Thursday, November 29, 2007
To 2 bottles of red wine add:
6 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
1/8 t each ground ginger and allspice
1/2 c sugar
zest of 1 ornage
juice of 1 orange
Combine all ingredients and warm over low heat. Do not simmer or boil.
Serve in wine glasses
Saturday, November 17, 2007
With the holidays approaching, I always have Athens "Mini Fillo Shells" in the freezer. They don't even need to be baked and are great for appetizers or dessert. They come 15 to a box. Just fill them straight from the freezer. Here are some of the ways I have served them and they are always a hit.
Savory Fillings (hot):
- Chili (Bush's chili in a jar is great to keep on hand) topped with shredded cheddar and chives
- Sauteed mushrooms with garlic and a splash of sherry
- Brie and a dollop of whole cranberry sauce
- A combination of your favorite pizza toppings, for example, mozzarella, pepperoni, peppers and mushrooms
- Ham, pineapple and cheddar
Just remember that everything needs to be cut into pieces small enough to fit into the mini shells. Warm filled shells at 350 degrees until heated through, usually only 8 - 10 minutes.
Savory Fillings (cold):
- Guacamole topped with a dollop of salsa
- Cooked cocktail shrimp topped with seafood sauce
- Smoked salmon topped with sour cream, capers, chives and fresh dill
- Mozzarella cube, 1/2 grape tomato, torn basil and a splash of Italian dressing
- Mix together one 8oz package cream cheese and one 8oz carton sour cream. Keep in the fridge and when unexpected company shows up, put the amount you need into a small bowl, adding one of the following mixtures:
Roasted chopped almonds, dried cranberries, garlic salt and curry powder to taste.
Chopped dry roasted peanuts, thai chili sauce, lime juice and chives
Chopped bacon, blue cheese crumbles, chopped celery and minced sun dried tomatoes.
- La Creme yogurt topped with a fresh berry
- Cool Whip mixed with or topped with lemon curd
- Cool Whip mixed with crushed pineapple
- Instant chocolate pudding spooned over a dollop of peanut butter
- Cool Whip mixed with chopped chocolate and chopped peppermint candy
- Cool Whip mixed with mandarin orange slices and coconut
- Assorted fresh melons, berries, grapes
Again, just make sure you chop pieces into sizes appropriate for the shells. Also make certain that any fruit is well drained. You can see that I am fond of using Cool Whip - it's another great product to keep on hand in your freezer!
I always keep a box or two of the mini shells in my freezer. They never fail to impress and only you need to know how easy it all is!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I hadn't seen my relatives in California since my mother's funeral back in 1994. When I was very young, I spent a week with them every summer. Because it was a week away from home for me, I have vivid memories of the daily events of that time. Stacey (third from the right) was just a baby. I remember her first birthday and Auntie Claire's chocolate chip angel food cake...sooo good. Sharon (second from the right) is a year or so older than I am and Stephanie (far right) a year younger. These are the daughters of my mother's brother.
I remember details like seeing baby Stacey sitting on her little potty every morning while we brushed our teeth and combed our hair. There were chores to do every morning and piano lessons to practice (even on vacation!) And hot cocoa for breakfast! That was a real treat.
Sharon once tried to get me to walk across the rafters in the garage of the new house they were building. She was very persuasive but either she relented in time or I smartened up.
We played endless games of badminton in the back yard. We were playing badminton when Uncle Phil came home and told us that Marilyn Monroe had died.
I had my one and only water skiing experience with them; they instructed me to "just hang on." I guess I took them literally because I fell (naturally) and then swallowed half the lake before letting go!
I remember eating dinner on tv trays in the family room. Barbecued chicken, cottage cheese and pineapple salad. Chopped olive sandwiches for lunch. Lots of pink lemonade.
Our families gathered every year for Thanksgiving. We ate in the kitchen apart from the grown-ups and had a tradition of of searing pieces of turkey over the centerpiece candle flame. This was a clandestine activity, of course! I really don't know if our parents realized what we were up to but I do remember a lot of whispers and giggles coming from that kitchen table!
Grandma Vi always made the sweet potatoes. She called them Sweet Potato Tipsy. Just in case my cousins don't have the recipe, here it is:
6 sweet potatoes (or 2 large cans)
1/3 c butter
3T brown sugar
1/3 c half & half or whole milk
Bake sweet potatoes until done if using fresh. Remove skin, mash & whip, adding butter, sugar, milk and sherry. Turn into a greased casserole and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before reheating.
I still make this every year, often adding a pecan crumble topping. Grandma Vi also made a cranberry molded salad or a lemon/lime pineapple jello salad. I stopped making those salads in the 70's. I wonder if my cousins remember them?