Monday, April 30, 2012


Spring or Fall, I'm not sure which season is my favorite in New York City. 

New York City Spring azaleas
All I know is that we left a chunk of our hearts there when we moved back to Idaho almost three years ago.  We miss friends we love, the diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and gorgeous flowers blooming everywhere right now.

5-star restaurants were near our row-house on Steinway and Ditmars.  We frequented every kind of cafe, bistro, steakhouse, deli, etc.  One of our favorite romantic spots, a Brazilian restaurant on 36th is Malagueta.  On Saturday afternoons they serve Feijoada with collard greens.  It was so flavorful and was usually long-gone by early evening.  We often enjoyed an early dinner when family and friends came for a visit.  We shared Passion-Fruit Mousse and Coconut Flan for dessert.  

Feijoada (pronounced "feshwada"), is the traditional dish of Brazil. Some dear friends who had lived in Brazil, introduced it to us.  Everyone has a different favorite version; the exact ingredients are not as important as how you eat it. I like to save leftover pork, bacon, ham bones, beef, you name it, I freeze it.  When I have enough to make Feijoada, it's time for a celebration with family and friends.  It's served with rice, collard greens, and oranges.  Enjoy and celebrate the arrival of Spring showers, flowers and happiness.

Feijoada (Brazilian Meat and Bean Stew)
  • 1 pound black beans
  • 1 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 pound beef jerky
  • 3-4 strips smoked bacon
  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 small or 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • Hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the beans and soak them overnight. Next day, put them in a pot of new water and boil until they are tender; this will take at least an hour. As the beans are cooking, put pork shoulder, sausage, beef jerky, bacon, and pork chops in a pot of water and boil for 1 1/2 hours. Cut the onions and garlic in small pieces and cook them in oil until they are a bit golden. Add them to the meat. Add the cooked beans to the meat, then add the bay leaves, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper. Cook for another hour until all the flavors are mixed together. Remove the bay leaves and separate the meat. Cut the meats in slices and put the beans on the middle of a platter with the meats around the sides.  Makes 12 servings.

This is best prepared while listening to Brazilian music and best shared with lots of love.

Bom apetite!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grilled Caribbean Pork Kabobs

Remember Friday the 13th? 

Well, here's a tale of Tylenol and tender bones!  Who would imagine that siblings, (2 of 6), would break limbs the same day in unrelated accidents? Annahlise tried to block a soccer ball at school that was kicked her way.  The ball smacked her just right, and both bones in her right arm were broken.  Spence flew off the trampoline and broke his leg.  He had quite a shiner too.  Dad was in Georgia and their poor mom was on her last legs when we met her in the emergency room at midnight. 

We are thankful because especially for Spencer things could have been much worse.  Monday they saw orthopedic surgeons and got water-proof casts.  Who knew?  Remember putting garbage bags over a cast for bath time?  The doc said," Hose the sand out of the cast."  Ironically it all happened a week before they were leaving for a 7-day family cruise to Mexico.  Bon Voyage loves...and don't ya just love Spencer's BSU Bronco cast!

Annahlise had an ice-skating competition last Saturday and I was worried that her cast would throw her balance off.  She amazed me and did so well, spinning, jumping and swirling on the ice.  She made me extra proud, got a great score, and her cast hardly showed. Then she flew to California, joining her family for their cruise.

So what sounded good?  Maybe some Tenderloins to go with all that Tylenol... 

We whipped up a batch of Caribbean Rub, an island inspired concoction that adds a slighty sweet and spicy flavor to both pork and chicken.

For Kabobs:  Cut pork tenderloin into desired size chunks and sprinkle with the rub.  Gently work it into the surface of the meat and let it rest while you get everything else ready. Next cut up a fresh pineapple, red peppers and onions.  Thread pork, pineapple, peppers and onion on skewers and make kabobs.  Fire up the grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side, turning them four times.

I served it with a broccoli slaw for a light and luscious Springtime meal on the patio.  Oh, it's a great time of the year!

Caribbean Rub
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, packed, optional
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • dash ground cayenne or other ground hot chile
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced
Cut 1 pound pork tenderloin into chunks, about 1 inch in thickness.
Combine rub ingredients; sprinkle over pork chunks and rub in. Let meat rest while you cut up fruits and veggies to add to skewers.  Grill kabobs over medium-high heat 5 minutes on each side, turning on all four sides, until cooked through, about 155°.  This rub recipe makes about 1/2 cup.

Happy grilling friends!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stabalized Whipped Cream

Ahhh, the season of strawberries, cream, and heat! 

 911...after posting the recipe for Key Lime Pie last week I got an email from Cassie.  She complained that her whipped cream looked beautiful in the kitchen, but with warmer weather, it melted and looked soupy very quickly when serving a dessert.
Years ago at a Wilton cake decorating class our instructor taught us the secret of making fluffy whipped cream that can hold up in the fridge for a week.  Decorators pipe it on cakes, but I love to top pies, tarts, sundaes, trifles or whatever!  It holds up to heat much better than regular whipped cream and best of all, for entertaining purposes it can be made way ahead.  This recipe yields 2 cups.

  Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
In a small pan, combine gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick.  Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves.  Remove from heat; cool (Do not allow it to set.  If you do you will have little chunks of gelatin in your cream).  Whip the cream with the powdered sugar, until slightly thick.  While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream.  Whip at high speed until stiff.  At this point you may add a flavoring extract.

* I have used Splenda with great success.  I need to try Stevia for low-carb lovers like me.

Thanks for visiting, hope you'll come back!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Key Lime Pie

Ordinarily I'm not superstitious, but after a horrific Friday the 13th, (my next post), we decided we are in need of a cruise to nowhere!  When I think of my favorite guilty pleasure on a cruise, without question it's Key Lime Pie.  It's just the perfect sweet and sour, creamy-crunchy, melt in your mouth dessert.

With company in town and a big bag of limes in the fridge, I got busy.  Lucky for us, I was able to 

snap a few inspiring images before this baby was history!  If you are in need of a little get-away from life as usual, this is a tasty one.

Key Lime Pie

  • 1-1/4 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cups fresh Key lime juice
  • grated zest from 2 limes
Creamy Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter and blend thoroughly.  Pack mixture firmly into a 9" pie pan and press firmly to bottom and sides, bringing crumbs evenly up to the rim.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool.  While the crust is resting, in an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks and lime zest  at high speed until fluffy.  Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to whip until thick.  Now lower the speed of the mixer and slowly add the lime juice until incorporated.  Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.  Before serving, whip the cream, confectioner's sugar and vanilla until nearly stiff.  Evenly spread whipped cream on top of the pie and garnish with a slice of fresh lime.  Serves 6-8.

Happy Cruising Friends!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gege's Sloppy Joes & Grand Treats

We made so many happy memories over Spring Break this year!

We missed these two little happy Easter "chicks" who live way too far away.

Yet our hearts and home were full with 15 grands and most of their parents celebrating together.

Easter treats adorned our Spring table.  Another pinterest-ing idea, using mini-souffle cups instead of egg cups with grass and goodies.

Go ahead, pack a little grass in the cup, then add a festive cupcake paper and candies. Perfect little touch, use them all Spring long.  You'll find they are loved by all ages!

We played at the park, Boise Discovery Center, and prayed for spurts of sunshine between rainstorms.

So, what's easy and fast when feeding crowds? 
You got it, Sloppy Joes.  Many associate it with Fall Halloween carnivals and parties, but I serve it year round, traditionally like my mom did. 

Gege's Sloppy Joes
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Brown ground beef in a dutch oven.  Drain well.  Add all other ingredients and simmer till onion is soft and cooked, about 45 minutes.  Serve on toasted buns.

Tip:  This is a perfect slow-cooker meal.  Brown meat and onions and add everything to a crockpot.  Let cook on low for 4 hours and take to the park for an easy picnic entree.

Happy picnicking all! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Miracle of Easter

Happy Easter! 

May we feel gratitude and joy as we commemorate the most sacred and significant religious event in all the world’s history, the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He lives and is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  Knowing He died for me and will come again provides peace and happiness in my life. 

"How great, how glorious, how complete,
Redemption’s grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet
In harmony divine!"
               Eliza R. Snow 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Heavenly Holiday Ham

With the bunny hopping by in just a few more days...

our Easter table is embellished with shiny eggs and parading ducks in their Easter bonnets. 

So are you scrambling for the perfect entree to serve? 

Preparing an enticing ham with a prized orange-honey glaze
 will make your celebration soar!

Orange-Honey Spiral Ham
looks and smells divine and tastes beyond amazing.  
Best of all, before you know it, your ham will be heating 
in the oven, allowing you time to celebrate with family and friends.

Begin with a Spiral Cut Ham
                                                                                          photo courtesy of KSL
Mix up the Orange-Honey Ham Glaze

Lay your ham on two sheets of heavy foil.  Spoon glaze between slices of ham.  Pour remaining glaze over the ham and wrap tightly.  Bake as directed.
Orange-Honey Spiral Ham

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • Zest and juice of two oranges*
    • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • pinch of nutmeg
    • 1 (10 pound) bone-in half spiral ham
    Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a bowl, mix all of the glaze ingredients together.  Place the ham, (cut side down), in the middle of two sheets of heavy duty aluminum.  Use enough to completely enclose the ham.  Pour or brush the glaze over the ham, working it in a little between the slices.  Tightly wrap the ham up and place it on a rack in a roasting pan.  Fill the pan with about an inch of water and roast in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, about 20 minutes per pound. For a 10 pound ham plan on approximately 2-1/2 hours.  Let the ham rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
    * Update:  Without an orange in sight, I used the rind and juice from 2 tangelos and the glaze was perfectly delicious.

    You may want to pair it with yummy Curried Fruit, my go-to showy side I always serve with ham.

    Happy Easter All!