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Country Cousin

Easter...



Hi Folks!

April is here, and no foolin’ think this time it’s here to stay. For Easter Sunday, we’re being promised sunshine, with highs in the low 50s and lows in the mid 30s. Perfect for our new Easter outfits, and warm enough to do outdoor egg hunts if we want to. What more can we ask?

GROWIN’ THINGS

With the fine weather we had, should be planting peas on Good Friday like Grandma always said we should, and the weatherman is promising a fine mix of April showers and sunshine for the days ahead. Might consider putting in some other hardy seeds as well. Don’t know if it’s too early, but it’s worth trying, especially spinach, which tends to bolt in summer heat.

NOT GOOD ADVICE!

Sign on a cash register at a Wal-Mart says, Save Money - Swipe Now.

Gee!

Do they really mean that? When I was a kid, swipe meant steal!

WHAT, NO WINE?

Honey may attract more flies than vinegar, but vinegar does a better job of helping with cooking and cleaning. Vinegar is a wonderful, versatile thing, handy to have in the kitchen, and useful in many other parts of the house as well.

Vinegar has been made and used by people for thousands of years. Traces of it have been found in Egyptian urns dating from around 3000 BC. It was most likely first made by accident, when wine or some other alcoholic beverage went bad.

In the Bible, it is mentioned as something not very pleasant, but Boaz allows Ruth to dip her piece of bread in the vinegar, and Jesus was offered vinegar or sour wine while on the cross as stated in Matthew 27:48 and Mark 15:36.

In Islamic traditions, vinegar is one of the four favored condiments of the Prophet Muhammad, who called it a blessed seasoning.

Somewhere along the line, ancients discovered that vinegar, as well as salt, could be used as a preservative, and the art of pickling began.

When a recipe calls for wine, and you’re fresh out, substitute Heinz Red Wine Vinegar, diluting one part vinegar with three parts water.

If the recipe calls for buttermilk and you’re out, don’t drop everything and run to the store. Just pour a tablespoon of vinegar into a measuring cup, then add milk to fill the cup. Stir and let the mixture sit for about five minutes. You will have a curdled mixture that works just like buttermilk in all recipes

There are tons of uses for vinegar, which costs little and does a lot.

To tenderize and add flavor to meats, a mixture of one-half cup of white, cider or wine vinegar added to a cup of liquid bouillon makes a great marinade base.

Enhance the flavor of grilled fish dishes by adding a dash of Heinz White Vinegar. For firmer, whiter fish, soak your favorite filet or seafood steak for 20 minutes in one quart of water and two tablespoons of vinegar. And to clean up after cleaning fish, rinse your hands, the sink and the knife with a vinegar solution.

Want extra-shiny hair? After shampooing, rinse your hair well with one cup of water and a tablespoon of Heinz White Vinegar. It cuts the dulling soap residue and restores the shine, leaving your hair soft, shiny, beautiful.

Want a clean, shiny, fresh bathroom? Use full-strength vinegar to wipe away soapy film, mildew, and grimy buildup from your shower curtains. Or simply place your shower and bath curtains in the washing machine along with a bath towel. Add one cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. Dry on low for 3 minutes.

To return the like new shine to chrome, stainless steel, ceramic, or plastic fixtures, dampen a sponge or cloth with white vinegar and wipe away the dull film, then polish with a soft, damp cloth.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

Easter foods are so basically good that leftovers shouldn’t be a problem, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, and sometimes you can stretch the family budget by using parts of the meat you’d have discarded before, for example the bone, skin and pan drippings from your Easter ham.

Put the bone and whatever meat and cartilage sticks to it into a kettle with cold water, bring slowly to a boil and simmer for perhaps two hours. Somewhere along the way add the skin and fat you’ve trimmed from the ham, and pan drippings if the ham wasn’t too salty. When the cooking time is done, strain the broth and chill it. The fat will rise to the top and can easily be peeled off. If you’re really pinching pennies, use that fat for making meat pie pastry, frying eggs, or frying slices of leftover ham. During World War II, when fats were collected for munitions manufacture and some foods were rationed, we never threw away any cooking grease.

(Actually, we never threw away much of anything in our family. Grease was collected and either cooked with or given to the war effort. Rags were washed and used for cleaning or saved for the rag man who came around on a regular basis. Leftover food was fed to dogs, cats or chickens or put on the worm bed. Vegetable parings and egg shells went on the worm bed. Guess we were recycling in the purest form possible, but we didn’t know that at the time. We just knew we were making the best use possible of the bounty God had given us, which after all is one of our prime responsibilities as His children.)

But back to those Easter leftovers.

Use the broth as a base for bean or pea soup. Add a spoon of pan drippings, with a small amount of fat, to green beans for a meal accompaniment, or to enhance canned pork and beans.

From leftover ham, make ham salad, chef salad or ham sandwiches. Chop and freeze it to use in potato salad, scrambled eggs, omelets, to top baked potatoes, for potato soup, scalloped or au gratin potatoes.

Top a wheat tortilla shell with ham, salsa, and cheddar cheese and warm it up for hot ham and cheese sandwiches.

Hard boiled eggs aren’t leftovers, they’re ingredients. Using them up should never be a problem. Make egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, potato salad, tuna salad, pasta salad, chef salad, spinach salad with eggs and bacon, or the Golden Morning Sunshine recipe in today’s Cookin’ Time.

EASTER CHICKS

You’ll find below some recipes for varieties of Deviled Eggs. Saw the cutest idea in a magazine. Take hard boiled eggs and slice off just the top part of the shell, pointed side down. Use egg holders or one of those special deviled egg dishes so they’ll stand up. Remove the yolks and make deviled egg filling with any recipe you want. Fill the bottom half of the egg white, and put the top on as sort of a little hat, tilted so part of the yellow filling shows. Use bits of black olives for eyes, and either a speck of carrot or a piece of red pimiento for a beak. If you did it right, you’ve just made a tray of cute little Easter chicks.

COOKIN’ TIME

Easter is a perfect time to have fun with food. Sometimes we have too much of a good thing, but not often. To turn leftovers into planned-overs, dress them up in new ways and serve proudly.

DEVILED EGGS

Deviled eggs are a perfect way to use excess colored eggs, or those on which the dye job went bad. Deviled eggs have their roots in ancient Roman recipes, but they were not called deviled until the 18th Century, in England. The first published recipes for stuffed, boiled eggs were from medieval Europe. In the 17th century this was a common way to prepare eggs. The following recipes all use the same preparation techniques. Only some of the ingredients are changed to project the ingenuity of the chef. Choose one and make it your own, or combine a few ideas with some new additions and come up with your unique version of an old favorite.

To make perfect hard-boiled eggs that are easy to peel, start with a large kettle and eggs that are at room temperature and not too fresh.

12 hard-boiled eggs

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried chives

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoon milk

fresh parsley

paprika

Slice eggs in half lengthwise,or crosswise, depending on your intended use. Remove yolks, and set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks. Add the next ingredients and mix well. Evenly fill the egg whites with yolk mixture. Store in refrigerator. For easy filling, use a pastry bag, a waxed paper cone, or a plastic zipper bag from which you have cut one corner. You will squeeze the filling into the egg through that corner.

GRANNY’S DEVILED EGGS

4 hard-boiled eggs

1 1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

* 3 teaspoon mayonnaise

* black olive slices

* pimento strips

Cut eggs in half crosswise, using knife or cutter to give scalloped edge. Sieve egg yolks. Add mustard, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix well. Spoon into pastry bag filled with rose point. Press yolks mixture into egg whites. Garnish with olive slice of pimento strips, or lightly sprinkle with paprika. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let chill for at least an hour.

DIVINE DEVILED EGGS

6 hard cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise

1/4 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

2 to 3 teaspoons coarse grated horseradish, drained (more

or less to taste)

2 tablespoons real bacon bits

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Paprika for garnish

See instructions above

DEVILISH EGGS

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 large shallot, minced

6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and split lengthwise

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 drops Tabasco sauce

See instructions above.

GOLDEN MORNING SUNSHINE

A version of this was the first recipe our Home Ec teacher taught us more than 50 years ago. She called it Goldenrod Eggs, and used butter and whole milk. The recipe involved removing the yolks and crumbling them, and cutting the whites into petal-shaped slices. The buttered toast was then covered with the cream sauce, and on that we arranged the egg white slices to resemble a flower. We piled the crumbled egg yolks in the center, then sprinkled a little paprika on the yolks only. Today we’d garnish the flower with a parsley sprig, but in those days parsley wasn’t easy to come by unless you grew your own. Incidentally, most of us did. Can’t really understand why more of us don’t grow it today, because it’s really easy and stays nice year round with just a little attention.

2 cups white sauce

4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

Make white sauce. Once the white sauce has thickened, add eggs. Serve on toast.

WHITE SAUCE

Almost fat free, and extremely economical. Add a couple spoons of cheese spread or melt in some shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese for a quick and easy cheese sauce. Or add cubes of ham for color, flavor and protein.

1/4 cup dry milk

2 tablespoon. flour

dash salt

1 cup cold water

1 tablespoon. margarine

In a covered jar, combine dry milk, flour and salt and mix well. Add water. Shake until all the ingredients are dissolved. Melt margarine in a 1 quart sauce pan. Stir in flour/milk mixture and cook over low heat until mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Keep stirring until thickened completely. Recipe reprinted from www.LivingOnADime.com.

CHOCOLATE BANANA EGGS

A cross between pudding, cake and candy, these luscious morsels would make a delicious addition to any Easter basket, or as an edible centerpiece for the Easter table. Coat the egg-shaped filling with white or dark chocolate, and decorate with Easter-themed candies for an extra-special touch. Best made only a day or two in advance. They can sit out for a few hours, but in general, once made, they should be refrigerated until serving time. Recipe makes about 36 candy-coated eggs.

1/2 cup cold milk

1 package (3.4 oz.) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding

1 small fully ripe banana, mashed

1 10.75 ounce frozen pound cake, thawed

3 packages (4.4 oz. each) milk chocolate bars, chopped, or equivalent white chocolate or almond bark

Multi-colored sprinkles or other candy decorations

Crumble cake into fine crumbs. Stir milk and pudding mix in medium bowl with large spoon just until pudding mix is moistened. Immediately add bananas and cake crumbs and mix well. Shape into 36 (1-inch) balls and form into egg shape by rolling gently in your hands until you achieve the shape you want. Place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Freeze for an hour or more. Melt chocolate in medium microwavable bowl on high for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Dip eggs in chocolate; return to baking sheet. Top immediately with sprinkles or lightly press in other candy decorations. Let stand until coating is firm.

To make dipping easy, remove the inner tines of a plastic disposable fork and set aside. Add cake eggs, in batches, to the bowl of melted chocolate. Use a spoon or rubber scraper to evenly coat with chocolate, then remove with the prepared fork and place on waxed paper or a clean cookie sheet. If too much chocolate collects on the pan, scrape it up and re-melt to continue dipping the eggs.

Thought for the week: Have a Blessed and Happy Easter. May the old, old story, ever new, bring hope to our lives and joy to our hearts. We have God’s promise that whatever bad we have done will be forgiven, if only we ask sincerely, with pure intent. Jesus died for us so that could happen, and rose again to prove it. Rejoice, for He is risen!

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