Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stuffed Flounder Fillets

60.  Dinner seems to arrive very quickly in my home, every evening.  What a job we have as moms, keeping everyone happy, satisfied and full!  They are always coming back for more.  And just when you've cleaned up the kitchen, someone is filling up the sink again with bowls, cups, dishes and unidentifiable substances.

Flounder has been on sale lately and I have been searching for new interesting recipes to make. The recipe I made last night was so yummy.   It was "Stuffed Flounder Fillets" and
There were several steps but it was a very simple process.  The original recipe called for crab, but I had precooked frozen shrimp as a substitute and chicken stock in place of white wine and milk for the cream.  I decreased the butter as well.  How delicious it was with steamed asparagus and rice.

"Stuffed Flounder Fillets"
The American Country Inn and Bed and Breakfast Cookbook
page 184, 185

6 flounder fillets, de-boned 
2 Tblsp lemon juice
 = = = = = = = = = =
2 Tblsp finely chopped shallots
4 Tblsp diced green onions
1/2 cup butter
½ cup light cream
= = = = = = = = = =
5 oz. king crab, (or shrimp)
½ cup dry white wine
white pepper to taste
Tabasco Sauce to taste
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
= = = = = = = = = = 
½ cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
fresh bread crumbs
½ cup clarified butter
= = = = = = = = = =
Brown Stock

Marinate the fillets for 1 hour in the lemon juice and salt.
Sauté the shallots and green onion in butter until tender.  Add enough 
flour (about 2 tablespoons) to make a cream roux.  Cook for a few minutes
and add the cream.  After bringing to a boil, reduce
to a simmer, add the crab (shrimp), wine and seasonings.
Remove from heat and
add ½ cup bread crumbs and 2 eggs. 
 The filling should be firm yet spreadable.
Spread on the fish and roll in a spiral. 
Coat the rolls in flour, the beaten eggs and 
bread crumbs.  
Brown in clarified butter.  Bake in a 350º oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Let set for 10 to 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, combine the wine, shallots and herbs.
Reduce by half, and add the brown
stock.  Serve with the flounder fillets.
Serves 6

"If the Divine Creator has taken pains 
to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat,
the least we can do
is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
 ~ Fernand Point

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Homespun Easter Eggs & Giveaway!

59. I am so excited!!!  My fingers were busy, busy busy 
last night making new Homespun Easter Egg Pins.
  You can find them here on my Etsy Shop.
There is purple with ivory stitching
 and light yellow french knots.
White with yellow stitching
 and pink french knots
And, golden yellow with 
ivory stitching and pink french knots.

My super talented daughter gave me some ideas and
we came up with these fabulous colors.  
Didn't they turn out sweet.

So...I am going to be giving away pins to three very special ladies!
But, you need to spread the word!  
The winners will be announced on April 1st!

If you post my "Giveaway" on your blog, let me know and I will enter your 
name 2 more times!!!

Just leave a comment by April 1st and I will choose 3 lovely winners!
(Congratulations to Cher, Sue and Tami...just send me a note with your address and
I will send them to you.)

And don't forget to fill your sweet friend's and family's Easter basket
with a "Homespun Easter Egg" Pin!

"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.  ~S.D. Gordon

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Packaged Mixes

58.  The other evening I was so hungry for an egg frittata with zucchini and onions.  I had some frozen sausages and a package mix for scones.  Usually I like to make scones from scratch, but how nice to make dinner in about 45 minutes!  So, I cut up a zucchini and chopped a small onion to sauté and then added beaten eggs and cheddar cheese over the veggies.  I finish it off 
under the broiler to brown the top.

While that was cooking, I whipped together this scone mix.
  I am always a little leery of package mixes...they always have a certain taste =-(
 The recipe called for water but I used milk instead for flavor.
  I dropped them on
 parchment paper and they turned out beautiful.  But what about the taste?
...I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  They tasted beautiful without any butter or jam...but butter and mixed berry jam made them especially yummy.

And this is who came to the table for scones..even though he
wasn't invited!  
The brand name is "Sticky Fingers Bakeries"
You have to check out their site and see all the delightful flavors
of scones and other wonderful Gourmet Specialties!

"Oh, God above, if heaven has a taste it must be
an egg with butter and salt,
and after the egg is there anything in the world
lovelier than fresh warm bread 
and a mug of sweet golden tea?"
 ~ Frank McCourt

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tilling the Garden

57. Hurray!!! Spring has finally arrived...although today in NY,
it is only 45º. The thought of planting flowers is always on my mind. But I have a funny and delightful story to tell.

Every year, usually in March, I like to head outside with warm layers, garden gloves and a shovel. I walk around my yard and assess the soil, tiny green sprouts beginning to peak out from the soil, and think of the new projects I will tackle or more likely, the "new" flower beds I will dig. I also love to plant peas!
Because of my recent surgery, I have had to put this yearly ritual on hold...with the hopes that I will regain strength sooner, not later. As I was recuperating on the couch two weeks ago, I heard voices, trucks...just a lot of noise outside the house. I went to the window to see a cable truck parked in front of the house and about 7 men in work hats, jump suits and shovels walking back and forth, discussing intently the variables of the job they were about to accomplish. Then one fellow grabbed spray paint from another truck and began spray painting symbols and numbers on our street...the sidewalk...and my front lawn. What could they be up to. They were on the side of the house, front of the house, behind the house...and through the gate...back and forth. When my honey came home, he learned that the cable company was in the process of replacing all the cable wires and reconstructing the conduits, which had deteriorated over the years. I was too weak to even think about it...so I took a nap.
Last Tuesday, they were back. This time with a jack hammer, shovels, huge spools of wire and conduit. They knocked on the door and said that they needed to dig on the other side of our home and possibly in our back yard. Well, go to it...do what you need to do...and then I realized where in the back yard...right in the middle of my garden! I smiled and said to the foreman, "Wonderful, you can help me till my garden this year!!", I think I surprised him...he froze and then turned back to me and said, "Oh, we will make sure we put everything back the way we found it." And to that I responded, "Thanks, I'm sure you'll do a great job." He laughed and they started the work. It took them 2 days. The hole they dug wasn't over far enough so they had to dig a larger hole...over a bit. By the second day, they completely dug my whole garden up, removing all the soil onto a tarp...they fixed the conduit and reworked the cable. Then returned all the "fluffy" soil back into my garden, stacked my tomato stakes neatly, raked the. yard, trimmed the ivy off the fence and swept the soil away. And the best part...my garden is tilled!!!!

Isn't this great!
I smile to myself often, when I think of the ways God sends help, encouragement or makes our life's jobs easier. These guys were just doing a job...but for me, it was a blessing! So today, if you are just doing your job...keep in mind...you may actually be providing a blessing for someone in the most unlikeliest ways.

"The greatest gift of the garden
is the restoration of the five senses."
~ Hanna Rion

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fresh Clams

56.  Living close to the ocean, avails you to fresh seafood and shell fish.  Every day, we pass one of the best Seafood Restaurants and Seafood Markets in the area...Jordan's Lobster Farms.  Align Center
You can get any type of shell fish
or seafood and they make "the most" awesome 
New England Clam Chowder...I have ever tasted!!!!  

Yesterday, we decided it was a seafood day!!!  
We stopped by Jordans and picked up chowder and fresh clams, littlenecks.
My honey is such a great cook and he has a wonderful recipe for Linguine and Clam Sauce.  It is from his Time Life Books recipe collection.  While he was in the Navy, he subscribed to "Time Life's Foods of the World" and read every book and recipe while on a ship at sea.  
We have used these books over and over.
They are a great resource of information.  
His recipe is from "The Cooking of Italy" series and is
"Spaghetti con le Vangale"  or Spaghetti With Clam Sauce
There is also a wonderful recipe for "Linguine with Clams and Fresh Herbs" 
from Bon Appétit,
February 2005 on the Epicurious site as well as several other yummy choices.
This recipe is one that is so very easy yet so delicious.  
Adding fresh clams gives such a wonderful added flavor. 
We used linguine and littleneck clams.
This is definitely a dinner treat! 
So here is the clam sauce...
I just love when they open...
like they are singing!!!  They
were so fresh
Linguine con le Vangale...

If you love clams...this is so easy, you have to try it!

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day,
teach a man how to fish,
and he will eat for a lifetime."
~ Chinese Proverbs

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stuffed Cabbage

55.  I remember dinner as a child, eating delicious home cooked meals.  One of my most favorite was Stuffed Cabbage.  We called them "Halupki".  My mother would make a large pot filled to the brim with these savory cabbage rolls.  I especially loved the chunks of cabbage, which were too small to stuff with meat, cooked in the same pot along with the "Halupki".   Cabbage rolls are very similar to stuffed grape leaves.  Some cooks put sauerkraut on the bottom of the pot, others use corned beef instead of ground beef.  

My mother had wonderful technique in making these delightful  rolls and she would say, "You never need to use a toothpick or string to hold these together, if you roll them correctly."  And she was right.   The cabbage I used the other day was so large, so I saved 10 large leaves.  My recipe is a combination of my mothers recipe and my own additions.

Last week I spotted Stuffed Cabbage, on another blog.  It's the "French" way of cooking Stuffed Cabbage.  It was great to read and watch the video...but the French cook very differently than the Polish or Slavs.  You can see it on "Tongue in Cheeks" blog.  

I made a small pot of Stuffed Cabbage and here is my recipe.

Stuffed Cabbage

1 large head of cabbage, cored
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the entire head of cabbage to the water.  As the cabbage begins to soften, work the cabbage leaves off very gently being careful not to tear the leaves.  Place immediately in a cold water bath.
After leaves are done begin to make your sauce base.

2 Tblsp olive oil
2 large cans crushed tomato
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp oregano and/or basil

Pour olive oil into large 6-8 quart pot.  Heat and add onion and garlic cooking till clear, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomato and spices.  Bring to a boil and simmer.

To prepare the meat filling:

2 lbs ground beef
2 cups long grain rice
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
½ tsp paprika
1 to 2 eggs

Mix all together in bowl.  To make the cabbage roll place approximately ¼ to ⅓ cup meat into bottom of cabbage leaf.
Bring bottom of leaf up and over the meat...
then, taking the right side of the leaf, fold it inward to the left.
Take the top of the leaf and fold it down, completely covering the meat
and previous fold of leaf.
Last, take the remaining edge of leaf and tuck it into the inside of the roll, being careful not to tear the leaf.
Place the completed roll into the simmering sauce prepared.
Once you are done with all the leaves and meat, add any extra meat into the pot in shape of mini meatballs, or extra cabbage that was too small to make into rolls.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down to a slow simmer, cover the pot and cook for up to 1 ½ hours.  This tenderizes the meat and completes the cooking of the rice.
I make a pot of rice on the side for serving.

They turned out so good!  You can make tiny ones for appetizer or for a buffet by cutting the leaves in half and using the same wrapping process.

There you have it...Polish Halupki!

"We do not remember days;
we remember moments."
 ~ C. Pavese


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