Sunday, May 31, 2009

Crockpot Stuffed Green Peppers (Another Lifetime)

Generous 1 lb. + ground beef

4 large green peppers

1 pkt. lipton french onion soup mix (dry)

Italian breadcrumbs as filler

1 cup of minute rice precooked and ready to serve

1 large size can of campbell's tomato soup

Take the ground beef and mix in the precooked rice, egg, onion soup mix and if the mixture seems too runny, add a little of the italian breadcrumbs to thicken up. Imparts a nice flavor too.

Once mixture well blended (I usually just use my hands or a good strong wooden spoon to make sure everything is well mixed together), take the green peppers, cut the stem tops off and create a nice generous opening at the top. Be sure to pull out the inner core and scrape out any seeds sticking to the inner walls of the pepper.

Pack with the ground beef rice mixture all the way to the top and round over.

Repeat with remaining peppers.

Take a large crock pot, and arrange the four peppers inside. I usually pick pretty large ones and it might take a little finagling, to get the last one in.. After all 4 peppers are in good and snug, take large can of tomato soup. Spoon into a mixing bowl, breaking it up with a spoon. Take empty can and fill with water about half way.. Pour into soup concentrate in bowl, mix together well. Take soup mixture and spoon into the slots left between the peppers til it fills up to the rim of the crockpot.. any additional soup mixture can be poured over the peppers. If you look a little shy on the soup mixture, while you're pouring it in to the crockpot, you can always add a little more water.. Try not to overdilute as with the cooking process the peppers will release juices and the ground beef will as well.

Once all ingredients are in the crockpot, put on the lid, and turn crockpot on to low setting and let it cook for the rest of the day. I usually get the peppers ready on a morning like before you'd go to work, or out and about on a weekend.. Cooking on low all day it will simmer nicely and by the time you're ready for dinner in the evening, the peppers will be nice and tender.. Plus it's a nice thing to walk in to the house to smell, after they've been simmering all day..

Give it a try.. let me know how it worked out for you. It's a pretty easy, basic recipe..

(The tomato soup is less acidic than tomato sauce, juice or a paste, or stewed tomatoes.. I've even used tomato bisque soup at times instead of regular tomato soup. They both come out really nice.. mellow but imparting nice tomato flavor into the peppers.. )

When I serve my peppers, I take one out of the crockpot, plate it, cut it up into bite sized chunks, and then go back to the crockpot and spoon some of the tomato soup mixture over the pieces.. I serve with crackers, like ritz. Usually the peppers are meal enough for Hubs and I, but if you need something more, perhaps a nice salad to start, or dinner rolls. Cause the pepper will give you your meat, veggie and grains all in one serving.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Concord Grape Pie

I first became aware of Michael Turback when he opened Turback's of Ithaca, a restaurant in an enormous renovated Victorian house on Rt. 13 south of Ithaca. That was back in the early 1980s when Turback was only 22. He wanted to use, as much as possible, local ingredients and local wines, and was one of the forerunners of a movement that eventually became known as Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty.

Although--much to the chagrin of many, myself included--Turback's of Ithaca is no longer in business, Michael Turback has not lost his interest in food or in promoting regional foods and wines. He is the author of the best-selling A Month of Sundaes, More than a Month of Sundaes, The Banana Split Book, Hot Chocolate, and Greetings from the Finger Lakes: A Food and Wine Lover's Companion from which comes this recipe.

The local tradition of purple pies began sometime in the 1960s with Al Hodges, who commissioned Irene Bouchard to make a unique grape dessert for the Redwood Restaurant in Naples. Forty years later, thousands come to the village of Naples to celebrate the grape harvest and sample the native grape pies. The robust flavor of Concord grapes makes this unusual pie a treat. You will have to peel each grape, but the delicious results are well worth the effort.


Makes one 9-inch pie

2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces

6 to 7 tablespoons cold water


4 cups Concord grapes

1 cup sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

2½ tablespoons tapioca

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


To make the pie crust, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the water over the mixture a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly after each addition, until the dough can be formed into a ball, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes before rolling out.


To make the filling, slip the skins off the grapes and reserve them. Put the grape pulp in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat just until soft enough to release the seeds, about 8 minutes. Push the grape pulp through a wire-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Combine the pulp in a bowl with the reserved grape skins.

Roll out each ball of dough on a well-floured board until they are 10 to 11 inches in diameter. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with a round of dough. Preheat the over to 450ºF. Mix the sugar, salt, and tapioca together in a bowl and spread about half of the mixture with the grapes and add the lemon juice. Pour the pie filling into the crust and dot with butter. Cover with the top crust and crimp the edges to seal. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before serving. If not serving immediately, warm the pie in an oven set on the lowest temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Greetings from the Finger Lakes: A Food and Wine Lover's Companion by Michael Turback, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, 2005.

Finger Lakes Grape Bread

3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ to 1 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups Concord grape skins

Temperature- 325 degrees

In large bowl, combine all ingredients, except grape skins.
When well-blended, gently fold in grape skins.
Pour batter into 2 well-oiled 5 x 9-inch loaf pans.
Bake 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.
Let stand 5 minutes before removing from pans.

Time: 1 hour - 2 loaves

Hint: If Concord grapes are not available, substitute a sweet blue grape used for juice making.

From For Goodness Taste, Junior League of Rochester, Inc., Rochester, NY, 1991.

Rolled Broccoli Soufflé

Easier than it sounds, an unusual treat for brunch.

Serves 8 to 12

⅓ cup butter

6 tablespoons flour

⅓ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

1¼ cups milk

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

7 egg yolks at room temperature

7 egg whites at room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Melt butter in saucepan. Whisk in flour, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly over low heat.

2. Beat in Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses. Stir until cheese melts.

3. Lightly beat egg yolks. Stir 1 to 2 tablespoons of hot cheese mixture into egg yolks, then beat warmed yolks into cheese mixture. Set aside.

4. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into cheese mixture.

5. Line a greased jelly roll pan with waxed paper, then grease paper. Spread soufflé evenly in pan and bake at 350° for 15 to 17 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned. Allow to remain in pan while making broccoli filling.

Broccoil Filling

½ cup minced onion

2 tablespoons butter

1 bunch broccoli, steamed for 10 minutes, and finely chopped

⅛ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese plus ¼ pound sliced Cheddar cheese

1. Sauté onions in butter until soft. Add broccoli, salt, sour cream, and the shredded Cheddar cheese and mix well.

2. Invert the jelly roll soufflé on waxed papper that has been lightly sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Carefully peel paper from back of the baked roll.

3. Spread broccoli mixture evenly over surface and roll up the soufflé. Place seam side down on a greased cookied sheet and lay sliced Cheddar cheese over top.

4. Broil until cheese melts. Slice and serve.

From- Applehood & Motherpie by The Junior League of Rochester, JLR Publications, Rochester, NY, 1981.

Morning Glory Salad

1 medium head lettuce, shredded

1 banana, sliced

¾ cup raisins

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 large apple, chopped

½ 6-ounce can orange juice concentrate, undiluted

½ cup salad oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

* Combine lettuce, banana, raisins, walnuts and apple in serving dish.
* Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients.
* Pour vinaigrette over salad; toss and serve immediately.

From - For Goodness Taste, Junior League of Rochester, Inc., Rochester, NY, 1991.
(Junior League recipe books are fabulous!)


Cherry Brownies
From Lakeshore Winery

The cherry flavor in these brownies makes them especially good with Lakeshore Pinot Noir.

Serves 16

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

¾ cup butter or margarine

1¾ cups sugar

¼ cup cherry-flavored Jell-O mix (½ package)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons dry red wine

1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 13-by-9 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

Break chocolate into pieces along with butter in a microwave-safe bowl large enough to hold all ingredients. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, until chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth. Measure Jell-O into a 2-cup measuring cup and fill to the 2-cup mark with sugar. Add the sugar and Jell-O to the chocolate mixture; stir until well blended. Add eggs, vanilla, wine; stir again. Stir in flour. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

Recipes from the Wineries of the Great Lakes by Joe Borrello, Raptor Press, Lapeer, MI, 1997. (Buy the book!)

Cranberry Chicken Salad for Sandwiches or side dish

" Dried cranberries add a sweet tartness to chicken and vegetable salad. Make a delightful sandwich filling, too."

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat (rotisserie from grocery store)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery

2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

1. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, and nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds - toasted
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• Thinly sliced red onion (finely mince 1 TBSP of this for dressing)
• 10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
• 1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
• 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
• Crumbled feta cheese -optional

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.

2.In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
In the winter – substitute 2 cans of mandarin oranges instead of strawberries… and walnut pieces instead of almonds.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Soup

Carbon Dioxide Storage in Coal Seams

A simple recipe with five-star quality taste. This creamy and flavourful soup tantalizes the taste buds and arouses the senses. For restaurant flare, serve each portion with a swirl of whipping cream and roasted pieces of garlic in the centre.

40 cloves garlic
4 tbsp (60 mL) butter, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) honey
3 large onions, chopped (about 4 cups/1L)
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes (about 2 lbs/1kg)
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cups (750 mL) chicken broth
2 cups (500 mL) 35% Whipping cream, divided

Carbon Dioxide Storage in Coal SeamsPreheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

In 4 cup (1 L) baking dish, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter; add garlic and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until garlic is tender and golden brown; stirring halfway.

Toss 12 cloves with honey; set aside for garnish.

In a large pot, over medium heat, melt remaining butter. Add onion; reduce heat to medium-low and cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Uncover and cook, stirring often for 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, thyme, bay leaf and remaining roasted cloves; sauté 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in broth and 1 cup (250 mL) cream.

Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes, to cool.

Remove thyme and bay leaf.
In a blender, in batches, puree until smooth; return to pot. Stir in remaining cream and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with reserved honey roasted garlic.

A simple recipe with five-star quality taste. This creamy and flavourful soup tantalizes the taste buds and arouses the senses. For restaurant flare, serve each portion with a swirl of whipping cream and roasted pieces of garlic in the centre.

Lite Spinach Salad

Simple dressing of rice wine and olive oil. Simple salad of fresh spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and hard-cooked eggs. Simply fabulous. Serves four.
1 bunch fresh spinach - torn, washed and
10 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs
4 tomatoes, chopped
sea salt to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
2. Combine the spinach, mushrooms, onion, eggs and tomatoes; toss together and sprinkle with salt.
3. Whisk together the oil and vinegar. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

Carbon Dioxide Storage in Coal Seams

· 2 cups of mayonnaise

· 1 cup buttermilk

· 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sour cream

· 1 1/2 tablespoons of white wine (optional)

· 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

· 1/8 teaspoon pepper

· 4 ounces Bleu cheese, crumbled

In a medium mixing bowl, blender or food processor – combine:

Mayo, buttermilk and sour cream

Whip or blend until mixture is smooth

Blend in wine, garlic powder and pepper

Fold in crumbled Bleu cheese

Turn into a covered container and store in refrigerator

Some people love this on top of beef.

She Loves Wine Red Potato Salad - 2 ways

5# bag red potatoes
2 bunches green onions - sliced, including at least half of the green tops
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag of real bacon pieces (found in the salad aisle)
3/4 Cup Hellmans (only Hellmans)
3/4 cup Sour cream
2 tsp garlic poweder
2 tsp salt (or seasoned salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

Wash the red potatoes and boil 20 minutes ( if you have a few large ones in there, cut in half)
Drain well - Cool.

Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and chill.

To assemble the salad -

On top of the cooled, cut-up red potatoes add:
sliced green onions
bag of shredded cheese
bag of pre-cooked bacon pieces

Mix together-

Hellman's and sour cream - adding garlic powder, salt and pepper to it.
Add to the potato bowl and mix well. Add more mayo and sour cream if needed.


This can also be baked - you could make a large batch and serve it for a salad today and the rest for a side dish tomorrow.

Also good with sliced green olives in it........omit salt.