Sausage-Cheese Balls

February 1, 2009

rrgrater2
Need a super-fast, last-minute snack for a super occasion—maybe like the Super Bowl? Quick! Grab some sausage and cheese and your emergency box of biscuit mix. (Admit it! Every smart cook has a box of biscuit mix tucked away in the pantry.) You’ll have the guys in the barca-loungers kissing your feet in no time!

1 pound hot bulk sausage
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
3 cups biscuit mix

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

In a hot skillet, crumble the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Drain the fat. Reduce the heat to low, add the cheese, and stir until melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the biscuit mix. Roll into 3/4-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.
Makes 42 balls.

From All-American Comfort Food


Rosemary Pecans

November 9, 2008

rrpecans
Easy and so, so good you’d better have carryout bags for your guests. The basic recipe works with just about any kind of nuts. Just make sure you don’t burn them. Use your nose. When they start to smell toasty, they’re roasted.

PS You can get Szechuan peppers from mail-order houses like Penzys. Trust me, they’re worth the extra effort.

8 ounces unsalted pecan halves [or English walnuts]
1 T melted sweet butter
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1/4 tsp Szechuan peppers, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp honey
2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F. Spread the nuts in one layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and roast until fragrant and beginning to change color, 8 to 10 minutes. In a small saucier over very low heat, melt the butter. Add the curry powder, peppers, honey, and rosemary. Add the warm nuts and salt and toss until thoroughly coated.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.


How to make an ice bowl

February 27, 2008

Ice Bowl
Creative Commons photo by EuphoriaLand

At an ice hotel, everything is made of ice, including the furniture and even the dishes. While you might not be able to make your own frozen bedroom suite at home, how about trying your hand at making a beautiful ice bowl? – Almostgotit

You will need:

  • Two stainless steel (best) or plastic bowls. (Don’t use glass. One bowl should fit inside the other with a gap of at least ¾ inch between the two.)
  • Flowers or other decorations (optional)
  • Heavy duty packaging tape
  • Water
  • Aluminum foil

To make your bowl:

Center the smaller bowl inside the larger one. Put two strips of heavy duty tape across the top rims of the bowl to make a cross, to hold the smaller bowl in place. You can also put a few ice cubes in the bottom of the larger bowl first to support the smaller bowl.

Place flowers or other decorations in the space between the two bowls. A chopstick may help with positioning, as may the judicious use of crushed ice or ice cubes to hold the items in place.

Carefully fill the larger bowl with water to within a ½ inch of the rim of the larger bowl (water will expand some as it freezes, so leave room). Put a little water, a rock, or other weight in the smaller bowl if necessary to keep it from floating up. Place your mold into the freezer overnight.

The next morning, lay the whole thing out for ten minutes or so at room temperature. If the ice bowl doesn’t come out easily, you may gently help it along by filling the smaller bowl with warm water and wrapping a hot towel around the larger bowl for another minute or so. Wrap your newly created ice bowl in aluminum foil and store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. Be sure to put your bowl on a beautiful platter when you use it, to catch the water as it slowly melts!

Lovely things to decorate an ice bowl: fresh or dried flowers or flower petals, fresh mint leaves or other herbs, sliced star fruit, (mini plastic fish?!)

Lovely things to serve in an ice bowl: sushi, sashimi, shrimp, strawberries, sorbet, granita, fresh fruit or vegetables, fruit punch

Ice Hotels (links):

The world’s first Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Hôtel de Glace Ice hotel in Quebec, Canada 
Lainio Snow Hotel in Ylläsjärvi, Finland
Kemi Snow Castle in Kemi, Finland 
Bjorli Ice Lodge in Norway
Alta Igloo Hotel in Norway
Hotel gheata at Bâlea Lake
Article: Designing an Ice Hotel


Creative Commons photo by Etolane


Lighthouse cocktails

February 25, 2008

Staviken lighthouse

To the Lighthouse!

I think Sam and Harry would enjoy honeymooning in one of several authentic lighthouse inns, including The Stavik Lighthouse (Stavikens Fyr, photo at left), a romantically-bleak lighthouse in Sweden that would be my personal favorite, and might have been Virginia Woolf’s favorite too, but it’s no doubt colder than a polar bear’s behind at this time of year. 

In February, they may prefer someplace warm like Cape Otway Lightstation (photo, below), the oldest lighthouse in Australia.   And since the Cape Otway cafe already has a nice salmon quiche on their menu, all that’s left is to mix Sam and Harry a couple of “Lighthouses” to go with it.  Of course!!Almostgotit   

Lighthouse recipeCape Otway Lightstation

 For each serving:
1/3 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/3 oz Bailey’s® Irish cream
1/3 oz 151-proof rum

Pour kahlua into a shot glass. With a spoon, slowly pour irish cream into the shot glass on top of the kahlua. Pour the 151 rum, again with the spoon, slowly on top of the irish cream and light on fire. Blow flame out before drinking.


Olive-Pimiento Spread

January 2, 2008
rrolivelone.jpg

This quick, make-at-the-last-minute appetizer is a sure-fire hit with drop-in guests. SAM

PS To make it even easier, substitute commercial onion juice for the grated onion with juice.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed, green olives, drained and finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated onion with juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mash the cream cheese with a fork and stir in the olives, onion, olive oil, and pepper. Serve on crackers or French bread, or stuff into celery sticks.
Makes 1 cup or 6 servings.


Cheese Crisps

October 20, 2007

rrswisscheese.jpg

Tired of cheese on a toothpick? Nuke that hunk into a crunchy, spicy little crisp! HARRY

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 (1/2-inch) cubes Cheddar cheese
2 (1/2-inch) cubes Swiss cheese
2 (1/2-inch) cubes Fontina cheese
Non-stick cooking spray

In a large plastic bag, combine the flour, onion powder, cumin seeds, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Shake to mix. Add the cheese and shake to coat. Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Place the cheese on the plate equidistances apart. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes or bake in the oven at 375 degrees until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the crisps with a spatula and drain on paper towels to cool.
Makes 6 crisps.