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110 posts categorized "26) What would Don Draper do? Retro recipes from my past to your present!"

05/17/2015

~My Mad Men Last Supper Menu: Chicken a la King~

In the 1950's, '60's and '70's, New York City's Madison Avenue was ground zero for the advertising industry -- for almost all of those years, it was an elitist club of all-male executives. These Madison ad men, cavalierly referred to themselves as Mad Men. Unless you've just beamed to earth from another corner of the universe, you know, that for the past six years, Mad Men has been a period drama television series about this business and the bizarre lifestyle of the people working in it. For those lucky enough to remember the realities of this time period, it's a...... View full recipe for "~My Mad Men Last Supper Menu: Chicken a la King~"

05/14/2015

~ It's the Little Things: Homemade Graham Crackers~

A graham cracker dunked into a glass of milk. Said with certainty, once I was removed from my high-chair and placed at the table, this is the first store-bought snack I was allowed to sink my baby teeth into. Then, when I got to kindergarten (back in 1960 there was no such thing as daycare or preschool and kindergarten was limited to a five-hour half-day), one big graham cracker, which each one of us kids carefully cracked into four parts, was the snack the teacher handed out every morning at 10:30AM with our half-pint of milk. After snacks, we got...... View full recipe for "~ It's the Little Things: Homemade Graham Crackers~"

04/15/2015

~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~

There was an eight-year timespan in my life when I spent every day cooking for a crowd. In mom-speak, it is referred to as "the teenage boy years" and I raised three. During those years, one casserole of anything was not enough -- two was mandatory, and, if I wanted leftovers I made four. On pizza nights, I made six -- big ones. I doubled or tripled every recipe that could be doubled or tripled to accommodate their appetites. I put a second refrigerator in my garage, bought a 24-quart stockpot for my stovetop and a 20-cup food processor for...... View full recipe for "~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~"

04/10/2015

~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~

This sinfully-rich dish of sweet, tender seafood swimming in a silky-smooth cream sauce is one of those quintessential dishes of the latter 1950's, '60's and '70's that sadly, many cooks have forgotten about. Not me. It's one of the first fancy-schmancy restaurant dishes American housewives started making at home because it didn't take a ton of time or a lot skill to prepare from scratch. Then, as with almost anything made with a cream sauce at the time, the cream-of-soup people stuck their two cents in and began to sell cream of shrimp soup -- dumbed down versions began appearing...... View full recipe for "~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~"

03/27/2015

~ Mel's Over-the-Top but Very Easy Eggs Benedict: A Rich Dish w/a Great Story -- HISstory vs HERstory! ~

Eggs Benedict. For us runny-egg lovers, this is the la-tee-da, ooh-la-la, creme-de-la-creme of fancy-schmancy, American AM indulgences. American? Really? I, an all-American girl, did not grow up eating this. Heck, I never even heard of it until I found myself eating breakfast and brunch in some high-end restaurants in Philadelphia during the mid-1970's, and, I always assumed it was French -- until I started to do a bit of research. It seems this rich, artery-clogging delight has a fascinating story (HISstory vs. HERstory). This is a tale just begging to be told: Culinary Fisticuffs? The Battle Between the Benedicts!!! HISstory...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Over-the-Top but Very Easy Eggs Benedict: A Rich Dish w/a Great Story -- HISstory vs HERstory! ~"

03/21/2015

~ All that Jazz Chicken Oscar w/Blender Bearnaise ~

The first time I ate "Oscar" was in 1983 and I was in "The Big Easy". Four of us were sitting in a fancy New Orleans French-Quarter restaurant, Arnoud's, listening to a jazz band and groovin' to the tunes. My meal arrived and it was all sorts of wonderful: a lightly-pounded, gently-sauteed, succulent, fork-tender veal paillard, piled high with tender Louisiana crayfish, drizzled with buttery bearnaise sauce and garnished with steamed asparagus. I was also drinking French 75 cocktails that night (gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar) -- it was a most memorable dinner. After the first bite or two,...... View full recipe for "~ All that Jazz Chicken Oscar w/Blender Bearnaise ~"

03/03/2015

~ I've Got Ganache! Gotta make Chocolate Truffles ~

Chocolate truffles. Sigh. I know people who pay big bucks for them. Sigh. I am not of that mindset -- I make my own, and the end 100% justifies the means. Chocolate truffles are the easiest confection you will ever make resulting in the most gratitude and accolades. You got kids? Conduct an experiment. Give them a choice between a chocolate cupcake, a brownie, or, a truffle as an after-school snack. Truffle moms are the best moms -- call it "truffle love"! A sweet treat as an after school snack? Simmer down & read: Save your "don't give your kid...... View full recipe for "~ I've Got Ganache! Gotta make Chocolate Truffles ~"

02/24/2015

~ Silky Smooth Creme Caramel (Crema Caramella) ~

Meet my husband Joe's favorite dessert. I don't mean sort-of his favorite. It's his all-time favorite. It became incredibly popular in the United States the early 1960's when Mrs. John F. Kennedy hired a French Chef to oversee the White House kitchen. Everybody who wanted wanted to "be like Jackie" was off buying French ramekins and learning words like "bain-marie"! A bit about creme caramel: Creme caramel is a sophisticated dessert that is eaten around the world, but, was made famous in the later part of the 20th century in French restaurants. It is a silky-smooth custard that is gently...... View full recipe for "~ Silky Smooth Creme Caramel (Crema Caramella) ~"

02/20/2015

~ Oh Baby it's Never too Cold for Boston Cream Pie ~

Minus ten degrees. It could be worse. I could live in Boston. I don't want to think about that. I'd rather think about this: Boston Cream Pie, a feel-good dessert that won the hearts of Americans over a century ago. What got me thinking about this retro blast-from-my-past dessert? It was another one of those "thirty-one days to Oscar" flicks I watched on my kitchen TV yesterday: Some Like it Hot (Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis & Marilyn Monroe)! In this hilarious 1959 Billy Wilder movie Daphne (Jack Lemmon in drag) says, "When I was a kid, I used to have...... View full recipe for "~ Oh Baby it's Never too Cold for Boston Cream Pie ~"

02/17/2015

~ Aurora's 'Famous' Chicken Pepperoni Seems Like Old Times (Dinner and a Funny Movie Review too!) ~

I've got a movie on my menu tonight. Neil Simon's 'Seems Like Old Times' (starring Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Charles Grodin) is a feel-good blast from my retro 1980's past. I'm not usually a fan of romantic comedies, but, this one keeps me laughing out loud from start to finish every time I see it. It's no secret that in order to write this blog and do my TV segments I work almost nonstop in my kitchen. Having always been a movie buff, movies on my kitchen TV keep me company throughout the entire day. Seems Like Old Times...... View full recipe for "~ Aurora's 'Famous' Chicken Pepperoni Seems Like Old Times (Dinner and a Funny Movie Review too!) ~"

12/28/2014

~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~

I have a confession to make. I am a potato salad snob. I want the old-fashioned, down-home, classic, creamy and chunky "grandma's-type" with no hype -- nothing trendy or flashy with a grandiose name or gourmet ingredients. My favorite potatoes for potato salad are: creamy Yukon golds or small "new" reds. I always peel the golds and cut them into bite-sized chunks. I never peel the reds, leaving their soft skins intact, and, cut them into bite-sized halves or quarters. I always boil my potatoes until fork tender on the outside, yet still firm and slightly undercooked in their centers....... View full recipe for "~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~"

11/15/2014

~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~

If you write a cooking blog long enough, you learn that sharing old, classic recipes is as important as sharing new, innovative ones. Another way to say it is: "what's old is always new to someone", and they appreciate learning about it -- and that includes a bit of history too. I know this to be true because by the time I was in my thirties, tetrazzini had been around for a very long time but I had never tasted it. I grew up a tetrazzini deprived child. My mom didn't make it because my dad doesn't care for anything...... View full recipe for "~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~"

11/04/2014

~For the Love of Meatballs from Sweden (Kottbullar)~

Svenska kottbullar. Swedish meatballs. The only two Swedish words you'll ever need to know. The National Dish of Sweden, and famous throughout the world, I've never met a person who doesn't adore them -- soft, one-inch meatballs bathed in beefy, creamy sauce love. Traditionally served during the holidays as an appetizer or main-course at smorgasbord (an elaborate, festive buffet), typically accompanied by buttery egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes, and, always with lingonberry preserves as a condiment, they're elegant, extraordinary and exquisite. Sweden's culinary gift to meat, gravy & potato lovers: (God bless us every one.) Swedish-style meatballs were first...... View full recipe for "~For the Love of Meatballs from Sweden (Kottbullar)~"

07/23/2014

~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~

"Count me in, I'll give it a try." That's what I said on Facebook last week. It's what I agreed to do, and I'm doing it. I'm making a taco ring today. Here's how it came down: One of my hungry guy foodie friends, Jaqmes, posted a photo with a link to a recipe for a taco ring. Cocktail-connoisseur friend, Jill, said she'd made it and it was quite good, especially when washed down with a six-pack of Corona. For a moment, I thought Jill's cheese slid off her cracker and landed in the deep-end of her pilsner. The thread...... View full recipe for "~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~"

06/21/2014

~ The Classic Blue Cheese & Bacon Wedge Salad + Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~

I can't let "wedge week" on Kitchen Encounters end without posting a recipe for the mother-of-all wedge salads: the classic blue cheese & bacon wedge salad. If it's on a steakhouse menu, my husband Joe always orders it, I know Don Draper and all the other Mad Men of Madison Avenue loved it, and, even James Beard, the father of American gastronomy, was a fan of it. In 1963, McCall's Cook Book said, "this firm, crisp, compact most familiar of light-green lettuces is a favorite of men, particularly those who like to pour creamy blue-cheese dressing over it". Next to...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Blue Cheese & Bacon Wedge Salad + Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~"

05/04/2014

~ The Times They are a Changing: The Patty Melt!!! ~

Two Sunday nights ago, in a scene from this years episode two of Mad Men, Don Draper was having a one-on-one, heart-to-heart, father-to-daughter, break-through-the-ice conversation with his now teenage daughter Sally. Don was driving Sally back to Miss Porter's School and they stopped at a diner along the road to get a bite to eat. Sally excused herself, to use the ladies room. When she returned to her place at their table, she looked down and asked "what's this?" Daddy Draper replied, "I got you a patty melt." That's just one of the things I love about this show --...... View full recipe for "~ The Times They are a Changing: The Patty Melt!!! ~"

04/13/2014

~ Mad Men. Final Season Premier Tonight on AMC. What will Don Draper do and where will he land??? ~

My parents had All in the Family, my children had Seinfeld. I've claimed Mad Men as my own. For me, aside from the adultery, alcoholism, divorce, debauchery and paranoia, watching this show is like being on the Starship Enterprise and saying, "Scotty, beam me back and pick me up in an hour". I grew up in suburbia in the 1960's, was an executive secretary in the '70's in a place where three-martini lunches were common and every office had an ice bucket, and then, in the 1980's I was happily married, with children, and, traveling the world too! I have...... View full recipe for "~ Mad Men. Final Season Premier Tonight on AMC. What will Don Draper do and where will he land??? ~"

02/13/2014

~ Chocolate, Vanilla and Butterscotch 'Icebox' Cake~

My three favorite flavors of pudding are chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch. Banana pudding comes in a close fourth. About the only thing I like better than any one of them is all of them layered on top of each other with graham crackers separating each flavor. This dessert was one of my mother's specialties and was my favorite. Whenever she would make it, after I got done "counting, cracking and crushing" the graham crackers for her, I would sit motionless on the counterstool, eyes transfixed on the glorious process, patiently waiting for my lick of the spoon as each pudding...... View full recipe for "~ Chocolate, Vanilla and Butterscotch 'Icebox' Cake~"

02/11/2014

~ Hello Dolly! The 5-6-7- Layer 'Magic' Cookie Bar! ~

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I've decided to share a few retro sweet treat recipes of my youth this week. If you are in your 50's or 60's, you know the ones: those quick and easy to make "back-of--the-box" recipes our moms made for us. It's always fun to take a trip back to kinder, gentler times and you can find my recipes for ~ 'Impossible' Coconut Custard Pie ~ and ~ Pucker Up for: Triple-Lemon Lemon Squares ~ by clicking on the Related Article links below. I was about 9, circa 1964, when my mom started making...... View full recipe for "~ Hello Dolly! The 5-6-7- Layer 'Magic' Cookie Bar! ~"

02/08/2014

~ Pucker Up for: Triple-Lemon Lemon Bars/Squares ~

Call me an eternal sourpuss. Lemonade, lemon sorbet, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart, lemon cheesecake, lemon pound cake, lemon shortbread, etc. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, these are a few of my favorite things. I am a lover of all things tart and citrusy, and, I consider the lemon the diva of all citrus. I am never without lemons in my refrigerator and pure lemon oil in my pantry, because, like salt, their zest, juice and textureless, bold-flavored oil just makes everything taste better. I'm not a lemon snob either. I prefer the ordinary, tart, supermarket lemon to the "sweet"...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up for: Triple-Lemon Lemon Bars/Squares ~ "

02/06/2014

~ Snowstorm Fun: 'Impossible' Coconut Custard Pie~

A photo of "impossible pie" appeared on my Facebook newsfeed last night. If you are on Facebook, you know the type of post I'm talking about: Quick and easy recipes using just a few ingredients and often a boxed mix of some sort. Obviously not my style, but, in reality, lots of people "eat this stuff up". "Oh no", was my reaction to this one -- to the photo, not the recipe. The photo was nasty looking. Not at all like I remembered this 1970's "blast from the past" pie. Of course, I was hardly in a position to criticize...... View full recipe for "~ Snowstorm Fun: 'Impossible' Coconut Custard Pie~ "

01/10/2014

~ Mel's Crispy, Deep-Fried Chinese Lemon Chicken ~

I am chuckling at my decision to make Chinese lemon chicken today. Why? If you check my January archives for the past three years, you are going to find more than a few Asian-style recipes. It seems I have developed a pattern of wanting Asian food at the beginning of each new year and today it is Chinese. I'm pretty certain it has little to do with celebrating Chinese New Year (the date of which is January 31st this year), and has everything to do with my wanting to "wake up my tastebuds" with something bold and bright in the...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Crispy, Deep-Fried Chinese Lemon Chicken ~ "

01/06/2014

~Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn-Crusted Filet Mignon)~

Joe and I celebrate New Years Eve quietly. Why? We do enough entertaining and partying throughout the year. By the time this holiday rolls around, we qualify for "professional party pooper status". That, however, does not mean we don't celebrate it elegantly. We do! We always put forethought and planning into a dinner worthy of a bottle of bubbly. Sometimes it takes us all day to prepare (meaning it is a complicated recipe), sometimes it takes just a few minutes (meaning it is an easy recipe). Last year it was a bit complicated, and, it was lobster. Two days ago,...... View full recipe for "~Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn-Crusted Filet Mignon)~"

12/26/2013

~ French Onion Soup (Soupe a l'Oignon) a la Mel ~

When it comes to serving soup as a second course to Christmas dinner, I have two favorites: wild mushroom and French onion. I usually serve a prime rib roast, and, either one of these soups go "oh so swell" with with it. Both of them date back to Ancient times, and, both, at the time, were seen as "poor peoples food": mushrooms were free-of-charge and gathered by hand in wooded areas by peasants, and, onions were easy to grow, even in harsh climates. Both held up quite well in the family "root cellar" too. As for me, I consider both...... View full recipe for "~ French Onion Soup (Soupe a l'Oignon) a la Mel ~"

12/20/2013

~ "My" No-Fail, Easy-to-Make Sugar Cookie Recipe ~

Just in time for the premiere cookie baking holiday of the year, yesterday, I got an e-mail from a reader living in "sugar cookie purgatory": I'd like to say I was surprised, but, I wasn't. I'm quite adept at baking, and, I'm ok with stating: sugar cookies can be positively persnickity. Taking it one step further: The easiest cookie to screw up is the sugar cookie. While these cookies only contain a few simple ingredients, "things" can and will go wrong quickly, especially if details regarding mixing, refrigerating and rolling this delicate dough are left out of the recipe instructions....... View full recipe for "~ "My" No-Fail, Easy-to-Make Sugar Cookie Recipe ~"

11/23/2013

~ How to: Make 'French' Crepes (Sweet or Savory) ~

I'm pretty certain everyone knows what a crepe is, but, I'm not so sure everyone knows how simple they are to make. I say this because almost every time I serve them, someone inevitably remarks how intimidated they are at the thought of "tackling" them. While I can't say crepes are a staple in my kitchen, I don't hesitate to get out my crepe pan and make a few for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. That is how easy they are. Crepes are to a chef what an empty canvas is to a creative artist: they are the perfect foil...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make 'French' Crepes (Sweet or Savory) ~"

10/15/2013

~ The Baker's German's ('German') Chocolate Pie ~

It seems to me that no self-respecting foodie should be without one reasonably easy-to-make chocolate pie recipe in his or her repertoire. Why? Because everybody loves chocolate pie, and, in a pinch, you can never go wrong serving a chocolate pie. Some people love it more than others, but, I've never seen anyone turn down a slice of chocolate pie. When it comes to pies in general, I'm a puritan in every sense of the word. Don't add chocolate to my chess pie, coconut-custard pie, pecan pie or shoo-fly pie -- I like them just the way they are. Make...... View full recipe for "~ The Baker's German's ('German') Chocolate Pie ~"

08/22/2013

~ Copper Carrot Coins: A Super-Simple Side-Dish ~

Our garden is beginning to wane. The cherry, peach and plum trees are bare. Our cucumbers and zucchini are gone. The tomatoes have all be eaten or processed into sauce and I'm back to buying lettuce in the grocery store. Butternut squash, pumpkins and cabbage will be at their peak in a week or two, and, then it will be time to enjoy the Fall and prepare to Winterize! In the meantime, Joe picked a basket full of fine-looking peppers yesterday: bell, jalapeno, hot wax and poblanos -- enough of all to keep me busy for a few days. For...... View full recipe for "~ Copper Carrot Coins: A Super-Simple Side-Dish ~"

05/17/2013

~My Favorite Salty Cookie is: Chunky Peanut Butter~

"Three cookies of my youth week" here on KE is coming to a close! Sigh. On Monday we made ~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie: The Snickerdoodle ~, then, on Wednesday we made ~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~. Both recipes can be found in Category 7, and they are from my very 1st cookbook: a bridal shower gift to me 'way back when' in 1974! Snickerdoodles (pictured above) and gingersnaps (pictured here) are referred to as "drop cookies". They are made by dropping uniform sized pieces of dough onto a baking pan. They are not fancy...... View full recipe for "~My Favorite Salty Cookie is: Chunky Peanut Butter~"

05/15/2013

~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~

Today is part two of "three cookies of my youth" week here on KE. Here in Central PA we're experiencing some unseasonably cold weather, 30-40-degrees (which I dislike), with lots of rain (which I admit we need). I've decided to take advantage of the uncooperative weather, preheat my oven and bake some cookies. Not fancy gourmet cookies either. The kind your mom and grandmom had waiting on the kitchen table with a glass of milk for you and your friends after school. By next week at this time I'll probably be complaining about how hot it is -- there will...... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~ "

05/13/2013

~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie is: The Snickerdoodle ~

Today is a preheat the oven kinda day in my kitchen. We're having a cold snap here in Central PA: frost warnings and 30-40- degree temperatures in mid-May -- what's up with that? Don't ask me why, but while I was clutching my steaming hot cup of coffee this morning, snickerdoodles popped into my foodie head. I haven't posted a cookie recipe in quite a while, and, if the weather isn't going to cooperate, I'm declaring it "three cookies-of-my-youth week" on KE. Nothing's ever as good as it was when you were a kid: What in the wide world of...... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie is: The Snickerdoodle ~ "

05/09/2013

~ Simplicity: Creamy, Crunchy "Classic" Egg Salad ~

Do you remember the first time you ate the best egg salad you ever tasted in your life? The one that changed the way you felt about egg salad forever? The kind that when you "smooshed" down on it, the bread melted around and into every bite? I do and I was 18. I had just graduated from high school a week earlier and was dating my future fiance at the time. His mother invited me to lunch on her patio. She made egg salad sandwiches and served them with a simple cucumber and tomato salad dressed with, to this...... View full recipe for "~ Simplicity: Creamy, Crunchy "Classic" Egg Salad ~"

04/08/2013

~ Not just any chocolate will do: Toblerone Fondue ~

If you are a chocolate lover you know that all chocolate is not created equal. To make a long story short, when it comes to choosing chocolate, it should be the best quality you can find and afford, but, more importantly, it should be one you like. Each type of chocolate varies in flavor, sweetness and color from manufacturer to manufacturer. The prices vary too, with imported chocolates costing the most. I guarantee that a quick walk through the chocolate section of your grocery store will produce at least 3-5 different types and brands. I suggest you splurge and do...... View full recipe for "~ Not just any chocolate will do: Toblerone Fondue ~"

03/28/2013

~ Melted Cheese Please: A Swiss Cheese Fondue (aka: Bill Clarke's Authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue) ~

In September, 1974, I arrived in State College, PA, a new bride of one day. I gleefully spent my first two weeks setting up our household and unpacking bridal shower and wedding gifts. One such gift was a chic, avocado green fondue pot. About a month later, I decided to try out this trendy wedding gift and made the cheese fondue recipe that was included with the instructions that came with it. It was a disaster: the cheese sank to the bottom in clumps while the liquids separated out and bubbled to the top. I was pleased to find out...... View full recipe for "~ Melted Cheese Please: A Swiss Cheese Fondue (aka: Bill Clarke's Authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue) ~"

03/16/2013

~ Pretty in Pink: A Simple Smoked Salmon Spread ~

If you're looking for an appetizer for an upcoming Spring breakfast, brunch, or even lunch, almost nothing is better than a well-made smoked salmon spread served with some bagel chips to dollop it on. Ever since lox and bagels were invented, those two foodie items just go hand-in-glove. If you've been living on a different planet, and don't know what the classic lox and bagels service typically consists of: fresly-made sliced bagels, topped with the best smoked salmon available, pickled capers, cream cheese and diced red onion. It is an amazing combination! Smoked salmon spread couldn't be easier to make,...... View full recipe for "~ Pretty in Pink: A Simple Smoked Salmon Spread ~ "

03/12/2013

~ Confessions from a Port Wine Cheese Ball Lover ~

I always knew the day would come. Someone would corner me with the dreaded question: "Mel, do you have a favorite recipe for a cheese ball or spread on your blog?" Yesterday was that day. My friend Diane stopped by to return a large pot she had borrowed for chili making over the weekend. She stayed for a friendly chat and a glass of wine, which brought up the subject of cheese and crackers (which I had spur-of-the-momently placed on the counter for us to munch on). I could feel my face turning the color of the neon-orange and pink...... View full recipe for "~ Confessions from a Port Wine Cheese Ball Lover ~"

01/07/2013

~ Waldorf-Style Apple, Raisin, Walnut & Rice Salad ~

Like many of you foodie friends, now that the "holidays have left the building", I need a few days of kitchen relaxation. I don't mean entirely no cooking, I mean: over the next few days, I just want to cook a couple of easy, full-of-flavor "no brainer" meals. If they happen to be a little lighter on fat and calories, that would be good too... as long as they are full of flavor. This versatile side-dish salad is not only light, fresh and flavorful, it's easy to make and will be great to serve alongside one or two meals this...... View full recipe for "~ Waldorf-Style Apple, Raisin, Walnut & Rice Salad ~"

10/29/2012

~ Yankee Pot Roast: Simple, Sensible, Scrumptious (w/Mushroom Gravy & Roasted Carrots & Potatoes)~

The power of pot roast is very underestimated. Why? Read on. While I was growing up, I remember eating pot roast on many a Sunday after church. I'm here to tell you: I did not like getting up early and going to church on Sunday mornings -- at all. (For the record, I still don't, and, guess what? Praying can be done on your own time, anywhere, at any time of day. For example: Today, I'm going to be praying over this pot roast for my family, friends, Facebook friends and KE readers to remain safe during Hurricane Sandy tonight...... View full recipe for "~ Yankee Pot Roast: Simple, Sensible, Scrumptious (w/Mushroom Gravy & Roasted Carrots & Potatoes)~"

09/27/2012

~ My Love Affair with: Individual Beef Wellingtons... ~

... began in the Summer of 1980. Joe and I had only been married about six months and we were still living in his little (700 sq. ft., 3-bedroom) house on Brookside Drive. That may sound romantic, but, the morning after I married Joe I willingly (without duress) became a full-time, stay-at-home-mom to three boys under the age of five (two were his, the youngest was mine, and, they all lived with us full-time). I was 25 years old... Even back then I loved to cook, and, I've always been fearless in the kitchen. Joe always says he married me...... View full recipe for "~ My Love Affair with: Individual Beef Wellingtons... ~"

09/11/2012

~ Crab-ilicious! Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial~

Back in the early 1980's, a couple in our Penn State tailgate group introduced Joe and I to crab imperial. Until that Fall Saturday morning, I had never even heard of it, let alone tasted it. We were at a pre-game brunch hosted in the home of folks I barely knew, and, we weren't even official members of this tailgate group yet. The hostess served it piping hot in a large, shallow oval dish, as a dip with crackers. I fell in love with it immediately. I wish I would have been bold enough to ask for the recipe that...... View full recipe for "~ Crab-ilicious! Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial~"

08/09/2012

~ My Love Affair w/Lemon & Lemon Meringue Pie ~

Everyone who knows me knows that when given a choice between a chocolate dessert and a fruit dessert I will always choose the fruit dessert. That being said, if lemon meringue pie is one of my fruit dessert choices, I will choose it every time. Even as an child in elementary school, everyday, I picked the Tastykake lemon pie over the two-pack of chocolate cupcakes for my Barbie lunchbox. Then, when I entered Junior high (this was before in-school cafeteria lunch programs and they let us kids out on the streets of downtown Tamaqua, PA to eat in the restaurants)...... View full recipe for "~ My Love Affair w/Lemon & Lemon Meringue Pie ~"

08/02/2012

~ The "I Can't Believe I'm Posting This Recipe" Post: Spinach & Feta Cheese Balls w/Lemon-Mint Mayo ~

This easy-to-make, easy-to-love, unpretentious little recipe has been in my recipe file since the 1980's. This is not the type of recipe that I seek out, nor is it typical of the way I cook or entertain, but, because I have served it alongside some of my fanciest hors d'oeuves at some of my swankiest cocktail parties, it has earned its right to a blog post! The first time I ever ate a spinach ball was at a Christmas party given by a couple that were in our tailgate group at the time: Stan and Carole. Everybody was asked to...... View full recipe for "~ The "I Can't Believe I'm Posting This Recipe" Post: Spinach & Feta Cheese Balls w/Lemon-Mint Mayo ~"

07/22/2012

~ If You Think Egg Drop Soup is Boring... Try Mine! ~

Until the recent past, I can tell you that I found egg drop soup to be kind of lack luster, and, quite frankly: boring. Don't get me wrong, I love Chinese food, strike that, I adore Chinese food, and have eaten it all around the world, including in China. For quite some time, I would order egg drop soup in various restaurants, just to see if someone had a "House Special" version of it, to prove to me that I was missing the point. It never happened, which is sad, because: I love the look of authentic Chinese egg drop...... View full recipe for "~ If You Think Egg Drop Soup is Boring... Try Mine! ~"

07/19/2012

~ "Would You Like 'Duck' Sauce With That?" "Yes!" ~

If you're a lover of Asian food, you know that having the right condiment or dipping sauce to go with the right dish is very important. If you are a lover of Asian food, you, like me, probably have a nice collection of Asian sauces in your pantry or refrigerator... I have at least ten. That being said, when I'm going to the time and trouble to prep Asian fare, I don't mind taking an extra few minutes to prepare a special condiment or dipping sauce to go with it. Duck sauce is one of them and it could not...... View full recipe for "~ "Would You Like 'Duck' Sauce With That?" "Yes!" ~"

07/17/2012

~ Leftover Rice? Use it to Make Chinese Fried Rice! ~

Back in my younger days, fried rice was party food in my apartment kitchen. I was married at the age of 20, and, my husband was going to school here at Penn State. We tended to hang out with married couples from our apartment complex or other married college students. For a couple of years, there was a close-knit group of five couples, that, because we were all on tight budgets, took turns hosting parties in our apartments. Yes, we did get wild and crazy, but, even then, all of my women friends could cook... in fact, we were all...... View full recipe for "~ Leftover Rice? Use it to Make Chinese Fried Rice! ~"

04/09/2012

~ Leftover Ham? Pass Me the Deviled Ham Salad! ~

I don't make this blast-from-my-childhood-past recipe very often, only when I have leftover "real" ham, meaning: not luncheon meat. That was a requirement of my grandmother's deviled ham salad recipe and it remains a requirement of mine too. Her second requirement was: the ham must be minced. She ran hers through a meat grinder. I'll be finely dicing mine as, now that I'm a grownup, I like it just a bit chunkier. Baba (my grandmother) served it to us kids on cottony-soft hamburger-type buns for lunch, or, let us spoon our own onto Ritz crackers as snacks. Deviled ham salad...... View full recipe for "~ Leftover Ham? Pass Me the Deviled Ham Salad! ~"

03/23/2012

~ Miniature Black-Bottom Black-Forest Cupcakes ~

I love black-bottom cupcakes and have never eaten one I didn't like, but I do prefer the kind that use finely-chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips. When I was a kid, my mom used to make them all the time, and, back in the '60's, my mom's black-bottom cupcake recipe helped me to earn my Girl Scout cooking badge. My mom's black-bottom cupcake recipe is really delicious, but, it is also very similar to other published versions. What I'm trying to say is: I've never read a published recipe for a black-bottom cupcake that is different enough from hers or...... View full recipe for "~ Miniature Black-Bottom Black-Forest Cupcakes ~"

03/21/2012

~ The "I Can't Believe I'm Posting this Recipe" Post: Cocktail Pigs in a Blanket (Pillsbury Crescent Dogs) ~

It is no secret that I am HUGE fan of AMC's Mad Men show. The show is set in New York City in the 1960's and the men and women who work at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency on Madison Avenue are some of the top names in their industry. From the moment I sat down to watch Episode 1 of Season 1, I was captivated by their spot-on '60's-period furnishings and fashions, as well as their '60's-style of entertaining and eating. Since I was an executive secretary and administrative assistant in a few high-end offices in the mid-latter 1970's,...... View full recipe for "~ The "I Can't Believe I'm Posting this Recipe" Post: Cocktail Pigs in a Blanket (Pillsbury Crescent Dogs) ~"

02/29/2012

~ How to: Make Great Milkshakes & Malts at Home ~

I'm not a coffee drinker, I'm an iced tea drinker. When I came downstairs this morning, I followed my morning ritual: Put the Sopranos on TV, pour a big glass of iced tea, read my horoscope in the newspaper, then check my e-mail and Facebook messages. After that, I feed my poodles and get to work on the cooking consultation or blog post du jour. Today, my orderly culinary world got thrown what I think is referred to in the sports world as "a curveball": I woke up expecting it to be March 1st and it was February 29th! Ignoring...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Great Milkshakes & Malts at Home ~"

02/17/2012

~ TGIF: Mel's Make-Ahead, Asian Cocktail Meatballs w/an Easy "Duck" Sauce for Dipping or Drizzling ~

It's finally Friday here on Kitchen Encounters. If you scroll through this weeks posts you'll notice it has been a full week of Thai-Asian-themed soup posts. Before switching gears, I've decided to finish out the week with my recipe for an easy, super-delicious, Asian bar snack. What I like about this recipe is that you can make a lot of meatballs in less than one hour, about 7 1/2 dozen, then freeze them in 1-2-dozen packages to have on hand for impromptu Friday evening get-togethers. As for my E-Z "duck" sauce? It just might be the best one you've ever...... View full recipe for "~ TGIF: Mel's Make-Ahead, Asian Cocktail Meatballs w/an Easy "Duck" Sauce for Dipping or Drizzling ~"