Thursday, May 29, 2014

Food for Thought : Farmer's Markets

Farmers markets are a great place to learn where you food comes from. They also make it very easy to eat locally grown foods. Farmers market can help you save money, too. Luckily, our area has a few farmers markets to choose from, so you should be able to find one fairly close to you. In order to make any shopping trip successful, especially one to the farmers market, you should do a little planning.

Here are a few tips:
1 .  Know the market. Many markets will post their vendors and the layout online or in brochures. Look over these to know what is available. Keep in mind markets with multiple days per week of operation may not have the same vendors every day.

2 .  Have an idea of the meals you would like to prepare over the next week, but be open to substitutions. You may have planned for carrots, only to find this week your favorite merchant is out of carrots. Look for other vegetables to substitute. Also, you may find a great deal on something you had not planned on purchasing.

3 .  Take your own bags and small bills with change. This makes transactions go quickly and smoothly. Having your own bags helps protect your purchases, as many times bags provided by vendors are thin and flimsy.

4 .  Do not overcomplicate your meals. Let the flavors from your local produce come through by planning and preparing fruits and vegetable in simple ways. Not only will you save yourself time in the kitchen, but you may also be pleasantly surprised at how wonderful they taste.
Words of Wisdom :

In the eyes of a child you will see...the world as it should be.

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

Many people have ideas on how others should change; few people have ideas on how they should change.

It requires wisdom to understand wisdom; the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.

Just because someone hurt you yesterday doesn't mean you should start living life today
in constant fear of being hurt tomorrow.

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge; That myth is more potent than history; That dreams are more powerful than facts; That hope always triumphs over experience; That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death."

The road to success is not straight. There is a curb called Failure, a loop called Confusion; speed bumps called Friends; red lights called Enemies; caution lights called Family. You will have flats called jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination; an engine called Perseverance; insurance called Faith, and a driver called Guidance, you will make it to a place called Success!!
A Proud Grandpa G.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hot Dog & Shrimp

                                  Makes 4 servings

4 .....................beef-pork hot dogs
1/2................. pound (10 to 12) peeled, deveined medium shrimp, tails removed 
1 ...................teaspoon olive oil
4 hot dog buns 
1 ..................avocado 
1 onion, thinly sliced 
1/3 ...............cup mayonnaise 
1 ..................tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
1/2 ...............sheet nori, cut into slivers (about 3 tbsp.)

1.           Heat grill to medium (350° to 450°). Grill hot dogs until slightly charred all over, about 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
2.          Toss shrimp with oil in a small bowl, then grill, turning once, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add buns and grill, turning frequently, until warmed and lightly charred, about 3 minutes.
3.         Meanwhile, smash avocado with a fork in a small bowl and stir in onion. In another small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and Sriracha.
4.         Set dogs in buns and dollop with avocado mixture, then drizzle generously with Sriracha mayonnaise. Halve shrimp lengthwise and divide among dogs. Sprinkle with nori.

Heart healthy

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sausage Grilled with Beer

Makes 12 servings  ........Total: 40 Minutes

6 ...............bottles (12 oz. each) medium- to heavy-bodied ale (9 cups)
12 ............bratwurst 
1 ..............large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise

1.          Bring beer to a boil in a large, wide pot. Add sausages and onions and simmer 15 minutes. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit until ready to grill.
2.           Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above the cooking grate only 4 to 5 seconds). Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer sausages to the grill. Cook sausages, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, drain onions and set aside. Serve sausages hot or warm, with onions if you like.
You can add up to 8 more sausages without increasing the amount of beer or onion.
Heart Healthy

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Grilled Salmon Burgers

                                 Makes 4 servings
1 ..................pound boned, skinned salmon fillet
6 .................tablespoons fat-skimmed chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 ..............cup fine dried bread crumbs
1 .................tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 ..............teaspoon salt
1 .................large egg
            **Vegetable or olive oil**
4 ................soft potato rolls or English muffins (4 in. wide), cut in half horizontally
4 to 6 .........tablespoons smoked salmon cream cheese spread
          **Butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped**
Cucumber-hearts of palm relish (recipe below)

1.             Rinse salmon and pat dry; cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Pulse several times in a food processor to coarsely grind, scraping down container sides once or twice between pulses. In a bowl with a fork, mix ground salmon with broth, bread crumbs, dill, salt, and egg until mixture is thoroughly blended.
2.           Make four foil strips 5 to 6 inches wide by 10 inches long. Fold each strip to form 5- to 6-inch squares, then fold in edges to seal layers. Coat one side of each foil square with vegetable oil. Divide salmon mixture into four equal portions, place a portion on oiled side of each foil square, and shape each into an evenly thick 4-inch-wide round. If making ahead, lay patties (on foil) in a single layer on a plate, cover airtight, and chill up to 1 day.
3.           Place salmon patties on foil on a barbecue grill over a solid bed of medium coals or medium heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 4 to 5 seconds); cover barbecue and open vents. Cook patties until firm when pressed and pale pink in the center (cut to test), about 10 minutes. When patties are almost done, lay rolls, cut side down, on grill and toast until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
4.           Spread the toasted side of each bun half with smoked salmon cream cheese. Layer bottom of each bun with lettuce and a salmon patty; top with cucumber-hearts of palm relish and set bun tops in place.

Cucumber-hearts of palm relish:

In a bowl, combine
1/2 ..........cup diced (1/4 in.) seeded English cucumber
1/2 ..........cup thinly sliced canned hearts of palm 
1/4...........cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (including green tops)
2 .............teaspoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste).

Mix and let stand at least 5 minutes or cover and chill up to 1 day. Serve with a slotted spoon. Makes about 1 cup.
Heart Healthy

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Food for Thought : Unofficial Kick-off to Summer

This weekend is the unofficial kickoff of summer. Many of us will be celebrating with outdoor cookouts, a family reunion or other sort of social event. It is important to keep food, fitness and personal safety in mind as you plan for upcoming events. With a little planning, keeping your healthy habits in check can be easy:
1 .  Our area is known for growing great fruits and vegetables that will be in abundance over the next several weeks. Try grilling your vegetables or putting them on kebabs for a great side dish.
2 .  Watch your portion sizes, especially while traveling. It can be tempting to get a large bag of potato chips or candy for the road, but opt instead for a smaller package or portion out your car snacks.
3 .  Don’t forget your physical activity. Set up some beach volleyball or go for a swim. If you are traveling by car, stop every hour or so to walk around for a few minutes.
4.  While traveling, be mindful of food safety issues. Pack ice chests with adequate ice or cooler packs.

Words of Wisdom :
The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.

"The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back."

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

"The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."

"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich."

"Don't waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear."

"There comes a point when you either embrace who and what you are, or condemn yourself to be miserable all your days. Other people will try to make you miserable; don't help them by doing the job yourself."

"Whatever phase of life you are in, make time to pause and reflect where you are heading to. It is a good time to insert a comma now and realign yourself to your inner self before your life ends in a full stop."

A proud grandpa                      G. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cornbread Salad

                       Makes 6 servings

1 ................(6-ounce) package buttermilk cornbread mix
1 ...............(12-ounce) bottle Parmesan-peppercorn dressing
1/2 ............cup mayonnaise
1/4 ............cup buttermilk
1 ...............(9-ounce) package romaine lettuce, shredded
2-1/2 .........cups chopped smoked turkey (about 3/4 .............pound)
2 ................large yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 ...............large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 ...............cup diced celery (about 3 celery ribs)
2............... cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
10 .............bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
2 onions, sliced

1.       Prepare cornbread according to package directions; cool and crumble. Set aside.
2.      Stir together dressing, mayonnaise, and buttermilk until blended.
3.       Layer crumbled cornbread, shredded lettuce, and next 7 ingredients evenly into 6 (3- to 4-cup) glass containers; spoon half of dressing mixture evenly over tops. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle with green onions just before serving. Serve with remaining half of dressing mixture on the side.
4.        I used Martha White Buttermilk Cornbread Mix and Girard's Parmesan-Peppercorn Dressing. I used 3-cup marquis-shaped canning jars with lid and screw ring. You can also used Gladiola Mexican style cornbread mix and Ken's Steak House Buttermilk Ranch dressing.
5.        To make 1 large salad: Layer half each of crumbled cornbread, shredded lettuce, and next 7 ingredients in a large glass bowl; spoon half of dressing mixture evenly over top. Repeat layers ending with dressing mixture. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle top with green onions just before serving. Prep: 45 min., Chill: 8 hrs.

Layered Southwest Cornbread-and-Turkey Salad:


1.........(6-ounce) package Mexican cornbread mix for 1 (6-ounce) package buttermilk cornbread mix
1 .........(16-ounce) bottle buttermilk-Ranch dressing for Parmesan-peppercorn dressing
1 .........(8-ounce) package finely shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses with jalapeño peppers for shredded Swiss cheese 
1 .........(11-ounce) can sweet whole kernel corn, drained
1 .........(15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained, for yellow bell peppers. Prepare recipe as directed, omitting mayonnaise
Heart Healthy

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Grilled Cheese-and-Bacon Sandwiches with Cheese Curds

1/2 ..........beef bouillon cube (about 1 teaspoon
1/4 ..........cup mayonnaise
2 .............teaspoons Sriracha
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ............tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ............medium onion, thinly sliced
2 ............teaspoons cider vinegar
12 ..........slices of bacon
2 ............tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 ............slices of white sandwich bread
1/2 .........pound sharp cheddar, cut into 4 slices
3 ............ounces cheddar cheese curds (1 cup);
( see TIP :)

1.        In a small bowl, mash the bouillon cube into 2 teaspoons of hot water until dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise and Sriracha and season with salt and pepper.
2.      In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
3.     Meanwhile, in another skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
4.     Set a griddle over 2 burners and turn the heat to moderate. Butter the bread slices on 1 side. Spread the other side of 4 bread slices with the spicy mayonnaise and top with the onion, cheddar, cheese curds and bacon. Close the sandwiches buttered side out and griddle over moderately low heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

TIP : Cheese curds are available at specialty food shops and cheese shops.
Suggested Pairing
This sandwich is intensely rich with cheese, bacon and mayonnaise, calling for a full-bodied white with good acidity, like Chardonnay.

Heart healthy  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Turkey Burgers With Roasted Eggplant

Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant Recipe


1 (8-ounce) eggplant
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided                               

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 pound turkey tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces ( If you don't have a meat grinder, get store-ground turkey)                            
  • 1 teaspoon less-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Marmite
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted                               

  • 4 Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices                               

  • Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 400°.
    2. Lightly coat eggplant with cooking spray; wrap eggplant in foil. Place eggplant on a jelly-roll pan; bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until very tender, turning once. Remove from foil; cool slightly. Cut eggplant in half. Carefully scoop out pulp to measure 1 1/4 cups; discard skin. Place pulp in a food processor; process until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup pureed pulp. Combine remaining pulp, 1 tablespoon parsley, 2 teaspoons oil, juice, and garlic. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
    3. To prepare grinder, place feed shaft, blade, and 1/4-inch die plate in freezer 30 minutes or until well chilled. Assemble the grinder just before grinding.
    4. Arrange turkey pieces in a single layer on jelly-roll pan, leaving space between each piece. Freeze 15 minutes or until meat is firm but not frozen. Combine meat and remaining 2 teaspoons oil in large bowl; toss to combine. Pass meat through meat grinder completely. Immediately pass meat through grinder a second time. Combine reserved 1/4 cup eggplant puree, turkey, remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, soy sauce, and Marmite in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in the center of each patty. Cover and chill until ready to grill.

    5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
    6. Lightly coat patties with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place patties on grill rack, and grill 4 minutes until well marked. Carefully turn patties over, and grill 3 minutes or until done. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with 1 tablespoon eggplant mixture, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, and top half of bun.

     We love turkey burgers in our family. They have a great smokey taste and they are a healthy break from too many beef burgers. Enjoy

    Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fruit


    2 .................tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 .................tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 ................small white onion, thinly sliced
    4............... .carrots, sliced 1/3 inch thick
    4 ................large radishes, quartered
    4 turnips, peeled and quartered
    3/4 .............pound Savoy cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
    1 ................Golden Delicious applepeeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
    2............... garlic cloves, thinly sliced
                **Freshly ground pepper**
    1/2 ............cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 ...............Bosc pearpeeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

    1.             Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. When the foam subsides, add the onion, carrots, radishes, turnips, cabbage, apple and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned in spots, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender.
    2.             Remove from the oven, stir in the pear pieces and cook over high heat until the liquid is evaporated and the pear is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the braised fruits and vegetables to a bowl and serve.

    Heart healthy 

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Food for Thought : Allergies

    When you are affected with allergies, you may not feel well and may be less likely to get proper nutrition or adequate sleep. While there is not one food that will eliminate your allergy symptoms, there are some things you can do to help yourself overall:
    Anthocynanins, the nutrient group that gives food their purplish or red color, have been shown to help the body with natural anti-inflammatory properties. Fill your diet with beets, berries, cherries and dark purple and red grapes.

    Quercetin, an antioxidant found in citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley and tea, has been shown in some lab studies to reduce the body’s release of histamine.

    Try thin clear soups to help thin mucus and clear nasal passages. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids.

    As always, check with your doctor for any seasonal or food-related allergies. Make sure you also let your physician and pharmacist know if you are taking over-the-counter medication or supplements, as these can interfere with medications for allergies. Also, check to see if your medication come with food interaction warnings.

    Words Of Wisdom:
    Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

    A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.

    That it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. That it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

    That it isn't always good enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you must learn to forgive yourself. That no matter how bad a heart is broken; the world doesn't stop for your grief.

    The truth is hard to swallow when you're choking on your pride...

    "I've always believed that a lot of the trouble in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other."

    Some people think before they speak. Some people speak before they think. But the smart ones just smile and nod...

    Just because someone hurt you yesterday
    doesn't mean you should start living life today
    in constant fear of being hurt tomorrow.

    "I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge; That myth is more potent than history; That dreams are more powerful than facts; That hope always triumphs over experience; That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death."

    A proud grandpa G.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Thai Chicken with Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce

    "Thailand is condiment heaven, with a gazillion sauces. This northern Thai-style one is extra-sour, because it uses both tamarind and lime .

     Marinated Chicken :
    1/4 ...................cup chopped cilantro
    2 ......................tablespoons Asian fish sauce
    1-1/2 ...............teaspoons freshly ground pepper
    4 .....................whole chicken legs, skinned

    Dipping Sauce :
    1/2 ...................teaspoon tamarind concentrate (see TIP) dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
    1/4 ...................cup Asian fish sauce
    2 ......................tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 ......................small garlic clove, minced
    1...................... small Thai chile, seeded and minced
    2 ......................teaspoons sugar
    1 .....................tablespoon water
    1/2 ..................tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/2 ..................cup chopped cilantro

    MARINATE THE CHICKEN In a mini food processor, process the cilantro, fish sauce and pepper to a coarse puree. Coat the chicken with the marinade. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

    1.           PREPARE THE DIPPING SAUCE In a bowl, combine the dissolved tamarind with the fish sauce, lime, garlic, chile, sugar and water.
    2 .          Preheat the oven to 400°. Light a grill. Rub the chicken with the oil and rub the grill with an oiled paper towel. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, turning, until charred, 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until cooked.
    3.           Just before serving, stir the cilantro into the dipping sauce and serve with the chicken.

    Tamarind concentrate is available at Indian and Latin food shops.

    Suggested Pairing:
    Peppery, raspberry-rich Zinfandel.

    Heart healthy

    Instant Fab Brainer

    Line muffin tins.  Remove wrapper from Reeses and put into liners.  Add no-bake cheesecake mix on top.  Chill as directed.  Shut up!
    Line muffin tins, remove wrapper from Reeses and put into liners. Add Jello, no-bake, cheesecake mix( Follow package directions) on top. Chill as directed. You say, "it can't be that easy", but it is. If you want to make it fancier, put a chocolate curl or two on top...Decadent! Great for parties.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Honey-Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey Marinade

    You can roast these meaty, tender ribs for two to three hours over a low fire for a fabulously smoky flavor. In this easy adaptation, the ribs are slow-cooked in the oven, then finished on the grill. Baby back ribs cut across the bone are the classic Thai choice, but whole ribs are just as delicious.

    Marinated Ribs :
    3......................... .racks baby back ribs (about 5 pounds)
    1/4....................... cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/4 .......................cup plus 2 tablespoons whiskey
    1/4 .......................cup honey
    2 ..........................tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
    1-1/2 ...................teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
    1 ..........................teaspoon Asian sesame oil
    1/2 ......................teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4...................... teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    Honey Glaze and Dipping Sauce :
    1/4 .....................cup honey
    2 ........................tablespoons hot water
    1/2 .....................cup fresh lime juice
    1/4..................... cup fish sauce
    1/4 .....................cup soy sauce
    1/4 .....................cup Korean red pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 ....................cup chopped cilantro
    2 .......................tablespoons sugar

    1.              Arrange the rib racks in a large glass or ceramic baking dish, overlapping them slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the whiskey, honey, ginger, white pepper, sesame oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the marinade over the ribs and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
    2.             In a small bowl, combine the honey with the hot water. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice with the fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper flakes, cilantro and sugar; stir until the sugar is dissolved.
    3.              Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange the ribs on the baking sheet, meaty side up. Roast for about 2 hours, until tender. Baste the ribs with the honey mixture and roast for another 15 minutes, until browned and glossy. Remove the ribs from the oven and baste again with the honey mixture.
    4.             Preheat a grill. Grill the ribs over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Transfer the racks to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs. Arrange the ribs on a platter and serve the dipping sauce alongside.

    Suggested Pairing :
    France's coastal Mediterranean region of Provence might evoke Brigitte Bardot more readily than barbecue. But these slow-cooked pork ribs have a sweet-tart marinade that makes them delicious with a dry, crisp Provençal rosé.

    Heart healthy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Creamy Chicken and Mushroom One-Pot .... With Pot Pie Toppers

    YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
    • 3 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • 3 onions
    • 2 fresh bay leaves
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced or quartered
    • 4 baby potatoes, diced
    • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced 1/2-inch thick
    • 2 small ribs celery, chopped
    • A few sprigs fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • Splash white wine
    • 1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, defrosted
    • 1 egg                      


    Place the chicken breasts in a pot with 1 quartered onion and 1 bay leaf. Fill the pan with just enough water to come to the top of the chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and poach the chicken 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and dice or shred with forks. Reserve the poaching liquid.

    In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a couple of turns of the pan over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and lightly brown. When the mushrooms are just tender, add 2 chopped medium onions, potatoes, parsnips, celery, sage, salt, pepper and remaining bay leaf. Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Melt the butter in the pot, add the flour and stir to make a light roux. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and add one to 2 cups of reserved poaching liquid. Whisk in the mustard and 2 cups chicken stock. Stir in the cream. Thicken to a light gravy consistency. Adjust the salt and pepper and add in the chicken.

    Reduce the heat to low and bake the pastry tops.

    For make-ahead meal: Bake the pastry tops; cool the filling and store. Reheat the filling, covered, over medium heat to a bubble, and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

    To prepare the pastry tops: Cut the pastry into shapes which reflect the shape and size of the dishes or bowls you wish to serve the soup in. Beat the egg with a splash of water and arrange the cut pastry on a nonstick baking sheet or on parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake to golden at 425 degrees F, 12 minutes.

    Cook's Note: Chicken and Mushroom filling can also be served as a thick soup with crusty, warm baguette for dipping

    Sloppy Ginos

    TOTAL TIME: 40 min
    Prep: 15 min
    Cook: 25 min                
    YIELD: 4 servings


    • 1 1/2 pounds/675 g ground beef
    • 3 thick slices pancetta, diced
    • 1 tablespoon/15 ml olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • 1 celery stalk, diced
    • 1 onion, minced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 cups/500 ml San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
    • 1/2 cup/125 ml Parmigiano-Reggiano, Piave or pecorino cheese, grated, plus more, shaved, for garnish
    • 1/2 cup/125 ml ketchup or chili sauce
    • 2 tablespoons/30 ml smoked paprika
    • 2 tablespoons/30 ml brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon/15 ml red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon/15 ml Worcestershire sauce
    • Pinch cayenne pepper
    • A couple fresh thyme sprigs, minced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
    • Chopped chives, for garnish
    • 4 hamburger buns


    Brown the beef and pancetta in the oil in a large skillet until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, carrots, celery, onions and bell peppers and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Add the tomatoes, cheese, ketchup, paprika, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, cayenne, thyme and jalapeno and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and then stir in chives.
    Toast the buns in a grill pan. Divide the beef between the buns on 4 plates and garnish with shaved cheese. They are very tasty  and make a great lunch.

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    Riesling Sangria with Lychees & Red Sangria -- 4th July Drinks

    Although Spaniards and Portuguese have been drinking sangria for centuries, the brandy-spiked drink didn’t make an official appearance in the United States until 1964, at the World’s Fair in New York City.

     2............. 750-milliliter bottle fruity red wine , such as Merlot
     4 ............ ounces brandy 3 ounces Simple Syrup, (recipe below)
     1 ............ cup mixed chunks of seeded oranges, lemons and limes Ice

    1.          In a pitcher, combine the red wine, brandy, Simple Syrup and fruit. Refrigerate until the drink is chilled and the flavors are blended, 4 to 8 hours. 2.         Serve the sangria in chilled, ice-filled wineglasses.
    Simple Syrup:

    Make ahead the syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 1 month.
    In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

    Riesling Sangria with Lychees

    1 ..............cup raspberries, halved
    1 ..............Asian pear—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
    1/2 ...........cup dry sake
    1/2 ...........cup bourbon
    1/2 ............cup fresh lemon juice
    1/2 ............cup triple sec
    2 ...............tablespoons sugar
    1...............20-ounce can lychees in syrup—lychees halved, syrup reserved
    2...............750-milliliter bottles slightly off-dry Riesling, chilled Ice

    1.            Using a knife, peel the orange, removing the bitter white pith. Working over a pitcher, cut in between the membranes to release the sections.
    2.           Squeeze the juice from the membranes and discard the membranes.
    3.          Add the raspberries, pear, sake, bourbon, lemon juice, triple sec, sugar and lychees with their syrup.
    4.          Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir in the Riesling and serve the sangria in ice-filled wineglasses.

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Food for Thought : Are You Getting Enough Sleep ???

    Are you getting enough sleep? Adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night, while teens need at least nine. Lack of sleep can affect many aspects of our physical and mental health. Here are a few tips that may help you improve your sleep habits with nutrition:

    1 . Set an evening routine that includes a good balanced meal. You should include quality proteins to help keep you feeling full longer.

    2.  Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially in the evening. Also, avoid consuming too many liquids in the evening, which can result in frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

    3 .  Some people find a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. Try half of a sandwich, a small bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit.

    4 .  Regular exercise not only helps us maintain a healthy weight, it can also help your sleep cycles. Increase your physical activity for a few days and see how that helps you. However, it is not recommended to exercise immediately before bedtime, as this can keep you from falling asleep.

    Words Of Wisdom :
    "Some men are assholes and some men are cowards. What they both have in common is that both just stops talking to you, for no reason other than that they are assholes and cowards."

    "Healing is more about accepting the pain and finding a way to peacefully co-exist with it. In the sea of life, pain is a tide that will ebb and weave, continually.
    We need to learn how to let it wash over us, without drowning in it. Our life doesn't have to end where the pain begins, but rather, it is where we start to mend."

    "Do the things you want to do; if you don’t, the things which keep you alive inside you die and you turn into a ghost!"

    "The standard of a true leader is that he sets also his own rules rather than merely and blindly obeying the set of standard rules, even if it means being treated as an idiot or a crazy by the fools. And to follow his noble dream to attain his cherished goal, he employs his wisdom tool gained from his own hard core experience in an open school called life."

    "My life is never perfect, but life is always a beautiful thing. I choose to see the beauty out of it. I choose to make it wonderful. I choose to love life and it loves me back in return. I may only have one life to live, but if I do it right, once is enough."

    "A person’s open mind is distinctly defined by his caring soul that can readily find the real image of the people’s character and its true kind through their words reflecting and echoing the voice of their heart."

    A proud  grand  poppa                     G.

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Great Chickpea Salad





    1. In a large bowl, combine all vinaigrette ingredients with a whisk.
    2. Add salad ingredients and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Avocado BLT's

    Avocado BLTs
    • 1/2 pound bacon slices
    • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 whole-wheat baguette, cut into 4 pieces and split open
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • 2 avocados halved, pitted and thinly sliced
    • 1 cup frisee or other salad greens
    Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season the cut sides of the tomatoes with salt.
    Heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush the cut sides of the baguette with the olive oil and grill, cut-side down, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Rub the grilled sides with the garlic. Rub just the bottom halves of bread with the tomatoes until most of the juice is absorbed, then top with the tomato skins and season with salt and pepper.
    Layer the avocado slices on top of the tomatoes, then add the bacon and frisee. Close with the bread tops.

    Barbecued Chicken Tacos

    • 10 chicken tenders
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
    • Taco shells
    • Your favorite taco toppings
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Line an oven safe pan with foil.
    3. In a small bowl, mix seasonings.
    4. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub first with olive oil, then seasoning mix.
    5. Place chicken in the foil lined pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
    6. Baste chicken with barbecue sauce then place under the broiler on high for 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully so the sauce doesn't burn.
    7. Heat taco shells in the microwave.
    8. Slice chicken and place a few strips in the bottom of warmed shells; drizzle with barbecue sauce.
    9. Assemble tacos with your favorite toppings.
    They go well with lettuce, tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped, sweet peppers and most varieties of cheese. And we tried sautéed mushrooms and roasted corn niblets as toppings and really enjoyed them.

    Raspberry Cookies With Cream

    All you raspberry lovers out there will enjoy these scrumptious cookies
    • 2 cups raspberries
    • 1/2 cup sugar + 1 1/2 TB to put on raspberries
    • 1/2 cut lemon juiced
    • 2 cup flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 8 TB salted butter cubed - not softened
    • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 11/2 TB milk
    1. Combine raspberries, sugar ( only 1 1/2 TB) and lemon juice in a small bowl.
    2. Combine flour, baking powder and the rest of the sugar (1/2 cup) in a large bowl. Add small cubes of butter. Mix together with a pasty cutter or whisk. You can also combine with your hands until the mixture combines. It will be more of a crumble mix.
    3. Stir in cream and mix until combined. Then gently fold in raspberries.
    4. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop dough on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
    5. Stir together powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over cooled cookies.
    Enjoy! You'll thank me later. You'll be over-come with compliments on your brilliance.

    Choco-Butterscotch Cookies

    butterscotch cookies
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter softened
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1/2 bag white chocolate chips
    • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips
    1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in one egg at a time. Mix in oil, vanilla and almond extract.
    2. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly mix into wet ingredients. Once smooth, fold in chips.
    3. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
    Delicious soft cookies that practically melt in your mouth. Wow! You are going to be so popular at your house. Make an extra batch.

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Marble Cake with Chocolate Frosting

    SERVINGS: makes one 9-inch, two-layer cake

    This layer cake recipe combines moist, spongy cake and frosting that's a perfect balance between sweet and buttery.

    Cake :
    3 ......................cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    1 ......................tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 ...................teaspoon salt
    1 ......................cup milk, at room temperature
    2 ......................teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1-1/2............... sticks unsalted butter, softened
    2 ......................cups granulated sugar
    4 ......................large eggs, at room temperature
    4 ......................ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

    Frosting :
    4 ......................ounces bittersweet chocolate
    1/2 ...................cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    1/2 ...................pound unsalted butter, softened
    1...................... large egg yolk (optional)
    1 ......................pound confectioners' sugar
    1 ......................teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                                       ***Pinch of salt ***

    1.               Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; butter and dust with flour. In a bowl, mix the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. In a cup, mix the milk with the vanilla.
    2.              In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and scraping down the bowl.
    3.             Mix 2 cups of the batter with the melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate. Scrape the remaining batter into the pans. Dollop the chocolate batter over the batter in the pans and swirl with a knife. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until springy. Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Peel off the paper, turn the cakes upright and cool completely.
    4.              Melt the bittersweet chocolate in 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and let cool. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar at low speed. Beat in the remainder of the cream, vanilla, and salt, then beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes longer. Beat in the cooled chocolate cream.
    5.              Spread 1 cup of frosting over a cake layer and top with the second layer; frost the top and sides. Let stand 1 hour; serve.

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Food For Thought : Oatmeal Cookie Day

    Today is National Oatmeal Cookie Day. Few things smell as sweet and wonderful as a batch of freshly baked cookies in your kitchen. Typically, cookies are thought of as a wonderfully delicious treat that are bad for your nutrition goals. However, you can find ways to incorporate cookies into your diet plan without sacrificing taste or damaging any weight-loss plans. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy today’s holiday without any guilt:

    1 .  Bake from scratch. You will get less unwanted fats, preservatives and added ingredients when you prepare your own. You may be surprised how simple it can be. Baking is a great family activity that will help your child learn important life skills, too.
    2 .  Make half a batch if you are worried about having the temptation of too many sweet treat around. Or package up some for a neighbor or loved one. Almost everyone likes to receive a homemade treat every once in a while.
    3 .  Look at your recipe and incorporate healthy substitutions. Use applesauce to replace oils and fats, use whole-wheat flour instead of white flour, or flax seed to replace egg. Each recipe is different, so you may have to experiment to get the best texture and consistency.
    4 .  Keep your portions small. Make cookies using a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon and limit the number of cookies you eat. Don’t eat cookies before your meal or when you are really hungry, as you may tend to overindulge. Enjoy cookies as an after-meal snack, paired with low-fat milk for added protein.
    Words of Wisdom :
    "Commitments don't have to be chains. They can be rich with meaning." They can be the wings on which our spirits soar."

    Being happy can be hard work sometimes. It is like maintaining a nice home - you've got to hang on to your treasures and throw out the garbage."

    If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.

    Humor is most powerful thing that uses laughter as it base to chase your blues away.
     If you go to bed at night and think about your day and you haven't laughed very much, then you must jump out of bed and go do something fun.

    The difficult thing about children is that they come with no instructions. You pretty well have to assemble them on your own.

    Old people like to give good advice, since they can no longer set bad examples

    I must be getting absent-minded. Whenever I complain that things aren't what they used to be, I always forget to include myself.

    Being happy can be hard work sometimes. It is like maintaining a nice home - you've got to hang on to your treasures and throw out the garbage."
    A proud Grandpa             G.