Friday, October 23, 2009

I Just Had This Conversation

I was trying to find the roof for an SUV that seems to have gone on walk-about and no one seems to know where it is. So I made a rather snarky remark about the fact that the transport company had lost a 10' x 5' 35 lb box.

The woman responded with, "It's not lost, we just don't know where it is!"

I've got her name and address to send her a copy of the dictionary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween Finger Food

We are having a Spooky foods contest at work on the 30th, and I've been diligently working on prototypes for my entry. I adapted a favorite George Stella recipe to make Smoky Fingers.

You'll need this.

Deli sliced smoked turkey
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 mayo (light is fine)
2 T chopped dill
pickled green beans
cocktail onions
red food coloring

Mix the cream cheese, mayo, and dill. Halve some cocktail onions and place in a bowl with brine and food coloring (not too much).


Spread with cream cheese mixture and place a green bean in center.


Roll it up and tuck under one end.

Pull off one layer of cocktail onion and trim to resemble fingernail. Place on folded end of "finger".


I'm looking for the right bread to place these on for "finger sandwiches".

Monday, October 19, 2009


I've joined a soup cook-along and if there was ever a perfect day for soup, it was today! Gray and cold. So this week we made Zuppa Toscana, a creamy sausage soup that was quite tasty and perfect with some crusty bread. I found a nice rosemary bread at the super market.

Zuppa Toscana

Makes: 6-8 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale
Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.


In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic for approxiamtly 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.


Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.

Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.


Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.


Stir in the sausage.

Add kale just before serving. Delicious!


Buon appetito!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My friend Carolea from the Contessa's Kitchen board posted this recipe from Land 'o Lakes on Friday. So, of course, I had to make it over the week-end.

Chocolate Lava Drops

1/2 cup butter
3 (1 oz.) squares bittersweet baking chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
32 dark chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped
1/2 cup sparkling sanding sugar - or sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter and bittersweet chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100 percent power), stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Cool 10 minutes.

lava cookie 1

Add 3/4 cup sugar and egg to melted cooled chocolate mixture; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt. Continue beating until well mixed.

lava cookie 2

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press 1 chocolate candy into each ball; form dough around candy to completely cover.

lava cookie 5

lava cookie 4

Place 1/2 cup sugar in small bowl; roll balls in sugar.

lava cookie 6

Place 1 inch apart onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet. Serve warm.

lava cookie 12

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Shape cookies; roll in sugar. Place in container with tight-fitting lid. Store at room temperature up to 2 hours or refrigerate until ready to bake.

REHEATING TIP: Place 2 cookies onto microwave-safe plate. Microwave on HIGH (100 percent power) until centers are melted (15 to 30 seconds). Do not over-heat

Yield: 32 cookies

Okay. I thought I was getting dark chocolate kisses, but got milk chocolate. Some woman was parked in front of them at Kroger and I had to reach across her shopping cart and grab a bag. I can only imagine how good they are with semi-sweet kisses. They are pretty darn good with milk chocolate.

lava cookie 8

Yummy goodness! Warm chocolate! Excellent! Please excuse the messy kitchen (hanging my head in shame).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Movie Night Munchies

We had movie night at Ginny's Saturday and, as usual, it was fab! She picked two great westerns with Jimmy Steward, directed by Anthony Mann...Winchester '73 and The Naked Spur.

And of course, we had plenty to eat. Ginny baked a ham and some sweet potatoes and whipped up some absolutely delish baked beans. Karen made a sweet potato and black bean salad and fig and caramelized onion tart. I made savory thumbprints with my Apricot Pepper jelly.

And I made this:


One-Dish Black-eyed Pea Cornbread
Souther Living

This uniquely Southern recipe works as a tasty appetizer when cut into small squares or as a main dish when paired with a tossed green salad.

1 pound spicy ground pork sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup white cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cream-style corn
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeño peppers
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles

Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.

Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda.

Stir together eggs, buttermilk, and oil until combined. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. (Batter will not be smooth.) Add sausage mixture, peas, and remaining ingredients to batter, stirring well.

Pour into a greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until golden and set.


This is a great cool weather dish. It can be lighted by using less oil (as little as 2 T, but I use 1/4 cup), fat free buttermilk, and light cheese. I use mild or sage sausage because the peppers back enough punch for me. It can be made ahead and frozen before baking. And it is easily halved. I like to serve it with a green salad. That pretty much makes a meal.

Forgot to add that we had a beautiful birthday cake in the shape of a hat from the Publix bakery (always excellent) in honor of Ginny's birthday tomorrow.

Friday, October 2, 2009

In Need Of A Good Laugh

Very, very bad news at work this week. No new regime. No hope. No future. Bad.

So I headed to the video store for something funny. I rented four recent releases and none of them were funny.

Sunshine Cleaning--dark
Dance Movie--too stupid
AdventureLand--stupid and dark

I should have just gone thru my TNT DVDs at home. Better Off Dead, 27 Dresses, Miracle At Morgan's Creek, Strictly Ballroom.

But then I found two great websites that made me smile. Check them out.

Every DIYer's nightmare and every car owner's worst fear.