Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moonbeam Mai Tai Punch

In 1971, on this day, Apollo 14 launched a successful manned mission to the moon.  One of our presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich, has aspirations to have a manned moon base by 2020…IF he’s elected.  It’s going to be an uphill climb based on the results we’re seeing from Florida.

Moonbeam Mai Tai Punch
22 servings, 8 oz. each

Newt and his supporters need to have a strong drink and re-group in the morning.

1 bottle (1500 ml) dark rum (or 2 bottles, 750 ml each)
2 cans (46 oz. each) pineapple juice
1 can (16 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate
¾ cup each freshly squeezed lime juice and lemon juice
8 oz. grenadine

Mix all ingredients in 3-gallon punch bowl; chill. 

To serve, fill glasses with ice and add punch. 

Garnish punch bowl and drinks with orange slices and maraschino cherries.

Prepare ice cubes or a ring of ice from some of the punch mixture and float on top of punch bowl to keep cool without diluting.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Split the Vote" Pea Soup

The Republican establishment is lining up behind Romney and the Tea Party is lining up behind Gingrich.  Tomorrow should be a very interesting day.

“Split the Vote” Pea Soup

Makes 8 servings, 1 cup each

1 lb. dried green split peas, rinsed
1 meaty hambone, 2 ham hocks, 2 c. diced ham or 1 smoked turkey wing
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 quarts hot water
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given; carefully pour in water (Do not stir).  Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or LOW 8 to 10 hours, or until peas are very soft.

Remove meat and bay leaf. Mash peas a bit using a potato masher. Pull meat off of bones, shred and return to pot.  Stir in parsley and serve.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Simply Scandalous Seven Layer Bars

Newt’s supporters really don’t care about how he’s treated his wives in the past. Perhaps this scandal is just a media-created story.  Perhaps we’ll just enjoy some treats!

Simply Scandalous Seven Layer Bars
24 bar cookies

You’ll want to get to the bottom of these!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (8 “sheets” or 16 graham crackers, finely crushed)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/3 cups coconut (do not pack)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with gloved hands or spatula.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

"The Bitches of Dade County" Strawberry Dacquiris

If there’s one tactic I’ve seen employed by Republican candidates during the last week, it’s righteous indignation followed by some sort of attack.  Newt used this tactic last Saturday to brush off John King who asked him about his marital issues.  Last night, Mitt got all huffy and demanded an apology from Newt for calling him “anti-immigrant” in his ads.  I thought they were going to start bitch-slapping one another, like an old-fashioned cat fight.

The bluster, once refreshing, is getting old.

Lighten up, and MAN up, dudes! 

“The Bitches of Dade County” Strawberry Daiquiris
Makes 6 servings, 8 oz. each

The secret to this classic Florida cocktail is the frozen strawberries--they take the place of ice cubes, resulting in a more flavorful drink that doesn’t get diluted.  Don't let the photo taken out on my deck dissuade you...you'll  feel like you're in Florida!  It's 40 degrees in Chicago...that's pretty good for January!  Downright tropical, some would say.  Wherever you are, enjoy!

1-1/2 cups light rum
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
½ of a 6 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
1 lb. frozen unsweetened strawberries

Add rum, lime juice and limeade concentrate to blender container.  Add strawberries; blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve with wide straws.

Would you rather use the entire bottle (750 ml) of rum?  Just double the other ingredients and make 2 batches.  Anger?  What anger?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rich Vidalia Onion & Swiss Cheese Spread

While a super-rich Republican presidential candidate might have money in Swiss bank accounts, the 99% among us can enjoy this delicious, warm spread featuring Swiss cheese.

Rich Vidalia Onion & Swiss Cheese Spread
32 servings, 2 Tbsp. each

You don’t have to be wealthy to appreciate or afford this crowd-pleasing appetizer!

2 cups chopped Vidalia onions
1-1/2 cups reduced fat mayonnaise
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
Plain water crackers, mini toasts or French bread for serving

Heat oven to 325°F.

Mix onions, mayonnaise and Swiss cheese in 9-inch glass pie plate; spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand 10 min. before serving with crackers, toasts or bread.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NOT A One-Issue Voter Classic Matzo Ball Soup

Who are the Jewish Republican voters going to cast their votes for come Monday?  I went to 2012 Presidential Candidates.org to find out more.   I found extensive evidence to suggest that both Newt and Mitt are pro-Israel.  

Too bad for them, Jewish Americans are not single-issue voters.  Most Jews care about  the same things most Americans care about…jobs, the economy, and civil rights, to name a few.

Make no mistake about it: if your Florida Grandma’s a Jew, she’s probably a Democrat.  If she isn’t, she has a tough decision to make.  Outlandish Newt or Pretty Boy Mitt?  What’s better, a bully or a guy who keeps insisting it’s his turn to speak?

In honor of my Jewish American friends and the tough choices they have in Florida this week, today’s recipe is Classic Matzo Ball Soup…a comforting choice in a world filled with uncertainty.

A couple things about this recipe: I learned the trick about matzo balls from my friend Carol Smoler.  When I was learning how to make this soup many years ago, she advised me to buy the “matzo ball and soup mix” as opposed to “matzo ball mix”.  The matzo balls are less dense, more like what you get when you get a good bowl of matzo ball or mish mosh soup in a deli.  My method for chicken soup is from Edna Lewis, a great African American Southern cook.  God bless America!

NOT A One-Issue-Voter Classic Matzo Ball Soup
Makes 10 servings, 1 cup each with 1 matzo ball

Four years ago, Obama received 78 percent of the Jewish vote.  It would be a mistake for the Republican candidates to focus only on Israel. 

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cut-up frying chicken
1 onion, sliced
8 cups boiling water
6 carrots, peeled and diced
6 celery stalks, diced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and pepper
1 box Streits or Manischewitz Matzo Ball and Soup Mix

Heat oil in 4 qt. saucepot.  Add chicken; brown both sides on medium high heat, seasoning with Kosher salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low and push onion slices between chicken pieces.  Cover saucepot and braise 25 min. or until chicken releases its juices.  Add boiling water to pot; cover.  Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes.

Strain soup.  Return strained broth to soup pot.  Remove skin and bones from chicken and tear chicken into bite-size pieces.  Add chicken to broth with carrots and celery.  Add 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper; stir and taste, add more salt and pepper if that’s your preference.  Bring to a simmer. 

Meanwhile, prepare matzo ball mix from box – you’ll need oil and eggs (discard soup mix or use later).  Roll matzo balls as directed and cook as directed, covered, in prepared soup.

Author’s note:
This soup is a little labor intensive, but it’s worth it.  OY!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Primary Surge Spritz

Primary Surge Spritz
Makes 9 servings, 8 oz. each

Newt put “right” in righteous indignation, and now he can bask in the glory of his primary success.  Whether you like him or not, you have to acknowledge the audacity of his comeback.  Enjoy this refreshing cocktail while you celebrate…or seethe.

1 bottle 750 ml Campari or Grand Marnier
1 bottle 750-milliliter Prosecco or champagne
3 cups chilled seltzer
Orange slices

Combine Campari and Prosecco in large pitcher.  Stir in seltzer. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish each drink with an orange slice.