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Showing posts from 2009

Happy New Year!

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Once in a blue moon there is a blue moon on New Year’s Eve but it won’t really be blue. A blue moon is the second full moon in a month and we will see it in all its glory as the countdown begins. The blue moon will be brilliant and I hope it is a clear night for good viewing and let there be no howling!





New Year’s Eve and speaking of the blue moon makes me think of moonshine and moonshine makes me think of whiskey.  The best bourbon whiskey in the world is produced at Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY.  (Is that kind of like “6 degrees of separation” thinking?)  Those who know Bill undoubtedly know that when imbibing, his elixir of the gods is Maker’s Mark.  Maker’s Mark is smooth, gentle and very easy to drink.  It is termed a “wheatie” because any rye is replaced with wheat, making it milder and sweeter than rye whiskies. 
If you should get the chance to visit Maker’s Mark, you should!  It is beautiful out that way in the countryside (I really mean way out in the country, on v…

Prosciutto Mozzarella Roll-ups

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Antipasto Anton Arkhipov
This unique appetizer combines several great Italian flavors into a single bite for a tasty appetizer!  It includes mozzarella balls, fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes wrapped up in a slice of prosciutto, the heavenly spicy Italian ham.  They are so very easy to make and so very delicious!

If your grocery store has an antipasti or olive bar, you should be able to find the mozzarella balls there.  But, if it is your lucky day and you come across marinated mozzarella balls, that is even better and you better rush out and buy a lottery ticket!  However; if you can not find them, just cut the mozzarella into bite-size chunks the size of half of a cherry tomato. 
Using lean prosciutto makes them hold together easier as you roll them and depending on the size, it may be better to slice the prosciutto into thirds lengthwise, thereby giving you more servings also.  The sliced prosciutto should be about the width of the cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella balls. 


Pros…

Italian-Style Stuffed Mushrooms

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New Year's Eve in Dogville Cassius Coolidge


My, gosh!  It sounds like we have been cheated of a good thing!  Four thousand years ago, the ancient Babylonians were probably the first group of people to celebrate New Year’s Eve and they had 11 days of celebrating, beginning with the first crescent moon after the spring equinox.  Then in the late 1500’s, the Gregorian calendar changed all of that.


I love appetizers and New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to serve a tempting array of them.  They are fun to make, delicious to eat and they could be the main meal if you serve a variety of them.  Italian-Style Stuffed Mushrooms is my favorite appetizer!!!  They are delicious with the added bonus that they can be prepared the day before, refrigerated and then baked just before serving the next day.  They are the best!


Whoopee!!!  The biggest party day/night of the year is fast approaching.  How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?  Do you go out for the big bash, have a party at home, …

Bill’s Christmas Goose

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Is what’s good for the goose, good for the gander?


It could be true in some houses but, not quite in this one in the beginning.  Bill has fond memories of Christmas when he was a kid and seeing a platter filled with a golden goose on the dinner table.  According to him, it was a delicacy with a sweet rich taste from his childhood.  I even grew up on a farm in Pickerington, Ohio and had never eaten goose until I met Bill. 

Roasted goose was the rage on the Christmas dinner table in Victorian England, as you may recall from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, but it did not become popular on this side of the pond until the early 1900’s.  These days, Americans consume less than one third of a pound per person yearly. 

Since goose is a bit fattier than the traditional holiday turkey, the fat can either be trimmed away before roasting or just let it melt away as it roasts.  Actually, goose has less unhealthy saturated fats than beef, lamb and other such meats.  Many chefs claim that the t…

Mom’s Quick Streusel Coffee Cake

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The subject was coffee yesterday so today it is time for a good coffee cake to go with the coffee.




I love coffee cake with this being a great one since it is as the title says:  quick, plus easy and delicious.  This coffee cake of Mom’s is moist with the addition of the sour cream and a treat for the morning or any time. 

Speaking of “easy”, this is how easy it is:  after dealing with 11” of snow in our driveway, we came inside and I put this coffee cake together in just a few minutes!  How easy is that?
This is the consummate old-fashioned classic coffee cake.  It is moist, delicious and perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast or brunch.




Mom’s Quick Streusel Coffee Cake
Ingredients:
1 stick butter ¾ cup sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 ½ cups flour sifted 3 teaspoons baking powder

Streusel Topping:
Ingredients:
½ cup pecans, chopped finely ½ cup sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Method:

Cream 1 stick butter with ¾ cup sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing all the time.�…

For the Love of Coffee!

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Ah, can’t you just smell that cup of coffee with its fragrant aroma? There is nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning and thanks to Juan Valdez, Bill can make a perfect cup!










You don’t have to be a coffee aficionado to know who Juan Valdez is.  Most of us are familiar with the fictitious character sporting a moustache, wearing his sombrero and poncho; always pictured with his mule, Lana. 



Juan and Lana have been all over the media for as long as I can remember.  They have been viewed on TV hand-picking coffee cherries, validating the fact that rich Columbian coffee is harvested manually by real people.  Then,  Juan has also even been seen strolling through the grocery aisles, leading Lana along the way.  Juan Valdez has been around for 50 years and is well known wherever he goes; being a bit like Santa Claus, just no one guy.  


Coffee jump starts my day and I could not do without a cup or two or three in the morning; hot, strong and black.  Bill is a coffee and cream sort of gu…

Mom’s Penuche

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Say it with me, “Peh-noo-chee.” Or, do you call it brown sugar fudge? Mom always called it penuche but, some people call it brown sugar fudge and that describes it spot on. It is either a New England or a Southern delicacy and the origin of it is unclear.

Merry Christmas Everybody!


This is an old recipe that Mom used during the holidays when I was young and it is undoubtedly one of the sweetest confections you will ever put in your mouth!  Penuche is a form of fudge, except that it does not include chocolate and is lighter in color than fudge while being extremely sweet.  Penuche tastes like a very rich caramel.  

You make it by heating sugar and milk to the soft ball stage, letting it cool briefly, and then beating it until it is smooth and creamy.  Mom usually added chopped nuts walnuts but, that is optional.
Then, you get to the “workout” segment of it when you have to beat it!  It has to be beaten vigorously and it will make your arm feel like it is going to disintegrate but, you …

Glazed Pork Roast

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Bill and I both love roasted pork and I’m always looking at new recipes for it. It is a great meat to have in the winter time when it is cold and snowing like it did all day yesterday and last evening.


But, there are so many variations of it and it is hard deciding how to prepare it but, this recipe with the glaze makes it wonderful!  The roast is so tender and succulent to the point that your knife has to do very little work. 
By marinating it for a couple of hours in the refrigerator, the sauce permeates the meat and the flavors come alive.  The sauce caramelizes, giving the meat a beautiful dark brown glaze and besides, it smells excellent while it is roasting!  It is an easy recipe, yet delicious and impressive. 
The pork roast has a juicy subtle taste, not sweet and the flavors come alive with this recipe!  It’s amazing, it is really very tasty!  I served it with chive mashed potatoes and broccoli with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan. 
Glazed Pork Roast
Ingredients:
3 pound pork r…

Sweet Potato Casserole

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Sweet potato vine in flower
Here is Kathy’s (Matt’s girlfriend) delicious recipe for sweet potatoes that is a great departure from the traditional pineapple and marshmallow sweet potatoes.  It is made of fresh sweet potatoes, not canned for a great fresh flavor and is filled with aromatic spices and a bit of pecans.   As there is just a little brown sugar in the recipe, it is not too sweet. 


This scrumptious dish makes a great addition to your holiday menu but, there is no need to wait for a holiday to enjoy it; it’s great any time!  It is easy to make and delicious.
This dish is a keeper and will make anyone a sweet potato lover!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Ingredients:
2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes 2 eggs, lightly beaten 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (melt extra for baking dish) 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground ginger Splash of vanilla extract Several pinches of nutmeg Freshly ground black pepper (very little to taste) ¼ cup coarsely…

Chicken & Spaghetti Frittata

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I’m hooked on frittatas!


Now that the Christmas cookie baking binge is over, I’m ready for a great savory dish and this is it!  Frittatas are the Italian version of the American omelet and differ in that the frittata is served open-faced and not folded.  

It is sort of similar to eating quiche without the crust.  They are initially cooked on the stove in a skillet and finished in the oven by broiling or baking.  Some cooks invert the skillet onto another skillet on the stove instead of putting it in the oven and that takes a bit of practice. 

Frittatas can also be as thick or as thin as you like them and the filling has endless possibilities: any variety of cheese, Italian sausage, spinach, shrimp, crisp bacon, ham, salmon, vegetables and diced potatoes or pasta.  They are usually served warm but are good also at room temperature. 
I had never cooked one until recently and from time to time, I love these types of dishes:  a complete meal all in one pan.  I just combined parts of several…