A treehouse, a free house, a special you and me house

February 23, 2008

What a place to spend a honeymoon!  Every couple in love needs their own castle-in-the-sky.  Happy Weekend to the Newlyweds from Almostgotit!

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Finally! Sam and Harry Are off on their Honeymoon!

February 17, 2008

We’ll toast them TODAY with a fabulous Hazelnut Frappé!

But … STAY TUNED! Exciting things are happening on The ROL … beginning TOMORROW with a wonderful, delightful, sweet, fun, smart, and serendipitous guest host!

You’ll love her!


Hazelnut Frappé

February 17, 2008
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A toast! To those we love! SAM

1/2 cup strong black coffee, cold
1/2 cup crushed ice
6 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
1 teaspoon cognac
1/2 cup toffee or chocolate chip ice cream
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade or in a blender, blend until smooth the coffee, ice, liqueur, cognac, and ice cream. Serve in chilled champagne flutes topped with whipped cream.
Makes 2 servings.


Butter Cream Icing

February 5, 2008
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The icing on the cake … yea … this is it. I have known children—I happened to be one—who ate the icing and not the cake. SAM

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons heavy cream plus additional if necessary
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl on high speed, beat confectioner’s sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. If necessary for easy spreading, add additional lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time.
Makes 1 cup or enough for one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.


Lentils with Italian Sausage

January 17, 2008
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A very simple lentil dish with all the punch of New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. This one, though, is lentils, which have more protein than beef, and sausage, a fine and tasty indulgence. Enjoy! SAM

2 1/2 cups dried green or gray lentils
4 1/2 cups water
3 medium onions, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
4 small waxy potatoes, quartered
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, cooked and cut into 2-inch pieces

Rinse the lentils, place them in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and cover them with water. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and sausage. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Makes 8 servings.


Chicken Marsala

January 16, 2008
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A quick, stove-top chicken supper you can make while you’re winding down from your day at work. Pour yourself a glass of wine and you’ll be in heaven. SAM

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 pound mushrooms, brushed and sliced
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Wash the chicken breasts, pat dry, and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and sage. In a large skillet or chef’s pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hazy. Add the chicken and cook until golden, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving plate and keep warm. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and sauté, covered, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté, uncovered, until they give up their liquid, about 5 minutes more. Add the wine and stock and cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, stir in the half-and-half, and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.
Makes 4 servings.


Cayenne Cheese Rounds

January 14, 2008
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Every good cook has his or her favorite cheese snacks. Some call them ‘straws,’ some call them ‘rounds.’ Whatever, they’re a must for any buffet or cocktail party. This recipe has an especially taste-tempting balance of hot pepper and mellow cheese and egg. Warning: make more than you think you’ll need. SAM

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 cup butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (1 stick)
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons ice water

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cheese, pepper, and paprika. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and add the ice water, beating until frothy. Stir the egg mixture into the cheese mixture to form a ball of dough. Dust with flour, cover, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Form the dough into 48 small balls, place on a lightly floured surface, and flatten with a fork dipped in flour. Place rounds on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.
Makes 4 dozen.