Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

TASTY GIFTS ARE THE BEST

February 24, 2021 | Cooking

My niece JJ is an excellent and creative cook. This past Christmas she gave me a roll of garlic herb butter that is to die for. Not only is great on cooked steak and veggies, it’s delicious spread on crackers. Of course, I had to make another batch right after the holidays because we devoured her amazing gift in a flash. I am confident you and yours will like this recipe, too.

GARLIC HERB BUTTER
½ cup butter at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh rosemary or ½ tsp. dried, chopped fine
1 tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried, chopped fine
2 tbsp. fresh parsley or 1 tbsp. dried, chopped fine
Cream butter in a medium sized bowl with a spoon. A handheld mixer works too.

Stir in garlic and herbs until just blended.

Tear off 6 – 7 inches of wax paper. Lay butter about 1½ inches from the edge. Use your fingers to shape into a log about 1 inch thick. Cover log with that bit of extra paper and roll, shaping the log as you go. After butter is wrapped, twist the ends tightly.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Herb butter lasts 2 weeks in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Oregano and basil are excellent replacements for rosemary and thyme.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

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A TREAT FROM CATHERINE’S KITCHEN

February 17, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Catherine Castle

I thought it would be nice to share a homey meal of salmon patties with you today. This is my mother’s recipe, and quite frankly, I love it so much that I always put a few patties aside for breakfast. I even eat them cold. As kids, and when I could eat more carbs, these were served with white rice and gravy made from the oil and pan drippings. Nowadays I choose a more carb friendly side. I hope you’ll enjoy these.

MOM’S SALMON PATTIES
1 – 15 oz. can of pink salmon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced celery
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 – 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Drain salmon, leaving bones and skin in bowl. Add eggs and veggies and mix well. Add cornmeal and mix well.

Heat oil in skillet until it shimmers. Form patties using a 2-inch diameter spoon and fry in oil until golden brown on both sides. It may take 2 batches to cook all patties and you may need to add a bit more oil as they fry. Keep patties warm in a low temperature oven while your second batch cooks.

Makes 12 patties

After you’ve enjoyed these patties settle in with Catherine’s award-winning sweet romantic comedy with a touch of drama A Groom for Mama.

As Allison travels the country in search of a husband, she has a lot of dates that involve dinner. To see what she eats as she tries to find her person, check out the book on AMAZON and Barnes and Noble. Here’s a peek at the story’s blurb.

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

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A Valentine Day Treat

February 3, 2021 | Author Friend New Releases, Cooking

from Tina Griffith

I am a true romantic at heart which is why I write romance books. So, of course Valentine’s Day is a special day for my husband and me. Today I want to share my favorite treat for February.  These pancake cups are delicious any time during the year, but they seem to fit perfectly with Valentine’s Day, especially since I make mine with cherry pie filling.  They are so light and sweet that they melt in your mouth.  YUMMY!

PANCAKE CUPS

1 cup milk

6 eggs

1 cup flour

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. orange zest, optional

¼ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Blend the first 6 ingredients together with a hand mixer, and then add the butter very VERY slowly.

Grease muffin tins then fill them half-full with pancake mixture.  Bake 15 minutes, or until fluffy and golden brown.

Once the cups have cooled, fill them with your favorite fruit.  I prefer apple or cherry pie filling, but you could use pumpkin or blueberry.

Before serving, sprinkle a generous amount of icing sugar on top.  I’ve sprinkled shaved dark chocolate on top of the icing sugar, but that’s just me. 😊

My latest murder, Til Text Do Us Part, is expected to release around the world by Valentine’s Day 2021.  Grab a copy then sit back and nibble on some these tasty pancake cups. They are my favorite treat for February.

Louisiana Hobbs is an award-winning, murder mystery writer, and she has a malicious stalker.  This person has been taking particular passages from the pages of her books, and has used the detailed information to commit chilling murders to perfection.  But, has the stalker killed people out of revenge or as a form of flattery?  While the author works closely with Detective Brody Anson to find the answer to that question, they develop an obsession for each other that becomes difficult to deny.

As the weeks turn into months, they have been trying to keep their surging desires in check…at least until the murderer has been put behind bars.  But when Louisiana becomes the target in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, will this couple continue to withhold their true feelings from each other and the rest of the world?

Tina Griffith, who also has thirty published children’s books as Tina Nykulak Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has thirteen romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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A COFFEE BREAK SPECIAL

January 28, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Chris Pavesic

I enjoy baking and creating new treats for my family. This is one we especially enjoy. I hope you do, too.

Fruit Gingerbread Cobbler
4 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup water
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg
¼ cup sugar
½ cup 1% buttermilk
¼ cup molasses
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. EACH baking powder, baking soda, and ground ginger
¼ tsp. EACH salt and ground nutmeg
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. cold water
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp. candied ginger, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes or until apples are tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg, sugar, buttermilk, molasses, and oil.  In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, and nutmeg. Stir into buttermilk mixture just until combined.

In small dish combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into apple mixture.  Pour apple mixture into square baking dish.  Spread gingerbread mixture over apples.   Top with candied ginger if desired.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean.

Makes 8 servings.

 Why not read a good book today? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? ?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

AMAZON BUY LINK
SMASHWORDS BUY LINK

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

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SOUP’S ON!

January 27, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Chris Pavesic 

My sister-in-law Breen loves to cook and occasionally works her magic in my kitchen. Just the other day she prepared one of our family favorites. We thoroughly enjoy a bowl or two during winter as lunch or dinner. For me the pepitas make this dish a hit. I love scooping them out one at a time with a spoonful of soup!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-in. cubes

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 onion, roughly chopped

8 cups chicken broth

1 tsp. dried thyme

Pepitas (Shelled pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place squash on baking sheets; avoid overcrowding.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, melt the butter.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth and add thyme.  Bring to a boil.

Remove the squash from the oven and add to the broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Using a regular or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Serve warm.  Top with pepitas if desired.

Why not read a good book while you enjoy your soup? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles? 

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Traveler's ZoneAbove the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

AMAZON BUY LINKS

Starter Zone

Traveler’s Zone

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on FacebookTwitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

 

 

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PIZZA EXTRAORDINAIRE

January 20, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Sharon Ledwith

Ready for some comfort food? I bet you are! So, let’s go with a fan favorite – PIZZA! Not just any pizza, but one so extraordinaire you’ll toss all those take-out menus and never order in again. The sauce is superb and flavorful, and is worth adding the numerous ingredients. This pizza is perfect for game night and gatherings on those cool or damp days at your vacation or stay-cation home. Now that’s Amore!

SAUCE
1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. warm water (110° F/45° C)
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. anchovy paste
¾ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well, breaking up any cheese clumps.

Allow the sauce to sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors. Spread sauce evenly over the dough. Add any of toppings you like.

CRUST
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
½ tsp. brown sugar
1½ cups warm water (110° F/45° C)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable or olive oil

Use a large bowl to dissolve yeast and brown sugar in the water. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Stir salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2½ cups of flour.

Turn dough out onto clean, well-floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. You may or may not use all of the remaining 1⅓ cups of flour.

Place dough into a well-oiled bowl and then cover with a cloth. Let dough rise until double, approximately 1 hour. Punch down dough and then form it into a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 425° (220° C).

If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may spread the sauce and add your favorite toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

Bake pizza until cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While you’re enjoying your slice of mouth-watering, made-to-order pizza why not put your feet up and relax on the couch with a good book? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I assure you that either series will take you on a journey far away from the chaos and problems of your world.

Here is a brief intro from Book 2 of my Fairy Falls series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

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Appetizer? Lunch? Dinner?

January 13, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Tina Griffith

You decide. This recipe is easy to prepare and a favorite with my husband and me. We usually add a crisp salad and Voila! we have a complete dinner in a flash. Of course a bottle of red wine adds to the festivities.

CHEESY OLIVE BREAD
1 large crusty loaf French bread
1 – 6 oz. can pitted black olives, drained and sliced
⅓ cup red onion, chopped fine
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ – ¾ cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Cut bread in half lengthwise and then in half across the width. You now have four pieces, tops and bottoms. Set them onto an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.

Add olives, onions, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and mayo into a medium size bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Use a spatula to smear the mixture onto the white part of the bread.

Now pop it into the oven. That’s it. When the cheese melts, 15 – 20 minutes, the bread is ready.

How about a peek into my erotic mystery for dessert?

Everyone has secrets that they’d rather keep hidden, but we all know that these private matters have a tendency of spilling out at the most inopportune moments. And when a privileged piece of information does leak out and is exposed, it can sometimes change our lives so drastically that there’s no turning back. For in that fleeting explosion when we first learn of the shocking deception, our world suddenly gets transformed into utter chaos and fear, and it typically has us running for shelter.

The four main characters in this story, are all hiding something that they’d rather not have anyone know. Regrettably, the terrible secrets which each one of them have buried deep in their past, begins to bubble to the surface. With deceit and murder lingering in the air, can any of them survive the consequences of their pasts being revealed?

AMAZON BUY LINK

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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NUTS YOU SAY? YOU BET!

January 6, 2021 | Cooking

Edlyn, a wonderful friend to us who we don’t get to see often enough, came for dinner one Sunday with her family and a welcomed treat in hand – her homemade pecan pie. This delicious dessert is rich. Even so, a small dollop of ice cream on top sure tastes good.

Photo by nikohoshi on Unsplash

Bourbon Infused Pecan Pie
1 pie shell, frozen or refrigerated
1½ cup maple syrup
½ cup bourbon whiskey, triple distilled preferred
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups pecans

Pour syrup into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 8 – 10 minutes or until syrup has reduced to 1 cup. Stir occasionally. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place pie shell on a cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke 3 sets of holes in shell bottom. Cover edge with foil to stop it from browning. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until dough is pale gold.

Reduce oven temp to 350° F.

Combine all ingredients, except pecans, into a medium-sized bowl and then mix well. Blend in pecans.

Remove foil from pie shell. Pour mixture into shell. Use a fork to evenly distribute pecans.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch.

Cool before serving.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

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PERK UP YOUR TASTE BUDS

December 16, 2020 | Cooking

The internet is flooded with recipes for spinach dip with each one claiming to be the best. I’ve tried many of those recipes and found them all to be about the same which was just okay at best. Then my niece Lauren came for dinner with her family and brought her version for our appetizer. It was delicious! Studs and I both give Lauren’s recipe 5 spoons, our highest rating for recipes. I’m confident you’ll love it too.

Lauren’s Spinach Dip

1 cup mayonnaise, no imitations

16 oz. sour cream

1 – 1.8 oz. pkg. dry vegetable soup mix

4 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

5 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 round loaf sourdough bread

Gently combine all ingredients, except bread, together in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set in fridge anywhere from 5 hours to overnight.

When you are ready to serve, slice the top off the bread and pull out a fair amount of the interior dough. Tear those pieces into chunks for dipping into the mayo mix.

This dip is also terrific spread on crackers, celery sticks, and other crunchy veggies.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table! 

Sloane

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CHRISTMAS BRUNCH IS SERVED

December 9, 2020 | Cooking

After we entertain Christmas Eve, we tear through the house cleaning up before the kids and grands come for brunch Christmas Day. This meal is wonderful because so much can be prepared well in advance and stored in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

MENU
Breakfast Soufflé
Hash Browns
Fresh Fruit Salad
Mini Croissants
Christmas Cookies & Leftover Desserts
Mimosas

Breakfast Soufflé
1 lb. (½kg) ham, bacon, or breakfast sausage
9 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups (750ml) milk
1 tsp. (5ml) dry mustard
Diced green, red, and/or yellow pepper to taste
½ lb. (57g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ lb. (57g) Swiss or Gruyere cheese, or a combination of the two, grated
Diced onion to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 – 1 in. (2.54cm) slices Vienna or French bread, cubed

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Dice ham or bacon. If you use ham, set aside in the bowl you use for the eggs. Fry bacon to the crispness you prefer. Drain on paper towels. If you use breakfast sausage, fry meat until no longer pink. Be sure to break up any clumps. Drain meat in a colander while you continue to prepare the soufflé.

Add all ingredients, except the bread, to eggs. Stir well. Gently stir in bread.

Pour mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13-inch (33 x 22cm) glass baking dish. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center has no egg clinging to it.

This dish can be assembled one or two days ahead of time. On serving day allow the soufflé to sit on your counter 1 – 2 hours before you bake it.

Leftovers are excellent from the microwave.

Hash Browns
If you need to increase the hash browns recipe for a larger group of people, it’s best to sparingly add more garlic powder. As is this recipe serves 6. Leftovers reheat beautifully.

3 russet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled
1½ tsp. (7.5ml) garlic powder, not salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

Shred potatoes on the large holes of a box grater or use the coarse grater disk on a food processor. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water. Allow them to soak for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and then rinse under cold water. You do this to remove the starch that makes hash browns gummy.

Transfer shreds to a kitchen towel. Gather together ends of towel and twist over sink, squeezing firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. This step creates crisp hash browns. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with garlic powder and pepper. Be sure to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, press down to form a thin layer and cook for a minute or two. Stir and then press down again. Cook until a dark golden crust forms, about 5 minutes.

Turn potatoes in sections. This is easier than trying to turn the food as a whole. Continue to fry until hash browns are crisp and browned all over, 5 minutes or so. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Fresh Fruit Salad
1 banana, peeled
1 pear, cored
1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice
¼ pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
10 seedless red grapes, halved
10 blueberries
10 raspberries, optional

Slice banana into bitesize pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Dice pear and add to bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over fruit to stop it from turning brown and mix well.

Gently fold in remaining fruit.

Spoon into a glass bowl, cover with cling wrap, and chill until time to serve. Leftovers are still good the next day.

Mimosas
1 bottle sparking white wine or champagne, cold
1 carton orange juice, cold
Tall slender glasses

Fill glasses half full with wine. Tip the glass slightly as you pour to retain the fizz. Top off with orange juice. Don’t stir. That will destroy the bubbles.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

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