This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes,
learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun! -Juila Child

Monday, November 28, 2011

Groundnuts of West Africa

While looking into the food and culture of West Africa I found that peanuts or groundnuts as they call them, honey, cinnamon and coconut are a great part of their cuisine. I know many of us here in the states are allergic to peanuts so please exchange the peanut butter for soy butter, almond butter or any other kind of nutty butter you prefer.
These little candies are served in in West Africa as a yummy treat during special occasions. They are so delicious and very easy to make! You can find the powdered milk and/or toasted wheat germ in the bulk food section of WinCo Foods, Whole Foods or Fred Meyer.

African Peanut Butter Sweet Snacks
    • 1 cup peanut butter
    • 1 cup honey
    • 1 -2 cups powdered milk or 1 -2 cups toasted wheat germ1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 3/4 cup finely grated sweetened or unsweetened coconut
      Place peanut butter and honey in bowl and blend well. Add 1 cup powdered milk or wheat germ and blend into a stiff dough, adding more powdered milk or wheat germ as needed.Form mixture into small 1-inch balls or patties.Put coconut in flat pan.Roll balls or patties in coconut to coat.Place side by side on dish covered with wax paper, cover with another wax paper sheet, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zuppa Tacchino -Turkey Soup!

Country Home Turkey Soup
Allow plenty of time; like all afternoon, for this recipe as the turkey bones have to simmer for a long while:

Leftover turkey bones
1 cup of Leftover sliced turkey meat
Bouquet Garni (2 whole stems parsley, 2 stems thyme and 1 bay leaf)
1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup each of largely chopped onion, carrot and celery

1/2 cup each finely chopped onion, celery and carrot
1 1/2 cups egg pasta or home style noodles
2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and stems removed
1 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Salt Free Seasoning
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

Place the turkey, bones bouquet garni and largely chopped veggies into a large soup pot, place enough water into the pot to cover ingredients.
Turn heat on to about medium to medium low and allow to simmer for at least 2 to 3 hours or until all meat has fallen off the bones.
Place a large colander in sink with large pan or bowl under it and drain the pot with the bones, into the colander, saving all the liquid into the pot below. Add the turkey meat and separate all the large pieces meat that has come off the bones and add to the pot of liquid. Discard the rest bones, bouquet garni and veggies left in the pot.
Place pot of liquid back onto the stove top and add the finely chopped veggies, salt, pepper and turkey meat. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the noodles and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until noodles are tender and veggies are cooked through. Then stir in the  spinach and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve!
For thick creamy soup: mix together 1/2 cup milk and 1tbs corn starch in a small mixing bowl and stir it into the soup, turn up heat slightly to bring soup to a boil stirring constantly for a couple minutes until the soup thickens.

il tacchino avanzi (the leftover turkey)

Turkey leftovers, what to do with them. First of all, save the turkey bones, all of them!
My mom informed me yesterday that I am in charge of making the home made turkey soup on Sunday, I usually make a weekly family dinner at her house anyway, so this will be fun. Stay tuned for the recipe!
In the mean time a tasty tacchino slider!  I made this for lunch today:

1 dinner roll or two slices of bread
sliced turkey as much as you like
mayo or salad dressing if you don't prefer either use gravy, it helps keep everything together
1 leaf lettuce, just because it needs some green
1 oz leftover dressing/stuffing
1 oz cranberry sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Spread mayo, salad dressing or gravy on both sides of bread or roll. Place turkey, then lettuce, then cranberry sauce, more turkey, then the dressing/stuffing or gravy. Place other slice of bread/roll on top, cut in half an bon appetito. May be served either warm or cold. If serving warm, omit the salad dressing/mayo and lettuce if desired and place sandwich in the microwave for a few seconds.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jib Jab

Has nothing to do with cooking but Jib Jab has free animated Christmas e-cards:

Laura & Lily's Funny e-card

Mashed Potatoes

After lots of pondering about blogging, I have finally created one that I believe will not only be interesting to family and friends,  but also help me organize all the recipes I have come up with throughout the years.
What promted this idea is that on Thanksgiving my mom decided to call my cousin, she had family there and we thought we could visit with them all on speaker phone. My cousin happily told me she made my yummy mashed potatoes but put too much sour cream in them, thus making them a bit too thin, I assured her I had done that  plenty of times and that I really should have this recipe written down as I usually just throw this or that into the dish all willy nilly; that's what most chefs/cooks do.  Then I thought after I got off the phone with her; how selfish is it of me and all of us chefs to just throw things together in a pot, not knowing exactly how much of this or that I put in there, I should compile all my recipes that are in my head or on ratty scraps of paper here and there and compile them. So this is the beginning of that journey. 
I didn't even realize anyone else cared about or even made those mashed potatoes other than myself, so it's good to know that someone is. So in honor of her, here is the official recipe: 

Laura's Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6
6-8 medium russet potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cut into 2" chunks
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream (use half & half or milk if you prefer)
2 TBS butter or margarine at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste

Place peeled, cut potatoes in a large pot, fill water up to about 1/2 inch above the potatoes so they are completely covered in water, add the salt, boil on medium to medium high heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked through and feel soft when speared with a fork.
Carefully drain potatoes completely with a colander then place potatoes in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Mash potatoes until most lumps are gone. Warm up the heavy cream slightly for 15-20 seconds. Stir in the warm cream, butter, sour cream, nutmeg in with the potatoes. Mix all together with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for about 3 minutes or until potatoes become fluffy and all ingredients are incorporated.
They should still be plenty warm, but if not warm up for a few minutes in the microwave. You may also warm them in the oven in a covered oven safe dish for 10 minutes on 350° F.
That's it, very easy, fun to make and very tasty!

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