A Gifted Cookbook

Everyone knows how much I treasure my cookbooks. It’s no secret. The word is out. In fact, just this morning, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted some of her cookbooks that she no longer wanted. I actually had to decline her generous offer because my bookshelves are over crowded as well. Believe me, it took a lot of restraint to not say yes. That being said, I am still a believer in the wise words one of my old co-workers said to me many moons ago “you have never purchased your last cookbook”. I have been good though and have NOT purchased any new cookbooks in awhile. However, I was gifted a great cookbook not all that long ago by yet another blogger friend of mine, Sandy Axelrod, from “The Traveling Locovores”. Thank you Sandy. There are oh so many fantastic recipes in this fabulous book. My only problem is there are way to many delicious recipes I want to make and not nearly enough time to get them all done. Woe is me. 🙂

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Sandy gave me this book, Lands of the Curry Leaf by Peter Kuruvita.

When I received this wonderful new gift, I was busy going in a whole bunch of different directions at the time. I actually made a dish, very loosely inspired by one the recipes from the book, but then Thanksgiving came and I have been busy posting recipes and ideas about the holidays. I am just now getting to share my recipe with you, at long last. When I say very loosely, I mean it too. About the only things in common with the actual recipe and mine were that they were both curried and they both called for pumpkin. But it did inspire me to create my dish. Often, this is exactly how I use cookbooks and recipes too. I look at the pictures, I read the ingredients, and then off I go and to do my own version of what I have just seen and read. That’s just how I roll. What can I say? 🙂

Larry said he wanted shrimp and I had pumpkin and spinach I needed to use, but I also wanted to make the dish that I had earmarked in this fabulous new book. So I did what I always do and created my own dish instead.

Curried Shrimp and Vegetables

1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed, chopped

1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced very thin

1 green bell pepper, sliced very thin

2-3 sweet peppers, sliced very thin

1- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed

1-1 1/2 cups mushrooms sliced

1 cup cooked asparagus

1 red onion, sliced very thin

1 can coconut milk

1 1/2 TBSP garlic

1 1/2 TBSP ginger

1 TBSP yellow curry

1 TBSP red curry

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

salt & pepper to taste

olive oil and lime olive oil (optional) for cooking

Get a large pot very hot then add the oils. Saute the shrimp for about 5 minutes, or until it is completely pink and cooked. Once they are cooked, remove them from the heat and set aside.

Add more oil if needed, then add the vegetables, except for the spinach and the cooked asparagus, and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until they are tender.

When the heartier vegetables are tender, add the spinach and asparagus and combine well.

Combine the coconut milk with all the spices and add to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Re-add the shrimp.

Serve immediately over rice. I served it over a combination of both white rice and black rice, with some Naan bread and a glass or two of smooth buttery chardonnay on the side. I love all kinds of curries, and they are my favorite Asian dishes.

Sorry it took so long to get this one to you, but I promise you it was worth the wait. Once again, many thanks to Sandy for her generous contribution to my ever-growing culinary library. it is greatly appreciated.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Everyone. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – 11

Normally I do not re-blog, but every now and then something comes up that needs to be shared again. This is one of those times. I saw this on our own Holly’sworld page https://photogarphybyhcmorris77.com/ and thought it was the perfect message for the holidays, no matter what holidays you celebrate. Thank you Holly for reminding us of these precious gifts we all need to give and receive, not just at Christmas but all throughout the year.

771,977 Christmas Present Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images -  iStock

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy: Forgiveness

To an opponent: Tolerance

To a friend: Your heart

To a customer: Service

To all: Charity

To every child: A good example

To yourself: Respect

~Owen Arnold~

Bacon and Green Onion Corn Muffins

Breads are most definitely my downfall. If I had enough butter, I could easily live on breads for the rest of my life. Because of my love affair with all kinds of breads, I am always trying new things out too. I have bread of some sort with dinner every night if I can.

When I made my turkey chowder Southwestern Turkey Chowder I also made some bacon and green onion corn muffins to go along with the chowder as well. They hit the spot perfectly. Usually when I make any kind of corn bread or muffins I make honey butter to go with them too.

Bacon and Green Onion Corn Muffins

Preheat the oven to 425* F or about 210-215* C

Spray some muffin pans with cooking spray

I baked my corn muffins the usual way, in the oven, but if you want to try something a little different, you can try placing them on a hot grill the next time you are grilling meats too. It’s a bit to chilly for me to try that right now, but I definitely will when the weather warms up. It will give the muffins a nice smoky flavor.

5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups corn

4-5 green onions, sliced very thin

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

4 TBSP melted butter

2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook it until it is done. Drain off the excess grease.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the green onions, bacon and cilantro and combine well.

Slightly beat the eggs, then add the eggs, melted butter and buttermilk to the dry mixture and mix just enough to incorporate all the ingredients. Do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

When they are done, serve them immediately, with or without honey butter. I prefer to use the honey butter because I like to add a hint of sweetness to them as well. They were the perfect pairing for my Southwestern Turkey Chowder.

May your holidays be fun and festive and filled with good friends and good cheer. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – 10

Well, this is just odd. We still have NO SNOW! We haven’t had any yet this year. But it is definitely coming. It’s on it’s way. I can smell it in the air. Literally! We have a saying that when it is about to snow we get that Greeley smell. Greeley is a rural farming area about 1 hour northeast of us, and when it is about to snow, the winds shift and we get that very potent smell of the farmlands. That plus the temperature is a brisk 25*F right now, with the high only supposed to get to about 32 *F. So snow is definitely on the way. But for now, this is the only snow we have seen in the metro area.

Southwestern Turkey Chowder

It is the 5th of December and we still haven’t had any snow or even cold weather yet. The coolest it has been is in the mid 50’s. This is very unusual for us at this time of year. Despite the warmer weather though, I just felt like making some chowder. Besides, I wanted to use up some more of my turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving too. Maybe I am channeling the cooler weather by making a thick, warm, hearty chowder. I don’t know. What I do know is that my chowder came out delicious. I just had some more for lunch as well. 🙂

Southwestern Turkey Chowder

4-5 cups cooked turkey, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1-1 1/2 cups pumpkin, diced

1 onion, diced

2 TBSP garlic

1 cup corn

1 bell pepper, diced

1 potato diced

3-4 roasted Hatch chilies, diced

1 cup dry sausage, quartered, optional

olive oil + butter for cooking + lime olive oil (optional)

1 cup flour

8 cups turkey or chicken broth

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp Aleppo chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp sage

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Get the oils and butter hot in a large pot, then add the celery, onions, corn, potatoes, pumpkin and bell pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the flour and incorporate well, to make it like a vegetable roux. Then add the rest of the ingredients and the stock, except for the cream and the cilantro. Mix everything together well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Continue to cook for an additional 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cream and a bit more flour, depending on your desired thickness, and incorporate well. Once again, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 20 minutes.

Add the cilantro and mix well, then serve. I stuck with the Southwestern theme and made some bacon-green onion corn muffins and honey butter to go with my chowder. It all went perfectly well with a rich, buttery chardonnay to complete the meal.

I think my channeling for cooler weather worked. Today is already cooler, and it will be even cooler again tomorrow. WHOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!! Now all we need is some snow.

Happy Holidays Everyone. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – 9

Angles have been a part of Christmas since the very beginning. Without the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary to tell her God’s plan, there would be no Christmas as we know it, if even at all. Angels are messengers from God. Angels are very much a part of Christmas and Christmas decorations.

When I was setting up the coffee cart this morning, these are who I saw as soon as I walked through the doors to greet me.

Fried Zucchini Rounds

I love all kinds of vegetables. And I have always been a big squash fan too. I don’t care if it is zucchini, or crookneck, or acorn, or butternut, or pumpkin, or anything else in the squash family. I love them all. Larry, on the other hand, is NOT such a big fan, though he reluctantly eats them when I cook them. So I was very pleasantly surprised to see him eat almost the whole batch of these delicious fried zucchini rounds I made to go with dinner. He didn’t exactly admit he “liked” them, however, he kept going back for more until most of them were all gone. He decided to save a few to add to his lunch. 🙂

I want to believe these delicious fried zucchini rounds are “healthy” because after all, they are vegetables right?! But alas, they are battered and deep fried, so I suppose that theory goes out the window. They are very good though.

I cut my recipe in half, since it was just for the two of us, and I did not have panko crumbs so I used breadcrumbs instead. You can also mix and match and have both zucchini and crookneck rounds if you like.

Fried Zucchini Rounds

2 medium zucchini, cut into round slices

1 cup flour

3 eggs

1 cup of either breadcrumbs or panko crumbs

1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese

salt & pepper to taste

1 TBSP Italian seasoning or 1 tsp each of dried oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram

red pepper flakes, optional

hot oil for frying

Slice the zucchini into medium thick rounds.

Combine the flour, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano cheese in one bowl and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and seasonings together in another bowl.

Coat the zucchini rounds in the egg mixture, then add them to the flour mixture and coat completely.

Heat cooking or vegetable oil to 350* F or 175* C, then carefully add the coated zucchini rounds into the hot oil. Cook the zucchini rounds in batches until they are all cooked so they do not get over crowded. Remove the cooked ones and place them on a paper towel to drain off the excess grease. Cook them for about 4-5 minutes per batch.

Serve them immediately. These are not particularly good when cold. You can serve them with either ranch dressing or marinara sauce or even a spicy dip. We dipped ours in a some leftover spicy marinara sauce. Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew.

These are like potato chips, only slightly healthier. You can’t eat just one. 🙂

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – 8

The decorations are slowly coming out. I am beginning to see more and more festivity around. There are a lot of wreaths coming out now.

This is our Christmas wreath.

Together, the circular shape and the evergreen material make the wreath a representation of eternal life. It is also a representation of faith, as Christians in Europe often placed a candle on the wreath during Advent to symbolize the light that Jesus brought into the world. By hanging a wreath on the door, Christians welcomed the spirit of Christmas. Along the way, this became a symbol of triumph over death beyond that of Christ. For the families who hang these wreaths, they’re implying that their loved one’s soul lives on.

And other wreaths I am seeing all around, from the stores to the doors.

Enjoy the magic of the season.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – 7

The Holiday season, though beautiful, magical and wonderful, is also a very busy time of year. I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking, but have been doing a lot of shopping; to much shopping! So I haven’t had much time in the kitchen these last few days. We have been eating leftovers, and not even creatively; just plain, regular leftovers. How boring is that?

Fortunately, there are plenty of wonders and beauty of the season to share with you. The trees are out and are ready for everyone to take them home and decorate.

We have decided NOT to decorate any of our trees this year ONLY because our wolf baby Juneau is still VERY destructive and has already decapitated and destroyed 3 or 4 of my Santas, as well as EVERYTHING else she can destroy. We just don’t trust her with Christmas trees or other decorations. Not this year. Hopefully next year.

Enjoy the magic and wonder of the season. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

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