Monday, October 5, 2015

Home Made Ranch Seasoning for Secret Recipe Club

 I didn't think I'd make it.
It's finally Reveal Day, and I get to share what I made for it.

Reveal Day?  you ask, well it is if you're a member of the Secret Recipe Club and you're in Group A.  And since I'm not only a Secret Recipe Club member but also part of Group A, it's finally time.

The Secret Recipe Club consists of four groups of bloggers, we're all assigned to a different group, and then the fun begins.  Our group leader assigns us a blog, secretly, from our group and we have to make a recipe from their blog and tell you all about it at our assigned time.  I'm in Group A, and for us our assigned "Reveal" day is the first Monday of the Month.
My blog this month was A Fit and Spicy Life /.
Mellissa loves her wine, but she has some awesome recipes on her blog as well.   I have to admit to looking in the appetizer section first, cause I love doing appetizers, and I have her Pimento Dip earmarked to make, cause gee, it has Goat Cheese instead of cream cheese, and it sounded fantastic.   And did I mention she got my blog last month?  Well, she did and made one of my favourites from it. 

However I also found this recipe for Home Made Ranch Seasoning and got stuck there.  I like home made sauces and dips and being able to have this in the cupboard to use when I need Ranch Dressing, well all I can say is WOOHOO!!!  
So without further ado...

Home Made Ranch Dressing.  *

2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Onion Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Dried Tarragon (not in the original recipe, but I love Tarragon so I added it) 
1/2 teaspoon Pepper  ( I didn't add the pepper, I prefer fresh ground pepper on top of my salad)
1/4 teaspoon salt  (I rarely use salt, so didn't add any)

Mix all the seasonings and store in a lidded container.
To mix the dressing add 1 Tablespoon of the mix to 1/3 cup of Mayonnaise and 2 ounces of milk.
*mix it up ahead of time, to let the dried herbs re-hydrate.  Otherwise the herbs just kind of sit there like a lump.
I used Buttermilk instead of milk, cause I love Buttermilk Ranch, and it was good. 

It's also totally awesome with some Blue Cheese Crumbles mixed in.

Just sayin...
BTW, this is my 600th post on the blog, cannot believe I'd had that much to say about food and how to make it and best of all share with my friends.  

Now to go see who got my blog and check out which recipe caught their fancy.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Halloween Ideas...A roundup of my faves

I know I'm a little early, it's only the first of the month, but gee, you need to start planning all the fun treats you're going to make for Halloween now.

You do, really, you do. 

There are all kinds of sweet treats out there, fun stuff you can make but it's really hard to find the not so sweet, AKA, the savoury treats.   

I like sweet, but I can only take so much sugar before I've had enough.   

So, here are some ideas for the not sweet side of you. 

A few years ago I learned how to make a Bologna Cake and have been having fun with it ever since.    And then I decided I could do a fun twist on it and make it a Spider Cake for Halloween.  
I took first prize in an informal contest with this.   And then had fun watching people eat it. 

The cake was surrounded by Spider Eggs, cause, gee, you can't have a momma spider without a bunch of babies.

And they are dead easy to do.  
Get it? 
Dead Easy?
It's your favourite deviled egg recipe with spiders made of Black Olives on top,  fun and tasty.  

And then there are my Tate's Hell Deviled Eggs.  
For those who want a shot of hell when they bite into an deviled egg.   OMG, these are so good.    I've been know to hard cook an egg and just make one up for myself. 
I think I'm addicted to hot. 
Could be a worse thing to be addicted to.

I love dips, you might have noticed that in this blog, and what could be more fun than this dip.
Well, it's actually two dips in one.  Green Spider Dip
And piping a spider web over top, well, gee, spiders and Halloween, hello?

To finish off the roundup, you need a cracker and honestly, these are the best cheesy crackers I've ever made.  
And you can make them into little Spicy Witchy Fingers

Witch is what I called them.

Sorry, had to do it.

And just in case you're a little bummed out that I didn't make anything sweet, well, I've also been known to serve Mice and Crunchy Eyeballs for dessert.
So there you have it, a few ideas for your Halloween perusal. 

If you have any more great ideas, let me know, K?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tapas Night for September.

The wine glasses have been washed and put away, and I've uploaded all the pictures I took last night of the food.

And boy did we have some great dishes that were brought.

I've actually given up being surprised by variety and the kinds of food people bring to Tapas Night.

I just enjoy it, and try to sample a little of everything.

I don't always succeed but, I try...

But best of all, are the conversations I get to have with our guests.   A couple of months ago we had our front porch screened in, and then we put up a ceiling fan out there and people migrated in and out of the house, and it was wonderful.

But since this is a food blog, you're probably wondering just what all was brought.

Here are the dishes.

Pizza, with pineapple and ham.   I know it has a name, just gotta think of it and look up how to spell it as well.

Hawaiian Pizza.

Got it... 
 A selection of pickles, which is something I love.
 There was this rice dish, which I did not get the name of.  But really, rice and mushrooms, together happens to be one of my favourite flavour profiles.
 There was this dish of chicken drums being either guarded by or being consumed by the crabs.
These are Blue Crabs which were caught yesterday and cooked. 
(I ummm, took one of the claws and ate it.  And it was good.)
 Then there was this Taco dip, mine never looks this pretty.  

 Baba Ganoush, with perfectly crisped pita points.
 Grapes and Cheese, and in the background a Crudite platter. 
 I'm going to call these Ham and Cheese Sliders for lack of a better name.

And they were very good.   I know who brought them so if I get the proper name for them, I'll tell you. 
 Chicken Satay. 
I was told this was spicy, but I didn't think so.   I just thought it tasted great.  
 I love, love, love Honeydew melons and Cantalope and these were excellent, just a hint of liqueur.
 Little sausages in a BBQ sauce.  So good.

I have to admit to an inordinate fondness for Broccoli Salad.    There is just something about the sweet tang that will keep me eating this.

I once made some to take to a gathering, but ended up 'tasting' too much of it, so had to substitute another dish. 

It was totally worth it.

 It's a good thing I have a sturdy table.  

Look at all the great food.  In the front is some Pineapple Salsa along with some Guacamole.  In the back, is a Meatloaf that was brought.

I have to apologize, I didn't get as many pictures as usual.

We had a glass bowl shatter on the floor just as I was taking pictures, and when glass meets tile too abruptly, it gets messy, so I missed a couple of shots.

This is another view of the table.     There was also a chickpea dish, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

 And yet another view of the table.

I also made a couple of things.
 A Kentish Pie.  I actully made one a couple of years ago, and decided it was time to make it again. 

This time round I cut the apples thicker, and used a different kind of bacon and I liked it a lot better. 
This is a lousy picture taken at the end of the night, but you can see the distinct layers inside the pie. 

And judging by the fact that this was the last piece left, I think it was a success.
 This one wasn't so much.  I thought it would be fun to coat some goat cheese in toasted almonds, but it really wasn't a good idea.
 I also made some Seeded Crackers, cause I like them, and they're just plain good.   

And honestly, they're not hard to make, at all.

 I found a Keitt's Mango at Winn Dixie last week and bought two. 

These are a large, and I do mean large mango, with a green skin.  They look similar to a large avocado.

And the flavour was so wonderful.    I used one of the mango's in a Mango Papaya Salsa on some salmon earlier in the week,  but this one was destined for Tapas.
I think I need a couple more.
 I also picked up a couple of Papaya's as well.  
I do love a good Papaya as well. 
 I also made some oven baked Won Tons with Cream Cheese filling.

I'll share how to make this at a later date.
I don't dare not make a loaf of my No-Knead bread for Tapas.  I wasn't really thrilled with this one, but it was pretty much eaten.

And now for the desserts...

I managed to not get a shot of the Pineapple, sigh.

But here are the rest of them.

I'm sorry I don't remember the name of this cake, but I had some and I loved it. 
 I didn't get to taste this, but it looked fantastic.

Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate whipped topping, I was told it was really good, moist and rich and delicious.
And in the back there, some brownies. 

That's it for this month.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bagna Cauda

Do you ever wonder about the person who first created a recipe?
I mean who would think of putting anchovies, garlic, olive oil and butter together and then using it as a warm dip for veggies? 
I can see the garlic, olive oil  and butter together, but why would someone throw in anchovies? 

I like anchovies, on a hard cooked egg, but in a dip? Really?

I actually heard about this from Russell Blair who used to help me out from time to time at the Senior Center.  And since I like to play with food, I decided to make it for Tapas last month.  BTW, Russell is actually a real life Chef who's been cooking professionally for many years.  So, I listen to him when he talks about food.
Back to the Bagna Cauda from Tapas last month.
I really wasn't that crazy about it.  I have to admit.
But then again, I'm told I didn't let it simmer long enough, that the 1/2 hour or so I had it on the stove was not long enough for the anchovies to 'melt' and change.
He swore that the longer you cooked it the better it became.


I had to try making it again, cause I knew it could be good.  I even searched a few websites for recipes.   I found this recipe and then ended up tweaking it a little, well, maybe more than a little, but it was so good.

And you know, this time I done did it, I nailed that recipe and I will make this again.  Thanks Russell.

We were invited to a friends house this past week and were treated to an array of home made pizzas'.  I didn't take pictures of the various pizzas', and now I'm kinda sorry.  But I wanted to bring something to share that was Italian in nature and decided to try the Bagna Cauda again.

I'm glad I did.

Very glad.

Recipe:  Bagna Cauda

1/4 lb. butter, melted
2 roasted garlic cloves (I made my own)
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 cup heavy cream.

Melt the butter over very low heat, the lowest heat you have on your stove.  Add the garlic, anchovy paste, and olive oil.  Let cook for at least 45 minutes or so.  Stirring it from time to time.  The garlic and anchovy paste will disappear into the butter.  Pour in the cream, and let it cook until it thickens.
Take off of the heat and serve with some crusty bread or do as I did, roast some cauliflower, carrots and slice up some crusty bread for dipping.  I did end up serving this lukewarm, and it was very good.   I'm told that it should have been served hot, but we ate it anyway. 

I have to admit to two new addictions.  Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Carrots.   The ones I made the other day barely made it to the gathering.  I had to keep tasting them. 
And the little bit of Bagna Cauda left over?  Well, I've been dipping bread into it and eating it for lunch.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Monte Cristo Sandwich

I remember the first time I had this sandwich.

I'd never heard of such a sandwich before, and it sounded so exotic to my Danish tastebuds.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

The name evoked images of castles and seasides and Counts. 

I have a great imagination.

I was in Victoria,  at a little restaurant, which was tucked away in a shopping mall  and was kind of upscale and a place where 'ladies lunched'.  They had a proper 'tea' you could order as well as a nice assortment of sandwiches.

I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but I will never forget the sandwich.

The Monte Cristo.

It was a lightly battered and fried sandwich which contained cheese and turkey and was served with a little pot of currant jelly.  Oh, and it had a dusting of confectioners sugar over the top.


After tasting it for the first time, I was in love, and made a point of going there for that sandwich whenever I was in Victoria.    I have no idea what else was on the menu, cause I only wanted a Monte Cristo.

Fast forward a few years, I'd moved away, far, far, away and got the craving for that sandwich again.  So I decided to make it.  And it was just as good as I remembered it.  But then, I got the bright idea of combining thinly sliced ham alongside the turkey and it was better.   And I've been making it that way ever since.
This is great as a light dinner, a lunch or a brunch...

I love multi purpose meals like that.

Recipe:  Monte Cristo Sandwich
Per person
2 slices white bread (I like french bread or challah or a good bread, but use whatever kind you like)
2 thin slices ham
2 thin slices turkey
2 thin slices provolone cheese
1 egg beaten with 3 tablespoons of milk
1 Tbsp. butter for frying
Red Currant or other tart jelly for serving with the sandwich.

Whisk together the egg and milk, heat pan with the butter over medium-low heat.
To make the sandwich, lay out one slice of bread, place a slice of provolone cheese on top,

then layer the ham and turkey finishing it off with the second slice of provolone cheese and the second slice of bread on top.

Take the assembled sandwich, dip into the egg batter, making sure that the entire sandwich has a chance to absorb the egg,

flip over, dunk the other side.  Don't let it sit too long in the egg batter though.

Place into the heated pan and cook over medium low heat until one side is nice and browned,
then flip over and cook the other side adding more butter to the pan if needed.
  This is done when the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted.

Serve on a warmed platter with some tart jelly.  I like Red Currant Jelly with this but Mayhaw Jelly is great as well.   You can also use your favourite jelly or jam, after all, it's your sandwich.

This makes a wonderful light dinner, an elegant lunch or a hearty breakfast.

And, and, and...

You can actually make a bunch of these, put them on a platter in the oven to stay warm and serve them as a special brunch.    I've also warmed the jelly in the past and poured it over the top of the sandwich, but that was a little much. 

If you want to read a little more about Monte Cristo Sandwiches, click here.