Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creepy Deviled Eyeballs

My daughter woke up bright and early this morning. She said she was going to a party and wanted to make Halloween Cheesecake Pops and Deviled Eyeballs. Okay, no problem. How do you make Deviled Eyeballs was the question? She quickly showed me the recipe and was off to the store to gather the ingredients. She got the recipe here at Divine Dinner Party.

Creepy Deviled Eyeballs

12 hard boiled eggs
1/2 C. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 green onions, finely minced
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
blue food coloring, as needed
red paste food coloring, as needed
24 slices of black olives
pimentos or fresh red peppers

Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop the yolks out into a medium bowl and reserve the whites until needed.

With the back of a fork, mash the yolks until smooth.

Add mayo, onions, parsley, mustard, salt, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well.

Add a few drops of blue food coloring to turn the yellow mixture a soft green.

Spoon green yolk mixture into the cavity in each white half, dividing evenly.
On top of each yolk filling, place one black olive slice. Add a small piece of pimento or red pepper for the pupil.

With a toothpick dipped in red food coloring paste, draw red veins on egg white's surface.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.


They are creepy!
They were tasty!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Series of Soups! Curried Squash Soup

My posting routine has been interrupted of late and it seems that I have been making soup frequently. Both my mom and the Kitchen Gnome's mom have been ill and soup seems to hit the spot.

My mom asked if I could find the recipe for the butternut squash soup that I had made her last year. I do have that recipe and it is quite tasty! The winter squash are easy to cook and can be used in so many different ways.

The terms winter squash and summer squash are more about when we tend to eat them than anything else. Both summer and winter squash are available year round. The winter squash were dubbed "good keepers" and were referred to as winter squash years ago because they took longer to ripen so they were harvested in the fall and they could be stored in a cool place for most of the winter.

The butternut squash are available year round but their peak season is early fall and winter. The more orange the color of the squash, the more ripe, more dry and more sweet the squash.

Curried Squash Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 lbs winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc.)
3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cup apple juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add chopped onions and curry powder. Cook over low heat until onions are tender.

Peel squash; remove seeds and chop flesh. When onions are tender, pour in broth; add squash and apples. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash and apples are very tender, about 25 minutes.

Pour the soup through a strainer, reserving liquid, and puree solids with a little stock until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot and add apple juice and additional stock, adding just enough of the reserved stock to achieve desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve. Serves 12.


The sun sinks lower,
The trees sway from the cool breeze, and
It is time to sit down to a hot bowl of soup!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clam Linguini

Growing up we didn't eat seafood. We rarely had fish. Why? Well, my dad always proclaimed that fish had bones and that he was hungry and wanted to eat. He did not want to spend time picking bones out of his dinner. Okay. I was growing up....what did I know about fish and bones? We ate what was prepared and didn't complain. (Hmmm, I think he was complaining!) It didn't make sense to me...wasn't this the guy who liked sardines and crackers or kipper snacks? Nobody sat around taking the bones out of those little guys! There was no way that I was going to ask that question....

That said, the first time that I ever had shrimp that wasn't tiny and from a can was when the Kitchen Gnome took me out on one of our first dates! Clams didn't become part of my "menu items" until many years later. If you recall, once I find a good thing it takes a while for me to branch out to the next good thing! Shrimp was it! But, after having experienced a friend's clam linguini I knew I was going to have to make it!

My friend swore that hers was the easiest and tastiest clam linguini recipe. With whom would I argue? I had nothing to which I could compare it! We loved it. This dish has been made over and over again in our family. The girls loved it and requested it often. It was one of the first dishes that they learned to prepare when they went away to school.

Clam Linguini

Serves 4-5

1 lb fresh pasta or 12 oz. dried linguini
1/4 cup butter
2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
3 Tbsp flour
2 cans (6 1/2 oz ea.) chopped clams (minced work also)
1/4 cup dry white wine
half and half
1/4 parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and cook one minute. Stir in flour and cook 2-3 minutes.

Drain clams, reserving juice. Combine reserved clam juice and white wine in a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough half and half to make two cups.

Whisk into flour mixture gradually and cook until sauce thickens slightly. Add parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.

Simmer approximately 10 minutes. Cook pasta while sauce is simmering.

Add clams to sauce and heat to serving temperature. Combine with hot, well-drained pasta and serve immediately. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme.


Clam Linguini, a glass of white wine (I had only used 1/4 cup in the sauce so there was plenty left for a glass or two.) and crusty French bread. Nothing could be easier after a busy day at work...dinner in less than 30 minutes start to finish!

Prost German Style Brew Pub

Before October slips away, I wanted to share a West Seattle Brew Pub with you! When I am fortunate enough to be able to travel to Seattle to visit my oldest daughter and her husband, they always indulge me with a trip to Prost a German Style Brew Pub. I love the place! We always have a fun and relaxing afternoon or evening. The food is wonderful and the beer, well, smooth and delicious!
There are so many dishes to choose from that it is hard to make a choice.

We have a tried quite a few dishes but have our favorites! I love sauerkraut and bratwurst so I don't usually stray away from it. Maybe I am not, that's not it. When you know a good thing, why do something else? I know, because the next good thing may be even better! Maybe next time.....for now, I have to tell you that the curry ketchup served with my Bratwurst and Sauerkraut really perked up my taste buds! What a great flavor! I will be exploring curry ketchup in the future as I can see it as a wonderful accompaniment to a variety of dishes.

Prost Brautwurst and Sauerkraut is wonderful!

The Kitchen Gnome was ready for a Knackwurst and Bratwurst combo with German Rye Bread.

My daughter and her husband tried the special. She calls it the pretzel sandwich because the roll is made from the same dough as is used to make the pretzels. She swears by this one!

All great sandwiches must be accompanied by beer!

There is quite a variety available.

A great time was had by all. I can hardly wait until I visit Seattle again so that I can go to Prost.

If you are ever in West Seattle, take time to stop by for a great food and beer!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I asked my daughter what she would like to have with the tri tip and the squash for dinner. She quickly replied, "Fettuccine!" I had forgotten that fettuccine was a side dish that I used to prepare when the girls were home. How could I forget?

I found the recipe in the Guild House Cookbook. The Guild House is a luncheon house operated by the Child Guidance Guild in my town. Each and every lunch served at the Guild House is delicious!

The house is a beautiful turn of the century home operated by volunteers. The primary objective of the Guild is to assist and support the treatment center and to foster community interest in the services and needs of the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic. The nonprofit agency strives to meet the mental health needs of the county children and their families who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems.

This fettuccine recipe is an easy one to make and one that my daughters request! On this night, I didn't have enough fettuccine in the pantry...instead I had mini farfalle. It worked just fine!

While not totally low fat, it doesn't pack the calories that most fettuccine dishes do. I used low fat sour cream but I did use real butter.


1/2 lb fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Cook noodles in boiling salted water and oil, uncovered, until tender, but firm. Melt butter with sour cream and simmer for 1 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat. Add noodles and toss gently. Add Parmesan and pepper. Toss gently and serve warm.


A great side dish! Quick, easy and pleases the children and adults in the house!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blue Cheese Souffle

We were invited to a friend's home for dinner last week. Since this week I was to try out the Blue Cheese Souffle and post about it I volunteered to bring the souffle to dinner. Transport a souffle...this ought to be interesting.

The second recipe of the month for Barefoot Bloggers is, you guessed it, Blue Cheese Souffle selected by Summer at Sexy Apartment. The recipe can be found in Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home or on-line here at Food Network.

Now back to transporting a souffle...well, I was fortunate, my neighbor is about a block away. She had the oven preheated and we walked in the door and tucked it inside!

Blue Cheese Souffle

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup scalded milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch nutmeg
4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter and 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.
Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.
Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

I love blue cheese and souffle. This was very light and flavorful!

If you have time, stop by Barefoot Bloggers and take a look at the other souffles prepared or better yet, join us in November as we try two more Barefoot Contessa recipes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Libby's Great Pumpkin Cookies

A friend at work raved about the pumpkin cookies she has made over the years. She was willing to share the recipe and I was willing to make them! She said they were delicious and had nuts, chocolate, raisins, oatmeal and pumpkin. A combination like that couldn't go wrong....could it?

She gave me a copy of the recipe which seemed easy and was. I ended up making an adjustment or two...I didn't have any chocolate morsels left so I had to omit them. I did have raisins and Cranraisins so those were in the mix. Nuts? I should have and didn't...

As I attempted to put stems on a very soft cookie dough I appealed to my friend through Facebook...asking for the trick. I didn't get a response right away and since she gets FB on her telephone I knew she just wasn't available.

So I fiddled around and did the best that I could. Did I say this dough was soft? was soft.

The cookies taste delicious. They didn't look like pumpkins...they spread into very large, flat pumpkins with a bump for a stem!

This morning I got the secret....put everything in the dough, the morsels, the nuts, the raisins. The more goodies the easier to work with. Okay, I am game. They taste great. I will try this again!

I went on-line in search of the Libby's recipe she had shared and guess what? I found the Libby's recipe and it has all of the stuff (morsels, nuts, raisins, etc.) listed as ingredients as well as decorations! In the Libby's cookbook these ingredients are listed as decorations!

Because the cookies are deemed more successful with everything mixed into the dough, I am posting the on-line recipe from Nestle's Very Best Baking.

Libby's Great Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup raisins
Decorating icings, NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, candies, raisins and/or nuts (optional)

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in nuts and raisins. Drop ¼ cup dough onto prepared baking sheet; spread into 3-inch circle or oval. Repeat with remaining dough.

BAKE for 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate with icings, morsels, candies, raisins and/or nuts.


The cookies are very soft and flavorful. Worth a try.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Witch's Wands

At Christmas I usually purchase some beautifully dipped and decorated pretzel rods from an acquaintance. They have that wonderful salt sweet combination that brings me back for more. Yesterday I decided that this was something that I could do. I could do a test run, if you will, by making something special for Halloween. It was also my friend's birthday and I wanted to take her a special treat along with her gift.

To me the most difficult part is figuring out how to adjust the coating to the right amount after dipping the rod. Then, allowing them to stand while the coating set was also a bit of a challenge. Wine glasses seemed to work well for that part. The angle in the glass allowed them to be just far enough from one another while they dried.

I ate all of the train wrecks...those occurred when trying to balance the rods so that the coatingcould set.....probably a bad idea! Balancing wasn't going to work.

I also played around with various pretzels. I had picked up a bag of Trader Joe's Wheat and Honey Pretzels so I threw those into the mix. I love the flavor of those pretzels and with the coating, yummy!

So, there are tall pretzels and short pretzels!

Witch's Wands

1 bag of Pretzel Rods
1/2 to 1 lb Almond Bark (vanilla flavor) or Candy Melts
Variety of seasonal sprinkles

Place the candy in a tall mug and melt in the microwave for about 45 seconds, stir. Continue in 15 second increments until the candy has melted, stirring after each. (Using a mug eliminates transferring the candy to a container appropriate for dipping.)

Dip the pretzel into the candy coating about 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the rod. Roll the rod back and forth between your hands to allow the excess candy to drip into the mug.

Apply sprinkles. If you have removed most of the drip, they can be rolled in the sprinkles.

Stand the rods in a container to allow them to dry. I found using wine glasses to be just the right depth for me to keep them from toppling.

When dry, bag the rods and tie with ribbon or plant them in a container of candy corn!


This was a fun afternoon activity!
These are great for those special Trick or Treaters in your family!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

The Kitchen Gnome and I have belonged to a Gourmet Group since the girls were babies. My friend and I discovered that babies meant that we never got to go out anymore! No more dates. Instead, it was the grocery store and the doctor office! My friend and I decided that if we joined a gourmet group we were sure to go out at least once a month. So, here we are past the group's silver anniversary and still cooking and meeting regularly, well, almost regularly. Now there are grandchildren and travel for some lucky members.

And what does this have to do with pearls? Well, it was a Julia evening! The soup and the main course were from Julia's cookbooks. There were pearls that night also, but it was all about the wonderful food!

For an appetizer we had tasty meatballs from California Wine Lover's Cookbook by Malcolm Hebert: Wine Institute and Wine Appreciation Guild. They hit the spot with the lovely red wine that was served.

Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce

The broccoli soup was from Julia's cookbook, The Way to Cook. It was smooth and flavorful and perfect on a cool fall evening.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Our Seared Romaine Spears with Caesar Dressing salad was outstanding! It was in the June 2008 edition of Food and Wine. To use my oldest daughter's terminology...this goes on the rotation! It was so delicious I could have been content with salad and soup!

Seared Romaine Spears with Caesar Dressing
The main course was Coq Au Vin from Julia's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was delicious. I know it took a long time to prepare and it was well worth the time and effort.

Coq Au Vin with Risotto

And now for dessert!

This time when the group met I had the pleasure of taking dessert! I prepared an Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake. And while it was cooling, the smell in the house was wonderful. It wasn't difficult, just time consuming.

There was one minor problem...since I started the cheesecake at noon and hadn't read anything but the list of ingredients prior to beginning to prepare the dish, I learned that it was supposed to be refrigerated overnight and then the topping was to be added! I had no choice but to dive in and hope it worked without letting it sit overnight!

No problem....this was wonderful even with skipping the overnight step! You do need lead time when making this recipe. I learned that one is really supposed to read everything before doing anything! The recipe came from the Taste of Home Magazine Fall Baking issue.

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

Serves 12

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate

In a small bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, oats, walnuts and cinnamon until well blended. Press into the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a greased 9 inch springform pan.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy, beat in milk and juice concentrate until smooth, add eggs, beat on low speed just until combined (batter will be thin). Pour into crust.

Return pan to baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.

In a large skillet, cook and stir apples in butter over medium heat until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Arrange over cheesecake.

In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, cinnamon and juice concentrate until smooth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Immediately brush over apples. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Remove sides of pan. Garnish plates with Caramel Sauce.

Caramel Cream Sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup half and half
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in cream, water and corn syrup until smooth. Bring to boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.

Stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Drizzle caramel sauce on plate as a garnish when serving Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake.


Ironically, I was to make and take cheesecake and I am not a cheesecake fan. It is the one dessert that I can pass up. This cheesecake, though, was delicious. I had seconds!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted at Designs by Gollum. Stop by and take a look at all of the fantastic dishes being prepared today.