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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Spring time, romance, and cooking

by

Sloane Taylor

Spring is an amazing time of year and my favorite because that’s when the Earth comes alive. All sorts of beautiful things happen. Trees are budding, tender plants push through the ground, and romance is in the air and warm weather is just a few weeks away.

I am a romantic through and through. Always have been and with any luck I always will be. Romance is much more than a quick trip to tangle the sheets. It is about being with someone you love and doing little things to show them how much they mean to you. In my case I cook because I love it.

When summer arrives and the gardens are ablaze in color, I want to move the romance outside. So why not share a summer night with your someone special? What better way than with a sizzling romantic dinner, candles, wine, and music. You don’t need much to set the mood and turn your patio, balcony, or kitchen into a lover’s nook. Make your night special with great food because is the doorway to infinite possibilities.

A printed flat sheet is perfect for a festive tablecloth or set out placemats for the plates and serving dishes. Use plenty of candles in different sizes and a variety of holders scattered around the table to enhance the mood, but definitely avoid scented candles. Stemmed wine glasses sparkle in candlelight and add a festive feel to your dinner. Use your regular dishes or, for fun, mix it up with a number of different plates that don’t match but complement each other for the different courses. Experiment and have fun.

Now that you have the perfect location and setting for you and that right person, may I suggest you spoil yourself with an intimate dinner meant for lovers. It is easy to prepare, and leftovers make marvelous sandwiches. This recipe also works great in the oven.

Ask your butcher to dress the tenderloin. If he won’t, then you need to remove the excess fat and sliver out the silver strip along the side. Easy to do. Slide a sharp knife under the strip close to one end. Use a back and forward motion like sawing to ease your knife between the meat and the strip as you lift it away from the beef.

MENU

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Potatoes Baked on the Grill

Grilled Asparagus

Sautéed Mushrooms

Dry Red Wine – Valpolicella

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin

2 – 3 lb. (1 – 1.5kg) beef tenderloin

½ cup (120ml) olive oil

½ cup (120ml) dry red wine

3 rosemary sprigs or 1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried

6 thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. (5ml) dried

1 bay leaf

3 garlic cloves, chopped fine

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Oil to coat grill grate

Combine all ingredients in a long bowl or plastic bag and a shallow pan. Marinade in fridge 2 – 20 hours. Seems like a strange time span, but the longer the marinade the tastier the beef.

Remove meat from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling or roasting in oven. Meat needs to be almost room temperature.

Grill Instructions

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef, close lid, and grill 15 – 20 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Be sure to turn meat several times to avoid burning.

Oven Instructions

Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef to pan. Roast 30 – 40 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Save the juice to moisten he meat when you serve.

Baked Potatoes on the Grill

1 russet potato per person

Olive oil

Aluminum foil

Butter

Sour cream

Chives

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat gas grill to medium-high.

Wash potatoes under cool water. Pat dry. Poke several sets of holes in each potato with a fork. This stops the potato from bursting as it bakes. Rub potatoes with a small amount of olive oil to keep the skin soft. Wrap each potato in a section of aluminum foil.

Place potatoes on upper shelf of grill. If you don’t have an upper shelf, then lay them at the outer edges of your grill.

Grill 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning every 15 – 20 minutes. Test if done by inserting a toothpick into the potato. It should glide in easily.

To serve, remove foil and then cut an X across the top of each potato. Using potholders squeeze the ends toward the center until the potato mounds.

Serve with butter, sour cream, chives, and pepper.

Grilled Asparagus

6 – 8 asparagus per person

½ cup (120ml) olive oil

2 tbsp. (30ml) lemon juice

½ tbsp. (7.5ml) garlic powder, not salt

1 tsp. (5ml) dried basil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim, then discard, the tough bottoms off asparagus with a sharp knife.

Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, basil, and pepper in a glass or ceramic dish. Stir well. Add asparagus. Stir gently to coat the spears.

Set gas grill to medium-high heat. Poke a few holes in a piece of aluminum foil then set it onto the grate. Lay spears on top. Turn frequently to avoid burning.

Asparagus are done when they color to medium brown, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Arrange spears on a dish and serve immediately.

Sautéed Mushrooms

6 – 8 mini bella mushrooms

1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

2 tbsp. (25g) butter

½ small onion, sliced thin

2 tbsp. (30ml) dry vermouth or white wine

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a dry paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium or into thirds if large.

Over medium heat, drizzle a small amount of olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and add butter. Stir in onions and mushrooms. Sauté until almost tender, 3 – 6 minutes.

Pour vermouth or white wine over the mushrooms and continue to heat.

To serve, grind pepper across the top and spoon into a warm serving dish.

This dish is best cooked and served on the same day. Leftovers are soggy.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Sloane Taylor

My friend Vickie was a marvelous cook, but she never measured her ingredients. A handful of this a pinch of that was her method. And every dish was delicious. Vickie actually created this recipe, but left it to me for amounts. After years of indulging myself, I decided this one was the best.

If you are inclined to fill out the menu, sautéed chicken breasts and a tomato salad go nicely with this dish.

Burnt Butter & Sage Pasta

2 cups curly pasta

8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, room temperature

6 – 10 sage leaves

Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside while you make the sauce.

Melt butter in a small frying pan over medium heat.

Add sage. Allow butter to brown. Watch carefully and stir often as once this starts to brown it changes quickly. Cook until butter reaches a medium caramel color. Remove sage leaves and discard.

Stir in pasta. Be sure to coat noodles well. Heat through.

Serve with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane
Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.
To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Chef Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest meal.

A dish fit for a king that takes a little time but is well worth it. Prep more chops then freeze them to finish cooking for another meal.

Stuffed Pork Chops

2 loin chops, boneless

Stuffing, recipe below

1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

½ cup (120ml) chicken stock

4 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).

Slice a deep pocket in each chop. Pack in stuffing. Use toothpicks to hold pocket closed as much as possible by inserting down through both layers of meat at one end then up as close as possible. You’ll use 2 toothpicks per chop.

Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet until it shimmers over medium-high heat. Add chops and brown on each side 2 – 3 minutes.

Pour stock into an ovenproof dish. Lay chops in dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 35 minutes.

Stuffing

This recipe makes more than you’ll use for the pork chops but it freezes well to use with other meals.

1 package bread stuffing cubes, plain or seasoned

½ lb. (250g) breakfast sausage in a tube or bulk

8 tbsp. (1 stick) (114g) butter

1 celery rib, chopped½ med. onion, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried sage

1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried thyme

2 cups (450ml) chicken stock, maybe a little more

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl.

Fry sausage in a medium-sized frying pan, breaking meat into small chunks, until no longer pink. Add sausage and its juice to bread cubes.

Melt butter in same skillet. Add celery and onion when the foam subsides. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until translucent, be careful not to let it brown. Add vegetables with all their juices to the bread cubes. Mix well.

Pour egg onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.

Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy.

To Bake as a Side Dish

Spoon mixture into an ungreased baking dish. Do not pack it in. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate stuffing until you are ready to bake it, but no longer than two days.

To Freeze

Spoon the mixture into freezer bags, label, and pop in freezer no longer than 3 months. I use several sandwich bags that serve 2.

No matter which route you take, remove stuffing from the refrigerator/freezer early in the day to allow it to come close to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top is brown.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The recipe guru Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest recipe.

There comes a time when everyone needs a little comfort food. Lovely hot soup with fresh bread and a glass of wine always does it for me. Maybe this recipe will do it for you, too.

Asparagus Soup

Photo Courtesy of Monovareni Pixabay

Cream of Asparagus Soup

2 lbs. fresh asparagus
6 cups chicken stock
7 tbsp. butter
½ cup flour
3 tbsp. shallots or scallions, chopped fine
¼ cup dry sherry
2 egg yolks
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, softened
White pepper to taste*

Slice off the asparagus tips and set aside. Trim off ¼ inch or so from the bottom ends of the stalks and discard. Chop the rest of the spears into ½ inch lengths.

Use a medium-sized saucepan to bring the chicken stock to a boil. Drop in the tips and lower temp to medium-low or soft boil. Cook tips until just tender, 5 – 8 minutes. Drain the stock into a bowl and spoon the tips into another one.

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a 4 -5-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour. Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Be careful not to let this roux brown or the soup will be bitter.

Remove pan from heat, let cool 30 seconds or so. Pour in stock. Stir constantly with a whisk to thoroughly blend the stock and roux. Return pan to moderate heat and stir until this soup base comes to a boil, thickens, and is smooth. Lower the temperature and simmer gently.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. When the foam subsides, stir in the stalks and shallots. Toss them in the butter over low heat for 4 minutes or so. You only want to soften them so don’t allow them to brown. Stir this mixture into the soup base, add sherry, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until asparagus is tender.

Purée soup in a blender or food processor. Pour into a strainer set over the pot. Stir with a spoon or spatula to extract soup from the pulp. Discard pulp.

Whisk the egg yolks into the cream. Stir in 5 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added about ¾ cup. Reverse the process and slowly whisk the now-warm mixture into the soup.**

Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and season with pepper if necessary. Add the asparagus tips.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 6 bowls.

*No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper.
**This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-resourceful Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest menu to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween October 31 – Centuries ago ancient Celtics believed that at summer’s end the barrier between our world and the world of spirits thinned, allowing evil to cross over to us. Time passed and people dressed as saints and went door to door which is the origin for tonight’s ghosts and goblins to magically appear at your front door to trick you if you don’t treat them.

Invite friends over and celebrate Halloween with this menu that will tame your creatures who go bump in the night.

MENU
Appetizers
Barbequed
Meatballs
Garlic Dip & Pretzels
Sangria

Main Course
Braised Short Ribs
Mashed Potatoes
Veggie Sauté
Dry Red Wine – Pinot Noir

Appetizers
Barbequed Meatballs

This is an easy appetizer recipe you adjust to suit you. Add more jelly if you prefer a sweeter taste or cut jelly amount and increase barbeque sauce if you want a tangy taste. Plan on 4 – 5 meatballs per person.

1 12 oz. (340g) jar grape jelly
1 – 2 bottles barbeque sauce
50 precooked frozen Italian style meatballs
Toothpicks for serving
Scoop jelly into a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1 bottle barbeque sauce. Stir until jelly melts.

Add meatballs. Stir in more barbeque sauce if needed. You want the meatballs covered but not swimming. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

Serve warm.

Garlic Dip & Pretzel Twists
8 oz. (226g) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic powder, not salt
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. (30ml) milk, possibly more
Lay cream cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl. I know this seems too large, but you need the room. Use a wooden spoon to mash the cheese against the sides of the bowl.

Sprinkle on garlic. Stir well. Add salt and stir well. Taste for flavor. Add more garlic if necessary. Don’t add more salt. You’ll get plenty of that flavor from the pretzels.

Drizzle in milk. Stir well. Carefully stir in milk until you reach a consistency soft enough to dip the pretzel without breaking it.

Scoop into a serving bowl, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate. Remove from fridge a half hour or so before serving. This dip lasts 1 week in the fridge.

Sangria
½ lemon, peel intact and sliced thin
½ orange, peel intact and sliced thin
½ lg. apple, cored and sliced thin
¼ cup (30g) superfine sugar
1 bottle dry red wine, Portuguese or Spanish preferred
¼ cup (60ml) brandy or cognac
1-liter club soda, chilled
Ice

Combine lemon, orange, apple, and sugar in a large pitcher. Stir in wine and brandy. Taste for sweetness. If the punch is still not sweet enough, carefully add another ¼ cup (30g) of sugar.

Refrigerate for several hours to intensify the flavors.

Just before serving gently stir in club soda. Fill wine glasses with ice and pour in Sangria.

Main Course
Braised Short Ribs

2 – 3 lbs. (1 – 1.5kg) beef short ribs, cut into 2 inch (5cm) or so pieces
freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup (60g) flour
½ tsp. (2.5ml) thyme
2 tbsp. (30ml) lard or solid shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
½ cup (60g) carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
2 small bay leaves
1 tbsp. (30ml) Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 325° F (160°C).

Pat ribs dry. Grind pepper over meat. Pour flour and thyme into a paper bag. Add 2 – 4 ribs at a time. Shake bag gently to coat meat. Remove ribs and set on a large plate. Continue until all ribs are coated.

Melt lard or shortening in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add ribs and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. Best to brown meat in batches so the cooking temperature remains constant. Return ribs to plate. Lower heat to medium.

Add onions and carrots to the same pot. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. Add garlic. Cook 45 – 60 seconds.

Stir in stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape in any brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce.

Nestle ribs in pan and bring to a boil. Cover and then place in oven. Braise ribs for 1½ hours or until meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Arrange ribs on a clean platter and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Press down hard on vegetables to extract juices. Discard vegetables. Skim off surface fat. Bring to a hard boil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes to intensify flavor.

Pour sauce into a gravy boat and serve alongside ribs.

Mashed Potatoes
Chicken stock, not broth
1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered
3 tbsp. (43g) butter
Sour cream, a very large dollop
¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Pour one-inch (2.5cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Place potatoes in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by at least one inch (2.5cm). Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork inserts easily into a section.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Keep the saucepan warm in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Veggie Sauté
Leftovers from this easy recipe make a tasty lunch when reheated in a little butter and served with crusty bread and a glass of cold white wine.
8 oz. (250g) baby bella mushrooms
2 tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 red pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 yellow pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 small onion, sliced thin
½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium size or into thirds if large.

Dribble oil into a medium-sized frying pan set over medium heat. Do not let it smoke.

Add all the vegetables except mushrooms. Turn up heat to medium-high. Sauté about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lower temperature to medium. Stir in mushrooms, garlic powder, and pepper.

Continue to cook 3 minutes or until peppers are at the crispness you prefer.
May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Chief par-excellent Sloane Taylor who brings us her Oktoberfest inspired menu from her vast collection of easy to prepare recipes.

Oktoberfest is the festival to end all festivals and is celebrated around the world but started in Munich, Germany for a royal wedding in 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to all the festivities held in fields just outside the city gates. And from there the world adopted this grand event. It runs from late September to the 1st Sunday in October. Be sure to include plenty of German music when you celebrate.

MENU
Sauerbraten – Marinated Pot Roast
Boiled Potatoes
Red Cabbage with Apples
Rye Bread
German Red Wine – Spätburgunder which is German for Pinot Noir

Sauerbraten – Marinated Pot Roast
5 black peppercorns
4 whole juniper berries*
1 med. onion, sliced thin
½ cup (120ml) dry red wine
½ cup (120ml) red wine vinegar
2 cups (450ml) cold water
2 small bay leaves
4 lbs. (2kg) boneless beef roast, top or bottom round or rump
3 tbsp. (43g) lard or solid shortening
½ cup onion, chopped fine
½ cup carrots, chopped fine
½ cup celery, chopped fine
2 tbsp. (30ml) flour
½ cup (120ml) beef stock, if needed
½ cup (50g) gingersnap cookie crumbs

Use a mortar and pestle or a baggie and hammer to crush black peppercorns and juniper berries together.

In a medium-sized saucepan combine peppercorn mix, sliced onion, wine, vinegar, water, and bay leaves. Bring marinade to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from stove and let cool to room temperature.

Trim excess fat from roast. Set beef in a deep flat bowl or pot just large enough to hold it comfortably. Pour marinade over the top. Add more wine if marinade is not halfway up the sides of the meat. Turn meat to moisten all sides. Cover pan tightly with foil or cling wrap. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 days. Be sure to turn the meat over at least twice a day.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).

Remove meat from marinade. Pat dry with paper towels. Strain marinade through a fine sieve set over a bowl. Discard spices and onion, but reserve marinade.

Melt lard in a Dutch oven over high heat until it sputters. Add roast and brown well on all sides. Adjust heat so as not to burn the meat. Transfer meat to a platter. Pour off and discard all but 2 tbs. (30ml) of fat. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Cook over moderate heat until they are soft and light brown, 5 – 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies. Cook, stirring constantly 2 – 3 minutes or until flour begins to color.

Pour in 2 cups (450ml) of reserved marinade and ½ cup (120ml) water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Return meat to pot. Cover tightly. Cook in the oven for 2 hours or until meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer meat to a heated platter. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Discard veggies. Pour liquid from pot into a measuring cup. Skim off fat. You need 2½ cups (570ml) liquid for the sauce. If you have more, boil briskly to reduce the amount. If you have less, add beef stock. Combine liquid and gingersnaps in a small saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes. The crumbs will dissolve and thicken the sauce. Strain sauce through a fine sieve. Keep warm on very low heat until ready to serve.

To serve, carve meat into ¼ inch (.64cm) slices. Arrange on individual dinner plates or a large platter. In either case moisten the meat with a little sauce. Pass the remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

*Rosemary is a good substitute for juniper berries. Use one fresh sprig.

Boiled Potatoes
1 red potato per person, peeled and quartered
Chicken stock
Tap water
1 lg. bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Butter to taste

Add potatoes to a saucepan that holds them comfortably. Pour stock halfway up the potatoes. Top off with water, covering potatoes by an inch (1.25cm) or so. Add bay leaf. Set a lid on top.

You can do up to this point earlier in the day. Leave on the counter or stovetop until you are ready to cook.

Bring pan to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the lid and heat so the water continues a soft/light boil, but does not spill over. Cook 15 – 20 minutes, then test for doneness. A fork will insert easily.

Drain potatoes and discard bay leaf. Sprinkle pepper over potatoes. Add butter. Stir carefully so as not to smash potatoes.

Don’t have bay leaf? Add 1 tablespoon (20ml) or so of dried basil to the pot. When you drain the potatoes most of the leaves will be gone, but the good taste remains.

Red Cabbage with Apples
2 – 2½ lb. (1 – 1.5kg) red cabbage
⅔ cup (150ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. (30ml) sugar
2 medium-sized apples, peeled and cored
2 tbsp. (25g) lard or bacon fat
½ cup (50g) onions, chopped fine
1 whole onion, pierced with 2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
5 cups (1.2L) boiling water
3 tbsp. (45ml) dry red wine
3 tbsp. (45ml) red currant jelly, optional

Wash cabbage under cool water and then remove tough outer leaves. Cut cabbage into 4 pieces. Remove core. Shred easily by slicing each section into thin strips.

Place cabbage in a large mixing bowl. sprinkle with vinegar and sugar. Toss with a spoon to cover the shreds evenly.

Slice apple into thin wedges. Melt lard or bacon fat in a large pot. Add apples and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until apples are lightly browned.

Add cabbage, onion with cloves, and bay leaf. Stir well while pouring in boiling water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so cabbage does a slow simmer. Cover and cook 1½ – 2 hours, or until cabbage is tender. Check occasionally to be sure cabbage is moist. If it seems dry, add 1 tbsp. (15ml) or so of boiling water. When cabbage is tender there should be almost no liquid in the pan.

To serve remove whole onion and bay leaf. Stir in wine and jelly. This recipe freezes nicely.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our virtual kitchen with chief Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest cooking ideas and recipies.

I had the great pleasure of attending a cooking class with my friend Bonnie several years ago. We were in New Orleans when this bright idea hit us. That’s what enjoying too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter will do to a person. 😊 The next day we were still hot to try our hands at Cajun cooking when we happened on The New Orleans School of Cooking. We enrolled in a class and, as our good luck would have, were the only two students. A great time was had by all!

Since then, I’ve used up all the Joe’s Stuff I bought to season the dish and had to devise a new recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

JAMBALAYA

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

½ cup green pepper, chopped

½ tbsp. garlic, chopped

¾ lb. andouille sausage, sliced to pieces 1 inch thick

2½ cups chicken stock, possibly more

½ tsp. dried thyme

¼ cup paprika

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

½ tsp. tabasco sauce2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup rice

1 cup green onions, chopped, include plenty of green

Warm a Dutch oven on medium heat. Pour in oil. When it shimmers add onion, celery, and green pepper. Sauté 7 – 9 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Adjust heat so onion doesn’t burn. Add garlic. Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in sausage and stock. Add remaining ingredients, except rice and green onions, and then stir well.

Add rice and bring to a boil. Cover then lower heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes. Stir well after each 10 minutes so rice doesn’t stick to pan. Add more stock if the food looks dry.

Sprinkle green onions across the rice mixture when you serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-engaging Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest menu that is delicious and filling!

Ready for some good down-home type cooking that’s finger lickin’ good but doesn’t splatter grease all over your stove? If so, then this is the menu for you.

MENU

Oven-Fried Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Corn

Spiked Watermelon

White Wine – Chablis

Oven-Fried Chicken

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – legs and thighs work great, too

    Milk

    ½ cup (50g) flour

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried marjoram

    ½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt

    1 tsp. (5ml) paprika

    ¼ cup ((52g) shortening or lard

    ¼ cup (57g) butter or margarine

    3 tbsp. (45ml) fresh parsley, chopped or 1½ tbsp. (20ml) dried

Place chicken in a glass dish, cover with milk, and let sit for a minimum of 3 hours. This is a perfect way to use up milk when it is close to its expiration date. You can also marinade the pieces overnight. If you choose to go longer than 3 hours be sure to refrigerate the dish. I learned this tenderizing trick from a talented chef in Salzburg, Austria.

Combine flour, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and paprika in a plastic or paper bag.

Drain and pat chicken dry. Place pieces one at a time in bag and gently shake to thoroughly coat them. Lay chicken on a plate as you coat the remaining pieces. Set chicken in fridge for at least 20 minutes to set the coating.

Preheat oven to 425° F (220°C).

Add shortening and butter to a metal baking pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Place dish in oven until mixture is melted. Add chicken. Bake 15 minutes and then turn pieces over. Cook another 20 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.

REMEMBER – all meat continues to cook for 5 minutes or so after it is removed from the oven.

Remove chicken from baking dish to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any oil. Transfer pieces to a clean plate. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

You can also make this dish on your grill. Set the grill on medium-high. Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.

Mashed Potatoes

Chicken stock, not broth

    1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered

    3 tbsp. (43g) butter

    Sour cream, a very large dollop

    ¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Pour one-inch (2.5cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Place potatoes in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by at least one inch (2.5cm). Cover pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork inserts easily into a section.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Keep the saucepan warm in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Canned Corn
Sometimes it’s good to go easy and nothing is easier than canned veggies.

    1 can of corn per 4 people

    ¼ tsp. (1.25ml) dried thyme

    Pinch of salt

    Freshly ground pepper to taste
    Butter

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Sprinkle on thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Spiked Watermelon

An adult pleasure that tops off any summer dinner, especially when you dine al fresco.

    ½ watermelon

    2 – 3 cups (450 – 750ml) vodka

Remove the seeds from the watermelon. Cut fruit into chunks or use a melon scooper to form balls. Place the cut pieces into a glass bowl.

Pour vodka over the melon. No need to cover the fruit. You just want enough so all the pieces contact with the vodka. Stir gently. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve melon from the bowl along with forks or long spoons.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer,Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, and Date Night Dinners Italian Style on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Date Night Dinners Italian Style

from

Sloane Taylor

NEW RELEASE

Date Night Dinners Italian Style

The perfect date night at home—course by course.

From antipasti to dolci, everything you need to create a unique dining experience for an intimate date night in!

  • All recipes are proportioned for two.
  • No exotic or hard-to-find ingredients.
  • Easy recipes, from prep to presentation.
  • Mix-and-match courses to create a unique dining experience.
  • Wine pairing suggestions to complement each dish.
  • Cooking tips to effortlessly move your date-night agenda from the kitchen to…wherever you’ll most enjoy dessert!

Get your copy today on Amazon.

Available now on Amazon since June 21, 2021!

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer,Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, and Date Night Dinners Italian Style on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The master in the kitchen and on the written page, Sloane Taylor who as a self-proclaimed romantic reminds us of just how easy it is to create amorous settings with our special someone on the patio or deck surrounded by gardens that are at their peak. She even includes a menu of the perfect meal for the occasion, as well as the link to her latest cookbook.

Spring is an amazing time of year and my favorite because that’s when the Earth comes alive. All sorts of beautiful things happen. Trees are budding, tender plants push through the ground, romance is in the air and warm weather is just a few weeks away.

I am a romantic through and through. Always have been and with any luck I always will be. Romance is much more than a quick trip to tangle the sheets. It is about being with someone you love and doing little things to show them how much they mean to you. In my case I cook because I love it.

When summer arrives and the gardens are ablaze in color, I want to move the romance outside. So why not share a summer night with your someone special? What better way than with a sizzling romantic dinner, candles, wine, and music. You don’t need much to set the mood and turn your patio, balcony, or kitchen into a lover’s nook. Make your night special with great food because it is the doorway to infinite possibilities.

A printed flat sheet is perfect for a festive tablecloth or set out placemats for the plates and serving dishes. Use plenty of candles in different sizes and a variety of holders scattered around the table to enhance the mood, but definitely avoid scented candles. Stemmed wine glasses sparkle in candlelight and add a festive feel to your dinner. Use your regular dishes or, for fun, mix it up with a number of different plates that don’t match but compliment each other for the different courses. Experiment and have fun.

Now that you have the perfect location and setting for you and that right person, may I suggest you spoil yourself with an intimate dinner meant for lovers. It is easy to prepare and leftovers make marvelous sandwiches. This recipe also works great in the oven.

Ask your butcher to dress the tenderloin. If he won’t, then you need to remove the excess fat and sliver out the silver strip along the side. Easy to do. Slide a sharp knife under the strip close to one end. Use a back and forward motion like sawing to ease your knife between the meat and the strip as you lift it away from the beef.

MENU

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Potatoes Baked on the Grill

Grilled Asparagus

Sautéed Mushrooms

Dry Red Wine – Valpolicella.

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin
2 – 3 lb. (1 – 1.5kg) beef tenderloin
½ cup (120ml) olive oil
½ cup (120ml) dry red wine
3 rosemary sprigs or 1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried
6 thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. (5ml) dried
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Oil to coat grill grate

Combine all ingredients in a long bowl or plastic bag and a shallow pan. Marinade in fridge 2 – 20 hours. Seems like a strange time span, but the longer the marinade the tastier the beef.

Remove meat from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling or roasting in oven. Meat needs to be almost room temperature.

Grill Instructions
Preheat grill to medium-high.

Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef, close lid, and grill 15 – 20 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Be sure to turn meat several times to avoid burning.

Oven Instructions
Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef to pan. Roast 30 – 40 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Save the juice to moisten he meat when you serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

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