Sunday, January 24, 2016

Week 5 1-24-16

Duh!  I'm sure I posted this, but Blogger says it's a draft - so here goes.  Only two months late.  Remember, I'm new at this.

My favorite motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, had the perfect quote for my week: You must magnify your skills or modify your goals.

I definitely needed to magnify my time management skills this week.  I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I planned.  My week was full of Tears over my kitty, Tiki.  The doctor came again to check for a bladder infection, as she was doing her Tinkle in her bed instead of her potty box, and she was very lethargic.  He found that she has an infected tooth, and possibly a bladder infection.  He also gave her some steroids to help her pain and joints.  I feel like a mother with a new baby.  I go check on her every half hour or hour to see if she needs food or clean water (she leaves bits of food in it), check for wet (why don't they have Kitty Depends?), scrape her potty box (she uses it part of the time now), wash her smelly backside, or administer medication (thyroid twice a day, antibiotics twice a day, steroids once a day).  Of course, I have a daily load of laundry to keep a supply of fresh pads and blankets.

Trimming and Thinning:  I was able to maintain my exercise schedule, however, and I'm even starting to enjoy the daily routine of stretching out my joints, etc.  I can't believe I said that. 

Taking Care of My Health: Also, keeping up with my tea, apples, greens, and yellow or orange.  I missed my apple and yellow one day, so I doubled up the next day.  I know this is cheating, but don't I at least get credit for trying to rectify my boo-boo?

And how's this for a short cut - tea, greens and apples in the salad, carrots (orange) in the soup.  Voila!  All in one meal. I even worked in purple (grapes) and white (potatoes and onions), but we'll get to that down the road.

I know there aren't enough carrots to count, but I'll be eating soup again tonight.  I made enough to feed the neighborhood, but I didn't invite them because I'd still be washing dishes when it was time for Downton Abbey.  I don't know why I always cook as if company's coming.



Tea Book:  Winter Tea 1 is finished.  I wanted to share a Tidbit about the beet sandwiches.
This is an excerpt from the book:


Note:  Here’s the story behind the name of the beet sandwiches.  Our chosen brother, Peter, is from England, and he mentioned that when his family had a picnic, his mother always made beetroot rolls.  I Goggled “beetroot rolls” and found photos of all kinds of gorgeous concoctions.  I sent the link to Peter and asked which kind his mother made.  He said, “Oh, they were simply rolls, butter and sliced beetroot”.  We Yanks call beetroot simply “beets”.  I thought that sounded a little strange and unappetizing, but I tried it and found that it’s one of those simple combinations that work well together, like bread, butter and tomato, or bread, cream cheese and cucumber.  So I replaced the rolls with bread to make them more “tea” like and christened them Dorothy Enid Beetroot Tea Sandwiches in honor of Peter’s mother. 


I also want to share a bit of Tasting from the book, in case you want to try my Apricot-Orange Scones.

APRICOT-ORANGE SCONES
(I read a few scone recipes and came up with this)

3 cups of flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) firm butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots (cut to about the size of a raisin)
Orange zest from one orange
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp orange extract
Buttermilk and sugar for topping (optional)

Heat the oven to 425°.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a pastry blender, two knives, a fork, or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it’s all incorporated and begins to look like coarse meal.  Stir in the apricots and orange zest.

Make a well in the middle.  Add the orange extract to the buttermilk and pour it into the well, all at once.  Stir the mixture until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it to 1/2” high.  Using a 2-1/2” circle cutter, cut scones and place them on lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.

If desired, brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  If using a different-sized cutter, alter baking time.  Serve with Orange Butter and Apricot jam.

Note:  Scones may also be cut into wedges by patting the dough into a circle.  This will eliminate re-rolling the scraps, which can make the scones tough from rehandling the dough. 






To make Orange Butter, simply combine two sticks of softened butter, four tablespoons of powdered sugar, and the zest from two oranges.  Buy the apricot jam at the market unless you have an apricot tree so you can make your own.  Apricots are difficult to find and cost a king's ransom.



This butter might be nice on cooked carrots, too, or baked sweet potatoes.

As for Winter Tea 2, I got no further than the menu and the location.  For savories:  Corned beef or pastrami tea sandwiches and shrimp salad tea sandwiches, caramel scones with pecan cream cheese spread, and for sweets, snowball cookies (also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies) and date bars.   I haven't decided whether to have it by the fireplace in the family room for two or in the living room for four or eight.  I'll start working on the scone recipe and the little niggle will guide me.  If I use holly dishes, I can serve four.  If I use metallic gold and ivory bridge sets, I can serve up to sixteen.  Oh, well. I'll know when I need to know.

Tasting:  I found time to test a recipe for mushroom soup to rival Ms. Gilmore's Tea Room.  I like the taste of what I made, but not the color.  I hate to tell you what I wanted to call it.  Oh, what the heck!  You already know my warped sense of humor.  I thought it should be called Cream of Stopped Up Toilet Soup.  I had that problem this week, so I know that color well.  

You'll probably never eat mushroom soup again, but here goes:


CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP

8 oz white button mushrooms
8 oz baby Portobello mushrooms
6 Tbs butter (or more)
1/3 cup flour
1 qt chicken broth
1/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 cup whipping cream
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Clean the mushrooms and cut a few middle slices out of the small ones for garnish.  Chop the rest.

Melt the butter and sauté the garnish slices.  Remove to a paper towel to drain and add the chopped mushrooms.  Sauté until golden, adding more butter if necessary.

Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms; cook and stir a few minutes to cook the flour.

Add the chicken broth and herbs.  Simmer ten minutes.

Whirl the mixture in a blender in batches.  It will be hot and the pressure will cause the lid to fly off unless you hold it on with a folded kitchen towel.  On low, start at “pulse” and work your way up to the highest speed and then switch over to high.    Do each batch the same way.  Do not fill the blender more than halfway each time.

Return to skillet or pan.  Add whipping cream and reheat, stirring constantly.  Add salt and pepper, if desired.  The salt will depend on the chicken broth you use.  Garnish.


Note:  I added the Herbs de Provence from a grinder (a gift from my Cooking Club friend, Carol), so I don’t have an accurate measure.  Also, you can add your own herbs, if you wish.  Thyme, rosemary, sage would work well.

And FYI, when I was searching for the correct name for button mushrooms, I  verified that they're crimini mushrooms, but so are baby Portabellas.  Who knew?



I didn't come up with a new salad for our eating greens goal, but I did find a way to use spinach which you might like.

I found this recipe somewhere (unknown), and it was supposed to be the recipe from Les Deux Magots (a Parisian restaurant).  If you haven't been to this restaurant, you must try it if you get to Paris.  It's a favorite of tourists (my friends, Bev and Bill have been there many times and give it high marks).  Bev says that even though it looks like the name is The Two Maggots, it's really named after two brothers named Magot.  Anyway, I made it and liked it, so here it is:
LES DEUX MAGOTS QUICHE
(Not)

1 unbaked pie crust
3 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1 Tbs oil
1 medium onion, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
6 oz package of baby spinach
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 Tbs flour
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400°.

Bake pie crust 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from oven; reduce heat to 325°.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the mushrooms and onions about 5 minutes. 

Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.  If there is moisture in the pan, drain it off.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, bacon, vegetables and seasoning. 

In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the cheese; add to the egg mixture. 

Pour into crust and bake 45-55 minutes, until set.  Cool 20 minutes before cutting.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Note:  My twist – Use part Cheddar and part Swiss or Havarti.  Give the spinach leaves a rough shred.  Use 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk.


But being the nosy person I am, I Googled "Les Deux Magots quiche" and there were lots of images from Foodies, and the quiche didn't look anything like mine.  I found an "inspired by" recipe which looks interesting, so I'll make it next year (remind me).  Click on the recipe and take a look.  I like this girl.  She chose the same border as mine for her blog, except that she used brown instead of red (her blog is Sugar and Spice, so I guess that prompted the brown).

I said next year because I celebrate the birthdays of my women relatives who have made their transitions.  My Auntie Kack came to California to visit my cousin (her step-daughter), and they came to my house for lunch.  I made quiche and Auntie Kack loved it.  I gave her the recipe, and she made it often.  So each year I celebrate her birthday on January 21 by making quiche and next year I'll make the "inspired" recipe.

I was supposed to go to the 417 Magazine dinner on Tuesday with Steg and Sally, but it was cancelled because icy roads were expected.  The weather seems to be okay for next Tuesday, so we'll have Foodie photos next week instead.  

Our weather has been very considerate this winter, so we can't complain.

First snowfall, January 9, didn't even cover the grass


Second snowfall, January 20, was a total wimp


Third snowfall, January 21, we got up to this


but the snowplows came the next day


and my dear neighbor, Bud, cleared my drive with his snow-blower

so I could get out to buy beef and chicken baby food to disguise the steroid medicine, and while I was out, I did a little -

Thrifting:  I hadn't even opened Craigslist for over a week, but that little niggle came, and I found these sweet little green dishes.  Each set is a cup and saucer, small plate, and napkin ring.  There are twelve sets plus the salt and pepper shakers, and I paid $10.



He called them lime green, but they're leaning toward mint, and certainly not the pea green they seem to be here.

I met the guy in a supermarket parking lot and found a

Tidbit:  I have no idea what this is supposed to be - maybe a redneck wind chime?



Tales:  Not even close.  I was too stressed over my Tiki to concentrate on a non-fiction book, but I find crocheting helps, so I did accomplish some work with 

Thread:  I really want to finish off the black thread, so I started a doily (really? a black doily?).  The pattern calls for size 40 thread to make an 18" doily.  The smaller the number, the thicker the thread, and mine is size 10.  My doily might turn out to be a table topper, as I'm working on row 17 and there are 31 rows.



Things That Grow:  My amaryllis is having babies.  It's going to be quadruplets.  Truly a gift which keeps on giving.


My Miscellaneous T (Teaching) didn't work out due to nasty weather, and I didn't want to leave Tiki that long to go to the library.  However, I did teach myself how to do a hyperlink (with help from my library class I took online).  That's where you click on the word "recipe" and up pops the blog which contains the recipe.  I also learned (with Help from Word) how to do 400° instead of 400 degrees.  

Tidying:  A mere figment of my imagination.  We'll just forget this until things settle down around here.  

Tidbit:  Remember the egg cooker I showed you?  My brother, Sonny, bought one, which is a different brand, for a friend of his.  The friend has poor eyesight, so Sonny downloaded the manual, increased the font size, and printed it.  He happened to spot a part which said, "Do not use the egg cooker when it is in the appliance garage".  I told you things don't always translate properly from Chinese to English, although in my case this might work, as most of my appliances ARE in the garage instead of the cabinet.

You must be sick of me by now, so let's decide on next week's goals.  Keep up your exercise, tea, apples, green leafy vegetables, and yellow or orange fruit or vegetable.  No new food assignments until next week.

Tasting:  I'll be doing lots of tasting.  Tuesday night is the cancelled 417 Magazine dinner. Wednesday night is dinner with the Glenstone Diners at Cracker Barrel.  Thursday we're doing a potluck lunch for the birthday of one of our Cooking Club members, Mim.  I'm doing the entree, probably chicken shepherd's pie, which will also mean cranberry sauce.  Carol is bringing the salad and Bev is making the cake from a new technique which will surprise and delight you.

Thread:  I'll work on that black doily(?) and see if I can't say goodbye to that black thread once and for all.

Tales:  I really need to read my library books, which are due back on February 2.  

Things That Grow:  If the garage warms up a little, I need to plant those indoor-starter seeds.

Trying New Gadgets:  Surely I can find time to try at least one new gadget.

Time for Others:  Katie Sue might need help making valentines for the Senior homes.

Tip:  Don't forget to make a wish on the Full Wolf Moon.

STAY WELL, BE HAPPY, EAT GOOD FOOD, DRINK TEA











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