Latest Entries »

Okay…When you look at these pictures you will realize that I am pretty much crazy…Just look for all the books. And the, ahem…magazines. All related to food in some capacity. Yeah…048047

049

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean — I may never ever be as organized as Heidi Swanson. [If you are not familiar with her, you need to read her amazing blog at http://www.101cookbooks.com But here is a short synopsis — She discovered that she had a lot of cookbooks. So she resolved to attempt to stop buying more and actually try out the recipes. I admire that. I relate. I mean I seriously relate. I am addicted to the pursuit of a good book in general, but when it is a cookbook…well, I’m like an alcoholic at a liquor store…so much eye candy, not enough money. I mean, it is always my “intent” to use the cookbooks I have — at least before I make a new purchase. BUT. We all know about the road to the nether regions and how it’s paved with the good intentions of many…Such is my world.

I have a LOT — a LOT!!! — of cookbooks — see above pictures — and cooking magazines. I did not post the pictures of the other several bookshelves full because, well…you get the idea, right? I mean, you can see that I’m already way gone. I could fill up a room. You cannot possibly walk into my home and not discover that food is a passion of mine. I guess I am a hoarder. Of recipes. I mean — It’s almost an addiction. And (ironically to confess this on my own blog!) I really try to avoid my iPhone and the internet as recipe sources. Why? Because it’s so addictive. I mean, I don’t actually do that — I have recipes from every source imaginable at times. But I try to avoid the electronic versions when possible (which turns out is not always possible…). And the main reason? I guess you could call me old school…

I like the print version. I love the feel of the paper, the weight of a book, the colorful photos. I love jotting down notes. And saving those books. Heaven only knows what a field day someone will have one day trying to figure out what to do with my estate. I have developed relationships with my collection — I read and re-read them like they are friends, and find them even more interesting if they have stories before each recipe. And let me just add this little tidbit of (useless?) information…My collection of books is bad (as in overwhelming) as it is. But then there are the magazines.

I mean…I don’t have stacks and stacks that preclude me from passing through the halls or that fall over on people who try to sit at my table. But I guarantee my shelves are bulging…Those darn magazines — they are everywhere (!)…there are no rooms in my entire house (with the exception of the kids’ rooms, and even that is questionable once you dig through their personal messes) that does not have some kind of cooking magazine laying around carelessly. Or book waiting on some surface, usually bookmarked with a sticky note, or in a pinch a piece of paper. Mostly because I probably have left them there. I was most likely toying with the idea of experimenting with a new food, new technique or new recipe when someone called me away, at which point I set the darn thing down and promptly moved on.

Because (in case you missed it) — I. Have. Too. Many. Cookbooks. And. Magazines.

And I wish I could say that maybe it’s not all my fault. I mean — with magazines they’re published on a regular basis. So of course I have to keep current…And cookbooks keep me up to date on food trends. Right?? Am I overly attempting to justify? Probably…

So after all of this, my point is that I have a few questions for my readers - should you dare to answer.

* Do you prefer hard copy or electronic versions of recipes, magazines or cookbooks?

* What is your standard “go-to” recipe source?

Since I already answered the first question above, here’s the answer to the second…My standard “go to” book is (drumroll please…):

058The Joy of Cooking“. I may have talked about it before. This is my second copy. My middle daughter has my first one in her hope chest, with my bookmarked favs. The only bad thing about purchasing the updated version was trying to re-learn all those page numbers I had memorized! This is the kind of book I need to have a hard copy of. I need to take my time and look through the table of contents, browse each recipe, jot down notes on what I liked, what my family liked (or didn’t)…This is the kind of book that I will sit down with on a lazy Saturday morning before heading to the local farmers’ market, looking for inspiration. As I transition to healthier eating, I have collected many, many, many (!!!) other cookbooks – and magazines – that I enjoy. But this book is what rescued this housewife and enabled her to stop burning every meal, what gave her courage to keep cooking. And even experiment.

So break out your old standby, or find a new one, and go play in your kitchen!

Sweet Spring Sangria

Well, with the advent of spring in Pennsylvania once again — finally after tons of snow, ice and chill from the polar vortex (what is that?! and does that mean that there is or there is not such a thing as “global warming”?) — I am pleased to be able to resume shopping at the local farmers’ markets. Let’s face it…this indoor gal was not braving the below freezing temps to shop local. That is pretty shameful. I hope to do better next year. Of course it will help oodles if I can procure a warm winter coat. And gloves – yeah, gloves would be nice…

So. With the markets transitioning from traditional winter fare such as citrus into the fresh offerings of things like asparagus, peas, and spring onions, my shopping experiences have become a joy tempered solely by that horrible term “budget”. Most women spend tons of money on clothes, make-up, purses, shoes…Not me. I spend money on two things aside from my family — books, and FOOD. Seriously. I think I’d buy one or some of everything the market has to offer, with few exceptions. But alas, that will have to wait until I strike it rich via my writing career or singing or some such thing — haha! [note incredible sarcasm...]

And speaking of singing — One thing that I’ve incorporated into my life lately as a creative outlet, as well as a way to speak to adults instead of constantly engaging in conversations with only children, since January on a regular basis is a weekly outing to sing at a local bar through the amazing technology of karaoke. I am soooo grateful to live in the here and now rather than “back in the day”…I don’t think I could ever have done the whole guitar thing, and I play piano only slightly these days, so my singing would have been limited to “Happy Birthday” (all three — yes THREE! — verses) for my family. But karaoke – well, that offers possibilities! A lot of people get intimidated by the whole “do it in front of the crowd” thing, and I admit I am like that every single time. But in going back week after week I’ve gained a certain confidence in myself that I did not have before. Plus, I’ve found that a little alcohol is calming to my not-ever-going-to-sing-in-public jitters. I’m not in the habit of drinking myself into oblivion (no, not even in my college days!). So I appreciate partaking of something to kind of loosen up, as well as moisten my vocal chords. But what to have?? I am so lucky and blessed to have a best friend – Damian McCartney – who is a chef and seriously knows about food, alcohol and some bartending too. More on him and his interesting life story in a future post, I’m sure. But. He has recently relocated, from New Orleans to our humble little area of Pennsylvania, and so now I can go directly to him for help in the kitchen. He knows I like sangrias so he came up with one two days ago based on a Moscato wine — just in time for our weekly karaoke outing! I could probably drink a whole pitcher myself before venturing out for the karaoke fun, but then I better KNOW the song because I have doubts that I could read the words on the monitor!

If you are not familiar with Moscato, it is a light, kind of sparkling white wine with a lower alcohol content made from the Muscat Blanc variety of grape. I find it to be a really refreshing drink, and the transition to this spring sangria combines the best of the winter citrus with the reappearance of fresh mint after its winter hiatus.

053Here’s what to do:

* Pour half of a 1.5 liter Moscato wine into a pitcher.

* Take 6-8 mint leaves in your open palm and slap them to release the oils in the mint leaves, then add them to the wine.

* Cut 1 Cara Cara orange (or a blood orange) and 1 lemon in half; cut 2 thin slices from each fruit and add it to the pitcher of wine. Juice the remaining halves of fruit and add the juices to the pitcher.

* Thinly slice 1 ripe pear and add to the pitcher.

* Pour 1 cup of wine into a large glass and add 1/2 cup of honey, stirring until the honey is dissolved, then add the mixture to the pitcher. We used orange blossom honey, but you could experiment. You want something light, though, so I’d probably avoid a buckwheat honey.

* Add as much of the remaining wine from the bottle to the pitcher as you can. I think we actually had maybe 1 1/2 cups of wine leftover — not that it went to waste anywhere! Stir gently and cover to let the flavors mesh a bit…or not.

If you like your sangria a bit stronger, take 2 1/2 cups of vodka and mix well with 1 cup of honey, stirring until the honey is dissolved, then add it into the sangria. You want to do this prior to adding the remainder of the wine, in which case you’ll have a bit more Moscato available to taste.

Enjoy! And if you do venture out to karaoke, sing a song for me! And I guess maybe one for Damian too…

Well, it’s already April! Can you believe it — the snow here in PA has finally (mostly!) melted and Easter is not that far away. I will be perusing the farmers’ markets and planning my Easter menu — once I decide on whether to make a brunch or a more formal supper. And with the advent of some nice weather, not to mention both a flat of strawberries and a case of lemons from a good friend, I have been canning (yes!) and will be posting about that in the future. Meanwhile, come play in the kitchen!

I made up a quick and easy recipe years ago that turned out quite nicely. It became a family favorite, and I was getting request for it all of the time. Everyone thought it was completely complicated, but it is simple. I call it a Hershey Pie – so named because I used Hershey bars in the recipe, though I have successfully experimented with other chocolate. I am sure there are tons of similar ones, but this one was not pilfered – at least to my knowledge. I mean, back at its creation there was no internet! (My children now find that unbelievable…)

I was influenced by lots of recipes for chocolate silk pie that relied on chocolate mousse made with gelatin (and you know how I feel about that — see my post about chocolate mousse here: http://wp.me/p32HQ0-2x). So I tried to figure out how I could create something somewhat similar. I have to admit that this recipe was developed out of my commitment to bring a dessert to a family function, back when my tastes (and therefore skills and ingredients on hand) were not quite so…”sophisticated”? Not sure what word I want to use, but you get the idea…I was a young lady just entering the work force and felt the need to be as generous as possible with my commitments – usually so much so that I ended up awake for long hours every night finishing up this, that or the other and still trying to get enough sleep so that I didn’t need to caffeinate myself to death in the early a.m. This recipe was developed out of sheer desperation on a night when I needed more sleep than there were hours to devote to cooking…And I am still using it as a quick treat. I must warn you, though I attempted initially to duplicate a chocolate silk pie, t is not at all “silky”. Freezing the pie makes the chocolate and Cool Whip firm up, so you might want to set it out to soften about 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

Hershey Pie

* Melt 2 of the large (4.4 oz) Hershey bars (I prefer the Hershey with Almond) in a double boiler. Be extremely careful not to get any water from the steam in the chocolate or it will seize up.

* Fold the chocolate into 1/2 of a large tub (16 oz) of Cool Whip.

* Pour mixture into a 9″ graham cracker pie crust and spread evenly.

* Top the chocolate mixture with the remaining Cool Whip.

* Sprinkle with shaved chocolate or slivered almonds.

* Freeze til set.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Very quick and simple. I appreciate the deep, rich chocolate flavor. As I said, I have experimented very successfully with other candy bars, and even using chocolate chips — but the Hershey bars are still my favorite. Is it because I’m blessed to live within 20 minutes of Hershey? Well, that doesn’t hurt! Try it and let me know what you think!

Potato and Pepper Wrap

Some of you might remember me — I’m the one who has shamefully neglected my wonderful blog for the last few months in favor of busy-ness, experimenting, life…with a little depression mixed in here and there. Even my husband remarked that he hasn’t seen a blog post come through on his e-mail — and here I wondered if he ever read anything I wrote! [Joking -- he actually reads most things...]

Since we last got together, dear friend, I have been bombarded with stress, ER visits (for self and children), financial woes and other such happenings, to include church activities, spending time with all the “extras” (children who are not mine technically but who call me “Mom” anyway), getting together our school situations (some cyber, some homeschooled, and one still in public school) and in the last week actually canning produce. I even volunteered to sit at a stand for our cooperative extension office and also attended a food swap I wanted to tell you about! It’s just been…busy. Hectic. Crazy. At times I admit my life feels like its own recipe — and a disastrous one at that! But I am thankfully focusing on contentment in my circumstances, as much as is possible, and just plodding on day by day. But I guess, in the words of my fav chef of all time — and a few other close friends who are, strangely, also into food — “It is what it is.”

With the summer 2/3 of the way through already, I have to admit I have been much less creative in my kitchen…We have been having light meals, lots of leftovers, and of course the ole’ summer standby — hot dogs on the grill, boiled, charred, whatever. All courtesy of amazing summer sales that I can’t pass up, having to feed this brood of 6 children and friends often. Yesterday was middle son William’s 12th birthday and he originally asked for steak, but thoughtfully reconsidered and asked for hot dogs, corn and s’mores. I wish I could impress you with amazing pics of a gorgeous cake (it was too humid, so the grocery store got my business…don’t judge!) or even fun at the campfire in our yard (it got rained out almost immediately). Alas, no wonderful pics of any of that. I will seriously have to work at it…

Maybe you will recall that I have been trying to cut animal products out of my diet. Meat is not as difficult for me as dairy, though I did splurge a bit over our vacation week. But things are getting back to normal…So no hot dogs — at least not for me. I was forced to look around in the kitchen, which is probably a good thing. I was really low on some staples, really overwhelmed by some produce (think peaches, corn…stuff I’ve been canning that I’ll share with y’all later). I have to say — I love a happy accident! Instead of hot dogs for me, this is what I came up with after a not-so-quick glance in the pantry…

042

POTATO and PEPPER WRAPS:

What I did:

I sauteed three small new potatoes (a combination of red and yellow), which I diced, in a frying pan with about 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, seasoned to taste with salt, pepper and chipotle pepper powder, for about five minutes or until the potatoes were soft. [I usually don't reach for the chipotle powder - I think I grabbed it on a whim after reading about how capsacin can help with colds, or with weight loss or something along those lines. In these potatoes, it really spices things up a bit and I'll be experimenting with it again in the near future.] I added 1/4 of a large red bell pepper, diced, and sauteed another two to three minutes.

Meanwhile I warmed up two flour tortillas and filled them with several sliced cherry tomatoes from the garden and a small handful of grated sharp cheddar. Once the potato mixture was done (soft enough for my taste), I scooped some of it into each tortilla and rolled them up. Yum! I wish I had thought to add some spinach or something, but maybe that will happen in the future. I may even add some diced carrots to the saute, but it was really very filling and I was satisfied enough that I didn’t have to drool over the hot dogs.

I’m still here…

Allergies, a cold, homeschool portfolios and the classic disease called “procrastination” may have kept me from blogging in the last how many (!!) days, but I have not disappeared completely. AND I have been and am still playing in my kitchen!

Stay tuned for a series on my adventures in canning, as I have recently scored some great deals at the local farmers’ market. And keep a lookout for posts on my ever continuing quest to eat healthy…an oxymoron because I just LOVE to bake! Well, all of that and more will be up-and-coming now that the kiddies are spending more time outdoors with the onset of the lovely spring weather. It gives me more time to perfect my recipes, try new things and review new cookbooks – as well as blog!

Thanks for sticking with me thus far. Hope you’re enjoying the weather where you are!

Blessings,
~Mary

And remember — It’s always fun to play in the kitchen!

This post was supposed to post at 10:00 a.m. this morning…I am not sure what bizarre computer glitch kept it from doing so, but I’m elated because I had a chance to add a thing or two.

So — Welcome back to Take Two of March’s Secret Subject Swap. This week, 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

www.BakingInATornado.com

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/

http://suburbiainterrupted.com

http://mooreorganizedmayhem.blogspot.com/

http://www.bigaandlittlea.com

www.theblacksheepmom.blogspot.com

http://www.themommyref.blogspot.com/

http://www.100lbCountdown.com

http://www.findingfelicity.com

www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com

http://caramelliving.blogspot.com/

adventuresinhickeyland.blogspot.com

My subject is “: When did you realize that you were an adult?” and it was submitted by: http://www.100lbCountdown.com

Oh geez!!! An adult? Me?!?!?!?

This is where it gets tricky. Sometimes I’m amazed that I am at that age where my kids look at me and think “old”. Sometimes I am amazed when people look at me and say “You can’t possibly be that old!” Sometimes I’m amazed when I realize I’m not even close to acting my age — or, on the other hand, I’m amazed when I do…Age is, after all, relative. I love the expression “You’re only as old as you feel”…

If you were to ask me when I did or do NOT feel like an adult — or at least not quite my age, well — that’s just easy! I’d say when I’m out on a “date” with my husband, playing trivia or singing karaoke. Or feeling like I still have time to accomplish my dreams. Or dancing in the living room with my children and their friends. Or driving down the road in the summertime all alone, windows down and radio blasting or while I’m singing in the shower at the top of my lungs. Or when I’m chatting with an old friend and the years evaporate into “it can’t possibly have been that long ago!” Or maybe even when I’m writing about my most secret thoughts and feelings and re-read what I wrote and realize I am still such a child in so many ways. Or when I have a childlike faith and optimism that something good has to happen, because God is good and life can’t — just can’t — be all that bad, even when things are seemingly crumbling around me. Or when I can’t figure “it” all out…That overwhelming melancholy may set in, and then I certainly do not feel adult.

But adult??

Well, here’s a story some of you might find amusing…Once upon a time, believe it or not, I was younger than ten with a very (VERY!) over-protective mother. Who let me walk alone (gasp!) to the corner store. For something trivial like bread or something. I felt so very adult. Until later in life when I learned she had walked through the neighbor’s yard and kinda sorta followed me the whole way there and back…Don’t get me wrong, I love her for it. It instilled in me that feeling that I was responsible. At least at the time. And that I was old enough to do something important. But did that mean “adult”? At less than age ten I wonder. But then…Many children have been forced to grow up beyond their years due to circumstances beyond their control. I think, for instance, of some of my own children, who were put into foster care and saw some pretty bad stuff before they were even close to the tender age of ten…

I remember when I first got my driver’s license. In New Jersey, that meant age 17. And though my birthday was in October, we were taking driver’s ed my junior year. Most of the class consisted of simulated driving, but there was also a written test. If you passed the written test with a decent enough grade, you could use that at the Department of Motor Vehicles to get your permit. So I had to wait. Til March. I was, of course, anxious to get my license and gain some independence. But when I finally passed my test, my mom was a “little” (noted understatement) paranoid about letting me drive. Anywhere. Well, growing up in South Jersey across from Delaware, one of the things we did was shop across the bridge to avoid paying extra taxes. The price tag you saw was the price you paid. So most of my friends and I frequented the mall in Christiana, Delaware – no sales tax. I mean, we did that when we could find a ride. One day I asked my father how much longer he thought it might be before I could venture across the Delaware Memorial Bridge by myself (well, rather with friends). And he gave me permission. I really felt “adult” then…expanding my horizons and traveling further distances independent of parents than ever before. I appreciated his trust in me.

Then there was the time I moved out to college for a short while, before illness got the best of me. I felt so grown-up as I walked to and from classes, implemented my own schedule and decided everything from when and what my meals would be to when I would work on my assignments.

It could have been when I was working for a law firm and moved in with my grandparents, and my Gram gave me a house key because they didn’t really impose a curfew.

But maybe that wasn’t quite “it”. Maybe it was when I was working in Philadelphia. I worked for a law firm on Spruce Street, catching the Patco Speedline from New Jersey to Philly five days a week. I was learning to manage my own money and feeling very “adult” as I stepped onto the car every morning and night in my business attire. Well, that year my only sibling, a younger sister, was a senior in high school. She was in the choir and had the most amazing voice! She was practicing a solo from Les Miserables, which, coincidentally, was scheduled to run at the Forrest Theater that December. So I purchased tickets as a gift for her birthday. She came over on the Patco Speedline and met me after work. We went and viewed the light display at John Wanamaker’s, wandered around the city for a quick bit, and ended up at Moriarty’s for a lavish supper after the play, all my treat. I felt so adult being able to show my sister how special she was to me and to be able to afford to do something nice for her for that particular birthday.

Possibly it was the time I had a place all my own…A small crappy excuse for an apartment that didn’t even have a separate bedroom (I childishly called my living room the “living bedroom”)…I loved being on my own in so many ways, and I took meticulous care of — because I had pride in — the little house. It was amazing to be in charge of myself and my living quarters.

Still, maybe that wasn’t the defining moment of my adulthood. I could say school or marriage brought it about, but neither of those things really made me feel any more “grown up” or “adult”. I often lacked confidence and certainty, which made me feel that I had not quite “arrived” at adulthood. Even buying our first house didn’t quite push me forward – at least not in my own mind. And earning my college degree was done over long periods of time through internet classes and late study nights as I tried to balance my wife/mom schedule with being a student.

I think that what made me finally feel “adult” was not one defining moment, but a series of little moments, most of them dealing with trust in some way…

* Babysitting and even house-sitting for various people during my young adulthood — I felt trusted and that was a big step.

* When I was a young adult, I taught 4th grade CCD at the Catholic church my grandparents all attended (I’m no longer a practicing Catholic)…It was so fun to be with the children, so interesting to be influencing their lives…And my young cousin would pop in to see me before and after class, which I really enjoyed because she confided in me  – See? Again with the trust…

* Gaining trust from my aunts, so that I was able to take two of my younger cousins on a trek to the Jersey shore. We went to Wildwood, walked the boardwalk, rode some rides…It was nice to be old enough to take them anywhere!

* Not long after my husband and I bought our first house, we hosted a party for the 7th grade CCD class (which we taught) around Christmas time, making some kind of cookie or craft and then delivering them via caroling to the local sick and shut-ins in our parish.

* Helping with a program called Journey, where my husband and I gave the “sex talk” on weekend retreats (I still blush!).

* Applying to do foster care as a young couple…The children placed with us were between 11-15, and we were newly married…It was interesting to be trusted to mentor children and provide guidance to pre-teens and teens, though we’d never been parents ourselves.

* Adopting our first five children — first a son who was 3-going-on-4 and then a sibling group of four children ages 18 months through age 7…Wow!

* Influencing an excitable, interesting and fun group of young ladies as a Brownie Girl Scout Leader.

* Having our first baby, after fostering and parenting and mentoring so many children…

* Losing two babies and having to explain miscarriage to my six small children.

* Being asked to lead the nursery room in our current church – a huge responsibility – and help choose the preschool curriculum.

Those experiences probably propeled me into adulthood faster than anything, because with each successive step I was relating to young persons who needed me to act mature and be “the grown up” even when I didn’t feel all that grown-up. There were, of course, many other situations where I needed to relate to people in an adult kind of way, which made me feel that I was edging my way there, slowly but surely.

I am still a scared little girl in some ways, not always in charge, but I can see the adult me peeking out more and more as life goes on and I move along with it.

A busy melancholy week…

I know I’ve been a bit quiet. I have an explanation — there was an unexpected death in my extended family this week.

It’s one of those kind of things that just unfortunately happens, usually with no warning, causing you to think about your own approaching mortality, and making you wonder if you’re doing enough, not doing enough, could be doing more, etc. You know how those thoughts roll — on and on like a broken record, driving you crazy. You cry, you reminisce, you put your energy into everything and nothing all at once…Yeah, death is quite the fiend…I hate the way he creeps in and steals, destroys, snatches someone with vigor and unapology.

This will probably be one of the few times I’ll wax religious, but I don’t know how people handle the thought of death without belief in God, without hope for a future reunion. It’s what kept me sane when I miscarried my two babies, or lost two beloved grandparents, or other family and friends…What do you have if you have no hope?? My personal belief is that I serve a living, loving, righteous and redeeming God who allows us the hope of eternal life. If you are curious, please leave a comment so I can message you. Otherwise, no personal attacks please. After all, I am grieving and trying to process…In my own way, this is part of how I cope.

So today, while I’m sitting at home with my children as the funeral is being held in another state, I am trying to think about several things…The memories I have of the person who has passed away, the memories I still have time to make for myself and my family and friends (God willing), and the things I cherish and enjoy about my own life now, such as it is.

Don’t wait to say the things that need to be said or spend the time that needs to be spent. Life is fragile and fleeting.

007

An Easy, Delish Asian Dumpling

Well, I decided to come back for the second month of the cookbook challenge (http://growandresist.com/2012/12/21/cook-the-books-a-cookbook-challenge/) and this month’s book was Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen. I was a little intimidated, honestly, because I’ve never really worked with wonton wrappers, egg roll wrappers and certainly not ever dumpling wappers…I even have a hard time folding a burrito! And not only were these going to be the backbone of the recipe, but they were going to be homemade. Like from scratch! I mean, I do prefer cooking from scratch when there is time, but for dumplings?? I wasn’t sure I could do it. Fortunately for me, Ms. Nguyen’s book is extremely detailed AND extremely easy. She outlines the key to making and filling dumplings in a way that is practically fool-proof. After the first attempt came together so smoothly, I was intrigued and delighted. Even my kids were pretty impressed with my results – one asked where we ordered take-out! Not only that, but Asian Dumplings was full of narratives and pictures – the kind of cookbook I sit down to read from cover to cover. And I did just that before selecting my first recipe to try.

013

I made a double-batch of the Steamed Vegetable Dumplings. My only disappointment was that I could not find brown pressed tofu, so I used an extra firm tofu that I pressed slightly, froze for a bit, thawed and pressed again. I’m not sure if the texture was comparable, but I liked the overall taste and the tofu meshed well with the other ingredients, all of which I  was able to find in my local grocery store. Which is to say that at least for this particular recipe you would easily be able to assemble all the ingredients without resorting to ordering online or anything – except for the brown tofu as noted. Ms. Nguyen has some amazingly exotic-sounding recipes in this book, though I confess I’m not much of a carnivore and not at all adventurous when it comes to meat and seafood. But I can see myself easily following her savory recipes for my family, or adapting many of her delectable looking recipes for my leaning-toward-vegetarian tastes.

045049

The above pictures show my dumplings just prior to cooking. Ms. Nguyen includes a website — www.Asiandumplingtips.com — as well as a wonderful resource page, for newbies starting out. I am a huge fan of that site now! And if any of you are lucky enough to live out near San Francisco you can even take some classes!

So I ended up pan-frying the bottoms slightly and was pleased with the results, which I served with rice and steamed vegetables for a complete meal.

Unfortunately for me, once again this was a borrowed library book, so by the time I requested the book and picked it up and then had to return it because it was on hold and not renewable (sad for me!), I did not have enough time to play in the kitchen with any of the other recipes. At least not yet. But once again I’ve found another book to add to my repertoire — Asian Dumplings is now on my “cookbooks I need” list, lol…Meanwhile I’m hoping to get back on the library’s reserve wait list and try something from the “Sweet Treasures” chapter!

If you are a fan of samosas, spring rolls or Asian dumplings of any kind, you really need to get this book and go play in the kitchen!

While at my daughter’s cheerleading competition this past weekend we had the pleasure of checking out The Candy Kitchen on Saturday afternoon. Ocean City is full of these delightful stores! The colors were so bright and I could’ve died right there in candy heaven! But I survived with a little cash left to spare (and I do mean little!)…

011

I enjoyed the way the store displayed the mouth-watering sugary treats. My fav by far was the King Tut confection, which I am going to try to figure out how to make. But I also loved the shoestring licorice, brightly colored lollipops and cool candies like edible Legos! Wow!!!

014013

Check out the adorable flipflop candies! I definitely was inspired! Hopefully there will be candy posts to come…after I get my laundry caught up…whatever decade that might be!

So — Go play in the kitchen!!!

Well I asked for potatoes and I sure did get some! Hubby found 100lbs for $16! So please send your fav potatoes recipes and we will have a potato party!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers