Saturday, June 28, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Shrimp Vegie Pasta Salad
With the 4th of July coming real soon, it brings to mind picnics. As in the Buettner Family Reunion.
Our contribution: a big kettle of home baked beans, a extra large bowl of fruit salad, and some kind of dessert. Oh, and hot dogs. I always hoped that we would take brats or burgers, but no, we always took hot dogs. I think it was an economical thing.
Salads have come a long way since the last reunion that I attended. As I assembled this delectable dish, I wondered if any of the relatives would enjoy it as much as I am.
First I start with the pasta. I like the flavored kind, which according to the package, provides part of a vegetable serving. Excellent.
There are so many shapes and sizes on the market, it was hard to decide.

While the pasta is cooking, I move on to the dressing. I start with fat-free sour cream, fat-free mayo, and to add some flavor and zing, horseradish sauce.

A spoon of dried onion, which will hydrate in the sauce,

my special Chickadee Cottage seasoning,

dill. Yum.
Cooking tip: You can find my recipe for Chickadee Cottage Seasoning here:Chickadee Cottage Seasoning
Make up a batch. Add it to sour cream for dips or to top those baked potatoes. Add to melted butter to top fish. Sprinkle on cooked vegies. Fabulous.

Then I assemble the vegetables: celery, carrot, cucumber.
Cooking tip: use a melon baller or tip of a teaspoon to remove the seeds from the cucumber.

And then the star of the show, shrimp. I use precooked, frozen shrimp. Just pull off the tail. Today I'm using medium, and I'm chopping them into pieces so that I get a taste in every bite of salad. They can be put in whole, or small size precooked shrimp can be used. It's the cook's choice.
Drain and rinse the pasta and return it to the kettle for a few minutes. Why? The heat of the kettle will held dry the moisture on the pasta. 
Wow, 3 cooking tips in one blog. I'm being real generous today.

Place the pasta, shrimp and vegies in a bowl,

add the dressing, and give it a stir.

Serve with your favorite vegie on the side,

or all on its own. I like to eat mine on the good china.
Or take it to a picnic and share, if you're feeling so generous.
Any way you eat it,
is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Shrimp Vegie Pasta Salad 
1-1/2 C uncooked pasta
1/4 C fat-free sour cream
1/4 C fat-free mayo
2 Tbsp horseradish sauce
3/4 Tsp Chickadee Cottage Seasoning
1 Tsp dried dill weed
1 Tsp minced, dried onion
20 medium precooked shrimp
1 small cucumber
1 celery rib
2 small carrots

Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain. In small bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, horseradish sauce, seasoning, dill weed and dried onion. Remove tails from precooked shrimp. Chop each shrimp into 3 pieces, or leave whole, according to your preference. Remove seeds from cucumber, chop into small pieces. Slice celery into thin slices. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into strips. Combine pasta, shrimp, vegies and dressing, stir gently until mixed. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. 4 servings.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Dilled Pan-Fried Fish
Today I'm sharing a easy little recipe to make some extremely easy pan-fried fish.
No deep dips in the grease pool, and yet, very tasty.
The recipe is for 2 large fillets, but it is so easy to increase it. Or, do like I do and mix a bigger batch and store in an air-tight container. Just scoop out what you need and store the remainder.

I start with cornmeal,

and add dill, lemon-pepper seasoning, salt and ground black pepper. Combine all, and spread on a plate or sheet pan, depending on how big the fillets are.
I use flounder or pollock, depending on what's available at my local supermarket.
Fresh caught fillets will work just as well. 
After dipping each side in the mixture,

I drop them into a hot non-stick skillet where I have olive oil with a bit of butter. It doesn't take a lot of butter, or a lot of oil. The butter helps the crust brown nicely.

The flounder fillets are large, and delicate, making it a bit difficult to flip them,
so I divide them into smaller pieces.

Total cooking time is about 6 minutes.
Total eating experience, priceless.
Are they ever good.
Happy Saturday
Dilled Pan Fried Fish

2 Tbsp cornmeal
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp dill weed
1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
1/8 Tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
2 fish fillets (about 3/4 lb.) such as sole, flounder, or other white fish
1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tsp butter

Heat olive oil and butter in non-stick skillet on medium heat.Combine cornmeal, salt, dill weed, ground black pepper, and lemon-pepper seasoning in flat bowl or plate.  Blot fillets dry with paper towels. Dredge both sides of fish fillets in cornmeal mixture, place in pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until crisp and fish flakes easily with a fork. 2 servings

Saturday, June 14, 2014

From The Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt
Here's another great recipe using summer's abundance of fresh strawberries and rhubarb.
Rhubarb in frozen yogurt? You bet. It's so darn tasty.
And, I get to use one of my gizmos, aka the ice cream maker.

I start by combining Greek yogurt and Half-and-Half. I've also added vanilla and a pinch or so of salt.

Next comes the sugar,

give it a stir, pour it into the gizmo. Turn it on, let it mix and stir, about 15 minutes or so.

When the yogurt mixture begins to freeze and thicken, I add the fruit mixture.

Of course, there's always quality control. I need to make sure  that it is sweet enough.

My machine takes about 20 minutes total to produce a nice soft-serve treat. Can't you just about taste it?
Hah! I did. I bet you wish you were here when I mix a batch.

I scoop it into a container and let it freeze about 2-3 hours. Then I take it out, scoop it out, add a few fresh berries, eat it out (of the dish).
Is it ever  good.
May your summer be filled with tasty treats. 
Happy Saturday.

Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt

2 C fresh strawberries
1/2 C fresh rhubarb
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Combine all in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until fruit is softened and begins to break down. Cool completely.

1-1/2 C low fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 C half-and-half
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1/8 Tsp salt

Freeze bowl of ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Combine all ingredients except strawberry mixture. Place in bowl and process about 15 minutes, or until mixture begins to freeze and take shape. Add strawberry/rhubarb mixture and continue to process until it forms a thick soft-serve consistency. Remove from bowl and place in a freezer container with a tight lid. Chill in freezer 1-3 hours. Serve with additional sliced fresh strawberries.  5-6 servings

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quilt Block of Life

Sunday was a wonderful day. It was confirmation day at St. Jakobi.

When I first arrived, there were no worshipers. The scene was quiet, serene, inviting.

Our small church had 9 confirmands this year. In this day of people turning away from God, it's refreshing to find 9 young lives willing to confirm their faith.

I had a very special reason for being at this service. Abby, one of my 'greats'. She is a lovely young lady who works hard and studies hard.
I cannot explain how my heart lifts to see her completing this part of her life.

She's sweet, she's funny, she loves her new 'nerd' glasses.

We have one young lady in the class who had many blotting tears when Pastor placed his hand on her head and spoke her bible verse. Melissa has an inoperable tumor which has forced her body to curl up. She is an inspiration to us all. She's been battling cancer since she was 2 years old, and it was thought that she would not reach this age.
And yet, here she is, sharing her usual smile with her parents.
My heart lifted, my heart beat with joy when these young adults walked in and took their seats in the front row. And yes, my eyes welled with tears.
I pray that they continue on, never losing sight of all they have learned and the words they recited on this special day. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
There is so much about this recipe that reminds me of my Mom. We always had rhubarb which she would turn into luscious desserts, such as, rhubarb crunch, rhubarb pie, rhubarb sauce, strawberry-rhubarb jam.
She also had a way with strawberries. There was strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry whip on top of angel food cake, strawberry jam, and just plain strawberries with sugar.
I've combined the two main ingredients to come up with my own recipe, which prods those memories to life as I savor every bite.

I start with chopping the rhubarb,

then adding strawberries,

and sugar. There's also a bit of water in there. Not a lot, as rhubarb has it's own allotment of natural juices.

I cook it until it's nice and thick. Oh my, the aroma makes my mouth water.

I've tried it on angel food cake, which I made from scratch.

I've tried it on sponge cakes. Yes, I made them from scratch.

I've tried it on cinnamon-vanilla shortcakes, which I also made.
I enjoy every tangy, tasty bite, any which way I can, as in:
is it ever good.
Happy Saturday
Rhubarb Sauce

1/2 – 3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C water
2 C chopped rhubarb
1/2 C fresh or frozen strawberries*

Combine 1/2 C sugar, water, rhubarb and strawberries in small pan. Cook over medium heat 45-60 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken. Add additional sugar if mixture is too tart. Remove from heat and cool. Serve over angel food cake, sponge cake, or shortcake biscuits. Approximately 2-1/2 cups.

*Can use raspberries in place of strawberries, or a combination of both.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bed and Breakfast - Part 3

On my recent trek out of town to stay at a Bed & Breakfast, we needed to take a break about halfway there. So, we stopped at a gas station that had a nice store attached. We walked inside, into a sporting goods store full of fishing and hunting gear. The men who were chatting away barely glanced our way. We figured we wouldn't find what we wanted, so we walked out. They never asked if they could help us. We headed back to the car, and found another door  marked gifts. We went in that door, and low and behold, we were still in the same place. The men just glanced our way and continued on with their conversation. Yes, they ignored us. Not a good start to our vacation.
 We found what we were looking for, namely the powder room, and then we hit the snacks.

I found the Bumbleberry Jam there. I won't go into the details of  getting the clerk's attention in order to pay for it. 
The other jams I found at a Bulk Foods store in a little berg called Spring Lake. Same great product, friendlier service. These are products of Wisconsin.

When we finally, and I mean finally, found our way to the B&B, this is the scene that greeted us from the front porch. So calming and serene. We were here, we were happy.

During our stay, I took some time to sign copies of my books for Marilyn, the Innkeeper.

She, in turn, provided me with a cookbook, along with a book which included historical news stories from Marquette County.

Marilyn gave us directions, and we  found our way to a wonderful restaurant called  The Timbers. I didn't  take any pictures inside. It was very cozy, quiet, and a wonderful place to eat. And it had great ambiance, as in low lighting. Taking pictures would have been disruptive.

We  found Marilyn's church, which had beautiful windows. Was there divine intervention when we were directed to stay in the home of a lovely woman who is also a member of LCMS? I think so.

We also made our way to Princeton, another small town nearby. It may be small, but it was hopping. They had a flea market going on with people blowing whistles and directing traffic on the highway; there were a number of antique malls, and so much more  that we didn't take time to visit. I found a few treasures in the antique malls. Well, actually, I found a lot of treasures, but came home with only a few.

We saw where the National Grand Champion Christmas Tree came from that went to Washington DC in 2011 . What an honor for the tree farmer.

There was so much more that we saw, or could have seen. It's not necessary to stay in a large city in order to find enjoyment. When Wendy and I made our plans, we decided to travel the back roads and see the sights. I've found that staying in a small village can provide an inner peace like none other.
Number 1 of my '7 visits to 7 B&B's in 7 years' is now complete. I'm already planning next year. 
If any of my readers are interested in visiting Marilyn, here's the link to her website: Riverview B&B .