The most elegant hors d'oeuvre you'll ever make.

Make one day ahead (important).

Grease a full size spring form pan with unsalted butter.
Chop 6 hard boiled eggs with a couple of tablespoons of real mayo.
Spread evenly over the bottom of pan.
Chop 1 sweet onion, enough to spread evenly over egg.
Soften 1 8oz. package of cream cheese, combine well with 1/3 c. sour cream (I usually put both in a food processor and let 'er rip)
Spread evenly over the onion. (If you plop it around the whole surface first then use a cake spatula to spread, it's easier.)
Cover tightly and chill overnight.

Just before serving:
Drain a 3oz jar of black caviar.
Chop curly parsley; about 3/4 cup
Run a knife around the side of the spring form pan to loosen and release the pan.
Spread caviar evenly over the surface to cover white to within 1" (or so) of sides, and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the white edge and sides.
Serve with Bremner wafers.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

November 2007
Baked Brie

It needs to sit for about 1/2 hour before serving.

1 package of frozen puff pastry—
remove one sheet and let thaw before trying to unfold
1 small round of Brie
Slivered almonds to scatter on top
Your favorite preserve (I like apricot with this)
1 egg slightly beaten (to brush on and act as seal for dough)

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out thawed puff pastry to a thin sheet that will easily encase the Brie. You can cut a large round leaving enough dough to bring up and around the entire cheese. You don't want the bottom to be dough heavy.

Unwrap Brie and spread preserves on top. Cover with slivered nuts then turn over onto the dough. Bring up edges and tightly wrap cheese, eliminating excess dough. Brushing the edges of the dough will help seal it.

Flip again onto a cookie sheet – the nuts and preserves side is up now. Brush with beaten egg; if desired, make cut-out of leaves from remaining dough and decorate top. Try holly leaves and berries for the holidays! Brush again with egg wash.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until dough is golden. Let rest 30 minutes.

Serve with a plain water cracker.

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October 2007
Sandy & Steve's Pea Soup

Baked ham from Sunday's leftovers,
bone and all
Bag of dried green peas
(I find health food stores sell the best; they cook faster
and taste better. Wash and soak in water for an hour or so)

Large sweet onion, diced
Celery, diced - same amount by volume as onion
3 or 4 carrots, diced
A couple large cans (2 quarts) vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt & pepper to taste
Butter
Good Sherry wine

Put 1/4 stick of butter in a large soup pot—medium high heat, get to light brown stage—don't let it burn. Add the leftover ham, turning frequently, brown for 3-4 minutes.

Add celery, onion, and carrots; sauté, stirring frequently. When onions are fully translucent, add peas and chicken broth. Liquid should cover all ingredients.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat to simmer; cook until peas are thoroughly done. Be sure to stir frequently from the bottom: do not ever let the soup "catch" on the bottom of the pot, as this will ruin the flavor. Keep liquid level constant, adding more broth (or water) as needed. Skim off any fat as required.

When peas are done, they will break up quite readily. Add herbs and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Simmer another 15 minutes or so.

Remove ham, set aside to cool, strip meat from bone (this should literally fall apart). Cut into small pieces.

Briskly stir the soup with a wire wisk to incorporate peas with liquid, or use a food processor if you're a sissy. We prefer ours on the lumpy side anyway.

Add meat back into soup. Stir and serve immediately.

Add 1 ounce of sherry (if desired, and who wouldn't ?) to the bowl just before eating.

Serve with a good, toasted whole-grain bread and a slab of butter. Awesome.

September 2007
Anita's Totally Illegal Navy Punch

First served at a birthday brunch for a close friend,
this drink was quite a hit!


Put into a large punch bowl:
4 pineapples cut into chunks
(or use two cans of chunk pineapple)
1/2 lb sugar (no kidding)

Now, the fun begins…
Pour in:
1/2 bottle dark rum
1/2 bottle of peach brandy
1/2 bottle of some other kind of brandy
Now, add the juice of 4 lemons (as if that's going to help!)
Finally, pour in
4 bottles of chilled champagne.

Serve confidently and arrange for cab service!

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August 2007
Bruce's Garlic Herb Bread

Stuff:

One (1) loaf of outstanding Italian bread
(However, if you have a streak of adventure, try a four-grain bread for a totally different experience. Make sure that whatever bread you choose that it has the potential to have a great crust.)
3/4 of a stick or more real butter
(yeah, that old fashioned kind)
Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1/2 fresh lemon
Garlic (don't be shy here), chopped - not too fine
Basil, Thyme, Oregano
Dill (be careful,this stuff can overwhelm everything)
Black Pepper (fresh, only) - use with liberty
Paprika

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slowly, at low heat, melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add the garlic, basil, thyme, oregano and dill to the butter. Mix until the spices have "settled" into the butter. Add the black pepper, squeeze in the lemon and stir.

Cut the bread in half, horizontally. With a spoon or a brush, lather both sides of the bread. Note: make sure there is enough butter to go around (enough to cover the entire surface area) Also, as a small trick, if you cut the bread so that one side is "fatter" than the other, you can make some of the bread crunchy and some not! Put the two sides back together, wrap in foil, and to toss it into the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the bread.

Take the bread out of the oven. Turn the oven to broiler mode.

Add the cheese on the top of the two sides of the bread.

Dust the two sides with paprika. Stick the bread, open face, under the broiler. Watch the bread until the cheese starts to melt. Pull out!

Flip two sides back together, cut into sections and enjoy.

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July 2007
Bermuda Salad

Salad:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced
1 large cauliflower, rinsed and broken into florets
1 bunch of romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried and broken off in whole leaves
Crumbled blue cheese

Dressing:
2 cups safflower oil
1 cup tarragon red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika

Combine dressing ingredients in covered jar. Shake well and pour over all vegetables, except romaine lettuce. Cover and chill several hours, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, toss vegetables and serve on a romaine leaf. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese on top. As much as you like! Serves 8

My neighbor, Cena Nelson, first served this unusual salad. It’s quite colorful. Sometimes I parboil the cauliflower just slightly, and drain thoroughly.

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June 2007
Killer Baby Back Ribs

This is great with Patio Baked Beans, cole slaw, corn on the cob, Cranberry Barley Salad...you get it!

2 whole racks of baby back ribs
Cider Vinegar
Your favorite barbecue sauce or my favorite:
Sweet Baby Rays Original - 2 bottles
Heavy duty aluminum foil

Heat oven to 300°.
Cut racks into sections of three ribs.
Heat to boiling a very large pot of water with about 1 Tabslp. cider vinegar. Turn off heat and drop in ribs.
Let sit for 15 minutes. Remove and drain.

In a large baking pan or on a heavy cookie sheet, spread heavy duty foil large evenly to enclose all the ribs in a tight pocket. Put on latex or vinyl gloves! Schmeer the barbecue sauce all over each rib section and place in the foil. When all ribs are coated and placed, make sure there is a decent amount of sauce on the meat.

Seal the foil tightly (no steam must escape; fold flaps up to prevent drips) and bake for 3 hours. Really.

The ribs are completely cooked right now (you can leave them out at room temperature for hours if cooking the same day). I finish them over hot coals for a few minutes for the crisp factor. Broiler would work too.

Now, the key, don't open the foil until you are actually ready to finish the ribs. This is the big secret.

Everyone seems to have a special procedure for doing ribs. Try this cooking method....it really works!

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May 2007
Cranberry Barley Salad

A good friend, Anne H., devised this recipe after she tasted a similar dish in a restaurant and they wouldn’t share the ingredients! Anne did an amazing job. You’ll see.

1 cup barley
2 cups of cranberry juice (I have also used a
combination of pomegranate and cranberry)

2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 bag (3 cups) whole cranberries picked over and washed (if out of season, look for frozen Ocean Spray brand)
1/4 cup honey
1 cup dark raisins

Set oven to 350 °
Spread barley on a cookie sheet and dry roast for about 15 minutes - don't let it burn!
In a saucepan, simmer the roasted barley in the cranberry juice for 25 to 30 minutes, drain. Peel and dice the apples putting them immediately into the lemon juice.
Coarse chop the cranberries and add to the bowl with apples.
Add the honey and raisins and cooked barley.

Combine all ingredients and chill.

A tasty side dish with anything barbecued. And, try it mixed with vanilla yogurt.

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April 2007
Marcia's Hot Onion Dip

1 C. chopped sweet onion
1 C. grated swiss cheese
1 C. mayo
1 Tablsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teasp. garlic salt

Preheat oven: 350°
Combine everything and put into an oven-to-table dish.
Bake for about 25 minutes till bubbly and browning nicely on top.
Don’t undercook!

Serve with a good cracker or bread rounds. It’s so simple, but incredibly yummy.
Tastes better and better as it cools to room temperature.

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March 2007
Caramelized Onion Pizza

My friend, Dina, again! This recipe is so simple, so easy, that you will make it over and over again. People go crazy for this. It has a perfect blending of salt and sweet.

1 store-bought Boboli Thin Crust Pizza Crust
2 -3 large Vidalia or Wala Wala or other sweet onions
5 Tablsp. unsalted butter (not margarine)
2 thin slices of prosciutto
Gorgonzola cheese (the precrumbled kind is fine)

Slice the onions thinly and sauté in the butter for about 2 hours on low heat until they are caramelized but not overly colored (Note: This can be done days ahead. Just warm up before using).
Heat oven to 400°
Spread the onions over the Boboli to within 1/2 inch of the edge; make sure the entire surface is covered.
Pull short strips of prosciutto and place in curls around the pie. These will crisp up slightly when cooked.
Scatter pieces of crumbled gorgonzola over the pie but not on the prosciutto.
Cook on a preheated pizza stone or a cookie sheet for about 10-12 minutes until hot and bubbly.


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February 2007
Roasted Carrots and Sweet Potato Spread

This dish is fragrant & yummy as a room temperature spread or a hot side dish.

2 lbs. of baby carrots (easier than preparing a bunch from scratch if time is an issue)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut
into pieces similar in size to carrots
1 large sweet onion, quartered and separated a bit
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teasp. thyme (more if fresh)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a roasting pan large enough to hold all the vegetables in one layer, put all ingredients except oil.
Drizzle olive oil over all, mix with your hands to coat the food.
Roast in oven for about 40 minutes or until all the vegetables have softened enough to be pierced easily with a pointed knife. Stir them around at least once during roasting.
Cool enough to transfer to a food processor (see photo) and in as many batches as necessary, process to the desired consistency. If using as a spread, make the puree smooth, with no large chunks.

Serves 6-8

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January 2007
BB’s Maple Oatmeal Walnut Scones

I fell in love with the maple nut scones at Starbucks. Addicted, really. So I decided to try and make them myself. I combined several recipes and after many attempts, settled on this.

Scones:
1 cup regular oatmeal
(toast briefly in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350°- watch carefully)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablsp. dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teasp. baking powder
1/2 teasp. baking soda
1/2 teasp. salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
(cut up and kept in the freezer until needed)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Glaze:
2 tablsp. dark brown sugar
6 tablsp. heavy cream
2 tablsp. maple syrup
1/2 teasp. maple extract
confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 400°

After toasting the oats, reserve 1/4 cup for garnish & proceed with the recipe.

Combine the first 6 items (dry ingredients) and mix well. I put everything but the oats in a food processor first and process to distribute the baking powder...then add the ice cold butter pieces and the 3/4 c. of toasted oats. Process by pulsing until the butter has broken down and the mixture looks crumbly, but even. Don't over mix! Remove all to a large mixing bowl.

Combine the buttermilk and maple syrup and add to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until a soft dough is formed. Flour your hands and gather into a large bulk; turn out onto a floured surface (I use a cut open brown grocery bag taped to my counter). Pat into a large round about 3/4” to 1” thick. Cut into pie shaped wedges and place on a cookie sheet. Leave 2” between scones.

Brush with more heavy cream or buttermilk. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Remove scones to a wire rack to cool.

Make glaze: Whisk all ingredients until well blended, begin adding confectioner’s sugar until thickened to a consistency that resembles icing. Let sit a bit then drizzle on the cooled scones. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted oats.

COLD butter and liquids and quick mixing are critical when baking. Get the scones into the oven within 15 minutes of mixing.

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