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110 posts categorized "18) Just Thanksgiving "

09/06/2015

~Please Pass the Homemade Crockpot Applesauce~

When my family of five sat down to dinner, unlike a host of other foods, I never had occasion to say "eat your applesauce". When applesauce was on the dinner table my kids would eat it. Applesauce had bargaining power too: "Finish your pork chop, then you can have another helping of applesauce." "Eat half of your green beans and you can have more applesauce." There's more: My boys weren't "big" on eating apple slices, but, if there was applesauce in the refrigerator, they were happy to slather it on a Ritz with a piece of Cracker Barrel cheddar. Applesauce...... View full recipe for "~Please Pass the Homemade Crockpot Applesauce~"

08/28/2015

~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~

I made dinner rolls today because I had buttermilk leftover in my refrigerator. I wish they'd sell buttermilk like cream, in one and two cup cartons -- a full quart is usually about twice as much as I need. For example: On Friday of last week, I used one cup to make my ~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~, to use as a dip for my ~ Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Wings ~. One week later, I still had three cups of buttermilk lollygagging around in my refrigerator. Happy ending: These dinner rolls will make...... View full recipe for "~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~"

01/17/2015

~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~

When a recipe has the word "perfect" in its title, one had better be certain it is exactly that. In my kitchen, in order for any recipe to make it onto my blog, it must make it through my kitchen three times without glitches. Yes, unlike plenty of other cooking blogs, my recipes are not only tested, they are tested three times before I place them in your capable hands. I take testing very seriously, and, once is not enough. In the case of roasting poulty and meat, many times, three times is not enough. For example, I tested this...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~"

12/31/2014

~ Basic Machinations for Mashed Potato Perfection ~

'Twas the season for mashed potatoes. First there was the Thanksgiving turkey feast, followed by the Christmas prime rib feeding frenzy, and, it's not quite over yet. The clock is ticking down to the mother-of-all pork festivals: New Year's Day. This morning, in a moment of reflection, it occurred to me that the combined total of these three holidays equates to approximately 50-60 pounds of heavy hunks of meat roasted, and, about 25-30 pounds of potatoes mashed. It's hard to imagine my food world without mashed potatoes. They are an institution -- a way of life. They're the quintessential side-dish...... View full recipe for "~ Basic Machinations for Mashed Potato Perfection ~"

12/11/2014

~ Baking Basic: Evaporated Milk & Condensed Milk ~

I was just asked a question from a KE reader who said, "I ruined my mother's pumpkin pie recipe at Thanksgiving because I substituted condensed milk for evaporated milk. I'm about to bake some Christmas cookies from one of her recipes, and, while I won't make that mistake twice, I still don't understand what the difference is between the two. Can you quickly explain it to me?" It only takes a taste of each to know they are very different... No kidding around, I thought everyone knew the difference between these two commonly used ingredients -- I remember learning about...... View full recipe for "~ Baking Basic: Evaporated Milk & Condensed Milk ~"

11/29/2014

~ Seriously Simple: Sweet Potato & Apple Cobbler ~

While sweet potatoes are always part of my traditional Thanksgiving feast, they also find their way to my dinner table on a regular basis during all the Fall and Winter months. Well, they don't find their way to my table, I put them there, in as many forms as possible. I love them. If sweet potatoes were decreed by the food police to be unhealthy, even that could not stop me from eating them. As a side-dish, this root vegetable pairs perfectly with amost any poultry or pork, and, due to their natural sweetness, they can be used to make...... View full recipe for "~ Seriously Simple: Sweet Potato & Apple Cobbler ~"

11/26/2014

~ Basic, Moist & Classic: Soft White Bread Stuffing ~

This is the stuffing that takes us back to the beginning. Grandma ripped up some stale bread then tossed in some sauteed celery and onion seasoned with salt, pepper, and perhaps an herb or two. Once she mixed those together, she slowly added some turkey stock, just enough to make the mixture really moist without any liquid puddling in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes she added a lightly-beaten egg too. "Back in the day", oven space in the home kitchen was almost always limited, so, stuffing was almost always baked inside the bird -- a smart way to get...... View full recipe for "~ Basic, Moist & Classic: Soft White Bread Stuffing ~"

11/20/2014

~ Roasting Poultry and Making Gravy Too: My Own Techniques and Oration (the long and not short of it) ~

After thirty years of roasting almost every type of poultry, from 2-pound game hens to 24-pound monster-sized turkeys, I've faced and solved almost every glitch imaginable, carefully documenting them (so as not to let any of them occur twice). I won't lie to you, in the early years there were some tears, but about 5-6 years into my meticulous list of DON'T EVER DO THIS AGAIN, I started producing those moist, juicy birds with crispy, golden skin that everyone covets. Then, about 18 or so years ago, I switched to a different list. One that documented the size of each...... View full recipe for "~ Roasting Poultry and Making Gravy Too: My Own Techniques and Oration (the long and not short of it) ~ "

11/15/2014

~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini ~

When one writes a cooking blog long enough, one learns that sharing vintage recipes is as important as sharing trending, innovative new ones. Experience has taught, "what's old is always new to someone", and cooks of all experience levels appreciate learning about it. Experience has also taught: "what's old has often been lost to someone", as many times, these retro classics, which evoke fond memories, have sadly, been lost (grandma never taught it, shared it, or worse, never wrote it down), or tossed (instead of being handed down from generation to generation). About vintage recipes: What's old is always new...... View full recipe for "~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini ~ "

11/12/2014

~ Portioning Poultry: The Chart/Guide that Will Help ~

Every cook, novice or expert, at some point, finds him or herself asking the question, "how much poultry do I need to buy?" This chart is a great place to start. I ripped it out of a magazine in my doctors office almost 38 years ago. Since my son Jess will celebrate his 38th birthday in December, my recollection is precise. We women remember important stuff like our wedding day, the birth of a child, and, the first time we cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for our family -- timing the turkey, making the gravy, and, peeling all those potatoes. It can...... View full recipe for "~ Portioning Poultry: The Chart/Guide that Will Help ~"

11/08/2014

~ So what exactly is in Poultry Seasoning? Poultry? ~

My grandmother ("Baba") and my great aunt (my grandmother's sister "Tettie") always had a small tin of poultry seasoning in their respective pantries. My grandmother used Durkee's and my great aunt used McCormick. My mother does not care for poultry seasoning, so, her pantry is bare. I actually keep two brands on hand, McCormick and Bell's -- I like them both, but I don't always use them interchangeably. I use McCormick because it is the flavor blend I grew up with, so it goes into family recipes like ~ Tetties Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~. A bit about "poultry seasoning":...... View full recipe for "~ So what exactly is in Poultry Seasoning? Poultry? ~"

11/06/2014

~ Tettie's Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~

If you're sarcastically mumbling, "just what the food world needs, another stuffing recipe", you are going to regret it. This is my Great Aunt Mary's recipe -- she lived to be 99 and was one of the best cooks I have ever known. This is a trip back to a kinder, gentler time. A time before self-appointed gourmets and TV celebrities started adding everything from chorogi artichokes to whortleberries to stuffing. This is pure, simple, unadulterated, beloved, comfort food: that warm, soft, subtly-flavored white bread stuffing that nobody talks openly about but everybody remembers, loves and longs for. Cathy Guisewhite,...... View full recipe for "~ Tettie's Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~"

10/30/2014

~ Home for the Holidays: The Cheese Cracker Tray ~

No, there is not a typo in the title of this post. It shouldn't read "cheese and crackers" because this isn't a post about serving cheese with crackers, it's a post about serving cheese crackers -- homemade cheese crackers. Ready or not, like it or not, here it comes: the holiday entertaining season. If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for relatively simple, do-ahead appetizers and snacks to impress your guests. I'm here to tell you, making homemade, savory cheese snacks (cookies, crackers, sticks and wafers) is always a part of my holiday agenda -- just like baking...... View full recipe for "~ Home for the Holidays: The Cheese Cracker Tray ~"

10/28/2014

~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Spread ~

Cheese spread. Everyone who entertains has one, two or a few recipes in their repertoire. The base line for a basic one is: a simple and balanced, smooth, creamy, spreadable blend of tangy, savory cheese plus a fresh or dried herb and a spice or two. For added flavor and texture, a few fresh, dried or roasted chopped fruits, nuts and/or vegetables can be stirred into the mixture, and so can cooked, cured or smoked meats, poultry or fish/seafood. For as easy and straightforward as cheese spreads are to make, they deliver big, bold complex flavor to the cocktail or...... View full recipe for "~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Spread ~"

10/26/2014

~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Wafers ~

I learned something new yesterday. Blue cheese is what provides the tangy flavor in Cheetos and all those other beloved puffed-cheese-type snacks. I had no idea until I was ordering a container of cheddar cheese powder for my pantry (FYI: cheddar cheese powder is a great addition to cheese sauces, macaroni and cheese, and, it's fantastic sprinkled on popcorn). Just prior to "proceeding to checkout", Amazon suggested that I purchase some blue cheese powder too, because other customers frequently purchase cheddar and blue cheese powder together. Amazon is accommodating like that. This lead me to ask why the two would...... View full recipe for "~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Wafers ~"

10/19/2014

~ For the LOVE of Cheese: PLEASE Cut it Correctly ~

Blessed are the cheesemakers. They make hard, dry, grating cheeses; firm, moist, sliceable cheeses, and; soft, gooey, spreadable cheeses. They make blue, white and yellow cheeses. Some cheeses are aged for years, others for a few months, and, some aren't aged at all. They make herby, spicy, fruity and/or nutty cheeses. They make mild, aromatic and strong, stinky cheeses. They make cheese from the milk of cows, goats and sheep -- sometimes it's pasteurized and sometimes it's not. There are a thousand+ varieties of cheese in this food world -- some are mass produced, some are specialty, some are artisan...... View full recipe for "~ For the LOVE of Cheese: PLEASE Cut it Correctly ~"

10/16/2014

~ Cozy Apple, Bourbon, Vanilla Bean & Pecan Crisp~

I'm turning the heat on in my house and preheating my oven today. The heat is on because "baby it's cold outside", and, the oven is on because baby I'm using up the last of our apples. I'm making my version of perhaps the simplest of all Fall apple desserts: an apple crisp. In the event you don't know what it is, it's basically: apple pie filling (no bottom pie pastry) sprinkled with streusel (no top pie pastry) and baked until the apples are cooked and the top is crispy. It's usually served warm, spooned (not sliced) onto a plate,...... View full recipe for "~ Cozy Apple, Bourbon, Vanilla Bean & Pecan Crisp~"

10/13/2014

~ My Silky-Smooth Spiced Apple-Pear Puree Sorbet (+ the best tip EVER for perfect sorbet all the time)! ~

Did you know that high-quality, applesauce (homemade or store-bought) makes luxurious, creamy, dreamy sorbet in about 25-30 minutes? Well, I didn't quite believe it either until I decided to give it a try last year. I was having one of my smallest crowds ever for Thanksgiving, a group of six for a sit-down dinner. I especially love small, intimate dinner parties because it gives me the opportunity to "fuss" ("pull out all the stops"), and this includes an intermezzo to freshen/cleanse the palate -- usually a small scoop of homemade sorbet or granita: Served properly, in small chilled ramekins with...... View full recipe for "~ My Silky-Smooth Spiced Apple-Pear Puree Sorbet (+ the best tip EVER for perfect sorbet all the time)! ~"

10/08/2014

~ Fried Hazelnut-Crusted Brie w/Apple-Pear Puree ~

Yes, you read it right, this is deep-fried Brie. I suppose I have always been a fearless fryer, because, the moment I received this recipe, without any hesitation, I drove to our local K-Mart to buy a Fry Daddy. The Presto Fry Daddy (introduced in 1977), was basically an electric, temperature-controlled nonstick pot with a handle and a lid. It was the precursor to our pricey present-day cool-touch deep-fryers with all of their fancy filters, heat-control settings and timers. The inexpensive Fry Daddy is still being sold today and they still work great! Back in the 1970's I was in...... View full recipe for "~ Fried Hazelnut-Crusted Brie w/Apple-Pear Puree ~"

10/04/2014

~ Simply Silky & Smooth Spiced Apple & Pear Puree (Taking grandmother's applesauce to another level.) ~

Does anyone make homemade applesauce anymore? I ask because I never hear anyone talk about doing it. I grew up in a time and a place where not only was applesauce homemade, the making of it was an event, and, it was served often. We stirred it warm into our oatmeal for breakfast and served it chilled as a side-dish to almost any poultry or pork for dinner. We dolloped it on cheddar cheese and crackers for an appetizer and drizzled it over gingerbread for dessert. There's more. My grandmother taught me to stir "a tad" into apple pie or...... View full recipe for "~ Simply Silky & Smooth Spiced Apple & Pear Puree (Taking grandmother's applesauce to another level.) ~"

09/25/2014

~ Dutch Apple, Sour Cream & Walnut-Streusel Pie ~

"It's as easy as apple pie." I hear people say it all the time, and, it annoys me every time because it is a very misleading statement. Baking a really good apple pie is not as easy as "A, B, C", "one, two three" or even "snap, crackle, pop". Too many people think that just because they've baked an apple pie it automatically qualifies for awesome apple pie status. It does not. I have encountered more than a few nasty renditions: from overcooked to undercooked, sickeningly sweet to vapid, and, soupy to pasty, they were anything but the "pleasant and...... View full recipe for "~ Dutch Apple, Sour Cream & Walnut-Streusel Pie ~"

06/15/2014

~ Pucker-Up for a Straight-Up Rhubarb Streusel Pie ~

This is an heirloom recipe in honor of Father's Day. The green-stalked rhubarb we grow in our vegetable garden was transplanted from my father's garden, which was transplanted from his father's garden. It's green, which makes my rhubarb pie different than most others. It's bold and sassy in a subtle, sexy way. It's a humbling pie I serve to people who aren't easily impressed. There is a certain satisfaction in teaching people how to love food made from a misunderstood ingredient. Rhubarb is one such ingredient. Sometimes referred to as "the pie vegetable", if you have never tasted a rhubarb-ginger...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker-Up for a Straight-Up Rhubarb Streusel Pie ~"

05/23/2014

~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~

Macaroni and cheese is near the very top of the American favorite food list. This ooey-gooey irresistable mixture of unpretentious pasta and cheese has earned a beloved place on tables ranging from your grandmother's kitchen to college dorms to gourmet restaurants. We love it and we serve it year round, indoors or out, at all sorts of gatherings, holidays and celebrations. My guy wants my Mac & Cheese served with our son Jesse's Bone-Suckin, Charcoal-Smoked Spareribs for Memorial Day! I'm sure there is a percentage of you who think Mac & Cheese was invented by Kraft foods (their first version...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~"

04/03/2014

~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~

'Stuffins' -- just saying it brings a smile to my face. These are just plain fun to make, kid-friendly, and, practical too -- pretty little portions of complete happiness. If you brown bag your lunch, just wrap one up and toss it in. If you're cooking for just you or for two, make a dozen to have on hand for the entire week. They're a surefire crowd pleaser as well. A few years ago, I made a huge batch and took them to a Fall tailgate party where the men couldn't get enough of them! Stuffins can be made from...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~"

02/17/2014

~ Golden & Cheesy, Potato & Bread-Stuffing Cups ~

When company is coming and mashed potatoes are a must, this recipe is one of my favorite side-dishes. It combines two somewhat ordinary family-style side-dishes (mashed potatoes and bread stuffing) into one, by layering and portioning them into desired-sized ramekins. Once baked, these pretty-to-look-at accompaniments can grace even the swankiest of tables. They taste great with almost any roasted poultry, pork, and, prime rib too. There's more, they can be assembled a day or two before baking and serving. What's not to love about: Perfectly portioned, not too little, not to much -- just enough! Golden, cheesy potatoes on top...... View full recipe for "~ Golden & Cheesy, Potato & Bread-Stuffing Cups ~"

11/30/2013

~ I Just Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole ~

I just love my mother's "stuffing". When I was growing up, I could not wait for her to make it for Thanksgiving. Truthfully, I always wished she would have made it more than once a year, but, alas, that was not the case. It's a simple mixture of saltine crackers soaked in milk and eggs with sauteed celery, onions and ground beef added to it. Yes, I said ground beef. My mom disliked turkey giblets (thankfully I did not inherit that gene), so, she substituted the ground meat to mimic the look and mouth feel of them. That substitution makes...... View full recipe for "~ I Just Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole ~"

11/28/2013

~ Happy Thanksgiving! Fun Stuff from My Archives! ~

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely day sharing your best Thanksgiving recipes and memories with your family and friends. I applaud all of you who cook on this day for your families. We will be celebrating tomorrow. We've been gobling on Black Friday for about 20 years now. Why? It gives the ones we love (who don't have the luxury of taking Wednesday off) today to travel here to Happy Valley for the entire weekend. It works very nicely. Today, during the course of baking pies and pre-prep, Joe remembered the year he and I made two turduckens for...... View full recipe for "~ Happy Thanksgiving! Fun Stuff from My Archives! ~"

11/25/2013

~As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes~

In my opinion this 'feel-good' dessert is truly the best of two worlds: Our traditional American apple pie filling rolled up inside of a classic French crepe. It's light to eat, easy to make, elegant to look at, and, it's the perfect ending to any breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. It's as appropriate for a weeknight family meal as it is for a party or holiday celebration. It is so perfect, I am serving it right next to my traditional pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner this week. Plus: The crepes & the apple filling can be made days in advance!!!...... View full recipe for "~As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes~"

11/18/2013

~ Traditional Thanksgiving Preschutti Pumpkin Pie ~

When it comes to our Annual Thanksgiving feast, it is always a very traditional one. I like to tell the story about my serving cranberry-lacquered cornish game hens -- once. It was back in the early '90's and I found the recipe featured on the cover of Bon Appetit magazine. I made 24 of them, one for each person. They looked as magnificent as the magazine cover and they tasted as good as they looked, but, I wasn't feeling anything but polite indignation in my turkey-day dining room that evening. My efforts were less appreciated the next day because there...... View full recipe for "~ Traditional Thanksgiving Preschutti Pumpkin Pie ~"

10/21/2013

~ Buttery and Easy-to-Make Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls ~

Even though my three boys grew up calling these "Mom's Pull-Aparts", this is not my recipe. Back in the 1980's (before home computers, the information super-highway or Food TV), moms in search of new recipe ideas often mailed a boxtop or two, and sometimes $1.00, to receive a booklet or pamphlet of recipes from that particular company. I did that a lot back then. This dinner roll recipe came from either a Fleischmann's yeast recipe booklet or a Land O Lakes butter recipe booklet. Both are products I used then and both are products I still use today. Bread baking...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery and Easy-to-Make Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls ~"

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 ~"

10/08/2013

~ My Southern Favorite: Jeanne White's Chess Pie ~

What does a gal from Central Pennsylvania know about Southern chess pie? More than you might think. When I was growing up in Hometown, (Eastern) PA, my close high school friend, Susie White, lived over on Meadow Avenue. We spent so much time hanging out at each others houses, our mothers didn't ask, "is Susie staying for dinner", or, "is Melanie staying for dinner", they just set a place at the table. Susie's mom Jeanne was a charming, pretty woman who hailed from Chapel Hill, NC. Even when she was being stern, her melodic Southen drawl made it hard to...... View full recipe for "~ My Southern Favorite: Jeanne White's Chess Pie ~"

10/01/2013

~Lovin' Spoonful: Buttermilk 'n Cheddar Spoonbread~

Spoonbread is a Southern dish and is believed to be Native American in origin, which makes sense, since the Native Americans were the culinary masters of cooking with maiz/maize (corn and its byproducts). If you've never eaten spoonbread, it is a savory side-dish. Calling it a bread is a stretch because it is a moist, ever-so-slightly grainy, custardy concoction with a crispy top. It gets served in the container it was baked, and, is eaten with a spoon, hence the name. I liken it to a combination of cornmeal-based polenta, cornbread casserole and cornmeal souffle! Taking a drive down memory...... View full recipe for "~Lovin' Spoonful: Buttermilk 'n Cheddar Spoonbread~"

09/24/2013

~ Butternut Squash & Caramelized Apple Casserole~

Sunday was the first day of Fall. Like clockwork, here in Central Pennsylvania, the temperatures have dropped to a chilly 40-50 degrees, and, even when the sun is shining bright, the breezes are brisk, and, Fall colors are starting to appear in our outdoor scenery. It is: sweater weather: All that is left from our vegetable gardens are butternut squash and pumpkins. If I store them in a cool, dry place, both will keep nicely until Thanksgiving, so, unlike Summer vegetables, I don't have to scurry around looking for ways to process or preserve them. I can enjoy them at...... View full recipe for "~ Butternut Squash & Caramelized Apple Casserole~"

09/22/2013

~ Color Me Fall: An Autumn Butternut Squash Puree~

Fall begins precisely at 4:44 PM this afternoon and I've got to say, "I love the Fall." I'm one of those lucky people that lives in the Northeastern USA where we get to participate in four distinct seasons, with each one requiring a "sort of" different lifestyle. Fall: I love the clean, crisp "sweater weather", and, watching the leaves change in color from bright green to yellow-y golds and oranges. I especially love the transition from all of the fresh vegetables and grilled foods of Summer to the deep, nutty flavor of roasted vegetables and slow-cooked comfort foods! The only...... View full recipe for "~ Color Me Fall: An Autumn Butternut Squash Puree~"

11/21/2012

~ A Holiday Tradition: My Bourbon Street Pecan Pie~

Pecan pie is almost always associated with a holiday, most noteably, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In my foodie world, if I was limited to making one pie for Thanksgiving, it would be pecan pie. It is so rich and crunchy and yummy, it could and should be classified as candy. Aside from an occasional "nut", I've never met anyone who didn't want a teensy-weensy slice! A bit about pecan pie: A staple throughout the South, it is said to have been invented by the French who settled in New Orleans, after being introduced to pecans by our Native Americans. But, no...... View full recipe for "~ A Holiday Tradition: My Bourbon Street Pecan Pie~"

11/19/2012

~ A Sweet Potato & Caramelized Apple Casserole ~

It was Thanksgiving morning 1997. I was watching Good Morning America on my kitchen TV. Wolfgang Puck was their guest chef. He prepared this casserole, which he proclaimed to be his favorite way to eat sweet potatoes on Turkey Day. I adore sweet potatoes and am always looking for new ways to cook them. I quickly grabbed a piece of parchment paper from one of my baking pans and scribbled down the recipe as he spoke. I made the casserole that very day and it was every bit as good as Wolfgang proclaimed it to be. It's been on my...... View full recipe for "~ A Sweet Potato & Caramelized Apple Casserole ~"

11/17/2012

~ Beehive Mashed-Potato Bread-Stuffing Casserole ~

Back in 1974, I was introduced to this amazing side-dish casserole by my neighbor in my first apartment. Toni (Antoinette) was/is a beautiful Mexican-American woman who had just moved to Pennsylvania from San Antonio, Texas, with her Texas-cowboy husband Tom and their son Sean. I had just moved to Happy Valley from Eastern, PA, as a new bride. We two women loved to cook and became fast friends. I have many great memories of the two years I spent being her next door neighbor (including Tom teaching me how to shoot a cross-bow). The first time I tasted this casserole,...... View full recipe for "~ Beehive Mashed-Potato Bread-Stuffing Casserole ~"

11/15/2012

~ The Countdown to the Big Turkey Day Feast Begins (Melanie's Top 10 Tips to Not Let it Drive You Crazy)~

My countdown to Thanksgiving has started, how about you? For the next week, I'll be adding several of my favorite Turkey Day recipes to those already posted here on KE. Yesterday I received a phone call from a reporter from our local newspaper. Heather Hottle is writing an article for The Centre Daily Times about holiday entertaining (which will appear, in this Saturday's CDT). The article is not featuring me, it is mentioning me, but it was fun to be interviewed. She was given my name by an acquaintance (thank-you Jessica) and she asked if I would be willing to...... View full recipe for "~ The Countdown to the Big Turkey Day Feast Begins (Melanie's Top 10 Tips to Not Let it Drive You Crazy)~"

10/15/2012

~ Creamy New England-Style Clam&Corn Chowder ~

Chowder is a soup that is thick and brimming with chunky seafood. It comes from the French word "chaudiere", which refers to the cauldron fishermen make their fresh stews in (with clam chowder being the most popular and the most famous). New England-style clam chowder is made old-English-style, with cream or milk, and, the broth is rich and silky, NOT, overly thickened with tasteless flour. Manhattan-style clam chowder (which will be another blog post at a future date) is made with a seasoned, tomato-based broth. Either style can contain any of several varieties of seafood and vegetables. Chopping, dicing or...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy New England-Style Clam&Corn Chowder ~"

10/12/2012

~ Pumpkin Bread+Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding ~

I just love making "quick" breads. "Quick bread' is an American term that refers to bread that is quick-to-make because: it doesn't require kneading or rising time. It originated during the American Civil War, when the demand for food and bread was high. Innovative cooks began to rapidly produce bread and baked goods that were leavened with baking soda, rather than yeast. Bread pudding, which can be made using any type of bread, was also a way for innovative, frugal cooks to make use of leftover or stale bread, and, I for one am grateful for their invention! Two days...... View full recipe for "~ Pumpkin Bread+Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding ~"

10/10/2012

~ Joe's Favorite "Roasted" Pumpkin Quick Bread ~

I'm kinda of proud to announce that I have never used or cooked with canned pumpkin. Over the years, I've also had a lot of people tell me they think pumpkin is one of the few foods that is better canned than fresh. They key word here is "think". I am one of purists that is here to tell them, and you, if you have ever tasted a light, silky-smooth, custard-like pumpkin pie, made from fresh pumpkin puree, you would rethink that statement. My Great Aunt Mary (my grandmother's sister) lived on a farm and grew her own pumpkins. She...... View full recipe for "~ Joe's Favorite "Roasted" Pumpkin Quick Bread ~"

11/28/2011

~ Once Upon a Time: A Tale about Shrimp Cocktail ~

Once upon a time, when I was around five years old, which would have been 1960, I was certain that my mother was the inventor of shrimp cocktail. You might think that odd, as shrimp cocktail has the reputation for being reserved for special occasions or eating in fancy restaurants. That was not the case in our house. My mom loved shrimp cocktail. She almost always had a large jar of it in our refrigerator. She'd simmer two pounds of jumbo shrimp and carefully whisk together the cocktail sauce. She'd put the slightly-warm shrimp in the jar, pour the sauce...... View full recipe for "~ Once Upon a Time: A Tale about Shrimp Cocktail ~ "

11/23/2011

~ A Tale of Two Cocktail Sauces: Classic and Creamy ~

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Christmas is right around the corner. No time like the present to present two, easy-to-make, seafood sauce recipes that represent festive occasions and fine-dining experiences for us all. I've been eating classic shrimp cocktail since I was 5 or 6 years old and loved to watch my mom make it. She would let me arrange the shrimp around and in each champagne glass, which, if you have children, is a tricky way to get kids to try a new food. It wasn't until years later, on a trip to London in December of 1983, that I...... View full recipe for "~ A Tale of Two Cocktail Sauces: Classic and Creamy ~"

11/21/2011

~ Crabmeat & Montasio Stuffed Mushroom Caps!!! ~

Did someone say succulent, crabmeat stuffed mushrooms? "Step into my parlor", said the spider to the fly! This is one of my most popular hors d'oeuvres and over the past twenty or so years I've served them more times than I can count... especially during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. It is perfect served at any time of day: with a glass of champagne for breakfast, wine for lunch or a cocktail just before a sit down dinner or buffet supper. That being said, I've also portioned the decadent crabmeat mixture into larger sized mushroom caps and served them (with a...... View full recipe for "~ Crabmeat & Montasio Stuffed Mushroom Caps!!! ~"

10/26/2011

~ Bacon, Onion & Rosemary-Tomato-Cream Soup ~

One thing I will never walk away from is tomato soup. I love it, love it, love it. I grew up loving the days when my mom or dad would make us a can of Campbell's for lunch and serve it to my brother and I with a few crushed Nabisco saltines on the the top or a grilled cheese sandwich to the side. Nowadays, if I'm out for lunch and a chef has an interesting version of this classic on the menu, it is the first thing I will order. And, if I'm not feeling well, a mug of...... View full recipe for "~ Bacon, Onion & Rosemary-Tomato-Cream Soup ~"

10/25/2011

~ Danish Blue, Swiss Emmentaler & Pine Nut Tarts ~

I vividly remember the first time I made these savory tarts. It was the Fall of 1996 -- the day before Thanksgiving. We'd just moved into our current home three weeks earlier and everyone, in both of our families, was anxiously awaiting the opening of the front doors, the grand tour, and, a long, relaxing holiday weekend full of family, fun and football... all 27 or so of them! I had been cooking up a storm for a week and was excited to be serving a very elegant Thanksgiving buffet that evening. With a host of hors d'oeuvres, two huge...... View full recipe for "~ Danish Blue, Swiss Emmentaler & Pine Nut Tarts ~"

10/24/2011

~ From a Potato to My Southern Sweet Potato Pie ~

Sweet potato pie is a Southern tradition. Similar to pumpkin pie in its texture, it too is mostly served in the Fall, when sweet potatoes (as well as pumpkins) are in season, and, is the star of the Southern Thanksgiving dessert table. It is a simple-to-make pie, consisting of mashed sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, eggs and sometimes spices. Like pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin puree (any type of canned "stuff" not included), the custard filling varies from silky to dense, depending upon the ratio of mashed sweet potatoes to milk and eggs. As for the spices, it seems to...... View full recipe for "~ From a Potato to My Southern Sweet Potato Pie ~"

10/19/2011

~ Sweet Potato & Apple Stuffing for Poultry or Pork ~

October and November is the time of year when many of us switch gears to gravy. We've transitioned from grilled chicken or pork chops to roasted chicken or braised pork chops and we're craving them drizzled with creamy gravy. While mashed potatoes and gravy go together like salt and pepper, if given the choice between stuffing or mashed potatoes, my fork is in the stuffing. Because of my love affair with stuffing, I have a few stuffing recipes in my repertoire, but: this is my favorite Fall stuffing recipe. It doesn't contain anything fancy, but it does contain two of...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato & Apple Stuffing for Poultry or Pork ~"

07/01/2011

~ Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans ~

What? Sugar-crusted pecans in July? Shouldn't Mel be posting this around Thanksgiving or Christmas? Well folks, while we mostly associate these addictive little treats with holiday snacks and hostess gifts (presented in pretty little glass jars all adorned with ribbons and a bow), I'm posting this in July because I'm going to be using them in a few sumptuous salad and scrumptious dessert recipes this Summer. In fact, I'm going to be using them later today to garnish a spectacular grilled pineapple dessert to kick off our 4th of July weekend. There are a lot of recipes for making sugar-crusted...... View full recipe for "~ Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans ~"