Friday, February 27, 2009

Food Around the World, Part 1

Today, I received the first of four sets of recipes for the Food Around the World Swap from Anna G in California. She sent a lot of great recipe cards, complete with graphics and interesting facts. Here's what she sent:

Stifado (Greek Stew)

3 lbs lean beef, stew meat cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 lbs small onions, peeled
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 cup red table wine
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp currants or raisins, optional

Season meat with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a Dutch oven, heavy kettle with cover, or crockpot. Add meat and coat with butter, but do not brown. Arrange onions over meat. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over meat and onions. Cover with a plate to hold mixture intact while cooking (this step is not necessary in a crockpot). Cover and simmer, 3 hours on the stove, 6-8 hours in a crockpot on low heat, or until meat is very tender. Do not stir while cooking. As you serve, stir sauce gently to blend. Serve with rice or noodles. Even better when made the day before serving. From the kitchen of MrsAnnaSue.

Risotto alla Milanese

5-6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups abrorio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 or more cups stock
Pinch of saffron
Grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a dutch oven or heavy skillet. When it is bubbling, add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes; do not allow the onion to brown. Add the rice and stir it well with a spatula; do not allow it to color. Be certain that the onion and rice are well coated with the butter. Add the wine and let it almost cook away. Start to add stock, a 1/2 cup at a time. Let each 1/2 cup of stock cook away before adding more. As the rice becomes tender, stir it with a fork to keep it from sticking to the pan. Near the end add the saffron and approximately 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve at once with extra grated Parmesan cheese on the table.
This is usually offered as a first course in Italy but may be served with certain meats, if you wish, or as a main course at luncheon. (Serves 4 as a main course). From the kitchen of MrsAnnaSue.

Papas a la Huancaina

1 lb (16 oz) cottage cheese or farmer's cheese
4 hard-cooked egg yolks
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
4 yellow chile peppers (aji amarillo) (Can be substituted with: 1 tablespoon finely chopped mild green chilies, canned or fresh)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons evaporated milk, or enough to blend
Dash of black ground pepper
Salt or freshly ground pepper to taste
6 large or 12 small hot, fresh boiled potatoes, peeled

Remove the seeds from chile peppers and finely chop.
In a blender, mix the cheese, egg yolks, onion, chilies, evaporated milk, and oil. Add more milk if the sauce is too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over hot potatoes, garnished with olive, radish and hard-cooked egg slices. This dish can be served slightly cold as well. Serve 6.

Scotch Broth

1 lb neck of mutton or lamb
2 pints water
1 small turnip, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 onion, chopped
1 oz cabbage, shredded
1 oz pearl barley
Chopped parsley to garnish

Place the meat in a saucepan with the water. Add the pearl barley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off any white scum. Add the chopped vegetables, cover and simmer for another 1 hour, adding the grated carrot and the cabbage for the final 30 minutes of cooking. Before serving remove the meat and bones, and discard the bones. The meat can be returned to the broth or eaten separately, if preffered. Bring back to the boil and serve, garnished with chopped parsley. With the compliments of MrsAnnaSue.

Spicy Chicken with Creole Rice

1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup long-grain rice
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the flour, paprika, pepper, garlic, red pepper, thyme and a pinch of salt in a plastic zippered bag and shake to mix. Rub thighs with olive oil. Toss them in the bag to coat with the spice mixture. Place the chicken in a oven proof baking dish with sides.
2. While the chicken is cooking, make the Creole rice. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, pepper, and celery, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, then add the broth and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until all the broth has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the chopped parsley into the rice. Serves 4.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oriental ATC, Part 1

Today I received an absolutely beautiful ATC from Jessica H in Utah. It was for the Oriental ATC Swap.

Oriental ATC from Jessica H

Monday, February 23, 2009

Favorite Appetizer Recipe Swap, Part 2

Well, today, in addition to receiving blank recipe cards from Ricki M-C in Missouri, I got recipes from Tracy K in New York for the Fovorite Appetizer Recipe Swap.

Salami Appetizers

1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese
9 pieces salami
12 olives

1. Soften the cream cheese & spread each slice of salami with cream cheese. Stack the slices on top of each other - ending with the top slice having no cheese on it. Cover and refrigerate till cheese is set and meat is cold. Cut into 12 wedges. Garnish with an olive on a toothpick and pish into top of wedges.

Pineapple Appetizers

1 lb thick slab bacon
16 oz pineapple chunks in juice
brown sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut the length of the bacon in half. Drain pineapple. Wrap each chunk of pineapple with a piece of bacon. Secure with toothpick. Place on a metal baking tray with pineapple facing up. Sprinkle brown sugar over top. Bake until bacon is cooked. Remove from pan and place on warm plate or serving tray.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Donnie's Belated Birthday

Yes, Donnie's birthday was yesterday, but we got together today so that he could go out partying with his friends on his actual birthday. The day started out with a quick trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a birthday card. I have to say that it was almost as cute as the paper taco card I got him a few years ago. Then I went to Catonsville to pick up pho'. There's a small restaurant there called Pho' Nam, and I was the whitest person in there! I got to Donnie's about a half hour later than we had planned, and we sat down and ate pho' while watching "Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End" on TV. It was too late to catch the 1:10 movie, so we watched "Ratatouille" until it was time to leave for the 2:40 movie at a different theater. We watched "Slumdog Millionaire," and it was excellent. I highly recommend it. After returning to Donnie's place and hanging out for a little bit, I hit the road, stopping at Wal-Mart for an extended shopping trip for groceries. It was a good day for me - thanks, Little Brother!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

What a day! I stopped work around 5 pm, had a soak in the tub, and I'm still incredibly sore. After taking measurements for utilities that had been marked, Tom and I edged the driveway. Tom borrowed an edger from our neighbor, and made a run around the drive with it. In the meantime, I took some type of tool that resembled a hoe, and dug out the edge. I did about one-third of the driveway, and it was hours of the hardest labor I've done in a long time. The digging I did a few weeks ago didn't hold a shovel to what I did today!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Ton of Mail

I can't believe how much I enjoy receiving mail! Today, I received four items, from four different swaps. The first was from Hanna T in Arizona. She sent recipe cards for the Family Chef Blank Recipe Card Swap. Next was recipe cards for the Family Chef Supermarket Recipe Card Swap from Anna G in California. From Christine M in New York, I received an ATC for the Food with Faces ATC Swap.

Food with Faces ATC from Christine M

And finally the first of two partners in the Altered Easter Egg Swap, Mary C from Utah, sent two eggs.

Altered Easter Eggs from Mary C

I feel very fortunate to have received so much cool stuff, and I look forward to coming home every night to see what, if anything, new has arrived!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Favorite Appetizers Recipe Swap, Part 1

Today, I received the first out of two sets of recipes for the Favorite Appetizer Recipe Swap. This came from Jenny N from Ohio. She also sent a whole bunch of goodies: two tea bags, a dish towel, and a doily (which is a wash cloth). What a nice surprise!

Goodies from Jenny N

Sausage Quiches

Makes 24 appetizers (use small mini muffin pans)

1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 lb Bob Evans Italian Roll Sausage
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
2 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper

Beat butter and cream cheese in medium bowl until creamy. Blend in flour; refrigerate 1 hour. Roll into 24 (1-inch) balls; and press each into mini muffin cups.

Preheat oven to 375. To prepare filling, crumble sausage into small skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain off any drippings. Sprinkle evenly into pastry shells in muffin cups, sprinkle with Swiss cheese and chives. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, salt and cayenne until blended. Pour over sausage in pastry shells. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until set. Remove from pans. Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers.

Chicken Livers (Rumaki (Susan Few))

Chicken livers, cut in half
Water chestnuts, cut into 3 pieces
Bacon, cut in half
Brown sugar
Teriyaki Sauce (below)

Cut chicken livers in half; cut each water chestnut into 3 pieces. Pour teriyaki sauce over chicken livers and water chestnuts in bowl. Refrigerate about 4 hours. Drain. Wrap a piece of chicken liver and a piece of water chestnut in each bacon slice. Secure with wooden pick; roll in brown sugar. Set oven at "broil" or 550. Broil 3-4 inches from heat 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Turn occasionally.

Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons catsup
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic crushed

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What a Nice Night

I had tonight off, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. First off, I left work at a decent hour. How crazy is that? Then I went to the grocery store to pick up a roast and other items for dinner. When I got home, I fired up the pressure cooker, and made roast beef, with home-made mashed potatoes and gravy to accompany it. While cooking and eating, I got caught up on a couple of television programs I'd recorded during the week, then worked on recipe cards and ATCs for swaps that I had joined, or was considering joining. Just before turning in for the night, I signed up for the Oriental ATC swap, because I liked what I had put together. In addition to being fairly productive, Tom complimented dinner, and that makes me pretty happy, since we've recently had a falling out about my cooking. It was a good night!

My Oriental ATC

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Was This Box for Me

Today, in addition to receiving the tenth and final Valentine for the Little "Classroom" Valentine's Swap, I received my third Petite Inspiration Box, from Shannon A. But wait, the box has an "m" on it. That makes me wonder if the box was meant for Marlene, and accidentally got mixed up. I'll have to e-mail Shannon to find out... In the meantime, I won't open it, just in case the box contents were tailored to each of us.

Petite Inspiration Box from Shannon A

Little "Classroom" Valentines

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Well, Dad's Gone

Dad was in town for a meeting, and when it finished up, he came and stayed with me for a few days. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get my shifts covered at the restaurant, so I didn't have much time to visit with him, but I did enjoy the time that we had together.
Thursday night, he came to the restaurant and hung out in the bar. It was slow enough where I could hang out, too, and do a little chatting. When we got home, he gave me a few things that he'd brought with him for me and I read a book he'd brought along, "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories." It was too funny. Friday night was a really late night for me at the restaurant, so we only talked a little before hitting the sack - since we had to get on the road in the morning. Saturday morning, we drove down to Alexandria to visit Donnie. Once there, we had brunch at O'Connell's (where we each had the Irish Breakfast), and then walked through the Torpedo Factory Art Center. A couple of highlights from the art center, for me at least, were a set of four ceramic fish wall hangings by Joan Kasprzak and a moose head made out of recycled materials. It's nose was a bicycle seat, the teeth were a phone cord, and on the sculpture itself was a bird made of soda cans. Then we had to leave so that I could get to work. After work, Dad and I sat down in front of the computer and entered information into his geneology program. So, that was his visit from my view. I feel guilty for not being able to spend more time, but I'm glad for the time that we did have - and the visit with Donnie was nice, too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beefy Taco Dip

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Sacavenger Hunt.

Beefy Taco Dip

1/2 pound ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup Chunky Salsa
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Assorted Toppings (see Note)
Sour cream (optional)
Tortilla chips

1. Cook the beef and chili powder in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat. Stir the salsa, cream cheese and Cheddar cheese in the skillet. Cook and stir until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the assorted toppings and top with the sour cream, if desired.
2. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Note: Assorted Toppings - Chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, sliced pitted ripe olives

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Charms Have Arrived

Well, first off, I have to back up a day and mention the mail I received yesterday. I got the first of two haikus from Sarah G. Her presentation was absolutely adorable. She constructed a felt book for holding needles. Her haiku follows.
Daffodils blooming
in the frosted morning breeze.
Winter in the South
Winter Haiku by Sarah G

Now, back to today. The charms from the Romancing the Charm Swap arrived. They were just too cute! I can't believe how many different kinds I received, and the number of different ideas representeed.

Charms from the Romancing the Charm Swap

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pineapple Souffle

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Pineapple Souffle

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
5 slices white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6x10 inch baking dish.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the bread cubes and pineapple until well blended.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the top.
4. Bake in preheated oven until bread points on top are golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool before serving.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zucchini Bread

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Zucchini Bread

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mail, Mail, Mail

I got mail from three different swaps today, and I love them all! The first was the second and final ATC from the Red and White for February ATC Swap - which came from Linda in Perth, Australia. The second, from Marlene in New Jersey, was the second of three matchboxes to be received from the Petite Inspiration Box Swap. The third was from Cindy from right here in Maryland, and was for the Little Token of Love Swap. Everything was so adorable, I wish I was half as creative as the women who sent me these wonderful items!

Red and White for February ATC from Linda M

Little Token of Love from Cindy

Additional Goodies from Cindy

Petite Inspiration Box from Marlene

Goodies from Marlene's Box

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Retaining Wall and Food with Faces

Tom and I spent today digging out the area that we've been intending for a retaining wall. Boy, am I sore. It was hard work, but the weather was beautiful, and we got a lot accomplished. Now we need to get a trech dug in order to pour a foundation.
After all of that, I worked on my Food with Faces ATC. I've drawn up some drafts, and finally came up with something I liked. I drew it out, and colored it in, with markers, so it looks a little childish, but come on - food with faces... Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before sealing it up in an envelope.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
2. While the pasta is cooking, in a seperate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps.
3. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
4. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sit for five minutes before serving.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Winter Haiku Swap

After being assigned partners, I sent my Winter Haiku out. I worked on the actual presentation last night, but have had the haiku for about a week. It's all about how winter is here in Maryland, most of the time.
Chill is in the air
The ground is hard, sky is gray
Winter has arrived.
We, as participants, got to choose what format to present the haiku in. I presented it in an ATC format. I'm pleased with it - it's definitely original.

My Winter Haiku ATC

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Went Nuts About Reading

Today, I handed in my reading list for the adult reading program at the library here in town, and received a free gift. I'm thinking of gifting the mug to Clark (my sister's husband), since we've established a squirrel thing for him.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last Hedgehog ATC

Today, I received the last of three Hedgehog ATCs from Jessie. It's adorable!

Hedgehog ATC from Jessie

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Scallops

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Scallops

12 jumbo raw peeled deveined shrimp, 16 to 20 count per pound
12 large sea scallops, trimmed and well drained
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grill seasoning or coarse salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
12 slices center cut or applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/2
3 scallions, very thinly sliced on an angle

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place shrimp and scallops in a shallow dish or bowl. Dress seafood with lime juice and zest, a generous drizzle of sesame oil, grill seasoning and hot pepper flakes. Wrap each shrimp and scallop with a half slice of bacon. Wrap each shrimp working from head to tail, pulling bacon snuggly around the shrimp. Wrap the bacon around the outside of each scallop. Fasten bacon in place as necessary with picks.
3. Arrange the shrimp and scallops on a slotted baking pan, such as a broiler pan., to allow draining while bacon crisps. Bake shrimp and scallops 10 to 14 minutes, until shrimp is pink and curled, scallops are opaque and bacon is crisp. Shrimps may finish before the scallops.
4. Arrange cooked seafood on platter and sprinkle with chopped scallions.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Garlic Lime Chicken

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Garlic Lime Chicken

5 chicken breast halves
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground pepper

1. Place chicken in slow cooker (4 quart slow cooker recommended).
2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.
3. Cover. Cook on high 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SuperBowl XLIII

Since I had to work at the Tidewater for the SuperBowl, I made Buffalo Chicken Dip last night. In addition to being pleased with how it turned out, and how much the other girls liked it, I was quite thrilled with the Steelers victory. I wasn't able to sit down to watch the game until the fourth quarter, since we were still open, and there were some customers in the bar, but it was kind of fun being the only one out of the seven of us rooting for the Steelers. I caught some serious flack, but he who laughs last...