Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fruit Cookies

Fruit Cookies

I have a great recipe for fruitcake. The down side is it makes five pounds of fruitcake. The next negative is I am the only one who enjoys fruitcake. That leaves a large amount of fruitcake for me to eat. I saw Ina Garten make this recipe on her program today. This may be an alternative to my holiday fix with fruitcake.

Yield 60 cookies.




Snip off the hard stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medium bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Don't overmix! Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl. Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gorgonzola Walnut Crackers

Meli's Gorganzola Walnut Crackers

My friend Meli who lives in Germany and follows my blog has contributed a recipe for an appetizer. She suggests serving with white wine. I will try my best to translate the recipe from metric to our standard measurements.
Hi Donna, I gladly share the recipe with you.
You need
100 grams butter 1/4 cup
250 gr flour 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
2 eggs 2 eggs
1 egg yolk, milk 1 egg yolk thinned with milk
salt salt
pepper pepper
chili powder chili powder 150 grams of gorgonzola 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
50 grams of walnuts (crushed into little peaces) 2 tablespoons
You make a dough off of it (by hands is the best), part the dough into two balls and roll them (diameter 5 cm). 2 inches Put them into the fridge for about an hour. Then preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut dough rolls into slices of about 5 milimeters. 1/4 inch Put on tray and spread egg yolk and milk (mixed) on it. Bake until brown. The should still be a little soft on the inside. I hope this recipe works for you! :-) Love, Meli

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wild Pasta

This recipe is from a magazine that I acquired in Massachusetts last week. I thought it sounded like a recipe that would be handy when I am visiting at the homes of our children and preparing the meals. Pasta is such a universal dish satisfying most appetites.
Wild Pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups 1/4" thick julienne-sliced pepperoni
1 cup 1/4" thick julienne thick sliced zucchini
1 cup 1/4" thick julienne-sliced sweet red pepper
1 cup Romano cheese and
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated and mixed
2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 lb. Mafalda pasta (narrow lasagna)
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil; add a dash of salt to rapidly boiling water and add pasta; drain when semi al dente.
In a large skillet, add oil, onion, pepperoni, zucchini, peppers; saute until pepperoni gets crisp to touch, add basil, garlic and parsley (and any other seasoning, including black pepper, that you like); drain pasta, mix ingredients, including the grated cheese and serve hot.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mildly Curried Split Pea Soup

This recipe comes from a favorite Canadian site LCBO. The soup has a mild taste of the flavor of India. I have yet to experience a failure with any recipe from this site that I have tried. If split pea soup is a favorite of yours, I encourage you to give this recipe a try.
Mildly Curried Split Pea Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon mild Indian curry paste
1/2 teaspoon cracked fennel seeds
1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed
6 cups chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced parsnips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat vegetable oil in pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 4 minutes or until softened. Add ginger, garlic, curry paste and fennel seeds and saute one minute or until fragrant. Add split peas and saute another minute, then add stock and tumeric and bring to a boil. Simmer gently over low heat for 1 hour or until split peas are soft. Transfer soup to a blender (or use a stick blender) and process until smooth. Reheat when needed.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Toss carrots and parsnips with vegetable oil and garam masala and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized. Set aside.
Divide soup between 4 bowls and garnish with caramelized vegetables.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Whiskey Marinade

One of my blog followers lives in Germany. She was an au pere for our son and daughter-in-law in 1998. The family has kept in touch since that time. Today Meli is married and a mother. Her husband Leo enjoys cooking and often is in the kitchen with his wife. Yesterday Meli posted on facebook they were enjoying a Whiskey BBQ tonight. I asked if they would share the marinade recipe which I received this morning. Thank you Meli and I am sure any of the readers who use it will say thank you.
Leo's Whiskey Marinade
Lime slices and lime juice
3/8 cup whiskey (any brand)
1 tablespoon Tex-Mex spices
3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
Mix the ingredients and place the meat and marinade in a plastic bag. Do not allow to marinade several hours as the acid in the lime juice and vinegar tenderizes and can breakdown the protein into an undesirable texture.
Thank you Meli.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sweet & Sour Cole Slaw

A Meat Shop in San Diego known for its prime cuts of meat is Siesel's Meats. It was begun by a young man from Huron County in the Bismark area south of Bellevue Ohio. After completing his military obligation and having been stationed in San Diego, he decided to locate there and opened a meat market according to his sister. I had been in the shop a few years before we had occasion to meet his sister while visiting in my hometown. His sister asked if we knew of Siesel's Meats. She told us the history of how her brother opened the Meat Market. The brother has since retired and sold the meat market but the reputation and quality remains.
This is a recipe shared by Siesel's Meats.
Sweet And Sour Cole Slaw
1 head of green cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 bunch parsley, minced
Combine in a seperate bowl:
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
3/4 cup salad oil
1/2 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss and dress about 2 hours prior to serving. Toss again before service.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pork Chops In Mushroom Sauce

Pork Chops In Mushroom Sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large boneless pork chops
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 Pound mushrooms
1 small red pepper chopped
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Sprinkle thyme and pepper over pork chops.
2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork chops on both sides and remove to plate. Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook mushrooms and red pepper, stirring for about 8 minutes or until no liquid remains. Add sherry and cook, stirring for 1 minute or until evaporated.
3. Sprinkle with flour and stir until combined. Pour in stock and bring to boil.
4. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until beginning to thicken. Add browned pork chops and cook, turning once for about 8 minutes or until slight hint of pink remains in pork. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Serves 4

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Lowly Cucumber

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Asparagus With Red Wine And Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Today I am introducing the team which makes The Knotthole Bed and Breakfast such a unique experience. Husband Howard and wife Laurie each do what they do best incorporating their talents to make their guests feel so at home, pampered and well fed! From the minute you arrive at their home and receiving such a warm welcome, you truly are in awe of the setting and architecture. Gazing from the windows, Mother Nature has reserved the best display in each direction. Noticing the artistic touches of Howard added to the scape, one must sit and just absorb the harmony of man and nature. The interior of the home displays the melding of a collection of art. Paintings with Northwest depiction and ritual objects reminding of times past, beautifully adorn the walls. The home reveals the great talents of two wonderful people. Laurie has shared the five recipes which I have posted this week. I am hoping Laurie will choose to contribute again in the future as I respect her as one of the finest cooks anywhere.
1 lb. medium asparagus (approx. 36 spears)
1 T salt
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T red wine
2 T red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil (do not use a heavy extra virgin)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Bring 3 quarts water and 1 T salt to a boil. Prepare a large ice bath. Separate asparagus into 3 or 4 bunches and place each bunch in the boiling water. Use enough water so that it does not stop boiling when you add the asparagus. Cook until slightly crunchy – about 2 minutes if fine asparagus, 4 minutes for medium and 6 minutes for thick. When the spears are done, plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking but keep them bright green. When chilled, remove from ice and drain on a towel. Set aside until ready to serve
Just before serving, whisk together the mustard, red wine and red wine vinegar. Add ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Slowly add the oil, drop by drop at first, taking care to allow the oil and other liquids to emulsify.
Arrange spears on plates, spoon some vinaigrette across each plate and serve at once. Could also add shaved parmesan cheese.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Roasted Beet Salad With Beet Greens And Feta

The Knotthole Bed & Breakfast
Elk Visiting The Knotthole
The recipe posted today is another from Laurie of "The Knotthole Bed & Breakfast" in Easton Washington. Laurie is sharing this recipe as a favorite of hers. I have become very fond of roasted vegetables especially beets. The combination of beets and Feta cheese are a favorite of mine. At this time of year beets are at their peak of freshness and tenderness.



7 med large golden beets with greens

6 T extra virgin olive oil

2.5 T red wine vinegar

1 T minced garlic

2 T drained, chopped capers

¾ cup crumbled feta cheese

Wrap beets in foil and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes or so then peel while beets are still warm.

Wash greens and then transfer to a large pot of boiling water. Stir over high heat until just wilted, but still bright green (about 4 minutes). Drain greens; squeeze out excess moisture.

Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season with salt & pepper.

When greens are cool, chop them coarsely and toss with dressing.

When ready to serve, slice beets and arrange on plate. Spoon greens (with dressing) over beets and sprinkle with feta cheese.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu With White Wine/Cream Sauce

Laurie Preparing Another Wonderful Dish At
The Knotthole Bed and Breakfast

The Most Delicious And Satisfying 
Chicken Cordon Bleu
When you are a pampered guest at The Knotthole Bed & Breakfast, you will enjoy the finest food prepared by Laurie and assisted by her husband Howard. This couple has elevated a Bed and Breakfast to the level of five star hotels. Some differences are that at The Knotthole you have such a beautiful view atop a mountain with the freshest of air in a setting that expresses the creative and artistic minds of this couple. Be it the design of the home, its setting, the artistic appointments in the home, or the flair of making guests feel so welcomed, leaving The Knotthole makes you wish your stay could be extended.
Today Laurie is sharing her Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe. Hands down, it is the tastiest Chicken Cordon Bleu you have ever tasted.
Chicken Cordon Bleu With White Wine/Cream Sauce
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3-4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon paprika
3-4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
Pound chicken breasts - or do what Laurie does and simply cut them to be thin and flat and use cut up pieces for another dish. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon Dijon on each breast and then place the ham and Swiss cheese on top. Fold breast in half and secure the ham / cheese with tooth picks or Laurie's preference is kitchen twine.
Heat over to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove, heat the butter. Mix the flour and paprika together, coat the chicken with it, and cook the chicken in butter until browned on all sides. Remove chicken from pan and place in an ovenproof dish. Set aside. Add the wine and bouillon together and add to the hot pan, stirring the particles left in pan. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and then pour over chicken. Put chicken in oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
Don't forget to remove toothpicks or twine!
Thank you Laurie for allowing us to enjoy and recall a wonderful stay and meal at The Knotthole Bed and Breakfast!