Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chez Bayer

Definitely 5 stars. Overlooking a lovely lake visited by all types of birds, a grapefruit tree right outside the door and an endless supply of good weather who could ask for more? But there was more. The accomodations were wonderful. Since we were the only guests, we had the visitor suite. One bedroom for us to sleep in, one for our bags and a private bath. Breakfast the first morning was Bob's specialty of the house, double ham egg McMuffins and an endless cup of coffee along with mouth watering cantaloupe. Our two dinners were served at different tables each night on the lanai.

Upon our arrival, Sunday around 5:00, we were greeted with big hugs, a welcoming cocktail and cheese and crackers. For dinner we had planked salmon that was moist and delicious with a side of fresh asparagus and salad. A red and white wine was offered.

The entertainment was varied and we did it all. Soaking in the hottub, a dip in the pool for those brave enough to take the temperature challenge, bowling, golf and even downhill ski racing. We got so carried away that we partied until 1:15 AM. During the events we were served coffee and assorted cookies and endless jelly beans.

Monday, our first full day was full too. A guided walk through the neighborhood first thing in the morning. After breakfast and some hanging out time, we did the guided shopping tour. BJs, where we could replenish our supply of pretzels and chocolate covered raisins, then on to St. Armand's Circle. A walk around the area and a visit to an interesting new shop, The Spice & Tea Exchange where we made our only purchases. From there it was on to Best Buy for Bonnie's new computer then Publix for some dinner things and home.

By the time we got home it was Happy Hour and dinner prep. Everyone had a job. Bob had to shred the pork that he had put in the crockpot in the morning. Larry was in charge of coleslaw and Bonnie was baking the potatoes in her new microwave baking cloth pocket. While they were all on cooking duty, I connected Bob's laptop to the wireless printer.

Dinner was exceptional and enjoyed with a good red wine. After digesting for awhile we went to SweetBerries for some cement (ice cream). Once home again it was time for a playoff of the night before. One game of golf and one of bowling, girls against the guys. It was a tie. The guys won the golf and the girls won the bowling. Time for a roll-off. One frame. YEA!!!! Girl power wins.

Tuesday morning was breakfast at Millie's. What a beautiful place. It was like a fancy B&B with antiques and knickknacks. I had the short stack of pancakes which were 2 pancakes the size of the plate. I needed the "shorter" stack. Bonnie had a whole wheat pecan waffle, Bob had the "everything" breakfast and Larry had Millie's omelet and just like at Chez Bayer, no shortage of coffee.
We're leaving this afternoon for The Villages, but would definitely recommend this place to everyone and we're putting in our reservation early for next year.

Thank you Bonnie and Bob, we had a wonderful time and our time together was priceless.




Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Day at Wadmalaw

We drove over to Kiawah today and took a walk around the shopping area for something to do.  After being there for a while we decided to come back and hit some golf balls since the weather had gotten nicer.  As the crow flies, it's about 2 miles to get to a certain point on the road that leads to Kiawah from here but driving, it's 18 miles.  We hit golf balls back and forth for about an hour.  I'm still waiting for that club to do its magic.

Until I started doing this blog that was supposed to be about cooking, I never realized how little I cooked.  For dinner tonight we had my leftover eggplant.  For appetizers we had cheese and crackers and some salmon and cream cheese rollups with a bottle of wine so we were pretty full by the time we had the eggplant while watching March madness.

We're both in Amy's March Madness pool.  I'm in 97th place out of 101 and Larry's in 33rd, but we're both still in the competition for the final four.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Day at Wadmalaw

We said goodbye to Jacqui and Marggi and hello to Gerry who came over to the pool house where we are staying to use the outdoor shower. We also used the outdoor shower, it is enclosed for privacy and no squeegee necessary. Gerry wanted to know what the plans were for the day and we said we didn't have any and he thought that was perfect. He was leaving early the next morning for the West Coast and loved the idea of just relaxing for the day.

We went down to the pond and sat and communed with nature and with Algie the live-in-the-pond alligator.
Later we went back to the pool and sat around and read books until the bugs got us again. When the sun is out it's OK but it's been rather overcast so the bugs love it. Just hung out the rest of the day, for sure I was on the computer most of the time.

For dinner we went to Wild Olive, a new restaurant on Johns Island that was wonderful. I had the best eggplant parmesan I ever had. It had pesto and spinach with the eggplant which was sliced very thin. It was huge and I took most of it home. We started with fried calamari and a nice bottle of Chianti. Larry had the Linguini with Clams and Gerry had Chicken Cacciatore. Last year we went to the Fat Hen which is owned by the same person and just down the road from Wild Olive.

When we got back, we said goodnight to Gerry since he would be up and gone early tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To Wadmalaw Island

What luxury! Breakfast at the hotel in Myrtle Beach was served until 10:00 AM and we only had a 2 3/4 hour drive from Myrtle Beach to Wadmalaw Island. Wadmalaw is about 20 miles southwest of Charleston, SC. 
We had a late leisurely breakfast with make your own waffles.  Then took our time packing and leaving the hotel.  Larry did his stretching too, as usual before the car ride.

We drove along Ocean Blvd through Myrtle Beach on our way south, eventually just taking Route 17. The place is pretty quiet right now and when we drove through the area that looked very commercial with hotels and shops there were signs advertising oceanfront rooms for $39 a night or $150 for the week.  Not the poshest area but what a deal.

We got near Charleston about 3 hours earlier than I told Jacqui we would arrive so I called to make sure she was there and it was OK for us to come early.  She was just on her way out to pick some things up that she ordered at Belks and I said we could get them for her since it was on our way in.  She just had to call and let them know we were coming sine the items were already paid for.  As I was on the phone with Jacqui Larry saw a golf store and wanted to stop.  Now here are all the strange - but good - things that happened as a result.
  • We went in the golf store and it turned out we went in there because Larry wanted to buy me a 7 wood.  He thinks that it will be much better than my 5 wood and will improve my game.  That's "wishful thinking".  So I did a bunch of practice shots, none of which showed that I was hitting the ball higher into the air, like I was supposed to, but we were going to buy the club anyway because Larry believes in miracles with my golf game.  
  • While I was walking around the store waiting for the transaction, Jacqui called and said not to pick up the items because the free gifts that come with them won't be in until next week.  
  • If it wasn't for my calling Jacqui she would have driven 20 miles or so to Belk's 
  • If she didn't have to call them to say we were coming we would have had to drive to Belk's for nothing and
  • If we didn't stop at the golf shop we would have been at Belk's before Jacqui found out we shouldn't go.
We finally got to Wadmalaw, met Jacqui's friend Marggi who was visiting from LaCrosse, WI and hung out for a while.  

Jacqui suggested we could hit golf balls which had Larry out of his seat in 1 second.  Now I was going to see how great the new club was.  With 13 acres of property it's perfect for me with any club and Larry will use his wedge or something that doesn't go far (for him).  However, these little annoying bugs were out in force so we cut the game short.

We had an enjoyable evening with an appetizer dinner.  They had a delicious chicken nugget that they buy from someone who comes in a truck.  The company name is Schwan's and  I just looked it up and they say they deliver by truck at home too.  

We watched American Idol and then went to bed.  Jacqui and Marggi were leaving in the morning for a conference in Atlanta.  My brother was arriving around 11 PM but we would see him in the morning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Myrtle Beach


This morning, Tuesday, March 24th, we had breakfast and were on the road by 9:15. Our destination - Myrtle Beach, SC.  We drove about 400 miles and arrived at 3:00 PM. Before we got there we stopped for gas when we saw this sign. You know what they say about something being too good to be true? Well it was, the station was closed.  It said gas was $1.54.  Of course we knew not to believe the sign which was in front of a closed store nearby.  Regular was only 28 cents.

On the way to our hotel we stopped and toured a Marriott Vacation Club facility which was very nice. The weather could have been better, the ocean had white caps and it was very windy. While we were there for less than an hour the temperature dropped about 8 degrees from 66 to 58. We checked into our hotel and then decided a soak in the hot tub would feel good and it did, but then we got hot so we went in the pool too. It was relaxing and refreshing and just what we needed after the long drive.
We changed and got ready for dinner. On our way out we asked the gal at the desk if she could recommend a place close by that had good salads. She said California Dreaming was just down the road. I remembered that we had gone there with Jacqui last year in Charleston and I had liked the menu.
Tonight I had a Hot Vegetable Salad:
Red and yellow peppers, snow peas, squash, artichoke hearts, scallions & garlic sauteed in white wine and a little butter.
Served HOT over hearts of palm, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes and mixed greens. Topped with Romano cheese.
Larry had a California Dreaming Salad:
Ice cold mixed greens topped with chopped eggs, cured ham, turkey, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, toasted almonds, tomatoes and finished off with fresh cooked Hormel(R) bacon and ham.
They each came with a fresh baked honey-butter croissant.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On the Road

On Monday, March 23, we left home at 9:25 AM, only 25 minutes past our desired departure time, which I thought was pretty good. We drove 470 miles and arrived in Fredericksburg, VA around 5:45 PM.

I started knitting an afghan since Larry does all the driving.  Hopefully I can finish it faster than the last one which took 5 years.
We had our favorite car trip food, pretzels and peanut butter. We use the waffle pretzels and make little sandwiches. An hour later we made a rest stop at a very upscale McDonalds in Lewisburg, PA, home of Bucknell and the Lewisburg Penitientiary, a high security prison.

We checked into our Hotel - a Fairfield Inn and went to a Mexican restaurant just down the street on Spotsylvania Ave, Pancho Villa, for dinner.  We were given chips and salsa for a starter to go with our Happy Hour Margaritas. We each got a combo plate of one burrito and one enchilada. An enchilada is made with a corn tortilla and a burrito is made with a flour tortilla and is bigger. Maybe I can remember the difference now. I had a bean burrito and a chicken enchilada. Larry had a beef burrito and a chicken enchilada.

I was interested in where the name Spotsylvania came from since it is also the County name. Never one to leave questions unanswered for long I googled it and found that Spotsylvania County was established in 1721 from Essex, King and Queen, and King William counties. The county was named in Latin for Virginia Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Almost ready to go


We're practically all packed and the car is mostly loaded. We finished our leftovers and now I'm going to clean the refrigerator.
Lynn is watering my plants taking in my mail, and if you read this Lynn, if any die it's OK.

I also got Mark's margarita recipe
2 parts tequila   - 2.5 pts (2 oz)  5 PP
1 part triple sec  - 2 pts (1 oz)    1 PP
1 part Rose's lime juice - 1 pt ( 1 oz)


3 oz drink - 4 pts
4 oz drink - 6 pts

I made one tonight that was
4 parts tequila
1 part triple sec
2 parts Rose's lime juice

No wonder I felt buzzed when I went over to give them our garage door opener.

I hope to use this venue to document our trip, so if you're interested, stay tuned.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dinner at Patsy's

We had dinner at Patsy's tonight. Larry and I and Patti were there. Patti brought the appetizers and I forgot the dessert I was going to bring.

Patsy's meal was wonderful. She made tilapia french for lent using a chicken french recipe. It was the best tilapia I ever had. Along with it she served asparagus and rice.

Since I forgot the dessert she supplied a can of chocolate covered Virginia Peanuts. Yum Yum!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday, March 19

Not such a beautiful day today. I took out all my summer clothes in preparation for packing for Florida and they're in piles all over the bed in the spare bedroom. I hate packing but I'm glad to be going away.

We went to the club for a late lunch today since it's tennis day and we wouldn't have dinner together (or at all). We each had tuna sandwiches on rye bread with roasted red peppers and spinach. I got a side of steak fries and Larry was good and got the fruit - but he did eat some of my fries. And we had a glass of wine too so I guess that means we've started our vacation already since we never have wine with lunch.

I spent the evening scanning in a bunch of letters my father wrote to my mother before they were married. I did about half of them. I brought them home with me along with pictures and other memorabilia after my mother died in 1992 but I never looked at them until a few weeks ago. I thought my brother and sister would like copies too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Bunnies are Finished

When we drove to Connecticut last week I started crocheting a bunny to keep me busy on the ride. I thought I would be able to finish 3 of them before we went home. One for each of the boys - Myles, Hunter and Tucker. What was I thinking! I was lucky to take a shower while I was there babysitting much less to crochet a bunny. Sometimes I would work on it at night if I wasn't too tired but still didn't get much acomplished. So I promised them I would finish them and mail them back to them. Today I finished them and tomorrow I'll mail them.
I showed them the patterns when I was there and the two older boys picked out the bunny and color that they wanted. Tucker got what I had already started since no one seemed to want it. It turns out I like that one the best. From left to right, this is what they wanted.
Tucker gets this one by default.
Hunter wanted the sitting down bunny in off white.
Myles wanted the big eared bunny but all in black. I did give him white eyes and nose and a pom-pom white cotton tail.

The Cleanup Salad

Instead of the usual St Patrick's Day snowstorm we had a sunny, blue sky, warm 60 degree day. Larry and I played some golf in the afternoon and it was great to get out in the fresh air. The next time we play we'll be in Florida.
We leave on Monday to start our drive down to Florida. To help clean things out of the refrigerator this is going to be a leftover week. For breakfast we had french toast made with the multigrain and sourdough breads from Sunday's soup. The multigrain french toast was the favorite. For dinner we made a salad with whatever we could find. It turned out delicious. Here are the ingredients we used today:
romaine lettuce
sliced onions
pickled beets
walnuts
pistachios
craisins


Then we had Italian sausage, peppers and onions all cooked outdoors on the grill. Another magnificent dinner. Forgot to mention we had margaritas to start, pulled out from the freezer. Have to use up everything before we leave.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Salmon at Barb's

Tonight Ann and I went to Barb's house for dinner. We had some great red wine that Ann brought with appetizers that Barb made and then a Pinot Grigio that I brought with the dinner that Barb also made. What a treat not to bring a dish to pass!

The wine I brought is my favorite bottle and I literally mean the bottle. And it tastes good too. Just take a look at the picture that is painted on the bottle (click on the picture for a larger view). Each different type of wine has a different painting on it.

It was an ev
ening of enlightening conversations - a little of what's going on with us, our favorite wines, the economy, the men in or not in our lives and everything else in between.

Barb made a wonderful dinner from the April 1992 Bon Appétit magazine - Salmon with Arugula, Tomato and Caper Sauce and Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas, Asparagus and Parmesan. I wrote down the names of the recipes and the issue of the magazine and figured I could find the recipes on epicurious.com and here they are.

Salmon with Arugula, Tomato and Caper Sauce Bon Appétit | April 1992
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
3/4 cup lightly packed chopped fresh arugula, basil or Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil1 shallot, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 tablespoon drained capers
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
Olive oil
Lemon wedges

Preparation:
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.Preheat broiler. Brush both sides of salmon with oil; season with salt and pepper. Broil without turning until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer salmon to plates. Spoon tomato mixture over. Garnish with lemon wedges.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salmon-with-Arugula-Tomato-and-Caper-Sauce-1709

Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas, Asparagus and Parmesan Bon Appétit | April 1992
Yield: Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound bow-tie pasta
1/2 pound sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fleshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:
Add asparagus to large pot of boiling salted water. Cook until just crisp-tender. Transfer to bowl of cold water using slotted spoon. Cool asparagus slightly and drain. Add pasta to same pot of water and boil until just tender but still firm to bite. Add sugar snap peas and boil 2 minutes. Add asparagus and heat through. Drain will. Return pasta-vegetable mixture to pot. Add oil and toss to coat. Add 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese separately.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pasta-with-Sugar-Snap-Peas-Asparagus-and-Parmesan-4445


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sausage Soup

I'm back, haven't written anything for a week but we must have eaten something. Probably just leftovers or went out a lot. As I said before, the reason I started doing this was because I can't remember my favorite recipes (or even what I did yesterday) so who's surprised that I don't know what we ate over the last week.

Yesterday I made one
of our favorite soups to go with drinks and appetizers we were going to have with some friends today. Originally it was just going to be drinks and appetizers at 4:00 PM but why should anyone have to go home and make dinner.

We got this soup recipe from Larry's daughter Kris. She said she pureed all the beans and that way her kids ate it without knowing what was in it. Hopefully they never read this. She found the recipe in the January Paula Deen magazine and surprisingly this is a very healthy recipe. We also had French Cosmos (the ladies did) and that recipe is here too. Enjoy!!

ITALIAN SAUSAGE SOUP

Makes 8 to 10 servings
1 (16-ounce) package sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup minced celery
1 cup minced carrot
3 (14-ounce) cans beef broth
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
1 (16-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (16-ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
1 (15.5-ounce) can great Northern beans, drained
2 cups ditalini pasta
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage, onion, celery, and carrot over medium-high heat until sausage is browned and crumbles. Drain well. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and beans; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir in salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: Ditalini pasta is short tubes of macaroni. Soup can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator before reheating.
Another Note: If you cook the pasta in the soup it will absorb all the liquid and be more like a stew.
January/February 2009 Cooking with Paula Deen


French Cosmopolitan ( original recipe from drinkmixer.com)
4 parts citron Vodka
2 part Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
2 part Sweet and Sour Mix
2 part Cranberry Juice
1 part lime juice (I used Rose's)
drop grenadine syrup

Pour all ingredients (except grenadine) into a shaker, shake well and strain into a chilled large martini glass. Pour a drop of grenadine into the middle of the glass and let it fall to bottom. (It will color the stem red.) Garnish with a slice of lime, and serve.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Diving and Route 22

We took Myles and Hunter to Myles diving lesson at the Y on Saturday and then a make-up class on Sunday. Hunter got to swim while Myles had his lesson. It was a fun time for both of them and it was fun for us to watch them. Myles has such a determination for a 5 1/2 year old and if he continues with this could become quite successful. Greta posted this video that I took on her Facebook page and called it "Scholarship in the Making" - let's hope so.


video


Sunday night we took everyone out to eat at Route 22. The boys had chicken fingers and french fries and the adults, Larry and I and Sarah (their au pair) had salads. The boys like this place because there are a lot of TVs around and one of them was showing the Bee movie. Fortunately they don't have sound.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stew Leonards

No, this isn't a new kind of stew, it's my favorite grocery store in Connecticut. I drove Myles to kindergarten today and met Arnie, the crossing guard as I walked him across the street. Later that morning Larry and I took Hunter to nursery school and then on to Stew Leonard's.

When you walk inside you're comforted by the warmth and intoxicating smells of the bakery. I realized I was hungry so we each bought a bagel that we could eat on the way home in the car. Then we came to the sample of warm Irish Soda Bread with some butter spread on it. Oh, was it good. We bought a loaf. Not too far away were the banana donut holes, sugar coated - YUM! Larry almost missed those. Next I came to the Pomegranate Juice fountain. Couldn't find Larry, he must have thought he was on a mission to race through the store, so I took a cup for him too. I found him at the next beverage sampler - 3 different juices. A fresh squeezed grapefruit orange combo, apple cider and an an orange drink. I sampled the cider and grapefruit orange. Now I needed a sample of something to sop up all that liguid. We didn't have to go too far before we came to the crab cakes with remoulade sauce. It was good but we had already bought some canned tuna for dinner. We thought tuna melts would be a good lenten meal for tonight. However, to go with that we found a 7 layer dip already made. Only 35 calories for 2 tbsp and there were 24 servings. That meant I could eat half of it for 420 calories. But then we came to the soup samples, New England Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque.



Irish Soda Bread

http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/004338irish_soda_bread.php

It appears everyone has their favorite Irish soda bread recipe. Some with caraway seeds, some with raisins, some with both, some with neither. The essential ingredients are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk reacts with the base of the baking soda to provide the leavening for this quick bread. Soda bread dries out quickly so is only good for a day or two. It is best eaten freshly baked and warm or toasted.


Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Method

1 Preheat oven to 425°. Sift together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.

2 Using a pastry cutter or two knives, work butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then stir in raisins.

irish-soda-bread-1.jpg irish-soda-bread-2.jpg
irish-soda-bread-3.jpg irish-soda-bread-4.jpg

3 Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in some more flour. Do not overknead! Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf.

irish-soda-bread-5.jpg irish-soda-bread-6.jpg

4 Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about 1/2'' deep in an "X" shape. Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with a knife, about 35-45 minutes. (If you use a cast iron pan, it may take a little longer as it takes longer for the pan to heat up than a baking sheet.) Check for doneness also by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it's done.

Hint 1: If the top is getting too dark while baking, tent the bread with some aluminum foil.

Hint 2: If you use a cast iron skillet to cook the bread in the oven, be very careful when you take the pan out. It's easy to forget that the handle is extremely hot. Cool the handle with an ice cube, or put a pot holder over it.

Transfer bread to a rack to let cool briefly. Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.

Adapted from Saveur Magazine.



Then we came to the freshly made rice cakes. The second loop of the store had the rice cakes with roasted red pepper hummus.

We came home from the store after more samples which I won't enumerate and when it was time, picked up Hunter and Myles at school.

For dinner we had the soups, the New England Clam Chowder was the best.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chicken Chili

This morning we went to Hunter's karate class where 5 adorable 4 year olds went through their paces. and then to the pizza shop for lunch. After dinner we watched High School Musical 3 with the boys. Us for the first time, them for about the 4th and they just got it last Friday.

Tonight we had the chicken chili. This is a recipe that Greta's friend Kasha put in her bridal shower cookbook. We've made it lots of times and it's really good and easy. We made a double batch of it and still have half of it in the freezer at home.

White Bean Chicken Chili
(serves 8-10)

This is a yummy, lighter alternative to regular chili.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound diced, cooked chicken meat (I usually just boil a couple of chicken breasts in water with salt and pepper - its quick and easy and keeps the chicken juicy)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 (18.7 oz) can tomatillos, drained and chopped (if you can't find tomatillos, you can substitute regular diced tomatoes)
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (7 oz) can diced green chilies (if you want it a little spicier you can use spicy, diced jalapefios)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed 

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can white beans
1 cup frozen corn
salt & ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil and cook onion and garlic until soft.

Stir in broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1O minutes.

Add corn, chicken, and beans. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the following toppings - cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Turkey Leftovers

We went to Greta's today and emptied out our refrigerator before we left home. We brought turkey, stuffing and all the leftovers from our turkey dinner night. I also made white bean chicken chili yesterday and brought some of that too. We won'thave to cook while we're here and will have food for others too.

We stopped at McDonalds on the way down and each got a chicken wrap. mine was grilled and Larry's was fried. We had our favorite pretzels and peanut butter that I spread and make little sandwiches as we drive as a second course. I think I already mentioned some of our meals may be less than desirable - but good.

We didn't have any traffic on I-95 North when we got to CT and this was a first. It was the easiest drive we had in a long time.

Our turkey dinner was well received and Greta made her specialty mashed potatoes to go with it - cream cheese, butter and milk with the potatoes. Not exactly great for the arteries.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Turkey Soup

Today I made turkey soup using some of the broth that I made yesterday. I added onions, lots of carrots, and wheat noodles.

Originally we were going to go to Greta's today, but since there was a big east coast snow storm yesterday we decided to delay a day to make sure all the clean up was done.

This was good because it gave me an extra day to get ready to go.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Leftovers and Turkey Broth

It's a good thing we love leftovers since we eat them so often. But can you imagine the amount of turkey leftovers when there are only two of you and you cook a 19 pound turkey?
Another easy meal. Two left over bottles of white wine and leftovers from yesterday.

I had a dentist appointment this morning and on the way home
stopped to take some pictures where the Bay goes out into the Lake. There was so much ice in the channel. While the whole East Coast is locked in a snow storm, we didn't have any snow today but it is COLD.

When I got home I carved all the meat off the turkey and then cooked the rest to make turkey broth. I'll freeze it and it will be available for using like chicken broth in any zillions of recipes I can create in large batches so we can have more leftovers.

As Larry says, we have meals "that keep on giving."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Roasted Turkey

OK, the truth is out. All those wonderful easy meals don't just pop out of the freezer by themselves. I actually have to cook.

Before Thanksgiving I put two turkeys that I bought on sale into Anna's freezer. Anna and Ed are in Florida for the winter and I'm watering their plants so. We went to Atlanta for Thanksgiving so had one of the turkeys at Christmas. On Monday I moved the remaining turkey from their freezer to their refrigerator and brought it home on Saturday. We're also going to Florida and when we get back they'll be back too so couldn't leave it their forever. Also, we're going to Greta's to do some babysitting this week so we can bring some meals with us.

Today we went to grandson Connors final hockey game. Both teams played very well but unfortunately McQuaid lost to Fairport 2-1. There was such a chill in the air today that I was happy to stay in the kitchen. I put the turkey in the oven and then Linda came over so I could help her upload her friend's pictures to match.com. We were done by the time I had to baste after the first 1/2 hour.

I made the turkey using a modified version of Emeril's turkey recipe that we saw on Good Morning America a few years ago. I also made two side dishes using cranberries I had in "my" freezer. Last year we had a cranberry
recipe that we really liked and at one point we couldn't find cranberries in the store anymore. So this year I was going to be sure I stocked up but then couldn't remember which was the recipe that we really liked. I think it was Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish recipe. I got this recipe from my sister Nadine a long time ago when she made it for Thanksgiving. Since then it became part of the family Thanksgiving menu. She got it from listening to Susan Stamberg on NPR but it turns out it's really a Craig Claiborne recipe that Susan's mother got from the New York Times in 1959. See the story and recipe at Susan Stamberg Cranberry Relish.
Link to this page for the full recipe that I originally got from the GMA website for the turkey. I couldn't find it today to directly link to it. I didn't have apple cider for the basting liquid so I used orange juice. My turkey weighted 19 lbs and it cooked in the same amount of time.

This is the link to the Cranberry-Orange Relish I made today and here is the Cranberry-Orange Sauce I made at Christmas. They're both really good.


Emeril's Roast Turkey Recipe

Emeril: Basic Turkey With Giblet Gravy

One 10- to 12-pound turkey, defrosted if frozen, giblets, neck, and livers reserved for the gravy
• 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
• 1 orange, halved
• 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves)
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
• 1/2 cup chicken stock
• 1/2 cup apple cider
• Giblet Gravy, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and fit a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan.
Rinse the turkey well inside and out with cold running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels and transfer the turkey to the prepared roasting pan.
Season the inside of the turkey with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the onion, carrot, celery, orange halves, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Using kitchen twine, tie the ends of the turkey's legs together as if they were trying to cross their legs. Season the outside of the turkey evenly with remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Essence (recipe below). Rub the butter evenly over the entire turkey. Transfer the turkey to the prepared roasting pan and place in the oven.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and carefully remove the turkey from the oven. Combine the chicken stock and the apple cider, and using a turkey baster, baste the top of the turkey evenly with 1/3 of the chicken-apple liquid. Return the turkey to the oven and cook for an additional 1 3/4 to 2 hours, basting twice more during this cooking time with the remaining chicken-apple liquid.
When done, the turkey should be a nice golden brown color, and the juices should run clear when you insert the tip of a knife at the joint of the leg and thigh. An instant read thermometer inserted into the joint of the leg and thigh, without touching a bone should register 165 degrees when the turkey is cooked through. If the turkey begins to look too browned before being completely cooked through, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil until it is done.
Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Reserve any juices left in the roasting pan for the gravy.

Emeril's Essence
• 5 tablespoons sweet paprika
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1/4 cup garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablspoons onion powder
• 2 tablespoons cayenne
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 2 tablespoons dried thyme
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend well. Store in an airtight container in your spice cabinet for up to 3 months.

Giblet Gravy
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• Giblets, liver, and neck from 1 turkey
• 1 cup diced onions
• 1/3 cup minced celery
• 1/3 cup peeled and minced carrots
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 sprig fresh thyme
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium pot, melt the butter and the heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the giblets, liver, and turkey neck, and cook, stirring until brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, and saute an additional 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring to incorporate any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, thyme sprig, and any reserved juices from the bottom of the roasting pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Strain. Adjust seasonings with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm with Emeril's Big Bird. Makes about 3 cups