Swoon Worthy

I have a treat for you—this is a recipe from my sister, Peggy which she promises is swoon worthy (not her words but I translated). She sent it to me in an email and I am giving it to you verbatim except for number 1, where she said to have the ingredients hany—I translated that to mean handy—

I then added a d to refridgerator but spellcheck told me I was wrong so I took it out again. Seems she has a grudge against d, while I am having a love fest with the letter.

Anyway, without further ado—be ready to be amazed:

 

Hi Lou, (that’s me)
As promised the

Salted Caramel Sauce

2 c. Granulated sugar
12 T. Unsalted butter, room temp., cut into pieces.
1 c. Heavy (whipping) cream
1 T. Fleur de sel (finishing salt)

1.  Have handy all ingredients.

2.  Heat sugar over med. heat.  When sugar starts to melt, whisk (takes a while, be patient). Stop whisking when sugar is completely melted.  Just swirl pan to move sugar around.

3.  Continue cooking until sugar turns a dark amber colour or 350 degrees on a candy thermometer.

4.  As soon as sugar reaches the dark amber stage, add butter, whisk until melted.  Switch to wooden spoon if whisk becomes clumped with sugar.

5.  Remove pan from heat.  Slowly pour in cream, whisking until smooth.  Whisk in salt.  (start with half a T. then taste to see if you would like to add more)

6.  Let caramel cool in pan for 10 min.  Pour into large jar with lid.  Store in refrigerator for one month.

Delicious with anything chocolate or vanilla or ice cream.  I like it over a brownie topped with ice cream.  Experiment….like over pumpkin pie!

 

For those who get confused easily, the big T is for tablespoon and c. is for cup. Most of you know this already, but I thought I would follow the Martha Stewart train of thought which explains even the tiniest detail in case you do not catch her drift—eg. how to fold a square napkin into a triangle—fold it using the opposite corners, not the adjacent corners (ha ha). I had to add the “ha ha” so you would know I was kidding.

 

Feel free to tell me what your swoon worthy food is.

Published in: on January 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm  Comments (40)  
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My version of BAM!

Name my Peas

Peas–not for breakfast anymore! (Photo credit: doolloop)

Yes, I know it is Monday and not Recipe day but on Saturday night I went to a dinner party and this was one of the side dishes and I just loved it, so I asked the hostess with the mostest to send it to me.

 Now be forewarned—it has more than the five requisite ingredients that I usually judge a recipe by ~ but salt, sugar, and pepper are not too exotic, nor are onions and peppers and peas. And who doesn’t love mayo and sour cream? Seriously, this is one good salad, and by adding the nuts you have then ramped it up a bit—adding the Emeril BAM! factor, along with the bacon. (Everything tastes better with bacon.)

 So, without further ado, here is the recipe:

Cold Pea Salad

4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

3/4 cup sour cream

1/8 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 bag (20 oz.) of frozen sweet peas thawed and dried off

1/2 cup diced celery

1/3 cup of diced red onion or green onions

1/4 cup of diced green, red or yellow pepper

1/2 cup of cashews or pecan or walnut halves roughly broken

Method:

Cook the bacon, crumble and set aside.

Beat the sour cream with the mayonnaise to loosen it, adding the sugar, salt and pepper; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the peas, celery, onions and peppers.

Add the sour cream mixture, toss, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, toss in the nuts.

Make this and tell me I am a genius for having shared it!

Published in: on July 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm  Comments (26)  
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Inspired Bliss

English: As the feel of the event was all abou...

Yes, this is exactly how my family sits down to eat every night. I may give the butler the night off! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The shared meal is no small thing. It is a foundation of family life, the place where our children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civilization: sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending.” ~Michael Pollan, from his book, “Cooked”

I am guilty of much of what Pollan is railing against in his book “Cooked”. I have been wooed by the fast food industry, courted by the industrial food moguls, and a victim of food that is not really food. And I am now inspired to cook food from scratch and not just heat up “packaged ravioli with sage-butter sauce” and consider it a “culinary achievement”.

My Achilles heel when it comes to cooking is the fact that after a while it becomes too routine, and just getting some food to the table is an accomplishment itself—no matter where it comes from—the pizza delivery guy, my freezer, or a package.

Pollan has renewed my pride in cooking, and inspired me. And real cooking can be so simple—sometimes just a quick nuking of fresh asparagus from the local farmers market with a little butter and salt and pepper will satisfy that urging; other times a full-blown meal where one has to actually touch real potatoes, chop real lettuce, and cook some fresh meat meets the criteria.

I must confess that I will still rely on frozen packaged food at times—but I am now determined to take a little more time, take it that one step further, and serve real food on a more regular basis. And I must look at it as feeding my creative beast—there are so many ways to be creative and I no longer want to limit myself to writing literary masterpieces and somewhat lame poetry (I know I am exaggerating on both ends of the scale here).

To share a meal with those you love where you have actually put some time and thought into the effort is most satisfying. If we are going to do important things like teach the art of conversation, and share and listen and navigate differences—we should do it over fare that deserves that deliberation.

Bliss is going that extra mile and fixing “real food” if not every day at least as much as possible. What do you think?

Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Comments (31)  
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Heaven in a Bun: Bliss

Heaven on earth

Heaven on earth (Photo credit: MarocStoun)

Jessica from howsweetitis provided this recipe: Loaded Cheddar Hot Dogs. yep, they’re a thing! on her blog today. I am totally stealing it and hope she does not mind. I am changing the name to Heaven on Earth Hotdogs though.

I am loving this recipe, though I most likely will find a way to shorten it up as I am a lazy cook and will probably not spend 45 minutes to cook hot dogs, no matter how gourmet. I will find a way to make these in under twenty minutes in one skillet not two—I promise. Also, they say if you change one thing in a recipe it is yours—so I am changing something—those of you who want to find out what I changed, go to howsweetitis. And I would definitely double the recipe—making six hot dogs is just not enough!

Loaded Cheddar Hot Dogs

Yield: makes 6 hot dogs

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

6 hot dogs
6 whole wheat hot dog buns, toasted
1 sweet onion, diced
12 ounces of sliced mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
6 ounce cheddar cheese, freshly grated
4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
ketchup, mustard + relish

Directions:

Heat two skillets over low heat. Add one tablespoons each of olive oil and butter to both skillets. To one skillet, add diced onions with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the onions don’t burn. Remove lid and add honey, tossing to coat and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until completely caramelized. Once caramel-y, set aside.

In the meantime, add the chopped mushrooms to the (second) skillet, tossing to coat. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add in garlic and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook hot dogs as desired: either grilled or in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Place each hot dog in a bun and top with an equal amount of grated cheese. Place hot dogs under the broiler (or even back on the grill) for a minute or two just until the cheese is melted. Top with ketchup, mustard and relish, then add mushrooms, onions and bacon. If not serving immediately, wrap in aluminum foil tightly. They can be reheated this way too!

This recipe made me so hungry, I am going out to dress up some hot dogs and have them for lunch. While I am fixing them I will try not to remember why hot dogs are bad for me, or what is in some of them, or that I really should not be eating them. And for those of you who are vegetarian, health conscious, or just not into hotdogs–sorry.

My bliss today: a souped up hot dog. What is your food bliss today?

Note to readers: look in the comments–Zen A. translated the “Heaven on Earth” sign for us!

Vicious Hot Chick

(Photo credit: ~db~)

Published in: on May 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm  Comments (37)  
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A Wonderfully Glorious Bean Salad

NCI EatBeansAndOtherLegumesOften

EatBeansAndOtherLegumesOften (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the title of this post, you may think I am overselling this recipe a bit–after all, just how glorious can a bean salad be?

Well this is one good and well-used recipe passed along by my sister-in-law, Brenda probably 30+ years ago (cannot believe I am old enough to remember back that far). It soon became mine to make for all the family gatherings as: 1. it did not have to be cooked; 2. there was no cooking involved; 3. no burner or oven had to be turned on to make it (are you noting a trend here?)

I have not made it for a few years, and it was resurrected in my memory bank the other day when my sister Peggy asked me for it, as she was making some salads to take to the cottage with her and she could not find hers. So a big thanks to Peg for reminding me of this “politically correct” salad, which not only tastes good, but is darn good for you. (Unlike my ode to bologna sandwiches yesterday).

Bean Salad

You will need:

19 oz tins of green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, lima beans and chick peas

I onion sliced thin

1 green pepper chopped (or red as it has lots of good stuff in it–but I am not going to go all nutritional on you)

Marinate several hours in:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup salad oil (today I might use olive oil)

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. parsley

pepper (I love when no amount is given–it feels so creative)

1 tbsp. seasoned salt

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. tarragon and basil or Italian spices

This is seriously good and easy–and even though it has more than my five ingredient criteria–there is no cooking involved which makes up for the length of the ingredient list.

Enjoy!

My idea of bliss is rediscovering a recipe I have not used in a long time. Do you have one you have forgotten?

Published in: on April 20, 2013 at 7:51 am  Comments (20)  
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Mystery Recipe Saturday

Raspberries

Raspberries (Photo credit: hello pedestrian)

Today I am presenting to you a “found recipe”. As I was looking through a notebook which passes for a recipe book at my house, I found a piece of paper folded into four. Upon opening it, I found a recipe—thus my “found recipe”.

You did not think it would really be any more complicated than that did you—perhaps a mysterious recipe on parchment paper in another language that tells us the secret of the ages; or a recipe for what to drink out of that golden goblet that is the journey end of those trying to find ….

Anyway it is a recipe for a salad dressing. An untitled recipe for a salad dressing which makes it all the more mysterious. So I will name it myself. Drum roll please………….

Raspberry Enchantment

1 finely chopped garlic clove

2 tsp. of raspberry jam

1 ½ tsp. grainy mustard

1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. of olive oil

There were no instructions, so I assume you measure the ingredients into a container, mix and pour on salad greens (I would choose  mixed baby greens or baby spinach with red onions and slivered almonds and maybe some dried cranberries).

So now, you are prepared for life—a few Saturdays ago I gave you a blueberry dressing and now I have provided you with a raspberry dressing—you are now officially ready for spring!

Published in: on April 6, 2013 at 10:23 am  Comments (52)  
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An Easter Prelude Recipe

pretty plate squircle I

(Photo credit: urbanmkr)

I am making this as a prelude to Easter dinner tomorrow. It is delicious and easy peasy which are two of my criteria for a recipe. The others of course are that a recipe have five ingredients and only three steps. While this has a few more than five ingredients, it makes up for it by being simple to put together.

This is another “Debbie” recipe—my fine gourmet friend who is the inspiration for a lot of my cooking ventures. She encourages me by telling me that “even Dave (her husband) can do it”, although if you remember from an earlier post, Dave, it turns out, is a great cook in his own right.

Hot Crab Spread

1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese at room temperature

1 – 7 oz. can of crabmeat

2 tbsp. of chopped green onions

½ tsp. of jarred minced garlic

1 tbsp. milk

Dash of pepper (I love recipes that call for a dash—brings out my creativity)

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 cup of slivered almonds

Combine all ingredients except for almonds. Mix well! Garnish with almonds.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Kudos to my friend Nancy for making hot cross buns from scratch yesterday—they were delicious and provided just the right note for Good Friday.

Next week: a recipe from my sister Peggy for a great pork chop dinner.

Bliss: Easy Recipes that taste good–what tried and true recipe do you keep returning to that never disappoints?

Published in: on March 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm  Comments (33)  
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Green Bean Bliss

Whole green beans in a carton.

Whole green beans in a carton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is Saturday—and we all know what that means: Recipe Day! I can just feel the enthusiasm that this weekly sojourn into the land of the culinary elicits, but I persevere. I bought some lovely frozen full size green beans and am going to roast them in the oven using a rendition of a recipe from Food.com.  Here is the original recipe:

Roasted Green Beans

2 lbs. green beans
1 -2 tablespoon olive oil (or just enough to lightly coat beans)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste, may substitute with Mrs. Dash if desired)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (or to taste, omit if using Mrs. Dash)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Wash, dry well, and trim green beans.
Put green beans on a jelly roll pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and about 8-10 grinds of the pepper mill). *Mrs. Dash may be substituted for salt and pepper as desired.
Use your hands to be sure all the beans are evenly coated and spread them out into 1 layer.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until beans are fairly brown in spots and somewhat shrivelled.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Of course I will not be using the original recipe as I will be using frozen green beans—so no washing, drying, and trimming will be necessary, which suits this lazy cook to a T.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! (Photo credit: KP_Sonny)

I am going to use this recipe for a little birthday dinner party I am throwing tomorrow night for my husband, whose birthday was last Thursday, but he has a birthday month  not day, so this is just a continuation of the celebrations (and for exactly one month he is older than I am).

I may just add some parmesan cheese to the mix to add just a little touch of bliss.

What do you add to recipes for a touch of bliss, even if they do not call for it?

Blueberry Bliss

List of U.S. state foods

List of U.S. state foods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can attest to the fact that this recipe is absolutely outstanding–a friend served it at a dinner party she and her husband hosted last week. Barbequed Steak (even though it was cold as cold can be, Dave braved the outdoors for us), baked potatoes, asparagus and this dressing on a baby spinach salad with roasted walnuts, dried cranberries, blueberries and red onion:

BLUEBERRY SALAD DRESSING
1 cup of blueberries
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Refridgerate until serving time. This recipe accents a spinach salad well. Use up dressing within a week.
By the way, I brought garlic butter buns–that was my safe contribution. And we were served a chocolate cake celebrating the upcoming birthdays of my husband and I. Within a month of each other we are turning the big 3~0 x 2.
English: Flowers round church door at St John ...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the big news of the night was that Debbie and Dave (our hosts) got married. They have been together for well over a quarter of a century and decided to take the plunge in a private ceremony. They broke the wonderful news to my husband and I, and our other good friends, Lee and Rhonda (who were married the same day a year later than we were) after they had celebrated our birthdays. Talk about humble hosts. I did not notice the flowers in the kitchen from their small but elegant wedding, nor the beautiful ring on her finger, (or Dave’s finger for that matter)–which makes me wonder: what kind of a reporter am I?

Anyway–it was a blissful night of food and friends.
Do you have some blissful moments shared with friends?
Published in: on March 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm  Comments (52)  
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Crazy Cracker Candy – And You Thought I Forgot That Today was Recipe Saturday

English: Six saltines and a fork on a large plate

Turn these into candy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going to provide you with a bit of an eccentric recipe but one I made a lot when my kids were little. It uses saltines as the base and is super easy. It is a fun recipe to do with kids, because they love to line up the crackers on a cookie sheet and try to leave no gaps.

I was given this recipe during a phone conversation with a friend. I had tried the candy at her house and just loved it. As such, this is a rather “loose” recipe, but it works with just a few ingredients and is super fast to make.

Crazy Cracker Candy

Ingredients:

Saltine crackers; 1/2 cup butter or margarine; 1/2 cup brown sugar; chocolate chips; nuts if you desire

Instructions:

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Line up saltine crackers so there are no gaps or overlapping. Boil 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Spoon over the crackers covering them with the liquid “gold”. Put them in the oven for about a minute in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Take them out of the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and then put back in the oven until the chips melt and spread. When they come out you can sprinkle them with nuts (I never do this). Put them in the fridge for 1/2 hour to cool. Score bars and remove them from cookie sheet. (I usually just break them up).

Seriously, these are so good–and your kids will love them. You will love them. And most of us have these ingredients hanging around our pantry and fridge.

Do you have a recipe that is blissfully easy, but good, and uses really accessible ingredients?

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