Bread Salad

Recipes in this PostBread Salad

Sometimes, you get a large load of rich, crusty bread but can only finish part of it before it starts to dry out. What can you do with it? Well, you can make croutons, or you can make a summer favorite, Bread Salad.

There is no real “recipe” for this, put in it what you like to put in regular salads, let your imagination flow! But, I will give you the recipe for the salad I made tonight.

One thing you do have to do is use the right bread. A good crusty French bread, or a good sour dough would be ideal. It should be a whole loaf, not sliced, because you will want to cut it up yourself. Don’t be scared, it’s really easy with a good sharp knife.

A flavorful dressing is also important. The Brown Derby Dressing would be ideal, or a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette would also be good. I used Girard’s Champagne Dressing on our salad tonight for a change.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

Recipes in this PostTurkey Tetrazzini

This is something that I really love, and when I don’t have left over turkey, I have been known to go to the store and get the frozen one – you know which one I mean. But, this dish is really best fresh, made from the left over turkey at your feast.

I have found other recipes that called for peas, no sherry, white wine, etc. Well, it’s just not the same thing! This is the Turkey Tetrazzini you have been looking for, that you remember, that you crave, the one with celery, mushrooms and sherry cream sauce. You can make a lot of this, put it into individual serving trays and freeze it for some night when you don’t want to cook, but you want something comforting.

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Jalapeno Stuffed Peppers

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Jalapeno Stuffed Pepper

Today it was clean out the refrigerator day. You know how it is, no matter how careful you are, there is always something that hides in the very back and becomes a science experiment. Yuk! You might want to check out my Organizing the Refrigerator tips on how to avoid finding science experiments.

Then there are the little containers of pickled jalapeño peppers that come with a pizza. I think they jump in the hot pack all by themselves, because I know I never order them. That isn’t to say that I don’t like them, but I do, but I don’t like them on pizza. Still, unbidden, they find their way into my kitchen. They make their way to the refrigerator, to be included in something or eaten out of hand later, and like all small things, seem to happily find their way to the back of the fridge, right next to that awful science experiment. Since they are in brine, they don’t go bad and can stay in the refrigerator indefinitely.

So, when I was cleaning out the refrigerator today, I found day old plain cooked rice, 2 nice red bell peppers, and the small container of jalapeños. Jalapeño Stuffed Peppers it is!

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Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge for Valentines

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Finished Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge

Sometimes you get lucky and someone gives you a whole bunch of boxes of Christmas Peppermint Candy Canes. I was lucky, my friend gave me six boxes of candy someone had given her. She was surprised when I said I wanted it, and she wanted to know what I was going to do with it. I said, “Make Peppermint Fudge, of course!”

Span was excited to help me because he got the job of breaking up the candy canes into more manageable pieces. First he did this with his hands, came and showed them to me and I said, “You know, breaking them goes quicker when you use a hammer.” So, he got a hammer, and he started banging away at them. I was washing dishes and didn’t realize he had started, or where he was going this. I now have little bits of candy cane on the floor in the living room. No big deal, I will vacuum them up. The point is he had a good time, and really felt he was helping.

We made the fudge last night and put it in the refrigerator to firm up. I was thinking of dipping the pieces in chocolate, but I only had unsweetened chocolate. If that happens to you, it’s not a show stopper.

How to Make Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetened Chocolate

Double BoilerI like to melt my chocolate in a double boiler. I also prefer to make my own double boiler by placing a metal bowl above pan half filled with water. The bowl’s circumference is much larger than the pan, so a) there is no chance of the chocolate falling into the water, and most importantly, b) because of the large circumference, there is little chance of steam getting to the chocolate and making it seize. Once chocolate has seized, about the only thing it’s good for is breaking up for chocolate chip cookies, or beating the heck out of it to make chocolate ganache.

Making Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetned ChocolateI found myself in a quandary as I did not have enough semi-sweet chocolate to dip all the fudge, and I didn’t want to waste time going to the store to buy more. It’s actually not a problem, you can add sugar to melted chocolate, and it will be just fine. As a matter of fact, just as in using salted butter gives you little control over saltiness in dishes, using semi-sweet chocolate also gives you limited control over the sweetness of the chocolate. The important thing to remember is that you must use the finest grain pure cane sugar you can get to avoid grittiness. Add the sugar to the melted chocolate, slowly, stirring all the while. Whatever you do, don’t let the sugar liquefy or you’ll just have a mess of seized chocolate. The ratio is about 1/4 cup of sugar to every ounce of unsweetened chocolate. You will have to test it for taste, though, depending on how sweet you want the final product.

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The Day After Thanksgiving Sandwich

Recipes in this PostDay After Thanksgiving Sandwich

I look forward to this day every year. I only get to have this sandwich once a year, because I only have the ingredients once a year. Yes, I could go out and purchase them at other times, and I could make the whole thing so I could have the leftovers at other times of the year, but it wouldn’t be the same. No, it just wouldn’t be the same.

I remember a few years ago, I went to dinner at someone’s house whose husband was allergic to turkey. Can you believe that? Allergic to turkey? A capon was served instead, it was good, but there were no leftovers. So, the day after Thanksgiving, I went to the supermarket, and tried to find some turkey. There was no fresh turkey, no even ground turkey. The deli was completely out of turkey, and even the deli section with the packaged luncheon meat was out. I promised myself then that I would NEVER be without turkey the day after Thanksgiving again – and I haven’t.

This year, since it was only the two of us, I got two turkey thighs, and made Stuffed Turkey Thighs. They were large enough so we could split one last night, and have the other one today, for The Sandwich. I also made Cranberry Orange Ginger Cream Cheese Salad Ring, and I used stuffing I had left over the in freezer (Yes, you can save left over dressing in the freezer).

Warning! This sandwich is messy, and best eaten over the kitchen sink!

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French Cuban Sandwiches

French Cuban Sandwiches

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When I first came to work in Glendale, California, I was introduced to two things I came to love, Porto’s Bakery, and their Cuban sandwiches.

What is a Cuban sandwich you may ask. Well, a Cuban sandwich has roast pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread, which is similar to a submarine bread, but it is pressed in something similar to a Panini press without the ridges. If you have never had one, please find a Cuban bakery or sandwich shop and get one. You, too, will fall in love.

My mother used to make Monte Cristo sandwiches when I was particularly well-behaved, or turned in a really good report card. Monte Cristo’s are an older kind of sandwich, basically a ham and cheese sandwich that has been dipped in an egg wash, pan grilled and is served with currant jelly. They can be on any kind of bread, and very good.

When ever I have left over pork roast, I always try to make Cuban sandwiches. But, this time when I had left over pork, I had sour dough bread, which I also love. I decided to combine the two, and have a French Cuban Sandwich.

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