Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Twisted Recipes

By Melanie Knight - Courtesy of The Lancaster News

Your summer dinners are starting to drag.
Don’t worry; you aren’t alone. It’s easy to get into a rut preparing the same meals over and over again.
But it’s just as easy to snap out of it and start a culinary revolution by twisting something old into something new. Just put a spin on your favorite recipes by doing the summertime twist.
An updated version of the tried and true All-American cheeseburger and Baked Sweet Potato Fries will keep your Labor Day cookout guests on their toes.
Switch it up by serving broccoli salad instead of coleslaw and a Cherry Sunset in place of lemonade.
Top the meal with individual Mini-Peach cobbler served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Now that you’ve got a new set of kitchen tricks to try, it’s time to twist the rest of the summer away.

Inside-Out Bacon Cheeseburgers
8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 1/3 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 hamburger buns
Sliced tomatoes and lettuce
Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles (optional)
– Preheat grill to high.
– In a medium pan, brown bacon over medium high heat and drain on paper towel lined plate. Crumble when cool to touch. Divide bacon and cheese into 4 equal parts.
– Combine ground beef with Worcestershire and steak seasoning or salt and pepper. Divide meat into 4 equal parts. Take 1/4 of the meat in your hand and make a well in the center of it. Pile in 1/4 of cheese and bacon, then carefully form the burger around the cheese and bacon filling. Make sure the fillings are completely covered with meat. When all four patties are formed, drizzle burgers with oil and place on hot grill.
– Cook for 2 minutes on each side over high heat, reduce heat to medium low and cook burgers for 7 to 8 minutes longer, turning occasionally. Do not press down on burgers as they cook. Transfer burgers to a plate and let them rest 5 minutes before serving.
– Assemble burgers, buns and your choice of condiments. As you bite into the burgers, you will find the cheesy-bacon surprise at the center. Makes 4 servings.
– Recipe by Rachel Ray (
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for tossing
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4- inch strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
– Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
– Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd.
– Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 3-5 servings.
– Recipe by Paula Deen (
Broccoli Salad
1 large bunch broccoli florets (cut off florets before smooth stalk begins)
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled or 1/2 cup bacon bits
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
– Mix together broccoli florets, bacon, nuts, onions and any optional ingredients.
– Mix together dressing. Pour on top and stir to combine. Makes 4-6 servings.
– Recipe by Frankie Pate
Mini-Peach Cobblers
1 box yellow cake mix
1-14 ounce can sliced peaches in juice
1/2 cup orange juice (can substitute apple juice)
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Nonstick cooking spray
– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
– Spray 12-unit cupcake/muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
– Open can of peaches and reserve juice. Mix peach juice, orange juice and cake mix by hand in large bowl until mixed. Fill muffin cups half full with batter (discard excess). Divide peach slices between 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Push slices into muffin cups, covering with batter.
– Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve each cobbler with 2 scoops vanilla ice cream (optional).
– Recipe by Melanie Knight, inspired by Roy Cross
Cherry Sunset
16 maraschino cherries and juice
4 cups lemonade
2 cup orange juice
Maraschino cherries, lemon slices and orange slices (for garnish)
– Place four cherries in the bottom of each glass. Pour in 1/2 cup orange juice, then 1 cup lemonade.
– For garnish, slice cherries in half, then cut a slit from the center to the side so it can sit on the side of the glass. Cut the same slit in the lemon and orange and slices. Place cherry on the side of the glass, so the slit straddles the glass edge and follow it with the sliced lemon and orange. Makes 4 servings.
– Recipe by Melanie Knight

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recipe: Road Kill

OK-so I can't find my recipe for road kill. But I think my brother has it...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will Ride for Food- UPDATE

Remember the story I did about the Star Riders' bike rally for Feed the Children? Well- they qualified for an 18 wheeler food truck from FTC and it will be here @ Nov 8th. Hope Food Bank will screen the families. Should be enough food for 400 families to get 1 box of food and 1 box of general goods (soap-etc). How awesome is that! Thanks again for all your help!

Star Riders ROCK!!!

Miss Leslie’s Ham Salad on Biscuits

Best ever!- even better the next day after all the juices stew in the fridge-

Miss Leslie’s Ham Salad on Biscuits Rachel Ray

2 tubes, 6 pieces each, large bake-off biscuits
1 pound cooked ham from the deli, 1/4-inch thick slices,
diced 3 ribs celery, from the heart, finely chopped
1/2 cup salad olives with pimento, drained, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped (wear gloves)
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley - a couple of handfuls of leaves
1/3 cup mayonnaise, just enough to bind salad
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons dill pickle relish Salt and black pepper

Prepare bake-off biscuits to package directions, 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. Cool biscuits on wire rack.
Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasonings, to taste.
Split cool biscuits and fill with Leslie's ham salad. Salad is even better on the second day.Makes 6 servings (2 biscuits each).
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Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white pizza...

Just like the ones I used to know-
Rachel Ray-

1 store bought pizza dough - or pick one up from your favorite pizzeria
Extra- virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups whole or part skim ricotta
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone

canadian bacon-optional
1 pouch 10 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup, shredded

Preheat a pizza stone if you use one along with the oven to 425 degrees F.
Stretch dough to form a pie and transfer to stone or pizza baking tray. Pierce the dough with the tines of a fork in several places. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil around the crust. Mix the ricotta cheese with garlic and parsley and season it with salt and black pepper. Spread the ricotta across the dough. Top the pizza with mozzarella or provolone. Bake until crispy, 20 minutes. Top the white pizza pie with the shredded basil leaves, cut and serve.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recipe: Cherry Sunset

Why oh why does summer have to end? Let us take the next several weeks and say goodbye with a Cherry Sunset. I top mine off with cheap champagne- you know- the Grand Spumante $4/bottle stuff. Po' Man's champagne is white wine mixed with gingerale- also a delicious drink for derelicts.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Team USA Olympic Cupcakes

Team USA Cupcakes
Decoration inspired by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone,

1 package butter recipe cake mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 stick butter- room temperature
1-2 cans coconut supreme pre-made frosting (any white icing will work)
1 cup small fresh blueberries, washed and dried
1 roll red-colored fruit snack or fruit leather (Fruit Roll-Ups) cut into 1/8 inch strips by 2 inches longPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Combine softened butter, eggs, water and cake mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and beat another 2 minutes.Divide batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature on wire racks before proceeding or cool quickly 10-15 minutes in the freezer. Spread frosting on tops of cooled cupcakes. Use blueberries to stud cupcakes in rows (for stars) over the upper left quarter of the cupcake. Place red fruit strips across the remainder of the cupcake surface in rows (for stripes) over frosting. Trim fruit strips where they hang over edges. Makes 24 cupcakes
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sultan's Delight

Sultan’s Delight/ Turkish Delight

It’s the daily question every mother dreads, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” You’ve already jaded your family with every fried meat, casserole and pasta dish in your arsenal, so what’s left? Don’t despair-Turn to a country known for hundreds of years for turning out succulent meals, the Republic of Turkey.

Turkish cuisine is the result of 600 years of the Ottoman Empire rule where hundreds of the Sultan’s Chef’s would perfect their specialties and compete to please the royal family in the Imperial Kitchen of the Topkapi Palace. Here, thirteen hundred kitchen staff were housed in several buildings under ten domes with elaborate kitchens. How else could they have come up with such enticing desserts as twisted turban, sultan, saray (palace), lady's navel and nightingale's nest? Even little Edmund Pevensie couldn’t resist the White Witch when she offered him Turkish Delights. The Sultan also had the benefit of controlling the Spice Road and the crossroads of the Far East and Mediterranean. In this fashion, the taste of the royal family became the taste of the people.

"To drink one cup of coffee together guarantees forty years of friendship". This Turkish saying sums up the ancient pastime of socializing over coffee and sweets. Once the coffee is gone, the hostess reads each guests fortune by placing the saucer over the coffee cup, swishing and inverting both the cup and saucer. The patterns of the coffee ground remaining in the cup are then “read”.

Elaborate rituals and social customs emerged as coffee fused itself into the culture. According to Burak Sansal, a tour guide for Turkey, when a man wishes to marry a lady, he and his family pays a visit to her family’s home. Her efficiency as a potential wife is judged by her preparation of the coffee. It is also her chance to make her opinion known. A definite yes is conveyed by serving sweet coffee. A no is conveyed by serving coffee with no sugar, or even serving coffee with salt.

In Turkey, food is a way of life. Our American lifestyle of eating on the go or grabbing a bite to eat would be an alien concept in Turkey. The food protocol of the Turkish Embassy states that “It is inconceivable for the household members to eat alone”. They are expected to enjoy three sit down meals a day where they share the events of the day. They also enjoy elaborate picnics, which they refer to as "stealing a day from fate."

Take a tip from the Turks and steal your own day from fate. If you can’t live like a king, with these recipes, you can at least eat like a Sultan.

Chicken Shish Kebab (Tavuk Sis Kebap)
2 pounds chicken breast, boneless, cut in medium sized cubes1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper, powder
1 garlic clove, smashed with salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix ingredients in a gallon size zip lock and marinade. Overnight is best, but 30 minutes will do. Divide up the chicken cubes and place on four to six skewers. Grill the chicken until the juices run clear. Make sure to turn the skewers so that all sides are cooked equally.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Sultan Reshad's Pilaf (Sultan Reşat Pilavı) www.turkish
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 medium onion- chopped
1 slice bread, make wet with water
1 pound ground hamburger
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large tomato, diced

Put water, butter and salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Stir in rice; mix slowly. Cover and simmer for 15-21 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
Combine ground meat, bread (made wet with water and squeezed dry), diced onions, salt and pepper; in a bowl; mix well. Shape into balls 3/4 inch in diameter. Put flour in a shallow bowl and roll the meatballs to coat them. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Brown meat balls on all sides in oil. Remove from skillet. Add minced tomatoes into drippings; mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in meat balls. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Arrange rice pilaf on a serving plate in circular form (donut shape). Place meat balls with sauce in center. Serve hot. This dish was prepared in the kitchens of Sultan Reshad’s Court.
Makes 6 servings

Turkish Delight (Lokum)

1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin (2-packages -7 grams each)
¼ cup cold water
¼ cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flavored extract-(recommend raspberry)
1/8 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
½ cup confectioners' sugar
Food coloring (Use appropriate color to match flavor.)

Soften gelatin in cold water. Add sugar to boiling water. Bring to boil. Stir in softened gelatin. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Add flavoring and coloring. Pour into ungreased, 4-inch square pan (or plastic storage container). Add nuts and stir gently. Chill in fridge for @ 30 minutes. When firm, remove from container and invert onto confectioner sugar dusted cutting board. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Roll in confectioners' sugar. Store in a jar at room temperature.
Makes 8 servings

Nightingale's Nest (Bülbül Yuvası)

1 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 frozen filo pastry (strudel) sheets
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4cup white corn syrup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Optional toppings- ground walnuts & whipped cream

Mix walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside. Place one sheet of filo pastry on a clean surface. Brush with butter. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon walnut filling evenly over the sheet. Place a thin 1-inch rolling pin (or thick handled spatula) at the narrow end of the sheet and roll up the pastry on the pin. Gently push the rolled-up pastry from both ends towards the center to compress. Pull out the rolling pin. Form into a spiral/nest shape and place on a buttered baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Add lemon juice to syrup and mix to combine. Pour syrup over hot nests, allow time to absorb syrup and cool. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with ground walnuts and whipped cream

Makes 6 servings.

Turkish Coffee (Türk kahvesi )

The sweetness can be adjusted to your liking. This version falls somewhere between orta and sekerli. Depending on the amount of sugar added per cup, Turkish coffee is served in four variations: Sade -without sugar, Az Sekerli- 1/2 sugar cube, Orta- 1 sugar cube, Sekerli- 2 sugar cubes.

2 cups water
1/4 cup finely ground strong coffee beans (Arabica ground for espresso)
2 tablespoons sugar
optional- sugar cubes, half & half
Combine water, ground coffee, and sugar in small saucepan or Turkish coffeepot. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves; bring just to simmer (coffee will foam and rise to top edge of pan). Divide half of coffee among 6 small cups, pouring slowly to avoid breaking foam on top. Return pan to low heat and let mixture foam again to top edge of pan. Carefully pour remaining coffee into cups, leaving grounds in saucepan. Serve immediately. Gingerly sip coffee, but stop before you get to the grounds at the bottom of the cup. You can also put a sugar cube in your cheek to sweeten the coffee as you sip it.
Makes 6 servings.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Fun while it lasted- time to pop the cork!

Thanks for all your votes! However- I didn't make the top 4 :( in the Bush Beans Recipe Contest.
Top 12 still ROCKS though!!!!

It was still a wild ride-now I am addicted

Thanks again for all your support! I'm popping a bottle of homemade Knight Castle Chardonnay...
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