Thursday, December 2, 2010

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day!

It seems like I have been gone for a month, when actually, I've been right here, just too busy to post a blog. My family had a wonderful holiday together; there were 36 of us! My mom hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in the private dining room at Lakeview Village. No cooking, no dishes, no sweat! I did cook on several occasions between the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday following. We had many occasions to dine together, at home and in restaurants. We did barbecue at Jack's Stack and Mexican at Panzon's....and at my house, we concentrated on country ham! If you remember back about 2 weeks ago, I received a wonderful package from Smithfield Foods, compliments of Larry Santure, Smithfield's expert on country meats.


Let me tell you about this is wonderful! I baked 2 big sheet pans of biscuits to tuck the thinly sliced country ham in. Some added a little mayo, some topped it off with honey, others with cheese and brother-in-law topped his off with more country ham!
The morning after Thanksgiving, we all gathered at  Betsy's and Ben's house for omlettes and paninis...that evening we, once again, all got together to eat! This time it was at Tom's and Vicki's. By this time we were stuffed to the gills!
But that didn't stop us from gathering at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, where we sat outdoors in the beautiful sunshine. We didn't eat, but we did enjoy the wine!
So, with the ham and the turkey I roasted with the Spanish smoked paprika rub, the Nanson's brunch and the Johnston's lasagna dinner, and of course, Mom's wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, we (over)ate well for 5 days!
One of the side dishes I served with the ham was a spinach salad from a Kansas City restaurant that has been gone for years. It was called Putch's and was located on the Country Club Plaza here in Kansas City. They served this salad everyday to the delight of their patrons. When I served it to my family, my daughter Cindy remembered it from her childhood. She was so happy to taste it again! I guess I forgot to prepare the salad for years! I doubt if I will let that much time go by before I serve it again. I hope you enjoy it.

Putsch's Spinach Salad
2  12 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
¼ cup celery, chopped fine
¼ cup onion, chopped fine
1 cup grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped (reserve one for garnish)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp mayonnaise

Thaw 2  12 oz. boxes of spinach, and drain in colander. When thawed, squeeze out all moisture before using in salad. The spinach must be thoroughly dry.
Combine celery, onions, eggs and cheese. Mix with spinach, tossing lightly.
Combine salt, Tabasco, vinegar and mayo. Add to spinach mixture and fold lightly.
Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.
 Serve with horseradish on the side.

Another big hit over the holiday was the Caramel Corn. I know for a fact, I prepared it daily, usually 2 batches a day! It is the best caramel corn I have ever tasted and the easiest.
I would say it is an absolute must at Christmas!

Caramel Corn
8 cups popped corn, lightly salted
1/4 cup butter (do not substitute margarine)
6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar (do not use golden brown)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a small saucepan, the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, bring to a boil while stirring frequently.
Pour caramel mixture over popped corn in a large bowl. Toss and stir to evenly coat the corn.
Spread popped corn evenly in a large baking sheet with sides. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt if you wish.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool on waxed paper, store in air tight container.
Okay, Thanksgiving is you have your Christmas menu planned yet?

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

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Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
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Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
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