From the belly of the whale…

My heart skipped a beat when I couldn’t find my turkey recipe in my recipe folder the other day! I searched online for it, but to no avail. I had a very pleasant surprise when cleaning out the “Belly of the Whale”!

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You see, the “Belly of the Whale” was named by my brother, when he lived with us, for a closet that I just put (no, throw) anything that doesn’t have a place or am too lazy to deal with at certain moments. So, while you see things neat and tidy in many areas, one wouldn’t want to even try venturing into the belly of the whale. Well, guess what I found as I courageously waded through (with determination to conquer the “belly” ) a thousand insignificant things that got tossed into the belly of the whale??? My turkey recipe (!!!), among other things that I didn’t know I had. I even found a little creamware bowl that I had bought but had forgotten! Following is the basic recipe based on Emeril’s recipe published in 2001:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 tbs chopped fresh sage

1 tbs chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cracked pepper

1 turkey

stuffing of your choice

1/3 all-purpose flour

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth

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1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. Butter 1 qt casserole dish. Combine butter, sage, thyme, salt and pepper.

3. Carefully separate skin from turkey breast starting from neck. Spread half of butter mixture between skin and meat over breast. Rub remaining mixture over turkey sink.

4. Fill turkey body and neck cavities with stuffing.

5. Place turkey in roasting pan. Roast, basting occasionally with pan juices, until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reisters 180F. Let turkey stand for 15 minutes before carving.

6. Meanwhile, skim and discard all but 1/4 cup fat from pan juices; reserve juices. Transfer fat to pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth and reserved juices; cook, stirring, until thickened.

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p.s. What I would like to know is that…. do you have a “Belly of the Whale” in your house, or am I the only one with this problem?!

In the door, out the door… and apple pie

Things remain to be hectic at my end.  But having things in and out the door makes me believe that I am making somewhat of a progress…

OUT THE DOOR — another quilt completed and being sent to “The Quilter“‘s editor, and shipment of “Pieceful Garden” quilt kits:


IN THE DOOR — new fabrics from Benartex‘s “An Apple A Day”.  These fabrics will be for a quilt appearing in “Quilter’s World” next year as well as for an original quilt pattern from me. These fabrics are just fabulous, aren’t they?

I mean, how can one not fall in love with this?

The fabric reminded me of an easy fresh apple pie recipe I tried a couple of weeks ago.  Since I am still a blogger in training (i.e., I still haven’t mastered the habit of strapping a camera to my hip 24-7, hahaha), I didn’t take a picture.  Sorry.  But I hope once you try the recipe, you would forgive me!

Ingredients:

2 9-inch pie shells

8 Granny Smith apples (you would have to tweak this according to the size of your apples)

2/3 cup sugar (for sweeter apples, you will be able to use less sugar)

1/3 cup flour

1 tbs ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon milk

1/4  cup sugar

1. Peel, core and slice apples, mix with the rest of the ingredients.

2. Pour mixture into pie dish lined with one 9″ pie shell.

3. Cover the pie dish with the other pie shell. Seal and crimp.  Cut vents on top pie shell.

4. Brush the top of pie shell with milk.

5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar (I actually only used about half of the amount).

6. Bake in oven at 400 F for 15 minutes.

7. Reduce heat to 350 F, and bake for another 20-25 minutes. I cover the pie edge with metal pie strips to prevent the edge from being burnt.

8. Bake for another 5-10 minutes at 375 F to lightly brown the top of the pie crust.

Easy Blueberry Pie

Hello Everyone, Happy Tuesday to you!

I have been making blueberry pies recently as if they are going out-of-style. Of course, it would make sense to serve a piece of blueberry pie on something blue:

Ingredients:

2 9-inch pie shells

3 1/2-4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar (I did half brown sugar, and half regular sugar)

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 cup sugar

1. Mix blueberries with flour and 1/3 cup of sugar.

2. Pour mixture into pie dish lined with one 9″ pie shell.

3. Cover the pie dish with the other pie shell. Seal and crimp.

4. Brush the top of pie shell with milk.

5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar (I actually only used about half of the amount).

6. Bake in oven at 425 F for 15 minutes.

7. Reduce heat to 350 F, and bake for another 20-25 minutes. I cover the pie edge with metal pie strips to prevent the edge from being burnt.

8. Bake for another 5-10 minutes at 375 F to lightly brown the top of the pie crust.

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For a fancier Blueberry Recipe, hop on over to Kelli’s.

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Ellen has sweetly awarded me:

Ellen has become one of my dearest bloggy friends. She has definitely lived up to her motto on her blog — to honor and encourage. Through her daily posts, it is evident that she honors God and those she loves, and has definitely encouraged me to do the same! Thanks, Ellen – for being a sweet blessing to me and many others!

A Fruity Summer

I never am ready for the summer, but whether or not I am prepared… summer is HERE in its full force. I keep feeling like we have skipped spring over at my end, and just hopped into the sweltering summer heat!!!!

Well, a pretty and delicious Fruit Salad always helps making summer just a little bit more bearable:

Ingredients:

2 cans of peach pie filling (you can get by with one can, but I like it better with two)

1 large can of pineapple chunks, drained, discard juice

1 medium (or large) can of mandarin orange

2 medium apples, diced

3 large bananas, sliced

2 lbs strawberries, diced for fruit salad mixture, sliced for garnish

5 or 6 kiwis, sliced

1 cup of grapes

1 bag of 8 oz miniature marshmallows

Optional:

Blueberries and other berries of your choice

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Mix all the ingredients together (except for the sliced kiwis and strawberries, and mandarin orange). Garnish with kiwis, strawberries, and mandarin orange. Spread sliced kiwis first around the outer perimeter of serving bowl. Repeat for sliced strawberries. Lastly arrange mandarin orange like rose petals in the center. You have an easy and tasty Fruit Salad for your summer outdoor entertaining.

I have made this for potlucks, showers, and even summer weddings – always a hit!!!

Enjoy your summery days, everyone. Of course, I would glad trade my summer days here for a cooler day, say, from the Down Under! :) Did I mention it’s been HOT over here?

Don’t judge a dish by how mine looks

I have been reading Ellen’s Collection of Russian Recipes, and decided to try one of her recipes for dinner last night. It turned out to be very tasty:

You are asking what in the world that red saucy mess is. Well, it’s Stuffed Cabbage (Golubtzi)! Can’t you tell from the veins of the cabbage leaf peeking through the sauce I have slathered all over the rolled cabbage? Oh, you can’t?! Hmmm… I can assure you that it’s stuffed cabbage – you’d have to trust me on this! ;)

I think my dinner plate looks much better than how my stuffed cabbage turned out, don’t you? I promise you this is a very delicious dish, and Ellen has MUCH better and more appetizing pictures on her blog.

The recipe in the following is copied (without the tips) from her blog:

2 lbs Hamburger
1 – 1/2 cup cooked rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 onion grated
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 can tomato soup
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 onion chopped
1-1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups water
1 head cabbage

Core cabbage. You can carefully separate leaves or cook the cabbage whole. Boil in water until soft and pliable. Combine first 6 ingredients. Place about 1/3 Cup of the hamburger mixture onto a cabbage leave and fold over the edges and roll up. Place in a baking dish.

Fry the onion in oil until it is translucent. Add soup, sauce, ketchup and water. Stir until well mixed. Bring to a boil. Add a little of sauce to the sour cream to temper it, then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 1-1/2 hours.

It was definitely a fun recipe. Thanks Ellen, for sharing the recipe. I will for sure make these rolls again, except… urm, Ellen… I didn’t know separating the cabbage leaves without tearing them up in the process could be SUCH an art!? :)

Alrightie everyone, it’s back to work for me!

p.s. Shhh… please don’t tell anyone, but I also sneaked in some crumbed bacon bits into the meat mixture.

The Anything-and-Everything-goes Salad

While I was doing some major cleaning around the kitchen one day last week and didn’t feel like doing too much for dinner, I decided that it was time to serve our favorite Chicken salad for dinner to kick off the warmer weather:

My Le Telerie “Grapes” tablecloth that normally covers my breakfast table at this time of the year was not dried from the dryer in time for dinner. So, I did without and went ahead and set the table. I used my Spode Tower Blue dishes on the Spode Vermicelli service plates. As you can see, I am crazy about just any English blue-and-white transferware:

I decided to be a bit fancy to make up for not having my tablecloth and brought out the crystal goblets:

Back to assembling the chicken salad… you can just add whatever vegetable that suits your fancy to this salad in addition to the cubed chicken breast (grilled) and crumbled feta cheese. I normally season my chicken with lemon pepper seasoning prior to grilling. For this particular day, my salad has — (in alphabetical order) — avocado, (chopped) basil, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, dried cranberries, red cabbage, red onion, Romaine lettuce, sesame seeds, (torn) spinach leaves, and (Roma) tomatoes:

The dressing is made with mayonnaise, honey, a bit of soy sauce and ground black pepper (to taste):

(Optional – sometimes I serve the salad with garlic bread straight from the oven). Husband’s comment at the end of dinner: “Very Nice!”

Well, this is one of those days where I have been staring at my computer screen for 8 or more hours… guess what’s for dinner at my house?! (Hint: please refer to the title of this post)! Only this time, I will use different veggies, and dishes – and I do have my tablecloth! Before I sign off, I thought I should mention that serving this salad for dinner tonight would allow me to have more time to sew and quilt! :)

Creamy Cranberry Coffee Cake

This is probably the most elaborate dessert recipe I have ever undertaken. I made it when my brother and his wife came to visit us in late autumn last year. It goes wonderfully with coffee!

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

3/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Cream cheese layer:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the first flour ingredients. Combine the egg, orange juice, butter and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in the cranberries and orange peel. Pour into a greased 9-inches springform pan.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Spread over batter. Combine the flour and sugar; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Sprinkle over top.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 70-75 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing sides of pan.

Irish Lemon Curd Tarts

I participated in the “The Sweet-and-Yummy- Savory” recipe sharing hosted by “Gracious Hospitality”. I had used this recipe for Christmas last year in keeping with my colonial-themed Christmas dinner. The recipe is from “Entertaining Ideas from Williamsburg”. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take a picture of the actual tarts. I didn’t know I would be needing the pictures for blogging. But I will show a quick picture of my Christmas tablesetting with my Spode Christmas Rose plates. The tarts aren’t exactly “sweet”, but they are “yummy” and go great with coffee or tea! By the way, did I mention I am a dish-aholic?

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 cups sugar

rind of 4 lemons, grated

2/3 cup lemon juice

1 cup butter, melted

24 small baked tart shells

Beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Beat in the grated lemon rind, lemon juice, and butter, and pour the mixture into the top of a double boiler. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, over hot water until it has thickened. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Fill the baked tart shells with the chilled mixture.