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This potato salad is so good you’ll find yourself licking the bowl.

Sweet and Sour Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 30 small red potatoes; a variation in size from an egg to a walnut – washed, cooked with skin on, whole, in salted water just until tender
  • 1/3 cup onion; chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup celery; chopped fine (about 1 stalk)
  • 4 eggs; hard boiled, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • Paprika for garnishing

Dressing as follows:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg; slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

While potatoes are cooking, prepare dressing by combining milk, sugar, egg, vinegar, butter, cornstarch, salt, celery salt, and dry mustard in a saucepan.

Over medium heat while stirring constantly with a whisk cook until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat and cool.

Cut cooled potatoes in fourths. Combine in a bowl with onion, celery, eggs and mayonnaise. Stir in dressing and dust generously with paprika. Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend.

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Creating a food-producing vegetable garden can be, with a little planning, not only enjoyable but very rewarding.

Here are 7 advantages to creating raised beds for food production in your own backyard:

  • They look better because the area is more orderly and defined
  • Soil conditions and can be better controlled
  • Water, fertilizer and compost can be more accurately applied
  • They drain more efficiently
  • You do not have to step in the garden thereby reducing soil compaction providing for healthier plants as their roots need loose soil and air to flourish
  • Plants can be spaced a little closer together increasing productivity per square foot of garden area (some claim it doubles productivity)
  • Raised beds are easier to weed and maintain – saving your back and your knees

Next I’ll share the considerations and reasons around the planning of our own garden.

 

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My broccoli rice and mushroom casserole is always a hit at dinner.  Whether I am entertaining at home or taking a casserole to a party or event – everyone always asks for this recipe.

•    4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for casserole dish
•    4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•    1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
•    1 small or medium onion, chopped
•    ¾ cups diced, fresh celery
•    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
•    1 ½  cups chicken stock
•    4 fresh broccoli crowns, steamed and rough chopped (or 1 packaged frozen broccoli, thawed and drained)
•    4 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey blend
•    3 cups cooked rice
•    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 425° F.  Butter the casserole dish.

Steam the fresh broccoli and set aside.

Make the rice per instructions.  NOTE: I use instant rice but add chicken stock instead of water to give it extra flavor!

In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter.  Add the mushrooms, celery and onion and sauté for about 4 minutes.   Sprinkle the flour over this mixture.  Over medium to medium high heat, whisk together until golden in color. Cook until the flour browns. Add garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper.

When the flour is cooked, slowly add the chicken stock and stir to remove any lumps.  The mixture will start thickening.

Add the heavy cream and cook until thickened.

In a large mixing bowl, add the rough chopped broccoli and rice.  Mix 3 cups of the cheese to the rice/broccoli.

Pour mushroom sauce into the bowl and mix.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour everything into the buttered dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.

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This is such an elegant dessert!  The pastry is flakey and wonderful!  Be sure to keep the butter really cold and you’ll get a flakey pastry!

Ingredients:
For the crust:

•    1 stick butter, cut into pea size pieces (keep very cold!)
•    1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
•    1/4 cup sugar
•    Pinch salt
•    1 teaspoon lemon zest
•    1 egg yolk
•    2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

•    1 cup sugar
•    1/4 cup apple cider
•    1/2 lemon, juiced
•    1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (if you don’t have vanilla bean, use 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract)
•    1 stick butter, cut into pats
•    6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
•    Mascarpone cheese mixed with 2 tablespoon sugar, for garnish

Directions:

To make the crust:

In a food processor combine the butter, flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Pulse until it looks like finely grated Parmesan cheese.   Add the egg yolk and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the water. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the mixture comes together. If it seems a bit dry add a little more water and pulse, pulse, pulse. Add the water very slowly – you can’t take away too much water but you can add more!!!

The mixture should come together into a ball. Dump the whole thing out onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Knead the mixture 1 or 2 times only to make it a smooth ball. Using a rolling pin or your fingers roll or press the dough out to an even circle about 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight, covered with plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

To make the filling:

While dough is chilling, place the sugar, apple cider, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof pan. Stir to combine. Over high heat bring the mixture to a boil brushing down the sides of the pan occasionally .  After 6 to 7 minutes the mixture will eventually begin to turn light brown. Swish the pan around gently to promote even cooking. Cook the mixture for another minute or so until the mixture becomes a much deeper amber color. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, 2 pats at a time. The mixture will bubble up. That is okay, just be VERY CAREFUL not to get any of this on you. When all of the butter has been incorporated, begin to arrange the apples rounded side down in circles. Try to do this neatly and in a pretty way. Remember, the bottom will be the top!

Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Retrieve the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and place it on top of the apples. Tuck the pastry in around the edges of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and crispy. Let the tart cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Place a serving platter upside down on top of the pastry and carefully flip the platter and the pan over. Let the tart fall gently out of the pan.

Slice tart into individual pieces and garnish with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone.

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Fancy Apricot Crepes

We’ve been eating these “fancy pancakes” for dessert for decades. My mom made these for every bridge club and garden club party that she hosted. We’ve carried on the tradition and serves these “fancy” pancakes at every celebration. They are so easy and simple and one of the first dishes I learned to cook. I’m […]

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Making a Fun, Food Producing Garden

I initially wanted to name this article ‘My Sustainable Garden’ but in doing my research I found that that term made things way too complicated.  Yes, I wanted an are in our yard that could feed our family and I wanted it to be as organic as possible, but raising chickens and rabbits to use […]

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10 Tips for Garage Sale Decorating

Here are 10 great tips to keep in mind when you are garage sale decorating: Go to garage sales with a purpose. Make a list of items you are looking for and look ONLY for those items. If you go looking for things in general you will find yourself buying what you don’t need or […]

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Garage Sale Decorating

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Living With Pets

“From the dog’s point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.” ~Mabel Louise Robinson What truth! I love my dogs. I wake up every morning to wagging tails and puppy kisses. It is so wonderful to be so loved and adored. My dogs think I hung the moon and that I […]

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Poppy Seed Dressing

My Aunt Karen Hinze was a great cook and a wonderful hostess.  I would babysit her boys Greg and Matthew when she was preparing for a ladies’ club party.  It was always quite proper and the food was always quite delicious, light and elegant.  I am transcribing this recipe from a card that I wrote […]

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