Monday, October 31, 2011

Fried Shrimp Wontons

Just a quick note before I head back to work from my vacation.....
We had to bring a snack to share with the group Saturday night and there was food a'plenty!  I even sampled some Venison sausage.  Being me, I had to try to out do the group and brought Fried Shrimp Wontons.  They were delish!  I will post the dip recipe and if you are braver than I and try it, please let me know how it turns out.  I didn't have any red wine or rice wine vinegar so I tried to substitute red wine vinegar (made sense at the time)...thank goodness I tried it before we left because YUCK!!!  Instead, we used soy sauce and some chopped scallions.  Total prep and cooking time is just a bit over an hour.

Fried Shrimp Wontons
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, coarsely chopped
3-4 stalks green onions, washed, trimmed, diced
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
1 cup water chestnuts, small dice
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tbsp sesame oil
~ 50 wonton wrappers
water or beaten egg white for sealing wrappers
oil for deep-frying
dipping sauce
1 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp red wine or rice wine vinegar
chili garlic paste (optional)
Mix the shrimp, green onions, ginger, and water chestnuts in a bowl. Season with salt and sesame oil. Mix well. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper and wet the edges on one half of the wonton with the water or egg white wash. Fold the wrapper in half on the diagonal and press the edges together, pushing out any air pockets in the wonton. Daub one of the bottom corners with more water or egg white wash and fold the wings in front of the wonton so that they cross at the corners. Press together. When all wontons are folded, heat oil in a deep medium saucepan to 350°F. Fry 5-6 wontons at a time until they are golden brown. Remove and set on a rack. To make dipping sauce, combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Serve hot wontons with dipping sauce.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Its Time To Dress Up

Not Michael and I

We are going to a Halloween party tomorrow night and must go in costume.  There is a theme and it is "come as your own personal super hero".  Well, sounds easier said than done.  I originally thought of going as my mother but Michael came up with a much better thought, we are going as a cat and a dog.  I am thinking that it has to do with rescues and spay/neuter, not sure if I am right though.  So wasting no time since we only heard about this party 3 weeks ago or so, I went shopping today.  How hard could it be?  Off to Dollar Tree I went first figuring they would have cat and dog ears and tails for adults..wrong.  Next to Big Lots, wrong again.  I really wanted to do this on the cheap and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to attach dog ears to Michaels head without a stapler...that might hurt an awfully lot and I am very fond of him.  I found myself at Party City.  There are way tooooo many Halloween costumes and very few of them have anything to do with animals for adults.  I snatched up cat ears and a tail for myself for 6.99 and found a dog nose for the hubby..but without ears who will know what he is supposed to be?  Fortunately for me, there is another store around the corner that sells costumes.  Talk about over whelming..and no help to be had unless you wanted to be patted down before going into the fitting rooms.  After wandering around lost for about 15 minutes, I found of all things, a fur aviator cap.  Now, what need does anyone other than me have for this item?  Probably none...but if I turn it inside out the ears will hang down!  Problem solved (I hope).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michaels Breakfast And Help From Bear

Good Morning!  Trying to be a good wife, I am making Michael a sausage and egg on one of the hard rolls I baked the other day.  I have an assistant....Bear.  The hubby is in the shower and I snuck into the office to check to see well, how many people looked at my blog yesterday.  In the meantime, my trusty sidekick keeps leaving guietly.  I know exactly what he is doing, he is out in the kitchen trying to figure out how to get the roll and the cooked sausage off the counter.  I finally had to put him in a down...sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't.
Well, time to finish cooking.  You know I will be well supervised!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sort Of Vacation Time And Other Random Thoughts

As the title suggests, I am sort of on vacation this week.  I know that sounds odd, you either are or you aren't but, I "took" 2 days last week to help make payroll and this week is what I have left so...I am (or already have) worked 2 and a half days.  I worked the very exciting 2 to 10 Sunday to take in the truck and then was at work from 8 to 12 yesterday and go tomorrow to cover the bosses day off.  I am hoping after that to not have to return until Monday.  How blissful to have 4 days off in a row, two of them weekend days! 

So vacation calls for wine (not yet it's too early even for me).  I stumbled across some great bargains yesterday.  Yes they are inexpensive wines to begin with but...I got them for a steal!  We (at World Market) are clearancing out some discontinued wines...nothing wrong with them, we just don't have room for them anymore so...I got 2 bottles of Yellow Tale Cab and 2 bottles of Barefoot Pinot Grig for around 3 dollars a bottle!  They were on sale for half price and then we still have the buy 4 save an additonal 10% so...why not?  I may have to go and pick up the other Barefoot bottles since we have a Halloween BYOB party to go to Saturday night....

Yesterday I thought I would surprise Michael with some new kitchen gadgets.  Okay, I bought them for him to use but mostly for me.  We went to a friends house a few weeks ago and left the two cup measuring cup there and have been trying to measure without it ever since.  I never realized how attached you get to something until you don't have it and that includes the two cupper!  My other dilema was I share my 1 cup dry measure with Bear.  He gets exactly 1 and a half measuring cups of dog food twice a day...gotta keep the guy in shape, so my cup was in the dog food.   Whenever I needed to measure dry stuff I would either have to get the cup out of his dogfood and make it no longer smell like kibble or use the smaller measuring cups.  Now the second is not the worst thing in the world unless you are baking.  It is so easy to loose track of how many scoops of flour (at 1/3 or 1/4 of a cup at a time) you have added when you need 3 or 4 cups.
I had a $10 rewards coupon at World Market that I had earned from my gourmet purchases and it had to be used yesterday at the latest. I had been pondering since I had gotten the coupon what to use it on....I feel like I must get the most for my money.  I decided to pick up a new 2 cupper and a set of complete measuring cups along with a bottle of olive oil.  I made my exicitng purchases (along with the wine) for a total of $20 (there are also 2 of the cool Pina Colada things in the freezer) and home I came.  The hubby was home having lunch and I proudly awarded him his new 2 cupper and he started to laugh!  He sent me out to the kitchen where in the dish drain were...a new 2 cupper and a set of measuring cups he had purchased that same morning...I guess we are completely in sync!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Green Tomato Chow Chow

I am sadden today because I finished my jar of Green Tomato Chow Chow. I know, I had never heard of it either but...once you try it all other relishes go out the window.  Every year a dear friend of mine puts some up and shares it with us, I try to make the jar last and I did pretty good with this one is now gone.  I will have to go to her home with my empty canning jar in my hands along with any book I have borrowed recently and try to get another jar.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Political Rant

I try to keep my political rants to myself but, how do these people I do not believe in keep finding me?  I have gotten a number of pieces of mail from the other side in the past week or so.  Now granted, here in South Carolina we do not register for one party or the other and we have the "First in the South" but, what makes these guys think I would ever vote for them? Did they ever call me or talk to me to see if I was anti this or pro that?  Do they think I will just mail them money (which is what ultimately they are looking for).  Do I look like a Tea Party or Republican kinda gal (J just keep quiet). How much money do these people spend looking for money? Why can they just not support our President?  Why must they continue to battle him on everything he tries to do or tries to put through congress?  Why are thy destroying our country?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Time For The Church Chicks!

Last night was my ladies church group get together. I of course waited until the last minute to decide what to bring.  I do not know why I cannot make a decision this easy!  I will be looking at recipes, eating at other peoples houses or watching a show on TV and will think "I need to bring that to the next church chicks!". The time comes that we have another get together and bam, idea gone!

So there I was at work yesterday in a panic, what could I bring?  Now, World Market is filled with yummy goodness.  I could take the easy way out and just bring a bottle of wine, goodness knows there is enough of that and all the reds are on sale!  For some reason though, I just cannot bring myself to do something that simple.  It feels like cheating somehow.  When I first went, my friend Jan brought me and she said "We all bring something special that we make very well and than we put it on our best dish".  I have lived by this since then.  I suspect that may be where the problem comes in, I need to wow everyone.  My solution came very simply though.  I had a customer that was looking for Madeline cookies.  I have been curious about them since we started carrying them, they just looked so interesting.  This nice lady told me they taste like little pound cakes and are absolutely delicious.  An idea was born!  So here is what I did...

Madeline Strawberry Cakes
1 pkg Madelines cut in half the long way
1 small container whipping cream
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Strawberry's cleaned and sliced

Whip the cream until soft peaks appear (about 5 minutes) add the sugar and the vanilla, mix until blended.  Do not over whip the cream or you can have something that looks close to butter (been there done that).  Put a dollop of whipped cream on each one (you can be fairly generous with this), place a strawberry on top.  Repeat with all the Madelines placing them on a pretty dish as you go along. 

I took these and put them in the freezer for about a half an hour before I left just to make sure the cream was firm and it wouldn't droop all over everything by the time we would be eating dessert.

It could not have been easier, I had more than enough for the 30 ladies that were there last night and they were a big hit.  Best of all it was cheap!  The Madelines were 3.99 for a package of 16, which makes 32 little desserts.  The cream was 1.70 and I have no idea how much the strawberries were as I had bought them on my last shopping trip.  I probably used about 10 strawberries all told.  The entire thing cost me maybe 7.00 which is not inexpensive but still not a budget breaker!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fried Chicken At Our House?

I was reading early today.  If you haven't had a chance to look at this wonderful blog you should make the time.  I do not know if it is the recipes, the wonderful pictures or the writing that I enjoy so much.  Anyway, she was talking about food not turning out the way you planned it.  Not so much the taste but the look.  I think sometimes we all do that, we figure that since it doesn't look the way it did in the picture or the way we expect it to it doesn't taste good.  Now that I think about it, that can even include dishes that you thought were going to taste one way and wound up tasting different.  Not a fail, just not what you expected!

Last night I decided to be brave and try to fry chicken.  Now for me that is a big one!  I live in the capital of fried chicken!  I have told Michael that scrawny white women from Brooklyn cannot make fried chicken or baked macaroni and cheese (I am positive I am correct on the second one).

I do not have an old family recipe passed down from my great grandmother for fried chicken so to the internet I went.  It doesn't come much more southern than Paula Deen so I tried her Southern Fried Chicken recipe.  I took out the Crisco (left over from the New York Hard Rolls) and one of Michael's big cast iron frying pans and off to work I went.  I must add that before I made the chicken, I also baked some southern style biscuits.  My self rising flour must be old because they just didn't has to be the flour and certainly not the cook! 

Here's the recipe for the chicken....

Southern Fried Chicken
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:14 min
Serves:4 servings

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • About 1 cup hot red pepper sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • House seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
  • Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the house seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.
House Seasoning:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6

I of course made a few adjustments to the recipe.  I was using 3 legs and 3 thighs (hopes of an outstanding meal) so I only used 2 eggs.  I used a different hot sauce and cut it way back to probably 1/4 of a cup.  I only used 1 and 1/3 cup of flour and that was still way too much and I salt and peppered the chicken instead of the mixture.  Michael told me after wards that cast iron doesn't work that well on electric ranges which is why I didn't get the crispy coating on the chicken I desired.  We are going to invest in a thermometer so I can check the oil to make sure it is really hot.
So all in all, it wasn't a fail, it just didn't turn out the way I expected it to. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finally, The Mussel Recipe!

Moules a la Mariniere

Makes 6 servings
Cooking time: 1 brief hour


8 cups of mussels cooked as below
1 1/4 cups cooking liquid
2/3 cup of white wine
2/3 ounce of shallot finely minced
2 good pinches of minced parley
1/3 cup of butter
2 good soup spoons of bread crumbs ground into a fine semolina
1 medium onion sliced
5 sprigs thyme
1/3 bay leaf
pinch of white pepper
1 cup of water


Put mussels, onion, thyme, bay leaf, pepper and water into covered casserole.  Heat over high heat until mussels are just opened wide (6-8 minutes).  Decant mussel liquor into one container, mussels into a second.
Rinse casserole, add the wine and the shallot.  Reduce vigorously until about 3 tables spoons are left.  Add 1 1/4 cups carefully measured mussel liquor.  Boil it for only a few seconds without reducing it.  Turn off the heat. Off the fire, add the butter divided into very small pieces.  Sprinkle in the bread crumbs mixing well and shaking the casserole to melt the butter.  Add the parsley.

Put the mussels back into the casserole.  Shake them in the sauce for a sew seconds only without putting them back over the heat.   You want to heat the mussels and to cover them with sauce but not to boil or over heat because the butter loose its creaminess and turn to oil.

Pour into a large bowl and enjoy!

Technical Difficulties

For some reason, I cannot get the Mussel recipe to copy.  I will keep trying...please be patient.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Anniversary!

Michael and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on September 29th. It was a weeknight and we both had to go to work the next day so we had a special day together topped off by one of our favorite meals.  We discovered this Mussel recipe at one of our favorite restaruants here in Charleston called The Fat Hen.  If you have never had the chance to sneak out to this fabulous place out on Johns Island and you live here shame on you!  Often I try to recreate recipes that we have had at differnet places and this was no exception!  You have to have plenty of crusty bread to soak up the juices from the mussels, wine and butter!

Time To Think About Thanksgiving

A few weeks ago my friend Dena started talking about our Thanksgiving plans.  We usually all get together and celebrate the holiday as a large group.  Some are family, some are friends, some are people just dragged along.  At that point I thought its only September why are we thinking about Thanksgiving.  In my mailbox today arrived my Cooking Club of America magazine and emblazened across the front was, you guessed it, Thanksgiving.

Now, the holiday is only 6 weeks from today. To some of you I am sure that is a long time but as I have gotten older time has started to fly by and 6 weeks is no time.  Dena travels for work so her planning time is limited and you all know I work retail so that means I will be busy.  Jen will be heading back to South America right after the holiday and hopefully we will see Liz that day also.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  Have they changed?  If you are an ex-pat, what do you do to celebrate if you do at all? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dooley Has A New Home

There is much to be said about being a foster parent to a dog.  The happiest time is when they get their "Forever Home".  This past weekend a wonderful couple drove down from Charlotte to meet and adopt Dooley.  Our home is quieter and has a lot less dog fur in it but most important, Dooley has a family that loves him and cherishes him! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What Am I Doing Up So Late?

So here it is 2am and I got home from work about a half an hour ago.  Sunday night is truck night and if you have never worked retail, let me tell you it is a treat.  We have no loading dock and we sell a lot of heavy furniture so that means tons of furniture have to come in to replace (hopefully) what we sold the week before.  Along with all the furniture come the pallets of regular merchandise to fill the shelves and now get ready for the holiday season.  Not having a loading dock has it's advantages, the only one which comes to mind right now is that we can sort all that stuff out  in the back parking lot.  The disadvantages are also many the one that comes to mind this evening is heavy stuff loaded on the truck which you can't get off with the fork lift.  Thank goodness for the guys is all I can say.  All this merchandise does not get on the shelves by itself so that is why we were at work until after 1 am.  I am the pallet sorter and I am the very sore pallet sorter at this moment which brings me to a food (kind of) topic! 

A few months ago we got in these Marg-o-rita's.  They are just like their name sake but they have wine in them instead of alcohol.  They arere mighty tasty.  A couple of weeks ago, we discovered they also have Strawberry Daiquiris and Pina Coladas....I am at this moment, enjoying a Strawberry Daiquiri hoping my brain stops running and I can go to sleep.  The best part of these is that they are 1.99 and there are at least 2 good sized drinks in each freezer container.

So there you have it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm Back!

It is so easy to not post anything.  When you start a blog you are so excited and full of ideas and then one day, bam!  No motivation, no excitement, nothing...that is where I have been.  I think part of it has been the fact that summer was just so dern long here this year (though I will never complain about the heat), it has been hard to come up with something new and exciting to have for dinner.  We have eaten many meals and some of them were even special, it was just to easy to not write about apologies!

So after avoiding all of you for a few weeks, today I decided just to take a peek and..there are still people looking!  Therefore, I will put back on my big girl panties and start blogging again.  I ask only one thing, that those of you that visit here from far away place, and there have been many from places I only dream of visiting, drop me a line and let me know how you found the blog and if you enjoy it.  For those of you in the states who are my friends and friends I have yet to met, please do the same.

If you find I am not posting everyday, please be patient.  I have been putting out Christmas the last few days and it is the beginning of a long (not really) season for me.  Hmmmm...thoughts of Christmas cookies!