My Wonderful World

W e l c o m e... And Enjoy!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Summer Heatwave...and could it get this hot??...I don't know.   Just from this afternoon and now the temp has gone up another degree.   This is "in the shade" temp readings at 421PM. 

But on to my favorite sandwich. 

I found this recipe many years ago and don't even remember where it came from.   All I can say....this really makes a great bread for toasting and slicing for sandwiches.    The texture is remarkably similar to English Muffins.   I just love to get a "hot off the vine" tomato, freshly sliced with cucumbers and mayo....what a great summer sandwich treat. 

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English Muffin Bread

Breads, Muffins

1 pkg dry yeast or 
1 1/2 ts instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water, 105F.
1 ts salt
1 c whole milk
2 2/3 c flour
  yellow cornmeal

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water (105F). Let stand until the yeast foams in about 5 minutes.

Scald the milk and let cool until warm (110F).

Add the salt, milk and just under 1/2 of the flour. Beat until smooth and elastic. Beat in the remaining flour to make a dough that is stiff but too soft of knead.

Grease a 8 x 4 x 2 " loaf pan. Sprinkle the inside of the pan with cornmeal. Turn the batter into the pan and pat the top smooth. Dust lightly with cornmeal.

Let the dough rise, uncovered, until the dough almost fills the pan (about 45 minutes).

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake until golden and the loaf tests done (about 30 minutes). Remove from pan and cool.

Notes:  ©W. H. Stoneman

Yield: 1 loaf

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.88 **

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicken Firecracker Noodle Salad

Something quick for a hot summer supper!    

I blanched the snow pea pods and cooked rice noodles earlier in the day.  Quick to assemble with minimal cooking. 

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Chicken Firecracker Noodle Salad

Oriental, Salads

4 oz Thai Rice Noodles
4 quart boiling water
2 ts fish sauce
2 tb canola oil
2 tb rice wine vinegar
1/4 c snow pea pods; blanched & chilled
12 oz chicken breast; thin slice
1 ts soy sauce
2 tb rice wine vinegar
1/2 ts five spice powder
1 ts ginger; grated
4 clove garlic; rough chop
2 tb Hot Chili Sauce; Sriracha Brand

1/2 c English Cucumber, cubed
1/4 c peanuts; chopped
3 tb cilantro; rough chop

Bring water to boil. Turn off heat and add Thai Rice noodles to soak for 4 minutes. Immediately drain and plunge into ice water bath to stop cooking. Rinse and spin dry. The noodles must be soggy salad here!

Place noodles in bowl and add fish sauce, canola oil, rice wine vinegar, (white vinegar will be a nice substitute) and snow pea pods. Stir to combine and refrigerate until serving time. This can be made earlier with great results.

Slice chicken breast in very thin slices. Placing in freezer for twenty minutes will help to firm it up for easier slicing. A very sharp knife will also aid in the task. Place in bowl.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, five spice powder, grated ginger and chopped garlic, and hot chili sauce. Stir to combine. Stir into sliced chicken and marinate for one hour or longer.

In HOT pan, saute chicken until cooked.  This will happen very quickly.  Do not over cook!  Add cucumber and heat through. 

Plate Noodle & Pea pods.   Top with sautéed chicken.  Garnish with chopped peanuts and  cilantro.    Serve with spring roll or fried wontons if desired.

Notes:  ©WHStoneman

Recipe Inspiration adapted from Chef John Mitzewich

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.88 **

I would purchase ginger root and it would go bad before using it all up.  I found that it goes into the freezer in a baggie and will last forever.   Just grate the frozen ginger and it is ready to use.

Cilantro Chopped Peanuts & English Cucumber

Quick Sauté

Ready for Serving with crispy Spring Roll

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Bounty...Tomatoes!!

Sometimes, I believe that God has a little practical joke he plays on us.  He gives us wonderful bounty...but we have to "put it up" at the hottest time of the year.   

This nation is experiencing a heat wave that is unbearable for many.   I am thankful for my produce...but I am also thankful that we have air conditioning.  I recall growing up in the 1950's on a Michigan farm and air conditioning was something that NO ONE had...NO one!  So..we had to endure and get used to it.    I do have fond memories of getting  into the cattle water tank and cooling off as a kid....we loved it.   We did our work when the day was cool...and more after the sun went down. 

I had a miserable crop of tomatoes last year.  As a matter of fact, I ripped them out completely in the middle of August since I knew NOTHING would result.  This year, I was a little more conservative and planted three regular plants and three plum plants.    My friend, Lou from Michigan, (who's field is plant botany) advised me that my soil needed epsom salts to cure my BER!...and that is blossom end rot.  She was right and today, my "crop" was ready for some puttin' up.

The Production Line
 After washing my find...into a  boiling water bath to blanch the tomatoes.    You can immediately tell when they are ready since the skins start to split.  Then immediately into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. 

After chilling, it is so easy to "pinch" the skins off the tomato and into your work bowl.  At this point, you can do many different  procedures, but I prefer to vacuum pack in my Tilda Foodsaver 550 vacuum sealer.   The one pint wide mouth jars are great for any thing you are puttin' up.  

WORD OF WARNING......this method is NOT a substitute for hot water bath canning!!     

This will seal the jars and they will be ready for 

Peeled and Ready

Into the freshly washed pint jars

Vac sealing jars 

Ready for the freezer

I know these will be great next winter...for a nice quick pasta sauce or some other creation!

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

St. Pete/Gulfport for the 4th of July!

Our good friend from Chicago lives the winter months in Gulfport just next to St. Petersburg, Florida.   That leaves his condo vacant and he was so generous to let us use it for the July 4th holiday.  Florida in July?   You bet!  Tennessee is always hotter and more humid.  Most likely will be cooler in Gulfport  with beautiful breezes off the Gulf of Mexico.   The only drawback in Florida is this is the rainy season and it will rain at the drop of a hat.   And talk about electrical storms….they can pop up in a heartbeat and become brutal. 

Our days were filled with pool time and the most important thing to worry about is what was where to go for supper, since the only thing I had planned is a reservation.   We never had a problem with that since the restaurant choices are overwhelming.   I did  choose some of my favorites and ventured into some new favorites.   Looking forward the next trip to return.   I do have a few reviews on my "On the Town Dining" blog. 

Wednesday afternoon took us to the new Dali Art Museum in downtown St. Pete.  This was my second visit and I must say, I learned even more on this trip.   I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. 
Dali Art Museum  from The Pier in St. Pete

Thursday took us to Busch Gardens in Tampa.   I had  not visited Busch Gardens since 1987 and everything changed over the years.  We purchased our tickets at their website which was very convenient.  Also, we chose the Valet Parking they offer.   That was great since at the end of the day…we had another monsoon downpour! 

At The Entrance

Kangaroo Topiary

Lovely Water throughout the Gardens

Gardens Galore

Pink Flamingos

Butterfly Topiary were beautiful
Up Close Bird Sanctuary...but be careful....THEY BITE!

Friendly Parrot

Lovely Pastoral Scene from the Train

Breathtaking Views

Water Features abound

Then the Rains came!
 We enjoyed a very nice day.....and it was a full day to enjoy.  But as usual, about five every afternoon the rains start and today was no was a downpour that lasted at least 45 minutes.

I hope you enjoyed the much as I enjoy capturing them! 

Saturday brought our great vacation to a close and it was time to get on the road back to Tennessee.   We can make it in 12 hours to home but that makes for such a long day.   Loved our trip and glad to be back at home!  

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pecan Sandies for a Rainy Afternoon

Cloudy, rainy..and time to make 
my favorite cookie, Pecan Sandies.  

Raff, my cat wants to help.  

I have had this recipe for many years and it has evolved as many of your recipes will do.  I think that the addition of almond extract and a little bit of baking soda make a world of difference to the texture and the flavor.  

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Pecan Sandies


1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2 ts water
2 ts almond extract
2 c flour
1/2 ts baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
1 c pecans; fine chop

Cream 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Add 2 ts water and 2 ts almond extract. Sift together 2 cups flour, baking soda and salt and cinnamon.  Add flour mixture to creamed butter and mix to combine. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.    Do not overmix.

Chill 1 hour. Form one inch  balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake at 325F  for about 20 minutes.  Watch closely and do not let them over brown.   Cool slightly roll in powdered sugar, if desired.

I put my dough on plastic wrap and roll into a log and chill. Easier to slice the chilled cookie dough with a serrated knife.

Note:  The original recipe called for vanilla.   I find the almond extract really adds dimension to the finished cookie flavor.  The vanilla was just too "fragile" for my taste.

Notes:  ©WHStoneman

Yield: 24 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.88 **

Now for a few photo tips!  

Cream Butter & Sugar (I added cinnamon to this mix)
Dough will be crumbly...but don't fret. It will come together. 
Gather dough on plastic wrap. 
Ready to chill for one hour

After gathering dough on plastic wrap, I use my flexible cutting boards to roll up the dough and it helps make a smooth round roll without ripping or tearing the plastic wrap. Works so good for me. 

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Roast Chicken--Ultimate Comfort

Roast Chicken & Yukon Gold Potatoes

Summer Grilling Season is nice, but every now and then, I crave a little comfort food and the first one that comes to mind is Roast Chicken.  

Chicken Thighs have been on sale lately and every time I see them, I grab as many as I can since they freeze so easily.  Usually, they will be in in the "family pak", but I bring them home, open the package and wrap each thigh in plastic wrap and freeze individually on a sheet pan.  After they are frozen, I will put them in a zip lock freezer bag.   This helps getting two or three out of the freezer and they are not all frozen together.  

Today, we had a guest for supper and I took out six and placed in my usual brine to thaw.   After thawing, I will let them soak for a couple of hours.   Rinse well to remove all the excess salt brine and then directly into my Lodge enameled dutch oven to roast.  No salt is needed, but a healthy sprinkle of black pepper and garlic powder would be nice.   Sometimes, I will add tarragon or you can use any herbs from your garden or pantry.  Everything tastes so good with chicken.  

Roast uncovered at 350F for 40 minutes.  A beautiful golden skin will develop.   At this point, I will add halved small  Yukon Gold potatoes.  I had some roasted red peppers that I added.   Cover and continue roasting for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Top with a big hand of sliced green onions.  Ready to the table with a quick mesculin salad and a nice glass of  Moscato Wine.  

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Watermelon Salad

The Fourth of July provided a wonderful getaway to St. Pete Beach for the week.   I really enjoy vacations since I get to experience new and tasty treats from all the good restaurants in the area.  The weather was exceptional except for Friday and the 24 hour monsoon rains hit.   Didn't stop us though.....we just have to run between the raindrops and lightening bolts.   Boy..there are some striking electrical storms in the Tampa Bay area.  

A Watermelon Salad was served at a restaurant...and I can't remember which one.  I knew that I had to recreate these flavors and decided to add the toasted peanuts.    This keeps well and develops a richer flavor the following day.     What is interesting is that watermelons and cucumbers are members of the Cucurbitaceae family...basically "food relatives". Guess that is why I love this so much and hope you enjoy it as we did.   I combined this great summer salad with risotto and peas for a nice vegetarian lunch.  

Watermelon Salad with Risotto and Peas

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Watermelon Salad


2 tb white vinegar
2 1/2 ts Splenda
2 c watermelon; seeded & diced
2 c cucumber; peeled & sliced
1/2 c Vidalia onion; thin slice
1/2 c parsley; minced
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts; chopped

Mix vinegar and Splenda; stir to dissolve.

Add watermelon, cucumber, onion and parsley in large bowl. Top with vinegar and dissolved Splenda.  Stir to combine and chill  for two hours for flavors to combine.

Before serving, toast chopped peanuts in dry skillet for two minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and cool completely. Top salad with chopped peanuts.

Notes:  ©WHStoneman

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.88 **

While vacationing, I had to review a couple of restaurants as I usually do when in Gulfport.   You can catch up on some of the dining adventures at my On The Town Dining with Mr. Bill

Bon Appétit
Enjoy YOUR Wonderful World!
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The Fine Art of Cooking involves personal choice. Many preferences, ingredients, and procedures may not be consistent with what you know to be true. As with any recipe, you may find your personal intervention will be necessary -- © WHStoneman 2017