Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fast-what day?

Today is Fastnacht Day in Pennsylvania. We also call it donut day. There's a bit of a controversy here this year as the local newspaper asked for healthier recipes for Fastnachts and the older women railed against it~a must read at mcall.com. Mcall.com has stated they are having technical problems getting today's edition up and running so I'll get back to you on it!

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1 this year. In Pa Dutch country, Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent, is known as "Fastnacht Day." The Pennsylvania Dutch celebrate Shrove Tuesday by eating yeast raised potato doughnuts, or "Fastnachts". The name "Fastnacht" is German for "Fast Night." In other words, the idea is to eat whatever you want today, before
the fast begins tomorrow!

These are traditionally cooked in lard, which many of the old-timers still do.

Makes about 20 to 24 Fastnachts, depending on size.
Printable Recipe

2 cups milk
1 cup mashed potatoes (no salt, milk, or butter added)
1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 stick margarine
1 packet rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
6-1/2 cups flour (divided, 2 cups + 4 1/2 cups)
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1can (3 pounds) Crisco® or similar vegetable shortening for frying

Scald the milk. In a large mixing bowl, combine the scalded milk with the mashed potatoes. Add 1/2 cup sugar plus the margarine. Mix with an electric mixer. If the mixture is still warm, cool to about room temperature before proceeding with next step. Dissolve the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in barely warm water. Add to the potato mixture and mix well. Add 2 cups flour and mix again. Cover with a towel and let rise for 25 minutes.

Add the salt and beaten egg to the mixture. Add 4-1/2 cups flour, stirring it into the mixture with a large spoon. Turn onto a well floured board and knead for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add a small amount of extra flour if necessary so the dough can be handled without sticking to your fingers. Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the greased bowl. Cover with a thin towel, and let rise in a warm, draft free place for about 2 hours or until it is at least double in size.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 3/4" thick. You can use a doughnut cutter to cut the dough or cut as typical Fastnachts - Cut the dough into 3" to 4" wide strips, then cut the strips into 3" to 4" pieces. To allow the center of Fastnacht to fry completely, cut a small slit in the center of each piece, using a sharp paring knife. Arrange the pieces of dough, about 1-1/2" to 2" apart, on large wax paper lined trays. Cover each tray with a thin towel. Place the trays in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough pieces have raised to about double in size.

Heat the shortening to 365º. Deep fry until both sides are golden brown, turning one time. Drain on white paper towels. Cool completely before serving. Store in a covered, airtight container.

This recipe can be doubled with no change in preparation directions.

To use this raised doughnut recipe, for glazed doughnuts: Beat together: 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 4 tablespoons margarine and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add enough milk to make a thin glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the slightly warm doughnuts or dip the doughnuts in the glaze.

For powdered doughnuts:
Shake slightly warm doughnuts in a bag with confectioners' sugar, or a combination of confectioners' sugar and cinnamon.

Throw Me Somethin', Mista!

The title of this post, should anyone need to know, is the proper, and most common Mardi Gras parade chant. This is the official Mardi Gras site, full of information and history. Very interesting if you have the time to look.

I've already thrown out a couple recipes suitable for Mardi Gras, Gumbo and Cajun BBQ Shrimp.

Here are a few more and a link to the recipe for the Mardi Gras classic~King Cake.

Jumping Joe's Jambalaya

1 pound chicken, de-boned and cut in 1" cubes
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 pound shrimp, cooked (21-25 count)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 medium onion, chopped
2 green pepper, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 cup okra, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups rice, cooked

Cut chicken and slice sausage. Chop onion and green pepper.
Put all in crock pot. Add remaining ingredients, except shrimp
and rice. Cook in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. Thirty
minutes before eating, add cooked shrimp and cooked rice, and
allow to heat. Can be cooked on high for 3-4 hours instead.

Smoked Andouille Sausage in Red Gravy

6 tb Unsalted butter
1/2 c Chopped green peppers
1 1/2 lb Andouille smoked sausage (2-inch pieces)
1 ts Minced garlic
8 ts Tomato sauce
3 c Onions
1/4 c Chopped parsley
6 1/2 c Pork or beef stock
1 c Chopped green onion tops
1 1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
3 ts Cooked rice
3/4 ts Salt
1/2 c Chopped celery

Melt butter in Dutch oven. Add sausage cover and cook without stirring about 7
minutes. Turn over and sprinkle 2 c. of onions on top. Cover and cook another 7
minutes. Should be dark brown sediment on pan bottom. Add 3/4 c. of stock and
scrape bottom. Add pepper and salt stirring scraping and turning. Cover and cook 2
minutes scraping once. Add celery green peppers and garlic. Cover and cook 3
minutes scraping once. Add tomato sauce and cook uncovered 5 minutes scrapping
occasionally. Add 1/2 c. onions. Cook 8 minutes until large puddles of oil have
broken out and tomato mixture is thick. Stir only if sticking. Add parsley and 1/2
c. of the green onions. Add 3-1/4 c. more stock and scrape. Cook 20 minutes until
liquid is thick dark red gravy. Stir occasionally. Stir in remaining stock and
onions. Bring to boil reduce heat and simmer stirring frequently about 14 minutes
until gravy is noticeably thicker but still juicy. Remove from heat and serve

What is a King Cake?

A king cake is a traditional Mardi-Gras treat, brightly decorated in the colors of
Rex: purple, green and gold. The cake, which is similar to a rich sweet bread or
coffee cake contains a special surprise-- a tiny baby doll contained within one of
the slices. Custom dictates that the "lucky" recipient who gets the piece with the
baby throws the next Mardi-Gras party (or bakes the next King Cake).

King Cake Recipe

Ready, Set...

I realize this is far too easy but, my 9 year old gave me her three favorite
ingredients today:


No amounts and she didn't specify what part of the turkey, ground or not etc. so
feel free to use whatever you want there.

OK, as usual, post your IDEA in the comments section. Email the recipe or detailed
instructions for your dish to irishones7 at juno dot com. PLEASE put Ready, Set,
Cook in the subject line and include your name or blog address for me to share.

Also, the three ingredients listed must be prominent in the dish you submit.

Happy cooking!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Mountains of Recipes!

My recipe collection grew exponentially this weekend. My mom dropped off boxes of recipes that she promised me and she is still going through a box at home that contains many of my
great-grandmother's hand-written recipes.

She sent over 3 boxes that have thousands of recipes in them. There were several books and cookbooklets (which I added to my list) and clippings and hand-written recipes galore. I am in HEAVEN. Some of them are so old that I will need to find a way to copy and preserve them, some are newer. It seems that mom didn't just clip recipes that interested her but clipped almost every recipe from every box and magazine she has ever had in her possession. The funniest part is that she had already weeded through all of these recipes before she passed them to me!

Some of the clippings are more interesting for the old ads on the back, neat stuff. I do need to clarify that not all of these were my mom's. There are recipes from my Aunt Marie, some in there already from Great-Grandma, some from Grandma, some from mom's neighbors and friends. So much food history it makes my head spin; in a good way ;O)

Well foodies, tomorrow is a three-fold food-fun day; Mardi Gras, Fastnacht Day and Ready, Set, Cook day! I have a lot of writing to do and one sick child (so far, crossing fingers here).

PLEASE tune in tomorrow for the fun~until then, thanks for being so patient with my lack of posting.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Word or Two on Fish

There's no denying it, fish is good for you. Most fish contain polyunsaturated fat, Omega 3 fatty acids, are low in cholesterol, low in sodium and the current USDA recommendation is to consume fish at least twice weekly.

That's all well and good if you know how to cook it
but what if you're a first-timer in the seafood arena?

Denser fish are easier to cook, in general. Fish like cod, halibut, salmon, tuna, and swordfish are all easy to handle and leave a little room for error. Steaming or poaching fish is not only the healthier choice but the easiest one.
Here are some guidelines for different types of preparation:

Steamed fish:
For a no-fat entree, a 1-inch-thick fillet of salmon can be set on a plate,
sprinkled with salt and pepper, then set on a rack inside a wok filled with a
shallow depth of boiling water, and steamed, COVERED, over high heat for 10
minutes. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the fish and serve.

Sauteed fish:
A 1-inch-thick fillet of halibut can be lowered into a small frying pan of hot
melted butter, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and fried for 5 minutes on both
sides over medium-high heat. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the fish and serve.

Baked fish:
A 1-inch-thick fillet of sea bass can be set in a buttered baking dish just large
enough to hold the fish, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and placed in a preheated
425-degree oven for 10 minutes. (TIP: fish bakes nicely between 400 and 425
degrees F. This is higher than chicken's baking temperature. The high temperature
cooks fish quickly without prolonging the time spent in heat.) Squeeze a lemon
wedge over the fish and serve.

Poached fish:
A 1 inch-thick fillet of salmon can be lowered into simmering water (about 2
inches deep) that contains aromatics like dill and bay leaf and simmered, turning
once if desired, for approximately 5-7 minutes per side.

Here is a link to HGTV about purchasing and cooking fish at home. And please follow this link before you buy fish, it's important information about the dangers of mercury in seafood.

On to the good part; RECIPES!

Fish Tacos
6 Soft Taco Size Flour Tortillas
1 pkg. (1 oz.) Chicken Taco Spices
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2-3 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
16 oz. Cod or Orange Roughy Fish Filet
sliced Cabbage

Lime Wedges, sliced Olives, Salsa,
chopped fresh Cilantro, shredded Cheese

combine 2 teaspoons chicken taco spices
with sour cream and enough milk to thin
to pouring consistency; set aside.

Seasoning paste:
combine remaining seasonings,
oil, and lime juice.
Brush seasoning paste over entire fish.
Grill or broil until fish begins to flake easily,
about 10 to 12 minutes.

Evenly divide fish among tortillas,
top with cabbage and sauce, fold,
and serve with lime wedges and garnishes.

Baked Cod with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Lemon
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh thyme or
1 t dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 lb cod, scrod, or halibut fillets
1 large tomato, blanched, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 med zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 C fish stock or chicken stock
1/2 C dry white wine
1 lemon, sliced paper thin
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 C fresh soft white bread crumbs
2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 350 'F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Arrange onion
slices in bottom of baking dish. Drizzle with half the oil.

Sprinkle with half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange fish in single layer over onions, cutting fillets as necessary to fit.
Layer tomatoes,then zucchini over the fish.

Pour in stock and wine. Sprinkle zucchini with remaining oil and thyme. Top with
lemon slices. Set aside.

In small skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toss
until lightly golden. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle lemon slices with bread-crumb mixture.

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes until fish is opaque and flakes in center when
tested with a fork.

Victoria, July '93

Roasted Salmon with Garlic Cream
4 whole garlic bulbs
3 T butter
1 c creme fraiche or sour cream
1 t stone-ground mustard
2 lb fresh salmon fillets

Remove papery outer shell from garlic, but leave bulbs intact and cloves
unpeeled. Place bulbs in a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Add
water to barely cover and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to
maintain a simmer and cook 40 minutes, adding more water as necessary to
keep heads barely covered. Remove from heat, cool, and peel. Cloves will be
very soft and easy to peel. Place cloves in a food processor with butter
and puree. Add creme fraiche and mustard and process until blended.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Cut salmon into 8-ounce fillets. Spread top surface of each fillet with
some of the garlic puree. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at
least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place fillets on a lightly buttered
baking sheet or in a buttered baking dish and roast until done to your
liking (7 to 10 minutes). Serve immediately.

Flounder With Parmesan Crust

6 flounder or sole fillets (1-1/2 pounds total), thawed if frozen
1/3 c plain low-fat yogurt
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 t prepared horseradish, drained

Preheat the broiler and prepare the broiler pan with
non-stick pan spray. Arrange the fish on the broiler pan.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, Parmesan, mustard,
lemon juice, and horseradish. Spread the mixture on both
sides of the fillets.

Broil about 8 inches from the heat, turning once, for
about 6 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Baked Catfish
4 catfish or ocean perch fillets (1 pound total),thawed if frozen
2 slices white bread, crumbled, or 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 T grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 t chopped fresh basil or oregano, or 1 tsp dried basil or oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, beaten, or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 c low-fat (1 percent) buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking pan
with non-stick cooking spray.

In a pie pan or shallow dish, mix the bread crumbs, cheese, basil or
oregano, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

In another pie pan or dish, combine the egg and buttermilk.

Dip each fish fillet first in the milk mixture, then in the
crumb mixture to coat both sides with crumbs.

Arrange the fillets in 1 layer in the baking pan. Bake
15 to 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Comic Relief While You Wait

If you type "Cooking with Anne" into a google or other web search, you will find that I am not at the top of the list. Sad. At any rate, this is ahead of me and rightfully so; Cooking With Anne, the cartoon.

I actually wrote to Mr. Bittner to tell him I thought the similarity in names was "comical" (no pun intended) and he was gracious enough to write back, he really is a nice guy. The cartoon is a sort of post-apocalyptic look at cooking. This link starts you at the end, hit the drop down box below and start at the beginning. Very different and definitely worth a look!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Computers Just Don't Like Me

Brand new computer in January. Power source bit the dust on Monday morning as I was trying to work on a request/post. I shouldn't have gotten a new power supply until next week but it miraculously made it here today! Go FedEx! Gateway is a good company. :o)

I'll be back soon, sorry we missed out on Ready Set Cook yesterday.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Potatoes Are Not The Enemy

Potatoes have gotten a bad rap lately. It's no wonder, with all the no-carb/lo-carb diets that are going on, the potato has been shunned. I urge you to take a second look. These little spuds are not so bad for you after all.

The potato story starts high in the Andes with the Inca Indians who were
the first to cultivate the tuber. Once the Spanish Conquistadors conquered
Peru in 1536 though, the potato took off for Europe and Sir Walter Raleigh was the first to introduce the potato to Ireland in 1589.

Potatoes eventually made their way back across the Atlantic to the Colonies in
1621 in cedar chests sent to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown by
the Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler. It took nearly a hundred years for the
first permanent potato fields to be cultivated in North America; 1719 in New

That is the VERY short history of the potato in America but, you get the idea.

Potatoes have been used for everything from currency to folk remedies and nowadays
you can find more than the usual white variety at almost any supermarket.

From www.oregonspuds.com :

Potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They have fewer calories than a grapefruit, more potassium than a banana and more usable iron than any other vegetable. They are also high in fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals
and contain no fat or cholesterol.

Potassium is a mineral that is in every cell in the body. Potassium has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. A deficiency in the mineral can make a person feel weak or fatigued.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes pollutants in the body, helps to prevent cell damage and produces the collagen which makes healthy cartilage, joints, skin and blood vessels.

Fiber benefits the digestive system and helps to increase the feeling of fullness between meals. A diet rich in fiber is helpful in relieving constipation and helps to prevent breast and colon cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Iron is a mineral that is essential for an energetic body, a sharp mind and a strong immune system. Iron helps blood and muscles supply oxygen to the body. A diet rich in iron can prevent anemia which can cause ulcers and stomach or colon cancer

When I was pregnant with my second child my one craving was baby red potatoes. No salt, no butter, no nothing; just boiled or steamed. They were so good and still are my favorite potato.

I'm not advocating hashbrowns for breakfast, vichyssoise for lunch and a baked potato for dinner (though wouldn't that be lovely?) but a potato dish or two a week won't hurt anyone. The best diet always has been and always will be, variety and moderation. Kind of like life.

Just in case you're drawing a blank~here are some potato recipes.

Niçoise Potato Salad
Printable Recipe

10 red bliss potatoes cooked and cubed
1c mayo
1t dried dill
1t onion powder
1 anchovy fillet-mashed
1c fresh green beans-cooked lightly
1 6oz can tuna-drained
2 hard boiled eggs-diced
1 tomato seeded and chopped
1/2 c black olives-pitted and sliced

Combine mayo, dill, onion powder, and anchovy. Mix well.
Toss with remaining ingredients and chill. Serve on
lettuce leaves if desired.

Cutuflin Glace - German Potatoes and Dumplings
Printable Recipe

Potatoes (quartered, Boil till firm)

One cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch of sugar
salt to taste
one egg
add water slowly til a firm dough forms

Roll dough on floured flat board. Slice in bite size
pieces, Let sit twenty minutes. Add to boiling potatoes.

Sour cream sauce:
1 stick butter
1 eight ounce tub sour cream
White pepper to taste

In sauce pan on very low heat melt butter, add
sour cream, and white pepper. When dumplings are firm
drain potatoes and dumplings.Pour sauce over and serve.


Potato LatkesPrintable Recipe
Yield: 8 servings

2 Eggs
3 c Grated, drained potatoes
4 T Grated onion
1 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
5 T Matzo meal
Oil for frying

Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Fry in hot oil,

being careful not to use too much oil.
Serve with applesauce, or sour cream.

I made potato pancakes last night but I add garlic, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese.

Reader's Digest Potato Skin Nachos
Printable Recipe
32 nachos

4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 single 8 oz jar of taco sauce
1 1/2 cup Monterey jack or cheddar; shredded
2 single jalapeno peppers, seed/chop
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon fresh parsley

1) Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the potatoes in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove, leaving the oven on and let cool until easy to handle.

2) Halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving shells 1/8
of an inch thick. Half each potato shell lengthwise then half each piece

3) Arrange the potato skins flesh side up on an ungreased baking sheet.
Sprinkle with the chili powder and salt. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes or
until heated through.

4) Meanwhile combine the taco sauce, cheese, peppers, garlic and parsley in
a small bowl. Spoon the mixture onto the hot potato skins. With the oven
rack set 4 inches from the heat, broil the skins for 1 to 2 minutes or
until the cheese melts.

Bernese Potato Soup
Printable Recipe

1/4 c Butter or Margarine
1 md Onion, chopped
1 sm Carrot, chopped
1 stalk Celery with Leaves-Chopped
1 clove Garlic-minced
1/4 ts White Pepper
1/4 ts Dried Marjoram
1 pn Ground Nutmeg
1 1/2 lb Smooth-Skinned Potatoes-Peeled and diced
3 1/2 c Chicken Broth
1 c Milk
1/4 lb Swiss Cheese, shredded

In 3-4 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add
onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring
often, until soft but not browned. Mix in pepper,
marjoram, nutmeg, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil,
cover, reduce heat slightly, and boil gently until
potatoes are tender, 25-30 minutes. Puree soup, about
half at a time, in blender or food processor until
smooth. Return to cooking pan. Gradually blend in milk
and reheat until steaming hot. DO not boil. Stir in
cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, until it is smoothly
melted into soup. Taste, and add salt if needed.
Serve immediately.8 Servings


Shepherd's Pie
From: Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
Printable Recipe

"When I asked Miss Bowzer for a recipe for shepherd's pie,
she laughed hollowly. She said that shepherd's pie was
designed to be a hodgepodge of things leftover.
A thrifty recipe. However, when pressed, this is what
she suggested: Brown a pound of ground beef, with a cup
of chopped onion. Add whatever you have around, some
frozen mixed vegetables, some peas, some corn, whatever.
Also add 2 tablespoons of flour and some water and some
Lipton onion soup mix so that you have gravy. Then
season with whatever you like, some teriyaki sauce, some
soy sauce, some steak spice, garlic, thyme, dill, just
toss it all in. Take about 3 cups or so of mashed
potatoes (if you don't have those around you'll have to
make them), add a couple of eggs, about 1/2 cup of flour,
a teaspoon baking powder, salt and pepper, and mix it
all up, and then spread it on top of the meat mixture,
right on the skillet if you have an ovenproof skillet.
Bake in a 350-degree oven until the top puffs up, browns,
and cooks. Don't get confused and put ice cream on it.
That was her little joke."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Working on a post, taking care of baby (OK, kids), life in general

Busy with life...

Called Dad yesterday and he is gaining on life one day at a time. Keep him in your prayers!

Here's one to tide you over and a teeny hint; one of the ingredients here is in the post I am currently working on.

Yes, this is BAD for you, but man, it's so good, who cares?

Pierogi CasseroleServes 12

Printable Recipe

9 lasagna noodles
2 eggs
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c mashed potatoes
pepper, to taste
garlic salt, to taste
onion powder, to taste
1 stick butter
1 small chopped onion

1. Cook lasagna noodles al dente, drain well and line the bottom of a well greased 9x13 pan.
2. In a large bowl mix mashed potatoes, cheese, egg, and seasonings spread half over noodles. 

3. Cover with another layer of noodles and mashed potatoes. End with a layer of noodles.
4. Melt butter or margarine in a small frying pan. Sauté onion until clear and soft. Pour over noodles. Top with extra cheese if desired.
5. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes in 350 degree F oven.
6. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


From The Author Himself,
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13 (New King James Version)
New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

**This was the last thing I read to my Grandma from her very favorite book, the Bible. She had been trying to memorize it for quite some time and we thought it appropriate to read to her as she was passing over.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cooking for Sweetheart

I don't have a whole lot of time to blather on about Valentine's Day today so I'll just post what we'll be having tomorrow. I know, how unromantic! Mommyhood comes first though and today is a delay due to snow and that sort of cuts out my usual blogging time. C'est la vie!

No Ready, Set, Cook tomorrow since most of you will be out to dinner or cooking something pre-planned. Tune in next week for our usual game.

Whatever you do, kiss your love (or think of them if you can't do that) and have a wonderful day!

Anne's Red Chicken
Printable Recipe

1 whole chicken 3-5 lbs
1 T salt
1 T paprika
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t curry powder
1/4 t ground allspice
2 T sugar
1 T minced onion
3-4 cloves garlic-minced

Mix all spices, garlic and onion together. Rub all over chicken and place in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Remove chicken from bag and roast, covered, at 350° for 1 hour.
Uncover and continue roasting for 1/2 hour longer or until well
browned and crispy.

Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

I serve this whole at the table and we shred it and serve it on freshly made whole wheat tortillas and top with a sauce like Hoisin or ginger/soy.

For Valentine's Day though, you can serve it carved as usual with these side dishes;

Red Baby Bliss potatoes, steamed or roasted with herbs and minced garlic. We like rosemary and thyme.

Whole green beans steamed with lemon and sea salt.

Whole wheat rolls, tucked in at the top to resemble hearts and served with;

Raspberry Butter
Printable Recipe

1/2 c. raspberry preserves (no seeds)
2 T. honey
1 c. butter

Mix all well and chill.

Mound in a pretty dish and let sit at room temperature until soft enough to spread.

You can add a salad if you wish but I think this is enough considering dessert WILL be served on Valentine's Day!

My very favorite chocolate dessert is this one. It's pretty much a flourless chocolate cake except for the baking time, which is what makes it so mousse-like.

Chocolate Mousse Torte
Chocolate Mousse Torte

Chocolate Mousse Torte
Makes One 8-inch cake
Printable Recipe

Melt together:

1 lb semi sweet chocolate - chopped
1/2 cup butter

Allow to cool for 20-30 min.

Blend together:

5 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon  flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon hot water

Add chocolate to egg mixture and blend until smooth.
Beat until stiff:

5 egg whites

Fold egg whites into chocolate/egg yolk mixture.
Do NOT over beat!

Pour into a greased 8-inch springform pan and bake 425 degrees F for 14 min.

Serve right side up.
This will be soft in the center when it comes out of the oven, but will set up as it cools. When done correctly the center is nearly like fudge and the edges are slightly dry.

Dust with powdered sugar or set a dry clean doily (or other piece of open-work) on top of torte and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Remove by pulling straight up. The design left behind is a very pretty effect!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Favorite Cookbook

My copy is ©1969 and the jacket has it selling for $4.50 then. The link I found has it listed for $24.50 now! Some of the wording is a little funny for today but the recipes are still great.

Written inside the cover:

"To Anne, Merry Christmas 2001

I have a copy like this since the '60's.
Hope your family will love some of these recipes as mine did.
My copy too, is stained! Lots of use!
The recipe on page 120 "Midwest Fish Stuffed Crepes" was one of your Father's
favorites as well as 'you children'.

Love, Your Mother"

Midwest Fish-stuffed Crêpes

Most farm women keep a few cans of salmon and tuna on hand in their cupboards. But not many have discovered teaming the fish with thin pancakes to make exciting, hearty main dishes. When taste-testers voted on Midwest Fish-stuffed Crêpes, made by a recipe contributed by a Kansas rancher's wife, they described it with one word-excellent. You'll want to try this recipe. It produces a substantial fish dish that meat-and-potatoes farmers praise. That's a tribute to its tastiness.

Midwest Fish-stuffed CrêpesPrintable RecipeCrunchy texture of celery and water chestnuts in creamy sauce pleases
1 (7 3/4 oz.) can salmon, drained
1 (7 oz.) can tuna, drained
1 (5 oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
5 tblsp. butter or margarine
1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 c. milk
6 tblsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tblsp. lemon juice
16 Basic French Crêpes

Combine salmon, tuna, water chestnuts and celery in a bowl.
Cook onion in butter until soft (do not brown). Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir 2 tblsp. cheese and lemon juice into sauce.
Stir 1 c. sauce into salmon-tuna mixture. Put a generous spoonful of mixture on center of each crêpe. Roll up; place seam side down on oven-proof platter, or in a 13x9x2" pan. Spread remaining sauce over crêpes. Sprinkle with remaining 4 tblsp. cheese.
Bake in a moderate oven (350°) about 30 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Basic French Crêpes

You can make wonderful dishes with these delicate, light brown pancakes

1 c. milk
3 eggs, well beaten
3/4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tblsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat milk into well-beaten eggs. Sift together flour, sugar and salt into milk mixture. Beat with rotary beater or electric mixer until batter is smooth.
Pour about 2 tblsp. batter into a lightly buttered 8" skillet, preheated over medium heat. Begin at once to rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly over the bottom. Turn once; bake until light golden brown on both sides. Repeat, buttering skillet for each baking. Makes 16 crêpes.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dinner Last Night

Last night's dinner was spaghetti. Boring, right? Well, that depends on who makes it!

I am not a fan of my own marinara but a few in the house won't eat any other spaghetti sauce. If you have perused my family recipes this will be a repeat for you. It's based on the recipe I learned in school, adapted for my family's tastes. The bacon and ham hock sound odd unless you are Italian. Almost all Italian "gravy" is made with meat in it, even if it's taken out before serving.

Marinara Sauce
Makes 3 quarts
Printable Recipe

4 slices bacon-diced
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 medium onion-diced
2 stalks celery-diced
1 large carrot-diced
1c. beef stock
1 smoked ham hock
3-29 oz cans tomato purée

To Taste: basil, oregano,bay leaf, thyme, parsley,
sugar and salt andpepper

Saute bacon in a large pot until limp but not browned.
Add vegetables and sauté until onions are translucent.
Add stock to deglaze the pan.
Add ham hock and simmer briefly.
Add tomatoes and all seasonings except bay leaf.
Simmer 2 1/2 hours DO NOT LID or it will become acidic.
Stir occasionally.
Add bay leaf and simmer 1/2 hour. Remove ham hock and
pureé through a food mill or process and strain.
Reheat and serve as desired.



...Delicious End!

This is what my kids really like about spaghetti nights.

Anne's Almost Famous Cheese Bread
Makes 2 Loaves
Printable Recipe

This isn't your everyday run-of-the-mill cheese bread. There's a tunnel of savory cheese right through the center of this bread. It's excellent with spaghetti and is so hearty it can be eaten all alone.

5 1/2- 6 c flour
2 pkgs dry yeast
2 t salt
1 t sugar
2 c warm water (110°-120°--or 1 c warm milk and 1 c water)

Add yeast to water and dissolve. Add sugar and about 1 c flour and mix well. Let this stand in a warm area until it "sponges" or puffs up. Add salt and remaining flour, a cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Knead until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes. Cover with a tablespoon of oil and turn to coat. Let rise, covered, in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 to 1/2 hours or less if you use rapid rise yeast.

In the meantime make the filling:

4 c shredded cheese (I usually use mozzarella and cheddar mixed although the first time I made this I used a mixture off goat's milk Gruyere and cheddar)
2 eggs
1 t parsley
1/2 t each basil, oregano, and garlic-powdered or fresh minced, and minced onion (I use Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb, about a teaspoon, and that covers all of this)
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

The cheeses, seasonings and eggs ready to mix:

Mix this all together well.

When dough has risen double, punch down and separate into 2 parts.

I do the forming in one of 3 ways.

1) Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 15 inches and spread half of the filling down the center. Fold up short ends and roll from long side and pinch closed. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

2) Roll dough into a circle, about 12 inches in diameter. Spread half the filling to within an inch of the edge and fold over towards center, keeping the circular shape. Turn over and bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

3) Shape as above (circle) and place in a lightly greased round casserole or souffle dish and bake as directed.

Once the dough is shaped, set it to rise for a second time, until double in bulk, before baking.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for at least half an hour or the cheese will drip right out when you cut it!

This is shaped like #1 above.

This is almost a meal in itself, really, It makes 2 loaves and when we have pasta with it we usually only have one wedge each and save the other loaf for another time. Each loaf makes 8 wedges or slices.

P.S. Dad is HOME. Please keep praying for him!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Recipes in from our game!

You guys are so much fun and I vote that someday we hold a real live Ready Set Cook so we can all meet and eat until we bust! Or, I can stop by everyone's home for dinner since you're all so talented.
KFarmer gets an honorable mention since she tried so hard! Also, when she DOES do this, she really does it up. Go and check out how she did Ready, Set, Cook! last time.~~~~~~~~~~

Here's what we have this week.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From our compulsive writer:

Stir-Fry Pork Pita Sandwiches

Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large fry pan or wok. Cube the
pork. Mince the ginger. Julienne the two zucchini and one carrot. Dice
1/4 of a yellow onion. Stir fry pork with minced ginger and a small bit
of minced garlic. When pork is almost cooked through, toss in the
vegetables and stir fry together. Lightly season with a dash of your
favorite stir fry sauce at the very end, then remove from heat. Line
pita bread with a bed of dark leafy greens then fill pita with
stir-fry. Serve warm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~just christina's entry:

Ginger Chops Stir Fry

Take half pound of boneless pork chops and cut into small pieces..sautee in pan on meduim heat with a splash of olive oil.

After meat is cooked slice up zucchini in small slices, add small peices of fresh broccoli, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and green onion. Throw in pan with olive oil and satuee till soft but not limp.

Take sliced ginger and grate it into sauteed veggies.

When its all cooked and ready to eat, serve over brown rice with a splash of soy sauce.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Melanie's idea:

Gingered Pork with Ramen

1/2 lb. boneless pork chops, sliced into thin 1 1/2-2 in. strips
2 slices fresh ginger, minced
2 med. zucchini, peeled and julienned
2 med. apples, peeled and julienned
1 pkg ramen noodles, pork or oriental flavored

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in non-stick skillet. Saute pork and ginger in skillet. Add zucchini and apples when pork is about half-cooked. Saute all till apples and zucchini are tender and pork is thoroughly cooked. Cover and keep warm.

Cook ramen noodles according to pkg directions. Drain noodles, then add flavoring packet and mix. Toss noodles with pork mixture and serve.

submitted nearly exactly what I would have done:

Gingered Zucchini and Pork Chops (original, eh?)

1/2 pound boneless pork chops
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 slices fresh ginger, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
8-10 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small white onion, cut into rings
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup stock, chicken or vegetable
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flour, pepper and seasoning salt in a shallow dish and dredge pork chops, coating completely. Heat a skillet with the oil and brown pork chops. Remove and place chops in a casserole dish. Set skillet heat to med-high and add garlice, ginger and onion rings. Saute until onions are translucent. Add zucchini and mushrooms. Saute until med-soft. Pour soy sauce over, reduce heat and let simmer for about five minutes. Add stock to pork chops and then pour zucchini mixture over. Bake in oven until pork chops are cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheddar cheese evenly over. Cover with lid or aluminum foil until cheese is melted and serve with rice.
Like the trooper she is, K submitted a recipe anyway with the eggplant that she mistakenly bought. Good stuff!

Mama Kathleen’s Pork Chop Dinner

Main Ingredients:

Center Cut Pork Chops
2 Egg Plants
2 Slices Ginger

Pork Chops:

In small bowl pour ¼ cup soy sauce, sprinkle of Slap Yo Mama and juice of ½ lemon. Add 2 slices of ginger, finely chopped up.

Lightly pepper pork chops and place in zip lock bag. Add soy mixture, seal and place in fridge for ½ an hour.

Egg Plant:

While the chops are soaking, peel and cut up egg plant into small cubes. Place in pan of salted water and cook till tender.

While egg plant is cooking, in medium bowl grate ¼ cup parmesan cheese, add pepper, salt and a sprinkle of Slap Yo Mama Hot seasoning to taste. Chop up ½ an onion and one clove garlic. Cook in olive oil till tender. Cool.

Drain egg plant and wring out with dish towel, place in fridge to cool.

Take chops out of the fridge and remove any ginger pieces stuck to it. Dredge in bread crumbs, eggs wash, and then back in bread crumbs. Brown in olive oil, place on cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes (or till done) in 350 oven.

Take cooled egg plant and onion and add to cheese. Add an egg, juice of half a lemon and and ½ blood orange, mix. Add enough bread crumbs to hold together. Put back in fridge until chops are almost done- about 15 minutes prior to completion. Roll egg plant mixture into balls and flatten into patties. Cook in vegetable oil till brown on both sides. Place in oven to keep warm.


Bring your asparagus up to a boil and cook till desired tenderness. Take off heat and drain. Add kosher salt, butter and the juice of ½ lemon. Put back on low heat till butter and lemon combine.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Turn your stoves on!

For anyone new, Tuesday is "Ready, Set, Cook!" day here. Just like the show (can anyone tell me if it's still on?) I present my readers with 3 ingredients and their job is to come up with a dish using them. Oh yes, by the way, I am NOT the one who comes up with these~blame my kids, if you can after looking at those adorable faces.

Today's ingredients are:
1/2 lb boneless pork chops

2 medium zucchini

2 slices fresh ginger

Rules are as follows:

1) Dream up a dish using the 3 ingredients prominently, your virtual pantry is unlimited (that means you can use anything else you like but you cannot "lose" the original ingredients in the recipe). You DO NOT have to have these on hand or make the dish for real to play!

2) Post the name of your dish in the comments section FIRST.

3) E-mail me the recipe or detailed instructions for your creation
at irishones7 *at* juno *dot* com with Ready, Set, Cook in the subject line.

I post recipes on Wednesday along with your name and/or blog address.

Have fun!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tools of the Trade

I think we already know that I'm not one of the cool kids, and I aim to fully entrench myself in my culinary un-coolness with this post.

Everyone has favorite tools in their kitchen, things they couldn't do without, and I am no different. I have noticed lately though that many people have hugely expensive and state-of-the-art gadgets in their kitchens.

I don't. I don't even own a microwave. I did until this last move but we never got around to replacing it, and I seldom miss it.

This is a photo of some of my very favorite kitchen gadgets:

Let me break it down for you;

First, on the bottom is my cutting board. Yes, it is a BOARD, not plastic or synthetic in any way. I have vivid and icky memories of the cutting boards we used in school. They were white plastic and if they were not dried properly and then stacked together, they reeked. It was gross. Not much else to say there. I love wood for cutting - it cleans easily, is kind to my knife and looks good -rustic, if you will.

On to what is on the board; on the very left is my treasured wooden spoon. Unlike others, it is very thick and sturdy, has slits in it to make stirring many things easier, and it doubles as a disciplinary tool if the need arises.

Next up is my chef's knife. Yep, that is a genuine, bona fide Dexter Russell Sani Safe knife. For anyone who knows what I'm talking about, stifle your laughter and pay attention. That blade is pure carbon, nothing else sharpens quite like it. The blade is full tang and thin, and even though the hilt is plastic, it's a firm grip and its lack of weight makes it useful for many, many things. I do love the feel of a Sabatier, and I have even had the money to purchase one guilt-free before, but I love this knife and can't see ever spending more than is necessary on anything.

My mezzaluna  was one of those things I just had to have. It's great for chopping herbs into tiny pieces without shredding yourself in the process.

Above the mezzaluna is my oil stone - the one I use to sharpen my beloved chef's knife. Yep, I sharpen my own tools. Why pay for someone else to do it? I can get my knives razor sharp with a minimum of damage and even correct some damage with my own stone. This is one of those priceless items.

A box grater? I don't have a food processor either and anything grated in this house comes by way of this tool. Another thing I wouldn't be without even if I did have a processor.

The last piece is another grater. I use this one for grating whole nutmeg. I almost never use nutmeg that comes from a container. I love the smell and taste of freshly grated nutmeg and this very fine holed baby does the job perfectly. I also use it to grate cloves of garlic when I am in a real hurry and don't have time to mince it with my knife.

My other favorites are my paring knife, my large and extra large stainless steel mixing bowls, my Calphalon pans, my cast iron pans, Grandma's rolling pin, my HUGE stockpot and the large ceramic bowl my mom brought home from Amish country. And my hands - best "gadget" I have.

I own a coffee maker, a blender, a toaster, a waffle maker, a coffee grinder and a Crockpot. I don't feel the need for anything fancier but there are some things I do covet.

I want a croquembouche mold. Not for any reason other than the fact that it's an odd piece of equipment. Nobody really NEEDS one, you can stack a croquembouche all by yourself, but I want one anyway because they are so obscure.

I want a Kitchenaid mixer. A red one. I don't think that needs an explanation.

I want a mortar and pestle to replace the heavy stone one that I somehow lost. I'd prefer an olivewood one but I can't be that picky.

I want a couscousier ... because they look neat.

By the way, we WILL be playing Ready, Set, Cook! tomorrow so, heads up everyone~be prepared!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Check This Out!

Jam Handy has recently opened the coolest online all-things-retro store, Seul Boy. Get on over there and browse (and buy!) he has the neatest collection of cards among other things-you just have to see for yourself.

When you're done with that, read
his blog. If you're into retro recipes at all, this is the blog for you!

NEXT...this is not so new but, if you have a baby, or know someone who is having a baby, go visit
Sugarbearz. My friend has the cutest bunch of stuff for sale-hoof it on over and check her out too.

OK, I am done with the shameless and gratuitous plugs for the day, promise.

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's Super Bowl Time

I figured I'd add my 2 cents to the WWW Super Bowl Recipe collection

Super Bowl XL is being played this year in Detroit Michigan's Ford Field between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While I have always been a fan of the Steelers and a football fan in general, I haven't seen a Super Bowl in ages. We don't have tv here (beyond PBS, that is) so we won't be watching this year either unless we impose our large-ish family upon someone else's couch.

At any rate, if I were hosting a Super Bowl party I would most likely go easy. Appetizers would be the main focus with possibly something more substantial at half-time. One of our favorites for this type of party is chili served in bags of corn chips. A single-serving bag of corn chips, turned on it's side and opened to form a pouch is the perfect spot to rest a ladle full of chili, with or without beans. Top it with shredded cheese, sour cream and some chopped green onion and you have a delicious totable snack.

Standard fare is so ... standard, but if that's what people will eat, I say go for it. There is nothing wrong with the old standby chips and dip, buffalo wings, potato skins and pizza.

Most parties will have a beer choice and while I don't drink I will hook you up with a local microbrewery just down the street, Bethlehem Brew Works. I can attest to the fact that the food is awesome, and plentiful; we always take a leftover box home.

I picked a few recipes here that are different than the usual spread for Super Bowl Sunday and a couple are lower carb in variety for those of you who are eating that way.

This first one is for the Seattle fans.

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Serves 36
Printable Recipe

2-8 oz pkgs cream cheese-softened
1/4 c whipping cream
2 eggs
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c shredded Gouda cheese
1/4 c green onions-sliced
1-4.5 oz pkg. smoked salmon-flaked
2 green onions-sliced
2 T red caviar or finely chopped red pepper
1 c crushed round buttery crackers-about 24
3 T margarine or butter-melted

Mix crackers and margarine until well blended. Press evenly in bottom
of springform pan-9x3. Bake 375 for 8 min. until golden brown.
Reduce oven temp to 325.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add cream, eggs and salt-beat until
smooth. Stir in cheese, 1/4 c green onion and salmon until well
blended. Spoon over crust. Bake 45-50 min, or until center is set.
Run knife around edge of cake to loosen. Cool to room temp. Cover and
refrigerate at least 2 hrs but no longer than 48 hrs. Top with green
onions and caviar or red pepper. Serve with crackers.

For the Pittsburgh fans the Primanti Bros. famous sandwich The one with cole slaw and french fries right inside it (this is NOT one of the low carb recipes) and you can see a photo at their website. You can come up with your own of course with cappicola, a good French baguette or other heavy bread, cole slaw and french fries.

For the carb conscious:

Spinach Squares
Printable Recipe
Makes 30 Appetizers

2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 T butter or margarine
1 medium onion-finely chopped
1/2 lb mushrooms-thinly sliced
4 eggs
1 c half and half
1/4 c dry bread crumbs-fine
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 t salt
1/8 t each pepper, basil and oregano leaves

Drain spinach well, and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and add onions and mushrooms.
Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and mushrooms are slightly browned and
any liquid has evaporated.

Beat eggs in a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients, except 1/4 c of
parmesan. Turn everything into a well-greased 9 inch baking pan and sprinkle
with the remaining cheese.

Bake in a 325° oven for 35 minutes or until set when lightly touched in center.
Let cool slightly; then cut into small squares. Serve warm or at room
temperature. If made ahead and refrigerated, reheat in a 325° oven for 15 minutes.

Artichoke Squares
Makes 36 Appetizers
Printable Recipe

2 jars (6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts
1 small onion-finely chopped
1 clove garlic-minced or pressed
4 eggs
1/4 c fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 t salt
1/8 t each pepper, oregano and liquid hot pepper seasoning
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 T minced parsley

Drain marinade from 1 jar of artichokes into a frying pan. Drain the other jar and
reserve marinade for another use or discard. Chop all artichokes and set aside.
Heat marinade over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft.

Beat eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients and turn all into a greased 7x11 inch
baking pan. Bake in a 325° oven for 30 minutes or until set in the center. Let
cool slightly; cut into small squares.

Zucchini-Cheese Squares
Makes 36 Appetizers
Printable Recipe

1/4 c oil
1 small onion-finely chopped
1 clove garlic-minced
2 1/2 c shredded zucchini
6 eggs, beaten
1/3 c fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 t each salt, dry basil and oregano
1/4 t pepper
3 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c sesame seeds-optional

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and zucchini;
cook until zucchini is tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix eggs and remaining ingredients except Parmesan and sesame seeds.
Spread into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan and sesame
seeds, if desired. Bake in a 325° oven for 30 minutes or until set when touched in

Let cool for at least 15 minutes; cut into small squares.

Instead of the usual chips and salsa, give this a whirl.

Italian Eggplant Relish
Makes 1 1/2 quarts
Printable Recipe

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 large red bell peppers
1/2 c olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 c tomato paste
1 c water
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 T each sugar and drained capers
2 T coarsely chopped fresh basil or 1 t dry basil
1 c sliced ripe olives
1/4 c pine nuts

Cut unpeeled eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Core, seed and dice peppers, set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add eggplant; cover and cook,

stirring occasionally, until slightly soft; about 5 minutes. Uncover and continue
cooking, stirring often, until eggplant begins to brown; about 10 more minutes.
Mix in peppers, onion, celery and garlic; cook until onion is soft; about 6-8
minutes. Add all but pine nuts and cook until sauce is thick; about 10 minutes. If
made ahead you can refrigerate at this point for up to a week.

Place nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until
lightly browned. Sprinkle over relish.

Serve with  pita chips.

Parmesan Pita Chips
Printable Recipe

6 rounds pita bread-I like whole wheat
3/4 c melted butter or oil-I prefer olive
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Cut pitas in half and then split each half to make 4 pieces from each pita. Brush
each piece with oil and sprinkle with about 1 T of cheese. Cut each into 4 wedges
and place in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15
minutes until crisp and golden.

Makes 8 dozen wedges

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Humbled, Honored

I am not sure how to word such a "thank you" but, I'll try.

Firstly, for anyone who does not read my blog regularly, my father is fighting for his life right now, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last April and has been doing very well up until this point.

He is in a hospital in Michigan and I was able to visit him this past weekend for the first time in nearly 3 years. The original prognosis this time was that he had days to live without surgery, slightly longer with.

While I was there we talked as much as he was able to, he has a stomach pump running 24/7 at the moment, and discussed many things we had not been able to talk about for a long time.

One thing dad told me was the one thing every child longs to hear, he told me that when he read my blog he was "SO proud". I didn't realize he had been reading it and this revelation made me very happy, and sad, all at the same time.

So, without further ado, Daddy, this one's for you.

I cannot go on without thanking all of my friends, my fellow blogging buddies, my mother-in-law and her co-workers, my mom and her years of cooking lessons-even if she didn't know she was teaching at the time, my beautiful children, and my husband for his constant "you're the best blogger out there".

This award would not have been possible at all without Mamacita
. She had the nerve to nominate such a lowly little blog and I thank her for it-when I called dad today to let him know I could tell how excited he was, and Mama, you had a hand in that :o)

Thanks to all the judges for their extremely hard work, time, and lost sanity! Thanks Jim, for your vision, this was so much fun!

PLEASE, go read all the other nominated blogs and the 2 other winners (I sort of count us as a group), they are all so awesome that I had to check 3 times to be sure that I had actually won. A HUGE Congratulations to Paige at Domestic Diva and to Baking Sheet as well!

They are:

Naughty Curry – http://www.naughtycurry.com

Gatronomy Domine – http://gastronomydomine.blogspot.com

What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway? – http://veganmenu.blogspot.com/

Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea – http://coffeeworks.blogs.com/

Kalyn’s Kitchen – http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/

Cake Fun - http://cakefun.blogspot.com

Wine Cask – http://winecask.blogspot.com

So, What is Couscous Anyway?

Couscous with Senegalese Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Yes, this is in answer to the first question posed by my first round of "Ready, Set, Cook!"

It seems that when I posted those 3 ingredients, one of them was something not too many people have heard of. I'll admit, I take it for granted that I live in an area where almost anything necessary food-wise is easily obtained, and I also have a teeny tiny edge in the food arena with my diploma but, I didn't think couscous was that obscure, hence the inclusion.

What is this couscous of which I speak? Couscous is usually said to be Moroccan but really is used equally in other countries; Algeria, Tunisia, Libya to name a few. Although couscous is a pasta, made from semolina flour like most pastas, it is treated like a grain and cooked nearly identically to rice.

The texture is different because the grains are so small and almost every dish I have seen it in is filled with vegetables or meat. It is available in most markets where you would find rice and I have seen it in the ethnic sections as well. We like it as it is made from the box, as a replacement to the usual rice, potatoes or pasta.

Traditionally couscous is made in a couscousier:

A couscoussier, also known as Couscous pot, is a traditional steaming vessel used mainly in the making Couscous.
Couscous is placed at the top pierced part and the steam from the stew being cooked at the bottom pot rises through and steams the couscous. Stews can be lamb, beef, chicken, and/or vegetables.

Sort of like a double boiler with holes in the top part so the steam can get

They range from pretty to functional:

Here are a few recipes using couscous. Don't be afraid to try it, you won't be disappointed.
Chicken and Couscous Salad with Orange Balsamic Dressing
Printable Recipe

4 boned and skinned chicken breast halves
10 oz Couscous
1/2 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Dried cherries
1/2 cup Roasted red peppers; diced
15 oz Garbanzo beans; canned,-drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Black olives; diced
1/4 cup Green onions; chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro; chopped
1 cup Fresh orange juice
3 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Grated orange peel
1 Tablespoon Cumin

Broil chicken and cut into bite sized chunks. Set aside.

Combine orange juice, balsamic vinegar, grated orange peel and cumin in a
small bowl and set aside.

Combine couscous, raisins, and dried cherries in a large bowl and prepare
couscous according to package directions.

After couscous is cooked add the remaining ingredients and toss well.

Lamb Shanks with Apricot Couscous
Printable Recipe

4 Lamb shanks (3-4 lbs total)
1 lg Onion, finely chopped
1 Cinnamon stick (2"long)
1 1/2 ts Ground coriander
1 ts Ground ginger
1/2 ts Ground cumin
1/4 ts Ground allspice
1 1/4 c Chicken broth
1/4 c Apricot or orange muscat- dessert wine
3/4 c Coarsely chop dried apricots
1 1/2 c Couscous
Mint sprigs (optional)

Place lamb shanks in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 450 degree F oven until well browned (20-25 minutes). 

Meanwhile, in a 4 quart or larger electric slow cooker, combine onion, cinnamon stick, coriander, ginger, cumin and all spice. 
Lift lamb from baking pan and place on top of onion mixture; discard fat in pan. 
Pour broth over lamb. Cover and cook at low setting until lamb is so tender it pulls away from bones when pulled with a fork (7 1/2-9 hrs.)

Lift lamb to a warm, deep platter and keep warm. Skim and discard fat from cooking liquid; then measure liquid. You need 2 1/4 cups; if necessary, pour off some of the liquid or add enough hot water to make 2 1/4 cups. 

Return liquid to cooker and increase heat setting to high. Stir in wine and apricots, then couscous. Cover and let stand until liquid has been absorbed (about 10 more minutes.) Spoon couscous around lamb; garnish with mint, if desired.

Moroccan Couscous
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

3 1/2 pound chicken cut in 6 pieces
4 Tabkespoons butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1/2  pound quartered plum tomatoes
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground 
black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 whole jalapeno chili
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
5 small, peeled, quartered turnips
4 large carrots peeled and quartered
1 large acorn squash peeled, seeded, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 small zucchini cut quartered lengthwise then crosswise
16 ounces canned garbanzo beans
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups couscous about 18 ounces
4 cups canned chicken broth

Combine chicken and broth in a large Dutch oven. Simmer until chicken is cooked through,turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Using tongs remove chicken from cooking liquid: reserve cooking liquid. Skin and bone chicken; cut into bite size pieces. 

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the oil in large heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion,sauté until tender,about 10 minutes. 
Add tomatoes and next 8 ingredients and stir 30 seconds. 
Mix in reserved cooking liquid, turnips, carrots, squash, zucchini and garbanzo beans with liquid. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are almost tender about 15 minutes. 
Uncover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. 
Add chicken pieces to sauce and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. 
Discard jalapeno. 
Meanwhile bring 2 1/4c. Water and 1- 1/2 T butter and salt to boiling. Stir in ouscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes; fluff with fork. 
Arrange couscous in center of serving platter. Drizzle couscous with 3/4 c sauce. Spoon chicken and vegetables atop couscous. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.