Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy NewYear.

New year's Eve. Glenda Larke (Tropic Temper see link this page) has listed her year in retrospect. I don't think I could. What was of interest I blogged about already and I have more or less forgotten since then. Matt has been reading the first of my Blog2Print books and I have read the odd thing over his shoulder (going back to 2007) which I didn't remember happening - when he has finished, I will have to go through them myself and see what I wrote, *g*. I still haven't got to a stationary store yet to buy three ring binders in which to put these books. They are loosely held together with twist ties at the moment. Maybe next year. Tomorrow is the day I love to offer people a cookie or something and then remark that I hope they are alright as I have had them since last year. Someone said that to me when I was in my teens and I have been using it every year since, I thought it was so funny. Who says I can't remember things?? I don't think we will do much tonight, maybe have a glass of bubbly at 12 having watched the ball drop in Times Square. There is a segment about this from GMA this morning at if you want to look at it. Melissa Rycroft is standing in the snow in Times Square talking about the big Waterford Crystal Ball which she then lights up by flipping a switch. Tonight everything will be lit up including the year numerals which as I told you before, have been powered by people riding bicycles to store battery energy.
I can't imagine anyone interested in cooking tonight unless you are a Southerner and will be making black eyed peas for tomorrow (even if tomorrow starts at 12:01 p.m.) - all you really need to do is - oh well here's a recipe:
Black-eyed Peas (aka Hoppin' John) 1 pkg. Black-eyed peas (16 oz.), fresh or frozen (if you use dried, follow the directions on the pkg.) 4 c. water 4 c. chicken broth 3 slices bacon, sliced in small pieces/or cubed ham 1 med. onion (1/2 c.) chopped 1 c. green, red, yellow bell peppers, diced (any combination) 2 cloves garlic, minced seasoned salt/pepper, Lawry's, Mrs. Dash, or Cavendars, to taste green bean snaps (optional) 1 c. cooked rice (optional) 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional) 1 andouille sausage (optional) Fry bacon in dutch oven or pan till well done. Pour off grease, deglaze remaining drippings by sauteing onions and peppers. Add water, broth, black-eyed peas, seasonings, and any optional ingredients. Bring to a gentile boil (not rolling, or you will burst the peas), reduce heat, simmer 45 minutes - 1 1/2 hrs. Linda recommends cooking early, refrigerating and reheating before serving the next day. For Hoppin' John, serve over rice I wish you all a Very Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Guess I am pretty glad I am not doing any flying these days and hopefully don't intend to in the very near future. I have been reading all the comments on Karen's musings (see link this page) and there are all kinds of arguments there about what the airlines, security people or governments should do. It really is a situation we don't seem to be able to handle. Apparently thousands of tips are received and people are put on terrorist watch lists, but the facilities for investigating these tips are stretched so thin as to be almost non-existant. Of course we non-Muslims cannot possibly comprehend the mind set of a person who has been convinced to commit suicide in order to kill as many other people as possible. The trouble is the criminals and terrorists are running around out there and we are the ones who are jailed by our fear of them. Of course when we do catch terrorists we usually don't do a lot more than give them a slap on the hand.
Below is another low cal dish from Eating Well which sounds delicious. I am leaving in the nutritional information as it is always useful if you are trying to slim down a bit.
Chicken in Garlic-Vinegar Sauce From EatingWell: January/February 2009
Braising chicken in vinegar and herbs is a very popular way of cooking in Mediterranean Europe. Often paired with sweet sausage, this is a gutsy, wholesome dish that can be made a day ahead. Serve with whole-wheat couscous tossed with fresh herbs and steamed broccolini. 6 servings Ingredients •3-3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, (thighs, drumsticks and/or breasts), skin removed, trimmed (see Tip) •1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus a pinch, divided •1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper •7 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided •1 tablespoon butter •1/2 cup minced shallots •16 large cloves garlic, peeled •1/3 cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar •1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth •2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried •1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream •1 tablespoon Dijon mustard •2 teaspoons tomato paste •2 teaspoons all-purpose flour •2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces •2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
Preparation 1.Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. 2.Heat 2 teaspoons oil and butter in a large heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half the chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a large plate. Add 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the remaining chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to the plate. 3.Heat 2 more teaspoons oil. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft and lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add vinegar and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pot. Pour in broth and then carefully nestle the thyme sprigs among the chicken pieces (or stir in dry thyme). 4.Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 50 minutes. 5.Just before the chicken is done, whisk sour cream, mustard, tomato paste and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Combine tomatoes, chives, the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and pinch of salt in another small bowl; reserve for garnish. 6.When the chicken is done, remove to a plate, discarding the thyme sprigs (if using). Stir the sour cream mixture into the sauce; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, return the chicken to the sauce and reheat, about 1 minute. Serve garnished with the tomato mixture.
Nutrition Per serving : 301 Calories; 14 g Fat; 5 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 116 mg Cholesterol; 9 g Carbohydrates; 34 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 427 mg Sodium; 612 mg Potassium 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 2 fat Tips & Notes •Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4; cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Finish with Steps 5-6 before serving. •Tip: If you are using a combination of thighs, drumsticks and breasts, cut each breast in half crosswise to make pieces about the size of a thigh. And if you buy whole legs, separate the drumsticks and thighs. When the pieces are about the same size, they'll cook at about the same rate.
Have a great day

Technology and Bathrooms.

It always staggers me how much things have changed in the cyber world. Yesterday Worldstart were offering an 8 Gig flash drive for sale. My first computer didn't even have a hard drive so I had one installed which was 500 Mgb; I remember a man coming to work on my PC for some reason and commenting about the new 1 Gig hard drives and being so astounded about them. This was only around 20 years ago. I was re-reading a book which includes a resurrected computer and the system is beginning to sound old fashioned by today's standards and yet the PC was supposed to have been created far into our future. No wireless connections for instance. Whoopee, Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke (see Tropic Temper, this page) has now been proofed and will soon be on its way to the printers I think. I can't wait. Well I have to, of course, but you know what I mean. Now and again, during the night, if my body knows I need to get up and go to the bathroom, I start dreaming about toilets of all kinds. When I finally woke up the other night after such dreams I began to think about some of the different toilets I have encountered in my lifetime. Not least of which are the French (although not exclusively French I believe) squatter variety which I have come across in some public toilets and which I found very hard to use as a young woman let alone these days. I also remembered a French café we were in one time and being guided to a gulley outside at the back with a piece of sacking across it. I am not sure what happened if one wanted to do something more serious! Conditions of toilets is always a big issue too, especially for a woman. We once were taken to a bar in North Carolina where even Matt wouldn't use the facilities let alone me. I tend to judge restaurants by their washrooms too, if they aren't clean, can you imagine what the kitchens are like? We came across a few horrifying examples in the Dominican Republic although the resort bathrooms were kept spotless. One public convenience had a woman sitting outside handing out a few sheets of toilet paper as you went in. I asked for more. There was an older facility in the area which we went to first by mistake. It had been abandoned but it was revolting. I guess, in the Western World we are very lucky.

Following Eating Well's recommendations for healthy eating, here is another of their recipes. I am not sure I personally would use the hot peppers, I get a little tired of all this spiciness added to dishes these days, it seems you can't turn round without finding spicy dishes. I like spicy, but I think it is being overdone lately.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken From EatingWell: May/June 2007, EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook

This recipe coats tender chicken breasts with a buttery pecans flavored with spicy chipotle and zesty orange. Serve with a spinach salad. 4 servings

Ingredients •4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-1 1/4 pounds), trimmed (see Tip) •1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces •1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs •1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest •1/2 teaspoon salt •1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, (see Note) •1 large eggwhite •2 tablespoons water •1 tablespoon canola oil, divided

Preparation 1.Working with one piece of chicken at a time, place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even 1/4-inch thickness. 2.Place pecans, breadcrumbs, orange zest, salt and ground chipotle in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Whisk egg white and water in a shallow dish until combined. Dip each chicken breast in the egg-white mixture, then dredge both sides in the pecan mixture. 3.Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the chicken and cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Carefully wipe out the pan with a paper towel and add the remaining oil. Cook the remaining chicken, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Per serving : 281 Calories; 15 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 8 g Mono; 66 mg Cholesterol; 7 g Carbohydrates; 29 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 430 mg Sodium; 376 mg Potassium 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 4 lean meat, 1/2 fat Tips & Notes •Tip: It can be hard to find individual chicken breasts small enough for our recommended 4-ounce (uncooked) portion size. If yours are closer to 5 ounces each, remove the tender (about 1 ounce) from the underside to get the correct portion size. Wrap and freeze the leftover tenders; when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry, for chicken fingers or in soups. •Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle can be found in the specialty spice section of most supermarkets. Have a great day

Monday, December 28, 2009

Boxing Day Etc., Losing Weight.

Well, that didn't work. Just shows you, be careful what information you use from the internet. I ended up overcooking my pork roast. It was more like pulled pork than a nicely roasted piece of pork. Everyone said it tasted good, and some had seconds, but I was very disappointed. Our friends nearly didn't come as their son had been pretty sick on Christmas day, however, although not the brightest star in the bunch, he was OK thank goodness. He didn't eat very much mind you. Sunday morning I looked under the Christmas Tree and realised I hadn't put out the Christmas crackers on the table the day before, duuuuh!! Our guests bought us the most delightful set of cut glass place name holders which should look very pretty plus a bottle of gin for Matt and a Panda bookmark for me. Matt cut his thumb quite badly whilst cutting cake, he just kind of sawed right through it!! As he is on blood thinners, it was absolutely pouring, however, by Sunday it seemed to be pretty well OK. We also dealt with the remainder of the pork roast. It didn't seem quite so bad once we got well into the meat. It is now in the freezer in small packets for eating and bigger packets for adding to a stew. We had turkey sandwiches for lunch and slices of pork for supper. We have more pork for tonight and maybe more turkey for lunch today. Not to mention some cheesecake and some chocolate cake. We also have three of four different kinds of cheese - Weight Watchers here I come!!!!! Talking of Weight Watchers I was speaking to someone who has lost 20 lbs on Jenny Craig, but, get this, it costs her something like $150 a week. I don't spend that on groceries for two of us per week and we spend more than most. I also discovered how much my friend paid for her lap band type operation, a lot of money. She looks great, but it would ruin us. In fact she tells me they wouldn't do it for someone my age. Why not I wonder? Don't older people deserve to be thinner too? Eating Well are promoting low calorie and healthy meals at the moment. I wonder why? I notice the chef at WW Recipes is doing salads this week. Could it be something to do with all the stuffing we have been doing lately??? Here is a Moo Shu Vegetable dish whic sounds good. If you have a load of cold pork to use up, like I do *g*, you could add some to this dish. This would, of course, increase the calories, but if you don't go nuts, it shouldn't be too bad. I have left in the nutritional information under the circumstances. Moo Shu Vegetables From EatingWell: September/October 2008
This vegetarian version of the classic Chinese stir-fry, Moo Shu, uses already-shredded vegetables to cut down on the prep time. Serve with warm whole-wheat tortillas, Asian hot sauce and extra hoisin if desired. 4 servings
Ingredients •3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided •4 large eggs, lightly beaten •2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger •2 cloves garlic, minced •1 12-ounce bag shredded mixed vegetables, such as “rainbow salad” or “broccoli slaw” •2 cups mung bean sprouts •1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided •1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce •1 tablespoon rice vinegar •2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, (see Shopping Tip)
Preparation 1.Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs; cook, stirring gently, until set, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. 2.Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, 1 minute. Add shredded vegetables, bean sprouts, half the sliced scallions, soy sauce and vinegar. Stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved eggs and hoisin; cook, uncovered, stirring and breaking up the scrambled eggs, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining scallions and remove from the heat.
Nutrition Per serving : 171 Calories; 9 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 212 mg Cholesterol; 14 g Carbohydrates; 11 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 328 mg Sodium; 226 mg Potassium 1 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat Tips & Notes •Shopping tip: Hoisin sauce is a dark brown, thick, spicy-sweet sauce made from soybeans and a complex mix of spices. Look for it in the Asian section of your supermarket and in Asian markets. Have a great day

Saturday, December 26, 2009

'Tis the Season for Much Cooking,

Well Christmas is over for another year. Some of us survived and some of us relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. We had a good Christmas Eve with a friend coming to dinner, she was fed on Convent Eggs, Chicken Therese and plain Cheesecake (Matt's favourite, he doesn't like any kind of topping) scattered with raspberries for us but not for Matt. then we had an enjoyable evening just chatting up a storm. Earlier in the day I had made a flourless chocolate cake for Boxing Day, I somehow managed to scatter chocolate everywhere. Once it was cooled, it turned out to be a little wonky, hopefully it will taste OK. THE day my husband, who had assured me I would get nothing because I had received my laptop earlier in the year, presented me with a bottle of Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch, sipping whisky. I returned the favour with a bottle of Strega, the Witch, an Italian liqueur he likes. We spent a quiet day having ham and champagne cocktails for lunch and then turkey breast for dinner followed by some Christmas Pud. Matt phoned his kids in the UK and I got a complaint from one sinlaw, because there was no blog on Christmas morning, give me a break *g*.

Having spent lots of time worrying about this large lump of pork we have to cook, it was suggested on Christmas Eve that I cook it overnight, so after some internet research, I put it in the oven at 9 at 250°F (actually the first half hour at 550°F) on Christmas Day and hopefully it will be ready about 1 p.m. today, Boxing Day. This morning it is cooking away nicely in the oven and should, hopefully, be ready for 1:00 p.m.

Been quite a Christmas with someone trying to blow up a Delta plain in Detroit and someone else knocking the pope to the floor. There really are some weirdos around.

So, I have a busy day ahead, gotta go peel shrimp right now. No recipe this morning, I figure you don't need one after all that stuffing for the last couple of days. A nice turkey sandwich would be good - and please put butter on the bread.

Have a great weekend

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I'm assuming we will all be pretty busy tomorrow, if not today, so I am wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. I am now off to make a chocolate cake for Boxing Day, we have a dinner guest tonight and we will be cooking for that too. For the family, Matt will likely phone Christmas Day instead of Boxing Day as he usually does. Have a great Weekend and lots of good cheer and nice presents (I've had mine for the next 10 years - the laptop).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pork, Pork and more Pork.

This isn't going to be very long today as we have been shopping all morning, along with the rest of the world I think. It is now almost lunchtime and I am the proud possessor of 7 kgs of pork leg. The thing will take me about 7 hours to cook. I didn't mean to get anything quite so big, but after all the hassle we have been through, I wasn't about to quibble. Of course it does take up a lot of room in the fridge, so its lucky I am only doing a turkey breast as I wouldn't have enough room for anything. I hope we have everything we need for the next two days, although Matt couldn't get his preferred beer at the liquor store so will have to pop down tomorrow. I have just remembered I didn't buy any apple sauce either - damn.
I am giving the recipe for roasting pork, although obviously mine will take a lot longer so I will be up at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day (Dec. 26). I don't know how much blogging I will be doing over the holiday so don't be surprised if I don't have time to write one.
Roast Leg of Pork
Source: Cook it Simply ingredients serves 8 - 10 2.7 - 3.2 kg (6 - 7 lb) leg of pork, rind scored oil, for brushing salt and freshly ground black pepper 425 ml (15 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock 30 ml (2 tbsp) flour 25 g (1 oz) butter method 1 Remove the leg of pork from the refrigerator 3 hours before you plan to cook it so it can come to room temperature. 2 Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6. Lightly brush the surface of the pork rind with oil and rub in salt and pepper 3 Put the leg in a large roasting tray and cook for 3 1/4 - 3 3/4 hours without basting to make the crackling really crisp. increase the temperature for the last 15 minutes if necessary. Test to check the pork is cooked by piercing the thickest part with a fine skewer: the juices should run clear. 4 Transfer the meat to a serving platter and keep warm. Make the gravy: remove any excess fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and bring to the boil, scraping to dislodge any crusty bits. Reduce the heat. 5 Mash the flour and butter together to form a paste and add, a bit at a time, to the gravy. Simmer for 2 - 3 minutes until thickened and season with salt and pepper. Have a great day

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bingo, Pork Problems, Old Movies.

Woo hoo our team won the bowling bingo this Christmas. This was our sixth time of playing it, but our team leader has been playing many more years and she was jumping up and down with excitement. She had previously given us a gift of some gum drop cake and peanut butter balls. Before this year I had never heard of gum drop cake, we ate a piece last night, its good, basically like a regular Christmas cake. I shall be phoning her later today to aske how she makes both. The peanut butter was crunchy. Goooood. We also got little presents from the alley things like tree ornaments and candles, together with a few candy canes. Then while we were bowling the bingo game, one of the owners actually sang carols to us!!! Matt won a high scoring pair with someone too so we made a small profit on the day. I can't believe all the trouble I am having with getting a leg of pork for Boxing Day. (Dec. 26). Sobey's, the store where I ordered it, got one in at the weekend and someone went and cut it up into roasts. I called the manager again this morning and he was shorted on his delivery last night so he has called everyone anywhere to see if he can get the leg. I am not a happy camper. I have friends coming for lunch and I have promised them an English style pork roast with all the crackling on the skin. He is saving a small roast from the other leg in case he can't get it, but .....

Last night we watched two old movies, State of the Union with Catherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with Jimmy Stewart. At first I thought we would turn off State of the Union because it was pretty political, but in the end we carried on with it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington before many, many years ago and I enjoyed it both then and now. It includes this wonderful scene with Jimmy Stewart holding a Filibuster in the Senate which goes on for around 27 hours. If you are unsure of a Filibuster go to Wikpedia where you can read about Filibustering and its origins. It is fascinating to watch in the movie. In fact I am not sure this movie wasn't where I first really learned what Filibustering was. I may have heard the word in school, it is certainly a tactic which has been used in the British parliament, but seeing it portrayed in the movie brought it home to me much more. I always maintain that history should be taught to school kids on film, it sinks in better.

On one of my ezines this morning someone requested an Artichoke and Spinach Dip recipe. It reminded me of a dip I got from a friend which didn't include spinach but was one of the best dips I had ever tasted. I have made it since and always enjoyed it.

Laila Svjeneks' Artichoke Dip Serves: 8-12

1 cup (250 ml) mayonnaise 1 cup (250 ml) shredded mozzarella 1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 Tbs (15 ml) grated onion 1/4 tsp (1 ml) hot sauce, or to taste 1 clove garlic, finely chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1 14-oz (390 g) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped Paprika to taste

Instructions: Combine the mayonnaise, mozzarella, Parmesan, onion, hot sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper in an electric blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the artichokes and place in a small baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 20 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm with crackers or toasted pita bread triangles. Serves 8 to 12. Have a great day

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blog Book, Looking Glass Wars,

I printed my Blog book on Saturday afternoon. Well the first one of 428 pages that is. What a job. I wanted to do reverse printing, but when I tried it out, the printer kept dragging two pages through at once so the pages were all out of sequence; I ended up printing the whole book on one side of the paper only. Then I realised I didn't have a spare colour cartridge so I had to nip out and get one, I did need it before I finished. I printed on hole punched paper figuring that would help me to bind it in some way. Right now it has twist ties in each half; I separated it into two books printing a back and front cover for each. The covers I printed on photo paper. Looks pretty good. Only trouble is I should have done some editing first, there are a couple of examples (at least) which is just computer gobbledygook or I guess maybe its turned itself into HTML code. It occurred to me, I have always wanted to write a book, I guess I have done so without realising it, even if I only write a bit at a time. The other two unprinted books amount to some 300 odd pages each. I don't feel like another marathon printing session right now, so will postpone it.
I figured out how to deal with the pages which were somewhat distorted. I just copied them from my blog, printed them and replaced the weird pages.

I just finished reading The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor - if you look on the net it says its a trilogy, if that's true, I haven't been able to find any more books although there appear to be games available. Its an interesting book, based on Alice in Wonderland. The premise is that Wonderland really exists but Alyss' mother Queen Genevieve is killed by Queen Redd her sister who then takes over the country, Alyss is, meanwhile, transported to England where she tells people she is a princess and of course no-one believes her. One day she thinks Charles Dodgson does believe her and eventually reads his book to become furious and hurt because he has made a nonsense tale of her history. I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll books, there are other good stories which didn't become famous, he was a brilliant logician and mathmetician as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had fun trying to figure out who exactly some of the Wonderland characters were.

Today we have our Christmas Party at the Bowling alley. Basically sandwiches and desserts plus a Christmas draw followed by two fun games of bowling, one of which is bingo. We nearly won that last time, will have to try harder today. After bowling I have to call at Sobeys, a grocery store, who are ordering me some leg of pork which I want to cook on Boxing Day.
Here is another recipe from Crisco which I liked the look of, we don't have any scallops in our freezer at the moment, but that will be remedied in the New Year.
Seared Scallops on a Bed of Lentils Makes: 4 servings 1 ½ cups (375mL) lentils 6 cups (1.5L) water 2 tbsp (30mL) Crisco® Canola or Vegetable Oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 ½ cup (398mL) 1 can diced tomatoes ¼ cup (50mL) chopped fresh parsley 2 tbsp (30mL) chopped fresh dill SCALLOPS 1 lb (500g) scallops (approx. 16-20) ¼ cup (50mL) Crisco Canola or Vegetable Oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp (5mL) salt ¼ tsp (1mL) pepper 1. Place lentils and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils well. Heat oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes until tender and fragrant. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add cooked lentils and continue cooking until heated. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley and dill. This can be done 2 hours ahead. Rewarm over medium heat. 2. Pat scallops dry and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to coat well. Heat a large skillet. Cook scallops 2-3 minutes per side. 3. Arrange lentils on each plate. Divide scallops on top of lentil mixture. TIPS: • Try this elegant main course for your holiday entertaining! • When cleaning scallops remove the muscle that is on the side of the scallop. Don’t worry if it is not there, sometimes they are already removed. • The fresher the scallop, the more translucent it will be. Ask for scallops with a firm moist texture, avoiding those that are slippery or spongy or have an unpleasant smell. • Storage: Store scallops refrigerated up to 2 days. • Scallops freeze well.
Have a great day

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blog2Print or Shared Books, Weather Difficulties.

Having more time today, I have finished making my Blog Books up to June 2009. As I started blogging in October 2007, I ended up with three books. These are now sitting in a folder on my computer and cost me approximately $23 for all of them. Now I am thinking about printing. I haven't checked them all, but the first book is about 426 pages which is the best part of a ream of paper not to mention the ink this would take up. Do I really want to do this, I am having to think about it very serious. I have, in fact, 2 reams of paper with punched holes in the sides which I would like too use up and which would work very well for this project, but ink is another matter, it is, as I am sure you know, pretty expensive stuff. One can also share these books with others and do all kinds of stuff with them. Just to see what it looked like I printed the cover page of the first book. At the top is the name of my blog, at the side it shows the dates from-to. Having downloaded them I have found the pictures actually moved around somewhat, and I don't think I can change them now. I'm not sure, I will have to look into it. I heard that Satima (Satima's Blogspot) has made herself a book too. On the news this morning, something like 2,000 passengers has been stuck in the Channel Tunnel, known as the Chunnel to most Brits. Apparently the Eurostar trains were never designed to cope with the extreme differences between the warmth of the Chunnel and the freezing temps all over Europe at the moment. There was talk of passengers being stuck for 11 hours. Not funny if you have the faintest touch of chlaustrophobia, but then maybe you wouldn't have taken the trip if you had. According to an article on line at four trains have broken down due to the temperatures. and people have been evacuated. I gather Europe is having a really bad time with winter weather at the moment, somewhat worse than here and they are less prepared for it. There is a storm heading up the Eastern Seaboard in North America at the moment, but I think it will miss us, I am pleased to say. Sorry for the Easterners though, so far they have had lots of snow in Boston and Philadelphia according to the news reports. This was in a recipe from Crisco this morning and I like the look of it. I am not quite sure why you would take the gills out of the mushrooms, but that's what it says. Portobello Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crostini Crisco Canada Makes: 16 pieces MUSHROOMS 2 tbsp (30mL) Crisco® Canola or Vegetable Oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 lb (500g) portobello mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1 tbsp or 1 tsp (15mL or 5mL) chopped fresh thyme or dried ½ tsp (2mL) salt ¼ tsp (1mL) pepper 2 tbsp (30mL) chopped fresh basil GOAT CHEESE 4 oz /½ cup (125g/125mL) goat cheese, softened 2 tbsp (30mL) unflavoured yogurt or sour cream 2 tbsp (30mL) chopped chives 1 clove garlic, minced BREAD 1 baguette, cut into 16 slices ¼ cup (50mL) Crisco Canola or Vegetable Oil 1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme, stirring until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in basil. Keep mixture warm by covering with foil. Mixture can also be made 2 hours ahead and rewarmed on low heat. 2. Combine ingredients for goat cheese in bowl. This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use. Allow mixture to reach room temperature before using. 3. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Place bread on baking sheet. Brush with oil. Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. 4. Spread 1 tsp (5mL) goat cheese mixture on each slice of toasted bread. Top with 1 tbsp (15mL) mushroom mixture. Serve warm or room temperature. TIPS: • This is a delicious holiday appetizer. • To clean mushrooms, gently remove the gills on the underneath of the mushroom with a spoon. Rub them with a damp paper towel. Have a great weekend.

Charlie Gibson, Book2Print.

Having responded emotionally to the story of the Pilot Whales yesterday, Satima wrote a very reasoned comment. If you haven't read it, you might like to do so. Today Good Morning America said goodbye to Charles (Charlie) Gibson who was an anchor on their programme for many years and has recently been the anchor for World News but is now retiring. Dianne Sawyer of GMA is taking over his desk at World News. GMA showed film of Charlie's activities for them including a bungie jump in Australia. Charlie said his wife wouldn't speak to him for two days after that episode. Can't really say I blame her. He also said he was told he had to look ahead, not down. If he looked down he wouldn't be allowed to jump. There is a GMA article on this site and a video at the GMA website. Was having some fun yesterday and Blog2Print, I found the link on Blogger when I published yesterday. You can make a book of all your blogs and they will actually publish the book (s) if you so wish except that they are a tad expensive, much as I would like to do so. However, you can download these books electronically and either keep them on your computer or print them yourself. I am having to split mine up into several books as I have written so damned much. The first book is covering October 2007 to the end of June 2008. The second will be July 1, 2008 til maybe the end of the year or I might take it a bit longer and include part of 2009. I tried to take it to June 2009 but I had too many pictures for the system so have to shorten it somewhat. You can buy the finished books at $7.95 to download and you can share them with others who can also buy the books if they are interested. My book cover will be as shown with the first edition having my pic on the front. I haven't downloaded it yet, I am waiting til I have done the second section. When this year is ended I will do a third book up to New Year's. Here's a pretty decadent dessert cake from Hershey's today. I am drooling just looking at the picture. Don't you think it looks yummy? European Mocha Fudge Cake. Hershey's 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa 4 eggs 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup finely chopped pecans CREAMY COFFEE FILLING (recipe follows) Chocolate curls (optional) 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of two 9-inch round baking pans. Line bottoms with wax paper; butter paper. 2. Melt butter in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add cocoa, stirring until blended; cool slightly. Beat eggs in large bowl until foamy; add salt and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add cooled chocolate mixture; blend thoroughly. Fold in flour. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into prepared pans. 3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Carefully peel off paper. Cool completely. Spread CREAMY COFFEE FILLING between layers, over top and sides of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired. Refrigerate 1 hour or longer before serving. 10 to 12 servings. CREAMY COFFEE FILLING 1-1/2 cups cold whipping cream 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee Combine all ingredients; stir until instant coffee is almost dissolved. Beat until stiff. About 3 cups filling. MAKE AHEAD DIRECTIONS: Cooled cake may be wrapped and frozen up to 4 weeks; thaw, wrapped, before filling and frosting. Have a great day

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I was sent some hideous, horrifying and disturbing pictures by email yesterday. Not being certain, I checked it out on Snopes and it all appears to be all too frighteningly true. The email talks about the slaughtering of Pilot Whales (Calderon Dolphins) in the Faroes which are part of Denmark. You know, the country where the Greenhouse Gases are being discussed right now. It appears that they slaughter hundreds of these animals every year by driving them into a bay and then wading in and killing them by hand. They 'get away' with this because they eat some of the whale meat and it comes unders subsistence clauses, but in this day and age, it is totally unnecessary and everyone involved should combine to prevent this happening in the future The whole story is shocking and I hope you will take the time to read what Snopes has to say at this site which does not in fact include all the horrible photos I was sent originally, but enough to convey to your what a horrific process this all is. The person who originally wrote the text of the email is obviously not an English speaker by birth, but what that person said, explains some of the situation and the fact that these animals are facing extinction. I do hope we can all do something about this dreadful hunt.
No recipe today - it doesn't fit the subject.
Have a great day

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weather, New Year's Eve.

Last night the snow and cold were so bad, the roads so icy - black ice - that our friends had to cancel their visit to play cribbage. And there's Glenda Larke (Tropic Temper this page) posting gorgeous pictures from her family holiday on Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia. Lots of warmth and sunshine. Is my skin a sickly shade of green, I expect so. Still, I guess we can't complain, we are in Canada after all. Although this year we had such a lousy summer, more like a British summer, and they had a good one this year. Meanwhile we have all the politicians pussyfooting about at their various ecology summit meetings such as the current one in Copenhagen. I thought it was just leaders of countries there, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is attending and he is a State Governor?? I cannot believe anyone is ever going to do anything worthwhile about global warming. Especially as now you have a cadre of people saying it really isn't as bad as we have been told. I don't care: stop it now before it's too late. Something I heard about for the first time this morning although I understand it started in 2008, you can ride a stationary bike to help light up the year numbers in Times Square on New Year's Eve. There is an article from last year which you might like to read. The power is stored in giant Duracell batteries. When the New Year's Eve ball drops, the numbers for the current year light up, powered by these batteries. What a great scheme. To me, and many others, it isn't the New Year until the ball drops in Times Square. Some people don't even worry about it and go to bed, but New Year's has always been special to me. Funny I haven't any Scot's blood and they celebrate Hogmanay. Last night I sort of invented a pasta dish. Having cooked the pasta and also cooked some shrimp, I mixed asparagus pesto and sour cream, folded in the shrimp and combined with the spaghetti. You could do that with any pasta of course. It was pretty good. Talking of shrimp, many people will be giving parties in the next week or two so Eating Well have come up with some useful appetizers and nibbles. Here is one. I would not, of course, buy my shrimp cooked, but if you do it certainly speeds up the process. Shrimp & Avocado Canapes From EatingWell: Fall 2004, The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook (2005) Precooked shimp make this pretty appetizer a snap to prepare. 16 pieces Ingredients * 16 whole-wheat crackers * 1 avocado, cut into 16 slices * 16 cooked shrimp * Lime wedges Preparation 1. Top each cracker with 1 slice avocado, 1 shrimp and a squeeze of lime juice. Have a great day

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Calendars, Tiger, Christmas,

It must be Christmas, I received three calendars yesterday. Two for the wall and one for my desk. They are nice to receive but you can get too many. I suppose I shouldn't buy calendars, but I do like my wolf picture calendars and get a couple every year. One for my computer room, one for the kitchen. Thinking about it, I gave my customers Avon calendars. It is all a bit of a waste isn't it? I wonder how many thousands of calendars end up in the garbage can. I try and give them away, but other people end up with lots of calendars too. One calendar from Canadian Diabetes provides a recipe for each month. Some of them sounded good, I must check them out properly. Tiger Woods is still hitting the news, and now the jokes are beginning to circulate. I still don't know what it has to do with anyone but Tiger and his family and nobody can convince me otherwise. I just discovered Barbara Walters agrees with me, she says "leave the man alone". You can see her statements on a video of The View at Good Morning America. I agree with her when she says he should be allowed to sort out his life with his wife and children without all the interference from us nosy parkers. GMA and everyone else is full of tips on how to cope with Christmas, how to buy inexpensive presents, where to go for discounts on this or that. Even Dr. Oz gave tips on cooking turkeys the other day - he was talking about heart attacks but ended up with turkeys!!! I don't know what its like in the UK these days, but people spend way too much money on Christmas and presents over here. In particular children are overloaded with stuff most of which doesn't get much notice taken of it for very long. I remember some friends of ours in the States had a room full of toys belonging to their daughter, none of which ever got played with any more. In large families they have taken to having a drawing for gift giving so one person only has to give one gift. That is sensible, but the kids still get more than they need or want. Jesus got three presents only. I got my regular email from Mushrooms Canada yesterday. Matt has always loved cannelloni as made by our Italian restaurateur friend in the UK, maybe these cannelloni will appeal to him as well, they sound good to me. Fresh Canadian Mushroom Cannelloni in a Goat Cheese Tarragon Cream Sauce Source: Mushrooms Canada This delicious dish is inspired by the fresh mushrooms grown locally, year round. Not only is it exploding with flavour, but it is balanced with a great source of protein and vitamins to make an excellent vegetarian meal. So tasty, and yet so easy to prepare. This meal is perfect for when you don’t feel like spending a whole afternoon preparing dinner, but you still want to enjoy a fresh, hot, home cooked meal. 1 360g package fresh lasagna pasta sheets 1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 mL 1½ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced 750 g 1 red onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1/4 cup tarragon, finely chopped 50 mL 1/2 cup red wine 125 mL 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted 125 mL 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced 50 mL 1 tbsp salt 15 mL 1 tsp pepper 5 mL 2 cups 35% cream 500 mL 1/2 cup goat cheese 125 mL 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated 250 mL Prepare pasta sheets according to package directions to make Cannelloni. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, onion, garlic and 2 tbsp of tarragon; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add the red wine, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper; cook and stir the mixture until the wine is reduced and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes. Set mixture aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring cream to a boil. Add the goat cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tbsp of tarragon, and remaining salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut each pasta sheet in half vertically; place approximately ½ cup of mushroom mixture across each sheet; roll each sheet into cylinder shaped tubes. Place tubes in a lightly greased 13 X 9” (33 X 23 cm) pan; pour goat cheese tarragon cream sauce over the cannelloni. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Place 2 Fresh Mushroom Cannelloni tubes on a plate and serve with the Goat Cheese Tarragon Cream Sauce poured over top and on the side. Makes 6 servings TIP: Try mixing up the variety of mushrooms you choose for the recipe to experience and enjoy new flavour combinations. Have a great day