Monday, July 31, 2017

Cooking Club#10 (a little late)

We all need a little Christmas in July, right?

It is very obvious that I've lost the blogging buzz, as I'm not posting very much anymore, except for my Friday Friend Cookbook countdown.  There is no reason in particular--I can't tell you why, because I do love the blogging world so much--it's a great community--I'm just not contributing so much to that community right now.  I'm in a slump.
(only a blogging slump, not a life slump)
But anyway--my slump being what it is, I've been looking in my drafts and guess what I found?  Photos from my Cooking Club's December get-together!
So that is why you are getting a little Christmas in July!

Christmas time is always so hectic, but we, the Cooking club friends,  do love to get together and visit with each other. 
We enjoy each other's company and just hanging out cooking and talking about our themed food.  But because December is very busy and  hectic, we wanted to make it simple-- so we decided to make a Christmas cookie or treat that reflected our heritage.  
That's all. 
A cookie.
  Then we'd just have some hot buttered rum, maybe a Christmas cocktail, whatever and just laugh and talk.
We wanted to make it simple.

Simple, right? 
Well, let me tell you--when one starts to look into their 'heritage' for recipes--you open a whole can of worms!
First, Debbie E looked into her Swedish traditions and discovered the 7 cookie custom, so she went all out and made
Swedish cookies at that!
Why seven?
Seven has lots of meanings:
According to mythology, the city of Rome as built by 7 kings.
According to Islam,  Allah created 7 heavens on top of each other.
According to the Bible, God created the world in 7 days,  7  years of plenty, 7 years of famine in Genesis, 7 days of the feast of Passover, Jesus is known to have had 7 last words on the cross, and finally,
7 is the number of the wonders of the ancient world.

It's a cool tradition!
She made little flags so that we would know what cookie we were eating. 
We had to try them all of course. 
We had to try all the cookies everyone brought!

Sally made some Czech Jam cookies (there is a strong Czechoslovakian ancestry in her background) which were so, SO good.
They were still warm.

And then she brought a print out of Czechoslovakian Christmas dinner traditions.

These we laughed about all night:
-No one should sit with their back to the door!
-the first person to leave the table after dinner will be the first one to die in the coming year -that is why you should all get up from the table at the same time.
-no alcohol should be served on Christmas eve (damn it!)
-a pregnant woman will know whether she is carrying a boy or a girl once the first Christmas eve visitor enters the house.  If the visitor is a male, she will have a son, etc.
-the table should be set for an even number of guests. An odd number brings bad luck.

There were more, but these wove themselves into the conversation all evening.
It would be hard to remember all those superstitions!

Gina made some Italian Butter Cookies and some Russian Tea-Cakes.
I love Russian Tea-Cakes*! (that's what we called them when I learned how to make them in 7th grade home-ec), also called Mexican wedding cakes and in my house, chocolate chip snowball cookies (I put mini-chocolate chips in mine).
Gina didn't bat an eye, or have to go searching for her heritage recipes. She's been Italian her whole life!
*the Russian Teacakes are the one cookie that is made the world over. It's a shortbread cookie rolled in powdered sugar.    This was probably an Italian Tea-Cake, because I don't remember Gina saying she was Russian.  Or Mexican.

Now, Shelly had some trouble.  She kept saying that she didn't know what she was and she didn't know what to make.  Then it dawned on me-- Shelly is CANAIDIAN!  You are Canadian! I said, Go make those Nano Nano Bars you make!
She really does have family in Canada, so...? It's okay, right?
And she does make the Nanaimo bars at the holidays and everyone loves them.   They make them in Canada. (and upper Minnesota) 
So they were perfect!!  And rich and decadent. 

Me?  Well, I made  a batch of Italian Christmas cookies with sprinkles.  In honor of the Handyman, of course.  His mother is 1/2 Italian, which makes him 1/4 Italian.  He likes the cookies his mommy made.
Then I made some mincemeat cookies in honor of my heritage.
Mincemeat is very "British" isn't it?  And my mother loved a mincemeat pie.  Like real mincemeat. With venison.
You know, those old Brits would shoot a stag on the country estate and chop it up and make a pie!
So did my mom and grandma.

I don't go for that---my mincemeat comes from a jar, purchased in the store and it only has fruit in it.
These cookies are good and moist.  
Everyone liked them.

 I like to see us laughing......

We really needed coffee or milk at this point. Something to cut the sweet with.  It was pretty sugary that night!

Just waiting for the pictures to be over so they can have some cookies!

We were all on a sugar high for a while -- then we got sleepy. We are such party people!

I'm not sure why the Handyman has his hand raised?

Baily has spotted a friend!  
I hope Lorin gave her a crumb or two.

Cooking Club #10 was the best one yet!
And these cooking club meals were all good too... Just click on the link to see.
Cooking Club #1   Meals your mom used to make
Cooking Club #2  Cajun Cooking
Cooking Club #3 -Let's all go to Hawaii
Cooking Club #5  Famous Chefs
Cooking Club #7  Breakfast for dinner
Cooking Club  #8  Slow cooking  
Cooking Club #9  Mexican Street Food
Cooking Club #10  Your Christmas Cookie Heritage 
Coming soon-- Recipes from the back of a box

Happy Eating!
See you next time.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Friday Friend Recipe #149 -- Swiss Corn Bake

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #149!

Barb's Swiss Corn Bake

and you know all the whys and wherefores of this countdown, right? Homemade cookbook, friends contributed, Handyman said I couldn't/wouldn't do it, I'll show him, yadda yadda yadda....
...and the rest is cookbook history!

If you like corn and Swiss cheese, you'll like this. Personally I love the crispy soda cracker crunch on top!

Swiss Corn Bake
Barbara Brown
Buckeye, AZ

Cook 3 cups corn till tender ( 2 9oz pkgs frozen) Drain well.
Combine 6oz can evaporated milk, 1 beaten egg, 2 T chopped onion, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3/4 cup shredded Swiss Cheese. 
Turn into 10x6 baking dish. 
Toss 1/2 cup bread crumbs with 1T melted butter and 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Sprinkle over top.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

This is Barb's gazillionth recipe in the countdown.
You can see them all right here!  Just click!
She has a gazillion more to go--that means a gazillion more stories--and I'm drawing a blank.

So ( I can't believe I'm doing this--sigh-- here goes.....)
One time it was my 25th wedding anniversary and we took over a bar.
I have no idea who took this picture, but all that gang is my family, so taking 'over' a bar is relative...we had the numbers.
Anyway, that's me in the sun glasses and Barb in the striped shirt.  It was nighttime and we were inside--a few gin and tonics might have played a part in the following photos.

And then my family decided to dance--we were celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary after all.  Oh..and for the record, these are my 'in-laws', but I claim them as mine.  I kind of like them--a lot!  (I'm very lucky that way).
So is my family dancing.  All except the guy on the right...he was not family. We had no idea who he was for a while. 
  His name was Richard and he had had a lot to drink and just hanging with us.

Poor Richard even believed my sister-in-law, Meghan when she said we were members of a Christian band.  He was just wondering if we were part of something--there were so many of us--so she said the first thing she thought of.  It's not a bad gig actually.

So, Richard hung around us....

Danced with us... or danced with Barb anyway...

Thank goodness he made himself scarce when Leslie decided to show us her panties!  I think she had a heart embroidered on them.
Um....the Handyman seems real interested in them too!
(it's a good thing my thighs touch, so you couldn't see MY panties!)

Oops--I might have spoken too soon!
What the heck were we doing???
Whatever it was--Barb thought it was funny!

And that's my Barb story--- her very short stint in a Christian band-- dancing with her fan Richard and doing crazy celebrity things like lying on pool tables. (?)
One last word---all the brothers, brother in laws, sisters and sisters in law, and Barb kept waiting for the bartender to yell "last call" for drinks--but we live in Nevada--there is no last call--as long as you're buying, they're serving--24 hours a day.
We got home about 4am. 

Recipe #149 is done!
Only 145 left to go!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Friday Friend Recipe #148 -- Rum Cake

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook: I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county). At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 18 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions, exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts, had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND, we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said,  "you'll never, EVER do that."

WELL---maybe I'll show him!  Maybe I will.

Which brings me to this... recipe #148

Rum Cake

Rum cake reminds me of CHRISTMAS! 
Rum Cakes, rum balls, bourbon balls---all alcohol infused desserts are Christmas to me.
I love this cake most of all!  It's so moist and lasts forever and has a great rum-butter glaze  that soaks into it.  You can add walnuts if you like--I like, but my family does not.

And again we meet our Friday Friend Ashley, with her 4th recipe in the countdown!  You can see all her recipes here. (just click)
If you recall (I kind of feel like I'm narrating an old Batman episode--when we last left our caped crusaders....)  Ashley and her husband David, own the  Winnemucca restaurant, 'The Griddle'.  David's father opened the original one in 1948.  He passed away in the late 70's I believe. 
Ashley and David now own it and  have opened 3 more Griddle restaurants  in Idaho.
(I'll do a little advertising for them here)

They are now in the process of opening a 5th in McCall, Idaho, where they had to go before the city council and prove they were not a chain.
For years, McCall has enforced a "mostly local" ordinance, limiting the number of chain restaurants that can operate in the resort community. Now, there is a proposal before the city that would open the gates to restaurateurs who own multiple eateries in other communities.

The debate surfaced earlier this month when owners of The Griddle, who operate four other iterations of the restaurant in Idaho and Nevada, said they wanted to open fifth location in McCall. However, the "mostly local" ordinance dictates no more than 10 percent of the town's restaurants can be chains, and that limit is maxed out with Subway, Chapala, Moxie Java, Stax and KB's Burritos already operating in McCall. All together, there 44 eateries currently operating in McCall.

This week's McCall Star-News reports the city's Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of a modification to the ordinance that would allow restaurants with five or fewer out-of-town locations to open in McCall.

The Griddle owners said they already have their eye on space in Alpine Village. If the proposed rule change is approved by the McCall City Council, they'll be flipping pancakes in the resort community sooner than later.

I think that is so funny!  The Griddle being  a Chain restaurant.

I, of course, have eaten at the one in Winnemucca, and also at the one in Meridian, Idaho. (seen below)  It's the same "Good Cookin" as is touted in their logo---lots of David's father's original recipes.

 I don't get to see Ashley very often anymore.  She doesn't live in Winemucca, and is very busy with 5 restaurants, so when she comes here, her time is limited.  But 10 years ago, when my niece, who lived in the Boise, Idaho area, graduated from High School, I made the Handyman's family drive to Meridian just to have breakfast at the Griddle.  I mean, we were in the area already, right? 

Here are Ashley and David!

 The Handyman's Family (minus the Handyman, as he had to work,  and others in the family who wouldn't get up and drive 40 minutes one way to have breakfast with me). 
Ashley is kneeling down at the end of the table.
It was a great breakfast, as always -- she comes from a great background of cooks, SO this must mean her Rum cake is GREAT!

The Meridian "Griddle" was the is one they opened when they moved to Idaho-- the 1st one after the original.  On the wall they have this design/artwork.  It's a drawing of the original Winnemucca restaurant with Winnemucca mountain in the background.  You can see the "W" on the mountain!
(by the way---did I mention I live in Winnemucca?)

So, what do you think? A Close resemblance?

That is Ashley's story for today!
Recipe #148 is done!
Only 146 left to go!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Friend Recipe #146 & 147 -- Cream Puff Appetizers

This is recipe #147 out of #294!
I'm halfway there!!
Woo Hoo!!

Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook!

What is it, you may ask?

In a nutshell...
About 17 years ago, 50 of my closest friends and family, who had been on an e-mail forum with me, sent in recipes in different categories and we compiled a cookbook.
I decided to count those down!

Because  one night I was looking thru the cookbook and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog"
The Handyman--who thinks he knows me better than I know myself, said,  "you'll never EVER do that."
Well,  maybe I will!  Maybe I'll show him!

Which brings me to recipes #146 and #147
 My mom, Bev, and Barb's  cream puff appetizers!

onion                       nacho cheese                    shrimp                salmon

For this competition---Barb was clearly the overall winner!
Not that my mother's were bad---it's just that my taste buds preferred the taste of Barb's cream puff fillings.
To be fair tho, I only chose 2 flavors from each of those they submitted.  I didn't do the pudding filling that my mom turned in--obviously the winner in any situation--nor did I do my mom's shrimp filling, because Barb had one also. So maybe this wasn't a competition at all?

It was kind of fun to do a taste test.  I made them and took them to one of my favorite, beautiful Daughter-in-law's house, for her birthday dinner. 

I should have gotten a photo of us eating the cream puffs--but I did make them taste them all--and then we voted.  Again, the onion filling and the shrimp filling won the taste test.

Half way!

I'm on the downhill side now!



I spent yesterday afternoon,  counting how many recipes from each person I have left to post and Barb has about 50 left and my mom about 30, so I figure I can take a story break for this post.
But really......these photos?  I have no words at all anyway.
No. Words.  At. All.
(but I do have the outfits my parents have on.)

I give mom and dad and Barb and Doug-- Proud Americans.

Yeseriee  I inherited those wonderful USA outfits of my parents.
Someday I might break them out and put them on.
Someday I might not.

Recipes #146 and #147 completed
147 left to go!!

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...