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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday's Favorites ~ Top 10 for 2010

Everyone has been sharing their favorite Top 10. I decided to join right in ~but then came the debate... Top 10 projects? Top 10 trips? or Top 10 recipes!
Here are my favorites for the year~~
10. Pecan Tassies
9. Smokey Shrimp and Grits

8. Summer Slaw
7. Lemon Meringue Cupcakes 6. Butternut Squash Risotto

5. Guiness Stew 4. Buffalo Wing Dip
3. Red Velvet Cupcakes
2. Citrus Salmon 1. Limoncello
What are your favorites today?
Y'all join in and share your linky love~


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Matzoh Crunch

This is a recipe that my freinds and I have passed around for years. Actually, they have passed it to me and we have enjoyed eating it. This year I decided it was time to make it myself... and pass it on.
I realized how simple it really is... if you follow the instructions. The foil lined baking sheet is the only way to go! This makes one large tray of crunch. It's so easy, you'll want to make two.
Matzoh Crunch
4 to 6 sheets of matzoh
1 cup butter
1 cup (firmly-packed) light brown sugar
coarse sea salt
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Line a 11″ x 17″ baking sheet completely with foil (making sure it goes up the sides) and preheat the oven to 325°.
Line the bottom of the sheet completely with matzoh crackers, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
In a heavy duty saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until the butter begins to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour candied syrup over matzoh evenly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the syrup darkens and gets thick.
Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread smooth with an offset spatula.Sprinkle with a flurry of coarse salt, then scatter the toasted almonds over the top and gently press them into the chocolate.
Let cool completely (you may need to chill it in the refrigerator), then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

…mazel tov y'all!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blue Monday~

We 'decked the halls' and had a wonderful Christmas. I spent a lot of the weekend cooking (so y'all will have some recipes to share)
Yesterday afternoon I stretched out on the couch in the sunroom and closed my eyes... welcoming the sound of silence.
Now, of course, I am a little blue and missing the wonderful sound of laughter and chaos. That's what the holidays are all about!
Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pomodori e Vino ~ Artichokes

We are out of the Variety meats section of Pomodori e Vino. I don't know how many of you actually looked... but the posts on sweetbreads, kidney's and calf brains were awesome (in a personally disgusting way) Marcella's comments really showed her Italian passion for food! I count myself lucky that all I had to cook was the Cotechino Sausage with lentils.

Now we have moved on to vegetables... What's not to like?

My recipe was for artichokes with leeks. The biggest problem for me was the quality of the artichokes in the market. Not like the beautiful artichokes growing in the garden in Montisi.

The recipe itself was simple... cook the artichokes and leeks until tender, adjust for salt and pepper and serve. When adjusting for salt and pepper... I am loving the phrase used by David Rocco in his recipes., 'Quanto Basta' ~as much as you need.
What a beautiful thought during this holiday season. Quanto Basta! No more, no less. Only as much as you need.

In cooking and in life.
Blessed Holidays to each and every one of you.

Remember to follow us along daily on Facebook or on the Pomodori e Vino Blog ...
Ciao Y'all,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Photohunt~ Circle

Let's encircle the world with peace~ Merry Christmas y'all~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday's Favorite

I have been busy with the yarn this year.I've seen these scarves all over the internet. KoraLee even posted her pretty turquoise and pink version.

I'm all ready for Christmas day.

Share your favorite today.
Y'all join in~


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tips for Holiday Dieting~~~~

This is the time of year when we all can throw caution to the wind.
This is from my friend and travel buddy Jerry. He has a great twist on Holiday dieting.
Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone.. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? Hell, do what my friend did today and bring along some plastic containers so that you can stock on the leftovers.
Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
You wonder why I love that guy :-) Now I'm off to the store to get my Matzoh for some baking.
Merry Christmas y'all~

Monday, December 20, 2010

My gift to y'all~

This is my gift to each of you. If you were closer I'd make a batch and bring them to your back door... We could sit and have a cup of coffee and swap stories.
This is a special recipe that I can remember making with my mom. She always said it was her special secret recipe. I'm just going to go right on believing that, along with most things she told me ~ and share it with my closest friends.
Pecan Tassies
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
3oz pkg creme cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs karo syrup
1 egg
pinch salt
pecan pieces
Mix the butter, flour and cream cheese into a smooth dough. Chill overnight.
Combine the remaining ingredients to make a syrupy pecan mixture.
Roll the chilled cream cheese dough into pecan sized balls. Press into well greased mini tart pans. Press the dough to the bottom and up the sides, making sure there are no holes in the bottom for the syrup to leak through. Fill with a spoonfull of pecan filling. Bake at 400° 12-15 minutes.
Y'all enjoy~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bree is coming to our party..

Bill was 'blue' to learn it wasn't the Desperate Bree coming to our party... but a crusty brie instead.
The french call it "en croûte" which simply means"in a crust". Brie en croûte is so festive! This makes a beautiful presentation and is really 'oh so simple'.
I made a special holiday baked brie... easy peasy.
Brie en croûte
4-6 inch round of Brie cheese
1/4 cup pepper jelly
2 Tbs dried cranberries
1 pkg puffed pastry
1 egg
Thaw the puffed pastry for 30 minutes or so. Roll it out onto a floured board, just a few times until it is seamless.
Spread the jelly in a 6-7 inch circle. Sprinkle evenly with cranberries. Place the cheese on top.
Using an egg wash, brush the edges of the pastry. Carefully fold in the corners to encircle the cheese. Seal well with the egg wash. Turn onto a cookie sheet with the seam side down.
Roll out the other sheet of puff pastry and with a cookie cutter make your design. (I used stars) Decorate the top of the pastry, using the egg wash to help them stick.
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Allow to stand for 1 hour before slicing. Not only will everyone think you are a top chef...the creamy cheese with the spice of the pepper jelly is wonderful!
Enough to chase away any holiday blues!
Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photo Hunt ~ Male

The photohunt for this week is 'Male' and I have just the perfect photo... This is a photo of a male mail box in Venice~ I knew I'd have a use for it sometime!
Happy hunting y'all~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friday's Favorites

I decided it was time to 'spruce' up our old tree. It is an articficial pre- lit tree that I have had for several years. It is looking a little tired (or maybe my eyes are just tired)
I filled it with large red and gold balls and a few of my favorite ornaments~ but that still didn't feel right. Then I poked in brances of live pines and cedar with pretty berries
Not only does it help to fill out the tired spots... but the room is filled with the smell of Christmas.
Fabulous and Free!

What is your favorite today?
Y'all join in~


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who do you invite to a Christmas Birthday?

It is always hard when you have a Birthday near Christmas.
So who should you invite as your 'special guest'?
Someone with connections of course!
Mrs. Claus has a whole list for Santa...
Starting with the special Birthday girl!

Sandi HoHo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Melting Snowmen

These little snow men are so cute. I first saw them at that Crazy Domestic Megan when she linked to our Friday's Favorites. Then I found the tutorial at Stacy's Sweet Shop but I think the original melting snow man is Chic Cookies. They made it look so easy and I'm just borrowing their great ideas!
Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Christmas Cookies. I use this family recipe~ Gekie's Butter Cookies and roll out my cookie dough. It was a lot more fun when I had helpers. The helpers don't arrive until Christmas day... So this year I decided to do something different.

First I rolled the dough in to marshmallow sized balls and pressed them out onto a cookie sheet.

I used a white icing to loosely cover the cookies. The marshmallows are heated for a few seconds to make them soft and wonky.

I had fun adding the snowman parts

and the expressions

of a warm Alabama Christmas day

it doesn't look good if you are a Snowman! It's looking really good if you have a sweet tooth.
Merry Christmas y'all~

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's beginning to look like Christmas~

I have been a little Blue... and slow about getting the Christmas spirit this year, but now finally got my holiday mantle up.
This year I decided to take the advice of all the bloggy experts and start from scratch.
I moved the family painting (don't you love this?)
I started by scrubbing off the mantle ~once a year this is a good plan. OK ... on to the elf work :-)
I collected mirrors from around the house, and layered those.
another collection of glass candlesticks
and vases with jingle bells
A garden angel who just looks perfect.
Now... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Merry Christmas y'all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pomodori e Vino ~ Cotechino

We are getting into the really 'good stuff' on Pomodori e Vino. Y'all might think that the pasta section was good... but we are coming into the 'Variety Meats'. Hold on folks~ this is going to get good.
This week is the perfect example.
Cotechino sausage with Lentils.
What the heck is a cotechino? I wasn't sure... but spent days looking in Birmingham and even in Atlanta. No luck. With a little help from Marcella and Victor, I was able to order it online. Only a Pomodori e Vino'ette' would be willing to go to the ends of the earth to find that one special ingredient. Cotechino is a specialty sausage typically from Modena Italy. (why oh why didn't we make this while we were in Bologna??)
This recipe calls for the elusive cotichino sausage, served with lentils. The perfect good luck meal for the new year. It had a good flavor combination of pork sausage and beans. We enjoyed it very much... hopefully our good luck will carry through to 2011. In the mean time... Liver, Sweet breads, Brains and Tripe
Remember to follow us along daily on Facebook or on the Pomodori e Vino Blog ...

Ciao Y'all,
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