Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A walkabout

Lets go on a walkabout.
We need plenty of pub time.
I can't get enough pictures of the phone booths.
Our London friends!

Cheers y'all,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Small Bite ~ Potato

The small bite for this week is 'Potato'
I struggled for a bit, until my sister reminded me of something Martha Stewart had done... mini twice baked potatoes on a bed of sea salt. Perfect!
I took this idea and made it work with my favorite gorgonzola mashed potatoes.Gorgonzola Finger Potatoes
6 small red potatoes
3 Tbs gorgonzola
1-2 Tbs cream
olive oil
1/2 cup rock salt
freshly ground pepper
Wash small red potatoes and rub with olive oil. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes until soft in the center. Cool and slice in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the potato, being careful to leave enough around the edges to keep the potato shell stable. In a small bowl combine potato and gorgonzola, stir briskly; add cream as needed to make a smooth consistency. Using a ziploc bag, 'pipe' back into potato shells. To plate, cover a plate with rock salt and settle potatoes into the salt. Top with a little freshly ground black pepper.Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient is my choice ~~~Brie~~~

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Photohunt ~Technology

The photohunt for this week is 'Technology'. Since I am spending Thanksgiving in London, I'll share a couple of pictures of the London Eye. When it was built in 1999, it was a the largest ferris wheel in the world.A vision of Technology in London Town

Happy hunting y'all!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving y'all

We are having a wonderful time in London for Thanksgiving.

The suitcase has still not made it... we were to busy to spend the day waiting for the delivery truck.
We went to the most service for Amerians at St Paul's Cathedral in London.
It was a memory that will last a lifetime.The southern pecans are in the lost luggage (I hope customs doesn't look to closely). We went instead to Harrods to find some pecans... the most expensive pecan pie in history! It was yummy for sure.
I am missing the feast at home... y'all save me some leftovers!
Happy Thanksgiving y'all~

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving in London

I am off to see the queen!
Actually, I am spending Thanksgiving with my sister Holly in London. (same difference)

My son Rob is coming along for the fun . . . We will have a fantabulous time!

Harrods is decorated for the holidays, a London show, fish and chips, a walk about in Hyde Park, Burroughs Market and a side trip or two. I'll try to keep up and blog along the way.
I have my knitting to keep me busy in the airports. This ball of yarn will be a full fledged sweater by the time I arrive.
Bill has instructions on how to thaw and heat our share of Thanksgiving, they will have a good time without me this year. In the suitcase I have stashed some southern pecans for our pies in London.
Lots to do before I go.

Y'all come along!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pans of Dressing!

Every year before Thanksgiving we divvy up the chores... for 3 working Mom's this is the only way we can get it all done. Thanksgiving at the McMichael house is like a Sunday at the WhistleStop Cafe... Pans of dressing, Green bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Souffle, Mac & Cheese, of course Turkey and Ham. For dessert (of course there is always room for dessert) there will be Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie.

I am making my pans of dressing ahead. I save up cornbread and left over buttermilk biscuits through the year. I throw them all into my 'bread for dressing' zip-loc bag. It stays in the freezer until I am ready to make some dressing.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
1 large pan cornbread
3 cups soft breadcrumbs
½ cup butter
2 onions diced
3 cups celery, diced
½ cup chopped fresh sage (1Tbs dried)
4 eggs
60 oz chicken broth, undiluted
1 Tbs fresh pepper
Crumble cornbread, and mix with breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Saute onions and celery in butter until tender, add sage, and stir one minute more. In the breadcrumb bowl, combine chicken broth, eggs, pepper, and cooled vegetables. (This will be soupy!) Pour into a buttered 13x9 in baking dish. Place in the fridge overnight (may sit for less if needed) Bake @ 375°, uncovered for 30-45 minutes.

I have posted this recipe before... but since the girls were looking for it this year, I thought I'd dust it off and post it again.
I am making it ahead and freezing it, so on the big day it can just be thawed and popped in the oven. I freeze it raw, before baking at all, wrapped in foil.
Bill has specific instructions how to thaw and bake everything... Because I am off to visit the Queen!
Y'all enjoy~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Small Bites ~Cranberries

The small bite for this week is cranberries.
Cranberries can be so versitile... especially around the holidays. I am anxious to see what kind of treats everyone comes up with.
This small bite is another biscotti recipe~ we loved the Pumpkin Biscotti so much I decided to try again. This calls for dried cranberries and chunks of ginger~ yum!
Cranberry-Ginger Biscotti
1 1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup crystallized ginger
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 300°
In a shallow baking pan toast almonds in middle of oven until a shade darker, about 10 minutes. Coarsely chop nuts and crystallized ginger (a tablespoon of flour in the food processor will keep them from sticking. Into a bowl sift together flour, sugar, ground ginger, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together whole egg, egg white, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture and beat until combined well. Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger mix to blend. Add cranberries and blend.
Form dough into two large loafs, bake in middle of oven until pale golden, about 45 minutes. Turn loaf out onto a rack and cool 10 minutes. On a cutting board with a serrated knife cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti on a baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until crisp, about 15 minutes.
Cool biscotti on rack. Biscotti keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks.Ginger, cranberries, and almonds with a cup of hot chocolate... the perfect small bite!Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Potato~~~

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photohunt ~bird

The photohunt for this week is 'bird'.I miss my hummingbirds in the winter.They will be back in April.
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, November 20, 2009

Soup on Thanksgiving Day... Hmmmm~

Are you looking for something that will make this Thanksgiving memorable? I love the idea of a warm bowl of soup early in the day then a 'scaled back' feast in the afternoon. This pumpkin soup is better made a day or two ahead... that's just what I need!
I found the recipe at Epicurious, then changed it up a bit by roasting the pumpkin first. This adds a level of flavor that can't be matched with canned pumpkin. Roasted Pumpkin Soup
2 Tbs olive oil
2 large carrots
2 celery stalks
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 2-pound pumpkin
6 cups chicken broth
5 whole cloves
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
Dice carrots, celery, onion and garlic; sauté until tender in olive oil. Cut pumpkin into large chunks sprinkle with olive oil add cloves and thyme, roast at 400° until soft and browned- about 20 minutes. When cooled, skin and put the pumpkin into the pot (remove cloves). Add 6 cups stock. Cover and simmer.
Purée soup in batches in blender return to the pot. Stir in cream and honey. Bring to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The honey and cloves make it a little sweet and a little savory, the flavor roasted pumpkin comes through. I topped these with a parmesan croutons.
There will still be room for that pumpkin pie and all the trimmins.

Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Need a 'fancy' dessert?

A Galette is a fancy term for a one crust pie or tart. It is the simplest 'fancy' dessert you can come up with for Thanksgiving dinner.
I am not above cheating a little; I use a store bought pie crust. They are quick and easy to keep on hand in the freezer.
You could also use a few sheets of phyllo dough for the crust. That makes this dish easy as pie!
Apple and Pear Galette
3 apples
2 pears
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 Tbs milk
Preheat oven to 450°

Slice and peel apples and pears. Combine fruit slices, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in circles on top preserves, overlapping slightly. Fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer until apples are tender. Cut into wedges and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.
Seriously, I whipped this up in just a few minutes~ My idea of the perfect dessert.
Y'all enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Small Bite ~Ginger

The small bite for this week is Ginger.
I love the flavor of ginger, and it is so very versatile. If you type 'ginger' in my search box you will find about 2o recipes on this blog that use this spice. Everything from cookies to soup. YuM!
That made my search for something unique for the perfect small bite a bit of a challenge.
I decided to go back to my southern roots... with a simple, but perfect, gingerbread with an Orange Creme Fraiche .

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs ginger
1 tsp minced candied ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350°
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, add in the eggs and mix well. In a measuring cup combine boiling water and molasses, stir in the baking soda. Add the molasses mixture into the creamed sugar. Add in the dry ingredients and spices. Divide the batter into 2 9x5 inch loaf pans or one 9x9 pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
To serve these small bites... I cut them into bite sized servings with a champagne flute. I topped each with some orange creme and a raspberry. Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Cranberries~~~

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Photohunt ~ Music

The photohunt for this week is 'music'It sounds like music to me!

Happy hunting y'all!


Friday, November 13, 2009


I am getting slammed with spam... and not the edible type.

I hate it~ but I am going to turn on the word verification to see if I can put a stop to it.
I love your comments, so I hope this won't keep you from leaving me a little hey y'all!

Y'all have a great weekend~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day~

In honor of our many Vets~ Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr
We love you Dad~

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Small Bites~ Mushrooms

This week's small bite is the mushroom. This will be interesting, because there are hundreds of different types of mushrooms. We should have a wide variety of recipes!

I wanted to try something different, and found a recipe for Asian lettuce wraps. This makes a large portion of mushroom mixture, it can be frozen or used as a stuffing for acorn squash or peppers.
Asian Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
1 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups mixed dried mushrooms
1 cup button mushrooms
1 pound ground turkey
3 cups shredded napa cabbage
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
8oz water chestnuts, minced
1 cup minced green onions
2 Tbs oyster sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup cilantro
lettuce leaves
Saute garlic in 1 tsp oil in a large skillet, add ground turkey and cook until almost done, stirring occasionally. Soak dried mushrooms in hot water until hydrated. Mince all mushrooms and add to turkey and cook 5-7 minutes. Add cabbage, crushed peppers and chestnuts. Cook until the cabbage is wilted. Remove from the heat and stir in onions, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
Before serving, clean lettuce leaves into individual 'cups'. Spoon about 3 Tbs mixture into lettuce and top with freshly chopped cilantro.
I'll be making this again!
Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'.
Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky.
Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Ginger ~~~

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Photohunt ~Veterans

The photohunt for this week is 'Veterans'I took these photos at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. ~a great place to visit by the way, if you are at the beach and need a day out of the sun.
I bet y'all will remember these. We wore them to commemorate the POWs during the Vietnam war. I wore mine for years.

Seeing thousands of them thrown in the display makes your heart heavy. 'Thank you' is just not enough.

Happy Hunting y'all!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Novel Food

Lisa at Champaign Taste and Simone at Briciole are once again hosting their Novel Event. This is a culinary/literary event that has inspired us over the past couple of years. I have joined in with posts of many of Fannie Flagg's novels, and even the novel Julie and Julia.

I think this time I will go back to the comfort of Fannie Flagg. She is such a great southern writer and paints a picture of every sleepy southern town. This time Little River, just in time for the holidays... in her novel Redbird Christmas.

This is a recipe for Mildred's pie. Not the predictable holiday pie for her..."with Mildred you never knew which way she was going to jump from one minute to the next" (Which might also explain why she ran off to live in New Orleans with Julian.)

"Mildred's Key Lime Pie
4 eggs separated
1/3 cup fresh key lime juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 9inch graham cracker crust*
Mix egg yolks and lime juice together. Add condensed milk. Beat 1 egg white stiff and fold into the egg and lime juice mixture. Beat 3 remaining egg whites and gradually add sugar and cream of tartar. Pour into a graham cracker crust and bake at 350 until egg whites are golden brown."
*For my graham cracker crust I used 1 cup thin ginger snap cookie crumbs and 6 tbs butter, combined and pressed into a pie plate. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
For anyone else who might like to join in the Novel Event, the rules are simple. Post a recipe that is inspired by a novel that you have read. The deadline is November the 7th... You still have time to send it in!
Y'all enjoy!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Small Bites~ Olives

It is Jerry's turn to choose this weeks Small Bite. I think his trip to Greece may have helped in this decision.. the Small Bite this week is Olives!
I found a recipe that included the sweet flavor of fennel and the saltiness of olives. This is wonderful when served warm on chunks of bread.

Baked Fennel and Olive
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 Tbs olive oil
1 cup kalamata olive, pitted
1/2 cup red wine
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tbs Italian bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350° Thinly slice fennel, saute with garlic in 2 Tbs olive oil until tender. Combine with olives, red wine and remaining olive oil. Top with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until heated through. Serve warm with chunks of bread. Next time I will make it ahead of time and wait a while to put it in the oven.
Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Mushrooms ~~~

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