
***
:-)
***
Dry Rub For Lamb
1 Tablespoon dried marjoram
1 Tablespoon dried summer savory
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried lavender
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon lightly crushed fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
***
In a small bowl mix all ingredients and stir to mix well. Rub on all sides rubbing well to create some friction.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Grilled Asparagus with Smoked Salmon and Tarragon Mayonnaise

Grilled Asparagus with Smoked Salmon and Tarragon Mayonnaise
If you have never grilled asparagus, my advice is try it! I also often roast mine at 400 degrees for seven minutes turning once or twice. Just give it a light toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and use a baking sheet with sides..
For The Mayonnaise:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
***
1 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 lemon cut into wedges
***

Place the mayonnaise in a bowl, add the tarragon, lemon juice, oil, salt and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

***

Break off any tough stem ends from the asparagus, then trim the ragged ends with a knife. Bring a frying pan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and parboil for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold running water until cool. and drain again.

***

When the grill is ready, place the asparagus directly on the grill rack or in a grill basket on the rack and grill, turning as needed, until lightly marked with grill lines and just tender, 2-3 minutes on each side.

***

To serve, make a bed of the salmon slices on four individual plates, dividing the salmon evenly. Arrange the grilled asparagus on top of the salmon along with some tarragon mayonnaise, again dividing evenly. garnish with lemon wedges.

***

If smoked salmon is not available, use thinly sliced prosciutto. It is a classic Italian partner for asparagus.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary Harold and Lois!

Happy 70Th Anniversary Harold and Lois
Meet my friends Harold and Lois who just celebrated their 70Th wedding anniversary. Lois and Harold are some of those timeless people. Harold continues to work as a accountant one day a week and Lois with her many talents keeps herself busy, busy, busy. Lois continues to take art lessons. We have been the recipients of her beautiful works of art. The top photo is a watercolor of the cupola of the bank that my husband worked and retired in 2002. The middle photo is a watercolor which graces our breakfast nook. I recently visited with Harold and Lois. She showed me the diachronic glass made into pendants that were completed in one of her art classes. Lois is an expert seamstress as well as designer. Harold and Lois are two living examples of how we all want to be.
Happy Anniversary to a wonderful and most enjoyable couple who are much loved!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Steak Fajitas

Cinqo De Mayo Favorites, Steak Fajitas
Pull out the grill and get ready for a fiesta.
***
To prepare the marinade, select a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the steak. Add the garlic, chile(s), lime juice, oil, chili powder, and cumin to the dish and mix well. Add the steak and turn to coat both sides. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to one hour. If refrigerated, remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
***
Remember acid breaks down protein. If left in a marinade too long, your meat will become grey and mushy.
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Marinade:
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
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1 large skirt or flank steak, 1 to 1 1/2 lbs.
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1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 large yellow pepper, quartered and seeded
6-8 green onions, trimmed including 4 inches of tender green tops
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12 flour tortillas, each 7-8 inches in diameter
Pico de gallo (tomato salsa)
Guacamole
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
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Directions:
Preheat grill and oil the grill rack.
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Remove the steak from the marinade and add the red and green peppers to the marinade. Stir to coat well.
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Place the meat over the hottest part of the heat. Place the vegetables at the edges of the heat where the heat is the least intense. Use a vegetable grilling basket if you have one.
Grill the meat and vegetables, turning once or twice, until the meat is nicely charred and medium-rare, and the vegetables are tender and lightly charred, 5 to 8 minutes total.
Let the meat rest for 5 minutes.
***
Meanwhile wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and heat on the grill about 2 minutes. Thinly slice the meat across the grain, then thinly slice the vegetables. Toss the vegetables with the meat and any accumulated juices. To serve the fajitas, heap the meat and vegetables on a platter. Serve the tortillas, pico de gallo sour cream and cheese in separate dishes. Encourage everyone to make their own fajita by wrapping the ingredients in the tortillas.
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If you can smell my food on the grill cooking, c'mon over!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Beverly's Red Velvet Almond Chocolate Layer Cake

Meet Beverly(left) and her husband Paul (second from right)
Beverly is one of those people with such an artistic and creative talent. Anything she does, she does well and it is a work of art! Beverly baked this cake for a friend's 80Th birthday whose children all live a distance away.
Beverly's Red Velvet Almond Chocolate Layer Cake
Ingredients:
1 18.25 ounce box Red Velvet cake mix
1/2 cup almond flavored liqueur
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Directions:
Prepare two 9" round cake pans. Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
***
In a large bowl combine cake mix, liqueur, water, oil, and eggs. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixture until smooth. Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.
Place one layer on a serving plate; spread frosting over top of cake. Top with almond flavored cheesecake spread, frosting over top of cake, Top with remaining cake layer, bottom side up over remaining cheesecake. Spread frosting over top layer and sides of cake. Garnish with candied almonds if desired.
Almond Flavored Cheesecake Layer
2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons almond flavored liqueur
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9" round cake pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease foil.
In a large bowl beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar beating until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream and liqueur. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake 45 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 1 hour.
***
Let cool completely on wire rack. Cover with foil and chill for four hours. Using edges of foil as handles remove cheesecake from pan. Gently remove foil from cheesecake.
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Almond Frosting
Beverly says this is a generous recipe
7 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk
Cook slowly until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cover with waxed paper. Cool thoroughly. May be placed in refrigerator.
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Cream 1 1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond flavoring
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Combine flour mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Beverly says DELICIOUS!