Independence Day No Bake Cake

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;

The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

Recipes in this PostIndependence Day No-Bake Cake

Last year, I made a big to-do about 4th of July, barbecued London Broil with Rosemary and Mushrooms, and I made a Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream. They were both very good, but this year, with the move, and the hot weather, not so much.

This morning, when I was out looking for what to make for dinner, I was at the local Armenian store and came across Wafel torte, my favorite start to making a no-bake cake. Not only was it no-bake, it was rectangular and there were boxes of strawberries and blueberries on the counter. I was excited to be making a cake for the 4th after all.

I put condensed milk and Nutella in the layers of the cake, made a sour cream buttercream to top it, and Spane helped me decorate it. He also helped take the pictures, and contributed his necklace that hums the Star Spangled Banner – it’s very annoying.

Spane wearing his "singing" necklace

Spane wearing his “singing” necklace


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Mother’s Day Breakfast Brunch

Recipes in this PostMother's Day 2013

Well, the good folks at Ascencia have asked me to make Mother’s Day breakfast – for 40. Of those 40, there are several mothers, and I’m going to make this breakfast special for them. Of course, I have to have the breakfast ready at 6:00am, and that is going to be eye-opening, to say the least.

Update – Thanks to my friend, Shem of Kobelin by Shem for taking great photos of the food. She even made me look good!

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Pasta Carbonara with Brocolli with Garlic Cheese Rolls for 40

Again, just as on the 1st of the New Year, when I made Ascencia Salad, there was no guest chef, and The Good Plate again came to the rescue. When I looked for what was on hand, there was still a lot of pasta in the pantry, so I made my list to make Pasta Carbonara. I wanted everyone to have a well balanced meal, so the green choice was brocolli instead of salad.

Luckily, there were two large bags of French rolls, perfect for my Garlic Cheese Rolls. We also had a wonderful salad of peas, pepper jack and celery made by guest chef Jerome. A good and healthy time was had by all.

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Barbecue Feast – Asian Pork Chops, Fillet Mignon and Barbecued Baked Potatoes

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barbecued Asian pork chops

Barbecued Asian Pork Chops

A funny story here. My friend Amber and her husband, Stevie went to the local Home Depot some time in 2010, and I was looking at Weber barbecues. The last one I had got toppled by a BVM Sister – the Sister was not hurt, but the Weber was a goner. The Weber at the Home Depot was on sale, and Stevie said I should get it, and I could keep it their house until Spane and I found a place with a yard. Stevie has one of those big drum barbecues, and he barbecues enough for a few days on that grill, so he likes to use mine for smaller meals. I get to “borrow” my barbecue about once a year. We’re good friends, and we laugh about this all the time.

So, tonight I decided to do kind of like Stevie does. I cooked a few things on the barbecue so I won’t have to cook tomorrow. I grilled a fillet mignon, bake potatoes wrapped in foil, and the Asian pork chops.

Amber came by tonight and shared our dinner. The Asian pork chops were moist, tender and full of flavor. The steaks with their blue cheese were just fine, accompanied by the wonderfully smoky baked potatoes and balsamic grilled vegetables. It was a great dinner to share with a very good friend.

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Barbecued Potato Chip Tuna Casserole

Spane at the kitchen table

Well, it’s not the prettiest casserole in the world, but it tastes very good. My mother would make this if we had left over potato chips. My mother wasn’t much into snack food, so this was not something we had a lot, but it is one of those comfort foods that I remember fondly.

When I was four years old, my father got stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. My mother bought most of the food at the local farmer’s market and the local grocery store. We didn’t get a lot of American goods, I remember going to the PX only twice. The first time I had French fries, it was in France, and they were more like potato chips. I remember really liking them.

When we returned to the United States when I was six, I was surprised to find out that French fries were long rectangular potatoes fried in oil. I didn’t like them very much. The elusive, thin chip we had in France was actually a potato chip, and the brand my mother bought, that I really loved was Granny Goose.

When we moved to Los Angeles when I was eight, there were no Granny Goose potato chips. I really didn’t like the regular brands, except for the barbecue flavor chips. This leads me to my recipe. Granny Goose is out of business, and the only chips Spane and I really like are barbecue flavor. Of course, my mother used the Granny Goose salted chip for her casserole. That’s probably why the only time she made it was when we were living in Northern California.

But, I found out last night that barbecue chips make a really good casserole, and I’m going to share it with you here. When you make this, make sure you get a good barbecued chip, the Lays Tangy Carolina chips are particularly well suited for this.

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Books! Wonderful Books!

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Dollar Bookstore in Burbank

A few years ago, my friends took me to this wonderful bookstore where all the books were only $1.00 – A Dollar! I love to read, and I love having hard cover books sitting in my library where I can read them any time I want. There are a few books that I read a long time ago, that I knew I loved, and I love rereading them!

I had the fortune of going to the Burbank Centennial celebration , and was able to pick up some out of print books to add to my collection. I had to be careful, because the car was several blocks from the bookstore, and books get heavy!

Jeff Smith

jeffsmith.jpgJeff Smith’s Frugal Gourmet Series. I used to love watching the Frugal Gourmet when it was on PBS. No matter what Jeff Smith did, he is and always will be a good cook, and an excellent teacher. I already had The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wineand regularly used it for reference. Here’s what I was also able to pickup:

  • The Frugal Gourmet – the book that a started it all
  • The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American
  • The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian (my favorite)
  • The Frugal Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines Greek, Italian and Chinese

Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery

My mother and I had the complete set when I was a little girl, and these are the books gave me my cooking skills (and The American Woman’s Cookbook). These are wonderful books, if you can get them. They have been republished a few times, but I like the original ones that my mother and I had. I was only able to find four of them, and am still missing nine books. If you find em, let me know! When I was perusing mine, I came across a recipe that I have made for years, Hungarian Porkchops:

Hungarian Porkchops – DISZNKARAJ MAGYAROSAN

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Ingredients

6 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
slat and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons lard or butter
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup chicken bouillon
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 teaspoons paprika

Directions

Trim excess far from pork chops and sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Saute onion and garlic in lard until soft and golden. Push aside or remove from skillet. Add pork chops and brown on all sides. Pour off fat. Lower heat and add bay leaf and bouillon. Cook, covered, over low heat for about 1 hour. Transfer chops to hot serving plate and keep hot. Reduce pan juices to half by cooking over high heat. Add sour cream and paprika and blend thoroughly, but do not boil. Pour sauce over chops. Makes 4 to 6 servings

Dressed to Grill

dressed_to_grillDressed to Grill by Karen Brooks, Diane Morgan and Reed Darmon, Illustrated by Beth Adams – hey I’m a girl, but I like to grill. This is a cute little book with some nice tips and recipes just for girls who like to grill, like me!