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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time for Family and Friends by Margot Justes

I've always decorated for Halloween, and always had family and friends over for pizza. Things have not changed. Today is Pizza day.
It's been a tradition for many, many years I know what everyone likes, so the menu is simple. Most pizzas have to have sausage, as long as I order something with meat in it-I'm good.

My personal preference is thin extra crispy artichoke hearts and giardiniera combo. It is spicy and absolutely delicious. One local pizza place makes it to perfection, Good & Fresh Pizza Bakery.
I used to bake for Halloween, now Costco fills the void well. My baking starts at Thanksgiving. Time does have a way of catching up with us. Maybe once I retire I'll have a bit more of that elusive thing called 'time'. Somehow, I doubt it; the plan is to immerse myself in writing and prove to myself that I can succeed in this strange, wonderful and challenging business.

In the meantime there is one more rum recipe I want to share with you. Positively yummy and easy to make. It's all about easy.
Rum Balls:
2 1/2 cups of ground Vanilla wafers
5 1/2 cups of ground walnuts ( I use a food processor for both the wafers and nuts)
1 cup of honey
1 cup of rum (I use dark rum)
1 cup or as needed of powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients well. Let rest covered in bowl for a couple of hours. I've even left overnight.
Form into balls and roll in powdered sugar. ( I use a teaspoon to scoop out the mix)
Set on foil or plastic wrap and let dry a couple of hours, put on serving plate, sprinkle more powdered sugar on top and enjoy!

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Cool Crimes Hot Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath






Friday, October 19, 2012

Chocolate and Rum by Margot Justes

My modem failed and I lost contact to the internet. I don’t have a smart phone, so communication has been difficult at best. If nothing else this has emphasized the need for a smart phone. I’m going to join the 21st century and put the smart phone on the agenda for next year.

In the meantime, I promised a recipe for fudge. Adding the rum was a huge success. I can confirm that rum and chocolate go well together. Very well.

½ cup of butter
1 large can of evaporated milk
2 oz bitter chocolate (I only use Ghirardelli chocolate)
20 oz semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
3 ½ cups of sugar
12 oz dark chocolate
½ lb marshmallows
1 ½ tbsp Vanilla
1 cup of chopped walnuts (I use 2 cups)
1 ½ cups of raisins soaked in rum overnight

Combine butter, canned milk and sugar, stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, cook to a boil, about 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and add marshmallows, stir until melted, add the 3 types of chocolate, one at a time, stir until each is dissolved. Add vanilla and nuts, and raisin mixture and stir until everything is well blended.

Line a cookie sheet with saran wrap, extending the edges; pour the fudge into the cookie pan, spread evenly with knife or spatula.

Let dry for 2 days. Invert the fudge unto your counter, remove wrap and let dry for another 2 days. Cut into squares and serve.

This recipe makes quite a bit of fudge, I cut it all up and store in a sealed plastic bag. My family loves the fudge; usually it doesn’t last very long. Makes a great gift too…


Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
And coming soon A Hotel in Bath

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall by Margot Justes

Fall automatically means the start of the holiday season; at least to me. The golden, burgundy and gold foliage outside, the cloudy overcast sky, and the occasional rain drops add to the comfort of being home. Today is just such a day.  A perfect day to sit on the couch, sip a great cup of coffee and read that wonderful book.
I'm half way there, I do have that terrific cup of nectar, but instead of sitting on the couch I'm waiting for my kiddies to arrive. We're going to decorate for Halloween and bake cookies. That is also a perfect fall day.

In my last blog I mentioned a banana bread with rum raisins-the addition of rum worked really well-the bread was yummy. Below is the revised recipe.

Banana Bread:
½ cup cooking oil (I use extra virgin olive oil-but any oil will do)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs-beaten
5 ripe bananas-mashed
2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use any flour, but I love the nutty flavor of the whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup of chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup of raisins (soak raisins overnight in rum and pour everything into mixture. I use dark rum)

Beat oil and sugar together. Add the beaten eggs and banana pulp and beat well. Add the dry ingredients, milk and vanilla. Mix well and stir in nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3). I use a lasagna pan, cooks more evenly.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for about an hour. Cool well before cutting.

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Cool Crimes Hot Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath






Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Nip in the Air by Margot Justes

There was a nip in the air last night; we had our first frost. The holiday season is upon us.

Our local Costco was selling Panettone, an aromatic yeast semi sweet cake filled with raisins and candied orange peel. I love anything orange peel-my favorite is dark chocolate covered orange peels; Marshall Field's used to have the best, but I digress.
Panettone is just a sign that the holidays are approaching, it is a traditional Italian holiday offering that has become popular here at home. I even see it for sale at the local grocery story. There is something very special about the scent of oranges and yeast dough that brings back memories from my youth.

During my young life in Poland, oranges were a rarity, a luxury, not available under normal circumstances throughout the year. In the winter time they became available, but not to any great extent. The scent of a freshly peeled orange has remained with me to this day. Those happy memories are few and far between. They are safe and uncomplicated memories. Maybe that is why I love orange peels and the holiday season.
We always decorated for Halloween, carved pumpkins, baked cookies and cakes that looked like witches. My daughter Solonge has continued the tradition. Next weekend the kiddies are going to help decorate, design their pumpkins and bake cookies. It is something I look forward to every year. I will post pictures of our efforts in my next blog.

I thought I'd share some favorite fall recipes this season. I'll start with a rather strange concoction.
Bake a spaghetti squash. I usually split it, season with pepper a dash of olive oil and cook until done. I don't use salt, but that is a personal preference. After squash is done, shred with fork to get that spaghetti look, and fill with chili. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve. I love the sweetness of the squash and the spicy acidic taste of the chili. I told you this was strange. I made chili last week, and bought the squash yesterday.

Guess what's for dinner tonight?
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Cool Crimes Hot Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath