Friday, December 13, 2013

Sicilian Meat Roll

Sicilian Meat Roll

2  Eggs, beaten
3/4  Cup  Soft Bread Crumbs
1/2  Cup  Tomato Juice
2  Tablespoons  Fresh Parsley, snipped fine
1/2  teaspoon  Dried Oregano, crushed
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1/4  teaspoon  Black Pepper
1  clove  Garlic, crushed
2  pounds  Ground Beef
8  slices  Deli Ham (lunch meat)
1-1/2  Cups  shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3  slices  Mozzarella Cheese

Combine  Eggs, Bread Crumbs, Tomato Juice, Parsley, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, and Garlic; crumble in Ground Beef and combine well.  On parchment paper or waxed paper, pat meat into a 12-inch by 10-inch rectangle.  Arrange Ham on meat; sprinkle with shredded Mozzarella.  Roll up, starting at the short end; place seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 pan; carefully seal edges and ends if need be.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour, 15 minutes--center will be pink due to the Ham.  Place sliced Mozzarella on top the last 5 minutes.  Serves 8.

"And the Child grew and became strong in spirit,
filled with wisdom,
and the grace, favor and spiritual blessing of God
was upon Him."
Luke 2:40
Amplified Bible

This is a good 'dressed-up' meat loaf--hungry boys especially like this (but then, they like just about anything, don't they?!).  This recipe is from my Mom.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fish Tacos, California-Style

Fish Tacos, California Style

(Please don't let the length of this recipe hinder you from making it--this really is quite simple)

Pickled Onions
1/2  Red Onion, sliced thin
1  Jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into thin rings
1/2  Cup  White Wine Vinegar
1  Tablespoon  Lime Juice
1-1/2  teaspoons  Sugar
1/2  teaspoon  Salt

1-1/2  Cups  shredded Green Cabbage
2  Tablespoons  Pickling Liquid from the pickled Onions
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1/4  teaspoon  Black Pepper

White Sauce
1/4  Cup  Mayo
1/4  Cup  Sour Cream
1  Tablespoon  Lime Juice
1  Tablespoon  Milk, as needed to thin to desired consistency

2  pounds skinless Whitefish fillets, such as Cod, Haddock, or Halibut, cut into 4-inch x 1-inch strips
3/4  Cup  Flour
1/4  Cup  Cornstarch
1  teaspoon  Baking Powder
1  teaspoon  Salt
1  Cup  Beer
4  Cups  Peanut or Vegetable Oil
24  6-inch  Corn Tortillas, warmed
1  Cup  Fresh Cilantro leaves
Jarred Green Salsa, if desired

For the Pickled Onion:
Combine Onion and Jalapenos in a smallish bowl.  Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan; pour over Onions and Jalapenos; let sit for at least 30 minutes.  Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

For the Cabbage:
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

For the White Sauce:
Whisk all together in a bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.
(See, I told you this was simple!)

For the Fish:
Adjust oven rack to middle position; preheat to 200*.  Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.  Pat Fish dry with paper towels and season with Salt and Pepper.  Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl; add Beer and whisk until smooth.  Add Fish to the batter and toss until evenly coated.
Add the Oil to a large, deep pot until it measures about 3/4-inch deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350*.  Working with 5 to 6 pieces of Fish at a time, remove Fish from Batter, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, and add to hot Oil, briefly dragging along surface to prevent from sticking.  Fry Fish, stirring gently to prevent from sticking (use a wooden spoon here, so you don't burn yourself), until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side.  Keep an eye on your oil temperature, adjusting heat as necessary, to maintain temperature at 325-350*.  Transfer fried Fish to the prepared wire rack and keep warm in the oven as you fry the remaining Fish.  Serve with Pickled Onion, Cabbage, White Sauce, Green Salsa, and Cilantro on warm Tortillas.  Serves 6.
"When (the disciples) got out on land,
they saw a fire of coals there and fish lying on it cooking,
and bread...
Jesus said to them,  'Come and have breakfast...'
and Jesus came, and took bread and gave it to them,
and also the fish."
John 21: 9,12, 13  Amplified Bible

Adapted from Cook's Country magazine, August/September 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Cut-Outs

Christmas Cut-Outs

2  Cups  Butter, softened
1  8-oz.  Cream Cheese, softened
2  Cups  Sugar
2  Egg Yolks
1  teaspoon  Vanilla
4-1/2  Cups  Flour

In mixing bowl cream together Butter and Cream Cheese until fluffy.  Add Sugar, Egg Yolks and Vanilla; mix well.  Gradually beat in Flour.  Cover and chill 2 hours.  Roll out on floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut into shapes.  Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes, or until set.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes; transfer to cooling rack.  Frost when cool.  Makes about 7 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Butter Cream Frosting
3-1/2  Cups  Powdered Sugar, divided
4  Tablespoons  Butter, softened
1/2  teaspoon  Vanilla
3 to 4  Tablespoons  Milk, divided.
Food Coloring, if desired

Combine 1-1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Butter, Vanilla, and 3 Tablespoons Milk in mixing bowl; beat until smooth.  Gradually add in remaining Powdered Sugar, Milk, and Food Coloring, if desired; mix until frosting reaches desired consistancy.  Frost and decorate cookies.

"And Mary gave birth to her Son, her first-born,
and she laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room or place for them in the inn."
Luke 2:7  Amplified Bible

It's that time of year again.
The one time of the year that I actually make cut-out cookies.
And because I so dislike making cut-out cookies, I make a double recipe to make sure we have enough.  This recipe makes 7 dozen.  Double it, and it's 14 dozen.  That's about 168 cookies.  The final cookies to get decorated are, well, unique--to put it mildly.  And no, I don't limit the shapes to just 'Christmas' shapes.  We use 'em all.  Even the frog and the fish and the piggy-toes.

This recipe is a favorite of our family's, but then, who doesn't like a cooky with cream cheese in the dough?  (Don't you just love the old-fashioned way of spelling 'cooky'?  I sure do!  This recipe is from Far Above Rubies, page 324.

These photos are from three years ago
--I miss my wittle dirlies!--

That orange cooky right there?
That would be a 'happy lion'

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Butter & Herb Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Butter & Herb Roasted Turkey and Gravy

1  (12 to 14-pound)  Turkey, thawed if frozen
8  Tablespoons  Butter, softened
2  Tablespoons  Herbes de Provence spice blend
4  cloves  Garlic, crushed
1  Tablespoon  Lemon Zest
1-1/2  teaspoons  Chicken Bouillon (Better Than Bouillon preferred)
1  teaspoon  Black Pepper
2  Onions, chopped
1  Carrot, peeled and chopped
1  Celery Rib, chopped
4  Cups  Chicken Broth, low sodium preferred
1  Cup  White Wine

Herb Gravy
4  Tablespoons  Butter
5-7  Tablespoons  Flour (we prefer a thicker gravy and use 7 Tablespoons)
2  Tablespoons  Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1  teaspoon  Fresh Thyme, minced
1/2  teaspoon  Fresh Rosemary, finely minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Turkey:
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat to 325*.  Scatter the Vegetables in the bottom of a large roasting pan, then add Chicken Broth and White Wine.  Remove Turkey giblets and discard; rinse the Turkey well with cool water; pat dry inside and out with paper towels.  Place the Turkey in the roaster, tucking the wings under the back.
Using a fork, beat together the Butter, Herbes de Provence, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Bouillon,  and Pepper until combined; divide in half.  Using a wooden spoon handle, gently separate the skin from the breast meat.  Spoon half of the Herb-Butter mixture under the Turkey skin, using your fingers to spread evenly.  Rub any remaining butter over the drumsticks and inside the Turkey cavity.
Roast until internal temperature of the breast meat registers 165* and the thigh meat registers 170-175*, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  Let rest in pan for 30 minutes before carving, to allow juices to be re-absorbed.

For the Gravy:
Carefully strain the contents of the roasting pan into a large measuring cup.  let the liquid settle so that the fat separates out, then skim off fat (if necessary, add enough water to measure 4 cups).  
Melt the Butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add Flour and cook until light golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the strained juices.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until desired thickness.  Off heat, stir in Herbs and season to taste with Salt and Pepper.  Carve Turkey and serve with Herb Gravy.

"The God of Harvest praise;
 In loud Thanksgiving raise
Hand, heart, and voice:
The valleys laugh and sing;
Forests and mountains ring;
The plains their tribute bring;
The streams rejoice.

Yea, bless His holy name,
And joyous thanks proclaim
Through all the earth;
To glory in your lot
Is comely; but be not
God's benefits forgot
Amid your mirth.

The God of Harvest praise;
Hands, hearts, and voices raise
With sweet accord;
From field to garner throng,
Bearing your sheaves along,
And in your harvest song
Bless ye the Lord."

This is my favorite of all the Thanksgiving hymns in our hymnbook.
My favorite tune to put with it is "My Country 'Tis of Thee"

This has been my go-to recipe since it was first published in Cook's Country magazine in November of 2007.  I recommend using a Butterball brand turkey, as it is consistently moist and, if you have a larger sized bird, the roasting times listed on the package are very acurate.  This year we were hosting Thanksgiving for T's family--there were 21 of us.  I used a bigger turkey--22.88 pounds, to be precise.  I also tried brining my turkey, something I've never done before.  I found this nifty little package at Costco (Urban Accents was the brand, I think), which not only had the herbed salt mixture for the brine, but also a heavy-duty extra-extra-extra-large zip-top bag for brining the trukey in and a smokey-paprika-pepper blend for roasting.  So, on Monday night I brined the turkey overnight, following the directions on the package.  Tuesday morning I rinsed off the brine, spread  the Herb-Butter mixture under the skin (which I doubled, because the Turkey was so big), spread the herbs that came with the brine mix on the outside of the Turkey as the instructions said--all the while hoping that this Turkey wouldn't be too salty or too herb-y--and put it in the oven for 4 hours, 15 minutes as recommended on the Butterball label.  The Turkey came out of the oven at 11:30, and my husband came home for lunch quite conveniently at 11:45.  We enjoyed sampling the Turkey and found it to be just perfect and not too salty.  I sliced it off the bone, put it in my roaster and poured some more chicken broth over it and refrigerated it.  I then re-heated it in my roaster oven at 200* while we were at church on Thanksgiving morning.

I tried a new recipe for Cranberry Sauce this year--
it had fresh Raspberries and Mint in it.
Sooo super yummy!
Here is a link to the recipe: Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

 The boys made these twig place card holders for me

My parents brought the flowers--a gift from a client!

That salad?  My sister-in-law brought it.
My other sister-in-law said it was a little bite of heaven.  I agree.
Here's the link for it:

 I think I could eat a Thanksgiving meal once a week.
Good thing we had leftovers, 'cause here is what happened the day after Thanksgiving:

Yep.  The floor came up.
We think it was about 35 years old.
It was time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies
6  Cups  Old Fashioned Oats
2  Cups  shredded unsweetened  Coconut
5-1/3  Cups  Flour (can use part Whole-Wheat Flour)
2  teaspoons  Salt
2  teaspoons  Cinnamon
4  Cups  Brown Sugar
2  Cups  Butter
1  Cup  Real Maple Syrup (I prefer the Grade B Maple Syrup from Trader Joe's)
1/4  Cup  Light Corn Syrup
4  teaspoons  Baking Soda
1/2  Cup  Boiling Water
2  teaspoons  Maple Extract
4  Cups  chopped toasted Pecans (please chop them smaller than I did; I was in a hurry)
Preheat oven to 300* (you can use this preheat time to toast your Pecans).
In a very large bowl (Tupperware works great), combine the Oats, Coconut, Flour, Salt, Cinnamon, and Brown Sugar; whisk to combine.
In a large saucepan, combine Butter, Maple Syrup, and Corn Syrup.  Heat over medium heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally; remove from heat before continuing to the next step, or you will have a big mess all over your stove.
In a small bowl, combine the Boiling Water and Baking Soda.  Dissolve well, then pour over the Butter mixture, stirring well.  Stir in Maple Extract; stir into dry ingredients.  Add in Pecans and mix well.
Using a large cookie scoop (about 3 Tablespoons measure), scoop cookies onto well-greased baking sheet, placing about 2-1/2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.  Bake at 300* for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown and set, but not crispy.  Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes; transfer to cooling racks.  Makes about 6 dozen.
be ye all of one mind,
having compassion one of another,
love as brethren,
be pitiful,
be courteous,
Not rendering evil for evil,
or railing for railing,
but on the contrary, blessing,
knowing that ye are called to this,
that ye should inherit a blessing."
1 Peter 3:8 & 9
Well, it happened again.
It always does this time of year.
The weather changes, and this Central-Valley-born-and-raised girl tells her husband "Ok, we can just pick up and move to Vermont now."  There is just something in the turning of the leaves, the misty mornings, the clear, crisp evenings, the smell of wood smoke, and the time change that makes me long for a location where autumn is more obvious.  (Don't ask me how I'd feel about the mud in March, though.)
For some reason, my very soul begins to long for that which I've never had.  And then I think of Abraham, who "looked for a city, ...whose builder and maker is God".  As I type up this post on the last day of October, the day on which sin and evil is so celebrated, a day when my heart is longing to be removed from the darkness around me, I look to the Father and for the day of Jesus Christ's return, and I find that what I am really longing for is for the day when "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord."  And so, I am comforted by these words, for Jesus is coming soon!  Keep looking up!

Recipe adapted from .

Tempura Batter for Shrimp Fondue

Tempura Batter
for Shrimp Fondue
2  Eggs
1-3/4  Cups  Ice Water
1-3/4  Cups  Flour
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
2  pounds  large fresh shelled Shrimp, patted very dry; nest serving bowl in crushed ice to keep cold
3  Cups  Vegetable or Peanut Oil, for cooking
Chinese Hot Mustard, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, and Hoisin Sauce for dipping
Beat Eggs and Ice Water until frothy.  Beat in Flour and Salt until batter is smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  When ready to use, re-beat until frothy.  Place batter in a small bowl and nest in ice to keep chilled.  Heat Oil in Fondue pot on stove to 375*, transfer to Fondue stand and set heat to high, checking occasionally to maintain high temperature.  Using a Fondue fork, dip Shrimp into Batter, shaking off any excess.  Cook in hot Oil until Shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Yields about 2-1/2 cups batter.
It is very important that the Tempura Batter is kept cold throughout the preparation and serving process.  I like to use my immersion blender to get this good and frothy--this helps to make a light, fluffy fried Shrimp.  Make certain that your Shrimp is very dry (use paper towels), otherwise the Tempura Batter will slide right off the wet Shrimp!  It is also fun to use this batter with veggies--Asparagus, Green Beans, small pieces of Broccoli... you name it!
"For I know
that my Redeemer liveth,
Job 19:25a
From Gourmet International Fondue Cookbook 

Marinated Beef & Chicken Fondue

Marinated Beef & Chicken Fondue
with Horseradish & BBQ Dipping Sauces
For the Marinade:
3/4  Cup  Soy Sauce
1/4  Cup  Worcestershire Sauce
2  Garlic Cloves, crushed
2-1/2  pounds  Fillet Mignon, cut into thin strips (freeze for 30-45 minutes, then slice slightly frozen)
2-1/2  pounds  boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips
For the Horseradish Dipping Sauce:
1  Cup  Sour Cream
3-4  Tablespoons  prepared Horseradish
1  Tablespoon  finely chopped fresh Red Onion
1  teaspoon  Vinegar
1/2  teaspoon  Salt (or less)
1/4  teaspoon  fresh ground Black Pepper
For the BBQ Sauce:
8  ounces  Tomato Sauce
2  Tablespoons  Brown Sugar
1/3  Cup  Steak Sauce
8  Cups  Vegetable or Peanut Oil, for cooking
Prepare the Marinade:
Place Beef and Chicken in two zip-top plastic bags.  Combine Marinade ingredients; divide evenly between meats.  Seal bags, turn to thoroughly coat meat; refrigerate four to six hours, turning occasionally.
Prepare the Dipping Sauces:
In a small bowl, combine Horseradish ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  In another small bowl, combine BBQ Sauce ingredients; cover and refrigerate.
To Fondue:
Drain and discard Marinades.  Place meats into clean bowls and nest in ice.  Using one fondue pot for every six people, heat 3 cups of Oil in each pot to 375*.  Using Fondue forks, cook meat in oil until it reaches desired doneness, about 1-3 minutes.  Serve with the Horseradish & BBQ dipping sauces.  Serves about 12 as a main course.
"For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted,
He is able to help them that are tempted."
Hebrews 2:18
Slightly adapted from Taste of Home, issue unknown.

Crab Fondue

Crab Fondue
18  ounces  Cream Cheese, softened
1/3  Cup  Mayonnaise
1  teaspoon  Prepared Yellow Mustard
1  Tablespoon  Corn Starch
1/2  teaspoon  Garlic Powder
2  teaspoons  Old Bay Seasoning
1/3  Cup  White Wine
1  Tablespoon  Lemon Juice
1  pound  Lump Crab Meat
1/4  Cup  Green Onion, chopped
Sourdough Bread Cubes or Fresh Pears
In a medium/large microwave-safe dish, combine the Cream Cheese, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Corn Starch, Garlic Powder, and Old Bay Seasoning.  Warm in microwave, stirring as needed until fully blended.  Stir in Wine, Lemon Juice and Crab; microwave until hot.  Stir in Green Onion.  Transfer to Fondue pot; adjust heat to low to keep warm--prevent from scorching.  Serve with Sourdough bread Cubes or Fresh Pear chunks.  Serves 4-6 as a main course.
To prepare ahead of time, follow instructions up to the point of stirring in Wine, Lemon Juice, and Crab; refrigerate.  When ready to serve, warm until hot through and stir in Green Onions.  Yummy!
"But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death,
crowned with Glory and Honour,
that He,
by the grace of God,
should taste death for every man."
Hebrews 2:9
Slightly adapted from  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baked Fontina with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Baked Fontina with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1-1/2  pounds  Fontina Cheese, rind removed and 1-inch diced
1/4  Cup  Olive Oil
6  Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1  Tablespoon  minced fresh Thyme
1  Teaspoon  minced fresh Rosemary
3  ounces  Sun-dried Tomato halves, sliced
1  Teaspoon  Kosher Salt
1  Teaspoon  fresh Black Pepper
1 Baguette loaf
Olive Oil
Preheat broiler and position oven rack 5 inches from heat.
Slice the Baguette on the bias into 1/2-inch slices and lightly brush with Olive Oil.  Broil for 2-3 minutes, turn and broil another 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.  Transfer to serving basket and set aside.
Evenly sprinkle the Fontina in a 12-inch cast iron skillet; drizzle with Olive Oil.  Combine the Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary and sprinkle evenly over the cheese; top with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.  Combine the Kosher Salt and Black Pepper and evenly sprinkle over the top.  Broil for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and top is bubbly and starts to brown.  Serve immediately with baguette toast.  Serves 4-6 as a main dish; 12-14 as part of a Fondue Dinner.
"Having your behavior honest
among the Gentiles, that...
they may by your good works,
which they shall behold,
glorify God..."
1 Peter 2:12
yum, yum, yum-oh!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa how easy is that?  by Ina Garten, page 97


Classic Cheese Fondue

Sorry, no picture for this one...
But I DO hope you enjoy the Fondue
Classic Cheese Fondue
12  ounces  Gruyere Cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
4  ounces  Smoked Sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 1 cup)
2  Tablespoons  Flour
1  clove  Garlic, crushed
3/4  Cup  Sherry
1/4  Cup  Apple Juice
1  Tablespoon  Lemon Juice
2  Teaspoons  Dijon Mustard
Assorted dippers for serving
In a bowl, toss the Cheeses with Flour; set aside.
Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a medium saucepan; heat to a gentle simmer.  Whisk in the Cheeses, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until melted.  When fully melted, transfer to fondue pot and keep warm.  Serve with dippers of your choice.  Makes about 2-1/2 Cups.
"Jesus Christ,
the same yesterday,
and today,
and forever."
Hebrews 13:8
Want to make your Fondue Dinner go a little smoother?  Prep the Cheeses and Flour and store them in a zip-top bag in the fridge, and combine the remaining ingredients and refrigerate them, too.  If you label your bag with the prep instructions, all you have to do at the last minute is finish it up.  Makes a Fondue Dinner Party flow a little better by eliminating the last-minute work.

Adapted from Cheese Fondue,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Caramel Apple Cobbler Rice Krispies

Caramel Apple Cobbler
Rice Krispies
8  Cups  Rice Krispy Cereal
4  Cups  Quick Oats
1-1/2  Cups  diced dried Apples
1-1/2  pounds  Mini Marshmallows
1/2  Cup  Butter
2  Tablespoons  Apple Pie Spice
1  Tablespoon  Vanilla
1/4  Cup  Caramel Ice Cream Topping, plus additional for drizzling, if desired
Generously coat a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray; set aside.
In a  very large mixing bowl, combine the Rice Krispies, Quick Oats, and dried Apples; set aside.
In a 6- or 8-quart pan, melt the Butter and allow it to begin to slightly brown.  Stir in Mini Marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat, stir in Apple Pie Spice, Vanilla, and Caramel topping.  Pour over the Rice Krispy mixture and combine well.  Press into the prepared 9x13 pan and set aside until firm.  Makes a very full pan and serves about 24. 

" all diligence,
add to your faith virtue;
and to virtue, knowledge;
And to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, patience;
and to patience, godliness;
And to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if these things be in you, and abound,
they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
II Peter 1:5-8
Adapted from