Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Saturday, June 4, 2016 @ 07:06 AM

Happy Cheese Day!!!!!

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy cheese. I really do think that it is one of my favoritest foods EVER!!! It has multiple personalities and textures and you can take it anywhere!!!!

Olive cream cheese schmeared on a toasted everything bagel! A piece of cheddar stuffed precariously on a stalk of celery. Asiago cheese mixed with the mozzarella on your pizza. Stuffed inside of a burger instead of on top. Pierogi Lasagna. You can even deep fry cheese in a Dutch oven! And my all time fav….homemade mac n cheese….I grew up with extra sharp white Vermont cheddar as the base to mac n cheese….I have made other combinations….but still nothing compares to Mom’s mac n cheese. (It was, and still is, Halloween tradition at my house.)

There are ENDLESS combinations….cold, hot, sweet, savory. There are even cheeses with fruit, nuts, and seeds right in them!!! One of the awesomest cheeses that I ever had was called Barely Buzzed @ American Cheese when they were still in West Sayville, NY. It was rubbed with lavender and coated in espresso. Erin sold these rolled oat baguettes too….I would melt the Barely Buzzed on a piece of that warm baguette…

OK….hungry now…time to go find a piece of cheese!

( There is always some form of cheese in my house on any given day ALWAYS!!!)

Did you like this? Share it:
Sunday, September 1, 2013 @ 08:09 AM
Quick and Easy Tailgate Menu

Quick and Easy Tailgate Menu

This is a quick and easy recipe that has been circulating on the internet. You can definitely adapt this to the parking lot party.

4-6 raw chicken breasts

new potatoes

green beans (fresh or canned-really any green veggie would work)

Arrange in 9×13 dish that you can place in your gas grill. Sprinkle with a packet of Italian dressing mix and then top with a melted stick of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees in your bbq grill with the lid closed, for 1 hour. Take the foil off the last 10 min.

You can get the pan started at home. Sprinkle your chicken with the seasoning and melted butter and bag it up. Place your veggie in the pan and cover. When you’re ready to cook, get the chicken out of the cooler. Place it in the pan with the veggies, heat the gas grill to 350 and put the ready pan on the grill to cook. Have a cold one. Toss some corn hole or pigskin. In an hour, you’re ready to eat!!!


Did you like this? Share it:
Saturday, October 20, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

Chowder is a thick rich soup. Sometimes thickened by milk or cream or by crushed up crackers like “Oysterettes’. The name chowder is possibly derived from the French word “chaudiere” meaning stew pot or the type of pot that this concoction was cooked in. Nowadays you can cook chowder right on your stove top in a large soup pan. Better yet, how about right on the beach with your freshly caught clams or cold weather tailgating in the stadium parking lot using a traditional turkey fryer kit or stock pot and outdoor propane cooker?

Chowder, or chowda, in common New England terminology, usually contains potatoes and onions, sometimes celery and bacon or salt pork. The main ingredient is typically clams, fish or corn.

There have been many variations of clam chowda over the years. The main ingredients like the quahogs or chowder clams always the constant. Smaller clams are easier to eat raw on the half shell or steamed. The larger quahogs or chowder clams are chewy and tough. It is easier to chop them up and put them in soups or cakes.

New England Clam Chowda, probably the most well known, a creamy thick soup of clams, potatoes, onions, milk or cream, and sometimes celery, bacon, or salt pork. Almost always served with saltine type crackers or oyster crackers to crush up in the soup to make it even thicker.

There is a lesser known version of chowder that probably originated in coastal New England. This version is clear broth made of clam juice. The ingredients also include quahogs, potatoes, onions, bacon and sometimes celery. This version has spread from Rhode Island (a possible location of origin), all the way down the coastal eastern seaboard, with versions popping up in Delaware, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, regions where the hard shell bi-vavle is readily available. Though a spicy version is even found as far south as Florida.

Manhattan style Clam Chowder is the bane of New England apparently. “Manhattan” clam chowder was named due to New Englanders being offended by Rhode Island’s Portuguese immigrants inspired version of their traditional chowda. Portuguese cuisine had many traditional stews based with tomatoes. Instead of adding cream to the clear broth, they added tomatoes instead. Scornful New Englanders called this modified version “New York” clam chowder because, in their view, calling someone a New Yorker was, and probably still is, a major insult. Little did they know how popular the tomato based version would become. Long Island and Jersey chowders typically contain tomato. The people of Maine were so abhorred by this tomatoey version, that their legislature actually passed a bill in 1939, making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal.

Back to the clear broth, that goes by many names: Rhode Island Clam Chowder, Block Island, Delaware, Hatteras, Core Sound and Bogue Sound chowders. I came across a version through the NC Cooperative Extension that I elaborated upon.

If your clams are fresh caught, it is always a good idea to purge them first. This will help to cut down on sandy grit. Get some fresh clean Sound or Bay water and place preferably rinsed clams in the fresh water…24 hours is good. If you can purge them more than once all the better.


Clams and juice (the more the better) 1 qt or more. 30 chowders or more.

3 large onions

6 slices bacon

3 lbs. Potatoes

3 ribs celery

Pepper to taste

Shuck the clams and put the meat and juice in a bowl.

If you are dealing with very large chowders with large muscles or don’t have a clam knife, try freezing the clams. When ready to open clams, run warm water over the clam and take a paring knife and remove clam from shell. Place frozen clams and frozen juice in a bowl. When all clams are removed from shells place clams on chopping board and dice with a large knife or meat cleaver, put diced clams and juice back in a bowl and let thaw. This will allow the sand and grit to settle to the bottom of the bowl resulting in less grit in the chowder. Dice the potatoes, celery, onions, and bacon. In large stock pot or cast iron Dutch oven, place the clams, onions, bacon and celery and simmer until the onions are tender. Add in the clam juice being careful not to put in the contents that have settled in the bottom of the bowl. Add potatoes that have been peeled and diced. Add water until desired salty taste is achieved (about 3 cups). Then black pepper to desired taste.

Whatever your preference may be, get out there and dig some clams! Who wants Chowda??

Did you like this? Share it:
Friday, July 1, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

This past week there was an article regarding deep frying in The New York Times. Not something that you would expect to see in The Times. There were even a few recipes as there was also a discussion of different types of breading that may be used when deep frying.

The article entitled “Everybody Outside With the Deep Fryer”, by Melissa Clark, made some great points regarding outdoor use of a deep fryer. When you deep fry indoors, whether using a cast iron, stove top deep fryer, or a counter top deep fryer, you always end up with a lingering odor in your house, not to mention a nice coating of oil on everything. Melissa’s husband decided to take their counter top deep fryer outside. They invited their friends to a deep fry party. Having a whole party devoted to deep fried foods allowed Melissa to play and experiment with different kinds of foods and different types of coatings. From sweet to savory, appetizer to entree, Melissa got to have fun, feed her guests, and didn’t have an oily, smelly, messy kitchen to deal with afterward.

Using an electric deep fryer outside is OK, but typically not recommended by the manufacturer. It is not an item that you could ever keep outside permanently. Some units can handle the outdoor exposure, but the heating element would need to be taken off after every use and brought indoors. If you really do deep fry all of the time, and you have a nice back yard, why not consider an outdoor propane deep fryer? These units are made to stay outside and range in size from small to large professional grade. Even if you don’t deep fry all of the time, having a propane fryer can add to your BBQ menu. While you are grilling steaks you can fry a batch of onion rings as a side dish. While grilling a nice tuna steak or some nice stripped bass you can deep fry a batch of french fries, hush puppies and clam strips. After smoking some delectable delights all day on your BBQ smoker, you can deep fry some candy bars, cookies, or fried dough for dessert.

Deep frying outdoors, especially in the hot, sultry summer months is an excellent idea. Whether you decide to get a propane deep fryer or just take your counter top deep fryer outside. Happy frying!

Did you like this? Share it:
Saturday, June 11, 2011 @ 09:06 AM

I just finished watching Bacon Paradise on the Travel Channel. I know that the world of bacon has exploded over the past few years, I had no idea that it was to that extreme. I have seen the blogs, the bacon salts, pictures of meats wrapped in woven bacon blankets, the bacon wallet, chocolate covered bacon, Bakon Vodka, and even bacon lip balm. That should have been an inkling. There are so many restaurants out there that are focusing strictly on the bacon.

Watching the program was a great inspiration to me. Given the fact that I love bacon, I now have more ideas for cooking with bacon than I had before. Yes, yes, I know. Bacon is probably one of the worst foods as far as being health conscious and cholesterol savvy. But, who doesn’t love bacon? Waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon and a pot of fresh coffee….mmmm.

Pork bellies are the American version of bacon. In Europe they use the back portion for bacon. Traditional Irish bacon looks more like thin sliced boneless pork chops. Bacon comes in other forms now as well. You can get lamb bacon now. For the more heath conscious mind set, turkey bacon and tofu bacon.

I have worked with rumaki before. For those of you that don’t know rumaki it is basically a chicken liver, a piece of water chestnut, soaked in Teriyaki sauce, rolled in brown sugar and wrapped in bacon and broiled or grilled. Not everyone is about the chicken liver. Myself included, but once you taste the combo of flavors and textures together…it just works. I have played with the recipe and made it with chicken breast and pineapple chunks. I have actually considered deep frying rumaki in my outdoor propane deep fryer.

There were a few of these restaurants on the program that actually bought in pork bellies, cured and smoked them on their premises. One place called “3” in Arlington, VA actually has a pig roast once a month, but they place pork shoulder and pork belly under the splayed pig, so that the juices from the pig drip right down over everything while it is all in the roaster box together.

One restaurant, called Slater’s 50\50, Burgers by Design, actually makes bacon burgers. Not a beef patty with bacon on top…actually ground bacon made into patties. This young man started this idea by tailgating with friends in San Diego. At the time they were making 100 % ground bacon burgers. Mr. Slater has now added 50 % beef to the mix, ergo, 50\50. The light bulb just went on for me. I am ready to go out and buy a pound of bacon, a pound of ground beef and get out my meat grinder.

Now that I am totally hungry and want bacon. I am going to a barbeque at a friend’s house this afternoon. He is all about the smoke. He has 2 BBQ smokers, a smaller grill and has just added a larger Char-Broil grill to the mix. I know that he is smoking a whole turkey, 2 pork shoulders and probably some beef too. There was no bacon to be involved…until now. I saw many places serving bacon on a stick or bacon lollipops while watching Bacon Paradise. I just so happen to have some thick cut applewood smoked bacon from the North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, NH. I am going to thread the bacon onto soaked wooden skewers, place them on the grill, and have them for appetizers. I have some cracklins that I have been saving to trysmoked as well. Think this will be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

Well, now that I’ve made you hungry, go out and get yourself some bacon.

Did you like this? Share it:
Friday, June 3, 2011 @ 02:06 PM

I am constantly stressing the fact that your outdoor cooking appliances may have more than one use. Your grill, for instance, may be used for BBQ smoking or even be used just like an oven.

Traditional turkey fryers are multi-functional as well.

You can deep fry, stew, steam, and boil with your turkey fryer.

A neat idea for a cold weather tailgate, is to have hot cider or even mulled wine. Using your propane turkey fryer is ideal for a chilled tailgate crowd.

You can opt for just hot cider. Once it is warm, serve it in cups.

You can do a spicier version for a more grown up taste. This will add a heartier flavor in that crisp fall air.

6 gallons apple cider (not apple juice…cider)

6 whole cloves

6 cinnamon sticks

2 Tbsp. whole allspice

Place everything in the turkey fryer and set it to low. Bring the cider to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to very low, and let it simmer for about an hour or hour and a half. To serve, place a pat of butter in the bottom of each cup, and ladle the hot cider into the cups.

For Mulled Wine you want to basically follow the above directions, but using a red wine in place of the cider. You also do not want to boil the wine. Only to simmer! There are many variations to mulled wine. Some people actually add vanilla pods, oranges, nutmeg and brandy to the mix.

2 smaller batch versions to try ahead of time before you try it at the stadium is as follows:

4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
3 med. oranges, thinly sliced
1 med. lemon, thinly sliced
2 c. water
1 gallon dry red wine
In the turkey fryer stock pot heat all ingredients except wine to boiling. Boil 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium, pour in wine and heat until piping hot. Serve hot.
2 bottles dry red wine
4 ounces port or brandy
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 large orange, zested
Combine ingredients in the stock pot, set patio stove to low and bring to a simmer. Do not allow mixture to boil. Heat for 20 minutes and serve.
Did you like this? Share it:
Thursday, May 19, 2011 @ 07:05 PM

Having a deep fryer can make your life easier. You can cook food in half the time that it might take you to prepare something another way. I know that I can’t make a convincing argument that deep fried food is good for you. It is food that is cooked in fat. But if done properly, the food should quick cook, sealing moisture in and keeping the fat out. The key is to not let the food absorb the oil.You can cook meat, vegetables, fish, and tasty desserts.

Speaking of tasty desserts, doughnuts are a perfect reason to have your own deep fryer. Many people eat doughnuts for breakfast, but you can eat them for snack, for dessert, or anytime. These delectable pieces of fried dough are part of what make this world go round.

Some people like yeast- raised doughnuts. I prefer cake doughnuts. These are leavened with baking powder or baking soda. Some people like glaze. Some people like powdered. I like a little bit of sugar, or really just plain, warm, right out of the fryer, with a glass of ice cold milk.

Here is a great cake doughnut recipe:

5 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 1\2 tsp. salt

1\2 cup room temperature sour milk(milk with tsp. of lemon juice)

2 room temp. eggs

1 egg yolk at room temp.

3\4 cup granulated sugar

1\2 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled

1\4 cup molasses

1\2 rounded tsp. lemon zest

1\2 gallon frying oil

Sift the dry ingredients, except the granulated sugar, in a large bowl. In another mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, sour milk, eggs, egg yolk, melted shortening, molasses and lemon zest.

Gradually add the dry mix to the wet mix stirring gently. (Do not over mix, this tends to make tough doughnuts. You will still see a little flour.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator

for about an hour.

Time to heat the oil. Get your counter top fryer, cast iron Dutch oven or other stove top deep fryer ready to deep fry. Heat the oil to 370 degrees F.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out to 1\2″ thickness. Cut rounds with a doughnut or pastry cutter (3 1\2″) then cut out centers with a smaller cutter. (1 1\2″) If you don’t have doughnut or pastry cutters, get creative. Use a washed, clean veggie or a large glass, and a shot glass for doughnut holes. Gather your scraps and re-roll and cut until done.

One of the best ways to avoid  over absorption of oil, in fried foods is to not over crowd. Over crowding can cause the oil temp. to drop too low and prevent items from cooking properly. Only do 2-3 doughnuts at a time. Carefully drop the rings into the hot oil. Make doughnut holes if you like. They will float in about 30 seconds or so. Fry for another minute. Turn the doughnuts over and fry for another minute. Turn them once again and fry for one more minute, until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels or place 1\2 cup of sugar in a brown paper bag. Place doughnuts, about 2 at a time in the bag, and shake. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FRYER UNATTENDED! Store the doughnuts in a warm place until they are all done.

Get a cold glass of milk & enjoy!

Did you like this? Share it:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 08:04 PM

My family has had some long standing Easter traditions. Typically Easter Sunday started out with a hunt in the house for a special basket with goodies and colored eggs.

As far as the main meal went, typically after a morning at church, or a sunrise service out on the Great South Bay we had a beautiful leg of lamb. Over the years, as I have grown older, I have tried to change up the menu in some ways. I have had smoked and spiral cut ham. I even roasted a leg of lamb in my Brinkamnn grill. This year I plan to roast a fresh ham on my grill.

Most of the traditions we had primarily came from my mother’s mom’s family. They were of German decent and were farmers in eastern Pennsylvania. Two of our traditions are actually recipes that we only make at Easter time.

One traditional recipe is actually a pickled beet recipe, but since I was a kid, I only knew it as pickled eggs. You make the brew and pour it over your beets, eggs and some sliced onion. Then you just need to let them set for a day or two before eating. They are a bit sweeter than your traditional pickled egg, but I like these purple eggs much better. The others are usually too vinegary for me.

Pickled Eggs:
1 can sliced beets
1\4 c water (I usually use the purple water that the beets were in…save the rest of the beet water too in case you need a little extra liquid)
1\3 c sugar
1\2 c white vinegar
1 small onion sliced thin or 2-3 pearl onions sliced thin
6 hard boiled eggs
1 qt sized large mouth mason jar

Peel eggs. Place eggs, beets, onions, alternately in mason jar.
Heat water, sugar, and vinegar to just boiling. Pour heated liquid over eggs and beets in the jar. (Now if you need a bit of extra liquid, pour some beet water in until everything is covered). Cover the jar. Let sit until cool. Place in the fridge. Let the eggs set for at least 24 hours before sampling.

I have also used this recipe for after Easter when we had too many leftover colored eggs. It is a better way to preserve hard cooked eggs.

Another traditional Easter recipe that came from my Gram’s family was orange drop cookies. My great grandmother’s recipe was big enough that all her 12 grandchildren always got a cookie or three.

Orange Drop Cookies:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2 c sugar

1 c shortening

3 eggs

juice and rind of 2 oranges (about 1\2 c juice)

1 c buttermilk or sour milk

4 1\2 c sifted flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

dash of salt

Cream the sugar and shortening. Add the 3 eggs, orange rind and juice, and the milk.

In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients, then add to the wet mix.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool the cookies, then ice with the following:

1 box confectioners sugar, 1 tsp melted butter, juice from 1 orange(about 1\4 c), and 1 egg yolk.

I have tried to pass my own family traditions on to my children over the years. We always colored eggs together, I had my kids hunt for baskets. We went to church and shared a nice meal together with family and friends. My own children are older now. Not old enough to have children of their own yet, but too old for Easter baskets and for coloring eggs with mom. I will miss those days, but treasure their memory dearly. Hopefully if my children are blessed with children of their own, they will share the traditions that I have shared with them.

Have a blessed holiday.

Did you like this? Share it:
Thursday, March 31, 2011 @ 09:03 PM

I am going to step away from my norm again of deep fryers, BBQ smokers, and grills.

Easter season is upon us. There are so many good things to eat that come with the Lenten and Easter season. Friday night fish fry, lamb, fresh ham, pickled eggs. The warmer weather also brings thoughts of getting back outdoors to grill.

My great grandmother was of German decent and lived in Eastern Pennsylvania. She had a traditional cookie recipe that she made every Easter without fail. I love this recipe. The cookies are, light, refreshing, and filled with orangy goodness. It is a very large recipe, and there really is no cutting it in half unless you can cut an egg in half. .So eat hearty or be willing to share.

I do not know the origin of the recipe, if it came from Germany or if it was an Eastern PA. thing. I would dearly have loved to meet this woman. From what I have heard, I believe that she was a really excellent cook.So here is my great grandma Greaser’s Orange Drop Cookie recipe:

2 cup sugar

1 cup shortening

3 eggs

Juice and rind of 2 oranges

1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)

4 1\2 cup sifted flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

dash of salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs, juice and rind, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients, then add to the wet mix.

Mix well.

Drop by the spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 mins or until lightly browned.

Cool and then ice with following glaze recipe:

1 box confectioner sugar

Juice from 1 orange

1 Tbsp. butter

1 egg yolk

Mix together the above ingredients.. When cookies are cool, spread icing glaze on cookies.

Did you like this? Share it:
Friday, March 18, 2011 @ 04:03 PM

Yes controversy.

I have been making Irish soda bread for years. My recipe comes from The Fanny Farmer Baking Cookbook. The prologue to the recipe even states that Traditional soda breads are NOT SWEET! They can accompany any meal.

My husband grew up in Ireland. He always told me that the recipe that I made, tasted just like Grandma’s. Though Grandma’s was cooked in cast iron in a peat oven. Mine was, and still is, baked in an 8″ cast iron skillet in my oven.

It irks me to no end when I go into a store during the St. Patrick’s Day season,  and see Irish soda bread all done up with raisins, or caraway seeds, and then covered in a hard sugar cookie glaze. This is the farthest thing from traditional Irish soda bread that you can get. When Americans decided that traditional Irish fruit bread was traditional classic soda bread, I do not know. It is made with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), therefore making it a soda bread or cake, but it is so far from classic soda bread that it is not funny.

Poor people in Ireland certainly did not have the sugar and raisins for daily bread. Why would you use sweet cakey bread with raisins in it to sop up your lamb stew anyway? But a nice moist, fresh piece of bread slathered with butter is perfect here. Left over bread was usually toasted and slathered with butter and preserves or put in the frying pan to sop up bacon grease and then toasted to perfection. Certain times of the year, you were lucky to get any fruit at all anyway. At Christmas time it was a very special present if you received an orange or other piece of fruit with your gifts.

Traditional Irish fruit bread has many names. Spotted Dog, Sweet Cake, Curnie Cake, Spotted Dick or Railway Cake depending on the area of Ireland that you came from. Given the sweetness of this item, it would be appropriate to sprinkle powdered sugar on top or maybe even a glaze of sugar. But this is not what you want to eat with your Shepherd’s Pie or your boiled corned beef, which by the way is another American tradition, not Irish. This is something you would eat for tea or after dinner as a dessert item.

I am going to include the recipe for both Classic Traditional soda bread, and Spotted Dog so that you may see the similarities, but the definite differences.

Classic Irish Soda Bread:

4 cups flour

1 1\2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking SODA

2 cups buttermilk (milk with tablespoon or 2 lemon juice…let it sit & curdle a minute before you add it to flour mixture)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease an 8″ cast iron skillet. In large bowl toss together dry ingredients. Add buttermilk…stir briskly with fork til dough forms together in a rough mass. Knead on a liberally floured surface for about 30 secs. Pat into a 8″ round about 1 1\2 thick (mine is always thicker than that) Slash a large 1\4″ deep cross across the top. Place in cast iron skillet & bake 45-50 mins. or until nicely browned and the cross has spread open. Transfer to a rack to cool, then wrap in a slightly damp tea towel and let it rest for 8 hours. Wrapping the baked, cooled bread in a damp towel helps it to settle and makes it easier to slice.

Spotted Dick:

4 cups  flour

2 tsp. sugar

1\2 tsp. salt

1\2 tsp. baking soda

1\2 cup raisins, sultanas, or currents

1 1\2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 egg (optional…you probably won’t need all the milk if you use the egg)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the fruit and mix well.

Making a well in the center, add the egg and\or milk. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for a few seconds, just enough to tidy it up. Place in an 8″ cast iron skillet. Cut a 1\4″ deep cross in the top. Bake in the 450 degree oven for 15 mins. then turn down the temp. to 400 degrees F and cook for an additional 30 mins. or until cooked.

Serve freshly baked, cut into thick slices and spread with butter. Or you can cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar or put a sugar glaze on at this point.

Did you like this? Share it: