April 29, 2011

Goodies Under Glass!

Wondering what to make for the Bake Sale?

 In my attempt to organize the countless recipes from the past and weeding out those which were "keepers" versus "throw aways", I came across this recipe from Dixie Doll Days. Sweet Melissa partipated in Dixie Dolls in High School back in Texas! Oh, the fun of those days....she was constantly popping around the house with music blaring from the bedroom as she practiced their weekly routines. We had countless Bake Sales and one of the best sellers was my Bayou Brownie Bites! So....I decided to whip up a batch and send some to work with Darling this week. He came back with an empty plate, so they must have been a hit! They are similar to Chess Bars and so very easy to make when you are craving something yummy!

A Maine House Mosaic

Bayou Brownies
Bottom Layer
1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 cup pecans
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Top Layer
8 ounces cream cheese
1 (16 ounce) box confectioners' sugar
2 eggs, beaten until fluffy

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix the bottom ingredients together by hand. Press into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Mix the top ingredients with an electric mixer and pour over the first layer.Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Forget about the calories on this one....
they are worth an extra 30 minutes of walking!!

April 28, 2011

In Love with The Winfield Inn!

The Maine House continues to join the children in their quest for finding their perfect wedding venues. Having planned Sweet Melissa's wedding, we learned early on how very stressful the event planning can be. I believe one of the most distressing aspects of this journey is discovering that many vendors were not very flexible in being able to provide what the bride and groom had envisioned. Anything from the length of time available for their reception, the time you were allowed to enter the reception venue to prepare for your grand dinner, the limits placed on alcoholic drinks being selected, to the limit of time for your vendors to dismantle the reception area. It became so overwhelming and stressful, the bride and groom decided their money was better utilized by flying to Puerto Rico, having their ceremony set against the beautiful Caribbean at The Ritz Carlton, and then board the cruise ship and sail away for a week of tropical island hopping. It could not have been more beautiful!

A Maine House Mosaic

So, when I discovered The Winfield Inn, I was drawn into not only the beauty and peacefulness of their story, but the entire manner in which they reiterate they are of "service to you" and seem to have a great desire to make this your special enjoy, to remember and treasure! I love their message!!

Located 15 miles south of downtown Austin in the hill country of Texas and perfectly set oak trees which  canopy over the many sites that let the sunlight beam through their butterfly garden and colonial inspired estate sets The Winfield Inn. The garden ballroom infuses modern architecture with classic vaulted ceilings and crystal chandeliers to create a grand yet natural and timeless ambiance.

The story of The Winfield Inn....This bed and breakfast was built in 1883 and it has a wrap around porch on the ground level. There is also one of the highly coveted screened porches at the inn. Each of the three suites has its own private bath, which is always a big plus. The inn sits on 27 acres so you will have plenty of opportunities to take long strolls. Afterwards, you could take a refreshing dip in the pool.

One day, during what seemed to be a typical bike ride, Jodi was riding her bike through the town of Kyle observing the architecture of old homes and the natural settings along the river when she stumbled upon a property with overgrown grass and chipped white paint (literally "stumbled" when her laces got stuck in the spokes which just so happen to give her the perfect view up the drive way to the home). Historically she enjoyed viewing properties around the Hill Country area including for the purpose of a future wedding location. She realized that this was the exact place she was looking for--minus the much needed paint job and untailored grounds. Although she soon realized there was much more that needed to be done, her heart was focused on bringing the property back to life!

The Winfield Inn staff  are more than just co-workers or employees; they are a family. "The majority of us have been here from the beginning and those who haven't have no intentions of leaving. We treat each couple and their families as if they are our own by personalizing their wedding day so it is exactly how they envision."

"Our on-site coordinators do more than just check in your vendors. They are in constant communication throughout your planning process and will make sure that you are cool, calm, and collected before and during your big day. They are here for you as much as you need them and will go above and beyond your expectations. With a team of interns we have plenty of hands and creative minds working together to put every last detail in place."

You will find that Jodi and Matt can make magic happen in the kitchen, whether it’s re-creating an old family recipe or creating an “Around-the-World” menu for 300. They love wonderful foods and want the menu to be spectacular for you and your guests! " To be sure that this happens, we will host a tasting so that you can sit down, relax, and just enjoy your menu… consider it a date night on us!"

"There are many others who make our team a family that you may not always see or talk to. The groundskeepers, wait staff, and operations crew play a huge role in your wedding day and we couldn’t do any of this without them."

Nick and Cat are planning a late March or early April wedding day. The Winfield Inn provides a wide variety of tempting food and their menus suggest recipes according to the season! Now, that is lovely!

Spring Menu
Chilled Shrimp with Garlic Aioli in Martini Glasses
Jalapeno Cornbread
Iceberg Lettuce Wedge with Bleu Cheese Dressing, Candied Walnuts and Bacon Twists
Mushroom-stuffed Filet
Parmesan Garlic Mashers
Sweet Corn with Chili Lime Butter
Raspberry Crostini with Honey and Mascarpone

The rest is history. There has been a lot of sweat, tears and sleepless nights in the rebirth of this unique and magical property, but rest assured, every single little detail was thought out thoroughly. In her great passion for life and desire to share this most precious property with others, Jodi's hope is that you will have the opportunity to explore and experience the estate and grounds from many perspectives.

Estelle's Favorite Shrimp Cocktail
2 pounds (12 to 15-count) shrimp
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup chili sauce (recommended: Heinz)
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in 1 layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

For the sauce, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Serve as a dip with the shrimp.

Such as life, for Jodi and Matt, this property represents many stories all united by the wonderful presence of those who choose to be a part of it, sharing their most intimate moments.


April 27, 2011

"Bless Your Heart" with Laughter and Comfort Food!

It begins with..."My friend Betty Love likes to say the church taught her to love the lord and the church potluck taught her to respect a perfectly shaped gelatin mold!" I was immediately hooked! You will adore reading stories and salivating over recipes (you may even need a bib) from Cora Lynn, Betty Love, Aunt Lutie, Miss Olivia, the DAR and church Circle Meetings!

  "Eddie Ray Barnell, 92 years old, dropped dead in the middle of the night on a Saturday. Heart attack in his backyard. He was in his barefeet and
 to this day, his wife says she has no idea why he went outside.
 Some of us have our suspicions, but we don’t like to talk out of turn!"

Oh, the memories came flooding back about funerals in the Mississippi Delta and then back to Ohio, where we attended town funerals of long-time residents of Grandmother's little town with a population of 300! Let's see, there was the Methodist preacher, Mr. Moffitt (I was age five, I believe), Bessie the Berry Lady, Caroline by the river (I never knew their actual names...this is just what names we knew them by as children). We thought nothing of it other than a social event and going over to the Methodist church to the "viewing" and then gathering in the Sunday School area for the post-funeral feast. I always thoroughly enjoyed those gatherings and the food!

This new found cookbook, "Bless Your Heart..Saving the World One Dish At a Time", is filled with southern stories about church potlucks, preparing casseroles for families of the dearly departed, family reunions, holiday gatherings, tailgate parties, and the always popular all-day singing and dinner on the grounds. Whatever the occasion, Bless Your Heart aims to save the world one covered dish at a time.

Now, the Delta is the epitome of "Being Dead is no Excuse!" Southern fried chicken beautifully displayed on silver trays, sweet iced tea in crystal tea glasses, the best highly-caloric southern casseroles and the desserts....somehow that homemade coconut cake stands out in memory....all served on fine china and eaten with heirloom family sterling!

"What southern lady hasn't arrived with a delicious covered dish
(name written on masking tape on the bottom
so you can get your dish back, of course)
at the church potluck, school fundraiser,
family reunion or funeral home, to show just how much you care?
 We have been called to ‘feed His flock,' haven't we?
But Lord help us if Louise from the post office shows up with that
Brussels sprout soufflé of hers.
 Louise says it's an ‘acquired taste,' but I have yet to meet anyone
who's ‘acquired' it, especially when mired in the throes of grief!"

Although we always plan to have a good time... we revere the dead. Ancestor worship is as valid a form of religion as the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Episcopal denominations in the Mississippi Delta.  Above all, there is funeral food and drink, because "you can’t bury a self-respecting Deltan without certain foods."

With few exceptions, the preferred consolation combinations are high in calories and carbs ("Carb therapy’ may kill us in the long run, but we feel that these foods soak up the alcohol and give us the energy to do what we know we have to do."). Your location within Greenville Cemetery is important, too. One rather snooty Greenville matron had boxwood planted around her grave to block out the neighbors. "She didn't want to be with the hoi polloi," Metcalfe says.

"Top 10 funeral foods" of all time. You can't leave Earth without them

1. Tomato aspic with homemade mayonnaise. "Store-bought aspic is available, but no self-respecting Southerner would be caught dead — sorry! — eating it."
2. Fried chicken. "You should have a variety. A couple of recipes."
3. Stuffed eggs. "A 'polite civil war' rages over whether sweet or savory is preferable."
4. Virginia's Butter Beans. "The crumbled bacon is the crowning glory."
5. Can't-Die-Without-It Caramel Cake. "Start with one box Duncan Hines butter cake mix ..."
6. Homemade rolls. "Most appreciated."
7. Banana nut bread. "Mother's."
8. Aunt Hebe's Coconut Cake. "We're already thinking about this before the last 'amen.' "
9. Methodist Party Potatoes. "If you refuse to cook with cornflakes, skip this recipe."
10. Tenderloin. "Standard fare for the family the night before the funeral."

Banana Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and bananas and mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients and the pecans. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan to cool.

Ambrosia topping
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the pineapple, coconut, almonds and sugar. Stir to mix well. To serve: Spread the ambrosia on the sliced banana bread.

"My son had a teacher in high school who would give him extra credit when he brought these delicious brownies to share with the class. They are that good." - Patsy Caldwell

German Chocolate Caramel Squares
 (Termed "Extra Credit" in Bless Your Heart)
1 (14-ounce) bag caramels
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
1 (18-ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish and set aside. In the top of a double boiler combine the caramels and 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk. Cook over medium heat until the caramels are completely melted. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, the remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk, butter and pecans, mixing until everything is incorporated. The dough will be stiff. Divide the dough in half and press half in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate chips. Press the remaining cake dough on a piece of waxed paper the size of the baking dish. Place on top with dough side down and peel the paper away. Cook for 16 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Allow the caramel layer to harden in the refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting into 24 slices.


April 26, 2011

Feathering Your Nest!

For as long as I can remember, I have had a love for birds..anything birds.....home decor, bird figurines, portraits of birds, etc. When we took our weekend trips over to New Orleans, Daddy would always head for his favorite hobby store to purchase one of his newly desired train cars (he was an avid train buff and had several different scales of trains). When we were browsing around in the hobby store, I discovered little bird kits that you assembled and painted. So, each trip, I was allowed to purchase a new bird kit which I promptly began to assemble and paint back at the hotel. I think it was probably a means to keep me occupied and quiet while they relaxed and savored their evening cocktails before we headed out to dinner down in the French Quarter. Today, I seem to still drift toward incorporating and displaying birds throughout The Maine House in some form or the other. Perhaps, these designs will also inspire you to bring nature indoors...I find it comforting and peaceful!

A Maine House Mosaic

1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 extra-large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
1/2 pound smoked salmon, chopped
3 scallions, chopped, white and light green parts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Saute the onion and butter in a 10-inch oven-proof omelet pan over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the heavy cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, dill, salt, and pepper and combine. Pour the mixture over the onions and place the omelet pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata for about 50 minutes, until it puffs and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve hot directly from the pan.


April 25, 2011

Best Baked Beans!

The Texas Deck Memories

The Maine House is remembering all of our good times and family celebrations on our deck at the Texas House! With the countdown moving forward on our final move (yes, we plan on this being our final move), we contemplate whether it will be Texas or Atlanta. There is currently a "tug-of-war" in place between children.....offering up explanations of reasons why we should relocate to either place...such as their sweet faces and countless cute images of grandchildren. All we know thus far is that Maine has been THE BEST place we have ever lived, but it has not replaced our longing for our children and grandchildren. How comforting to know that we must have done something right since our children desire to live near their parents. Why miss holiday's and growing family, daughter-in-law's coming into the fold and perhaps, more grandchildren in the near future...hint, hint!!  Anyway, I regress.....we had so many, many good times with family dinners on the deck, it brought to mind these particular baked bean recipes that you will certainly want to add to your outdoor celebrations with family and friends. These are terrific pot-luck dishes or picnic take-a-longs....celebrate the moments of your life!

Estelle's Country Baked Beans
2 pounds bulk pork sausage
1 can (16 ounces) Boston baked beans
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) Lima beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 medium tart apple, peeled and shredded
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. In a large bowl, combine the sausage, beans, pineapple, apple, onion, ketchup, molasses and lemon juice. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 325° for 60-70 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Old Settlers Baked Beans
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 can (16 ounces) pork and beans, undrained
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained

In a large skillet, cook beef, bacon and onion until meat is done and onion is tender. Drain any fat. Combine all remaining ingredients except beans. Add to meat mixture; mix well. Stir in beans. Place in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until heated through. 

Estelle's Picnic Baked Beans
4 cans (16 ounces each) baked beans, drained
1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup packed brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into a 4-1/2-qt. bean pot or two ungreased 2-qt. baking dishes. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until heated through.

April 22, 2011

Our Easter Table

The Maine House at Easter.....missing grandchildren, making Easter cupcakes and dying Easter Eggs...missing preparing beautiful Easter baskets for Abbie, Noah and Luke...missing all the children arriving in their Sunday Easter finery as we spend a glorious day thankful to God for his blessings!

A Maine House Mosaic

 I remember Easter day as a child with my sweet family...Mother and Daddy, Steve, Judy and me! Always church and sunday school...beautiful Easter dresses, little linen dusters, white cotton gloves with pearl buttons, sweet little girl Easter bonnets, new white patton leather shoes with a matching little purse and fresh flower corsages from Daddy. Mother always hid our Easter baskets in the living room behind the wing chair and they always, always contained an Elmer's Chocolate Gold Brick egg. I don't think they make those any longer. The Easter dinner aroma filled our home....clove studded ham, vegetable casseroles, her pickled beets and eggs, fresh bread and some sort of glorious fresh pie. I could not have experienced a more lovely childhood. I am so thankful, so grateful for my family....and we will return home to have our family Easter day...perhaps next year!

So this Sunday, it will just be darling and me! Our menu is going to include the Baked Ham with a Mustard Brown Sugar Glaze, Mushroom Green Bean Casserole, Scalloped Corn, Southern Scalloped Pineapple, Homemade Rolls and of course, The Lamb Cake (previous posting). This year he is going to be German Chocolate, adorned with pansies, as always! I have prepared our dining table with Grandmother Grace's lace tablecloth, the pink toile Churchill China, our wedding silver of Tara, Bo's great aunt's tea towels, Grandmother Estelle's linen napkins,  Bobbie's (Darling's mother) antique silver napkin rings, and Mother and Daddy's silver condiment holder. All of the children's favorite Easter bunny figures are in place....we are thankful for this blessed day!

Estelle's Green Bean Casserole
1 lb. whole fresh green beans (fresh or frozen).
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced into thin strips
8 oz. crimini Mushrooms, sliced.
4 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
2 tbsp. butter.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot or 14″ saute pan of salted water to a boil.While waiting for water to boil, melt butter in a saute pan over low heat. Add onions, stir once and allow to sweat. (you don’t want to hear any sizzling.) Stir occasionally until all onions are a deep golden. Add green beans to boiling water. cook until just crisp-tender (approximately 2 minutes.) Remove from pan and either submerge in a bowl of ice and water, or place in a colander under cold running water until completely cooled. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add shitake mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add crimini mushrooms and cook,stirring often, for approximately 5 more minutes, or until mushrooms are done to your liking. Strain green beans and add to mushroom mixture. Toss until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and place in a serving dish. Arrange caramelized onions along the outside of casserole or serving bowl.

Southern Scalloped Pineapple
5 cups, fresh bread crumbs, no crust
1 20-ounce can, pineapple tidbits
4 eggs, beaten
11/2 cups, sugar
1/2 cup, canned cream (evaporated milk)
1 cup, melted butter

Toss together bread crumbs and pineapple and place in a casserole baking dish. Combine eggs, sugar, and butter and pour over pineapple mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Estelle's Homemade Dinner Rolls
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F.)
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoon) dry active yeast
1 cup milk
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Step 1
Combine water and yeast in a large bowl. Whisk until dissolved, and set aside. Combine milk, butter, sugar, honey, and salt in another glass or plastic bowl. Microwave for one minute, or until milk is just warm. Set aside until butter is melted.
Step 2
Add the flour to the bowl containing the water and yeast, followed by the milk mixture. Stir until a sticky dough forms. Turn dough out onto a well floured work surface. Knead dough for about 6 minutes, adding enough flour, as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the surface, or your hands.
Step 3
Stop when you have a smooth, soft, elastic ball of dough. Grease a large bowl with oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn over a few times so the dough is lightly oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and leave to rise in warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Step 4
Punch down the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a square and cut into 16 equal-sized sections. Roll each piece into a ball. Line an 18" x 13" baking sheet with a silicon making mat. Place each ball, seam side down, about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet (4 rows with 4 rolls each).
Step 5
Sprinkle flour gently to dust the tops of each roll. Set the pan in a warm spot (Estelle's places the baking pans under the stovetop light) and allow to rise for 40 minutes.
Step 6
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25 minutes until a beautiful warm golden brown. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes. These are heavenly!

"For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born." ~
Alice Freeman Palmer

April 14, 2011

Pappasito's Patio!

I'm leavin' on a jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again! Texas is calling our names to head back home and celebrate the engagements of the boys! These are happy times and we simply cannot contain our excitement to see the sweet faces of children and grandchildren. We plan to spend a celebratory evening on the patio of one of our favorite dining spots in Big T!

A Maine House Mosaic

Pappasito's Cantina, a Tex-Mex favorite, has been voted Number One Mexican Restaurant repeatedly in publications across Texas. Pappasito's is famous for Texas-size portions of sizzling fajitas, margaritas and some of the best chips and salsa north of the Rio Grande! Strings of colored lights, decor from the Mexican revolution and Latin music quickly establish a vacation-like vibe as diners work their way to the bar or wait for a dinner table. The dining room bustles as families and groups come together for a celebratory meal. Servers hurry back and forth, bringing endless baskets of chips and stopping rather frequently to sing their version of the birthday song to yet another table.

6 (12-inch long) metal skewers
12 jumbo shrimp
6 slices bacon
12 green bell pepper wedges
12 red bell pepper wedges
12 red onion wedges
12 chicken breast slices
6 pineapple slices
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons red pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 pound butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups Italian dressing

Cut peppers in half from top to bottom and deseed. Cut twelve 2- x 2-inch red onion pieces and set aside. Slice twelve pieces uncooked beef for fajitas into 1-inch wide, 4-inch long strips. Slice twelve pieces of uncooked chicken breasts for fajitas into 1-inch wide, 4-inch long strips. Cut six 1 1/2- x 1 1/2-inch cubes of pineapple and set aside.

Rinse shrimp in a strainer. Remove 3/4 of the shell, leaving the last section and the tail intact. With a small sharp paring knife, cut the shrimp along the underneath vein. Be careful not to cut completely through the top of the shrimp (cutting shrimp from the bottom and not all the way through helps when stuffing). Both veins should now be exposed. Wash them out of the shrimp. Complete procedure for all shrimp and place on a plate in the refrigerator when finished. Cut bacon in half all at once and set aside. Combine black pepper, paprika, and red pepper. Stir until well-blended and set aside. Soften the butter at room temperature and whip with garlic and wine until well-combined. Set in refrigerator. Wrap one half piece of bacon around shrimp body (not tail). Set on plate and repeat until all shrimp are finished. With all prepared vegetables and shrimp in front of you, take one 12-inch skewer and with the sharp end, stab in the following order: one green bell pepper wedge, beef, red onion wedge, chicken, red bell pepper wedge, bacon-wrapped shrimp (through the main part of the body), red bell pepper wedge, chicken, red onion wedge, beef and green bell pepper wedge. Do not shove vegetables, meat and shrimp too close together or they will not cook evenly. Place the prepared skewers on a plate in the refrigerator while you prepare the grill to a medium low flame (gas grill low flame, lid open). Have a small cup of water ready to sprinkle over the fire if this happens). Soak the skewers in Italian dressing for 2 to 3 minutes. Place on the grill, sprinkle with seasonings and baste with butter mixture (about 1/2 cup total). Serve remainder of butter slightly melted with mixed grill.

Pappasito's Tortilla Soup
7 cups Chicken stock or broth
1 cup white onions, diced
1 cup Carrots, sliced
1 T. Minced fresh jalapenos
1 cup Zucchini, sliced
1 cup Yellow squash, sliced
1 T. Salt
1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
6 Baby corn cobs, precooked 
6 cups Crispy corn tortilla chips
6 oz Monterey Jack cheese

 Place the broth in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and simmer until carrots are tender. Add jalapenos, zucchini, and yellow squash to broth and simmer 10 minutes more. Add salt. Taste and make sure all veggies are tender. Add tomatoes just before serving. Garnish with corn, tortilla chips, and cheese.

Pappasito's Texas Cyclone
Kosher salt
1 1/4 ounces Jose Cuervo 1800 Tequila
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
Squeeze of fresh lime
Squeeze of fresh orange
4 ounces sweet-and-sour/lemon-lime mix

Frost a 10-ounce glass and salt the rim. Combine tequila, Grand Marnier, lime and orange juices and sweet-and-sour mix. Pour into prepared glass. Salud!

"felicitaciones por su compromiso"

April 13, 2011

Baking the Best of Cookie Bars!

The Maine House is baking on this rainy Wednesday!

Rainy Day in Prout's Neck

 I love the coziness of home on a gray, stormy day and the sweet homemade baking aroma's in the kitchen. There is something so comforting about that. This is a perfect day to bring out some of the past "Cookie Bar" favorites from the children and prepare a box of goodies for Darling. We also like to have these on hand when we welcome family in from the Boston drive. These are keepers....hope you all enjoy baking day!

Frosted Banana Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces)  Sour Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas. Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool.

For frosting, in a bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined. Then blend in confectioners sugar until smooth.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Dash salt

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 large can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained

1 1/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons melted butter

Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking pan or spray with baking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and dash of salt. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the 12 tablespoons of butter until crumbly. Spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan and press with hands to form a crust layer. Bake for 12 minutes. Drain pineapple well in a colander; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and eggs; beat until smooth. Spread evenly over the baked crust, then sprinkle the drained crushed pineapple evenly over the top. In another bowl, combine the coconut, pecans, and 4 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle evenly over the pineapple and cream cheese layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until coconut is browned and filling is set. Chill thoroughly before cutting into squares.

Rasberry Cream Cheese Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 jar (18 ounces) red raspberry preserves
1/3 cup chopped slivered almonds

In a bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Press three-fourths of the mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set and edges just begin to brown.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Spread over crust. Drop preserves by spoonfuls over cream cheese mixture; carefully spread evenly. Combine almonds and remaining oat mixture; sprinkle over preserves. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and edges are golden brown.

Rainy Day in Boothbay Harbor