Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LEAP YEAR, FEBRUARY 29, 2012



The day is nearly over and after reading other leap year memorials,
I remembered my beloved auntie, born on this day ... 100 years ago.
She was a bit shy about having a leap year birthday and chose instead
to celebrate on March 1.

She was my mentor and friend who worked tirelessly to keep a
neat and tidy kitchen.
She was little but she would smile as children measured their
height with hers as they were growing up.
She could turn wild fowl into the most tender piece of meat
you would ever want to eat.
She made the most wonderful doughnuts and parker house
rolls for New Year's dinner.
She loved beauty ... flowers, tea cups, clocks, lovely towels
and sheets ...  other pretty things.
She was caring and kind and generous. I loved her.
Even the electrician and plumber called her 'Auntie'.
She has been home with the Lord now for 10 years
but I will see her again.
What a beautiful example she left behind! 





Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP


Tortellini can be purchased but I had fun making and shaping them
yesterday to use in this soup today.


I added the vegetables to a pot of chicken stock that I made
by cooking the bones of a roasted chicken that I bought
at the grocery store.  I used the meat in the tortellini I prepared.
This was an idea that I got from a cookbook that was gifted to me
at Christmas by my niece and I was pleased with the results.


The vegetables simmer in the broth until almost tender.


These were enough tortellini for the two batches of soup
I needed to make today.  It's convenient to able to make tortellini ahead of time
and freeze them for later use


As tortellini cook they expand and turn into a very edible morsel.
If you can call food 'cute', these would qualify.


CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP

6 cups chicken broth
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
½ cup diced celery
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp. parsley flakes
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine chicken broth, vegetables
and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer
for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender crisp.

30 tortellini with chicken filling

Add tortellini to broth; bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until tortellini tests done.
Note: if using store bought tortellini, use 24 as they are larger in size
than the recipe I posted.
Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Monday, February 27, 2012

CHICKEN TORTELLINI


I was feeling particularily ambitious today and decided to make
some chicken tortellini to use in a soup.
They are a bit fussy to make and take some time but if you
like to be creative and you like food made from scratch,
give these a try.


Start by making a basic pasta dough.


Cover with a bowl and allow the dough to rest after kneading to make it
easier to roll out.


After today, I am planning to buy a pasta machine!
It was hard work to roll out the dough until it was very thin. 
I probably rolled it out too thin since the recipe says it
makes 24 tortellini.  I managed to make 63!


A two-inch cookie cutter is the perfect size to make these tortellini.


Place about ½ tsp. chicken filling in the center of the circles.
Shape filling into an oblong form to make it easier to fold in half.


Moisten one half of the circle edge with water, fold in half and
pinch edges together to seal.


Pull ends together to form a circular shape; seal tightly
using a touch of water.


Place tortellini on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a
sheet of plastic to keep them from drying out as you work.
At this point you can freeze the tortellini or you can use them
immediately in a recipe.

CHICKEN TORTELLINI

3/4 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. parsley flakes
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. chicken broth or water

In a small mixing bowl, add enough chicken broth to chicken, cheese and
seasonings to hold together.  Refrigerate.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, eggs and salt.  Mix together to form
a stiff dough.  If necessary use a few drops of water to
bring dough together. Knead until smooth; cover with a bowl
and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Divide dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until
very thin.  Cut into 2-inch circles.  Place about ½ tsp. filling on
each circle; moisten half of circle edge with water.
Fold in half and press edges to seal.  Pull ends together to
form a circular shape; seal ends using a touch of water.
Place on lightly floured baking sheet, covering with plastic
to keep from drying out as you continue making tortellini.
Use immediately in a recipe or freeze for later use.
Yield:  approx. 50 tortellini

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, MUSIC


Beautiful stained glass windows adorn this old United Methodist
Church in Goshen, Indiana.


Soft light filters through this amazing work of art.


It was the setting for a piano recital by the students of
Suzanne Lisor.


I was there as the grandmother to three precious girls.
What a blessing!


They played so well using the talents that God has given them.


Playing 'Jesu, Joy of Man's desiring'.
I love to listen to the girls play but most of all, I love them.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing
praises to Your name, O Most High;
to declare Your loving kindness in the morning,
and Your faithfulness every night,
on an instrument of ten strings,
on the lute and on the harp,
with harmonious sound.
Psalm 52:1-3

Saturday, February 25, 2012

BLUEBERRY STUFFED FRENCH TOAST


How would you like to start your day with this delicious french toast?
Stuffed with a berry filling and dusted with powdered sugar,
it will wow guests at a breakfast brunch.


For this recipe, I used two slices from the sesame seed braid that I blogged
yesterday. Spread one slice with cream cheese and blueberry pie filling.
Or use saskatoon pie filling, generously ... like I did.


Place the plain slice over the prepared slice; transfer to the
shallow plate with the egg mixture.  Let it soak up the liquid for
a few seconds and carefully turn over to the other side.


Brown on both sides on a non-stick skillet or griddle.


Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with syrup ...
in Canada, I would use Rodgers Golden syrup.
I made only one sandwich for the pictures on this blog, but the
recipe makes 4 servings.  It is easy to reduce the amount to make
only one serving or two if that's what you need.


BLUEBERRY STUFFED FRENCH TOAST

8 slices bread
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup blueberry pie filling

Spread 4 slices of bread with cream cheese.  Top with blueberry
pie filling divided equally between 4 slices.
Place plain slices on top to make a sandwich; set aside.

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt

Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar and salt together.
Dip sandwiches into egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.
Brown over medium heat on buttered non-stick skillet or griddle.
Dust with powdered sugar.
Serve immediately with syrup.
Yield: 4 servings



Friday, February 24, 2012

SESAME WHEAT BRAIDS


This is a great recipe for a showy loaf of bread.  It is
not only pleasant to the eyes but tastes just as good as it looks.


The light wheat dough rises very quickly and the braids are
formed after the first rising.


Divide the dough in half and roll out into a long rectangle;
cut into thirds.


Bring the sides up and pinch together to form ropes.


Place the ropes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and braid.
You may find it easier to begin braiding from the center of the ropes.


Then turn the baking sheet around and finish the braid from
the opposite end.  At first I found that method a bit confusing.
If that is the case for you, just braid from one end all the way to
the other end.  Make sure you tuck the ends firmly under.


When the braids are risen, carefully brush the top and sides
with an egg wash.


Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop into the oven.


I am so fond of this bread, sliced and buttered, with a dollop
of saskatoon jelly.


SESAME SEED BRAIDS

2 pkg. dry yeast (2 tbsp.)
2 cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.

1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, sugar and oil; mix well.
Stir in whole wheat flour; let stand until the mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes.

2 eggs
 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. salt
5 to 5½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sesame seeds

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and water.  Remove 2 tbsp. to a small
bowl; cover and refrigerate.  Add remaining egg mixture, salt and 3 cups
flour; beat until smooth.  Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7
minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Punch dough down and divide in half.  Roll each half into a
6x15-inch rectangle, approximately.
Cut into thirds lengthwise making 3 strips, about 2x15 inches long.
Bring sides up and pinch together to form ropes.
Place the 3 ropes on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet; braid.
Secure ends firmly and tuck under.

Repeat with second half of dough, placing braid on same baking sheet.
Let rise until nearly double, 35 to 45 minutes.
Carefully brush tops and sides of braids with the reserved egg
mixture.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake in preheated 350° oven fro 20 to 25 minutes or
until golden brown.  Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

POPPY SEED DRESSING


Come with me on a little tour of my friend Karen's cafe in Middlebury, IN. 
After a morning of shopping, my daughter, granddaughters and I
stopped here for lunch.


It is inviting, spacious and clean.  Best of all, another friend told
me that the food is as made-from-scratch as you can get
at a cafe.  She should know because she works there.


The cafe opens early for the breakfast crowd and closes in early
afternoon when the lunch guests have dined.  The kitchen is open
to observe the food preparation.


Homemade soups and sandwiches, salads, and a host of
freshly baked breads, desserts and pies are some of the items
on the extensive menu.


An impressive mural painted on one wall lends a sunny atmosphere
to a dining experience that was relaxing and enjoyable.


I chose a colorful healthy salad that was perfect with  poppy seed
dressing.  'This is a dressing I am going to try duplicate
when I get home', I told my daughter.  'Aunt Karen' came
to our table and we complimented her on the delicious lunch.
I had a special appreciation for the poppy seed dressing and she replied,
'it's your recipe!'
What a pleasant surprise!  She did make a slight change to my recipe
but that is her secret.  Here is my recipe.

POPPY SEED DRESSING

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ mayonnaise
¼ tsp. ground mustard
¼ salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds

In a blender, combine all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds.
Cover and process until blended.  While processing, gradually add
oil in a steady stream.  Blend until thick and creamy; pour into
container.  Stir in poppy seeds.  Store tightly covered
in refrigerator.
Yield: about 1 cup

Recipe on page 87, 'At Home in the Kitchen' cookbook.
I

Monday, February 13, 2012

VALENTINE'S DAY 2012


A very happy Valentine's Day to all my readers!
I have been absent from my site for quite some time and I have
dearly missed the joy of posting.
My intentions were to keep blogging as I travelled to IN and NY for
the past several weeks but it did not happen for various reasons.
It is not that I stopped cooking and eating ... quite the contrary ...
I enjoyed wonderful meals prepared by my daughters. I am at home in
their kitchens as well as at their kitchen sinks.
Isn't that what mothers and grandmothers are all about?


One week-end my daughter asked me to make the dessert that she needed
 to take to a Church potluck meal.
We chose to make White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake and
Turtle Cheesecake.  The recipes are on previous blogs so I am
simply posting some of the pictures.


The plan was to take the cheesecake in a tupperware bowl using
the lid as the base and the bowl as the cover.


We decided to put the hearts in place after we got to Church since
they would not stay upright inside the bowl.


I made lots of extra hearts to share  with the grandchildren or to
put in the freezer for future use.


The cheesecakes were carefully loaded in the back of the van for the
drive to church.  My son-in-law had one of the boys carry the
containers inside and place them on the counter.
When I came inside I gasped in horror as the bowls had been
turned upside down as would be normal.
I quickly flipped them over and removed the cover to survey the damage
to the carefully piped whipped cream mounds.
To my amazement the flip-flop was not nearly as bad as I anticipated.
I placed the hearts and here is a picture of the result.
Isn't is hard to believe that this was once upside down?



If you would be able to see closely, you could see that the
cakes were not nearly as perfect as they were to begin with but they tasted as
good as if they had been unmarred.
Many of the congregants were lavish with their praise.
I was touched by the young people who came up to me and thanked
me for the 'amazing dessert'.
It was my pleasure to make something that was enjoyed by many people
and so worth the extra effort.
Plus it was a good lesson for me to make the best of things
that could be a great disappointment.