Saturday Night Picnic Treats

Happy last days of summer!  I thought maybe we could share some of our favorite picnic recipes, summer music, and thoughts!!! This is an open thread!!!

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Recipe from Metabolic Cookbook:

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
2 tsp Gourmet Garden Cilantro (or 2 tsp finely chopped cilantro)
Smoked Paprika

Remove egg yolks from the halved eggs and place in a small bowl. Add the ripe avocado, lime juice, salt, onion powder, garlic and cilantro.
Use a fork to mash the guacamole mixture until smooth.
Spoon (or use a frosting bag to pipe) the mixture into the halved eggs. Sprinkle with a dash of smoked paprika.
Keep stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.



Happy Saint Paddy’s Day!

Here’s some of my favorite recipes from Ireland:

Soda Bread:

4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk
(1/2 cup golden raisins optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  Lightly crease and flour a bundt pan.

In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.

Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.


3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
4 scallions, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.

Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.

Add cabbage and scallions to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.

 Baked Pork Chops and Apples

Flour, salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
6 pork chops
4 apples  (I use Granny Smiths)
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Peel, core, and slice the apples.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a skillet.
Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture and brown the pork chops on both sides in the butter.
Butter a large baking dish.
Put the apple slices in the bottom of the dish.
Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the apples.
Place the pork chops on top of the apples.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Who Exactly Is The Enemy On Our Doorstep?

It’s hard to keep up with the outrageous statements and positions of various 2012 presidential candidates.  One might reasonably ask: Who let the loons out?

As offensive as all these assaults, affronts and crazy talk have been, there’s been something else operating in the background, which begs the question:

What’s up with the joint military/police exercises being conducted in our cities?

The question lingers in the air, a thick mist of doubt laced with a pinch of paranoia.  We live in an era that breeds both with incredible ease.

On the heels of the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA’s] passage, replete with an indefinite detention clause that President Obama signed onto, against the security advice of the FBI and NSA, it’s a question that leads even the level-headed to ponder the rhyme and reason of military/police training maneuvers inside American cities.

In late January, Los Angeles was an operational site.  In August of last year, Boston and earlier exercises were held in Miami and Little Rock.  The purpose?  According to official statements:

This will be routine training conducted by military personnel, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirements.

Hummm.  I thought that’s what military bases were for?  And forgive me, I don’t see anything ‘routine’ about this.  I grew up near Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base in NJ.  We had plenty of planes and helicopters in the sky and military equipment trucking down the highways.

But military exercises in our living space?  Never.

We’ve seen the images from Greece, the Cradle of Democracy in flames, the populace pushed to extremes by financial/political deals that insist on further tightening of the economic thumbscrews.  These remedies never apply to those inflicting the misery.  But for the general population?  Pain is good.  Could these draconian prescriptions and subsequent reactions happen here?

Lest we forget, we’ve seen the prologue. Here:

I’ve written before about the creeping militarization of local police force units, where routine calls are turned into SWAT team events, complete with wartime accouterments—uniforms, weapons and vehicles.  And then there are the drones added to our airspace for additional surveillance and security, features that some would tell us are simply the next reasonable step in effective police work. The President has signed the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which among other things authorizes drone utilization in American airspace.  The Agency projects 30,000 drones in operation by 2020.

And now our cities are hosting military and police force exercises, presumably to prepare for overseas’ deployment.

The local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles started with this lead:

If you notice a heavy military presence around downtown Los Angeles this week, don’t be alarmed — it’s only a drill.

Whistling past the graveyard?  Color me suspicious but I find this whole concept disturbing.

Former Police Chief Norm Stamper, a 35-year police force veteran who oversaw the disastrous response to the 1999 WTO Battle in Seattle, has been vocal in his concern about militarizing our domestic police forces. He takes himself to task in going along with the brass in Seattle, where police took a hard-ass stand that resulted in injury and considerable property damage.  Instead of the cautionary tale that Seattle might have provided, the paramilitary mindset was further cemented into place after 9/11.  The Department of Homeland Security funded cities and small towns across America for ‘terrorist preparedness’ training and equipment. And those small, unlikely terrorist targets took those funds and armed their Police Departments to the teeth.

To the horror of many, we watched this equipment and personnel turn against Americans during the Occupy Wall St. protests, most spectacularly in Oakland, CA.

Stamper blames this on:

The paramilitary bureaucracy and the culture it engenders—a black-and-white world in which police unions serve above all to protect the brotherhood—is worse today than it was in the 1990s. Such agencies inevitably view protesters as the enemy. And young people, poor people and people of color will forever experience the institution as an abusive, militaristic force—not just during demonstrations but every day, in neighborhoods across the country.

He also cites the military model adopted by police bureaucrats, an archaic attitude that fosters a dedication to authoritative regulations rather than an officer’s behavior in the streets.  And the senseless ‘War on Drugs’ that adds an overblown righteousness to the mayhem, a policy that criminalizes non-violent drug use and imprisons more of our citizens, ratio to population, than anywhere else on the planet.  The US represents 5% of the world’s population, yet we have 25% of the world’s prisoners.

Let that sink in!

Five percent of the world’s population = Twenty-five percent of the world’s prison population.

What the hell are we doing?  To our own people.

Shortly before leaving for Christmas, I’d read the announcement about the exercise in Los Angeles, scheduled and carried out in late January.  Frankly, I had no idea that these other ‘exercises’ had ever taken place.

Here’s a description [after the fact] of the ‘training exercise’ in Boston:

Land chopper on roof

U.S. military commandos practiced raids in the shuttered Agassiz Elementary School last month, including a nighttime helicopter landing on the school’s roof, the Gazette has learned.

The elite special forces training was done without notice to nearby residents. No live ammo or explosives were involved and safety measures were taken, according to military spokesperson Kim Tiscione.

A vaguely worded July 25 press release from the Mayor’s Office announced citywide “military training exercises,” including helicopters, through Aug. 5. In fact, the exercises were top-secret training for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), whose commandos recently killed terrorist Osama bin Laden, Tiscione told the Gazette.

“I know a lot of it can look really different when it’s in your own back yard,” Tiscione said of the training, which included the two-minute helicopter landing around 9 p.m. on July 28. “Safety is absolutely something we are concerned about.”

Safety is of prime concern?  One would think local residents would have been thoroughly informed and prepared before a helicopter was landed on the roof of an abandoned school.  Elsewhere the ‘helicopters’ were identified as a Black Hawks, buzzing among familiar business locations, always at night.

Brian O’Connell, a resident of Jamaica Plain had the following to say, following the Boston maneuvers:

Our great nation (which as you know, doesn’t tax the super rich or corporations) is currently engaged in a legislative battle royal over spending priorities. Meanwhile, the estimated price tag for our wars in the Middle East is $4 TRILLION. We close down schools in heavily populated urban areas and use the space for Special Forces raids while our unaccountable elected leaders pander behind close doors with the military industrial complex and use our communities as a commando training site. I find all of this obscene, and I know that there are many people who feel the same.

Correct me if I’m wrong but where are these ‘future deployments’ envisioned when the Iraq war has been officially ended and Afghanistan will be drawing down next year?  I’m all for defending the country but who or what are these combined forces defending it from?  Are these training exercises for a possible Iran invasion?  The drumbeat for war has been incessant, while most Americans have little appetite for another round of senseless, endless conflict.  Or are these staging operations preparing for something else?

Chris Hedges, never reluctant to criticize a system he considers thoroughly corrupt and acting against the public’s interest [not to mention Constitutional law] had this to say:

And I think, without question, the corporate elites understand that things, certainly economically, are about to get much worse. I think they’re worried about the Occupy movement expanding. And I think that, in the end–and this is a supposition–they don’t trust the police to protect them, and they want to be able to call in the Army.

I sincerely hope the man is wrong.  Unfortunately, Hedges’ has been a modern day prophet, predicting the corporate takeover of the United States that we, citizens-at-large are beginning to recognize everywhere we look.

Which begs two questions:

  • What’s up with the military/police exercises being conducted in our cities?
  • And would we be prepared for the truth, whatever that might be?

I stumbled across several quotes the other day, two of which had me rear back for a second.  So, I’ll leave you with the following:

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. [Goethe]


Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world. [Henry Kissinger]

And here’s one of my own:

Better to vigorously question any official statement than to merely nod and fall back to sleep.

Independence Day Picnic Treats

This is how we do it Louisiana style.

So, do you have your picnic on today? Youngest daughter snapped the crawfish boil picture there on the left !

Here’s a few Creole recipes for your next basket! We’ve still got a day left to celebrate so share some of yours!!

This is an open thread!

Sour Cream Cole Slaw

1/2 cup mayonanaise

1/3 cup sour cream

6 stuffed olives, quartered

6 radishes, sliced thin

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tsp vinegar

4 cups cabbage, finely shredded

Combine ingredients. Mix well. Toss Cabbage with dressing. Chill until ready to serve.

 Creole Deviled Eggs

6 hardcooked eggs

2 tablespoons tomato catsup

4 tablespoons chili sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

6 dashes hot pepper sauce

1/2 cump shrimp, chopped fine

Pepper to taste

Cuts egg in halves. Mash yolks, moisten with catsup.  Combine other ingredients. Stuff back into whites.

Southern Ambrosia

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon sherry

4-6 satsuma oranges, sectioned

1 1/2 cups fresh grated coconut

Scald milk and cream.  Stir sugar, flour and salt into the egg yolks.  Slowly ad hot milk to egg mixture while stirring constantly.  Cook mixture on low heat until mixture coats spoon.  Stir constantly.  Add Sherry. Chill well.

Layer in a dish: custard on bottom, layer of orange sections, then coconut.  Make multiple layers of all in that order.

Have a great independence day celebration!

Saturday Night Treats

Since the weather’s been so nasty and cold almost every where, I thought I’d bring out some cold weather recipes from Iowa and Nebraska where I grew up.  I grew up in blustery weather and was no stranger to blizzards.

These are some heritages soups that my mother and some of her friends collected to produce a recipe book fundraiser for the General Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  My mom was chair of the fund drive to restore  Union Civil War General Grenville Melon Dodge’s House.  She served as chairman of the Board of Trustees and President of the nonprofit museum for many years.  The recipe book was dedicated to my mom’s best friend–Bea Utley–an interior decorator that helped tremendously with the restoration of the house.  Actually, they were called receipts back then so this is a from a Receipt Book.

Their fund raising arm was and still is called the “General’s Ladies” and they’d do Victorian Christmas and summer picnics and all kinds of things to get funds to keep and get the property in order.  I haven’t been then in years but I was practically brought up in the place.  I used to talk to a ghost in one of the bedrooms when I was a kid and my first job at the ripe old age of 14 was as a docent there.

I got rather used to wearing Victorian clothes in the process.  During Christmas, my mother made me play Christmas Carols in the ball room or she’d have me bring my guitar and best friend to sing carols through out the house. My other best friend played the Harp.  Most of us wound up as docents on Sunday during our high school years.  I remember when mom was trying to round up some of the old antiques and furniture before it was completely restored. I pretty much became familiar with the attics and basements of many old houses.  It must’ve made an impression on me because I have a deep and lasting  affection for America’s historic houses.  My current house was built around the same time as the General’s Home.  If you’re every on interstate I-80, on the extreme western edge of Iowa, you should make a point of visiting.  It’s considered a premier Victorian restoration.

Oh, and we tested all the recipes too.

German Dumpling Soup:

4 or 5 pound fat stewing hen

4 cups carrots, cut up

3 cups potatoes, cut up

2 cups, celery, cut up

1 cup onion, cut up

1/2 cup chopped parsley, held back until just before serving

In a large kettle, cover hen with water, cover with a lid then boil one hour or longer, until tender.  Add vegetables in the order listed above.  After the vegetables are cooked, remove the whole chicken, bone it, cut it up and place it back with the vegetables and broth.

To make the Dumplings:

4 cups flour

1 tsp. Salt

6 eggs

Yellow food coloring

Add enough boiling water to flour to make  a paste. Add a few drops of the yellow food color to the water.  Break eggs into the paste one at a time and stir until well blended. Add more flour until the dough because very, very firm and dry. Use a teaspoon to cut off the dough and drop into the boiling soup when the chicken and vegetables have been prepared as above.  Dip the spoon in the boiling water to release the dough.  These dumplings are hard and firm.

Cover and boil  10 minutes.  Sprinkle the parsley into the soup right before serving.

This recipe came from General’s Lady Mrs. Harold W. Schultz and came with this sage Victorian Advice:


Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.

Dutch Split Pea Soup

2 lbs. split green peas

4 sticks celery, chopped

2 pig’s hocks

12 ounces fresh pork sausage

4 leeks,chopped

1 lb onions, chopped

1 1b. smoked bacon in a whole piece or bacon squares

Pepper, salt to taste

Clean peas. Soak overnight in water.

Bring peas to a boil with the vegetables in 4 1/2 quarts fresh water.  Add the hocks and bacon.  Let simmer slowly until hocks are tender–two or three hours, stirring often.  Pot should be covered.

One half hour before the soup is done, add fresh sausage in lumps the size of small walnuts.

Before serving, remove hocks and bacon from soup.  Cut meat from the hocks into small pieces and return to soup.  Season with the salt and pepper to taste., slice bacon to serve with the soup.

Makes about 12 servings.

This recipe came from Mrs. J Frederic Schlott.  Fred Schlott was the architect that was responsible for the park around the outside of the house and sat on the board with mom for a long time.  Almost, all the original people that dealt with the house have passed now so I’m not sure what goes on there any more.  If you ask me, there’s probably a few more ghosts in that house than the one that I used to talk to in the gold bedroom as a kid.  Some of these people spent a good portion of their life leaving the community this historic house museum.

Have any great recipes for some great comfy food that you’d like to share tonight?