The Flu is terrible … full stop.

So over St. Patrick’s Day I had to go to Tallahassee for work meetings and by the the time I had been home a couple of days I thought I was about as miserable as a person could be. That said, other people from different parts of the state went to TLH and also got sick. Thanks for that.

So when you have the flu, in my one and only experience of it, you do not want to eat, you have a nasty fever and just want to lay in bed because you are beyond tired. I will say now, as a disclamier, I have never had a flu shot. This goes back to my serious allergy when I was a kid. Vaccines made in eggs were a no go for me. I did not have an MMR until I was 25 and it was required by FSU for admission. I had been fine at the junior college in Jacksonville and at the University of North Florida, also in Jacksonville, but FSU said I had to do it. It was a non issue by that point, but when you have an issue with vaccines produced in eggs it can be a bit strange.

So by the Friday after my trip to TLH I was just about as loopy as I could be. Fever was high, no food, but I was drinking plenty of water. That said, I was a big mess. I was so loopy that I couldn’t walk down the stairs so the MotH had to help me.

Also the flu means you are not in the least bit interested in food. Or cooking. Or baking. I know now that I feel better because I am thinking about food and that makes me happy. I will just be making up for lost time from St. Patrick’s Day on until Easter and then the Boy’s birthday (I am hoping for a request for Carrot Cake, but we shall see).

This does not mean I will get a flu shot in the future because several people I know had the shot and then got the flu. It is just such a guessing game. It is, in my opinion, not evidence-based medicine. My rib cage still hurts like hell. And we are almost three weeks in at this point. Allergies and asthma do not make this any better, but wow – really do not want this ever again.

That said, I am really looking forward to going to the grocery store this week. I seem to want some amazing polenta and butterscotch pudding in my future.

I’ve realized life is short and I have to push myself to start trying new things while I have the time to enjoy them – lord, that is just a bit morbid.

Well, if it pushes me, then that is good thing.

St. Patrick’s Day – Preview Day, sort of

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for St. Patrick’s Day this year as I have been in several other years and it makes me sad. St. Patrick’s Day was our first date – ish. I do not think the MotH planned it as a date, but I think it was inevitable and now it is probably the second most important date for us – the wedding date being the most important. Or maybe the other way around. Interesting, that both days were really just amazingly relaxed. Guess that is just us. I think that may be what happens when two adults realize they have found the right person for them.  Okay – I shall stop now because that sounds too sappy. I do seem to do that on occasion.

So back to St. Patrick’s Day, since I will not be around in my kitchen, I will replay some of my favorites for you to enjoy. I guess I need to figure out when St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) is as he is the patron saint of Scotland and I am Scottish on both sides of my family. You do not look like me or like the Boy without some Scottish in you. When I think back, my father really had the look about him, but I just did not recognize as I do now in hindsight. I guess I have to figure out Scottish food, but I’m not entirely sure that will be a good thing. ?

Reuben Casserole – as I have said, not pretty, so not pretty, but pretty amazing.

D&D_9480

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s like looking at a really good pour of Guinness. That is something that has to be done correctly and it takes time – just wait, it will be worth the reward.

D&D_9471

Guinness Brownies – I do not like brownies at all. But the first time I made these, well, hell, in small doses they were amazing. And I think the Boy liked the idea that there was stout in his brownies made him happy. Can not say that I blamed him for that.

D&D_1246

Reuben Roll Ups

I do love a good reuben. I think my favorite recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country. I find that I have not posted that here – an oversight I will have to remedy. But the flavors of a Reuben are some of my favorites. I make a Reuben casserole that is just – I will say it again – stupidly good. It is not exactly pretty food (no, really, it is not), but if you like a Reuben, it is pretty amazing. And the left-overs are, well, let’s just say they are better than the day you make it. I guess I make this in the early spring because it is still cool enough that a casserole works, and it seems to fit with St. Patrick’s Day – I mean, corned beef after all. Again, I have taken lessons from America’s Test Kitchen’s Reuben sandwich – read: no bottled thousand island dressing is involved.dd_1801

I am not typically a fan of crescent rolls, but it seemed to work here. Maybe allowances can be made? We shall see.

1 package of crescent rolls
4 ozs corned beef
4 ozs Swiss cheese
1 cup Boar’s Head sauerkraut*, drained and squeezed dry
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs sweet pickle relish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the crescents. On each roll, place 1 Tbs sauce, 1/2 oz corned beef, 1/2 oz Swiss cheese, and 2 Tbs sauerkraut. Roll up and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 13 – 15 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serve with extra sauce because that just makes it a lot better.
Modified from : spendwithpennies.com.reuben-roll-ups/

*My go to sauerkraut. Always.



Do you sometimes feel like you have hit the wall?

I think that is what I am feeling lately. We have kitchen (dishwasher/cabinets/island) issues and everything I want to make seems like a chore. I just think I need a little break, but then I feel bad for taking a break because I have some good things to make on the horizon.

So I need to work myself back in a mood to do some cooking/baking and what better time for that than spring??

Somehow I feel like if I write it all down, it will force me to act and get my butt in gear here. And it makes me a bit sad that it has come to this. I think another thing I need to do is plan a little better for food days – you know, the days where everyone expects there to be something special on a food blog. So I have a couple more ideas for St. Patrick’s Day that is coming up and I have even made one of them and that does make me feel good. The bad thing is that I have to go out of town for three days in March – and it happens to be for St. Patrick’s Day – Damn it.

So here are the things on the list, starting with St. Patrick’s Day.

Guinness Cake with cream cheese frosting
And if I am feeling really ambition and can keep the Guinness from the MotH, Guinness Brownies.
Reuben Dip in a bread bowl – might be a good dinner, if you think about it.
Maybe some clover-shaped sugar cookies in the colors of the Irish flag.

And after St. Patrick’s Day ….
Polenta with asparagus, prosciutto, spring onions, and lemon
Butterscotch pudding – my favorite kind, um, pretty much, ever
Twix Thumbprints – this idea will work, but I am concerned about the caramel involved. This seems like the kind of idea I will over think – a lot.
And this idea is something I really want to make for the people at my office – Apple French Toast Muffins.
Mini Cake Donuts – I bought a donut pan. Yep, I did.

D&D_1165

Mardi Gras Cookies – sugar cookies after all.

January – March 2016 – Food “Holidays” Recap

Super Bowl – February 7

Spiced Pecans * Roast Beef Horseradish Sandwich * Bacon-wrapped Fruit Bites * Buffalo Rolls * Proscuitto Fontina Pinwheels * Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Mardi Gras Pot Luck – February 9

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies *  Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Margarita Day – February 22

Leap Day – February 29

Apple Carrot Cupcakes *

D&D_1242

Apple Carrot Muffins – slightly amazing. And, no. I’m not bragging.

Pi Day – March 14

Apple Walnut Pie *

Butter Pie Crust *

St Patrick’s Day – March 17

Guinness Brownies *

Easter – March 27

Not sure yet, but I have a few days to sort it out. Yikes.


Guinness Brownies

As I have mentioned about a million times, I am not a big chocolate person, but I am a huge fan of Guinness. It was the first beer I really drank (huge story here) and I love it still. It is like having a meal, so I don’t drink it too often. The MotH likes Guinness too and the Boy love brownies, so this just makes sense. I use a Guinness stout, and maybe drink one, the MotH gets the rest, and the Boy gets brownies, and now at his age, a Guinness for himself too. It is a win all the way around.D&D_1246

4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, superfine*
8 ozs bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ozs white chocolate, chopped
6 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup Guinness Stout**
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, an  8 x 8 baking pan, line with a parchment sling and spray that as well. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together the flour, salt, cocoa

In a stand mixer, combine sugar and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

In a microwave bowl,  melt chocolates and butter in 30 second bursts, and stir until smooth. Cool slightly, and mix into egg mixture.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat until smooth.  Whisk Guinness into batter. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 –  25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Might be longer than you think – it was for me).

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove from pan using sling, cut into very tiny squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Source: Grace Neill’s A New Irish Table

*Take granulated sugar and whir it in a food processor and then measure out 3/4 cup. Or just use regular granulated sugar, I have.  It does not seem to matter.

**Pour the stout and let the foam settle before measuring.

These brownies are pretty much like fudge. Please cut them in little tiny pieces.

1 March 2003 – SR/ER loved them, so very chocolate w/out being too sweet.

16 March 2003 – for the office

5 November 2006 Guy Fawkes

26 March 2011

 

Reuben Casserole

D&D_9480

Reuben Casserole

It’s March (totally late posting this – ugh. It is now early May – how does this happen?) which means I’m thinking about the end of casserole season (true) at least for here in the North West Florida Gulf Coast. It’s already starting to get in the 70’s during the day (now in the 80’s). One of my favorite casseroles is a Reuben casserole – all the flavor of a Reuben, but the ease of a casserole and, better still, leftovers! Excellent.
I started making this years ago, and I’ve modified it and scaled it down for the two of us (the Boy is not a fan – I think I didn’t raise him right. He also does not like collards, or boiled peanuts – yes, I’m a disappointment as a southern cook – or mom). I’ve taken some tricks from Cook’s Country’s recipe from their “Best Reuben Sandwich” especially their version of the traditionally-used Thousand Island dressing. I mean why buy bottled stuff (ugh) when you can make your own version with things you have on hand – mayo, chili sauce or cocktail sauce, and relish.
This is a pretty quick and easy meal and this time of year (March) you can bet corned beef and Guinness are on sale. The Guinness is for drinking (mostly!), Brownies, and Chocolate Cake – in that order.

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs sweet relish
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbs minced (or grated) onion
6 slices of rye, cubed (seeds or no – I go for no)
8 ozs sauerkraut, drained (recommended: Boar’s Head)
3/4 pound corned beef, cubed
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
4 Tbs butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 x 8″ ( 9 x 9″ whatever you have) with non-stick spray.
In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, chili sauce, relish, sour cream, and onion.
Arrange rye cubes in the bottom of the pan reserving 1/4 cup of cubes for topping. Layer on sauerkraut and corned beef. Spread with dressing mixture over the corned beef. Sprinkle with cheese, top with remaining rye, and drizzle with butter.
Cover with foil, and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes until bubbly and lightly brown.