Homemade Play Dough – (Non-Edible)

This is a great project to do with the kids. It’s made with basic kitchen ingredients so you can probably put together a batch today. Makes about 4 cups. Have fun!

2 cups regular white flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
Your choice food coloring

In a large skillet, place flour, salt and cream of tarter; combine. Make a well in the center of this mixture and pour in water, oil and the food coloring. Over low heat, using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it thickens to a modeling clay consistency. Cool it completely then store it in an airtight plastic container.

Polish Eggs (a.k.a. Deviled Eggs)

These eggs are courtesy of Marek, a Polish friend of mine from work. He brought in 3 samples for me to try; I brought them home for the “real” taste test and we were fighting over them! That makes it a keeper in my house. Quite different from American deviled eggs because you keep the shells on. Sounds weird? We thought so too, but then we tasted them – oh, so delicious!

8 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or mayo (sour cream is preferred)
1 tsp. horseradish- (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbls. butter
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

A good, sharp knife

Hardboil the eggs with 1 tablespoon of vinegar added to the water. Drain and cool in cold running water. DO NOT PEEL.  Wipe off the eggs. Place egg on board or countertop; give it a swift tap along its length with a sharp knife, (you cannot use a serrated blade for this job) then quickly cut it through lengthwise – shell and all. Put shells safely aside.

With a small spoon, scoop out the cooked yolks and the whites – take care to not damage the shell. Mix and mash the eggs with sour cream, horseradish, dill, salt & pepper. Carefully place filling into shells.

Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying/saute pan. Carefully press the filled eggs into the breadcrumbs and place filled-side down in hot butter in pan. Gently brown for 1-2 minutes.
Serve, being careful with the shells.

Pork Spice Rub

You may never use another rub again, it’s that good.

2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar (dark brown is better)
1/2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin or regular olive oil

Take out the meat you will be using and place in a pan. Combine all the spices together in a small bowl and set aside. Spread the olive oil all over the meat, then sprinkle the spices over and rub in an all over the meat, using all of the spices. Cover pan and place in fridge several hours or overnight. Prepare meat either on grill, rotisserie or oven – whatever you wish. Enjoy.

Rice Porridge

Very comforting nursery food.  When I wanna curl up on the couch and pamper myself, this is what I eat while watching a romantic comedy or (gasp!) a horror flick!

1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 tsp. kosher salt

Place rice in a sieve to rinse under cold water then let drain. Place the drained rice, 6 cups cold water, and the salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover partially, then turn to medium-low to simmer for about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  It is done when it has the consistency of porridge. Place in bowls with topping of your choice (butter, ground pepper, syrup, etc.) This makes about 4 servings.

Rasgullas (Squeaky Cheese Balls)

Strange name but delicious little treats. Basically, it’s homemade cheese simmered in sugar water then cooled. This is an Indian recipe that came from friends of mine from Upstate New York. It’s simple, different, and tasty. Plan on making these a day ahead; they need setting time.

3 pints milk
3-4 Tbsp. lemon juice – room temperature
2 tsp. cornmeal
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 cups water
Few squares/pieces of cheesecloth (Can be purchased in the dishcloth section of grocery store)

Line a colander with the cheesecloth and place in the sink.

Pour the milk into a large saucepan and bring to the almost boiling point – keep an eye on this as the milk will begin to rise in the pan and it rises fast. As it begins to rise, remove it from the heat and add the room temp lemon juice and stir only once. Allow this to stand for 5 minutes; the curds will form during this time. Pour milk mixture into the lined colander and drain for about 4 hours.

Turn the curds out onto your counter and knead a full 5 minutes, using the heel of your hand. Add the cornmeal and knead again until the cream cheese is smooth. You will know when you are done kneading because your palm will become greasy.Shape cheese into walnut-sized balls and place on a plate; set aside.

In a large saucepan heat sugar and water together until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour about half (you don’t have to be exact) of the syrup into another container such as a large, glass Pyrex measuring cup.

Put Rasgullas into the syrup in the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered on very low heat until the Rasgullas swell and become spongy – approximately 1 hour. You will need to occasionally add a little of the reserved sugar syrup to the pan to keep it from getting too thick. After 1 hour remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Serve warm or at room temperature by placing 1 -2 Rasgullas on individuals plates per serving.

Cranberry & Pear Relish

This is an easy, quicker method because you use canned cranberries. Serve this anytime of year with any kind of roasted meat.

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 can jelled or whole cranberries
2 peeled, chopped pears
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice

In a medium pot on high heat bring water & sugar to a boil then simmer for 5 miunutes. Add the cranberries and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the spices, stir well then transfer to a bowl. Cool to room temperature then place in fridge to thicken – only takes a few hours.

Bubble & Squeak

No British cook am I, however I had to try, then of course tweak a bubble & squeak recipe I stumbled upon. Odd, but good. Personally, serving with good old American waffles on the side is divine. Try it and see.

About 6 potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
1 pound Kielbasa chopped into coins (I used Hillshire Farms)
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 good sized onions, peeled & sliced or diced
1/2 a head of cabbage, chopped – (I used purple)
5 large or extra large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes – drain and set aside.

In a large skillet cook sausage until browned on all side – about 10 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the oil to this skillet, heat, then add cabbage and onions and saute for about 5 minutes; add potatoes and sausages and cook and stir until mixed well. Cover and cook for 15 minutes; stir.

With a large spoon, make five indents into the cabbage mixture; crack open an egg and plop into each of the indents, sprinkle with black pepper. Cover and cook for about 7 minutes or until eggs are set.

Serve.