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Archive for April, 2009

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My mother was a lovely, kind and considerate woman.  She was no cook.  After her death in 2000, I had a blinding flash of insight-my mother was ADD.  That explained her uncanny ability to burn canned green beans, she couldn’t stay focused from beginning to end of a task.  The invention of the microwave was a boon around our house-harder to burn stuff and behold, it had a timer!

This recipe was one of the few dishes my mother made well.  Kudos!

1 red onion, sliced

2 medium green peppers, sliced

4 medium zuchinni, sliced

4 small yellow squash, sliced

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced  (I like baby bellas)

1/4 C. oil

2 cloves garlic,  finely diced

4 medium plum tomatoes, cut in chunks

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. thyme

3 T. cream sherry

2 T. butter/margarine

Slice peppers, zuchinni, summer squash and onion into 1/4 ” thick slices.  Put 3 T. oil in heavy frying pan adding 1 clove of chopped garlic to oil, add onions and cook till brown.  Remove and transfer to dutch oven or large pot on a burner on low.  Add green peppers and cook till start to soften, transfer to pot.  Add 1T. oil to frypan on medium heat and place a single layer of zuchinni on bottom of pan, sprinkle each batch of sliced vegetables with salt, pepper and thyme.  Cook till brown on both sides and soft to touch.  Repeat with additional zuchinni and summer squash.  (I tried to make this fast and stir fry everything and it did not come out right-too mushy.)  Transfer squashes to large pot.  Add 2 T. of butter/margarine and 1 clove of diced garlic to frying pan and add sliced mushrooms.  Cook till they start to get soft, sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme and then add the 3 T. cream sherry and continue to cook 2-3 minutes.  Add chunks of plum tomatoes and stir till heated through.  Add to large pot and stir to combine and heat through.  Can be a veggie side dish or a topping for chicken or fish.

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I gotta tell you that I think I improved on these this year.  I soaked the dried cranberries in Spiced Rum and add the drained 1/4 cup of rum plus 1 cup water for the sauce.  Then I added 1/4 C seedless black raspberry preserves to the sauce as well.  Oh my! I love apple dumplings because it is the only dessert you can eat as a main course! My husband, Greg, is Pennsylvania Dutch and his mom made these for dinner served in a bowl with milk poured over the top.

For the pastry (basically pie crust-can use bought pie crust and skip section 1)
¼ cup Crisco shortening
1¾ cups all­purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick margarine
5 tablespoons ice water

For the apples:
4 McIntosh or Granny Smith apples
1/4 C. Dried Cranberries soaked in:
1/4 C. Chambord or Spiced rum
4 teaspoons margarine
Apple Pie Spice
4 tsp. brown sugar

For the syrup:
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup water plus 1/4 C  Spiced rum from soaked cranberries

1/4 C. seedless black raspberry preserves

2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. To make the pastry, combine the shortening, flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Using on and off pulsing action, combine until the mixture resembles fine meal. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces, and pulse a few times, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons of the ice water, and pulse a few times. The mixture should hold together when pinched.
Scrape the pastry onto a floured board, form it into a ball, and wrap it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes,
2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Soak dried cranberries in Chambord- I put the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften cranberries. While the pastry is chilling, peel and core the apples and sprinkle cut side of apples with Apple Pie Spice. Divide the dried cranberry mixture into the core holes, and place 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 tsp. of brown sugar in each core hole. Combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, and set aside.
3. Divide the pastry into 4 parts. Form one part into a ball, and place it between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Flatten with your hands into a “pancake.” Roll the pastry into a circle large enough to cover the apple. Place an apple in the center, and bring up the sides to encase it. Pinch the top together, holding the dough with a little water. If the folds seem thick, trim them off and seal the seams with water. Repeat with the remaining apples.
4. Place the apples on a baking sheet, and brush them with the syrup. Place them in the 450 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 330″F, and brush again with the syrup. Bake an additional 35 minutes, brushing every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. Milk optional

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If you want to make me smile, just say the word “chocolate”.  I know I am not alone in this passion, so I am going to share some of the best cookies I have ever made (over and over again that is).

You will need:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon ( know it sounds wierd, but just try it)

2 sticks of butter/margarine

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups dry oatmeal

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Beat butter and both sugars together ( I use a food processor) add egg and vanilla and blend well.  Stir in flour, baking  soda and cinnamon.  I know, this recipe has no salt, but it has worked well for years without it, so who am I to argue.  Fold in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Chill in fridge at least 1 hour up to overnight.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheets, load it up with 2″ balls of dough and bake 12-14 minutes until light brown.  Let cool five minutes before transferring to cooling rack so they won’t crumble and little fingers won’t get burnt swiping them too soon.

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In the movie “Something About Mary”, there is a conversation about how there should be more foods on sticks.  Well I agree, and here is my contribution to the cause.   There are hundreds of varieties of bananas, including the small apple bananas we grew on our land when we lived on Kauai, Hawaii. The apple bananas are in the grocery stores in Hawaii, but do not ship well and are seldom seen on the mainland US. The directions are simple:

Peel bananas and cut in half the wide way. Insert a thin bamboo chopstick to effectively make a banana popsicle. Freeze bananas in a zip lock bag for 3 hours. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave, then dip the frozen banana into the melted chocolate and coat evenly. The bananas can be sprinkled with chopped nuts, coconut or swirled with melted white chocolate chips for variation. Re-freeze. Great snack and perfect for a birthday party treat.

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Teriaki Glazed Salmon is one of my family’s favorites. Many of my son’s friends have asked to watch me make salmon because they say it is better than a restaurant.  I love anything with teriaki sauce.  I used to make the sauce with fresh ginger and garlic, soy sauce and honey.  Then I discovered Yoshida’s original sauce which is almost as good and less expensive.  Works for me!

Salmon

You will need:

1 lb. fresh salmon

pepper, dill and lemon pepper

1 T. olive oil

2 T. dry white wine

2 T. Yoshida’s Original Gourmet Sauce

Sprinkle the salmon generously with pepper, dill and lemon pepper.  Heat olive oil in large fry pan on med heat.  Add salmon skin side down, if there is skin, and let it cook for a minute.  Turn salmon over and gently remove skin-it should come off fairly easily.  Add white wine to pan and reduce heat to med-low.  Cover and cook till the edges of the fish turn white. about five minutes.  Pour Yoshida’s sauce over salmon and turn heat up to medium, turn salmon over to get sauce on both sides.  Cook uncovered just until the salmon is firm.  Turn fish over and sear on med-high heat to glaze with the teriaki sauce.  The trick with salmon is to not overcook it or it will be dry.  Flake some off and cook just till the center loses its shine.

Orzo

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta that does not have to be pre-cooked for this recipe.  It is a great side dish with lots of flavor and color.  It is great leftover, too.

2 Cups dry Orzo

4 T. butter or margarine

4 T. olive oil

2 onions diced

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried thyme to taste

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 small can sliced black olives, drained

3 plum tomatoes diced ( or can use canned diced tomatoes)

1 can low salt chicken broth

fresh parsley (optional)

Saute onion  in a mixture of olive oil and butter/margarine, on medium heat, until starts to brown stirring frequently.  Add thyme and pepper and continue to saute. Add dry orzo and lightly brown it stirring constantly.   Add drained olives,  plum tomatoes, and chicken broth, then fill the chicken broth can with water and pour that in.  Add chopped parsley if want.  Stir scraping the bottom and cook covered on low heat for 11 minutes.

Garnish with parsley

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We are starting off nice and easy, just the way I like it. Yummy.  This recipe was shared by my friend, Jayn.

This dish goes well with just about anything you can think of.  Chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, you got it.

To make the dish you will need

3 Tbsp Butter or Margerine

1 1/2 Lb Fresh Green Beans

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds

Trim ends of green beans and boil in salted water to cover for 8 minutes to soften.  Drain.  In a large frying pan, melt butter/margerine on medium heat. After the butter is fully melted, throw in the green beans., salt pepper and garlic.  Saute for about 10 minutes or until they look like the photo. Take the green beans out of the pan and place them in a serving bowl. Leave the butter in the pan, place the almonds into the pan and allow them to cook until they start to caramelize or turn golden brown. Remove  almonds  and sprinkle them on the green beans. That’s it!  The butter helps to add flavor to both the beans and the almonds, and the almonds add a nice crunch to the meal. Enjoy.

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