Rantings of an Amateur Chef
Today is Labor Day here in the United States. The traditional food for the day are items that relate well to picnics, barbecue or dishes that are “all American”. If you don’t have your menu planned for today, The Ranting Chef is here to help.
Cauliflower-Bacon Salad, Cucumber Salad, Fresh Fruit Tossed Salad, Grandma O’s Potato Salad, Grilled Romaine Salad, London Broil Salad, Pasta Salad, Strawberry Salad, Sweet Macaroni Salad,
Cedar Planked Salmon, Dirty P’s Garlic-Ginger Chicken Thighs, Drunken Chicken, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry BBQ Sauce, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Grilled Portobellos with Mozzarella Salad, Grilled Tri-Tip, Grilled Venison Tenderloin, London Broil with Garlic and Herbs, Mustard Glazed Pork Loin, Peppercorn Steaks with Bourbon Sauce, Pulled Pork, Ribeye…
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Yes, I know it isn’t even Halloween yet and you’re thinking I’m crazy for posting such an obvious December holiday-related recipe, but bear with me, I have good reason for posting this early.
Many of us have heard of and possibly been gifted (AKA cursed) with friendship bread starter. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can either click here to find out more, or just pretend you never heard about it and maybe you can live out the rest of your life in friendship bread-less bliss. OK, I have to admit that friendship bread is delicious, but it never dies and once the starter infiltrates your circle of friends, you practically have to start shooting people to get them to stop pushing it off on you.
(Forgive me, I still suffer post-traumatic friendship bread disorder, despite my temporary reconciliation with the starter.)
Well, friendship fruitcake starter…
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RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow
Spring is in the air and this is the time of year when all things that have been dormant come back to life in full color. What beautiful colors we see in the flowers, the blossomed trees and shrubbery. Where ever you look there is such splendor.
Easter is the most sacred holiday of Christians; in fact it is what I consider the holiest day in our faith. Easter is truly a day of new beginnings. It is a day to celebrate life, but not just life, but everlasting life. With my commitment in my faith, it gives me hope, through Jesus; we get to live, live for eternity. It was at this time that Jesus died on the cross; the blood He shed has cleaned me of my sins, the same for all Christians and those that accept Him into their lives as Lord and Savior. He…
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Looking for Easter recipes? Pick Easter recipes and create your own menu featuring appetizers, Easter dinner recipes, side dishes, dessert recipes, and decorating and entertaining ideas for your Easter party.
These pretty little candies beat any store-bought variety hands down! They take some effort, but the look of delight on the faces of those who try them make every minute worth it.
Easter Menu & Recipes
Select a recipe in each of the categories below to create your own Easter menu.
For an elegant table topper, create this centerpiece showcasing simple-to-make sugared fruit. It’s not only eye-catching but edible as well!
- 15 to 20 pieces assorted fruit
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- Edible or silk leaves, optional
Scrub fruit in soapy water; rinse and dry completely. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute.
Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, until gelatin is completely dissolved. Whisk until slightly frothy.
Lightly brush mixture over all sides of fruit. Place on a wire rack over waxed paper. Sprinkle with sugar.
Let stand at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Arrange as desired, adding leaves if desired.
Editor’s Note: Fruit should not be refrigerated because the sugar will dissolve. This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.
How to Sugar Fruit
Working with one piece of fruit at a time, lightly brush gelatin mixture over entire surface with a pastry brush. Place on a wire rack over waxed paper.
With a spoon, sprinkle superfine sugar over all sides of the fruit until the desired look is achieved. Repeat with remaining fruit. Let dry completely before handling.
Secrets for Successful Sugared Fruit
A stunning Sugared Fruit Centerpiece is guaranteed if you review these helpful hints before beginning.
- You can sugar whole pieces of fruit as well as cut pieces. For cut pieces, it’s best to use citrus—not fruits that turn brown when exposed to air, like apples and pears. Because cut fruit will be a bit juicy, the sugar may not adhere as well. Dab the cut side with paper towel and let air dry a few hours before brushing with the gelatin mixture and sprinkling with sugar.
- Sugared grape clusters become very stiff when dry. So if you would like them to have a little bend when arranging your centerpiece, drape the grapes over an inverted bowl until dry.
- If desired, you can sprinkle the fruits with additional sugar before completely dry to achieve a more dramatic effect.
- Sugar-coated fruit can be kept at room temperature for up to 24 hours; do not refrigerate.
- When arranging the centerpiece, handle fruit as little as possible so that the heat from your hands doesn’t dissolve the sugar.
Peppermint ice cream makes this beverage taste—and look—more like a dessert than a punch! “I’ve mixed the sipper many times for ladies’ lunches and buffets,” shares Neva Schnauber of T. Collins, Colorado. “It’s a great way to start a gathering.” For a fun garnish, Neva adds, you can hang mini candy canes around the punch bowl and cups.
- 2 jars (10 ounces each) strawberry jelly
- 2 liters lemon-lime soda, divided
- 2 quarts peppermint stick ice cream
- Miniature candy canes, optional
- In a large saucepan, melt jelly with 2 cups soda. Chill the jelly mixture and remaining soda. Just before serving, place 6 cups ice cream in a punch bowl. Gently stir in jelly mixture. Add remaining soda. Add remaining ice cream by scoopfuls. Garnish with candy canes if desired.
Yield: 3-1/2 quarts.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 cup) equals 270 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 73 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 2 g protein.
Originally published as Candy Cane Punch in Country Woman November/December 1999, p28
Photo by: Taste of Home