Food

Red, White, and Blueberry Beet Salad

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Here’s a fun, festive, 4th of July salad for your holiday table. My sister made this one up just for the occasion (and because she knows I LOVE beets, even if she doesn’t!)

It calls for 4 very basic ingredients as well as a basic vinaigrette dressing made with red-wine vinegar. You can whisk one up yourself, or use a bottled one you’ve purchased, whichever get’s the job done to your satisfaction and gets you out of the kitchen and back into the celebration as quickly as possible.

You’ll wow your guests (or your hosts) when you place this on the banquet table!

Red, White, and Blueberry Beet Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 large beets, peeled, cooked (you may boil or roast - your choice), cooled, and cubed

  • 2 pints of blueberries, washed and drained

  • 6-8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

  • a bed of baby spinach

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced

  • ¼ teaspoon fine kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the vinaigrette dressing:

    1. In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine all of the ingredients except oil. Stir well with a small whisk.

    2. Drop a single drop of oil into the mixture and whisk briskly, add another drop and continue to whisk, then add remaining oil in a stream, continuing to whisk until well blended.

    3. Taste, and adjust as necessary.

  2. Place cooked cubed beets in large bowl, add blueberries, pour viniagrette over top and mix well.

  3. Place baby spinach leaves on serving platter.

  4. Layer dressed beets and blueberries over the top of spinach, then sprinkle liberally with crumbled feta cheese.

  5. Refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy this salad, bursting with red, white, and blue flavor, as we celebrate our great nation’s birthday! I hope your 4th full of your favorite ingredients, and mixes up to be a happy and safe holiday!

Cauliflower 'Faux-tato' Salad

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My potato salad is famous (or perhaps infamous, not sure which…) and I’ll make it for any occasion; BBQ’s, birthdays, bar mitzvah’s… but (confession session) sometimes I crave a lighter dish.

Enter this delicious “faux-tato” salad made with steamed cauliflower florets - it’s so so tasty, but far lower in carbs. It’s got everything you want for a great picnic salad except all the starch. Go ahead, give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 1/2 cup bacon bits (about 6 rashers of bacon)

  • 1/2 c. sour cream

  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise

  • 1 tspn stone-ground mustard

  • 1 tbsp. dill pickle brine (vinegar or lemon juice work too!)

  • Salt and Pepper

  • 1 1/2 c.  cheddar cheese, shredded

  • 1/4 c. chives, chopped small

Directions:

  1. Add cauliflower florets to about 1” of boiling water in large pot or pan. Cover and allow to steam until tender - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and cool. Set aside.

  2. Cook bacon rashers until crispy, turning to crisp each side. Drain on paper towels then break or chop into bits.

  3. Mix together, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, pickle brine (or vinegar or lemon juice) in a large bowl. Add the steamed and cooled cauliflower florets and gently stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then fold in bacon, cheddar, and chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Of course, like most of my recipes, they’re more suggestion than anything else. If you have a particular way you like to dress your potato salad, give it a try only use the cauliflower florets instead of starchy ‘taters.

I’m always interested in what you think - so tell me if you try this, any adjustments you might make to it, and most importantly, what was the cause of your gathering and celebration?! I’m nosy that way!

Rhubarb Nut Bread

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I recently posted a photo of myself and one of the GIANT rhubarb leaves from my garden on Facebook. At the time, I ask my visitors for their favorite rhubarb recipes - I’ve got enough for every recipe out there! Many were kind enough to send me their best-loved, tried-and-true, blue-ribbon-winner rhubarb treats.

From fruit leathers to sauces, pies to puddings, and bars to breads, I’ll never have to ask myself “What am I going to do with all this rhubarb?!” again!

Here’s the first of many recipes I’ll share. This one comes from Bonnie - thank you!

Rhubarb Nut Bread

Ingredients:

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  • 1-1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup veg. oil

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2-1/2 cups flour

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh rhubarb stalk, cleaned and diced

  • 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

  • For Topping:

    • 1/2 cup sugar

    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

    • 1 Tblspn softened butter

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking soda.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients: brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla, blend well.

  3. Add dry mixture to large bowl, stir to combine and add diced rhubarb and nuts.

  4. Pour into greased and floured bread baking pans.

  5. Blend the Topping ingredients in a small bowl with a fork, sprinkle over tops of bread batter.

  6. Bake at 325 degrees approximately 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

  7. Cool, slice, and enjoy with a cup of tea!!!


Dad's Day Gift Box Sweepstakes

My Dad’s Day Gift Box

My Dad’s Day Gift Box

I’ve recently given away a basket of good things for Easter, and a bushel of blessings for Mother’s Day… It wouldn’t be fair to skip over the very very important men in our lives, so I’ve pulled together a box brimming with gifts for a special dad on his day!

How does books, music, relaxation, candy, and a shopping spree sound to you?

I’ve chosen three books I think he’ll enjoy; an inspiring autobiography, and two action-packed novels my hubby gives the thumbs-up!

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GRATEFUL AMERICAN, by Gary Sinise: You know him from his stage, film, and television roles, and perhaps for his musical act, The Lieutenant Dan Band… and now you’ll know him for his book, Grateful American. After 9/11, honoring America’s defenders with the respect and gratitude their sacrifices deserve became Gary’s focus. He now works tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country through the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

Grateful American is the moving, entertaining, profoundly gripping story of how one man found his calling: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten and to inspire others to a life of service and gratitude.

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OPEN CARRY, by Marc Cameron:  Open Carry is the first in a new series featuring U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter. He’s on a case in the icy wastelands of southeast Alaska, where someone’s declared open season on humans, including a young native girl. Cutter’s job is to find the bodies, examine the crew’s footage for clues, and track down the men who killed them. Easier said than done. Especially when the whole town is hiding secrets, the trail leads to a dead end—and the hunter becomes the prey . . . 

Cameron took over for Tom Clancy, and is the bestselling author of the latest Jack Ryan novels.  His nearly 30 years in law enforcement serving as a police officer, SWAT member, detective, and Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal helps to explain his mastery of his action novels.

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CUTTHROATS by William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone: After a lifetime of robbing banks and holding up trains, Jimmy “Slash” Braddock and Melvin “Pecos Kid” Baker are ready to call it quits—though not completely by choice. Sold out by their old gang, Slash and Pecos have to bust out of jail and pull one last job to finance their early retirement . . .

Not every Western hero wears a white hat or a tin star. The Greatest Western Writers of the 20th Century kick off a new series featuring two wanted outlaws - with one heck of a story…

I’ve tossed in some great music too!

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Damn Country Music, by my good friend, Tim McGraw: This cd features the hit single, Humble and Kind, one of my favorite songs ever! I’ve not met anybody (that enjoys Country music even a little bit) that didn’t sing the praises of this song. I’ve had sons and daughters dedicated it to dads, dad’s dedicated it to sons and son-in-laws, wives dedicating it to husbands. Humble and Kind, the ideal we all reach for and that we wish upon our loved ones.

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Brave Enough, Lindsey Stirling: Another great friend, Lindsey, is an incredible violinist and dancer who has managed to merge these two talents, and in combination with her gypsy spirit, unique style, incredible inner and outer beauty, created an entirely new genre of entertainment that appeals to a huge variety of music lovers. Did I say “unique?” We are so fortunate to be able to experience life through Lindsey’s music, that’s why I’m including Brave Enough in the box of gifts for Dad!

 Everyone loves to shop - for things THEY want!

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So I’m also including a $50 Gift Card for The Home Depot. Whether it’s a new tool or two, some gardening equipment or plant starts, garage organizers, or an interesting gadget, The Home Depot has it all. The winner of my gift box will have $50 to spend any ole’ way he wants!

How ‘bout some R&R after all that shopping?

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Gravity Blanket: Last year I stumbled upon a product that has an unbelievable soothing, calming effect - by design! The Gravity Blanket, a weighted throw, uses the power of "deep touch pressure stimulation" shown to increase serotonin and melatonin, the hormones responsible for calming relaxation, while decreasing cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress.

What dad couldn’t benefit from that?! Enter to win one in the box or could pick one up for him, and one for yourself at Gravity Blanket.

  • Designed with the same therapeutic benefits as the original Gravity Blanket, the new Cooling Blanket will keep you cool and comfortable all summer long during use. Use code DELILAH to get 20% off your purchase at gravityblankets.com!

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Almond Roca, from Brown & Haley: I’m so fortunate to have confectioners Brown & Haley as long-time sponsors, and even luckier still to have them in my back yard! Almond Roca was delivered on festive occasions to my childhood home by my grandmother, and now that I have grandchildren of my own, I love to spoil them with this special treat. Spoil your dad with the unmistakable taste of Almond Roca!

My Dad’s Day Gift Box Sweepstakes is not a contest; the winner will be picked at random from all entrants.

All you must do is send me an email and let me know you’d like to win it. You DO know of course, that I’d absolutely LOVE it if you included a little story about a special dad in your life!

Write to me HERE by midnight on Sunday, June 9.

Yukgaejang (Korean Beef Stew with Fiddleheads)

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Gosari is the Korean term for dried fernbrake - or fiddleheads - the tightly curled new fronds of the common Bracken Fern.

Fiddleheads have been prepared and eaten on several continents for hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of years. But there are some precautions you should take with it.

Within bracken fern lurks a substance called ptalquiloside. It’s a known carcinogen, and therefore, NOT our friend, but because it is 1) water-soluable, and 2) breaks down in warmer temperatures, steps can be taken to greatly reduce the levels of this harmful stuff in your hard-earned harvest.

First, you should soak the fiddleheads in cold water for several hours, changing the water often. Second, at some point in the preparation process you should boil bracken fern in salted water for 30 minutes or longer, making it both tender and safer for consumption.

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That said, I encourage you to do your research and decide yourself what your comfort level with this is. I’m told that different fern varieties, such as the Lady Fern, contain less or even no ptalquiloside, so perhaps you could educate yourself and use only those types if there is lingering concern.

Kimmy and I harvest the traditional Bracken Fern, soak it, dehydrate it, store it in air-tight baggies and for months following, boil to reconstitute and then use and enjoy it in dishes like Bibimbap (Rice Topped with Vegetables) and Yukgaejang (Beef Stew with Vegetables.)

I’m going to share her recipe for Yukgaejang with you. We enjoy it so much and I think you will find it an enjoyable way to celebrate your adventurous experience!

Korean Yukgaejang

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

  • 2 Tablespoons gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes)

  • 1/2 large yellow onion

  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 cup rehydrated gosari

  • 8-10 cups beef broth 

  • 8 ounces Korean radish,  cut into chunks

  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced (other mushroom varieties may also be used.)

  • 1 teaspoon (or more) gochujang ( chili pepper paste)

  • 1 teaspoon doenjang (fermented soybean paste)

  • 2 tablespoons guk ganjang  (soup soy sauce)

  • 2 bunches scallions, sliced

  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place dried gosari into a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 30 minutes or longer.

  2. Rinse in cold water, drain and cut into 3-4 inch lengths. Set Aside.

  3. Put 2 tablespoons of sesame oil on the bottom of a large stock pot, heat and add the gochugaru chili pepper flakes. Cook over medium-high heat until the oil begins to turn red from the pepper flakes, turn down to medium then add the onion and garlic; saute until the onion is translucent. Do not burn the chili flakes.

  4. Add the gochujang chili pepper paste, and doenjang soybean paste to mixture. (More or less chili paste can be used to create desired level of spice.)

  5. Add beef broth, shredded beef, radish, mushrooms, gosari (fiddleheads,) and guk ganjang soup soy sauce. Stir to combine.

  6. Boil over medium heat, covered, for 20 minutes.

  7. Add scallions and boil for another 10 minutes.

  8. Season with 1 teaspoon salt (or more) and pepper to taste.

  9. Serve with rice.

Dried and packaged gosari is readily available at Korean markets and since you’ll probably be making a trip to one for several of the ingredients, you could elect to skip the harvesting expedition and go right to making and enjoying this dish!

Strawberry "Poke" Cake

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I posted this picture of the strawberry poke-cake I made and served on Easter, to my Facebook page… and received many requests for the recipe after doing so. I wish I could take credit for coming up with the idea, but it’s been around for some time and is already pretty well known.

For those who have never been introduced, here’s the basic gist. A light, moist, refreshing desert with fresh strawberries as a bonus! I am always one to improvise based on what I have on hand, or if I think I might like to change things up a bit, and I encourage you to do the same.

Cream cheese frosting is a departure I made from the recipe when it was given to me. I think whipping cream is what’s traditional. Do what you think you’ll like best!

CAKE

Ingredients:

  • 1 box white, yellow (butter,) or even strawberry flavored box cake mix

  • eggs, oil and water as called for on the box

  • 1 (3 oz.) box Strawberry Jello

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • cream cheese frosting

  • sliced strawberries, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Prepare cake batter according to the packaging directions:

  2. Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan and bake, again, according to box directions.

  3. Remove from oven. Let cool 30 minutes.

  4. Using the handle of a large wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.

  5. In a medium bowl, stir together jello mix and boiling water until jello dissolves completely.

  6. Carefully pour mixture evenly over the top of cake. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 2 hours or until Jello is firm and set.

  7. Remove from refrigerator and ice with cream cheese frosting (recipe below,) garnish with sliced strawberries.

  8. Serve immediately, or return to refrigerator until served.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 8oz cream cheese

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine softened butter and cream cheese in medium bowl: beat on medium speed until well blended.

  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.