Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Springtime MAY 2013 Newsletter

Evening Everyone!
Tomorrow is May!!! Yea! Springtime! Hope this finds all well and enjoying Springtime weather!
This newsletter is Spring cleaning of Cupboards and Our Hearts...with recipes on the lighter side for Springtime meals!
Cleaning Cupboards & My Heart

Today while cleaning cupboards
With organized housewifely art
I suddenly decided
To clean the cupboards of my heart.
I threw out negative criticism
To the trash pile-to the fire!
I added extra cups of appreciation
And worthwhile thoughts that will inspire.
I threw out constant condemnation
Which says, you're wrong, I'm right!
I put in an extra measure of consideration
For all folks, red, yellow, black, & white.
Yes, out went constant complaining
Grumbling about those trivial things
I put in smiles and laughter,
To ease the tensions each day brings.
Friends, let's all clean our cupboards,
With help from Creator above
Throw out pride and hatred, too.
Replaced with humility and love...

Paula George

Capital Grille Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella
■1 pound large fresh mozzarella balls
■15 paper thin slices prosciutto
■10 ounces large or cherry heirloom tomatoes (mix of yellow and red)
■1 teaspoon kosher salt
■1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
■6 slices pain rustique bread, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices on the bias (see note)
■1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot clarified butter (divided)
■1/2 cup finely grated Grana Padano cheese (see note)
■1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
■3/4 ounce chiffonade cut basil leaves plus 3 sprigs fresh basil for
■2 tablespoons 12-year-old balsamic vinegar
■Slice the balls of mozzarella cheese into about 1/2-inch-thick slices weighing about 1 1/4 ounces each.
■Individually wrap the slices of mozzarella with slices of prosciutto, making certain to completely cover the cheese.
■Place the wrapped mozzarella on parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
■Core tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Halve or quarter smaller heirlooms tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Let tomatoes rest.
■Brush slices of bread on both sides with the 1/4 cup hot clarified butter and sprinkle both sides liberally with the grated cheese. Press cheese gently into the bread. Toast in a panini press over medium-high heat or in a hot sauté pan that has been coated with clarified butter, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on each side. This will take 1 to 2 minutes per side. If using a skillet, cook slices in batches; do not crowd pan.
■Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
■Place remaining 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a hot skillet. Gently set pieces of wrapped mozzarella in the skillet and sauté 2 minutes per side or until exterior is crisp. Place seared mozzarella balls on a cookie sheet then transfer to oven. Cook until cheese starts to melt and is hot, about 5 minutes.
■Meanwhile toss tomatoes with olive oil, the chiffonade of basil and the balsamic.
■To assemble: Mound a spoonful of the tomato salad in the centers of three large, warmed dinner plates. Arrange the grilled mozzarella, leaning it against the tomato salad, around the front and side edges of the plate. Lean two croutons on the backside of the plates. Place a sprig of basil in the center of the tomatoes and serve immediately.
Notes: Pain rustique has a thick crust similar to Italian bread.
Grana Padano cheese is available specialty food stores.
Parmigiano-Reggiano could be substituted.
Source: Jeff Beale, executive chef, The Capital Grille, Wisconsin
I love this Caesar dressing. It can be used with a side salad, this Chicken Salad or a Caesar Salad with Citrus Grilled Shrimp is another tasty option! Enjoy!
Caesar Chicken Salad
from my kitchen
Caesar Salad Dressing:
4-6 anchovies
8 Tbsp. mayonnaise
8 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. worcestershire
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse 3 times.
Makes 2 cups.
2 cups shredded Rotisserie or grilled chicken
8 cups chopped romaine
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped coarsely
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
2 avocadoes, peeled & cubed
1 cup homestyle croutons
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Prepare dressing.
Combine Salad ingredients, toss. Plate on 4 serving plates. Garnish with croutons & Parmesan cheese. Serve with side of Caesar dressing.
Yield: 4 dinner servings
Spring Mix Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary
10 ounces mixed baby spring Mix
1/4-1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup (1 to 1 1/2 ounces) thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
In a mixing bowl combine the vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper
and whisk to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a pourable measuring cup.
While continuously whisking the vinegar mixture, add the oil in a slow,
steady stream, until completely emulsified. Whisk in the fresh herbs.
Place the spring mix in a large salad bowl and add the olives.
Add enough vinaigrette to just coat the lettuce and toss to thoroughly combine.
Divide among salad plates and top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish.
Three Cheese Spaghetti Pie Recipe courtesy Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh
Show: Party Line with the Hearty Boys
Episode: DVD Night
3/4 pound spaghetti
9 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
16 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 ounces fontina, grated
8 ounces feta, crumbled
8 ounces Parmesan, shredded
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Special Equipment: 10-inch cast iron skillet or nonstick ovenproof skillet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously add salt and 3 tablespoons of oil and add the spaghetti. Bring back to a boil and cook for 11 to 13 minutes until the spaghetti is just tender. Drain into a colander and rinse under cold water. Return the spaghetti to the pot and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, kalamatas, 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down.* Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.
Whisk the eggs and cream together in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of pepper, the red pepper flakes, basil, fontina, feta, 4 ounces of the Parmesan and the tomato mixture. Mix in the spaghetti.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the 10-inch skillet over high heat. Add the spaghetti mixture, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the center of the pie is set and the top is golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a spatula around the edges and underneath the pie to loosen. Place a large plate over the skillet and invert the pie onto the plate. Place another plate onto the pie and invert again. Let the pie set for an additional 10 minutes.
Slice the pie into 6 to 8 pieces and garnish with the remaining Parmesan and basil leaves before serving.
Coconut Cream Pie
9" deep dish pie pastry shell, baked
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
5 beaten egg yolks
1-3/4 cups milk
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. brandy
2 cups shredded coconut
In medium heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in egg yolks.
Gradually whisk in both milks. Over medium heat, bring to boil, stirring frequently.
Boil for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in extract, butter, brandy
and coconut. Pour into baked, cooled pie shell.Cover with plastic film while preparing
meringue. If using optional topping, after pie has chilled to room temp,
chill pie for 1-2 hours before topping.
5 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In large bowl, beat 5 egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
Remove plastic film and spread over custard, swirling top for design. Be sure
to spread to edges of crust to seal. Place on baking sheet.
Bake in 325 preheated oven until golden on top. Let cool to room temperature and serve.
Optional topping:
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly toasted coconut
Beat chilled heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until
desired consistency. Spread over chilled custard. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Planning a Birthday Dinner of Favorites

Several years ago, I started making Rick Crab Au Gratin for his birthday dinner...most likely that will be on the menu again this year. He is always talking about a favorite childhood memory of "Apple Brown Betty" that was served in the school cafeteria (lunchroom) when we were in elementary school. I plan on trying the Pioneer Woman's (Ree Drummond) recipe to see if I can rekindle that favorite memory.

2008 Apple Brown Betty
Posted by Ree in All PW Recipes, Desserts, Fruit Desserts
This is one of those “I don’t have anything in my fridge or pantry” recipes
that’s easy to throw together at the last minute. Made with sliced wheat bread,
apples, butter, and sugar, it’s actually fun to make because there’s no
mixing…and very little mess. If you can cut up bread and slice a couple of
apples, you’re not too far away from having a good ol’ wholesome goodie at your
fingertips. It’s because of recipes like this that I have hope in the world. I
hate that “nothing in my pantry” feeling.
I’m sure there are many different interpretations of this old-time recipe, but I
love this one because you can use whatever bread you happen to have lying
around—everything from storebought sandwich bread to a rustic artisan loaf. You
can cut the bread (I do) or tear it (I have before), and no matter what, it will
be delicious. And as true with any apple dessert, the addition of vanilla ice
cream (cinnamon would be yummy, too), freshly whipped cream, or my personal
favorite, Reddi Whip from a squirt can, is always a lovely finish.
Let’s make it, baby!
The Cast of Characters: Wheat sandwich bread, apples, brown sugar, butter, and
water. Um…shouldn’t there be something more complicated here? Flour, perhaps?
Baking soda? Whole vanilla beans?

Begin by slicing 7 pieces of bread into thin strips…

Then rotate the slices 90 degrees…

…And slice again to create a dice.

Keep cutting…

Going over it a few times to get the bread into small pieces. You can also tear
the bread into small chunks if that floats your boat.

Now core and peel 3 apples…

And slice them thinly.

And try not to eat them all. Mmmm. Isn’t there something so inviting about a
stack of freshly sliced apples?

Now rub a baking dish very, very generously with butter.

I said very, very generously. Please don’t be afraid of the butter. Because you
know what? You’re going to see a lot more than this here in about 45 seconds.

To assemble…

Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar in the bottom of the dish.

Follow this with a layer of about 1/3 of your sliced apples, then sprinkle 1/3
of your bread crumbs on top.
(You can actually use a little less than a third of your crumbs, as you’ll want
to be sure to have enough for the very top layer.

Next, start in with 1/2 cup brown sugar again…

Followed by a layer of apples…

And another layer of breadcrumbs. Breadchunks. Breadcubes. Whatever.

Repeat this one last time: The rest of the sugar…

The rest of the apples…

And the remaining breadcrumbs. Don’t you just love layered dishes? There’s
something about it that satisfies my deep need for order and symmetry and
Symbiosis? That didn’t fit at all. But oooh, I love that word and I try to use
it in my everyday speech at least twice a month.

Next, slice 1 1/2 sticks butter (regular, salted) and begin placing the slices
all over the top of the breadcrumbs.

I warned you earlier: do not be afraid of the butter. Do not be afraid of the
butter. Do not be afraid of the butter. (Repeat this an additional seven times.
Then go get on the Stairmaster.)
Finally, sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of water all over the top, give it a final
sprinkle of brown sugar, and bake on 375—covered in foil—for approximately 45
minutes. When you have about five minutes remaining, remove the foil from the
dish. You’ll want to watch it in the oven to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.
When it’s hot and bubbly, take it out of the oven.

Crab Au Gratin is a very rich dish that goes well as a side with other seafood main courses such as stuffed flounder...or hearty enough to stand on its on served with some toast points and a salad.

Mix 1
1 med. onion - finely chopped
1 rib celery - finely chopped
4 leaves green onion tops - finely chopped
1 stick butter
Mix 2
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 Tsp. of dried parsley flakes or small handful of fresh chopped
1 Tsp. Worcestershire
1/4 Tsp. "Old Bay" & 1/4 tsp Tony's seasoning
pinch of garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 egg yolks beaten well
1 pound lump crabmeat
Gratin Dishes or shallow casserole
12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, or, your favorite ( I used 1/2 sharp cheddar & 1 half white cheddar)

In a saucepan on med-low heat melt the butter. Add the remainder of mix 1 above. Cook until onions are clear and soft, don't brown.
Stir in mix 2 in the order given (except egg) thoroughly mixing in each ingredient before the next is added. Add the milk a little at a time as you stir. Raise heat to med. and get the mixture bubbling then remove from heat. Take a spoon out to taste. Add the egg and mix well. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Add seasoning if needed. Add crab meat to saucepan and mix well. Fill gratin dishes to 1/4" from top of dish, smooth top with a spoon and sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake at 375ºF until cheese is brown and crusty.

Thinking a salad of Spinach, Bacon, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and My Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing...will complete the meal.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 2013 Newsletter

The recipes that are in this month's newsletter are from a cookbook/CD project that DonD and I were working on at his passing...never published the Salads for Two Cookbook/CD of poetry that I compiled, nor the CD that Lucy was recording.

by Paula 2001
Our spoken words bring joy, love, happiness, and smiles to those around us...
Yet underlying meanings and interpretations of the same spoken words...
Bring sorrow, hate, sadness, and frowns to those around us...
Little words when taken wrong or spoken incorrectly can destroy relationships...
Many things are better left unsaid, letting our actions express our feelings...
Spoken words are often received as daggers; piercing the depths of hearts and
Never to be forgotten and many times never to be forgiven...
Let your life radiate through your actions giving joy, love, happiness and
smiles to those around you...
Building relationships, expressing your feelings,
Striving to radiate the positive and keeping
Those negative thoughts and words within...
Then a life most beautiful will be remembered...
Not forgotten...
As a friend that didn't always have to be forgiven...

Paula George

Ingredients:6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (can use pre-cooked
Bacon, heated and crumbled or ½ jar of Hormel Real Bacon Bits)
3 cups red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 large Brandywine Heirloom tomato, cut into thin wedges
1/3 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Sourdough croutons (purchased or homemade)
Homemade: Cubes of bread, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper;
Sautéed in skillet over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until golden.
Thick Ranch Dressing, about ½ cup (Purchased in the Produce Section)
Directions:Divide lettuce on two plates. Arrange tomato wedges around edges.
Spoon large dollop of Ranch dressing in center of lettuce. Working from
Center out, arrange cheese, bacon bits and croutons.
Paula George

1 lb. Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium),
Peeled and cut into eighths
¼ cup Vodka
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
A few dashes of Tabasco or hot sauce
¼ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Press tomatoes through a sieve, discard seeds. Gently stir
In remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into an 8”x8” glass
Dish. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes
Until foam subsides. Stir gently with a fork. Freeze mixture,
Uncovered 30 minutes; stir gently with a fork; cover and
Freeze until solid (about 3 hours). To serve, scrape surface
With fork to break up ice crystals into a granular consistency.
Spoon into large cocktail or martini glasses. Garnish rim with
A lime slice.
from the kitchen of Paula George
1 cup Kalamata pitted, ripe olives
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
1 Tablespoon fresh garlic (3-4 cloves)
2 teaspoons anchovy filets
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
Combine above ingredients in a blender or food processor;
Pulse until thoroughly combined, chopped but not smooth.
Place in small serving bowl and let sit at room temperature
Until ready to serve with Insalata and Crostinis.
1/3 pound fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced ¼” thick
2 Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes, cut in ¼” thick slices
¼ to ½ cup fresh torn basil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 Tablespoons “good” Extra-Virgin Olive oil
Arrange Mozzarella and Tomato slices on oblong serving
Platter…alternating and overlapping slightly. Season with
Salt and pepper. Sprinkle torn basil over Mozzarella and
Tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil.

Paula George
1 6-8oz. Package Teriyaki seasoned chicken strips (available
Pre-cooked in the deli section of grocer.)
½ red onion, sliced ¼” thick, separated into rings
½ red or yellow sweet bell pepper, cut into ¼” strips
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (see note below)
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (see note below)
Sweet-Sour dressing (Recipe Follows)
2 cups red leaf lettuce, torn in bite size pieces
1 medium Brandywine tomato, coarsely chopped
Purchased Croissants

1) Spread sliced almonds and sesame seeds on baking sheet,
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes until
Lightly toasted, stir once during baking. Set aside to cool.
2) Prepare Sweet & Sour Dressing. Whisk together the following
In a small bowl:
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated red onion or shallots
¼ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
After whisking together, place in small serving bowl to serve .
Refrigerate until ready to use.
3) Arrange torn lettuce on 2 serving plates.
4) Divide onion rings over lettuce.
5) Sprinkle with red/yellow pepper strips and chopped tomatoes.
6) Arrange ½ of the chicken strips on each salad.
7) Garnish with toasted almond/sesame seed mixture.
8) Place croissant on each serving plate, serve
Sweet-Sour dressing on the side.
Optional: add fresh pineapple chunks to salad

Paula George
Salad Ingredients:
2 Brandywine Tomatoes, seeded and quartered
1 small Wethersfield onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow or orange pepper, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly diagonally
1 pkg. foil-pack tuna (purchased) broken-up
4 leaves of Bibb lettuce
4 anchovies (for garnish)
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered (for garnish)
½ cup ripe pitted olives, drained (for garnish)
Basil Honey Dressing (recipe follows)
1. Boil eggs to hard boil stage. Peel & Quarter. Set aside.
2. Prepare dressing. Set aside.
3. Place lettuce on 2 dinner plates.
4. Arrange tomatoes, onions, peppers, celery on lettuce bed.
5. Divide tuna on 2 dinner plates. Serve with a side of the dressing.
6. Garnish with anchovies, eggs and ripe olives. Serve with slice of crusty baguette.
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp. kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Set aside.