Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother’s Day is right round the corner! My sweet little 90 year old Mother is going to join the whole family on the veranda at the vineyard, for an afternoon of family fun and I hope an amazing array of food and wine!
In trying to decide what to add to the pot luck, I am using several guidelines.
#1. My Mom’s favorite foods
#2. Many children will be there, has to be kid friendly food
#3. Outdoors, food that does not require refrigeration
#4. Food that pairs well with wine
#5. There must be 2 desserts; a major chocolate experience to go with the Port; and a less sweet fruit dessert to go with the Ambrosia Dessert wine

Mom’s favorite foods include Rhubarb! She loves it and used to “stew” it and keep it in the refrigerator in a glass covered dish. I'm planning on making a Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler for her. It should be rather tart with the rhubarb, so should go well with Ambrosia wine.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Biscuit Topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, finely ground
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus additional for brushing
Fruit Mixture:
1 pound strawberries, sliced
1 pound rhubarb, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Make the biscuit topping: Mix together the flour, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, ginger, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add about 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and mix until it forms a dough (you might not need all the cream). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

2. Make the fruit mixture: Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, granulated sugar, and vanilla bean in a large bowl. Let stand for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean and pour off half of the liquid, then stir in the cornstarch and vanilla extract. Pour the fruit into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick and cut into circles or any desired shape. Place the dough on the fruit mixture without overlapping any pieces. Brush the top of the dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake the cobbler for about 25 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling in the center.

I will serve it warm with lots of vanilla ice cream.
Also, in honor of my Mom, I will have her sugar cookies for the kids….I doubt if rhubarb will be on their list of things to try!

Years ago, my sister-in-law, Vicki Johnston, gave me a recipe for little ham sandwiches that the Wichita Junior League. They are wonderful, easy to prepare ahead of time, and both children and adults love them. I’ve eaten them before, maybe made them once, so, I think I will make them also. They have one of my favorite cheeses on them, Havarti! I go to Werner’s Speciality Foods on Johnson Drive in Mission, Kansas, to get my Havarti. I have them slice it on #12 setting and it is perfect!

Party Sandwiches………makes 24
3 tablespoons mustard
¼ cup minced onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
¾ cup butter
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
24 cocktail size buns
2 pounds thinly sliced ham or shredded roast beef
12 slices Havarti cheese

Mix the mustard, onion, Worcestershire, butter and poppy seeds. Slice buns in half and spread each half with the butter mixture. Use all of the butter mixture, do not skimp! Divide the meat and cheese between the 24 sandwiches. Place on baking sheet, wrap in foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
I think these little sandwiches will go beautifully with a bottle of chilled Oktoberfest Wine if I go with the ham. If I do beef, maybe Arch’s wine, Flyboy Red.

Now, for a few words on what is so unfairly being called “the swine flu”! Pigs have nothing to do with this outbreak! Don’t quit eating pork! Here is an excerpt from an article concerning the H1N1 flu.

"It is an unfortunate fact of life these days that until more hard evidence is available from health officials, the public will continue to be bombarded by unfounded opinions, non-scientific statements and unrestrained internet media, rumor and speculation. Thus, it might be helpful to review some of the facts:
· According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the H1N1 influenza virus is not transmitted by food, so you cannot get the disease from eating pork or pork products.
· The CDC also stated that, while the virus is contagious from humans to humans, it has not found any evidence to indicate that any of the illnesses resulted from contact with pigs, hence, the decision by the Government to rename the virus H1N1 makes sense and helps remove the "fear factor" from pork products.
· Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack confirmed that there is no evidence at this time showing that swine have been infected with H1N1 influenza."

Poor Porky, he is really getting a bad name from all the hype in the press! But then, Porky isn’t the only one the press has tried to destroy!
Do you remember Oprah’s comments on Beef?....... On her April 16, 1996 show, Winfrey interviewed Howard Lyman, a vegetarian activist, who told the audience that the United States was in danger of having an outbreak of mad cow disease. At the time, hundreds of thousands of cows in Great Britain were being killed because experts suspected that the contaminated beef was causing a deadly disease in humans. When Lyman appeared on Winfrey's show, there had been no recorded cases of mad cow in the United States--and there have been no cases in this country since.
After hearing Lyman, Winfrey exclaimed, "It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger." The next day, the U.S. cattle market plummeted.
The press is doing the same damage to the Pork market with their insisting on calling it the “Swine Flu”.
So, if you love pork….EAT MORE PORK!

Spareribs and Sauerkraut This one is for Lisa Mirabile!
6 slices bacon
3 pounds country-style spareribs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about)
1 medium sweet onion, sliced very thin and separated into rings
6 cups beef broth
12 ounces beer (may substitute additional broth)
1 bag fresh sauerkraut (16 ounces) rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

1.Place bacon in a large Dutch oven and cook until crisp. Remove, drain, crumble into large chunks, and set aside.

2.Dust spareribs with flour. Brown in the bacon drippings. Set aside.

3.Sweat onions in the drippings (add a little butter, if necessary) until translucent. Stir in beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook for 3 minutes, then add beef broth.

4.Return spareribs to the pot, along with any accumulated juices. Add sauerkraut, paprika, caraway seeds, and pepper. Stir.

5.Cover and simmer over low heat until ribs are tender and falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours. Remove bones and stir in bacon pieces before serving.

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