Sunday, December 26, 2010


Christmas Eve at Moms
Christmas Day in D.C.
Baking Christmas Cookies

I still have not posted my blog about Thanksgiving, but I'm going to skip that for now and move straight on to Christmas in Cleveland. I'm from there so we drive up at Thanksgiving and Christmas each year to be with my family. We traditionally do Christmas Eve with my family and then on the way home, we stop in the D.C. area to spend the morning and part of the afternoon with my husband's family.

My Mom just celebrated her 80 something birthday (not sure she'd want me to post her real age here so I won't). But she still makes a beautiful Christmas for us and gets most of it done before any of us arrives. My sister took her grocery shopping the day before and usually helps her get the house cleaned up, vacuuming, etc. Downstairs Mom had already set a beautiful festive table. Upstairs, she had already decorated her tree and wrapped and arranged all the goodies she had for everyone. Most of the dinner was well on its way too. We spent the day cooking and preparing everything together. There was ham, turkey, salmon, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, red cabbage, cornbread bake, pickled beets with onions and horseradish, and broccoli with cheese sauce. She also made home made cheddar cheese stuffed bread shaped like a Christmas tree! Of course there were also appetizers. Pickled white asparagus spears with olives, Crab Tartlets, shrimp cocktail, and cheese and crackers.

There were no "special" recipes for the ham, or the turkey or the salmon. The turkey we simply salted and sprinkled with rosemary. The ham baked until it was hot, and the salmon .. only salt and lemon pepper. My mom likes to cut the salmon into big chunks so that the servings are small. That way there's less waste if someone takes a whole piece and doesn't eat it. Happens a lot with the little ones. The broccoli was simply steamed and we used a can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup thinned down with a little half and half to make the cheese sauce. No special recipes, but oh, so delicious!

But the Crab Tartlets we made from scratch with a little help from some store bought biscuits. You can also find the recipe at

My Mom used a muffin top baking pan to make these, so they were much larger than the recipe calls to make them. My niece referred to them as little crab pizzas! We rolled out the biscuit halves to be about 5 inches across and then pressed them into the muffin top pan. This allowed for 1 tart per person, where the smaller ones would allow for 3 - 4 per person for 10 - 12 people. You can use the kind you would use to make tiny quiche, which is the kind of pan the recipe calls for.

Crab Tartlets
2 - 12 oz. biscuits
1 -8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 -6 oz. can crab meat drained
2 T. mayo
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
2 T thinly sliced green onions
1 t. worcestershire sauce
2 T. Roasted red peppers, chopped (Optional)
pinch paprika for garnish

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate the biscuits and pull each one in half to make two rounds. Insert them into a tart pan and press to fit into cups. Set aside the prepared tart shells.

In a medium bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients except for the paprika. Mix thoroughly. Fill each tart with about 1 T of filling, or 2-3 T if you are using a larger crust and spread to cover the top of the tart leaving a small edge like you see in the picture above.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown. These were delicious! I recommend them for any gathering where you want some finger food! If anyone has allergy to shellfish, you can always substitute with imitation crab meat, but read the label to make sure there are no other shellfish products in it. Garnish the hot tartlets with a little paprika. (If you use the roasted red peppers in your recipe, you won't need to garnish with paprika, they will have a nice rosy color from the peppers.)

My niece brought eggnog cupcakes with rum eggnog frosting! Oh my! Mom also served pumpkin ice cream for anyone who wanted it!

We always have such fun when we get together and Christmas Eve 2010 was no exception! Thanks Mom!

The next morning we left at 5:30 a.m. to drive to the D.C. area to spend some time with my in-laws. The weather was pretty dicey so we didn't get there until around 11:30. We have such fun with them too! My sister in law had lots of lovely hearty appetizers -- a big spiral ham for small sandwiches, spanakopeta, mini quiche, ham and cheese crescent rolls that my other sister in law makes every year.

Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls

Take a package of crescent rolls (you could use the reduce fat ones). Separate them into 4 rectangles (leave two wedges together.) Lay a piece of swiss cheese and a slice of ham on the rectangle. Roll it up as tightly as you can and slice the roll into about 4-5 pieces. Place them cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake until golden about 8 - 10 minutes. I recommend using parchment paper so the cheese doesn't stick.

She can't make enough of these and she can't make them fast enough. As soon as they come off the cookie sheet, they are GONE! and someone is standing in front of the oven waiting for the next batch. I think she makes 6 cookie sheets full of them! There were also lots of yummy cookies. My sister-in-law's mother-in-law made ..... I don't know what they were called so I tried to find it on the internet. I think they may be called Praline Graham Cracker Cookies.

So Good They Hurt!
About 15 Chocolate (or regular) Graham Crackers squares
Sliced Almonds (some recipes use pecans and/or choc chips)
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks)

Grease a cookie sheet lightly or line with foil.
Cover they cookie sheet with regular or chocolate Graham Crackers. (She used chocolate). Melt the brown sugar with the butter. Sprinkle the tops of the crackers with almond slices. Pour the melted butter and sugar over the crackers. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until bubbly in a 325 oven. Careful not to burn the sugar! Before they get too cool, use a pizza cutter to cut the graham squares apart. They will just break into pieces if you let them cool too much before cutting.

Anyway, I ate too much while I was there. :( But it was worth it. And just like at my Mom's house, we had a really nice time.

Baking Cookies!

About a week before Christmas I baked cookies too. A friend and I each baked a few kinds and then shared. It was a lot of fun to bake together. I used to do that years and years ago with a friend in Cleveland, and then for years, I baked by myself. Over 100 dozen (8 - 10 kinds) each year. I packed up big boxes for gifts. But of course it's much more fun to bake with someone else. We drank eggnog (ahem) and coffee and sampled cookies as they came out of the oven. I baked Brown Sugar Chocolate Chips, Jam Thumbprints, Coconut Macaroons with Cherries and Viennese Almond Crescents. My friend made Butterscotch Coconut, Sugar Cookies, Chocolate with White Chips, and No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter (these are more like fudge than cookies).

All in all it was a wonderful Christmas. I'm looking forward to New Year's Eve when I can start working seriously on my New Year's Resolution -- A New Attitude! A better me inside and out - sleeker and sassier than ever! I've already lost a few pounds, but I'll work on losing a few more. I'll keep doing my yoga and line dancing classes. Now if I can just stay away from the Christmas Cookies!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Home from work last night and digging through the fridge and freezer to figure out what to make. Half a bag of home grown, frozen lima beans. Half a bag of frozen corn. Frozen salmon steaks. Wasn't sure what I'd do with it, but at first it was just going to be sauteed salmon with steamed veggies. I wanted something a little more .... comforting. I looked in the frig again and found about two cups of leftover rice. It came to me.

Let's start right off by saying that if you don't like lima beans, substitute green beans or peas. If you don't like salmon, substitute a nice meaty white fish like cod, tilapia or even catfish. If you don't like any of these ingredients, well, just click away and go to your e-mail or Facebook Page and check in on what's going on. We happen to love vegetables of all kinds and we love salmon. This was surprisingly yummy, and easy peasy!

3 T. Butter
2 T. all purpose flour or rice flour
1 c. low fat milk
1 c. low sodium, low fat chicken broth (you can use water, just add more seasoning to the finished sauce.)
1 T. oyster sauce
about 2 c. frozen lima beans
about 2 c. of frozen corn
about 2 c. cooked rice

4 - 4 oz. pieces of salmon (you could substitute a nice meaty white fish like cod)
salt pepper
4 T. flour or rice flour
3 T. olive or canola oil for frying

For the sauce: In a microwave proof container, mix the milk and chicken broth. Warm until just steaming. Not too hot. You need this liquid to be warm or the sauce you will make has a good chance of being lumpy. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for a minute or two. Now quickly whisk in the warm milk. Let the mixture come back to a boil, when it will reach its full thickness. Add more liquid if its too thick. If too thin, don't worry about it, it'll be fine. You have just made a Bechemel Sauce (basic white sauce).

Add the oyster sauce. If you don't have any oyster sauce, I suppose a little soy sauce might work. But oyster sauce has such a wonderful, complex flavor, you should invest in a bottle. I keep one in the fridge all the time. Great in soups, stews and stir fries. It keeps practically forever. You can use it in lots of dishes to add a depth of flavor that you won't believe!

OK, now that the sauce is made, it should be about the same thickness as creamed corn from a can. Add the frozen corn and lima beans and let them simmer over low heat in the sauce while you prepare the salmon.

Place a large skillet on medium high heat with the olive or canola oil. Make sure the salmon is thawed well if it was frozen, and dry. Pat them well with paper towels. Now sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dredge them in the flour. Lay each one on a paper plate or paper towel while you prepare all the pieces. When they have all been seasoned and dredged, test the oil in the skillet. Dust a little flour into the oil. It should foam right up. If it does, add the salmon and sautee for about 2 minutes on each side. A little longer if your pieces are thicker or bigger. They should get a little browned, and will cook quickly.

While they are cooking, add the rice to the sauce with the lima beans and corn. Continue cooking the sauce long enough to warm the rice. When the fish is done. Turn off the heat on everything and remove the fish to a plate.

Place a nice serving of the creamy succotash on a plate and place a piece of salmon on top.

Makes 4 servings (with leftover Creamy Succotash).

Sunday, October 31, 2010


We got home from a perfectly lovely morning and early afternoon at Tom's Cove Park on Assateague Island. It's migration season and we wanted to see the spectacle of thousands and snow geese, Canada geese and ducks, and cormorants making their way to their winter homes. Although we didn't happen to get there on a peak fly day, we did see some pretty spectacular displays of huge flocks of snow geese stark white against the green background of forest and the beautiful blue sky, hearing the geese honking all at one time as they rose and took to the skies. I love to take photographs and I got some wonderful shots of various birds. I'll use them for my note card collections.
When we got back, I had to deal with all the crops I picked yesterday afternoon. I had give or take, 7 pounds of green tomatoes, 1 -1/2 pounds of jalapenos, 3/4 of a pound of poblano peppers, 9 eggplants and hand full of fresh parsley from the herb garden. What to do, what to do????? Naturally the first thing I did was go on line to find recipes for green tomatoes. I already knew that I wanted to make a green tomato sauce, so I looked for those recipes. Couldn't really find anything that grabbed me, so I just used my intuition. It's really a very simple recipe, below.

Green tomatoes are very tart so it' s hard to decide what to do with them. I do like to dice them into a fresh salad. They are crispy and refreshing. And of course, there are Fried Green Tomatoes and I'll do some of those too. I once had Fried Green Tomatoes layered with Crab Remoulade at a local restaurant. It was delicious so I tried to make them at home. Not quite the same but they were yummy. The Sunset Grill in Ocean City still serves them as an appetizer, but they are quite filling enough for a meal for me.


1 med/large Vidalia or other sweet onion
6 cloves garlic
3 - 4 pounds of green tomatoes, diced fairly small (aids in cooking a little faster)
1 Tbs. ground coriander (adds a little sweetness)
1/4 c. dried cilantro leaves
1 T salt (I like to use sea salt)
1/2 c packed parsley leaves

Dice the onions roughly, and saute over low/ medium heat until soft, but not browned. Add the garlic for 1 minute of cooking, and add the diced tomatoes and dried cilantro. Fresh cilantro would taste very different, so I can't say whether it would make a good substitute for the dried. Simmer the whole pot until most of the liquid is cooked away and the mixture is pretty thick. Add the ground coriander nearer to the end. Did you know that Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant? They taste very different from each other, but both do add a certain sweetness to a dish.

Let the pot cool for a little while. Now add half the mixture to a blender with 1/2 of the parsley. Blend until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Blend the other half of the tomatoes and parsley. Mix both batches together. This is a LOT of green sauce. I put about 1 c. into freezer bags and froze it.

What on earth would you use this strange sauce for? It's very aromatic and tart. I let my huband taste it. He liked it a lot. I said "Do you know what this would taste really good on?" He said "Tuna". I could hardly believe it because that is exactly what I was going to say to him. A piece of sesame seared Tuna. It would be wonderful spooned on top of a burrito, a quesadilla or on a taco. This sauce may not be for everyone, but it's a good way to use up a lot of green tomatoes if you have them. This time of year, the green ones don't often get a chance to turn red before the frost gets them. They should sell green tomatoes in the grocery.

The eggplants were really pretty. I almost hate to cut them up but they got sliced into thick slices, heavily salted and left in a covered bowl to let out all their liquid. This process helps them to stay firm when they cook. Eggplant can get kind of mushy when you cook it, so doing this keeps the texture, well, chewy, for lack of a better word. I haven't had a chance to do anything else with them tonight. I just drained all the liquid from the bowl after letting them sit overnight, and put them into a large plastic bag for tomorrow night when I will bread and freeze half of them for Eggplant Parmesan, and the other half will marinate in herbs and spices to saute for vegetarian panini sandwiches with sauteed mushrooms and red peppers with provolone cheese on top. It occurs to me that I might use some of this green tomato sauce on the panini!!

We will likely give away most of the jalapenos. We can only eat so many fresh ones and I've already pickled a huge basket of them.

The poblano peppers are sweet and yummy so I'll use all of them for omelets, and fresh in salads.

So with all this late harvest, the next chore we did on Saturday was to plant more veggies. My husband started more peas, beans, spinach and swiss chard in the greenhouse. I planted 50 cabbage seeds in the bed along the fence in the back, and he planted mustard greens in one of the former potato beds, and something called upland cress in the other one. I'll let you know what it's like if any of it grows.

There are still eggplants in the garden. They'll keep growing until the frost. And there are still plenty of green tomatoes out there too that I'll try to get before the first frost sets in. Until then, I need to get creative!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


We never expected to have so many pears this year. Last year we were lucky to get just a few. I heard from a farmer at the open air market just the other day, that it was a good year for pears. I have no idea why, but I had more pears than I could possibly handle as a novice pear grower. Unfortunately a lot of them went into the compost heap, but just as many or more were given away and eaten. The fruit isn't particularly attractive when it's home grown. These are Comice pears, the same variety that you would find in gift baskets from Harry & David. They say they use Comice pears because they are one of the most attractive, flavorful and well textured variety of pears. (Comice is pronounced kuh-mees).

I generally would never peel a pear to eat it, but the home grown ones are not that attractive. They have too many blemishes for me, so I peeled them. The flesh however, is fantastically sweet, crisp and delicious! I like my pears a little on the crispy side, too, so these were just the way I like them.

Like I said, I'd never had to deal with so many of them before, so I couldn't get them all processed before some of them went bad. I didn't weigh them, but a guess is that I had 20+ pounds of pears when all was said and done. And of course, my kitchen was full of fruit flies. I tried everything to get rid of them, but I think that's impossible at this time of year. I covered the bowls containing the pears with towels so the flies couldn't get in, but whenever I reached inside, a few flew out. I used my small vacuum cleaner and sucked up a bunch of the little devils. I used the fly swatter, which is totally useless because it has little holes in it which seem to always save the little buggers. I snuck up on each one of them with my bottle of Windex in one hand and a paper towel in the other. A tiny little squirt and they either got away (unbelievable!!!) or I got a direct hit and wiped them up with my paper towel. My kitchen windows and cupboards were shiny clean with the constant onslaught of Windex. (I was careful not to spray on food or utensils). I even hung up one of those sticky fly catcher things. They don't go near it. I finally put out a small dish of white wine. Overnight, they bellied up to the bar a fell into the little bowl in a drunken stupor! Tons of them gone in a blaze of alcoholic bliss, but alas, they were not gone for good. I'm still dealing with them.

I digress - this blog is not about how to get rid of fruit flies.

Ever hear of Bananas Foster. This is my version of Pears Foster - with no liqueur in it. Of course you could add the liqueur if you like at the end. Coring a pear can be a lot easier if you use a little melon baller to get rid of the middle. Cut the pear in half from top to bottom, and use the melon baller to remove the middle.

3 pears- not too ripe, peeled and sliced
2 T butter
1 T lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1-2 T brown sugar
1 t coconut or vanilla extract
1 t almond extract (optional)
1/4 c. shredded coconut (optional)
1 shot of Cream De Cacao (optional)

Saute the pears in the lemon juice and butter until they are slightly softened, or as soft as you like. I like mine with a little bite left. When the pears are done to your liking, add the brown sugar and the cinnamon and cook until it gets slightly thickened. Then add the extracts and the coconut. Put in the liqueur if you're using it an let it cook out for minute or so. You could even ignite it for show if you like! It's done! Serve with chopped pecans or walnuts sprinkled on top or put some warm pears on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If there are any leftovers it's yummy cold right out the refrigerator

I also made some diced pears sauteed in a little butter with just the cinnamon, lemon and sugar (just a couple of tablespoons of the sugar in a whole pot full of pears). We ate it cold with some chopped pecans on it. Try it with a little vanilla yogurt drizzled on top.

A lot of the pears got peeled, cored and sliced, coated with Fruit Fresh (which is just citric acid to keep them from turning brown or just use lemon juice, but this makes them a little wet for freezing), and I froze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet to keep them from freezing into a giant lump. Then I just put them in bags and back in the freezer. I'll use these to make more of the Pears Foster, and I think I'll even make a Pear Pie. They taste remarkably the same as apples when you add the cinnamon so I think they will make a lovely pie or tart.

Hmmm, maybe some pear jam with rosemary or lavender!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Our first Soup Night was a good one. There were about 12 of us which gave us a chance for quality time with our friends. My Chicken Noodle Soup turned out extra good.We also had Baked Brie with Cherries, Anti Pasta, Cream Cheese with Pear Chutney, and Guacamole. I always put out a veggie tray and cheese and crackers too, along with french bread and butter to have with the soup. My husband made a fire outside in the fire pit and we all spent a good amount of time out there. It was a lovely evening!

Set up for a Soup Night is fairly simple. I try to make it so that I don't have to do anything once my guests arrive. I usually just push the table in the kitchen up against the windows and put all the food on it. I use another table for the ice bucket and wine glasses, water glasses and put out a cork screw and a bottle opener. This way it's very easy for everyone to help themselves to whatever they need for their cocktails or beverages. On the other side is a table where I keep my small appliances. I moved them into the pantry and used the table for the guacamole and the anti pasta. I set up the soup bowls, flatware, napkins, a big bowl of noodles and a soup ladle next to the soup pot that's being kept warm on the stove. And of course I put out mass quantities of candles. Candle light makes everyone look better!

My chicken soup turned out extra good. I've taken to using chicken stock instead of water to make the soup. It makes a much richer broth. My secret for chicken soup is really my Mom's secret; a dash of nutmeg. It gives the soup a depth of flavor that you can't get without it. I strain everything out of the broth and add fresh celery and carrots to cook until tender. The ones used to make the broth are cooked "to death". Too mushy to serve, so they get thrown out and the fresh goes in. Everyone has their own recipe for Chicken Soup. Mine is pretty straight forward - simmer chicken with vegetables, garlic, onions, salt, pepper, bay leaf, nutmeg. Strain it when it's done and add the fresh veggies, and re-season as needed. I'll even add some chicken bouillon if necessary, but if you use the stock to simmer everything, it's unlikely your soup will need more flavor.

Baked Brie with Cherries

1 wheel or wedge of Brie, depending on much you need.
1 sheet of puff pastry - thawed
3/4 c cherry pie filling, or apricot jam, or orange marmalade. Use your favorite flavor jam (not jelly)
Optional: chopped pecans or walnuts

Flour your table a little and roll the puff pastry gently out to fit around your piece of brie. Cut it size if necessary. Set the brie on the pastry and top the cheese with your fruit filling and nuts if you are using them. Then wrap the pastry around the cheese. Make sure you close the top securely so your filling doesn't come boiling out. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. You can use little extra bits of pastry to make a decoration on top if you like. Note: you may need 2 sheets of pastry if you are wrapping a large wheel of cheese.

Bake the brie about an hour or more before company comes. If it's too hot when you serve it, not only can people burn their mouth, but the cheese and fruit filling will be too liquid. Letting it cool will give it a chance to firm up a little.

Anti Pasti

Salad dressing
1/2 lb chunk of hard salami
1/2 chunk of provolone cheese
1 can of artichokes, drained and cut into halves or quarters depending on their size.
1 can black olives.
1/2 of a jar of roasted red peppers

Cut the salami and cheese into chunks about the size of the olives you have. Slice the red peppers into thin strips. Put all of this into a large bowl.

Use your favorite Italian dressing on this or make your own. Here's how I made mine.

Balsamic Dijon Salad Dressing
3 cloves garlic - pressed in a garlic press
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 t. dried onions
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t salt
1 t cracked black pepper

Put all into a blender of "magic bullet" and whiz for a minute. You can also just use a whisk to make the salad dressing. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Put the salad into a pretty glass bowl if you have one. It's so good looking it deserves a bowl so you can see the whole salad.

Optional: add some fresh oregano or basil to your dressing. Use any flavorings you like in a dressing. There is no right or wrong way as far as what you like.

This Anti Pasta was really good and so easy to make. It took all of 15 minutes to prepare. I would recommend this for any gathering! It's easy to increase the recipe by simply doubling it. You can add pepperoncinis if you like them. You can use any kind of olives - kalamatas are good in here too, but be careful of pits! There are all kinds of recipes for Anti Pasta. Try finding one on line that you like and keep it handy for your next party!

My veggie tray needs no recipe. I put some sugar snap peas on it that I blanched for about 1 minuted and them rinsed immediately in cold water. I also did the same with some broccoli florets. Blanching them first makes them bright green so they are very pretty, and it takes away the raw flavor without taking away the crispness. Use your favorite ranch dressing for dip or make your own. I just used a few tablespoons of mayonnaise and added enough lemon juice to thin it down. Then I just added a little garlic powder and some dill. Use anything you like!

A friend had given me a jar of Pear Chutney she made. It was a savory chutney rather than a sweet one. A little tart, but it had raisins in it. I wanted to use it, but didn't think it would be good on the brie, so I used in on a bar of low fat cream cheese. It was delicious!

Another friend was kind enough to bring a bowl of tapioca pudding! It had been years since I'd had any! It was creamy and delicious.

Yet another friend brought a bottle of Dogfish Head Wine/Beer. It was ....... interesting. To me it tasted like fruity beer. I'm not a beer lover, but it wasn't bad. It's worth a try if you see a bottle.

November Soup night looks like it might be two soups. Lentil with Smoked Sausage and small pot of potato and corn chowder with shrimp.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've always thought champagne was ok, but never really sought out to get it. I always found it to be too sweet. So as a rule I never drank it unless there was a toast at a wedding or some other special occassion. It was usually sparkling wine, not champagne.

It wasn't until later in life that I discovered what good champagne really tasted like. Mmmmm. Not to sweet, smooth and lovely little tickley bubbles! Recently, I had the opportunity to be invited to a little doing where champagne was going to be served. I asked if I could bring the appetizers and my offer was accepted. So now I was faced with what do I make that is good with champagne? So I went on a an internet search for "appetizers for champagne" and got several results.

Most of the recipes I saw were too high in calories so I didn't want to make them. Braunschweiger, fois gras (whole, cooked duck or goose liver) brie, raw oysters, shrimp, sushi. Just didn't feel like making any of those.

Then I ran across a forum where someone mentioned that cocktail onions, pickles and cheese were good together with champagne. There was no recipe but it reminded me of a dish I once had called raclette It's melty cheese with cocktail onions, gherkins and boiled potatoes. I know. It sounds really strange. But it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I didn't even know I liked cocktail onions. I thought they would be strong and sharp, but in fact they were sweet with a very mild onion flavor. So I decided to make little these little hors de oeuvres. I call them

Raclette Hors de Oeuvres

(these can be made 1 day ahead of time)

For about 12 pieces:

1 jar of cocktail onions
4 gherkins (tiny sweet pickles) each cut into three pieces, four if they are a little larger
12 oz chunk of Parmesan cheese

Cut the Parmesan Cheese into cubes a little bigger than the pieces of pickles after they are cut up.

On cocktail picks, put one cocktail onion, one piece of pickle, and last, the cube of cheese. Keep the cheese from touching the pickle unless you are eating these right away. You wouldn't want the cheese to get mushy from the moisture of the pickle.

I made 4 pieces for each of us. That was plenty because I also made

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
(not my photo)

12 large mushrooms
2 T olive oil

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and rub the caps with olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake on 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. Shake out the excess liquid that has accumulated in the caps.

Alternatively you can put the caps in a large skillet and let them cook on low/med heat until the liquid accumulates in the caps. Then discard that liquid. It's important to get all that liquid out of the caps before you stuff them or your finished caps will be too wet and swimming in liquid.

Prepare the filling while the caps cool.
(Makes more filling than you need for 12 caps)

1 lb crab meat
1 8 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened to room temp, or put in mic for 15 seconds
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper (optional)
1 dash worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs

Mix all ingredients except crab together and blend well. Then add the crab and mix until blended, trying not to make total mush out of the crab.

Spoon a big dollop of filling into each mushroom cap and place on a baking sheet covered with foil or in a low sided casserole dish, lightly oiled, to prevent sticking.

If desired, add a little more grated cheddar to the top of each mushroom.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.

Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving - they will be very hot.

Serve both appetizers with your favorite champagne. If your pocketbook won't allow a bottle of Moet or Chandon, try some Proseco - a less expensive Italian sparkling white wine which is very tasty. If you don't do champagne at all, a nice white wine like a Pinot Grigio would be nice too.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Brussel Sprouts. They are arguably the most hated vegetable on earth. Most people seem to hate them. I would say mostly because of the the way they tend to be prepared. And look at how they grow! Weird!!! I love them! If you like cabbage, then you will like brussel sprouts. They do have a similar flavor to cabbage, but they are somewhat sweeter. A plain old boiled or steamed brussel sprout leaves a lot to be desired. I'll eat them because I like them. But anyone who has reservations about these little green orbs will probably never like them prepared this way. If you don't like cabbage, you may as well forget about reading the rest of this blog because you probably will not like any of it. However, if you do like cabbage, or are willing to give the lowly little sprout another chance, you may just like this dish.

I saw a recipe very much like the one that follows on the food channel. I can't remember who made it, but I thought it sounded great and it was! I've made it several times since then.

It's Brussel Sprout and Potato Hash with Poached Eggs. The brussel sprout is in the cruciferious (cabbage) family. And I don't want to turn you off with boring details, but they are also low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese. Who would have thought that something that so many people hate, is so rich in vitamins and nutrients that are vital to us. To make this dish even more nutritious, potatoes provide some complex carbs and vitamin C, B6, Potassium and Manganese. This is a very hearty, low fat, low carb, high protein (the egg) breakfast that will keep anyone going until well into lunchtime -- if you'll only give it a chance. So now that you know more about this vegetable that you may not even want in your kitchen, I will go on to the recipe.

This is a meatless dish, but you can add sausage to the hash if you like. ( It's not quite as healthy). I love this dish. I make a large quantity of it, maybe 8 servings, and keep it in the refrigerator for the week. Then whenever I want, I take a big spoonful of the hash, put it into a small skillet, and break an egg on top of it in a hot skillet. Add a sprinkle of water to make some steam, and cover the pan to let the egg cook until it's just about done. I personally like the yolk a little on the soft side. Of course, you can let the egg poach until it gets as done as you like.


4 -5 medium potatoes- diced
about 10 oz of fresh brussel sprouts (you can use frozen, thawed)
1 very large leek, or 1 medium white onion
1 T. salt
3/4 t. black pepper
3 - 4 T. Olive Oil

Dice the potatoes about the size of a grape. Either nuke them in the microwave, or boil them (like you would for mashed) until they are about half done. They are going to cook a little more later in a skillet.

While the potatoes cook, clean the brussel sprouts by cutting off the bottom and removing any outer leaves that don't look "fresh". Cut the large sprouts in quarters, and leave small ones whole. Dump them all into a bowl of water to rinse. Drain them well and put them all into a skillet over medium-low heat with the olive oil that has been heated.

Add the potatoes that have been semi cooked. Stir well and add the salt. Stir them occasionally while you prepare the leek or the onions. If you are using a leek, be sure to cut it into pieces and rinse it very well to rid it of any sand/dirt that resides between the layers, and then slice into smaller pieces. An onion need only be sliced into thin slices. I used a leek because I had some.

Now add the onion or leek and the black pepper to skillet and let all of this cook on medium low heat until it has softened and browned. Once it's nice and browned like in the picture, it's finished.

Spoon about a cup of the mixture into a small, clean skillet over medium low heat. Make an indentation in the center of the hash, and crack an egg into the center. Add a teaspoon of water, cover the skillet and let the egg steam. It's ready to eat at soon as the egg is done the way you like it. Serve with some whole wheat toast, or no bread at all.

If you make this for a crowd, leave the hash in a large skillet, make 6 - 8 indentations around the skillet and crack an egg into each indentation. Add the spoon of water to make some steam, cover and let the eggs poach. Then just spoon each egg with some hash onto your plates.

You can add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to whole batch too when you add the onion or leak if you think you might like this really spicy.

It's almost certain that there are plenty of you who won't even like reading a recipe for brussel sprouts. After all, some people will NEVER taste a brussel sprout, under any circumstances. If that's the case, then just substitute corned beef for the brussel sprouts and you'll have some of the best corned beef hash you every had. It won't be all that healthy - corned beef has a lot of salt, and it is, after all, beef. But it will be delicious.

So here's my challenge - you HATE brussel sprouts? Try this dish. And if you can't do without some meat, add some canadian bacon (low fat), regular browned bacon, or some pre-fried italian sausage which has been crumbled and drained on paper towels to remove most of the fat. I guarantee you'll change your mind about brussell sprouts!

Here are some links to other recipes I found that deserve some consideration for the lowly sprout.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon:

Brussel Sprounts in Cream:

And if you want to totally freak out your guests, try this one: Bacon Wrapped Sprouts

Here is one I love to make during the time when the sprouts are coming out of the garden.

I saute the sprouts in a combination of olive oil and a little butter. When they are done, sprinkle with some parmesan cheese to coat and let them cook for another minute or two. These simple sprouts are delicious!

You can cut them up into smaller pieces and add to a quiche, add extra leftover sprouts to soups or stews.

Next time, I think I'll share a recipe I saw on a Public TV Cooking Show and tried it out. Chicken and Ginger Stir Fry on Coconut Noodles.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chicken Salad with Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Leftover Rotisserie Chicken can be used in so many ways. I rarely leave Sam's without one to nibble on when I get home. For less than $5.00, we can eat at least 3 meals. We'd already eaten off of it twice and there was enough left to make chicken salad. But I really wanted a green salad tonight. So it was a compromise. In addition to the chicken salad, I made a cucumber and tomato salad too, and piled up both salads on a bed of crispy romaine. There is no vinegar in this tomato cucumber salad, so it's different from your run of the mill salad dressed with bottled dressing.

Mostly this dish was inspired by the fact that I have a ton of cucumbers from the garden. If I don't use them up right away, I've been known to end up tossing them into the compost heap. You can only eat so many cucumbers in a week. But I've learned to make pickles too. I make a Refrigerator Bread and Butter pickle that is spicy and flavorful. No canning for me. These keep well in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I end up giving most of these away too. Two gallons of pickles is a little much for two people. I also altered a zucchini bread recipe to use cucumber instead of the zucchini. It's more of a savory bread. I left out some of the sugar, added a little more salt, and used dill to flavor the loaves.

But I digress. Here's how I made this very satisfying and refreshing salad. Very easy!

Chicken Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers

1 head romaine lettuce - washed, rinsed, cut up and crisped ( put in the frig for about 1 hr after cutting up and rinsing.

Chicken Salad
Rotisserie Chicken - about 2 1/2 cups cut up into chunks
1/2 C. mayonnaise ( alter to taste)
2 t. dried tarragon (about 1 T minced if using fresh )
1/2 t Garlic powder (fresh garlic is too strong here I think)
Mix all the ingredients together and stir well. Set in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
2 small or 1 large English cucumber
2 large Roma tomatoes
1/2 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic - finely minced or pressed through a garlic press (more to taste)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
1/2 c finely grated mozzarella cheese

Cut the cucumber into chunky slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
Chop the tomatoes into chunks also.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Re-season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary. Set in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the salad by placing a large handful of romaine in the center of a salad bowl or plate. Top the lettuce with a scoop of chicken salad on one side, and a scoop of Tomato Cucumber Salad on the other side.

Garnish - Place several of your favorite crackers around the salad. My husband likes Saltines - I like Melba Toast or Stone Ground Whole Wheat.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Since it's much to hot too cook, I decided it was time to process all the herbs I've been drying out in the pantry where it's hot and dry. I had a large batch of oregano, a small amount of tarragon, and some thyme. When I was finished taking everything off the stems and putting the herbs into their proper jars, I went through the other herbs I already have on the shelf. My tin of Pizza Seasoning was seriously low. So I made a batch to fill the tin, with some to spare for another jar in storage.

I didn't measure anything, but I think you can see about how much I used in the picture. Besides, you should make your own seasoning with the herbs you like best and the quantities you like most. I would have put more red pepper flakes, but not everyone likes as much heat as I do. The Oregano, Basil, Chives, Red Pepper Flakes and Fennel Seeds all came our of my own herb garden. I made the mushroom powder by running some dried porcini mushrooms I get at the Asian Market through my spice grinder until they are in a relatively powdery form, but still just a little chunky. The mushroom powder give great flavor to lots of foods, too. I use it meat marinades, soups, rubs and I even add a spoonful to a pan sauce I might make with a pork tenderloin.

This mix is also great on Garlic Bread topped with a little Parmesan Cheese. You can also put several tablespoons of this dry mix into a small jar and cover it with olive oil to spread on pizza crust, or even on a piece of steak! Use your imagination!

It wasn't too hot to enjoy one of my frozen banana treats though. This one happened by accident. I had some very overly ripe bananas on the counter and didn't want them to spoil before I could get them into the freezer, so I just laid them on the shelf in the refrigerator. I had also, just that morning cut some cilantro from the garden and put the unused stems into a small jar of water into the refrigerator. Cilantro keeps amazingly long if you store it this way. Anyway, the next time I opened the refrigerator I could smell both the bananas and the cilantro. It smelled so good together I thought I would experiment. Here's what I made.

2 overly ripe bananas
3 T minced cilantro
1/2 c chopped toasted pecans
1/2 c. melted chocolate chips

Mas the bananas in a bowl. Add the minced cilantro. Chop the nuts into a slightly chunky dice and add. Mix it all together and spread the mixture in an 8 x 8 pan. Put the mix into the freezer. When it is slightly frozen, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and spread on top of the bananas. Back into the freezer until the chocolate is slightly set.

Now take the dish out of the freezer, and with a knife score the chocolate into 2 inch squares. If you wait until it's frozen solid, it'll just crack when you try and cut it. Now back into the freezer until mixture is well frozen. Cut through the scoring marks.

I wrapped each piece in a small piece of foil (like a Klondike Bar) and put them back into the freezer in a zip lock to grab one at a time whenever I like. You don't have to do that though - you can just set them into a zip lock bag. Squeeze most of the air out of the bag before you seal.

These little treats are surprisingly good and very different! As an added bonus, they are VERY low in calories! There is just a little chocolate on them. Maybe each piece has a total of 10 chocolate chips on it. I love them! And I like lots of cilantro and nuts in them. Give them a try!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Harris Teeter - usually a little too pricey for me, I go now and then to check out the produce they have on the quick sale rack, and some of the specialty items you don't see anywhere else around here. This time they had some green beans for 75 cents, regularly almost $3.00. So I bought two bags of them.

I wasn't sure what I would do with them when I bought them but when I got home and looked at what else I had in the pantry and freezer, peas, ricotta cheese, bacon bits, parmesan cheese, eggs, and Orecchietti pasta, it became Carbonara with Green Beans and Peas.

To me there's not much that's more comforting than a pasta dish. When I think comfort food, I usually think pasta. Even if I want soup, I want pasta in my soup. As a kid it was ChiliMac. You know, the elbow macaroni with ground beef and tomato sauce. Mmmmm. I could eat a ton of it then. We used to make it at Girl Scout Camp in a huge kettle and you could have all you wanted. After I got older, it was plain old spaghetti with meat sauce and mushrooms. Back then it could have been out of a can and I would have loved it. As a matter of fact I use to eat Chef Boyardee Raviolo right out of the can. But most of the time I browned some ground beef and poured a jar of Ragu with Mushrooms into the beef and spooned it over some spaghetti noodles topped with a little Parmesan. Now that I'm a little older still, and about the same time that I started learning more about cooking, I came to favor dishes like Angel Hair Pasta with a really fresh marinara, topped with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil.

Today the pasta dishes are anything concocted with whatever I have and often include a variety of herbs and/or spices. In March I posted the Vegetable Spaghetti I love so much in "Something Out of Nothing". Often times I will make a Pasta Primavera with chunky vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes or mushrooms, with tomato sauce or a garlic and olive oil sauce with salt a cracked pepper. I've been making my own tomato sauce too since we are growing our own tomatoes so the jarred sauces are kept on the shelf only for those times when I want to make something and I don't have time to defrost.

The Harris Teeter green beans somehow inspired me to make a Carbonara. I was hungry when I was shopping (very dangerous) so I started craving all kinds of things I shouldn't eat. But pasta was on my mind. It was delicious and pretty easy to make. The only "difficult" step might be the "carbonara" part where you add egg yolk to the sauce. You have to be quick and careful not to scramble the egg or it just won't have the flavor Carbonara is supposed to have.

Bacon is fairly integral to an authentic Carbonara, but you can certainly leave it out if you are not a fan of bacon. Authentic Carbonara would use strips of bacon cut up into pieces and use all the fat leftover to make the sauce. (Too fatty for me.) Adding a drop of some liquid smoke would work too. Liquid smoke is a fantastic ingredient, but wow, is it strong. More than one drop and you have ruind the dish. I never pour it from the bottle into my dish. I always pour a drop into the cap first so I'm sure I only get a tiny little bit.

This isn't the healthiest dish I've ever made. Pasta, bacon bits, egg. Three or four times a year though shouldn't be too sinful. There isn't really a way to make a Carbonara into a healthier dish though because it's the egg and the bacon that make it carbonara. The liquid smoke could substitute the bacon, and I supposed one could use a little bit of "Eggbeaters" to substitute for the yolks. So, go ahead, try the substitutions. I just don't think it would taste like a real Carbonara should taste.

Here's how to make my version of easy

1/2 lb Orecchietti (or some other chunky pasta)
1 c fresh or frozen peas
1 lb cleaned and cut green beans
1 T. Olive oil
2 eggs
1 c. ricotta cheese
1 T. cracked or 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 - 3 T. real bacon bits
1/2 - 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
pasta water
More Parmesan for garnish

Put up a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is being cooked, in a large skillet, saute the cleaned and cut green beans until they are almost done. Leave them just a little crispy. If you are using fresh peas cook them with the green beans so they will cook through. If you are using frozen, add the peas to the cooked green beans and let them warm through.

Now beat the egg together with the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Stir in the bacon bits. Set aside for a moment.

When the pasta is cooked to your liking, reserve a cup of the cooking water before you drain the it. Drain the pasta, and immediately add the very hot pasta to the skillet with the beans and peas. Leave the heat on very low. Add the ricotta and egg mixture immediately stirring quickly to coat everything and to keep the eggs from scrambling. Add the cracked pepper and stir in well. The heat of the hot pasta will cook the eggs sufficiently.

Serve in pasta bowls topped with a little more grated or shaved Parmesan. It's a complete meal. No bread required because you have pasta, no salad required because you have beans and peas. Although, a small green salad would be lovely with this meal. Hope you'll enjoy this one!

Next time, it's Sweet Potato Soup with Fennel. Creamy and delicious, it's elegant enough to serve company, or just sip from a cup and savor it. If you don't like sweet potatoes, give this one a chance. The fennel I added gave the soup a beautifully savory flavor. You'll love it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Today is my birthday, so I thought I would just rant about the foods I simply love, love love, even though I may not eat some of them anymore, or only just rarely. They are not in order of preference, just whatever comes to mind next. You know, stuff like Kentucky Fried Chicken. I'd love to eat a piece right now - I like the thigh parts. Is there anything that tastes better? It's crispy and juicy and just spicy enough. It doesn't even taste greasy while you eat it, although we all know it's so high in fat you could go a week without another ounce of fat in your diet after eating one piece! And this kind of fatty food just kills my tummy! So KFC is completely OUT of my diet. To satisfy that craving when I get it, once in a while I'll make some breaded chicken tenders at home. They aren't nearly as greasy. They are delicious though and fill that KFC gap in my life.

Fast food items have a very small space in my list of favorite foods. One other is Taco Bell. A Chicken Gordita with Southwest Chipotle Sauce is high on my list as is their Mexican Pizza. But, alas, I don't eat those anymore either. It's probably been ten years since I've had one. And if I get to craving a cheeseburger, Dairy Queen's Classic Cheeseburger (cheese only) is the one I go for.

(none of the photos in this blog post are mine)

My Mom's Hungarian Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings. (Paprikas Csirke es Nokedli) Well, mine too since I learned to make it from Mom.This is one of my all time favorite foods and it's a real crowd pleaser. It's not even that bad for you! I skim the fat off the pot before I finish it. The dumplings are part you could do without because of the white flour, but it's just not the same without them. I sometimes will make them with a chunky kind of pasta like Orichette, or Campanelli, if I don't feel like making the dumplings. They are Hungarian Nokedli - made from flour, water and eggs. Easy, but it takes a little intuition when mixing them to know when the dough is the right consistency. The secret to a good dumpling is to the let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes after you mix it. This lets the flour "bloom" in the liquids and makes for a much more tender dumpling. This picture looks the closest to my own dish when it's done. There are a million recipes on the net for both the chicken and the dumplings. Here's mine for Chicken Paprikash.

1 large white onion - diced
1 - 2 cloves garlic - minced
1 whole chicken cut into pieces - skin on (to be removed later)
If the breast are whole, cut them in half so they are about the same size as the thighs.
1 T salt
Pepper to taste
4 - 5 T. sweet paprika (don't use the smoked paprika - it's too strong for this dish
Water or chicken stock or both - enough to cover the chicken
4 T flour
1/2 c water
1/2 c sour cream

Salt and pepper all the chicken pieces amply. In a large pot (dutch oven type) over medium high heat, brown all the chicken very well. It doesn't have to be cooked through, just brown. When it's just about brown enough, add in the diced onion and garlic and let them cook until they are a little softened careful not to burn the garlic.

Push the chicken aside in the pan, and add the paprika. Then immediately stir the chicken around to coat. Immediately add your liquid, enough to cover the chicken by about an inch. Turn the heat down to simmer, and let the chicken cook until it's almost, but not quite fall off the bone, about 45 minutes or so. When it's done, take all the chicken out to a platter. Let it cool for a few minutes so you can remove the skins. Also, now would be the time to de-fat the pot. If you let the pot sit for about 20 minutes, all the fat will rise to the top. Use paper towels, or a spoon or whatever method you use to skim the fat. You could also make this the night before and put it in the refrigerator so you can take the fat off before re-heating and finishing the dish. (I can't remember if Mom did all this skin removing and de-fatting, but I do.)

After you have removed the excess fat, in a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the 4 T of flour and water until smooth. Pour this mixture into the hot pot and stir well. Let the pot come back to a boil for just a second as this slurry will not reach it's full thickening potential unless it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and add the sour cream. No more boiling here - it might break or curdle the sour cream. If it does break, the dish is not ruined. It's still completely edible - it's just a little unattractive.

Serve over any kind of dumplings or noodles you like. Make some Nokedli if you feel adventurous! This link will take you to a recipe that is almost exactly the way my Mom and I make the dumplings. We don't use a machine to make ours though. Mom cuts pieces off of a board, I use the tip of a teaspoon to cut pieces out of a bowl. I like my dumplings fairly large, about the size of a large grape after they cook (they swell quite a bit so don't cut your pieces too large if you do it by hand). But you can make them any size you like.

How to make Nokedli (Hungarian dumplings)

Or just buy a package of potato gnocchi, use wide egg noodles, or use rice, or mashed potatoes.

Like any recipe, can be altered to your taste. Less Paprika (I wouldn't do that though). If you don't have a fresh onion in the house, throw a handful of dried onion flakes into the liquid. Leave out the sour cream. Add a big handful of fresh chopped parsley at the end. If you have wheat allergies, use rice flour to thicken the soup - it's works just the same. Add less or more garlic. The only cooking technique that has to be exact is baking, so go ahead and experiment. Next time I make this, I might try to add some shrimp. Mmmmm. Can't wait to try that one!

I've even taken this dish to another level and thinned it down with more chicken stock, a little more seasoning, taken all the meat off the bones carefully, and made it into a soup, adding lots of curly noodles and fresh parsley. When I served it at one of my Soup Nights, it turned out to be one of the favorites of the season. I actually stole this idea from a small restaurant in downtown Cleveland that was right across the street from where I worked. The Hanna Deli on 14th Street. The owners, Kathy and Fred, used to serve Chicken Paprikash Soup once in a while. It sold out before the lunch hour was over every time they featured it. So when I started my Soup Nights, I made sure it was on my list of soups.

Huge Lobster Tails with tons of butter and a baked potato. I've learned that it's really hard to find a giant lobster tail anywhere in a restaurant.You'll pay $30 - $40 and you get a tail that, in my opinion, is never big enough. So as a result it's something I rarely eat anymore because it's so expensive. Hmmmm, maybe I'll get my husband to take me out for lobster for my birthday!

Whenever I want lobster these days, if I feel like spending the money, I'll get tails from Sam's Club. They sell frozen tails that are pretty big for a fairly decent price. Two big tails for about $30. All you have to do is thaw and broil. Lobster is one of those foods that you need to be careful not to overcook. It'll get tough on you. No recipe needed. Just split them in half lengthwise and broil until the meat is just done. Depending on the size 5 - 10 minutes.

I've given up on whole lobsters too. The shells poke you, and are just too much trouble to tear apart. Have you ever tried to open a Spiny Lobster? It'll put at least a dozen holes in your hands unless you wear Kevlar gloves. And frankly, it's a little disgusting too (to me). Some people don't mind. I don't like my food looking at me. Tearing them apart is not only extremely messy, but I don't like to see what's inside, it's not appetizing to me. This picture shows the best way to serve lobster as far as I am concerned. Cooked to perfection; lightly browned and juicy and easy access. No digging around trying to pull out those tasty morsels. Just lift it out with a fork, dip in that golden melted butter and eat. Mmmmmm!

Hot Fudge Sundae with Wet Walnuts - Oh my gawd!!! Ice cream with nuts is the best! But when it's in the form of a Hot Fudge Sundae with Wet Walnuts, there isn't anything that can top it! Wet walnuts are walnuts that have been mixed up into a syrupy sauce made with maple syrup and some other flavors. They don't stay crunchy, but they still have a bite to them, sort of chewy/crunchy. There is a place here in Ocean City called Dumser's. You can get a small Hot Fudge Sundae with Wet Walnuts that is to die for! I had one for lunch about 2 years ago. I haven't had one since. But it was by far the best sundae I ever ate. And it wasn't cheap! It was $4.50 for a once scoop sundae! Maybe this summer I'll indulge in another one.

You can even make your own wet walnuts. Pretty easy. There are any number of recipes out there on the net. I have never made them since I would just eat them with a spoon in one sitting. Here is one that is simple and even suggests some adaptations to the recipe.

Coconut Cake. Heavenly! I love coconut, I love cake, I love frosting. This cake has it all! Chocolate cake is yummy, yellow cake is yummy, I even like carrot cake, and spice cake which are both yummy. But Coconut Cake is right there at the top of the cake list. I haven't had for years. Maybe two or three years ago I had a piece at a fund raiser I attended. There were three or four huge logs of coconut cake for the slicing. I had two pieces! It was absolutely delectable! Creamy moist cake with butter cream coconut frosting that wasn't too sweet, and covered with fresh grated coconut. I don't have a recipe to share - I've never made one. I don't make whole cakes at home because I would just get a fork and eat right off the cake dish. So for me and my husband, no baking of cakes in my kitchen anymore. I'll still bake a cake and decorate one for someone else though. I save my cake tasting for events where cake is served and I am lucky enough to have been invited!

Believe it or not, I can't think of another thing to add to this list. Most everything else I love, I eat. With the exception of the Chicken Paprikash, the others are on the "Forbidden Foods" list. But never say never! Once in a while, I still indulge in a piece of coconut cake or a hot fudge sundae.

It was fun to write this blog! Ranting about the foods you love, even if you know you won't be indulging any time soon was fun to do.

What foods would make it to your favorites list?