Saturday, March 1, 2014


Of my top 5 places I want to visit in the world, Scotland is my #1. Japan follows at a very close second. I found this amazing recipe that ironically reminds me of French Meat Pie or Meat Stuffing from Thanksgiving. It was so warm and comforting, perfect for a cool fall day. The shortbread was amazing as well.

Menu - serves 4-6
Mince and Tatties
Mince and Tatties

1 lb beef mince (ground beef)
2 medium sliced carrots
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon uncooked oatmeal
Water to cover
2 tsp beef bouillon powder (or 2 cubes)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Beef gravy packet
1 lb boiled potatoes, mashed with butter and milk

In a large pot with a cover, heat the oil and fry the onion until it is soft and brown. Add in the ground beef and cook until well browned. Add the carrots and oatmeal, mix well and pour in enough water to just cover. Add in the salt, pepper and beef bouillon, stirring well. Cover the pot and simmer the mince for about 20 - 25 minutes. Once the mince is cooked, thicken with about 3 tbsp of gravy powder. Serve the mince with mashed potatoes.


1 pound salted butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar with mixer. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Use hands to thoroughly mix. Press into a jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides). Prick to bottom all over with a fork being sure the fork hits the bottom and the pricks are close together. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 and continue to bake for 40 minutes more. Wait 2 minutes then cut into finger size bars. Cool thoroughly in pan.


My grandfather was Polish. His parents came to America from Poland. I don't know much about him or them, except that my Grandmother didn't speak English and she made really good Perogi. I know this, because we have her recipe. I grew up eating Polish foods -Pierożki kołbasaGołąbkiChruściki. My mom makes the best golabki in the world - it's something that I've tried to replicate but can never get just right. Pierozki are time consuming - so with that I will admit that I purchased most of the food for our Polish dinner. We bought it from the *best* authentic Polish Deli/Bakery in Southern NE - The Krakow Deli in Woonsocket, RI. Click the link to find out more about their delicious smokehouse meats, traditional Polish foods, bakery and desserts. Everything they make is amazing!

Menu - serves 4-6
Kolbasa (Mountain Kolbasa; Krakow Deli)
Pierozki (potato and farmer cheese; Krakow Deli)
Braised Cabbage
Apricot and Prune Squares (Krakow Deli - sorry no pictures!)

Braised Cabbage (cooking time 3 hours)
1 Medium head green cabbage
2 large yellow onions, cut into thin strips
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp butter, melted
Sea salt

Heat the oven to 325. Lightly oil a large cast iron pot or Dutch Oven. Peel off and discard any bruised or ragged outer leaves from the cabbage. Then cut the cabbage into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges in the baking dish. Scatter in the onion. Drizzle over the butter, stock, and vinegar. Season with salt. Cover tightly with foil, or the lid, and slide into the middle of the oven to braise, about 2 hours. Toss the cabbage wedges with tongs after an hour. Don’t worry if the wedges want to fall apart as you turn them. If the dish is drying out at all, add a few tablespoons of water. Shut the oven off and continue to let the cabbage braise for another hour. Remove from the oven, toss with the tongs, and serve warm.

Braised cabbage - yummy!
We grilled the Mountain Kolbasa and served it with spicy mustard.

We boiled the Pierozki then pan fried them in butter. Serve hot with butter and salt.


My husband loves Gyros, prior to this I had never had one. They were so delicious, especially the cucumber sauce. Unfortunately I did not take pictures(grr!).
This is a great recipe for the summer- it is cool, easy and yummy.

Menu - serves 4-6
Gyro with Tzatziki

2 1/2 pounds of boneless pork loin, shoulder, or fresh ham
white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of finely crushed (powdered) Greek oregano (rigani)
6-8 pieces of thin pita bread (not pocket pita)
1/2 cup of tzatziki
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
olive oil

In a small bowl combine paprika, salt, pepper, and oregano.
Make the Gyro Meat:
Slice the meat against the grain as thinly as possible and pound with a meat mallet to less than 1/4-inch thick. In a flat-bottomed container, arrange one layer of slices, sprinkle liberally with seasoning mixture, then with a little vinegar. Spread the vinegar over the meat so that all pieces are moistened. Add layers, spices, and vinegar until all the meat has been marinated. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour to 2 hours.
Remove meat from the refrigerator and slice into strips about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch wide and 2 to 2 1/2 inches long. Dry fry (without any oil) in a non-stick frying pan until well browned and slightly crisp.

To Make the Gyro Pita Wrap Sandwich:
Brush the pita bread with olive oil and fry in a dry frying pan or grill for a few minutes until warmed and softened, not crisp.
In the center of each pita:
spread 1 heaping tablespoon of tzatziki
add 2-3 slices of tomato
add sliced onion to taste
add gyro meat
sprinkle with sea salt (to taste) and more sweet paprika


3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup greek yogurt, strained
1 cup sour cream
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tsp. chopped fresh dill

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill just before serving.

Beth's Greek Salad
1 whole head iceberg lettuce (or any lettuce you like)
6-8 pepperocini, diced
1 green or red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red onion, cut into thin strips
1 cucumber, unpealed, cut into thin strips
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1 jar Kalamata olives, pitted if desired
Greek House Dressing (see below)

Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and toss with everything except the dressing. Serve with Greek House Dressing.

Greek House Dressing
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

In a container with a lid (or with a blender or hand mixer), mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, and Dijon-style mustard. Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

International Dinners: August and Thailand

Thailand...a bit late
Holy smokes! Last summer was really stressful and busy -- working and trying to find a teaching job. Well, I found a job (woo-hoo!) and things have calmed down a bit. I started looking through my International Dinners folder in preparation for the coming summer (yes, it's coming!) and I quickly realized I did not post 4 of our dinners. FOUR! I'm a terrible blogger folks.
That being said, here is the first of our 4(!) missing dinners from August.

When I was in college at Salve Regina my roommate and I would always eat at the place called The Salvation Cafe on Thursdays. They had a great deal called "Seven-before-seven." Between 5-7pm you could choose from seven different entrees for seven dollars each. We would always splurge for the $4 Banana Creme Brule after, because who wouldn't? My choice was always the Pad Thai. I'm not sure if it was very authentic, but it was very delicious. Thinking of that I chose Thailand this week. I couldn't use peanuts, so we opted for almond butter instead. Also, I couldn't find a good dessert recipe so I made something up using Pineapple, which is used in Thai cuisine.
Enjoy! :)

Menu - for 4-6
Chicken Satay with Almond Butter Sauce
Thai Sesame Noodles 
Steamed Broccoli
Sponge Cake with Pineapple Caramel

Chicken Satay
8-12 skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
1 package wooden skewers
1/4 cup minced lemongrass 
2 shallots OR 1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
1 thumb-size piece ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
2 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
4 Tbsp. fish sauce
5-6 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). The kitchen sink works well for this.
Cut chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers. Tip: Fill up to 3/4 of the skewer, leaving the lower half empty so that the person grilling has a "handle" to easily turn the satay during cooking.
Grill the satay on your BBQ, OR on an indoor grill, basting the first time you time it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bottom of the bowl. OR you can broil in the oven on a broiling pan or baking sheet with the oven set to "broil" Place satay close beneath the heating element and turn the meat every 5 minutes until cooked (be sure to soak your wooden satay sticks in water before skewering). Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should cook in 10 to 20 minutes. Serve with the Almond Sauce

Almond Sauce
½ cup unsalted Almond butter (or 3/4 c unsalted peanuts)
1/3 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water.

Thai Sesame Noodles

12 oz. dried noodles
1 red bell pepper
5-8 mushrooms
1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated or finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. shrimp paste
2-3 tsp. sugar, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili

Boil noodles until 'ad dente'. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.
Stir together all 'Sauce' ingredients with a fork or whisk in a small mixing bowl until shrimp paste and sugar dissolve. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp. oil into pan, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and mushrooms. Stir-fry 2 more minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked.
Add noodles and pour over the sauce you made. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes using a turning/tossing motion (almost like tossing a salad) to combine everything together.
Remove from heat. Now taste-test for salt and spice. If too salty for your taste, add another Tbsp. of lime juice. If not salty or flavorful enough, add a sprinkling of fish sauce. Add more chili for more heat.

Sponge Cake with Pineapple Caramel Sauce
The finished dish
prepared Angel Food cake
1 20 oz can pineapple rings, drained, juice reserved and rings halved
¼ cup butter
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
white sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add 3/4 cup of pineapple juice and brown sugar; blend well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil until reduced, darkened and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange the pineapple slices on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the tops with white sugar and broil until browned. Serve sauce over the sponge cake with caramelized pineapple slices.
The sauce, warmed, but not reduced

The sauce after it has boiled down

Angel Food Cake made from box mix (I cheated!)

Sunday, June 30, 2013


My husband Bill got to pick this week!
He chose China - and then he decided what he wanted me to make. Eggrolls. I'm honestly not sure if these eggrolls are traditionally made - probably not. They are a family favorite though. I may have posted the recipe before. I feel a little bad that we didn't stick to traditional food for this week. I promise we'll get back on track for next week!
In addition to the rolls, we had white rice steamed with a bag of frozen broccoli mixed in (no recipe), and Almond cookies for dessert. These are hands down the best cookies I have ever made. My downstairs neighbors wholeheartedly agree. They are real good. Dangerously good. Enjoy! :)

Menu - for 4-6
Pork Egg Rolls
Broccoli rice
Almond Cookies

Best Ever Egg Rolls
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 quart canola oil for frying
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
3 tablespoons water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 package coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
1 pkg egg roll wrappers (I use Nasoya- Beth)

Season pork with ginger and garlic powder and mix thoroughly. Heat mixture in a medium skillet, stirring, until pork is cooked through and no longer pink. Add the cabbage, 1 tbsp water and soy sauce. Cook until the cabbage wilts slightly. Set aside to cool until you are able to handle it.
In another large skillet, or in a deep fryer, heat oil to about 350 degrees F. While oil is heating, combine flour and rest of the water in a bowl until they form a paste.
Lay out one egg roll skin with a corner pointed toward you. Place about 2 tbsp of the pork mixture on egg roll paper and fold. (See the image below on more details for folding. This comes from the Nasoya package.- Beth)
Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack. Serve with Sweet and Sour sauce.


Almond Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar (can add up to 2 more tablespoons, if desired)
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
32 whole lightly salted almonds (one for each cookie)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (162.5 degrees Celsius).
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add the egg and almond extract and beat until well blended. Add to the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well. The dough will be very sticky.
Use your fingers to form the mixture into a ball, and then divide into two balls. Wrap with plastic wrap and flatten each into a round disk. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours.
Take a disk and cut it in half. Then holding each half horizontal, cut out 8 small logs. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a lightly greased cookie tray, approximately 1 1/2 inches apart. Place an almond in the center of each cookie and press down lightly. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake for 15 minutes to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and store in a sealed container.




Addie has a sweet PenPal from England named Sophia. She chose England this week in honor of her!
(just a side note, I was really bad at taking pictures this week for some reason. No clue why. Sorry for that!)

SO, England you would think it pretty similar to American cuisine, and it is. There are some differences, mostly in the amount of spices/sugar they use in recipes I found. Personally this was not our favorite week. It could have been the cook's fault, could have been the recipes we chose. I used a SteamFresh bag of green beans, so no recipe for those! The roast was our favorite part, and I will make it like that again. Our neighbors have been sharing in our weekly International Meals and they thought the Sponge was the best part. Try them, and you decide! :)

Menu (for 4-6)
Oven Roast
Yorkshire Pudding
Green Beans
Victoria Sponge

Top Round Oven Roast
1 (4 1/2 to 5 pound) top round roast, rinsed and patted dry
16 cloves peeled garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Essence, (g powder, onion powder)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 small sprigs fresh thyme

Put the roast in a small roasting pan, bone side down. With a small sharp knife, make sixteen 1/2-inch-deep slits in the meaty side of the roast. Insert 1 garlic clove into each slit, pressing into the meat. Pinch with your thumb and index finger to close the openings. Combine the chopped thyme, salt, Essence, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly stir in the oil to make a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the roast, and place the thyme sprigs under the roast. Roast for 40 min. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the roast for even browning. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast reads 125 to 130 degrees F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the roast stand for 15 minutes before carving. 

Yorkshire Pudding
2 eggs
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups milk
1/8 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until well blended. Whisk in the flour until frothy and well blended. Set aside until at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Distribute the oil equally among 6 muffin cups, a little over a teaspoon per cup. Place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until smoking. Remove from the oven and quickly ladle about 1/4 cup of batter into each cup. Place muffin pan onto cookie sheet, so that the run-over of oil won’t burn.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven. Serve immediately.

Victoria Sponge Cake
3⁄4 lb. plus 1 tbsp. salted butter, softened
3 cups plus 1 tbsp. self-rising cake flour
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1⁄4 cups heavy cream
3⁄4 cup high-quality strawberry jam
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 360º. Grease two 2"-deep 8" round cake pans with 1/2 tbsp. butter each. Dust each with 1/2 tbsp. flour; set aside.
Beat remaining butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes. Add granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Combine eggs and 6 tbsp. water in another bowl. Add half the egg mixture and half the flour to butter–sugar mixture. Beat well for 1–2 minutes. Add remaining egg mixture and flour; beat batter for 5 minutes.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 35–40 minutes. Invert cakes onto a rack, remove pans, and let cool completely.
Beat cream in a medium bowl until stiff (I added sugar, but the recipe did not call for that- Beth). Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, spread top with half the jam, then cover jam with the cream. Spread top of remaining cake layer with remaining jam and place it, jam side down, on top of cream. Dust cake with confectioners' sugar.

That is not my picture, but I had to include one. Basically what my cake looked like. I put the cream on top.