Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekly Recipes #44 - Jill & Nathan

2 c. half and half
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 garlic cloves, halved
1 1/2 lbs. shredded milk or sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 c.)
3 tbsp. all purpose flour
Chunks of crusty French bread, cooked, shelled & deveined shrimp or cooked ham chunks, apple slices, raw broccoli (cut up); etc.

About 30 minutes before serving: In fondue pot or saucepan over low heat, heat half and half, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic, stirring, until hot but not boiling. Discard garlic.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, toss cheese with flour. Into hot mixture, with fork or wire whisk, gradually stir cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling. Add salt to taste. (If made in saucepan, pour into fondue pot for serving. Keep hot over low heat on fondue stand.)

Let each person spear chunks of French bread, shrimp, ham chunks, veggies or apple slices on long handled fondue fork and dip in fondue. Makes 4 cups, enough for 6 servings.

When mixture comes in contact with aluminum, it may turn dark but will still be delicious.

Mediterranean Beef Pitas

Serves 4

Hands-on Time: 15m

Total Time: 15m


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pocketless pitas
  • 3/4 cup store-bought hummus
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


1. Form the beef into 16 ½-inch-thick patties and season with the oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the patties, 2 minutes per side for medium.

3. Top the pitas with the hummus, patties, onion, and parsley. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and serve with the lemon wedges.


Make it a meal: Serve with couscous. Cook the couscous according to the package directions; fluff and toss with olive oil, sliced scallions, and chopped dried apricots.

Jamaican Pumpkin Crockpot Soup

This soup will serve 6 grown-ups.

--2 cups of fresh pumpkin, or 1 can (15 oz)
--4 cups vegetable broth
--2 cups water
--1 red onion. chopped
--2 celery stalks, chopped
--2 yams, peeled and chopped
--3 chopped garlic cloves
--1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
--1 T white sugar
--2 tsp kosher salt
--1 tsp tumeric (this was the first time I bought tumeric, and I do think it's a necessary spice)
--1/4 tsp allspice
--1/4 tsp nutmeg
--heavy whipping cream, 1 T per family member (optional)
--garnish with chopped green onion (I totally forgot to do this)

The Directions.

If you have fresh non-squishy and moldy pumpkin, go for it. Otherwise, open a can of pure pumpkin and use that.

Empty it into your crockpot, and add the chopped vegetables. Add the spices and sugar. Stir in the vegetable broth and water. I really don't think it matters one whit what gets added first. It's soup. It's going to cook together all day long.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Carefully use an immersible blender to blend about 3/4 of the soup.

Serve with a bit of cream to stir in.


1 package (17 ounces) refrigerated fully-cooked beef tips with gravy1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil6 ounces portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped1/2 cup chopped red onionChopped fresh parsley (optional)Smoked Gouda Grits:3-1/2 cups water1 cup quick-cooking grits1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese2 to 4 tablespoons butter, softened


  1. To prepare Smoked Gouda Grits, bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and butter; stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Cover; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in beef tips with gravy; continue cooking until heated through, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve beef mixture over grits. Garnish with parsley, if desired.


For a tasty variation, serve beef mixture over prepared mashed potatoes.

The Seamstress - Sara Tuval Bernstein

The SeamstressThe Seamstress by Sara Tuval Bernstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Holocaust survivor from Hungary tells her story of work camps, death camps, starvation, etc. It's good to read a book about the craziness of WWII from time to time as a reminder of what people are capable of.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Judy's Yummy Granola

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together:
  • 5 c. old fashioned rolled oatmeal
  • 1 c. wheat germ
  • 1 c. large flaked coconut (found at Food Front)
  • 1/2 c. chopped almonds
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds (roasted, unsalted)
Optional: other nuts, dried fruit
In a saucepan, combine:
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1/4 c. instant dry milk
  • 1/4 c. honey
Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until well blended, about 3 to 5 minutes (might take a little longer). Remove from heat and add:
  • 1/2 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Stir together with dry ingredients. This is very hot, if you want to mix with your hands as I do, start by stirring with a spoon until the mixture cools enough to handle. Spread mixture on one large or two cookie sheets and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, stir after 25 minutes

Remove from oven and spread out on brown paper to cool (I don't do this step, just take out of the oven and set cookie sheet(s) on cooling rack.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Weekly Recipes #43 - Darla

Wild Mushroom and Carmelized Onion Shepherds Pie

Makes 8 individual pies or 1 large pie in 9 in deep-dish pie plate

3 lb ykon gold potatoes peeled and quartered
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs unsalted butter
6 Tbs grated parmesan cheese plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbs chopped chives

5 Tbs olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing rings
2 med yellow onions halved and sliced
3 med portobello mushroom caps
1 1/2 lb assorted wild mushrooms chopped
(I will use the dried from costco and rehydrate)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup Asiago cheese
2 Tbs flat leaf parsley, thyme, oregano and/or sage

To make potatoes: Put in pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to med-lo abd simmer 30 min or until tender: Drain
Warm cream and butter in pot; add potatoes and mash until smooth. Stir in parmesan and chives and season with salt and pepper. if desired. Cool

To make filling, Heat 1 Tbs oil in skillet over med heat. Add onions and cook 20 minutes or until golden

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Set portobellos gill side up on baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbs oil. Roast 25 minutes or until tender. cool and then slice thin.

Toss wild mushrooms with remaining 3 Tbs of oil and garlic on separate baking wheet; season with salt and pepper if desired. Roast 20 min or until tender. Cool chop and toss with asiago herbs and onions.

Coat baking sheet and inside of 8 3-inch baking rings or 9 in pie pan Layer portobello slices on bottom of dish use half wild mushroom mixture to create second layer Use one third of potatoes to create third layer then add remaining mushroom mixture. Top with remaining potatoes shaping into a dome. Sprinkle each pie with pinch of parmesan. Bake 40 minutes or until golden. Let cool in rings 5 minutes use metal spatula to transfer pies (in rings) to plates. Run paring knife around inside of rings to loosen, lift off rings.

Mushroom-pinot noir Sauce ( to go over shepherd's pie)

1/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 1/2 mushroom stock or prepared mushroom broth. (I will use liquid drained off dried mushrooms I have re constituted in pie recipe mixed with beef or chicken broth)
1/4 cup pinot noir or flaverful red wine
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbs all purpose flour
1 1/2 t of tamari

Soak porcini in 1/4 cup hot water 30 min. Drain and reserve liquid. Finely chop porcini and set aside

Bring mushroom stock wine and soaking liquid to boil in saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 min

Melt butter in separate saucepan over med heat. Whisk in flour and cook 2 - 3 min whisking constantly. Whisk 1/2 cup mushroom stock into flour mixture to make paste
add remaining stock 1 cup at a time. Add chopped porcini and tamari sauce simmer 15 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring often season with salt and pepper if desired.

Spilling Clarence - Anne Ursu

Spilling ClarenceSpilling Clarence by Anne Ursu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Strange book that I found at a library sale. Pharmaceutical manufacturing accident causes locals to remember everything that happened to them in their life. Interesting concept, but the middle of the book lost me.

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