Friday, November 30, 2012

Salad Nicoise

Step inside the door of this restaurant. Their window display certainly caught my attention. 
Salads in France are usually served after the main course. They are simple greens with a light vinaigrette type of dressing. But Salad Nicoise can be found on the menu as a lunch entree.  

Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suaz) is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb Salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado. Salad Niçoise hails from Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea. Niçoise salads are always made with raw vegetables and served with anchovies. Nicoise salads that are served in America are typically served on a bed of lettuce and include cooked green beans and potatoes. Depending on the establishment it can be canned tuna or freshly grilled tuna. This is one salad where it is all about the presentation :)
The size of this meal above was enough for 4 people!!! when it was served to me. But the recipe below is intended for 4.
Nicoise Salad Recipe
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Salad
      • 2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
      • 6 hard boiled eggs peeled and either halved or quartered
      • 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1-1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered and cooked  
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
      • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
      • 1 small red onion, sliced very thin
      • 8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise and cooked al dente
      • 1/4 cup niçoise olives or use any olives of your choice
      • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take A Child To A Bookstore

This Saturday December 1 marks the third annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. This event was started by author and mother Jenny Milchman, whose debut novel, Cover of Snow (Ballantine), comes out in January. 
She initiated this project as away to encourage other parents to share the joy of being in a bookstore with their children.
“Bookstores hold a place in the hearts and times of our community. They are places to discover an author, a story, a life. Nothing affords the conversation and interaction among books and book lovers that a bookstore does. In the future, whether you download your story or pluck a volume off a shelf, a bookstore will be able to accommodate. But in order for bookstores to flourish and thrive, we must expose future generations to the unique pleasures they offer,” writes Milchman 
Last year, 400 bookstores in the US participated as well as stores in the UK, Canada and Australia. This year 1,100 stores have received materials related to the event. Last week we were encouraged to shop locally and support small businesses. Taking a child to a bookstore this weekend would be another way to support small businesses by going to a local independent bookstore. Perhaps you will find that perfect book among one of the shelves waiting to find a place in your home.


I like to help women help themselves, as that is,in my opinion, the best way to settle the woman question. Whatever we can do and do well we have a right to, and I don't think anyone will deny us.  
Louisa May Alcott
November 29,1832-March 6,1888
She was an American novelist (Little Women),poet,feminist and abolitionist

                                                  dejeuner (lunch)
Croque Monsieur
It is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich similar to Monte Cristo. It first appeared in Parisian cafe menus in 1910. A croque-madame sandwich is the same but served with a fried or poached egg on top. It was fortunate for me I had this sandwich for lunch on the ship. I was at a cafe in Paris and it was the only thing on the menu I recognized to order.
both of these recipe sites are considered the best for replicating this yummy ham and cheese sandwich
Step inside anyone of these doors. Perhaps once inside you may find a wardrobe that leads you to Narnia.
 You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
Clive Staples Lewis
November 29, 1898-November 22, 1963
He was commonly referred to as C.S. Lewis but known to his friends and family as Jack.S.  
Lewis was a novelist, poet, academic, literary criticessayist and lay theologian.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

French Onion Soup

Worries go down better with soup.
Jewish proverb
Soup and stew recipes are the traditional first courses in formal French meals and a light entree for casual fare.
Cook's Notes:The secret to making good French soup is in caramelizing the onions and patience. The recipe takes an hour but well worth the wait.
Caramelizing the onions means cooking them slowly over low heat until they are soft and golden brown. When the natural sugars from the onions are released then the onions caramelize. If the onions start to brown on one side instead of browning evenly, you can add a few drops of water to the pan and give onions a good stir. Traditional French Onion soup is served topped with croutons made from French baguette or bread slices topped with cheese and broiled for 1-2 minutes. Some recipes called for Worcestershire sauce but I omitted it.
This recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence (Food Network)recipe and one from my sister
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups sliced sweet onions in chunks or strips
  • 1/4 tsp.salt
  • 4 cans of beef broth (use low salt) or 2 cans chicken broth and 2 cans beef broth 
  • 3 TB. flour
  • 1 TB. tomato puree
  • 1 cup dry red wine or 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme minced or 2 tsp. herbes de provence
  • 2 minced cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste at end if necessary
  • bread slices, Gruyere or Fontina, Parmesan cheese 
  • Melt butter in soup pot or Dutch oven
  • Add onions,thyme or herbes de provence, bay leaves, salt and garlic and stir until onions are translucent about 25 minutes
  • Add wine and bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer till wine is evaporated and onions dry about 5 minutes
  • Discard thyme and bay leaves
  • Dust onions with flour and turn heat down and cook 10 minutes
  • Add broth and 1 TB. tomato puree cook 10 minutes
  • Toast bread that has been buttered and sprinkled with a bit of garlic salt
  • Spoon soup into ovenproof bowls and place on a cookie sheet
  • Add on top of soup grilled bread or croutons, grated cheese and then sprinkle with 1 TB. Parmesan cheese on top of that 
  • Broil till cheese melts
                                                        Bon Appetit


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

soupe du jour

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what
kind of difference you want to make."
Jane Goodall

The French consider cooking an art and their cuisine is famous and popular around the world. French cookbooks date back to the Middle Ages and French standards were the early gauge of cooking. Nouvelle cuisine which emerged in the 1960’s was a reaction to the current heavy style of cooking used at that time using rich ingredients. While many of the Nouvelle cuisine dishes were made with expensive ingredients they were much lighter, portions were smaller and the presentation more artistic.

About this time Julia Child emerged as a popular American chef, author and television personality. She brought French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was the French Chef, premiered in 1963. In the 1970’s and 1980’s she was the star of numerous cooking shows on television and authored several more cookbooks. I do have to make note of Child’s signature use of ingredients butter and cream which had often come under fire by food critics and nutritionists. In a 1990 interview she addressed these critics saying, “Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues,it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don’t suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.”
So with that being said let’s move on to the second course

Quelle est la soupe du jour?

What is the soup of the day?

French soups are categorized in two broad groups clear and thick.

Clear soups are bouillon and consommé and thick soups vary depending on the thickening agent used like cream, béchamel, starch, flour, rice or grain.

Some of the soups enjoyed in France
  • Cream of Dijon Mustard with Alsatian Sausage
  • Chicken Consommé,
  • Tomato Cream with Basil and Pesto
  • French Onion, Bell Pepper Cream
  • Creamy Cappuccino with Mushrooms
  • Cream of Cauliflower with Strips of Ham 
  • French Beef Consommé .
soupe du jour: soupe au Potiron

Pumpkin Soup
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion 
  • 2 TB. butter 
  • 3 TB. flour mixed with 1/3 cup chicken broth 
  • 2 cans chicken broth-low sodium and fat free 
  • 1 TB. brown sugar 
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree not pie filling 
  • ¼ tsp. salt 
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger 
  • 1/3 cup extra broth 
  • 1 cup half and half 
  • 1 large potato peeled and chopped 
  • In a large pot over medium melt butter,add onion and potato cook about 8 minutes
  • Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook till potato is tender 10-12 minutes
  • Stir in pumpkin till mixture is smooth. Use a blender to puree mixture in batches and then return to the pot
  • Add in spices, sugar and flour that has been mixed with an additional 1/3 cup of broth 
  • Bring to a boil on a medium heat, cover and then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes
  • Uncover and stir in cream and heat thoroughly but do not boil
  • Serves 6-8 

Cook's notes: I was surprised how much I loved this soup since it was the first time I had tried pumpkin soup. It was part of the second course of a home hosted meal in a little town called Tain. I emailed Thomas whose home we were at. He used a real pumpkin cooking it much like a squash. I substituted puree for that ingredient. The soup texture is thick and creamy so it would be served in small bowls or cups. This recipe came in English but the other two recipes requested (chicken dish and lava cakes) came in French!! I am working on getting them translated. If anyone reads French let me know.
French Onion Soup will be posted next.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Aperitifs and Hors d' oeuvres

"Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate."
J. R. R. Tolkien

Our French food journey begins in a small village in Southern France. Step inside the door at the end of this street. Imagine you will be greeted warmly by a family who lives simply and enjoys sharing a meal and conversation with their guests.

French cuisine has evolved extensively over the centuries. I would be remiss if I didn't note the contributions of George Auguste Escoffier. He is commonly acknowledged as the central figure in the modernization of haute cuisine and organization of what would become the national cuisine of France. He created a system of “parties” called the brigade system which separated the professional kitchen into 5 separate stations: cold dishes, prepared starches and vegetables, prepared roasts grilled and fried dishes, sauces and soups, pastries. He also simplified and organized the menu and structure of the meal.

A French meal consists of three courses: hors d’ oeuvre or introductory course, sometimes soup or appetizers, plat principal or main course, fromage or cheese course and/or dessert. Sometimes a salad is offered before the cheese plate or dessert.

Traditional French recipes use seasonal and regional ingredients to create wholesome French foods.
Meal Structure:
  • Breakfast: French breads, croissants, coffee tea and hot chocolate served in bowls for children
  • Lunch: It is midday and often lasts two hours. Restaurants are open for lunch but generally close by 2:30.
  • Dinner: It is a 3 course meal accompanied by bread and wine and mineral water. Restaurants open at 7:30PM.
In French cuisine beverages that precede a meal are called aperitifs, which means opens the appetite. Champagne, Kir and some type of red wine or fruit juice would be served. At the end of the meal drinks are called digestifs, They include Cognac and Armagnac.

Traditionally each region has its own distinctive cuisine based on regional foods produced in the area. It was hard to fathom that just in Paris alone there are over 9,000 restaurants. I must say the French do love to eat!

The source of each of the featured recipes on the blog postings will be noted. "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten was one of the wonderful resources I found for down to earth French cooking and recipes that are easy to follow.

Kir is an apertif of white wine with a splash of creme de cassis.
  • Pour 1-2 teaspoons of creme de cassis into each glass and fill with wine. Serve chilled. A crisp fruity wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre from France works well with this drink.
Cassis a l' Eau
  • The French serve cassis mixed with water for a low alcohol twist on a Kir.

Raspberry Royale
  • Pour 1 tsp. raspberry liqueur into each champagne glass. Add 2-3 raspberries. Fill each glass with champagne and serve immediately
Hors d' oeuvres

Cheese Straws
Recipe from "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten
  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm) defrosted overnight in the refrigerator 
  • 1 extra large egg 
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese 
  • 1 tsp. mined thyme leaves 
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt 
  • Fresh ground pepper 
  • Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper 
  • Roll out each sheet on a lightly floured surface until it is 10 x 12 
  • Beat the egg with 1 tsp. of water and brush the surface of the pastry 
  • Sprinkle each sheet evenly with ¼ cup of Parmesan, ½ cup Gruyere. ½ tsp. thyme and ¼ tsp. salt and some pepper 
  • With a floured rolling pin press the flavorings into puff pastry 
  • Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife into 11-12 strips 
  • Twist each strip and lay on a baking sheet 
  • Bake 10-15 until lightly browned and puffed 
  • Turn each straw and bake another two minutes 
  • Cool and serve at room temperature 
  • Options: Brush pastry with pesto, tapenade or sundried tomatoes instead of sprinkling with cheese

Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)
Recipe from "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten, Recipe makes about 40 puffs
  • 1 cup of milk 
  • 1 stick of butter 
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • 4 extra large eggs 
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese plus extra for sprinkling 
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. of water for egg wash 
  • Preheat oven to 425 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper 
  • In a saucepan heat milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg over medium heat till scalded 
  • Add flour all at once beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture comes together 
  • Cook stirring constantly over low heat for 2 minutes 
  • The flour will begin to coat the pan 
  • Dump the hot mixture into a food processor 
  • Immediately add eggs and cheeses and pulse till eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick 
  • Spoon mixture into pastry bag and pipe into mounds on cookie sheet or scoop out mixture and shape puffs with damp fingers 
  • Brush each one with an egg wash and sprinkle with Gruyere 
  • Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown outside but still soft inside 

Grilled Crostini with Olive Tapenade
a link to a easy recipe

Meat tray
Both of these trays pictured were served on the ship.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Lucky for me my wait was only two weeks for my first postcard to arrive from France. And the unusual stamp was an extra bonus. Postcards move through the postal service at what has been termed "a snail's pace". Often people have returned from their trips by the time the postcard arrives at its destination. But nothing could be any slower for service than the recent story I read where the postcard arrived at the correct address in upstate New York but now it is 70 years later. Unfortunately, the intended recipients have been deceased for many years.   
I've always enjoyed collecting postcards when on trips. The visual images often capture the entire scene and different buildings better than I can get with a camera. Thanks to Wikipedia I have recently become more knowledgeable about deltiology, the official name for postcard collecting. It is thought to be one of the 3 largest collectible hobbies in the world next to stamp and coin collecting. 
One of the most common greetings found on postcards is...  having fun wish you were here.
The history of postcard production can be divided into eras. Each era was marked by a change in laws or printing methods associated with postcard production. If you are a serious collector you will be able to look at a postcard and tell what era it was produced in.  
Pioneer Era (1873-1898) Earliest postal cards are ones that were issued by the post office in 1873. The first commercial ones were sold at the Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 printed as souvenir cards. 
Private Mailing Card Era (1898-1901) American publishers were allowed to print and sell cards marked Private Mailing Card. It required 1 cent postage and the back of the card was for address only. Messages were written on the front of the card. 
Undivided Back Era (1901-1907) Most picture cards of this era had white space at the bottom or to the side of the picture where the name of the sender and a short message could be written. During this era other countries started to allow the use of divided back postcards (allowing a message on the address side) and by 1907 US finally allowed this practice of divided back postcards.
Divided back Era (1907-1914) The postcard collecting hobby flourished at this time. It was an age where without radio or television.  Picture postcards offered an inexpensive and accessible view of the world. Up to this point most of the postcards came from Germany. With the ushering in of the World War more postcards had to come from the United States or England.
White Border Era (1915-1930) Most of these were printed in the United States. A white border was left around the picture during the printing process to save on ink costs. These postcards generally were of poorer quality than earlier cards. There were fewer greeting cards during this period, but scenics and events and other types of cards remained popular. 
Linen Era (1930-1940) A new type of printing process allowed the use of a high rag content paper with a linen look. Looking at these cards closely a weave texture can be noted. This new process allowed for use of bright, gaudy ink colors resulting in somewhat unnatural coloring of the postcard picture.
Postcard collecting was not a popular hobby. Maybe it was due to economic woes, war and little time for leisure traveling,
Photochrome Era (1945-present) The photochrome, or chrome postcard, is the type of card in use today. These cards are reproduced through a printing process to look like actual photos. The first cards printed with this process were introduced by the Union Oil Company at their western service stations. 
This postcard above shows two different French doors inviting us to step inside and sit a spell. Taking photos of French doors became an obsession for me during my trip. Each door seem to have some unique characteristic to set it apart from another with its color, style and door knocker. 
Next week begins French food exploration with photos and recipes. The food journey will begin each time with a door photo inviting you to step inside a French home to share a meal.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Frond Farewell

The brisk November winds picked up on Thanksgiving afternoon. We could feel a shift in seasons as temperatures dipped and the unexpected snow moved in. It was as if the blowing grasses and dried plant stalks were waving and bidding farewell to what was one of the longest warm weather spells we have had in years.
A cold snowy November morning greeted us the next day. After all the Thanksgiving cooking and entertaining it was a good time to relax and finish a book called The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship and The Uncommon Pleasure of A Good Book by Wendy Welch.
This was my first time reading an entire book on the Kindle. I will say as I was reading I missed the touch of real paper pages and my fingers ached to use my highlighter on passages that I really liked. 
Perhaps one just needs to get use to this type of book reading.

What attracted me to this book was the title Big Stone Gap. If you recall my favorite author, Adriana Trigiani, Shoemaker' s Wife wrote a series of novels about the town The Big Stone Gap.
The community is located in Virginia in the Appalachain Mountains.  
Wendy Welch's book is for all those who would consider themselves a bibliophile, animal  lover, a dreamer and a believer. It details the real life experiences of the author and her Scottish husband Jack who want to follow their dreams of leaving life behind in the fast lane and open a used bookstore in a small town. They move to Big Stone Gap and buy an old Victorian home with the intent of transferring it into a used bookstore. Welch writes in a breezy conversationalist style as she shares their experiences of the challenges of running a bookstore with no previous experience, building up an inventory and finding their place in a community as a newcomer. The Walmart caper is one of the examples how the author had to get creative to improve their business. In addition they used their bookstore to host many different types of activities that ultimately enriched their community. Many cats and dogs live happily within the bookstore since their owners support animal rescue.  
An added bonus to this memoir reading was the author's reviews of her favorite books.

 I saw this poster on Pinterest and thought it fitting for the posting.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thought provoking words by Anne Frank who was able to look at the positive despite having lost so many things.
Today remember all those who have lost their jobs due to economic reasons and to those who have been displaced by storms and have lost their homes. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Calorie Buster

For each new morning with its light, 
For rest and shelter of the night, 
For health and food, 
For love and friends, 
For everything Thy goodness sends. 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
It was a bit disheartening to read recently that my favorite pie; pecan is the ultimate calorie buster at the Thanksgiving meal. So this year for a change I am serving gingerbread cake and hope there will be no mutiny from my guests. Whip-cream will be optional :) But to be on the safe side there will also be the traditional apple and pumpkin pie. 

Gingerbread Cake 
recipe adapted from bon appetit magazine November 2010
Cook's notes: The dark beer and molasses add rich depth to this cake and make it moist. The cake can be served plain with lemon curd or frosted with a cream cheese frosting. Use a whisk not a mixer for this recipe.
  • 3/4 cup extra stout beer or dark beer
  • 3/4 cup mild flavored molasses
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda  
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease 3 cake pans or one 13 x 9 pan
  • Bring stout and molasses to a boil over high heat
  • Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Let this mixture sit for 1 hour to cool completely
  • In another bowl whisk flour and next 6 ingredients to blend  
  • Whisk eggs and both sugars to blend 
  • Whisk in oil to egg and sugar mixture then whisk in stout mixture and then add all to flour/spice mixture
  • Bake cake about 25 minutes

Cranberry Wild Rice Side Dish
Cook's notes: This recipe was developed to accommodate some vegetarian guests who would not be eating the cornbread sausage stuffing. 

  • 4 cups cooked wild rice
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 -1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/2 of large green apple diced
  • 3/4-1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp.herbes de provence (and no need to fly to France for this spice. It can be found in grocery stores :) 
  • Grease lightly a shallow Pyrex dish
  • Mix all ingredients except cider and spread evenly in dish
  • Drizzle cider over wild rice mixture and cover with foil
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until celery and apple pieces are  soft 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The World According to Bella

A Survivor's Tail
Good news...Bella posted her Survivor's Tail/Tale in WWN Rockport, Texas newsletter

Pumpkin Pie Bites

It is a well known fact that Thanksgiving dinners can be calorie busters, especially the deadly slice of pumpkin pie with whip cream at the end. So imagine discovering an alternative to a slice of pie where you can savor the same taste but pare down the calories. This dessert is made with a product called mini fillo shells by Athens. Each shell is filled with a tablespoon of baked pumpkin pie filling, a scant teaspoon of whip cream then sprinkled with cinnamon.    
These delicious treats were served at a coffee fest and were perfect for taking the edge off sampling so many different types of java.

  • Make shells up according to package directions bake 5-7 minutes on a cookie sheet and cool
  • Make up pumpkin pie filling just as you would if baking a pie
  • Pour ingredients in a Pyrex dish (no pie crust used) and bake as you would for making a pie but cut back time about 5-7 minutes
  • Cool ingredients and then scoop out into individual shells 
  • Top with whip cream and sprinkle with cinnamon

Cranberry Meat Balls
This recipe was posted last year just in time for the holiday season.  It was requested as a rerun. Enjoy!
  • 2 lbs. of meatballs-make your own or use prepacked ones
  • 1 can (16 oz.) cranberry sauce
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 2 TB. soy sauce
  • 2 TB. wine vinegar
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes 
  • In a large dutch oven over medium heat whisk all ingredients except meatballs
  • Cook for 5 minutes or until ingredients are smooth
  • Add meatballs and cook on low heat 30 minutes-stirring occasionally and meatballs are warm
  • Another alternative is to place meatball mixture in a slow cooker/crock pot and cook on low-medium for 2 hours  
Cook's Note: Recipe can be made ahead and placed in a crock-pot to cook till serving
adapted from Southern Living Recipes (Internet) 

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.
Author unknown

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Cranberries are a versatile fruit. 95% are processed into juices, sauces, jams and sweetened dried fruits. The rest are sold fresh to consumers. Cooking tip: Fresh cranberries disappear from the produce shelves soon after the holidays. So stock up now on the bags and freeze them as they will last up to 9 months. 
Jellied cranberry sauce is an indispensable part of Thanksgiving dinners. Even though it is  questionable how many people actually eat canned cranberry sauce it is a good idea to keep a can on reserve. One year I did not have it out as a coveted side dish and there was a bit of an outcry... something about tradition and it should be on the table.

This cookie recipe caught my attention with white chocolate, dried cranberries and macadamia nuts. What's not to like about those ingredients :)
Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies
adapted from Real Food magazine from Byerlys/Lunds grocery winter 2012
  • 1 stick of butter and 1 stick of margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 cup of macadamia nuts that have been lightly pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a mixing bowl cream butter, margarine, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar
  • Add in flour, soda, salt and beat thoroughly
  • Fold in nuts, chips and cranberries
  • Chill dough in freezer for an hour
  • Drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes but start checking at 9 minutes-depends on how large spoonfuls are

Poinsettia Cocktail
A festive and quite easy drink recipe to usher in the holiday season.
In a champagne flute mix equal parts of cranberry juice and champagne. Pour on top of each glass 1 tsp. Grand Marnier,do not mix liqueur in and serve.
Salut!or Sante!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Leftover Turkey

The best leftover dish from Thanksgiving is really the turkey for sandwiches. There is nothing better than cold turkey on toasted bread with lettuce, a little cranberry sauce and maybe even a bit of mayonnaise. If after indulging in this tasty sandwich you still have some turkey to spare try this recipe. 

Turkey and Stuffing Bake

Cook’s notes: Advance preparation makes this hotdish recipe easier and faster to  assemble. The day before chop cooked turkey into small pieces, cook both wild and white rice and drain,then saute vegetables and refrigerate. Recipe serves 8

  • 1 large red or green pepper chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 8-oz. package herb-seasoned stuffing mix or Stove Top turkey stuffing mix
  • 2 cups chicken broth (use one that is fat free and low sodium) you may need 1/2 cup more to add to stuffing mixture if seems too dry
  • 4 cups diced turkey
  • 3 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/2 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 small box of white mushrooms
  • In fry pan sauté mushrooms, onion and pepper in 2 TB. butter-set aside
  • Cook wild rice and in last 20 minutes of cooking add white rice-drain and set aside
  • Cook turkey and chop into pieces
  • Beat eggs slightly and add in ½ can soup mix and sautéed vegetables
  • Cook stuffing mix according to package directions on box except substitute chicken broth for the water
  • In a large bowl mix: both wild and white rice, turkey, sautéed vegetables, almonds and soup mixture
  • Add all this to stuffing mixture and pour into a greased 4 qt. size pan or a 13 x 9 pan cover with foil and bake 30 minutes @ 350
  • Uncover and bake 5-7 minutes to brown top

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Sides

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.” by Charles Dickens

During the 70's and well into the 80's I was swept into the jello craze. Tupperware parties squeezed out our monies tempting us with all sorts of all shapes and sizes of jello molds we just had to have. We strove to recreate those recipes pictured in magazines and cookbooks with jello, marshmallows, fruits, nuts, cool whip and sometimes pudding.
We held our breaths at that final moment burping the mold hoping it would all came out in one glorious piece. But ah, I remember the one recipe that I call piece de resistance. It was the one that used many different flavors of jello and each layer was a different color. Now that was something to strive for!
Over the years the popularity of these jello recipes has diminished but when the holidays roll around they are a coveted side that can't be missed.

Cranberry Jello Salad

  • 6 oz. cherry jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped apple (like Delicious brand)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drain and save juice to be used for part of the 2 cups of boiling water mixture
  • Dissolve jello in boiling water, cool and stir in rest of ingredients
  • Chill in a slightly greased9 x 13 pan
Orange Flavored Watergate Salad
  • 2- 11 oz. cans of mandarin oranges
  • 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1- 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 1-cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • Make pudding mix up as directed on box
  • Drain oranges and cut up into small pieces
  • Fold all ingredients together and refrigerate

Cranberry Salad


  • 1 (6 ounce) package raspberry flavored gelatin mix
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup whipped topping


  • Place the gelatin into a bowl, pour in the boiling water, and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Mix in the cranberry sauce, pineapple, celery, pecans, and orange zest until evenly blended. Pour the gelatin mixture into a mold or serving dish.
  • Chill in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 8 hours.
  • To make the topping, beat the cream cheese with half of the whipped topping. Fold in the remaining whipped topping until well blended. Unmold the gelatin, and spread with the topping mixture.
Thanksgiving Sides

Corn Pudding Casserole Serves 12-14
  • 2 cans cream style corn
  • 1 can whole corn liquid packed drained
  • ½ stick of margarine melted
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 box jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2TB. parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional chili peppers and grated hot pepper jack cheese
  • Combine all ingredients except the Jiffy mix, then stir in the dry mix till just combined
  • Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan
  • Bake @350 1 hour and then start checking to make sure center is done 
  • Cool and cut in squares

Broccoli-Cauliflower Bake
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1-cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 can of cream of chicken
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil, marjoram and thyme
  • 1-cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large saucepan cook broccoli and cauliflower covered in lightly salted water 6-8 minutes till vegetables are crisp-tender
  • Drain
  • In a skillet cook onion in butter stir in soup and cheese and milk
  • Cook and stir just till cheese melts
  • Stir in cooked vegetables and then transfer to a greased 1-1/2 quart size casserole bowl
  • Toss breadcrumbs with 1 TB parsley flakes and 1 TB. melted butter
  • Sprinkle over vegetable mixture
  • Bake uncovered 20 minutes
  • Another topping idea: 2/3 cup crushed wheat crackers, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup Parmesan shredded cheese and 2 TB. melted butter

Cranberry and Dried Cherry Sauce
  • 12 oz. container frozen cranberry- raspberry juice cocktail thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 TB. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 1- 6oz. package dried tart cherries
  • 1- 12oz. bag fresh cranberries (produce dept.)
  • ¼ cup Merlot 
  • Dissolve cornstarch in water and add cran/raspberry mixture, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks,allspice 
  • Bring to boil in a saucepan stirring to dissolve sugar
  • Reduce heat and add in cherries and cook 2 minutes
  • Add cranberries cook until berries pop about 8 minutes and mixture thickened
  • Stir in Merlot
  • Cover and chill overnight
  • To serve discard cinnamon
  • Refrigerate till serving-heat on low to warm slightly or serve at room temepratrure
  • Serve sauce over turkey, chicken or pork


Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...