Saturday, July 30, 2016

Filled French Toast.........

Have you ever made Filled French Toast? It is actually quite easy. You can fill it with most anything you want. I usually use a sweetened cream cheese and my favorite jam. Then dust the top with some powdered sugar and a bit more jam. As you can see, I like my homemade blueberry jam when I make filled French Toast. Experiment and enjoy a treat for your breakfast.
Till next time.......

Blueberry Pie.......

There is nothing more refreshing than a fresh blueberry pie.  Now tell me that doesn't just make your mouth water! The best part is you can make it ahead of having company.
Blueberry Pie
You will need 1 qt of blueberries. 
Simmer 3 minutes the following ingredients: 
1 cup blueberries 
2/3 cup water
Blend and add to the boiling mixture:
1 cup sugar 

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
Boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Cook till thick. Place fresh, washed and drained blueberries in baked 9 inch pie shell. Pour mixture over the blueberries. You can garnish with a few reserved firm blueberries and chill for 2 hours or until firm. 

Till next time.........

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cucumber Salad.........

Look out for all those cucumbers! Yes, it is cucumber season and they are rolling in and looking good.
Cucumber Salad
3 to 4 cucumbers
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Peel and thinly slice cucumbers. Sprinkle them with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and place them in a colander in the sink. Allow the salt to draw out the excess moisture for about 30 minutes. Make the dressing by combining, the sour cream, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and fresh dill and mix well. Once the cucumbers have drained, shake off the excess moisture and combine them with the dressing in a large bowl. Refrigerate until serving. This dish is best served fairy quickly after being made. Even though the salt draws out some moisture, the longer it sits, more moisture will be drawn out and can make the dressing watery. 
Till next time.......

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lekvar.........


Lekvár is a very thick, sometimes coarse jam of pure ripe fruit. It comes in several flavors here. I like the prune and apricot Lekvár best. It makes such a delicious cookie with a cream cheese dough. Why not make both flavors and enjoy a variety?
 Lekvár Cookies
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz butter, softened
2 tsp sweet cream
2 cups flour
Work cream cheese, butter and flour as for pie crust. Moisten with sweet cream. Knead lightly until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Next day, sprinkle dough board with flour and sugar, roll out dough. Cut in squares, place a teaspoon of Lekvár in center of square. Bring opposite corners up to meet and press corners slightly. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Cool and dust generously with powdered sugar. Keep in uncovered tin to retain crispness. I was told this is a Hungarian cookie. No matter where it came from, it is delicious and you really need to make them and enjoy them. I have enjoyed this recipe since 1969. You might say it's a family favorite.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

White Peach Sangria........

In the summer, there is nothing better than a nice chilled glass of White Peach Sangria. White peaches will soon be in season and it's the perfect time to make up a pitcher for your summer BBQ. Buy a good bottle of Riesling, something you enjoy drinking. If you don't, your Sangria won't taste good either. You can use any kind of fruit, blueberries, strawberries, whatever you like. 

White Peach Sangria
One 750-milliliter bottle Riesling
3/4 cup Simple Syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup raspberries
1 apple, diced
1 white peaches, sliced into wedges
Combine the wine, Simple Syrup, orange juice in a pitcher. Add the raspberries, apples and peaches and stir. Chill, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 24. Serve over ice. 

Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine the sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Keep covered in the refrigerator up to 1 month.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Till next time.......

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kruschiki.........

Well, I first tasted them years ago at a neighbor's home. I was hooked. I could have eaten her whole cookie tin of them and not shared a one. They are that good.  You might wonder what Kruschiki are. Kruschiki are a Polish delicacy, little twisted "bows" of sweet dough, quickly deep fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are sometimes called "angel wings”. The name is of Russian origin, and makes its way to Poland via the Ukraine, where Russian and Polish cultures intertwine. If I have erred on the origin, please forgive me, but that was the story told to me. I mean really folks, is there anything better than fried dough topped with powdered sugar? 
Till next time.......

Monday, July 25, 2016

Olive Tapenade...........

This is that something different you've been looking for. Buy some of those mixed olives at your grocery or deli or you can just use black and green pitted olives. So good. Your guests will love you.
Olive Tapenade
1/2 cup green olives, pitted 
1/2 cup black olives, pitted 
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet, optional 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 clove garlic, smashed 
1 lemon, juiced 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Crackers or toast, for serving. In a food processor, combine the green and black olives, anchovy if using, oregano, garlic and lemon juice and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until everything is a coarse paste. Drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing until combined. Serve with crackers, toast or as a Bruschetta. You want it to be coarse, not a smooth paste.
Till next time.......

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Italian Herb Bread.......


Remember when the Bread Machine craze was on and everyone had to have one. Well, I have one and for me, it is often a life saver. It keeps me from running to the store in very cold or very hot weather. It also provides a nice loaf of bread when I run out. This recipe is an Italian Herb Bread and definitely worth trying. So dig out that bread machine that you haven't used in years and give it a try!!
Italian Herb Bread

1 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon of dried basil or rosemary
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
Add the ingredients to a bread maker pan in the order listed.
Use white bread cycle with a light or medium crust setting.
Note: I find it helpful to warm the pan first before adding the ingredients. It helps the yeast to work better.
Till next time........

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Baked Onions..........

Summer is here with all that miserable heat! But, so are the fresh veggies. If you have never had a baked onion, now is your chance. They are so easy to make and add a special side dish to your dinner. 
Baked Onions
Get one of those smaller, round white onions. Slice the top and the bottom off and peel it, and with a small spoon or a melon baller, carve out a cavity in the top of the onion. Put one of those beef boullion cubes down in the cavity and a pat of butter on top. Then, close up the foil tightly around it and put the whole thing in the oven. Cook in the foil at about 350-400 for about an hour. (Same way you'd do a baked potato). The juices from the onion will be contained by the foil and the bouillon flavor will permeate the whole onion. (You can put the foil pouch in a dish to be safe, if you want to. No one wants to clean an oven). It will taste a little like French Onion soup in flavor. Really nice side and very convenient.
Till next time........

Friday, July 22, 2016

Books..........

Reading is good brain exercise and can lower brain decline by 32%. Isn't that reason enough to read a book? It can reduce stress by 68%! It will improve your reading skills, spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Reason enough to start your children reading early. It provides entertainment for several hours and is cheaper than a movie. So do yourself a favor, grab a book, a cup of tea or coffee and improve your mind while having a great time.
Till next time.......

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Raspberry Jam......with Tomatoes........

Tomatoes will soon be coming on strong and you don't know what to do with all of them, Right? Well, cast your eyes on this recipe. Not only raspberry but think how good strawberry would be!!

Frozen Raspberry Jam  
5 cups chopped peeled fresh tomatoes
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 packages (3 ounces each) raspberry gelatin
Rinse three clean 1-pint plastic containers with lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.
In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice. Cook and stir over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if necessary. Add gelatin; stir until completely dissolved.Immediately fill all containers to within 1/2 in. of tops. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Wipe off top edges of containers; cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 3 hours or until set, but not longer than 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 12 months. Thaw frozen jam in refrigerator before serving. Yield: about 5-1/2 cups 
Note: 2 tablespoons: 82 calories, 21g carbohydrate 
Till next time........

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Heat........

Are you tired of this terrible heat we are having? I find it unbearable. I have never liked the summer heat, but as I age, I find it also makes me light headed. So I stay inside, grab a bottle of cold water and amuse myself in the air conditioning. I also find that unfortunately, I don't go very many places because of the heat. This is the hottest June on record. We are going to be facing 100F+ heat index and the climax of the heat will be 110F heat index. Definitely time to stay inside for people.
Till next time.......

Cantaloupe Blueberry Dish...........

Melons and blueberries are in season now and what better way to enjoy the flavors of the season? The blueberries are so sweet this season, no sugar needed. 
Cantaloupe Blueberry Dish
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 Tbsp honey (I like Clover Honey)
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 cups cantaloupe cubes
Squeeze lemon and put juice in a bowl. Add honey and cinnamon till well blended. Add blueberries and cantaloupe cubes and toss gently together to coat with lemon honey mixture. Serves 4.
Till next time........

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Easy Puff Dumplings.......

How many of you grew up eating puff dumplings or biscuit dumplings? If we had gravy, stew or soup, we had biscuit dumplings. So good. Maybe it was because it was wartime and the dumplings were filling. All I know is; it was delicious and I never went to bed hungry. This is the easy version of those long ago dumplings.




Puff Dumplings
2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
Stir ingredients until soft dough forms.
Drop by spoonfuls onto boiling stew; reduce heat. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes. (Do not lift the lid!!)
Till next time........

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Overnight Sticky Buns........

Here is another version of the sticky buns using a Bundt pan and thawing the rolls first. Choose the presentation you want.

 Sticky Buns
24 Rhodes Yeast Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold
1/2 box butterscotch or vanilla pudding mix, non-instant
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
Cut dinner rolls in half and dip in dry pudding mix. Arrange rolls in sprayed bundt pan, alternately with pecans. Sprinkle any remaining pudding mix over the top. Combine brown sugar and butter. Heat together until butter is melted and a syrup is formed (microwave about 1 1/2 minutes). Pour syrup over rolls. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Let rise until double in size or even with top of bundt pan; 8 hours or overnight. Carefully remove wrap. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Cover with foil the last 15 minutes of baking. Immediately after baking, loosen from sides of the pan with a knife and invert onto a serving plate.
Till next time........

Overnight Sticky Buns........


What could be easier than overnight sticky buns? You do what little work there is the night before. Then pop them in a preheated oven and your family/guests will think you have worked so hard on their lovely breakfast or brunch.
Overnight Sticky Buns
1 stick butter or margarine (1/2 cup)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 small pkg. vanilla pudding mix (NOT instant)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
18 frozen dinner rolls
Grease a 9x13” pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan, and place the frozen rolls over the nuts. Melt butter and add brown sugar, cinnamon, and pudding mix. Pour over rolls. Cover and set in a cold oven overnight. Remove from oven in the morning, and preheat the oven to 350º. Then bake for 30-40 minutes, or until rolls are cooked through. Serve warm. Makes 18 rolls
Till next time........


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Egg Roll Filling........

I became addicted to homemade egg rolls the first time I tasted them. Yes, I know, they make them fresh in the Chinese Restaurant; or do they? Somehow, the ones you make at home taste better. Maybe because they aren't frozen.







Egg Roll Filling
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 pkg cole slaw mix
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 cloves finely minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
16 egg roll wrappers
1 egg, lightly beaten
Oil for deep-fat frying
Sweet-and-sour sauce
In a large nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain well. Stir in the coleslaw mix, water chestnuts, onions, soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger, salt, and pepper. Saute until cabbage is crisp-tender. Position an egg roll wrapper with one point toward you. Place about ¼ cup sausage mixture in the center. Fold bottom corner over filling; fold sides toward center over filling. Roll toward the remaining point. Moisten top corner with beaten egg; press to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry egg rolls, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with a sweet-and-sour sauce.
I like an Orange Chili Sauce or Duck Sauce.
Till next time.......

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bravo's Dipping Oil.........

Have you been to Bravo's Cucina Italiana? It is one of my favorite places to go. Before you get your order; they bring out this herb bread and dipping oil. So good. Here is the recipe for the oil straight from Bravo. This is the real deal and not a copycat recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Dipping Oil
12 oz Blended oil
1 oz tomato paste
3/4 tsp dry rosemary
3/4 tsp dry thyme
3/4 tsp dry basil
4 oz boiling water
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 oz sun dried tomato
1/2 tsp chopped parsley
1/2 oz salt and pepper
In sauce pot, heat oil and add dry herbs. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool. Reconstitute sun dried tomatoes in water for 5 minutes and drain. Add together all oil, garlic, tomato paste, sundried tomato, salt and pepper. Blend very fine for 45 seconds and refrigerate to 41 degrees. Store in refrigerator covered for 30 days.
Till next time........

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chicken Pineapple Rumaki.........

One of my favorite appetizers is Rumaki. I don't care what you put in it, it is always good. It usually consists of chicken livers, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and marinated in soy sauce and either ginger or brown sugar. 
It is a make ahead hors d'oeuvre of mock Polynesian origin. It was popular in the 1950's and 1960's. You can warm it in the oven just before serving. Your guests will be delighted.

Chicken and Pineapple Rumaki
Vegetable oil, for the pans
3 small boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
15 pineapple chunks
1 pound bacon, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and then set a rack on top. Lightly oil the rack.
Toss the chicken and scallions with the soy sauce, sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wrap each pineapple chunk in a half slice of bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Arrange them on the rack set in the baking sheet.Wrap each piece of chicken and 2 pieces of scallion with the remaining bacon, securing each with a toothpick and arranging on the rack.Bake the chicken and pineapple Rumaki until the bacon is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve the Rumaki on a platter, sprinkled with the sesame seeds.
Till next time..........

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cannoli Dip.........


Do you love Cannoli as much as I do; but sometimes, you just don't have the time to make them? Make Cannoli Dip instead. Your friends will love you for it.
Cannoli Dip
2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Strawberries, for serving
Mix the ricotta, confectioners' sugar and zest in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips. Crispy wonton triangles, cinnamon pita chips or your favorite cookies for dipping. 8 appetizer servings. 
Till next time.........

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Angel Biscuits.......

Who doesn't like a delicious, fluffy and warm biscuits? Well, I for one love them. Angel biscuits are a bit different; in that they have yeast unlike your normal baking powder biscuits. I like a tall biscuit, so I roll the dough to about an inch thickness. But if you like one less tall, just roll the dough thinner.





Angel Biscuits
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablesppons sugar
1/2 cup shortening, cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
To the bowl of a food processor, add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to mix. Add the shortening and pulse a few more times until it forms little pebbles in the flour. Not too much now. Add the buttermilk and yeast mixture and pulse until it forms a sort of sticky ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead two or three times, just to form a ball and roll out to about 1 inch thick. Using a 2-inch cutter, cut out the biscuits and place them in a greased pan. While the oven preheats, let the biscuits rise slightly (about 20 minutes). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400F. Eat while warm and enjoy.
Till next time..........