Saturday, July 30, 2011

A charcoaled grilled steak for dinner

I have a Weber gas grill that I use a lot in the warmer months. But sometimes it's nice to go back to "the real thing". . . charcoal grilled steaks!

I set up my Baby Weber, as I call it, in the back yard and cooked a strip steak for dinner.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, John and Michael!

My twin sons are 38 today. Have a great day. I'm very proud of both of you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Update on my flower gardens

Recently I wrote about the battle with a woodchuck and slugs destroying my impatiens in the front yard. It looks like I have won.

This is my garden packed with "deer resistant" perennials. The silver plant in the front that is leaning down, usually stands tall, but it rained during the night. Those stalks will bounce back soon.

And this is the other side. On the right edge of the photo is the lamb's ear plant. It is another good deer resistant plant, although I need to cut the blooms off this one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A trip down memory lane. . .

Lois, one of my blog friends, has posted two days of a wonderful picture tour of her recent day trip to Wilmington, Ohio. It is a sleepy little town that will take you back to the early 50's. So much in those pictures remind me of days gone by - the elaborate clock, the buildings, the hotel where they had lunch, the quaint little shops, and much more.

There are little towns like that all around Rochester. I do enjoy them when I ride through, but almost never stop to really take it all in, or even take pictures. She also mentioned going there in her childhood when her family would "go for a ride." Going for a ride - to no place in particular - was a big deal back in the early to mid 50's. It was a simpler time, lost in today's fast paced world.

I have ridden a bike twice across New York State, along the Erie Canal from Tonawanda, NY over to Schenectady. All along the way, our tour group passed little villages and hamlets very much like the town Lois featured. It was an experience I'll never forget.

Take a look at her two recent posts. You'll find the link here

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blue Ribbon Recipes from America's State and County Fairs

This wonderful collection of winning recipes is one of my favorites and one that I turn to when I want to impress company. The author set out to collect the very best recipes from State and County Fairs across the country.

The recipes cover everything from breakfast foods, vegetables, yeast and quick breads, candies and pastries, even jams and jellies and much more.

It is no wonder I had trouble finding just one recipe to feature here. So I chose two!

The Blueberry-Lemon Delight is a sure crowd pleaser. It won second place at the Michigan State Fair in 2000.

1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon flavoring
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup pecans, chopped


1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in milk, lemon flavoring, and zest. With mixer running, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold in blueberries and pecans. Spread batter into baking pan.

To make topping: In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter in pan. Bake 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan.

Makes 8 servings.

Pecan Swirls won first place, youth division at the Florida State Fair in 2005

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 cups sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Divide dough in thirds, form into balls, and flatten slightly into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill until easy to handle, about 2 hours.

Combine pecans and sugar. Roll out each dough disk on a lightly floured surface to make a 16 x 9 inch rectangle. Sprinkle one-third of pecan mixture over top to within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up tightly jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours.

Unwrap dough logs and cut into 3/8 inch slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 400 F. oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes 8 dozen pecan swirls.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blog Statistics for Sherry's Place

I find it entertaining to follow the statistics (number of hits my blog gets) for Sherry’s Place.

There are probably a dozen or so of my friends and family who follow my blog regularly but don’t comment. . . you have to be signed up with blogspot or google to post a comment. Beyond that, I’m guessing there are another dozen or so followers who usually stop by and on occasion, any number of others who find their way to my blog. But overwhelmingly, the vast number of hits come from google searches. Two posts in the last few months have garnered a high number of posts. The first, the post titled, “The best ever coleslaw recipe” and the other one, was the first post I did on sporting clays.

My stats page also shows what country the visits come from. I was surprised to find a significant number from Europe and China.

I have no way of knowing the identities of those who stop by, unless, of course, they leave a comment. The exception to that one is if I get hits on posts from our annual cousins reunion long after they appeared, then I have a pretty good idea it’s a family member who was there and wants to relive the fun we had!

Sometimes people will e-mail their comments to me rather than leave a comment on the blog. Recently, a new reader to my blog e-mailed that she had tried unsuccessfully to leave a comment on the blog and for whatever reason, it wouldn’t work. She e-mailed to say she found one of my recipes in the Summer Salads post particularly interesting and thanked me for sharing. That one made my day!

As anyone who follows my blog knows, I don’t have a main theme for what I write . . . my life is much too multifaceted to do that! When I chose to focus on my huge cookbook collection, I didn’t know how well that would be accepted. Surprisingly, it has done well. People have mentioned to me, in person or through e-mails, that they enjoy those.

And finally, if you have ever thought of starting a blog, JUST DO IT! You will find it is a lot of fun and you will make new and interesting friends from all over the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

YES!!! Another personal best score!!!

I did it again. Today I scored another personal best in sporting clays! In fact, I'm even getting close to the range of a respectable score!

There is no thrill like seeing that bright orange disk shatter into pieces when you pull the trigger!

Crochet Give-Away over at Lois' Blog

My blog friend, Lois, a non-stop knitter and crocheter, is having a crochet give-away on her blog. Find her link here

She has an online shop with all kinds of crochet/knitted items, from doll clothes to beautiful afghans. Check it out! Christmas isn't that far off!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Andrew crushes the competition at Triathlon

Just as I was looking for ideas for my next post here, I received this picture of my youngest grandson, Andrew. This little six year old, ladies and gentlemen, swept past the competition, completing a 100 meter swim, a 1.5 mile bike ride, and a half mile run this morning.

But wait! Big brother, Kevin, starts his competition at 9:30 this morning. Stay tuned!

UPDATE! Kevin did great in his age group also. He completed a 100 meter swim, 4.5 mile bike ride, and a 1.5 mile run.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vegetarian cookbook from the bargain table

I found this one on the bargain table at a bookstore several years back. It turned out to be a goldmine for wonderful vegetarian recipes. Although I am not a vegetarian, I do enjoy a lot of vegetarian meals. Like a lot of health conscious folks, I have cut back on the amount of red meat in my diet.

There are quite a few recipes here that I cook often. . . Garlic, Chickpea & Spinach Soup, Mixed Vegetables with Artichokes, and Cauliflower & Broccoli with Tomato Sauce, to name a few.

Garlic, Chickpea and Spinach Soup is easy to put together and makes a nice satisfying meal by itself.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
5 cups stock [a strict vegetarian would use vegetable stock. . . I use chicken stock]
12 oz. potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons tahini
7 oz. fresh spinach, shredded
cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes, or until they are softened and golden.

Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for another minute. Pour in the stock and add the chopped potatoes to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes more. Blend together the cornstarch, cream, tahini and plenty of seasoning. Stir into the soup with the spinach. Bring to a boil, stirring and simmer for another 2 minutes. Season with cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A peek at my gardens

Here are my coneflowers in bloom. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Thanks to a big fat woodchuck and slugs, my impatiens have not done well this summer. By this time, they should be covering the ground with a lot of blooms. The white balls you see in the picture are mothballs which discourage the woodchuck. For slugs, I used small, flat containers of beer. They crawl into the beer and drown. At this point, I'm just trying not to lose the plants totally.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tickled Pink! A Personal Best Score

As some of you know, I became totally excited about sporting clays shooting within the last year. Sporting clays has been described as "golf with a shotgun!" You go from station to station, shooting at moving targets. Each station is different in the path of the moving clay target. It is a big challenge and a lot of fun. The clay target can fly from the right or left, high or low, straight or curved. They even have one station simulating a rabbit running across the field.

Yesterday I had a personal best score. Never mind that my score is not respectable! I'm still learning.

Aside from the thrill of hitting the target, it is pleasant to walk the course. I belong to one of the finest clubs in the country for sporting clays, Rochester Brooks Gun Club. There are two sporting clays courses. They vary from stations in the wide open to walking through the woods. Very scenic, especially in the fall with the fall foliage.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers - Salads

This post will drive my friend, Granny, over in Australia, nuts!!! It is not customary to have jello (or congealed) salads in Australia. I got a big laugh out of that one! She said the first time she came to America, she was astounded to see Americans with "jelly" on their plate!!!


I have several old, old cookbooks from the "Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers" series, dating back to the early 1960s. This one features salad recipes - all kinds! After seeing that my previous post from this series continues to get a lot of online visits, I did a little exploring and found out the Favorite Recipes Press is alive and well and has a website as well as quite a following from the public.

You can tell by a quick look at the table of contents that this is an old book. They refer to pasta salads as "macaroni salads!"

Over the years, I have used this volume quite a bit and have gotten my share of compliments.

Here is a quote from the Introduction to this book: "To exchange recipes is an age-old custom. To share a favorite recipe symbolizes friendliness and good will, as well as pride in one's culinary performance. The recipes in this book were contributed voluntarily by home economics teachers who had used them and found them to be good enough to recommend to others as a favorite recipe."

Here are a couple of recipes that I like. Let me know what you think.

7-UP Salad (For those readers outside the US who may not be familiar with the term "7 UP," it is a soda (or soft drink). Not sure if it is still sold (I'm not a soda drinker!) It is similar to a lemon-lime soda. I have often used ginger ale in this recipe rather than 7 UP.

1 small package lime jello
1 cup boiling water
2 small packages cream cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 6oz. bottle of 7-UP

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Cool. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into jello mold and chill.
Note: I use an old Tupperware jello mold that makes an attractive display on the table. You could simply use any bowl.

Cold Meat Salad

2 cups leftover roast, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup tart apple, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine meat, celery and apple. Mix mayo thoroughly with mustard and salt. Add to meat mixture. Toss lightly until well coated. Serve on crisp lettuce leaves.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Salads

Here are recipes for summer salads that I make a lot this time of year.

The first one, Blueberry Salad, has been a favorite in my family for years.

2 3oz. packages blackberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple
1 can blueberries

1 8oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 - 2/3 cup chopped walnuts.

Dissolve the jello in the boiling water. Add the crushed pineapple and blueberries, including juice from both cans. Stir. Chill till firm.

For the topping, combine all ingredients in a mixer. Then spread over top of the jello mixture. Top with chopped walnuts.

Macaroni-Pepperoni Salad
I first had this salad at a family reunion about thirty years ago. I've made it dozens of times over the years and I'm often asked for the recipe.

2 cups uncooked macaroni shells
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup sliced pepperoni
4 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
2 cups grated cheddar

Cook and drain macaroni.

Mix all ingredients together except the cheese.
Top with cheese. Make ahead and chill for best flavor.

Ribbon Jello
This one is a bit tedious to make but well worth the effort. A sure crowd pleaser.

5 small packages jello, each a different color
16 oz. sour cream

Dissolve one package of jello in 1 cup boiling water. Take out 1/2 cup and add 2 tablespoons cold water. Place in bottom of rectangular glass pan. Allow to chill 25 to 30 minutes. To the remainder of the jello, add 1/3 cup sour cream and combine. Spread this on top of the first layer in the pan.

Continue with these directions for the other four packages. The idea is to have contrasting layers of colors.

When complete, cut into one inch squares and place on a serving plate. Makes an attractive dish and one everyone likes!

This last one, Swiss Chard-Cabbage Salad, is not only highly nutritious, but has an exceptionally good taste. I got the recipe from Farmgirlfare, a blog I follow. Find the link to the right of this blog where I list the blogs I follow.

4 cups thinly sliced Swiss Chard leaves
1 cup chopped Swiss Chard stems
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
7 or 8 chopped scallions
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 16 oz. carton of cottage cheese
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in order given and mix well. Chill before serving.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bizarre, but true!

I am having an awful time this summer with my impatiens in the front yard. First I thought it was a woodchuck eating the blooms. Someone told me to put mothballs around the plants. I haven't seen the woodchuck in over a week but then something started eating the stems.

Last night I was talking with Rita, one of my cousins from down South. She asked me if it could be slugs. As a matter of fact, yesterday I did see a couple of them when I was pulling weeds. She told me if I put small containers of beer around the plants that the slugs would go for that and die once they got to the beer. . . yes, I laughed too!

The only thing I had to put the beer in was disposable plastic cups. So I cut the bottoms off three cups high enough up to hold about a half inch of beer. This morning I have two dead slugs in the beer containers!!!

Well, let's see. . . Rita, you've got a pretty good track record. The grits on ant hills was a swift killer! The moth balls seem to have detracted the woodchuck. And now I have two slugs to dispose of!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

French Vegetable Ratatouille in the Crockpot

It has been awhile since I featured a cookbook from my large collection, so let's get back to that.

This one is from my Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker book, copyright 1999. My idea of cooking with a crockpot is a recipe that requires nothing more than putting all the ingredients together in the crockpot, turning it on, and forgetting it for the next 8 to 10 hours. Those are the crockpot recipes I use. It is so pleasant coming home to a house smelling of a meal cooking in the crockpot.

Here is a recipe that would make a nice summer meal using fresh vegetables from your garden or the Farmer's Market.

1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
4 medium tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients in a 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A fun day with the grandchildren!

Today was a wonderful day with my grandsons. . . oh! and John and Jen too!!!

We went to the zoo. The last time I was there, Kevin, my oldest grandson, was just starting to walk!

I think the exhibit I enjoyed most was the penquins. The zookeeper was feeding them and that was fun to watch! We also saw a bald eagle, seals, polar bears, elephants, and so many more species.

We came back to my house. John wanted to dig into his old set of legos from his childhood. Kevin, Jake, and Andrew all enjoy legos. The picture above shows all four of them at my dining room table putting together legos from way back in the 1980's. They were oblivious to anything else going on!

We had barbeque chicken on the grill, blueberry salad, 3-bean salad, fresh fruit salad and apple pie for dessert.

I will see them again on Monday, the Fourth of July.