Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hooray, Spring finally arrived!!


Spring has finally arrived after what seemed to be the longest winter ever. The snow started on December 26th and lasted all winter long. We never saw the ground again until the rain finally came and then still some more hints of snow but nothing unbearable. We aren't having too many Spring like days yet. Mother Nature is still teasing us with a warm day here and there and then more gray cloudy days and rain. But I was busy in the kitchen and busy with my needlework. So here is a peek of a few things and some recipes to share.



French Onion Soup



I can eat this soup any season of the year. Here is the recipe for the one I made.

French Onion Soup

4 large yellow or Vidalia onions, sliced

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

2 quarts beef broth

1/2 cup brandy (optional)

1 French baguette, sliced and toasted

Gruyere and Emmenthal cheese as desired

Instructions

Slice 4 large yellow onions, using a tight thin slice. In a large Dutch add enough olive oil to coat the pan and then add the onions. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, until they're tender and golden. Stir often.

Add the brandy if desired and let the alcohol burn off.

Add sugar and beef broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes.

To serve, ladle soup into a bowl. Place a slice of baguette on top. Cover with shredded Gruyere and place slices of Emmenthal over that.

Place the bowls on a baking pan and broil until the cheese is melted.



Beef Pasties



These wonderful pocket sandwiches were so yummy on a cold night.

Beef Potpie Pasties

This is a great dish to use up left over vegetables or sliced cooked potato.

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 lb lean ground beef

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 1 4 oz can sliced mushrooms

• 1 small onion, finely chopped

• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

• 1 tablespoon flour

• 1/2 cup beef stock

• 1/2 cup frozen peas or mixed vegetables like peas & carrots

• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

• Salt and pepper

• 1 package (2 pieces) prepared piecrust

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

Serve this dish with a green salad.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the butter to the skillet to melt, then add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the beef stock, peas and Worcestershire sauce. Return the meat to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens and the peas heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; remove from the heat. Cool the meat.

3. Unroll the piecrusts and halve them. Divide the cooled meat among the 4 piecrust pieces, placing a mound on 1 side of each piece and leaving a small border. Brush the edges of each piecrust piece with some of the egg. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling, pressing down on the edges; crimp with a fork. Brush the tops of the dough with more of the egg and transfer the pies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.



Irish Soda Bread



Finally found a recipe that is fantastic! Moist and delicious not dry and crumbly.

Wild Irish Rose’s Irish Soda Bread

•Prep Time: 20 mins

•Total Time: 1 1/4 hr

•Serves: 16, Yield: 1 9 inch bread

Ingredients

•3 1/2 cups flour

•1/2 cup sugar

•1/2 teaspoon baking soda

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•1 teaspoon salt

•1 pint sour cream

•2 eggs

•2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)

•3/4 cup raisins

Directions

1. Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl beat eggs and stir in sour cream.

3. Add the egg and sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.

4. Batter will be very thick.

5. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and stir well with wooden spoon or knead in with your hands.

6. Place batter in a greased 9 inch spring form pan.

7. Dust the top with enough flour so that you can pat the batter like a bread dough evenly in the pan without it sticking to your hands.

8. With a knife make a shallow crisscross on the top.

9. Bake for 50 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven.



Needlework

A peek at my knit and crochet projects over the past season and into the next. Some completed and given as gifts and a few still in the works.

Lip Balm holders

Mug Rugs

Spa cloths - one knitted with scented soap for a gift the other in crochet

Afghan project – work in progress

Fingerless glove wrist warmers, no photo

Crochet Town & Country Capelet – nearly finished, photo when it's done.

Knitted Shawl - in progress, it may take a while because I only work on it during my lunch break at work.









I am getting started making some charity pet blankets for the Snuggles Project. I my be slow but I’ll get a few done this Spring. Thank you Ravelry for having this information. If you want more information here is the website.

The Snuggles Project
Have a great Spring and I hope to getting back to posting again. I’ve paired down a lot of things in my life as best I could and trying to make better use of my time. I’ve taken on major decluttering at home. When you have lived in a house for over 25 years you accumulate more than you realize. It’s really a great feeling once an area is cleaned and the excess gotten rid of. I have a long way to go but made great progress in many spaces of piles and stacks.

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