AMONG OURSELVES – NOVEMBER, 2016 COLUMN

SHARING THE VERY BEST…

Dear Readers:

This month, because we are getting ready for the holidays, I thought it would be timely to treat you to a bevy of great recipes that were given to me recently by a group of friends who just love good food.  During this time of the year, it is such a relief to know the recipe you are preparing is going to taste good and you can have confidence in knowing you will be serving great food at your holiday get-together.  So get out your pots, pans and baking utensils, I am sending you on a trip to Recipe Heaven.

An amazing, easy recipe for chowder was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  SUSAN said she used only clam juice, and not water, in her recipe.  For convenience, I would look for fresh clams already shucked.  SUSAN shucked 30 clams for this delicious chowder!  I was a happy camper…

VIRGINIA CLAM CHOWDER

2 dozen shucked clams, chopped, liquid reserved

2 cups chopped potatoes

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup flour

4 cups light cream

Salt and pepper

 

In a large pot, place potatoes, celery and onions.  Pour reserved clam juice over vegetables.  Add enough water to cover.  Cook until potatoes are tender.  In large pot, melt butter.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add cream, undrained vegetables and clams.  Heat through.  Season to taste.

 

After soup came the salads.  I made up a recipe that I had tasted at my local supermarket.  It was so different and delicious; this was the second time that I have prepared this salad.  It’s well worth a place on a buffet table. Easy to make.

 

CRUNCHY PEA SALAD

Serves 6 – 8

1 package (15 ounce) frozen green peas

1 cup dry-roasted, salted peanuts

1 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup cooked bacon pieces

1/3 cup Vidalia onion salad dressing

1/4 cup sliced green onions (I prefer diced Vidalia onion)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Microwave peas on HIGH for 2 minutes or until thawed. (I just let the peas thaw in the package until they were almost thawed.)  Combine remaining ingredients in salad bowl.  Add peas; toss to coat.  Chill until ready to serve.

Next is a wonderful pasta salad that sent me back to the buffet table for seconds.  GERI used bow tie pasta; festive and delicious!

HAWAIIAN PASTA SALAD

Serves 8

8 ounces rotini or bow tie pasta

1 (14 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, juice reserved

1 red pepper, diced

2 cups diced ham

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise or dressing

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water. Whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl gently toss with dressing. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.

GERI

Dessert was a favorite of everyone.  LYNN prefers to make her own Ladyfingers, recipe follows.  Soooo good!

TIRAMISU
Serves 8

Espresso drizzle:
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Kahlua

Filling:

1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream-cheese
1 (3.5-ounce) carton mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Kahlua

Remaining ingredients:
24 cakelike ladyfingers (Two 3 ounce packages)
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate grated

1. To prepare espresso drizzle, combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook one minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in 2 Tablespoons liqueur. Cool completely.

2. To prepare filling, combine cheeses in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add 1/3 cup sugar, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons liqueur; beat at medium speed until well blended.

3. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Arrange 24 ladyfinger halves, cut sides up, in the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish. Drizzle half of espresso drizzle over ladyfingers halves. Spread half of filling over ladyfinger halves, and repeat procedure with remaining ladyfinger halves, espresso drizzle, and filling. Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa and chocolate; sprinkle evenly over top of filling. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

If you prefer to make your own Ladyfingers, give Lynn’s recipe a try.  The recipe is from JoyofBaking.com.

LADYFINGERS3.5.3208

 

1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
3 large eggs yolks, room temperature
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Powdered sugar for dusting tops of the cookies

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper

In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 2 Tablespoons sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon)  Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the tablespoon of white sugar and whip until stiff and whites are glossy. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter leaving about a 1 inch space between the cookies. When you have piped all the cookies place the powdered sugar in a wire strainer, and lightly sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfinger are firm but barely browned and still spongy when pressed with a finger.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper from the baking sheet onto a wire rack. Let the ladyfingers cool for a few minutes and release them from the parchment paper with a flat spatula, while they are still warm. If you left then completely cool before removing them from the parchment they stick and are hard to remove without breaking.
Finish cooling before using or storing.  If you are not using them right away, freeze them. Ladyfingers stale very quickly unless they are soaked in a liquid. To store, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.                 LYNN                                                 

NOTE FROM PAT:  Incidentally, my next column will celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  If you have a recipe that everyone wants you to prepare, it means it is a recipe that should be shared.  Give us a gift, friends.  Please share your very best!

SPEAKING OF SHARING…

Hi Pat,

In October issue on page 35, there was a request from SYLVIA Z, who is looking for patterns for Rug Mugs.  Please have her email me because I received two beautiful ones as a gift in the mail recently.  (Two different patterns).  Frankly, I thought they were pot holders, as I never heard of them before. (Ha.)  I will never use them. Sylvia, they are all yours.    KATE

NOTE FROM PAT:  Email sent.  Thank you so much for your response!

For those who are out and about shopping, I thought I would include some time-saving recipes for you.  This is an old standby favorite.

SLOW COOKER PEPPER STEAK

Serves: 4
2 pounds top sirloin steak
1 red bell pepper, cut in a large dice
1 green bell pepper, cut in a large dice
1 onion, cut in a large dice
1 cup beef broth, plus 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Sprinkle the black pepper liberally over the steak and rub in slightly. Cut the steak into thin strips. Place into the bottom of a 6-quart (5.5 L) slow cooker, along with the onion and bell peppers.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine: 1 cup beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic powder. Pour over the steak in the slow cooker.
  3. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup beef broth with the cornstarch and pour into the slow cooker. Stir everything to full incorporate all ingredients.
  4. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low setting for 5 hours. Taste just before serving, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

            THANKSGIVING FAVORITE…

Dear ANNIE:

In response to your request for holiday recipes, I have a recipe for a cranberry dish given to me in the 1980’s by the late Tom Riser, a gourmet cook from Norfolk, Virginia.  He used to bring this dish to holiday office parties.  I have made it for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays ever since.  It is perfect for a turkey side dish, or for a dessert.  Try it.  Trust me…you will love it.

TOM’S THANKSGIVING CRANBERRY DISH

1 large can, 20 ounces, crushed pineapple

2 packages cherry or black cherry Jell-O

1 can jelled cranberry sauce

2 cups water (includes juice from pineapple)

8 ounces softened cream cheese

2 cups Cool Whip

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Drain pineapple, keeping juice.  Add enough water to this juice to make 2 cups of liquid.  Bring liquid to boil, pour over 2 packages Jell-O and mix.  Add pineapple and cranberry sauce and mix well.  Pour into 9×13 inch glass container.  Chill.

Combine cream cheese, Cool Whip, and mayonnaise until smooth.  Spread on top.  Chill and serve.

Accept compliments; take copies of this recipe as guests will ask for it.

JOYCE WHITESELL

JUST A BIT DIFFERENT…

Hi Pat,

I am sure that there are others like me who are not crazy about canned cranberry sauce.  About 45 years ago my step-mother-in-law gave me a recipe for cranberry sauce. I have used it every year since. Maybe you and your readers might like it:

CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 pkg. fresh cranberries (freeze slightly to make it easier to chop)

1 cup boiling water

1 cup cold water

1 large package black cherry Jell-O

1 orange

1 can crushed pineapple (20 ounce)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Dissolve Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water; add 1 cup cold water and mix thoroughly.

Chop cranberries and orange (rind included).  Add both of them to Jell-O.  Also add crushed pineapple, sugar and lemon juice.  Stir completely and put in refrigerator to jell.  It can be put in molds if desired.

Eat and enjoy on the holidays.                                                        GERI WERKING

 

One last thought, everyone, please stay healthy!  This last recipe sounds like it is off the wall, but it is an old recipe that I can remember talking about on The Pat Gratton Show, my radio/cable simulcast program, years ago. The recipe shared used honey and onions.  This one says you can use regular sugar and garlic.  People swore by it and said it was the best cough syrup they ever had.  What have you got to lose…if you feel terrible, try it!

HOMEMADE COUGH SYRUP

-1 red or yellow onion OR 1 head to 1/2 head of garlic

-Roughly a cup of organic raw honey or roughly a cup OR roughly a half of granulated white sugar or brown sugar*

-A jar or something similar with a tight fitting lid that will comfortably but snugly hold your onion.

*the amounts may vary slightly with the size of container you use*

Slice the onion evenly. Place the base of the onion in your jar, and then pour honey in a layer over it (or cover in a layer of sugar, if that’s your sweetener of choice.) Continue to alternate layering the onion and sweetener. When you’re finished, cover tightly and let it sit overnight out on the counter, or for 8-12 hours. After it has sat out, there will now be liquid in the jar. Use a spoonful as needed to control your cough (3 spoonful’s an hour, if needed.) You can use both the honey and brown sugar if you like, just adjust the layering accordingly, and remember that it will be sweeter! If you choose to use garlic, unlike onion, there is no exact amount to put in. Start with 9-12 cloves or so roughly chopped and find your flavor balance from there. Just remember you shouldn’t use too little; otherwise it won’t work as well.

If you have a child too young to have honey, don’t despair because every single home cough remedy seems to have honey in it! The above recipe can be safely made for youngsters, just omit the honey and use only the sugar.

Note: This syrup should be used fresh. After you make it, you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. After that, just whip up another batch.

Flavor tips:  – Red onion lends itself to a slightly milder tasting syrup, and generally goes better with brown sugar (in my opinion) while a regular yellow onion tends to taste a bit stronger, and blends a little more with white sugar.

– Feel free to leave out the sugar and just use honey, or vice versa.

– If onion or garlic sounds scary to you, I promise, it’s so, so, so much better than over-the-counter stuff!                                                                                   FEELING GOOD!

IT’S NOT THE MINUTES SPENT AT THE TABLE

THAT PUT ON WEIGHT,

IT’S THE SECONDS!

 

Keep Smiling!



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]