Thursday, July 28, 2016

No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake

On Saturday, Tom and I will be attending the 2016 MGS Summer Picnic, and I decided to bring a No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake, among other things. Since it has to chill for several hours, I made it tonight.
No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake

  • 19 oz graham crackers
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 3 ½ c ups heavy cream
  • 1 banana, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Cream powdered sugar, vanilla and salt with the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until the cream mixture holds stiff peaks.
  2. Spread a thin layer of heavy cream mix in a 9x13 pan just to coat the bottom.
  3. Layer 5 graham crackers across the center of the pan, then 2 more, breaking them as needed to fit around the top and bottom edges.
  4. Spread a thick layer of heavy cream mix over grahams and top with a hearty layer of sliced strawberries.
  5. Place graham crackers on top of strawberries, then heavy cream mix, then layer of thinly sliced bananas.
  6. Repeat the graham-strawberries-cream layers 1 more time (3 times total) and you should reach the top of the pan.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until the graham crackers have softened completely.
  8. Top with a few sliced strawberries or whole strawberries if you desired.
  9. Serve chilled.
We'll see on Saturday how it turned out.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Our Fourth of July

Mom's phone call came earlier last week, "What are you doing this weekend?" I told her I was working and she mentioned that she thought that we might get together to do a little geocaching. I told her of the plans that Tom and I had already made for July 4th - geocaching along the C&D Canal - and would they like to join us? Talk to your Dad. I explained the plan to Dad, and invited them to come along. He'd let us know. Thursday, we knew.

We got a relatively early start, leaving shortly after 8 a.m., and between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., we had found 121 caches. Overall, it was a good time, and we got most of the ones that I had hoped for. Around 5 p.m., it started to rain, and we got soaked. At that point, we had just over 100 caches, but the next level badge on BadgeGen was 120 finds in a 24 hour period, so we cached for 5 more hours!

Having Phoon at C&D Canal

It was frustrating (arguing with the chauffer), exhausting (walking over seven miles) and rewarding (woo-hoo, 120 caches in 24 hours!), among other things. I don't know when we'll have the chance to do something like that again, so I'm glad for the opportunity.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy 3rd of July

Well, it was a bittersweet day for me. I decided a few months ago to leave Baltimore's Marching Ravens, and today, they were performing at the Independence Day parade in Havre de Grace. I was working, and the parade was still in progress as I left after my shift. I wanted to see everyone, but I didn't, do you know what I mean? Anyway...

Instead, Tom had planned a cook-out and invited Mario and Sally (our next-door neighbors), as well as my parents, who were arriving this evening to geocache with us tomorrow. We decided to try something new, cooking corn on the grill.

Roasting Ears of Corn

  • 6 ears corn
  • ¾ stick butter
  • 1 slightly heaping T Herbes de Provence
  1. Do not shuck ears - soak in a pot of water overnight.
  2. Start grill) Drain ears, pulling off the first couple of leaves.
  3. Pull remaining leaves down ear, about 3/4 of the way down. Remove silk.
  4. Melt butter. Add Herbes de Provence. Stir.
  5. Generously brush herb butter on ears.
  6. Replace leaves on ears of corn, tie the tip closed with a leaf that had previously been removed.
  7. When grill is ready, place ears on grill. Roast for 30 minutes on low to medium heat (20 minutes on medium to high heat), turning the ears every 5 minutes.
The corn turned out well. After being soaked all night, it was juicy, and the flavor of the spices was good.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Orioles vs. White Sox

Tom and I went to the Baltimore Orioles/Chicago White Sox game tonight. Back in October, we got tickets for a game that was rained out, and we weren't able to attend the rain date, due to work, so we got our rain ticket for tonight. I must say, it was really weird. The last time I was at an Orioles game to just watch the game must have been fifteen years ago, any time since then has been with the band, and we had a role to play, be it playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the game started, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the 7th inning stretch or just playing outside the stadium while fans arrived for the game. I couldn't get used to just sitting there and watching the game!
After the game (which was a win for the O's), we walked down Eutaw Street, the area between right field and the B&O Warehouse, to see the plaques where home run balls have landed, or even hit the warehouse!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Fling Luncheon

Today, we held our "Spring Fling" Luncheon at work. Last night, I made three items, and they were well received.

The most popular was the shrimp salad, there wasn't any left over at the end of the hour, but I got compliments on the other two items as well.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shrimp Salad

The last cold sandwich salad that I decided to make for tomorrow's "Spring Fling" luncheon at Huber was a recipe for Shrimp Salad by Ina Garten.
Shrimp Salad

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lemon cut into quarters
  • 4 pounds large shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 shrimp per pound)
  • 2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 cup minced red onion (1 onion)
  • 3 cups minced celery (6 stalks)
  1. Bring 5 quarts of water, 3 tablespoons salt, and the lemon to a boil in a large saucepan. Add half the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Cook uncovered for only 3 minutes or until the shrimp are barely cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Let cool; then peel, and devein the shrimp.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine or vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and dill. Combine with the peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings. Serve or cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Egg Salad with Homemade Tarragon Mayonnaise

For tomorrow's "Spring Fling" luncheon at Huber, one of the cold sandwich salad recipes that I wanted to try out was egg salad, and I based what I made off of this recipe by Emeril Lagasse.
Egg and Lobster Salad with Homemade Tarragon Mayonnaise

  • 6 large eggs
  • Homemade Tarragon Mayonnaise, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 (1-pound) lobster, cooked until tender, tail meat chopped, claw meat left whole
  • 2 cups mescaline greens, washed and spun dry
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 firm, ripe Hass avocado, peeled and seed removed, rubbed with fresh lemon juice to prevent discoloration
  • 8 pencil-thin asparagus spears, blanched and shocked in ice water bath, patted dry
  • Sevruga caviar, tobiko, golden whitefish or salmon roe, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh tarragon leaves, for garnish
  1. In a medium saucepan, place the eggs and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the eggs at a bare boil for exactly 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Place the eggs in an ice bath to cool. When chilled, peel the eggs, cut in half lengthwise, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl and add 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise, the shallots, garlic, and cayenne and mash with a fork to blend. Add the chopped lobster tail meat and additional mayonnaise 1 tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
  3. In a bowl, toss the mesclun with the olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange across the bottom of on a large plate or platter.
  4. With a thin, sharp knife, cut each avocado half lengthwise almost all the way but not completely through to the other end. Place each half seed side down on the lettuce and gently spread out into a fantail shape. Place the lobster-egg salad in the center of the two avocados and the asparagus spears around the sides of the plate. Top the avocados with caviar, garnish with the tarragon, and serve.
Homemade Tarragon Mayonnaise:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch freshly ground white pepper
  1. In a food processor or blender, blend the egg and lemon juice for 10 seconds. With the processor running, slowly pour in the oil through the feed tube and process until emulsified. (Should the mixture become too thick, with the machine running, add water 2 teaspoons at a time.) Add the tarragon, salt, and pepper and pulse to blend. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. (The mayonnaise will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.)
Yield: about 1 1/4 cups
I made the Homemade Tarragon Mayonnaise first, moved on to the Egg Salad part, then stopped when lobster came into play.

Pete's Sister's Crab Salad

Tomorrow, at Huber, we're having a "Spring Fling" luncheon. After some serious thought, I thought I'd bring a variety of cold sandwich salads (i.e. tuna, chicken, egg) and cocktail bread. The first one I decided to make was something I had tried many years ago at a friend's post-Christmas party, got the recipe, but never made - Pete's Sister's Crab Salad.

Pete’s Sister’s Crab Salad

  1. 1 lb. Lump or Backfin Crabmeat
  2. Add a mixture of diced onion, celery and green pepper (I just add it to add color and look healthy so I don’t measure any of the ingredients).
  3. Add about 3 TBSP of Mayonnaise (or more until it is a consistency that you like)
  4. Mix together all of the above (use a fork so that you can separate the pieces)
  5. Add a few shakes of OLD BAY Seafood Seasoning (I use the low sodium one)
When adding seasoning, taste your crab mixture immediately after adding the Old Bay. If it tastes like it could use a dash more , STOP. The seasoning will be absorbed by the meat and it will be fine. Serve the salad with extra Old Bay so that others can season to taste. Unfortunately, once you’ve added too much, it can’t be removed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Good bye, Little Buddy, we'll miss you!

Monday, January 25, 2016


We'll miss you!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Orange Chicken

I saw a post on Facebook from Tasty on Orange Chicken. Tom's always talked about how much he loves it, so I decided to try it out.

Orange Chicken (inspired from Panda Express)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 Tbsp. of oil
  • 2 tsp of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. of ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. of rice wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 5 Tbsp. of vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of water
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. of orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. of corn starch slurry (1 Tbsp. of corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp. of water)
  • Chopped scallions for garnish
  1. Combine the egg, white pepper and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the cubed chicken breast, make sure it’s coated with the egg mixture.
  2. In another bowl, combine corn starch and flour. Add the coated chicken to the flour mixture. Stir to coat.
  3. Working in batches, fry the coated chicken until golden and done. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. In a large pan or work, add oil, garlic, ginger and red chili flakes. Stir fry until fragrant. Add rice wine and stir for a few seconds. Proceed to add all of the other sauce ingredients, including soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar and orange zest.
  5. Add the fried chicken. Stir to coat in sauce. Thicken the sauce with the corn starch slurry. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with rice. Enjoy!
Besides the fact that it was too spicy, and there wasn't enough sauce, and it wasn't sweet enough, Tom thought it was successful. I was pleased with the flavor, too. We started to dissect the recipe for future reference, when we realized that I had only added 1 1/2 T sugar, that what Tom really liked was Panda Express' Honey Chicken, and that Panda Express doesn't even make Honey Chicken, the Honey Chicken is actually from Mandarin Express. I made extra sauce anyway - no red chili flakes, the correct quantity of sugar, 1 T of orange juice, and 1 T honey, and Tom thought it would be great for next time.