I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Finger Bowl Soup

Every year my parents and I would go to Canada for our summer vacation. Part of the ritual was driving to the Thousand Islands (Alexandria Bay) and spending the night at the Sir Robert Peel Motel. We would site see and then go to dinner at a place called Cavallarios Steak & Seafood. This place was known for its huge lobster tank where you could pick out the lobster you wanted for dinner. I always wanted to try a whole lobster but my father said they were a lot of work. So each year I would just get a seafood platter, my mother got scallops and my father always got steak This one particular year during our usual ritual dinner at Cavallario’s these guys came in from fishing holding this lobster that they caught that must have weighed at least 6 or 7 pounds. It had the biggest claws I had ever seen. They asked if the chef would cook it for them. That made me start nagging my father about having my own lobster again. He finally gave in. When it came, my eyes lit up. I hadn’t a clue what to do with all the different shiny silver tools that they brought me.
So my father showed me how to use the picks and crackers to uncover that sweet lobster meat. I could not wait to submerge it in the melted butter.
I was happy but my father wasn’t, because while he was helping me enjoy my dinner, his steak was getting cold not to mention his mood.
But I sure did enjoy that lobster even though you could have heard a pin drop at the table…..until.
The waitress came over to see if we needed anything and preceded to place in front of me this beautiful bowl of clear hot liquid with a lemon slice floating on top. She also brought me another little plate with a warm towel on it (she probably thought I’d be as sloppy with the soup as I was with the lobster). By this point I am in my own little world contemplating all this stuff in front of me. My mother and father still weren’t saying anything so I reached over and got a spoon so I could eat the stuff in the bowl before it got cold. All of a sudden my parents are howling with laughter, even people at the next table were laughing (I was clueless). What’s so funny?
My mother said; "Honey, that isn’t soup it's a finger bowl for washing your hands after eating that sticky old lobster". OOPS!
All anger was forgotten and I’ve loved lobster ever since.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sweet Dreams

When a foodie settles down to sleep after a day filled with work, family and of course….food. What does a foodie dream about? Well, some of what they dream about is
probably none of our business. On the other hand, it’s pretty safe to assume that somewhere intermingled with their slumbering fantasies are glorious visions of…..no, not sugarplums dancing in their heads. More like, rivers of chocolate cascading through whipped cream mountains with little cheese souffl├ęs floating by………………….
Oops, sorry was starting to drool (got caught up in the moment).
Anyhow wouldn’t it be wonderful for a foodie to lay down their sleepy little head on something soft and cushy that looks exactly like; pancakes, sushi, cupcakes oh my.
Even if you’re not a glorified foodie you need to check this place out.
It’s called; “The Sofa Garden”.
If you are into pillow accents this place has a great variety for every taste.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pork and Sauerkraut

My mother’s side of the family loved this dish. Whether it was a holiday or just a regular Sunday dinner, pork and sauerkraut made them happy. If anyone in her family was having a birthday and you asked them what special kind of food would they like? The answer was always the same; “Pork and Sauerkraut”.
If you are one of those people who avoids sauerkraut because you find it too strong. Just put in colander, rinse a little, then drain. It becomes much milder but retains a good deal of flavor. The sauerkraut is what actually keeps the pork moist, tender and juicy.

1 (10-15 lb) pork shoulder
4 lbs sauerkraut, with juice (canned or bagged)
Salt and pepper
1 lb bag of carrot (cut in big chunks)
2 large onions peeled and cut into big pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse pork and place in large roasting pan.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover with 1/3 of the sauerkraut.
Cover roasting pan and put in oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven and add another 1/3 of sauerkraut.
Cover and put back in oven for another hour.
Remove from oven and add the remaining sauerkraut.
Cover and put back in oven for another hour.
Remove from oven and enjoy! Boiled or mashed potatoes are a must with this dish.

Friday, February 23, 2007

1959 was a very good year.......

Happy Birthday to all those born in 1959 including yours truly.
1959 was an incredible year in history, I thought it would be fun to list just a few
Amazing facts from that time.
For more interesting facts visit: The People History or Pop History of the Fifties

*Danny's Coffee Shops are renamed Dennys
*Pantyhose, which give women the look of stockings without garters, garter-belts, or corsets, are introduced. By a man, no doubt.
*She's here! Barbie
*U.S. supermarkets number 32,000 and account for 69 percent of all food store sales although they comprise only 11 percent of food stores.
*Hurray for Jiffy Pop
*Maxwell House inaugurates the "Good to the last drop" ad campaign.
*The BIC ballpoint pen is introduced in America
*On February 3, Alaska is admitted to statehood. Followed by Hawaii on August 21. For about a year in between America had a 49 star flag.
*The average American worker earns $91.53 a week
*Bonanza debuts on TV. The Fifties Web TV Western Pages as does the Twilight Zone
*The microchip is invented by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce of the U.S. A host of products using miniaturized electronics will be produced in the next few years.
*Metrecal is introduced by the 59-year-old Mead Johnson Company of Evansville, Ind. as a weight reducing aid. It will be the forerunner of all other dietary products such as SlimFast and others.
*Groucho, Chico & Harpo Marx's final TV appearance together - on G.E. Theater with host Ronald Reagan
*Julie a future Blogger was born

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Meema's Manhattan A Day

My grandmother has been drinking these for as long as I can remember. My grandfather would make a decanter full (he would water them down a little) and keep them in the fridge for her. My grandmother never exceeds two Manhattans in a day but she does have at least one every day. At 87 years old, four foot eight and 80 lbs. soaking wet she is still a force to be reckoned with. The family saying is; “If Meema’s not happy, then no ones happy” but we love her just the same. To this day when three o’ clock rolls around its cocktail time, funny how some things never change.

Cheers Meema…

1 1/4 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
Stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with the cherry.

Variations on the Manhattan:
Dry Manhattan- Use a dash of dry vermouth and garnish with a lemon twist.
Perfect Manhattan- Equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Tzimmes is a Jewish casserole. It is always a sweet dish with endless variations. It is usually served during “Rosh Hashanah”, the Jewish spiritual New Year. But in our house it was a very common side dish only because we liked it so much. My Mother grew up eating many different versions of the dish. Her grandmother from Russia would put ground meat in her tzimmes. Kids tend to like this because it is sweet, a great way to sneak in some veggies.

1 bag carrots
6 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup pitted prunes
¼ cup of golden raisins
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
margarine or oil

Wash and peel carrots and sweet potatoes. Cook carrots and sweet potatoes in covered pot of boiling, salted water until tender but firm. Line a shallow baking dish with silver foil. Drain carrots and sweet potatoes and place in pan with prunes and raisins. Stir gently. Mix orange juice, honey, salt, and cinnamon, and pour evenly over casserole. Dot top with margarine or corn oil. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Stir gently and bake uncovered another 10 minutes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

We always had stuffed artichokes during the holidays. But it wasn’t unheard of to have them at any time. The great thing about stuffed artichokes is that they even taste good cold and last for at least a week in the fridge. Once you’ve scraped all that delicious stuffing off of those leaves your left with the prize….The rich and buttery artichoke heart. It really can be a decadent experience.
Artichokes can be pretty pricey in the stores these days, so do what we do and go to any local farmers market. Most of these farmers markets charge less than half of what the supermarkets do. It will be well worth it.

1 pound bacon, sliced (Italian sausage also works well) some people use mortadella, which is like an Italian bologna w/pistachio nuts in it. Quite frankly, you could skip the meat all together and it would still be equally as flavorful.
10 cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ground cayenne (use more or less depending on your taste) 8 large artichokes (if your artichokes are small to medium, this recipe will probably make at least a dozen)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil ( to lightly moisten crumb mixture)
lemon (to rub on artichoke to prevent browning then toss in pot with artichokes)

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp; drain. Crumble into a large bowl and add bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, olive oil, onions, parsley, garlic, salt,, and crushed red pepper; toss to combine.

Cut about 3/4-inch off the tops of each artichoke. With your scissors, snip off the pointed ends of each artichoke leaf. Rub a lemon on the cut ends to prevent browning. Slice off the stem end of each artichoke so that they sit up straight. Spread the leaves of each artichoke as much as possible, and pack in a generous amount of bread stuffing around each artichoke. Tap each artichoke gently to let any loose stuffing fall off. Stand them in a casserole or roasting pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add water to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Well, "Hello Dollies"

I got a really nice treat this weekend. I went to my grandmothers on Saturday not only did she have the usual pizzelle’s and date bars. But as an added surprise, she made a batch of “Hello Dollies”. I haven’t had these in about ten years. I feel silly that I haven’t made any myself; the recipe couldn't be any simpler.I think we just get spoiled; everything tastes better when grandma makes them.

Hello Dollies:
1 pkg. graham crackers-CRUSHED
1 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can eagle brand milk


Friday, February 16, 2007

New Products for 2007 "Stonewall Kitchen"

This place has some of the most unique condiment blends as well as delicious easy to make dessert and pancake/waffle mixes. It's a must for all us "Foodie Shoppers". You can also request a catalog be sent to your home.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Delicious

Brrrr it's cold in upstate New York.
For some strange reason I just can't stop thinking about snow.
The world covered in a blanket of white can be truly beautiful.....at first.
But when inches turn to feet and shoveling goes from minutes to hours and tempuratures plunge to sub zero. With snow drifts four and five feet high....I'm sure you get the picture.
This is where my mind is today....enjoy

Snow Ice Cream

1-3 C. snow (make sure it's clean!)
1/2 C. whipping cream or other cream of choice
1 T. sugar
2-3 drops vanilla flavoring

In a separate bowl, mix cream, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add snow to desired consistency. Eat (slowly--it's cold) and enjoy!

But if you are like me and are a little skeptical about "Clean Snow", then shaved ice works nicely as a substitute. If you just want the snow idea without the snow and ice the recipe below is just the ticket.

Almond Snow Pudding

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. (1 pt.) skim milk
3 egg whites
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed

Combine gelatin, water and sugar in 2-quart microwave-safe mixing bowl.
Microwave (high), uncovered 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture boils, stirring once. Stir in milk. Refrigerate until slightly thicker than unbeaten egg whites. Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Gradually add corn syrup, beating until mixture forms stiff peaks. Beat in almond extract and vanilla. Fold into gelatin mixture. Pour into 8-inch square baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until set. Serve strawberries over squares of pudding.
Almond Snow Pudding can be molded in an 8-cup mold or in 12 individual 3/4-cup molds.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

Easy and delicious you will truly taste the love.

Italian Love Cake
1 package Fudge marble cake mix
2 pounds Ricotta cheese
1 cup Sugar
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
8 ounces whipping cream
1 package Instant chocolate pudding
1 cup Milk

Mix cake as directed on box. Pour into greased and floured 9” x 13” pan. In separate bowl, combine ricotta, sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Spoon over top of unbaked cake. Bake at 350~F for 1 hr. Cool. Mix pudding with milk; fold in whipped topping. Spread over cake; refrigerate.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

No need to be good to get into Chocolate Heaven

Yes, even if you have a bit of the Devil in you........
Chocolate Heaven awaits.....the only condition is you must be good and eat every last bit of chocolate that you purchase or you are eternally doomed to share it with someone that you love.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Out of Necessity Spanish Rice

My Mother moved out on her own when she was barely 17 years old. She rented a little studio apartment, which was actually the turret of a big old house in the city. At $50.00 a month(sounds cheap to us) but then it might as well have been$500.00. In those days she was able to put alot of what she needed to purchase on lay away. If she needed a winter coat or a kitchen table she could get it and only pay a dollar or two a week. Unfortunately she did not have that payment option when it came to food. My mother always loved rice and rice was very inexpensive. You could make a little bit of rice go a very long way. So she concocted this version of Spanish rice, which at the time cost her less than $3.00 to prepare.
This recipe filled one of those big stove top dutch oven pots and gave her 2 meals a day for almost the entire week. Luckily for her she truly loved it.
I was always amazed that she still made it on occasion when I was growing up. She use to say; "You would think that I would never want to see Spanish Rice ever again".
My mother currently resides in a nursing home and I always bring some kind of treat when I go to spend time with her. This last visit she asked if I would make her some Spanish rice the next time I come...... all these years later, still one of her favorite meals.

Remember this is a frugal version of Spanish rice, created by a girl with very little money. You can easily add more meat, different spices etc....

Harriet's Spanish Rice

1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons of oil
3 cups chopped onion(she loves onions)
2 bell peppers chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cups long-grain rice
3 cups of water

In a 3 quart dutch oven(big Pot with lid) brown ground beef in oil. Add onion, green bell pepper, salt and pepper.
Cook until onion is tender. Add tomatoes and ketchup; simmer 15 minutes.
Add rice. Cover and simmer 25 minutes, or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if necessary.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Eating what bugs you.....


I know.......you are thinking;"How disgusting"!
This isn't anything you'd ever find cooking in grandmas kitchen.
True, but luckily for me my parents and grandparents had very adventurous palates.
From the time I was little I was exposed to a wide range of delicacies. Granted I turned my nose up in disgust more times than you can imagine. But my family always told me I couldn't say that I didn't like something until I at least tried it. Then and only then if I did not like whatever it happened to be at the time such as;"calves brains, eel, turtle, tripe, snails, grasshoppers, rattlesnake.......the list seems endless" I never had to have it again.
Funny thing is as it turns out, I truly ended up loving just about everything. I still do to this day.
All I am saying is be open to the experience.......you may just end up liking all the things that "bug" you!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Grilled Chocolate and Raspberry Sandwiches

There aren't a whole lot of major rules here....
Sliced Bread: Challah, Italian, vienna even pound cake works nicely.
Raspberry Jam(seedless is better)
Chocolate: Hershey bar, semi sweet chips, Ghiradelli(whatever you like)
Butter and a little powdered sugar
Fry Pan, Griddle or Panini Press

Spread jam on bread, place chocolate on jam, top with second slice of bread.
Get pan set to medium - medium high
Butter outside of bread and fry.
Put on plate, cut in half, dust with powdered sugar
Pure Heaven!

Have a little fun try different jams or fresh fruits. Grilled chocolate and peanut butter is wonderful. We all deserve to indulge from time to time. Although I have to admit that once you try a grilled chocolate sandwich.......from time to time could easily turn into day to day!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Pelmeni are one of the most ancient of traditional Russian foods.
The idea of these delightful dumplings came hundreds of years ago
when the early Mongols (an ethnic group that originated in what is now Mongolia, Russia, and China) borrowed the idea from the Chinese (pot stickers).
Polish pirogies are like a dumpling cousin to the Pelmeni. Much later on the Italians borrowed the idea and created“Ravioli”.

1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
garlic to taste

To make the dough, combine the flour, eggs, water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Knead mixture. Let rest for 30 minutes. Mix the ground beef, ground pork, onions, 1 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic together. Cut the dough into three equally sized pieces and roll each one into a cylinder the diameter of a finger. Cut each cylinder into pieces the size of a walnut, then roll each piece into a very thin flat cake with a diameter of about 2 inches. Put some of the ground meat mixture in the center of each flat cake (quite a lot, but not so much that you can't then seal up the dough). Then fold the dough in half and join up the edges to seal them. Pinch the corners together: you should now have a ravioli-shaped "flying saucer." If you wish to make this job a bit easier they do have “Pelmeni Dumpling Molds” that you can purchase.

Cooking: (If you plan to store your pelmeni, freeze them uncooked).Boil a generous amount of water with 1 tsp. salt. Drop the pelmeni into the boiling water. They are ready to eat when they float to the top and stay there.
Presentation: Serve pelmeni with one of the following: butter and salt, sour cream and dill, sour cream and vinegar, as a soup with meat broth (you may boil the pelmeni in meat broth for added flavor). You may also serve pelmeni with a traditional Russian salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with mayonnaise or sour cream.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Jewish Honey Cake

This is one of the most delicious tasting cakes you will ever have. It’s moist and spicy.
My Aunt Elsie made this cake only a few times a year. It went so quickly you were very lucky to even get a taste; it was such a special treat.
Aunt Elsie is 99 years young and her baking days have long since passed…..
But luckily she has shared her recipe and now we can all make this special treat. Just don’t forget to save a piece for Aunt Elsie.

Honey Cake

3 Eggs
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Soft Margarine
2 1/2 cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 cup Honey
1 cup Cold Strong Coffee
1 Ripe Banana, mashed

Beat the eggs until thick. Add the sugar gradually. Beat in the margarine. Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves together. Add gradually to the creamed mixture with the honey and coffee. Beat until combined. Add the banana. Pour the batter into a lightly oiled and floured 10 inch tube pan or two 9 inch loaf pans. Bake in a 350° F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool thoroughly before slicing. Serves 16

Monday, February 5, 2007

Flavorful Find(syrups, salted preserved fruits, fruit in wine and yes.....Chocolate sauces

"Inspiration for these products came from a family farm in northern Wisconsin, where grandmother Florrie began cooking at 13 in the logging camps of the early 1900’s. Extensive preserving by mother and grandmother was a fond childhood memory. When these memories met the ingredients of his adopted California home–wine, grapes, citrus fruit and ginger-–-his product line was born".
You will find some truly unique flavors and products here.
The White Ginger syrup makes a wonderful tea hot or iced.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Being home sick has made me delusional......For some reason my little cold virus doesn't want soup

It wants"Brontosaurus sized Cheeseburgers"
My hunger mixed with a slight fever has me turning into Fred Flinstone or at least given me his appetite.
Any cheeseburger will do at this point....I am salivating just thinking about it.
Humor me.....Not the best post in the world but what do you expect(I'm Sick...achoo)!

I'm going to go feed my cold a cheeseburger.

Italian Style Cheeseburgers
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon leaf basil, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon leaf oregano, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 slices Colby or Cheddar cheese
6 sandwich buns, split and buttered Lightly mix the ground beef with onion, salt, basil, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper, just until blended.. Shape mixture into 6 patties. Place on broiler pan then broil on both sides until done as desired. Top each patty with a slice of cheese; return to broiler just until cheese begins to melt. Serve in the buttered buns.Cheeseburger recipe makes 6.