Real Italian Limoncello From Scratch

I made this years ago and the longer it sits, the better it is, (I think).

  • 9 lemons, peeled thinly, no white,
  • squeeze lemon juice into a bottle and place  in the refrigerator*
  • 1 bottle vodka, plain – not flavoured

Okay, that is the hard part….Pour this into a container with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool, dark place for 20 days. Only the vodka and lemon skins.

Once a week, gentle move the peels in the container (do not open, just gently shake).

After the 20th day, boil 6 cups of water and add 3 1/2  cups white sugar. Stir this really well to dissolve the sugar. Strain the lemon solution and discard the peel. Add the lemon solution to the simple syrup and pour into clean and sanitized bottles. Make sure you have corks or similar tops.

This should be served really cold, in small glasses and sipped following a special dinner. In a word: YUM!!!!

 

*this way you will have freshly squeezed lemon juice for any recipe you may be making.

Grilled Chicken Salad With A Twist

The days are finally in summer temperature mode and I thought this would help out for making a light supper to be enjoyed on the deck.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. fig balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. dried dill
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • pinch of pepper and crushed oregano
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • spring salad mix (about 7-8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios, chopped coarsely

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a jar with lid and shake well. Let stand for 1 -1  1/2 hours to allow them to mellow out.

Cook the chicken over the grill, uncovered for about 15 minutes, until tender and no longer pink. Cool slightly.

On 4 plates, arrange the salad greens, topping with the grapes, goat cheese and nuts. Slice each breast and arrange 1 per plate. Shake the dressing and drizzle over all.

Add a glass of your favourite chilled white wine and simply enjoy.

Turkey and Rice Casserole For Buffets

With the festive season fast approaching, here is a recipe to help with the Buffet. It is made with leftover turkey (this makes it a great Boxing Day or New Year’s Eve treat) and rice.

  • 1 cup rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked turkey, diced
  • 3 cups white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, sauted in 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 pint of whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups of turkey stock OR chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. grated onion
  • 2 tbsp. diced pimento
  • pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp. grated Tex Mex cheese (or more)
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the rice until tender. Drain the rice, if needed and put in a large bowl.

Toss in the turkey and mushrooms. Add the whipping cream and stock, onion, pimento and salt and pepper, Mix this up and put into a buttered  baking dish and bake for approx. 1 hour.

YUM!

Lime and Nut Shortbread

As you can see from my site, this is another shortbread recipe you can make up. If you were to make them all up, you would have quite the selection and your guests will never want to leave.

  • 1 cup softened, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 sifted icing sugar (this way, no lumps)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In electric mixer, whip together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes on a medium high speed). Stir in the flour until just combined.

Press dough into a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom and use your hand to smooth the surface. With a sharp knife, score dough into 16 wedges. Prick surface with a fork several times and refrigerate for approximately half an hour.

Bake until firm and a pale golden colour. This should take 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes then cut through score lines. Leave in pan to completely cool.

Topping

  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. lime zest
  • 1/4 cup salted, shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and juice with zest until smooth and no lumps. Picking up each slice of cookie, press into glaze to evenly coat and set on racks to dry, Sprinkle with the nuts and let set on racks for 60 minutes to completely dry.

You just may make this several times when entertaining.

 

 

Homemade Tomato Soup With A Surprise Crouton

If you lived in my home, you would be eating soup almost everyday for lunch…homemade soup only. Don loves his soup and, let me assure you, it is always awesome. Here is another one for you to try.

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, threads removed and chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1-796ml can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a fry pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent but be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the carrot, celery, pepper, tomato paste, lime juice, sugar, salt and cayenne. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are soft. This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. (until the vegetables are tender)

Puree in a couple of batches until very smooth and return to pan to keep warm while you make the croutons.

Croutons

Make these like a grilled cheese sandwich. Butter both sides of the bread and place in the fry pan. Top each slice with the cheese and add the second slice of bread. When golden on one side, flip over and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread has turn a golden colour.

Remove from heat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Pour your soup into warmed soup bowls and top with the croutons.

You still have the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich but on a smaller level. YUM!

 

Salmon and Lime Cakes

What a wonderful new appetizer to serve family and company alike. It is so tasty and fresh. Serve with a colourful chilled salad, warm rolls and a chilled glass of your favourite brew.

 

  • 1 potato peeled
  • 1 can of canned salmon, drained, bones and skin removed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped pickle
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • zest from lime
  • pinch of pepper

Place the potato in a pot with water and boil until tender. Drain well and mash.

Add the salmon, stir in the eggs and pickle. Season with a pinch of pepper. Form into 6 equal patties. Roll in the panko crumbs to coat.

Heat a fry pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. oil and cook half of the salmon cakes. Cook until golden, a couple of minutes each side. Repeat with the remaining cakes. Serve warm with a salad, roll and beverage. Oh my Mama! This is so good.

Croques Trout

When we were in France we ate Croques Monsieur ‘sandwiches’ and liked them. This is an Hors d’ Oeuvres that will please one and all.

 

  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream, whipped only until thickened
  • pinch of ground nutmeg,
  • sea salt
  • 8 slices Tramezzini  (crustless white bread from Super Store)
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 5 oz. smoked trout, thinly sliced
  • small lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop the grated Swiss cheese until very fine. Using a spatula, gently fold into the thick cream. Season with the nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

Brush one side of the bread with the melted butter. Spread the cheese mixture on the unbuttered side. Layer the trout on top of the cheese mixture on 4 slices and add the top buttered layer of the slices. (butter side out).

Place each bread square on a tinfoil square and  cover with a top layer of tin foil. Make sure to seal all the edges tightly to continue on.

Heat a skillet (dry) and place each packet in to cook for 1 minute each side. Transfer all packets to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. When you remove the tin foil, both top and bottom should be toasted.

Cut each one in half, making 4 pieces each ‘sandwich’  and then on the diagonal making 8 pieces. Arrange on a platter, garnish with lime wedges and serve immediately to your wide-eyed guests.

 

Easy Friday Night Lasagna

This only takes about an hour to make, so put it together then pour a glass of the grape and get ready to enjoy a wonderful dish on a Friday night.

 

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 chorizo sausages, casings removed
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 drops of hot sauce
  • 1 -796 ml can of plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 lb. container smooth ricotta
  • 1 1/2 cups Asiago cheese, grated
  • 6 fresh lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a deep 10 inch fry pan that is oven safe. Add the onion and cook until transparent (3 minutes). Add the sausages and cook  until browned. Now the mushrooms, garlic and hot sauce and cook until the mushrooms are soft.

Stir in tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Gently simmer until the sauce thickens (12-16 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir the beaten egg, ricotta and 1/2 half of the Asiago cheese in a bowl.

Spread 1 heaping cup of the meat mixture on the bottom of the fry pan (one you have been using). Cover with 2 lasagna noodles, making sure to cut to fit. Layer with 1 heaping cup of the meat mixture and half the ricotta mixture. Repeat layers, ending with the meat mixture.

Bring this to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Broil in centre of oven until cheeses are melted and browned. 2-3 minutes. Serve with garlic toast, wine/beer and you are set.

 

 

Fresh Pineapple, Jicama and Avocado Salad

I get it – deck time is around the corner and it is always a treat to put out a salad no one has made before and this is  really nice one to make.

 

  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • grated lime peel
  • 1 tsp. white rum
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 pineapple, skin and core removed, flesh cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 lb. jicama, skin and core removed, flesh cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 ripe avocados (about 8 oz. each)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried and separated.

Dressing

Whisk together the lime juice, rum, honey, grated lime peel, salt and pepper together adding the oil, whisking to combine. Set aside.

 

Finishing the Salad

Combine the pineapple and jicama chunks  in a small bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Set aside.

Carefully slice the avocados lengthwise and twist to open. Remove the pit and skin and slice each half in half again. Arrange 2 of the quarters on a couple of lettuce leaves on the bottom of 4 serving plates.

Add the cilantro (if using) to the pineapple mixture and toss to combine. Spoon over the avocados, serving immediately with warm, fresh rolls.

 

Pot Roast, Don’s Way

I hope you have been catching up on Damnigottareadthis and you will see why the recipes have not been here. Well, today, I am ready to go again and I hope you will try this recipe. It is absolutely delicious.

  • 1 – 3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 – 10 9z. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. worchestershire sauce
  • 1 square beef bouillon
  • 2 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the seasoning salt, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Rub the seasoning into the roast on both sides.

Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the roast, searing on both sides. Place the meat in a roster pan. Add onions and garlic to skillet for 1 – 2 minutes to absorb the leftover roast juice. Place into the roaster pan with the meat and bay leaves.

Combine the mushroom soup, wine, worchestershire sauce and beef bouillon into a bowl. Pour over the roast. Add the beef stock.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 3 – 3 1/2 hours or until tender. Remove and discard the bay leaves. During the last hour of baking time, add 10-12 baby potatoes and 3 coarsely chopped carrots. Re-cover pan and continue cooking.

This truly is a great meal. Add a crispy chilled salad, small dinner roll and, of course, the  glass of Merlot.

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Maple Dijon Trout Fillets For Four

Now, how is that for a play with words? Okay, so I tried. This is a meal that takes 12-13 minutes. What more could you ask for. Add a crisp salad, perhaps some lovely mashed potatoes and you are the winner.

 

  • 1 lb. Trout fillet, bones removed and cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. Teriyaki sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the trout on a 8 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard and teriyaki sauce. Melt the butter for 15 seconds in the microwave and combine with the mustard mixture. Pour this over the trout. Bake for 12 minutes until it flakes with a fork.

*Note: If  you wish more sauce, simply double the ingredients and there you have it.

Serve with extra sauce, salad and mashed potatoes. In a word….YUM!

Orange, Trout and Avocado Salad

Okay…so you forgot to set your scale back 10 lbs. before Christmas Season began but never mind, this will put you back on track. It is easy and delicious

This salad will serve 4.

  • 2 skinless trout fillets (8 oz. each, 1 inch thick)
  • Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and sliced very thin
  • 2 large oranges, peeled, white pith removed and segmented
  • 1 large, ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups of baby arugula, spinach, stems removed , break into small pieces if some are too large to be eaten politely.
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • zest from lime

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season lightly with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish large enough to hold both fillets. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle half of the scallion over the fillets.

Bake until opaque in center (about 10-12 minutes). Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Break the trout into pieces, dividing evenly among the 4 plates. Trop each with the orange segments, avocado and greens. Season with remaining oil, lime juice and a sprinkling of zest.

In a word….yummy!