AMONG OURSELVES – MARCH, 2016

THE POSITIVE HAPPENING…

Hello Readers,

You know, it never fails to amaze me how spring just erupts when you need a new beginning.  When everyone is talking about how cold it is, how under the weather they are, and how tax time is not one of the most favorite times of the year… do you get my drift?  Negativity abounds.

And then there is that happening!  Spring shows off its positivity in its beautiful color. It’s as though Mother Nature sends out her love in the blossoming trees, flowers, and shrubs, knowing after the winter months we really need a hug.

I have three Red Bud trees that reside on the side of my home.  I love to see the tiny, pink blossoms waving in the air.  The Azaleas bright colors are gorgeous, too.  It feels good to see Mother Nature working so hard in a positive manner to make our lives colorful and richer.  I just love springtime!

This month we celebrate St. Patty’s Day, and also Easter, which means gathering family and friends, sharing laughter and very good food.  For St. Patty’s Day, I am sharing my favorite way to prepare Corned Beef and Cabbage.  I promise you will never cook corned beef any other way.  An easy Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie completes the meal.  Yes, you can substitute strawberries for raspberries.

For Easter, I am sharing two great tried and true Italian recipes from my files. I hope you will make the delicious recipes for Cheese Ravioli and Gnocchi, as they are favorites of mine.  Don’t be afraid to try making your own pasta.  As a matter of fact, it’s fun to invite friends over for a pasta making party. After preparing and freezing the bounty on cookie sheets, bag and share!  Believe me, a pasta party is a hoot!   Enjoy!

SLOW COOKER GLAZED CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time:  7 hours

Serves: 6 servings

 Meat and Vegetables:

6 to 8 small red potatoes cut large wedges

3 medium carrots, thick disc sliced

2 ribs celery, thick sliced

1 corned beef brisket, about 3-5 pounds (fat trimmed off and rinsed)

1/2 cabbage, cut into large wedges

1 head of garlic separated into cloves with skin on

2 bottles beer (lager)

 

Glaze:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup brown mustard

1/2cup water

1 tablespoon butter

 

Honey Mustard Sauce:

1/2 cup of honey or agave

1/2 cup of brown mustard

1/4 cup of Greek yogurt (optional)

The following method is for crisper and slightly under-cooked vegetables. You can skip the extra steps and cook everything in a large slow cooker at once, or you can prepare the meat in the conventional manner in a pot on top of the stove.  I happen to like cabbage slightly underdone, and like to serve the corned beef with lots of potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips, too.  The beauty of this recipe is the glaze on the corned beef.  It’s yummy, and I can guarantee you will always prepare corned beef in this manner.

 

  1. Layer the potatoes 1/2 cup of celery and 1/2 cup of carrots in the bottom of slow cooker. Place corned beef on veggies. Add garlic and packet of seasoning that comes with the corned beef. Add beer and water until meat is covered. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
  2. Just prior to corn beef being done, melt butter in small saucepan — add water and brown sugar. Heat over medium-high heat. After about 5 minutes, stir in mustard. Simmering another 2-3 minutes. Pour in dish and set aside.
  3. When corned beef is ready, remove and place on cookie tray and tent with foil. Place large pot in sink with colander inside. Pour out the rest of the slow cooker ingredients saving both liquid and potatoes. Discard cooked carrots and celery. Preheat broiler. Place pot of liquid on stove on med-high until boil. Boil the remaining carrots and celery, then add cabbage and boil till cooked. Remove from heat and drain liquid.
  4. Remove foil tent. Brush glaze on top of corned beef and broil 6 inches from the element for 30 minutes adding glaze every 10 minutes. Always keep an eye on the broiling beef. After 30 minutes remove corned beef place on cutting board. Cut corned beef across the grain. Serve with veggies and honey mustard sauce.

 

RASPBERRY-RHUBARB SLAB PIE

“Slab pie” is a pastry baked in a jelly-roll pan and cut in slabs like a bar cookie—or a pie bar, if you will.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling

Bake: 45 min. + cooling

YIELD: 24 servings

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

3/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk

1 egg yolk

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

5 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained

3 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained

 

VANILLA ICING:

1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 to 6 teaspoons 2% milk

 

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Whisk 3/4 cup milk and egg yolk; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary.
  2. Divide dough in two portions so that one is slightly larger than the other; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Roll out larger portion of dough between two large sheets of lightly floured waxed paper into an 18×13-in. rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Press onto the bottom and up sides of pan; trim pastry to edges of pan.
  4. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberries and rhubarb; toss to coat. Spoon into pastry.
  5. Roll out remaining dough; place over filling. Fold bottom pastry over edge of top pastry; seal with a fork. Prick top with a fork.
  6. Bake 45-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. For icing, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency; drizzle over pie. Cut pie into squares. Yield: 2 dozen.

Editor’s Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Nutritional Facts:  1 piece equals 247 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 159 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Now, let’s move on to Easter dinner.  Cheese Ravioli is not that difficult to prepare.  For the sauce for these dishes, use the recipe that was published in January for my Lasagna.  It is the best!  Please let me know how you liked these recipes.  I would love to know.

 

CHEESE RAVIOLI

  Dough Recipe:

3 1/2 cups Flour

4 eggs, plus 1 yolk

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon salt

 

Mix all ingredients until small ball is formed.  Move to a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, dough should be smooth and tender.  Wrap in saran wrap and let rest if refrigerator for 1 hour.

FILLING:

4 Pounds Ricotta Cheese

1/2 Cup Romano Cheese (you can also use Parmesan cheese)

4 eggs

3 Tablespoons Parsley

Salt

Pepper

NOTE:  You can also add up to 2 boxes of frozen Spinach. Defrost and remove all liquid by squeezing using cheesecloth.

 

NOTE:  For egg wash – Set aside an extra egg and whisk it up with a splash of cold water or milk until pale yellow and perfectly mixed. The ratio is usually no more than 1 tablespoon liquid per egg.

Roll out dough on floured surface adding flour if dough sticks. Roll into thin sheets.  Mix up an egg wash and brush the egg wash over a sheet of pasta. For each ravioli, place a teaspoon of filling mixture on the dough about one inch apart. Cover with another sheet of pasta, pressing out the air and press firmly around the filling, using a fork press to seal edges.  Freeze in single layer on a cookie sheet and then place in freezer bags.

TO COOK:  Bring salted water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons oil to keep ravioli from sticking; add Ravioli.  Keep water at a low boil and gently stir until ravioli floats to the top 5-8 minutes.  Add sauce and enjoy!

 

HOMEMADE GNOCCHI

11/2 Cup Flour

2 Cups Ricotta

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Parmesan or Romano cheese

2 teaspoon salt

 

Combine ingredients until dough is smooth; roll into a ball and let rest for 1 hour.  Cut a piece of dough and roll into a rope 3/4-inch thick and cut into small 1/2-inch pieces.  Roll each piece on the end of your finger to make a well in the middle of the “pillow.”  This helps to hold sauce. When my children and I made Gnocchi, they used their finger to poke a hole in every piece making the well and participating in the preparing of the recipe. Freeze in single layer on a cookie sheet and then place in freezer bags.

TO COOK:  Bring salted water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons of  oil to keep pasta from sticking, add Gnocchi, keep water at a low boil and gently stir until Gnocchi floats to the top 4  minutes.  Add sauce and enjoy.                                                                                                   PAT

 

 

RUSSIAN INTERPRETER FOUND

Dear DIANNE HILL,

I am emailing the information submitted by Elise D.  Your pattern will be interpreted for you in no time!  Love people helping people!                                                                       PAT

 

SEND ELECTRONICS TO VETS

Dear Pat,

For instructions to donate your old cellphone, smartphone, or tablet to a soldier go to: https://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/get-involved/donate-phone/                                                                                  ADA

 

GREASE THAT PAN!

Hi Pat:

Baked goods will never stick to the pan again if you use this homemade pan release:

Mix equal parts of vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, and all-purpose flour until smooth. Using a pastry brush or paper towel, apply to the pans paying special attention to corners, nooks, and crannies.  No more sticking!                                                                        THE BAKER

 

SHE NEEDS YOUR HELP!

Hey Pat,

I am on a low fiber diet for IBS and I am running out of bland ideas.  Had to have a colonoscopy all clean as a whistle but have to do the low fiber thing rather than trying meds to control the old Montezuma revenge thing.  Any suggestions will help since I can’t have salads, most fresh fruit or vegies, but I can have meat and potatoes, there goes weight watchers.  Thanks for any ideas.                                                                                                                       JOYCE

 

THOSE SQUIRRELS!

Hi Pat:

Do your readers know of a reputable company in the area that will remove squirrels in an attic?

ROSEMARIE

NOTE FROM PAT:  I, too, would be interested in knowing about a company who would rid moles from my yard.  They are cute to look at, but…

SEAMSTRESS?

Hi There!

We’ve been here about two years now and I’ve had no luck finding a seamstress to do some alterations.  Nothing serious;  I have a few tops, a jacket or two and some pants.  I live in the Woodlands of Rainbow Springs on the real estate office side.  I also I wouldn’t mind going to someone’s house depending how far it would be.  Hope you can help me out.           BONNIE S.

 

GROW GARLIC INDOORS

Dear Pat,

I thought this would be great for your readers to try:

HOW TO GROW AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF GARLIC INDOORS

Things You Will Need:  A head of garlic; potting soil; a container

  • Fill a large pot with potting soil. Break garlic cloves apart and sow each clove vertically into the soil at a depth of 1 inch. Cover all the cloves with soil. There should be about 1 inch of soil over all the cloves.
  • Place the pot in an area that gets plenty of direct sunlight. Like any indoor plant, keep an eye on the soil and water it when it starts to dry out.
  • Clip off the greens when they are about 3 – 4 inches tall, leaving about an inch or so for it to re-grow. Eventually, the greens will stop growing.
  • When it turns brown and dries up, dig the clove of garlic you planted and you should have a full bulb. Take a clove from that and start over! GREENIE

NOTHING MAKES A MAN AND WIFE FEEL

 CLOSER THESE DAYS

THAN A JOINT TAX RETURN.

 

ENJOY ST. PATTY’S DAY AND EASTER!

 

 

 

 



Contributing is easy. Answer a request for someone who needs assistance, ask for assistance from the readership, share a recipe that brought raves, tell us about something you read about in a magazine that bears repeating, share your summer book author, let us know about a pattern for something you knitted or crocheted, tell us about an idea for an occasion or craft, let us know of a date for a happening… anything that sounds good to you is good for us. Send your contributions to Pat Gratton, Boomtown Media 11928 N. Williams St., Ste.3 Dunnellon, FL 34432 or email me at [email protected]