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.