Mary: Where does your favorite food come from? I mean by Country, is it American, Italian, etc.
Karenne: My favorite food(s) come from all over the world. I love to try new recipes and new foods. Over the years, my poor family has been subjected to things that cannot even be pronounced. Not that they complain..snort I LOVE the internet just for that. You can find people out there that have the same passion or who can explain exactly what an ingredient is so that you can find it in the store. Big fun!
AzGaye: Although I am a big fan of a good ole all American steak and chicken or pork barbecue on the grill (my sister-in-law to be does great barbecue!!), I have a real liking for Mexican food, mainly the Sonoran style since it varies quite a lot by region. It’s spicy but not burn-out-the-taste buds hot. Chile Rellenos, flat enchiladas, pork and green chile, soft tacos, etc. I didn’t get into this till I was grown as my mom was an old fashioned southern (Kentucky) style cook but I got started on it once I left home and my late hubby who had grown up right on the border in Arizona really got me hooked. Flat enchiladas with fried eggs on top, red menudo (definitely an acquired taste LOL) and rellenos, my absolute fave if done right—crispy coating over nice mild chiles stuffed with lots of cheese! With both Mexican and Italian you just can’t have too much cheese!!
Mary: AzGaye you sounds like you live at my house. Although I still have not acquired a taste for menudo!
AzGaye: Menudo takes some getting used to; I prefer the red; white usually seems too greasy and the guy I learned the recipe from, a local Latino in SE AZ used pigs feet in it (major yuck—even worse than tripe!! LOL Don’t ask what is in ‘exotic dishes’ as you may not want to know!! AZG
Venus: My favorite food is comfort food and as my parents are from the East Coast, namely Newfoundland, I love salt cod fish cakes.
Kimberly: Wow! That’s a tough one! I love Chinese food, Mexican food, but since homemade macaroni and cheese is my go to meal, I’ll say Italian (since that’s where I hear Thomas Jefferson first discovered it.)
Danielle: Oh boy! Can I have more than one favorite food? LOL. If I am preparing food it would have to be Italian because I make a lot of pasta. It is cheap and filling. I love to make Lasagna, spaghetti, or Goulash. If I am eating out it would have to be Chinese. I love Chinese food! Oh yum…although I do have to say I make a mean Beef Stir-Fry. Oh…and Gravy Almond Boneless Chicken…now I am hungry!!!
Mary: Italian? Maura, I love it too, so what’s your favorite?
Maura: My favorite Italian food is my Dad's "gravy". I had it with spaghetti tonight. My grandmother was Italian so Dad did all of the cooking when I was growing up. My Irish mother would make gray meat, brown gravy, mashed potatoes and veggies you could eat with a straw, so we really appreciated it when he took over-lol.
Hollie: BRITISH!!! There is nothing like Roast Beef with Yorkshire puddin’s and thick onion gravy, or Bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, tomatoes and fried bread most people add mushrooms and/or black puddin’ but I don’t like them.
Mary: Hollie, do I dare ask what is in black puddin’?
Lisa: That is a really, really difficult decision. I guess if I had to choose just one I’d go with French.
Amy R: My favourite food, currently, is a tie between a Lebanese Schwarma … oh my gosh I love those *drool* and a Canadian French fry treat known as a poutine. Poutines hail from Quebec and are French fries covered with gravy and topped with cheese curds. YUM!
Brenda: My favorite food comes from the grocery store. There are very few things I don’t like.
Betty: That’s a tough call, mostly because I enjoy all kinds of food, but the winner has to sushi from Japan. Maybe that’s because I don’t--and won’t--make it myself. If I can’t get to a good sushi restaurant, I’ll settle for the stuff from the grocery store.
Kellyann: My genie characters and I adore Middle Eastern food…what else. I always enjoyed the textures of hummus, tahini, falafel, pita, but on the heels of all my Middle Eastern research, I’ve gone further into the exotic spices and juicy grilled meats. So many choices, I could eat it all day.
Mary: Do you have a favorite restaurant in your town where you love to dine? Is this the place for special occasions, if not where would you go for a birthday or anniversary?
Karenne: Outback Steakhouse. I love absolutely love those cheese fries! As a family though, we go out to eat for every birthday. It is up to the person whose birthday it is to pick the restaurant. When they were little, we went to Denny’s for birthdays. It was the only way to keep both kids happy. That is still a tradition even though they are adults. Our son (the pasta king) always wants to go to Olive Garden. Our daughter is always a surprise on where she wants to go. She is the more adventurous one!
Mary: No way—Outback has the best sweet potato fires!
Danielle: I have never been to Outback Steakhouse. I have always wanted to try it though.
AzGaye: There’s a really nice place here in Colorado Springs on the west side called Amanda’s Fonda that we go to a lot (we is my brother, his fiancee and I) and a little fast food semi-drive-in called Monica’s on Fillmore and they both have great food. There was a little local café in Hurley, NM where I lived for a short while that was good but they changed hands and cooks and it is totally not the same now—so sad!! So for special occasions it is Amada’s and the grab and run is Monica’s LOL. For a change there’s a neat Irish pub downtown, Jack Quinn’s, that has live music some evenings and it is the Special special go to place.
Mary: Oh we have a great place called MacCools, my Hubby loves their Buffalo Sheppard’s pie and I love the Bangers and Mash.
Venus: My favorite restaurant is a Chinese place my family has enjoyed since I was a child. It has become a family tradition to get take out for everyone's birthdays. Even though we no longer live in the city, we call from our cell phone, place our order and drive it home. We love the food and it still tastes great even after the journey.
Kimberly: Yes, for both of our birthdays and our anniversary we go to a wonderful Mexican restaurant for dinner. It’s not dressy or fancy, but it is delicious food in a comfortable environment. If we have any reason to celebrate, we always head to this place.
Danielle: My favorite restaurant is about 30 miles away. That is the nearest “big town” where there are restaurants galore, Kmart, the nearest Wal-mart, nearest Meijer, etc. Anyway, that would be China One Buffet. The prices are fantastic and the food is fabulous. If I am talking here in my small town that would be Murray’s Bar and Grill. They have the best beer battered Shrimp.
Maura: There are so many to choose from my favorite changes all the time. But an old favorite is the Cooperage in Baiting Hollow, and a new one is The Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck.
Hollie: we don’t tend to do eating out unless it is McDonald’s drive through. My youngest doesn’t do well with new situations or people so we do more take- always then eating out and with there being 6 of us it works out loads cheaper as well. I’m a Yorkshire girl I don’t spend more than I have to
Lisa: There’s this little French bistro in San Francisco that I go to every single time I’m there. They have this tomato soup that is, quite literally, an orgasm in a bowl. I love to visit my friends, but I sometimes think I go to San Francisco just to be able to have that soup again.
Amy R: The DH and I like Michael on the Thames. It’s the special occasion place. The maître d there sings opera and the escargots are superb.
Brenda: Amarillo has Green Chili Willie’s. It’s not a formal place or a specific type of food, but the food is fabulous!
Betty: My all-time favorite local spot is a great little bistro call Epicurious Morsels in the historic Hydrostone Market. While I’m usually not much for eating alone, EM is always a cozy spot to sit with my journal and listen to soft jazz in the background. Delicious food and friendly staff make the whole experience a treat.
Kellyann: I really love Macaroni Grill for a fun and reliable Italian food taste and ambiance. This is a chain but I’m not sure where in the U.S. they are besides Pennsylvania. I was just out to dinner in Philadelphia last week and went to an Israeli restaurant called Zahav. It was amazing! I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the City of Brotherly Love.
Mary: What is the weirdest food you’ve ever tasted? And what is the one food you’d love to try if given the opportunity? Last what is the one food you’d never try in a million years?
Karenne: Squid is the weirdest food I have ever tasted….loved it, but it was just a little weird on the texture (grin) The food that I would love to try if the opportunity presented itself….would have to be anything from my neighbors house. She has her back screen door (in the kitchen) open all of the time and everything smells so good! Last food, I would ever eat.. Hominy (shudders)
AzGaye: Hmmm, I don’t think I have eaten anything too weird. I am not picky exactly but draw the line at a lot of odder stuff. Well, weirdest is probably stew some Apache Indians friends had when I was a kid that was rumored to have dog in it…I didn’t know till I ate some though!! Actually it wasn’t bad. I’d like to try some more Chinese food; I have eaten the usual “Hong Kong buffet” stuff but would like to try more authentic and also more German food—love what I have tried! As for the never no way I guess Baloots—I think that is how it is spelled-- or winter Kimchee—two Oriental dishes I have heard very scary stuff about!! And no monkey please, flying or otherwise.
Venus: I'm not adventurous enough to try weird food and I am probably one of the pickiest eaters in the world so there are too many things that I just will not try. I would love to travel to Tuscany and take in some of their flavorful dishes.
Kimberly: Weirdest? Shoofly pie in Pennsylvania (Delicious) I’d love to try either French or Thai, if I ever had the chance. I would never in a million years try squid or octopus. I’m not big on seafood.
Danielle: Weirdest food for me is Sushi. I tried it once. It wasn’t bad. But wasn’t much taste other than I felt like I was eating rubber. I would love to try a Chicago Style Pizza just because I have heard so much about it. I have a friend who lived overseas for a while. She had Monkey Brains one time. I would NEVER try it. Just sounds gross.
Kimberly: Oh. My. God. Deep Dish Chicago pizza. It is the best. I’ve lived in New York and their pizza is good, but Chicago pizza is my favorite. Great! Now, I’m hungry! LOL
Maura: Sweet and sour kielbasa made with jelly, it was pretty good. I am allergic to cheeses that are aged, so I miss out on a lot of food. I will not eat bugs, squid, octopus, snails or frogs.
Hollie: I Live in Yorkshire and was raised by a Geordie and a Cockney, we have a selection of weird food of our own over here that most of you won’t have heard about: I’ve already mentioned Black Puddin’ and Yorkshire Puddin’s, but how about peas puddin’, roll mops, Tripe, jellied eels, bubble and squeek, cockles, spotted dick, brawn, Stottie cakes and tongue.
Kimberly: My great-great grandfather came from England and brought his love for the more…uhm…unusual foods with him. There’s actually a few of the things you listed, Hollie, that my grandma used to make. I think tongue and tripe were some of her favorites, though Yorkshire pudding ranked up there.
Lisa: The weirdest food I have ever tasted was probably horse meat tartar. It wasn’t bad, just kinda gamey. One of my ultimate goals in life is to try blowfish. Apparently there are only a few sushi chiefs in the world are qualified to serve it and if they do it right it is supposed to be quite a thrill. I’ve eaten everything from ostrich to squid ink to chocolate covered bacon, so there’s really nothing I won’t try.
Amy R: Weirdest is probably conch or buffalo. I would love to try moose or caviar … more caviar than moose. I would never eat snake or something from the insect family. Yuck.
Mary: I can’t even comment on all the foods. My goodness what a variety, I agree I don’t think I ever want to try monkey. Those of you who do not want to try squid, calamari or escargot though are missing out big time!
Brenda: When I heard what you find in haggis, I took it off my diet. I love beef tartar, sushi, calamari, and escargot. Everything else is subject to a taste test.
Betty: “Naked’ calamari. Hands down the weirdest sensation (and ugly to boot). Much more appealing when breaded (especially tempura). I think I’ve tried everything that ever called to me, but I doubt that haggis or chocolate cover ants will ever pass these lips.
Kellyann: When I was in the Catalan region of the Pyrenees, I ate sheep brains. They were prepared like hush puppies; little breaded balls with a creamy inner texture. I spoke Spanish but had misread the menu because the dialect is so different. Catalan is a combination of French and Spanish. Once I figured out what I was eating, couldn’t bring myself to finish.
I would like to try buffalo.
I would never again eat brains.
Mary: Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with us? Please!
Karenne: This recipe is great for carnivores or herbivores:
Lettuce and Cashew Nut Wraps with Tahini Dressing (makes around 6)
6 large lettuce leaves (Cos, iceberg or oak leaf)
1 carrot (trimmed, peeled and cut into fine julienne strips)
1 red bell pepper (deseeded and finely sliced
2 Spring Onions (trimmed and finely sliced)
2 TBSP Chopped Red Onions
5 ½ TBSP Cashew nuts (roughly chopped)
¾ cup beansprouts
2 TBSP Tamari Sauce
3 TBSP Tahini
1 TBSP Cider Vinegar
- Prepare the dressing by mixing the tahini and cider vinegar together with 3 tablespoons of cold water in a small mixing bowl
- Arrange the salad leaves on a large platter
- In a bowl, mix together all the other ingredients and divide between the lettuce leaves. Spoon a little of the dressing over the filling. Roll the leaves around the filling and secure with a toothpick
- Serve the wraps with the remaining dressing to the side.
Not my personal recipe. This is from Dr. Gillian McKeith, You are what you eat cookbook. This is a great way to clean out the veggies in the house!
Kimberly: Those sound so good, Karenne. Something healthy AND tasty. I’m going to try this one out of my hubby when we get moved.
AzGaye: Hmm, I gave up cooking for Lent the spring after my DH passed away and have not taken it back up. I have one easy one though that I featured in one of my books (I am a writer as well as doing stuff here –confession time LOL.)
Mary: ‘scuse me a minute here, you gave up cooking for lent? I gave up chocolate once, and my boss went to France and brought back Godiva chocolates all of us in the office. My family really enjoyed them.
That was a lame joke, Mary! I say that about a lot of things LOL. AZG
Mary: Opps sorry!
Mercedes’ Dessert Taco-Salad
Take a medium size wheat flour tortilla for each serving . Spray a large Pyrex custard cup or tortilla mold with non-stick spray and shape the tortilla into the dish, spray the tortilla on the inside too. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes until brown and crispy. Dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar while warm.
Meanwhile blend in a large bowl: one med can mandarin orange slices, one medium can pineapple chunks or crushed, small jar of maraschino cherries, (drain all canned fruit of most of the juices) and 3-4 cups of fresh fruit, mix and match is fine!—strawberries, grapes, cut up peaches, cut up melon etc, a cup of shredded coconut and ½ cup finely chopped nuts if desired.
Fill each tortilla cup with fruit and top with cool whip or whipped cream. Basic recipe will serve about 6-8; double the fruit filling if more servings are needed!
This is a great finish to a Mexican style dinner or a barbeque—light but sweet and cool. Perfect for summer. If you use ‘lite’ topping it is not even high calorie!
Venus:Fish 'n Brewis (pronounced "brews") is one of the oldest traditional dishes of Newfoundland.
4 loaves PURITY HARD BREAD
2 lbs salt cod fish bones removed
6 -8 peeled and roughly cubed potatoes
1 cup salt pork, finely diced
Break hardbread cakes into small pieces. In a large pot soak hard bread overnight in cold water.
Soak cod overnight in another large pot of water as well.
In the morning, drain water from cod, refill and continue soaking to remove excess salt.
Simmer cod gently until cooked (about 20-30 minutes) Remove from heat and drain. Using a fork flake fish pieces to ensure there are no bones, meanwhile heat hard bread slowly until it comes to a boil and drain. Boil potatoes at the same time, drain when cooked. Add flaked fish and potatoes into pot with drained hardbread and give a rough stir mixing the ingredients but not turning them to mush.
For the Scrunchins place salt pork in frying pan.
Heat over medium heat until grease is drawn from the salt pork. Do not discard grease use drippings as a sauce over the Fish 'n Brewis when served up in individual dishes. Top with crisp golden pieces of pork (scrunchions).
Kimberly: We had friends coming for dinner and I was looking for something new to try. I found this recipe and it was a HUGE hit. Now, I make it at least once a month for family and friends. I bake and cook with my whole heart, but this is my most requested recipe. It tastes like a giant wet burrito.
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1 (2 ounce) can black olives, sliced
* 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
* 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
* 1 (16 ounce) jar taco sauce
* 2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
* 12 (8 inch) flour tortillas
* 9 ounces shredded Colby cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired. Mix in the olives, green chile peppers, tomatoes with green chile peppers, taco sauce and refried beans. Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese.
4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
Danielle: I love to bake. And I love to come up with new recipes. I make this cake I call Strawberry and French Vanilla pudding Cake.
2 Small packages French Vanilla Instant Pudding (can use sugar free)
1 Cup Milk
2 Cups Milk
2 Lbs. Strawberries (fresh only, not frozen)
8 ounces Cool Whip (or store brand) (Can use Sugar Free)
1 French Vanilla Cake (any brand)
Two 8 or 9 inch round or square pans.
Bake the cake as directed for two 8 or 9 inch cake pans. I recommend you make the cake the night before.
For Frosting: 1 package pudding, mix with 1 cup milk and cool whip. Once whipped, add some sliced or crushed strawberries. Set in fridge for at least 1 hr.
Mix second pudding as directed for pudding. Set in fridge for twenty minutes or so.
Taking one of the cakes, set on cake platter or plate flat side on bottom. Taking some of the pudding, spread a thin layer over top the first cake (you will have leftover pudding) . Add an even level amount of sliced strawberries. Add second cake, rounded side down. Frost using frosting (may have some left over. It makes a great treat all by itself). Add rest or most of the sliced strawberries on top and sides of cake. Enjoy!
Hollie: Toad in the Hole,
Mary: Toad in the hole? Is there a recipe for this? I’d love it.
Danielle: Hollie, isn’t that where you cut a small hole in a slice of bread and then put an egg inside the bread and cook it in the pan? I think I saw something like that on the inside of an egg carton.
Hollie: Toad in the hole is fried sausages cooked in Yorkshire pudding batter.
Mix: plain flour, milk water, eggs, salt and pepper into a fairly thin batter.
Place some lard in a shallow dish (about an inch deep) in a hot very oven until the lard is almost smoking hot.
Put the fried sausages in the dish, then poor over the batter and return to the oven until the batter has risen, browned and gone crispy.
Kimberly: I haven’t had those in years! Another one of those things my grandma used to make for us when we were kids.
Lisa: I’m sorry. I don’t cook.
Mary: Lisa what do you do when you don’t want to go out then? Just curious. LOL.
Lisa: This is exactly why I need a houseboy, Mary. I am horrible with all domestic duties. I need someone to take care of them properly. Preferably someone male who is hot and toned and mostly naked.
Amy R: This is a favourite in my house, and with 3 small children it’s fast and easy … which I love. Also cheap. I like cheap too.
TUSCAN CHICKEN SIMMER
What You Need
4 small Boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Pesto
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend
HEAT large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cover. Cook 5 to 7 min. on each side or until done (165ºF). Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.
ADD cream cheese, water, pesto and tomatoes to skillet. Cook, uncovered, on medium heat 2 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
RETURN chicken to skillet. Cook and stir 1 min. or until chicken is coated and heated through. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Brenda: Steak, Potato, and Marinated Salad
2 cucumbers sliced thinly
5 tomatoes sliced thinly (7 if Roma)
1 green bell pepper sliced thinly
1 purple onion sliced thinly
1 bottle of Wishbone Italian Dressing
Layer vegetables starting with cucumbers then tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion. You should be able to make two layers finishing with circles of purple onion. Pour dressing on salad to allow plenty of coverage ( approx ½ - ¾ bottle). May marinate for a short time or overnight. Will keep in refrigerator for several days.
1 potato per person
Butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper
Cut off ends of potato and imperfections. Wash. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour.
1 steak per person ¾ inch thickness
Salt and pepper to taste
Wave over hot fire until brown. Serve.
Betty: I enjoy baking more than cooking. For special occasions and potluck dinners, I like making peanut butter cheesecake. The following recipe is my adaptation of one from kraftfoods.com.
Chocolate cookie crumbs (measure according to package directions)
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 container (16 oz.) sour cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I like to “shake things up” by using crunchy)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
PREHEAT oven to 350°F.
MIX cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add
sour cream and peanut butter; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just
until blended. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Pour over crust.
BAKE 50 to 60 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around side of pan to loosen
cake; cool before removing side of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in
Kellyann: see Martini recipe from Tuesday… LOL.
Seriously, I’m going to share with you my top-secret, generational, original Irish recipe for my dear Granny’s (God Rest Her Soul) Irish Soda Bread:
• 3 tblsp. Butter, softened
o [save the butter wrappers. I use those to rub over the bread when it comes out of the oven.]
• 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 generous tblsp. Sugar
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 1/3 cup raisins
• ¾ cups buttermilk
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Cut softened margarine into powder until it resembles fine crumbs.
Stir in raisins and enough buttermilk to make a soft dough.
[basically means all the buttermilk, and you may have to add a splash more.]
Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Shape into round load, about 6½ inches in diameter.
Place on greased cookie sheet
Cut an X about ¼ through loaf with floured knife.
Bake in 375º oven until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush with butter.
[I usually double the recipe to start and make two loaves at a time because it’s so good. You can freeze the 2nd….]
Kimberly: After reading these recipes, I think we all need to meet some central location for a potluck dinner.
Mary: Kimberly I think you’re right! Thanks for ALL the fun recipes. (You’re all entered into my recipe contest now!) Now I’m very hungry and I swear I’ve gained five pounds today. Off to go for a walk and burn some calories. See you tomorrow.
AzGaye: OMG almost makes me want to take up cooking again but my future SinL is great so I will leave most of it to her. I do spaghetti, chile, stew and a few other plain ole comfort foods mostly. Pillsbury Grand biscuits and I do make home made cornbread with corn flour as well as corn meal; sometimes add the canned corn with peppers too! Throw in some bacon bits and it is a meal by itself!! AZG