Drinking Quarantinis and Making Word Salads

This time of self-isolation has given me plenty of time to do what I do best, muse about all things culinary. I went back and read each and every blog post I’ve written since 2014 (an activity I highly recommend for everyone!). I’m stunned by how easy it was to decipher where my mind set was throughout my highly lucrative (not!) blogging career. Early on, my posts were short, maybe a tad witty and certainly an attempt to highlight my carefree and loving relationship with food and drink. As I got more long winded with every post, it becomes clear that my blog had become my own soapbox to advocate for people like me, those who consider cooking an art form and an expression of love.

When I’m gardening, I might as well be painting. My small but plentiful beds are the same as canvasses. Likewise, I write like I cook and cook like I write……original, eclectic and always a lot of “me” put in it. Ingredients in a pot at the quantity and variety I choose, stirred and constantly adjusted or a story put to the words that come to me, rewritten and sometimes never shared with another soul, both are integral to my being. To be able to share though is what makes me complete. YOU complete me (That would be a great line in a movie don’t you think Jerry?). I have no music ability except a deep appreciation, but I imagine a musician can relate.

There’s no doubt that the last year and a couple of months has been the most challenging period in my life. The death of my love in February 2019 left a huge hole in my heart that will never be fully healed but at least had begun to be patched up a bit due primarily to sharing with those I love (that includes friends too, don’t get weird). Telling stories, out for dinner, cooking at my house, drinking, singing and laughing together, it’s the very best way to heal. Then frickin’ COVID-19 comes along….

Now I’m isolated. I’m probably not the worst to be in this position. I’m creative, whimsical and extremely smart. What I’m not is a loner, a tee toddler or a recluse. That being said, I’ve had to improvise. My kids who are isolating elsewhere and I have always shared photos of our culinary adventures whether homemade or at a restaurant (that is when we’re not at the establishment together which used to happen quite often). We’ve taken this practice to new heights during this dreadful time by documenting almost every meal. Yesterday I sent my daughter a photo of my breakfast: a Cottage Cheese Sundae.

Behold, a Cottage Cheese Breakfast Sundae

And of course there’s been numerous Facebook postings as if it were important to my friend’s well being to see what I’ve been up to in the kitchen. Truth be told, I’m the one who needs the feedback in order to keep some sense of sanity during this period of solo bread breaking. Fortunately I have several local friends who are more than willing to pick up stuff I cooked and I even provided a limited delivery option. Thank goodness for friends who don’t like to cook! Oh and there’s the cookbook. I’m writing a pandemic cookbook. It’s an accounting, if you will, of my survival tips that may be useful for some, interesting (more like humorous) to others and of no consequence to most. Since my work will never hit the book shelves at your local bookstore anytime soon or ever, I’m gonna give you a few little snippets here:

I think for everyone, getting groceries has become a life altering experience. I still go once a week, now in my very best camouflage mask, to get my staples if available but also to purchase my favorites each time just in case they’re not there the next time. At the risk of causing a “run” on some of the best products around, I’m sharing a few.

Utz Cheese Puff’n Corn– You may think you’re a bright orange cheese flavored powdered corn snack food aficionado, but you’re not. That is unless you’ve gone all in on this trumpian-in-color perfection. I, too, thought I knew best in the past, preferring the Cheese Ball to the Cheese Doodle, but now I’m not only older but wiser. Once you start puffin’ you’ll never go back.

Mini Avocados (any brand)- I’ve advocated for these perfectly sized fruits in the past. Avocados show up on every single “Super Foods” list yet we all know that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. One of these little tykes can easily be consumed in one sitting and should be. No slicing, dicing or scooping required- just cut in half, get rid of the itsy pit, spritz with citrus, highly pepper , lightly salt , a drip or two of EVOO and hot sauce and Voila!

AHA Strawberry + Cucumber Sparkling Water– Trust me, I’ve tried more flavors of AHA waters than most and this one is truly the best. I like the Black Cherry and Coffee Sparkling Water too, but as the name suggests it has caffeine (and electrolytes) in it so I don’t drink it with reckless abandon.

I could go on and on but I’ll save it for another post as I’m pretty sure this isolation thing is going to drag on for several more weeks/months. As such, I’ll give you just one simple, fairly lite-ish, original breakfast recipe that is bound to have you asking for more.

Sweet and Sassy Bagel – Plain mini bagel slathered with 1/3 less-fat cream cheese doused with cinnamon-sugar and a hearty sprinkling of Aleppo pepper. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-aleppo-pepper

Don’t always cook at home. Support your local restaurants. Small businesses only please! I’ve been amazed at all the innovative food and drink offerings my area restaurants have come up with. It’s been inspiring. And by all means, keep your home filled with flowers and start getting your garden plants from local greenhouses and an amazing flower shop!

Now to our front-line workers- I’ve been overwhelmed by your heroics displayed during this health crisis. I personally know a few and have friends who have relatives right in the epicenter in NYC. Bette Midler is credited with saying “People are not the best because they work hard. They work hard because they are the best.” YOU ARE THE BEST! When this is over I want to cook for each and everyone of you. Sadly, for now I’ll leave you with some food porn which is about the only thing I have to offer in this troubling time.

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him – the people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

50 Musings + 1

The Lemon Pepper Trout at Cracker Barrel is pretty good. Get the Country Platter rather then the Fancy Fixins’. No one needs three sides.

Some veggies and fruits in my Misfits box are mis fitted more than others.

Thank goodness I can now get mini avocados. Regular size avocados are a perfect example of too much of a good thing.

Stouts and Porters should really have peanut butter, coffee or chocolate in them.

Vodka can be infused with practically anything but nasturtiums is still my favorite.

Olives, especially green, are one of the best things to eat.

There is definitely a possibility of too much garlic.

Constant Comment should be designated as the world’s best tea bag.

Speaking of tea, always bring your water to a boil first.

There are only three really, really good flavors of salt water taffy: banana, peppermint and peanut butter. A related fact is that Banana Laffy Taffy is almost perfect.

Chicken thighs are much more flavorful than chicken breasts.

It’s a toss up which is better, Skittles or Starbursts.

Risotto is worth the wait.

Ham goes with Swiss just like Turkey goes with Cheddar.

Most Cabot cheese varieties are lactose free.

Almond Extract is superior to Vanilla Extract but it’s fun to make Vanilla Extract with Bourbon.

Speaking of Bourbon, most brown liquors are awful to drink.

All creamy crab soups should have sherry in them. Same goes for mushroom soup.

Everything Bagel Seasoning is a thing.

Red Wine is the nectar of Gods.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes should be available year round. Likewise, Chicken McNuggets should not be available at all.

Capon is a big old bird therefore it should never be eaten.

Lorna Doones are the best packaged cookies money can buy.

Just because you’re bad at baking doesn’t make you a bad person.

Why can’t someone else always pare my butternut squash. A related thing, I wish someone called me Butternut.

Charcuterie is fun to say. Hors d’œuvre is not and it’s hard to spell.

I don’t know why stewed tomatoes go with Mac and Cheese but I glad they do.

A well prepared Hot Dog should be considered a gourmet food.

Dukes isn’t the best mayonnaise to use when making chicken salad.

Capers are the most underrated thing that comes in a jar.

To be honest, I like regular yellow mustard better than Dijon. I’m not proud of that.

I have no Italian DNA, but my lasagne is really, really good.

My best work friend and I love to spread butter on Saltine crackers.

Nori just tastes like the ocean.

Someone should write a cookbook with recipes filled with what you can do with Cheese Curls.

Does anyone eat Bugles anymore?

If you eat gummi bears while drinking red wine you’ve made sangria in your mouth.

Sherried Cream Mushrooms should be on everyone’s Thanksgiving table.

I love cottage cheese. Anyone else? No apple butter though!

Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day. Unless it’s Brunch, then it’s my favorite.

I wish I could cook a meal for whoever I wanted to.

Wraps are not as good as sandwiches. And they’re no better for you. Get over it.

When Trump ate a taco salad it made me hate them.

Enchiladas are the very best as long as they’re cheesy.

All steaks should be cooked at medium, preferably medium rare. Well done is not well done.

Before a dance in high school we all ordered the fried shrimp. No one knew whether to use utensils or our fingers. I took the lead and dove in with my fingers. I’m proud of that.

I’d rather have a hamburger than a steak. Still medium or medium rare.

Clear liquors rule.

Salmon can be delicious if prepared correctly. Barramundi is more forgiving but delicious as well.

Shrimp can be awful if it has that weird taste.

Yellow cake with chocolate icing is the truest birthday cake there ever was.

He was Nuttier than a Fruitcake

I’ve always hated fruitcake. I never could understand why anyone would think Fruitcake was an appropriate gift to give or worst yet serve on your holiday table where there should be much more desirable sweets. My most vivid memory had been going to my step- grandmother’s house as a kid and seeing a tray of sliced fruitcake along side a tower of fig-filled cookies, date-nut spirals, crystallized grapefruit peels and dried apricots ……. nothing a child of any age would want to consume. Truth be told, most of the food served at Grandmother Esther’s was awful. Esther was a fine Professor of Music at Edinboro State Teacher’s College, but as a fine or even fair cook she was not. I was told by my mother that Es had an illness in the 1940s that altered her sense of taste so she really didn’t know what good food tasted like. I didn’t buy it, I think she reveled in annoying her step-son-in-law (my dad) and step grandchildren by serving us gross food. Perhaps I’ll write a future blog post about that but for now I digress. I hate fruitcake.

My husband did not hate fruitcake. In fact he loved it. I dare say his favorite might’ve been those loaves you could get at a drugstore usually sitting aside the fake tin of Danish Butter Cookies that was only sold November-January (and now probably 70% off). After years of debating the reason for the very existence of fruitcake and pleas from my husband to try making one, four seasons ago I defied my culinary values and agreed to make a fruitcake.

I set rules. The cake would be considered one of his Christmas gifts as the expense, effort and shear horror of what I would experience was gift worthy. Likewise, the cake would be unveiled on Christmas day in the company of only our immediate family and never, ever appear on our dining table after that. If he liked it, my husband was permitted to share it with known fruitcake lovers only. If he didn’t like it, we would never speak of it again.

I chose the recipe for “Dark Fruitcake” out of “The Joy of Cooking”. I bought all the ingredients right down to the currants and citron and all those other candied fruits that stick together in clumps and dates that are almost impossible to chop. I mixed everything in a gigantic bowl and used a 12-cup ring pan. My fruitcake weighed a TON. I baked it for many, many hours and then cooled it for many, many, hours. Surprisingly, once cool the menacing dark glob came out of the pan okay (Jeez it was dark. Maybe burnt? It didn’t smell burnt, just fruitcakey.). I covered the behemoth with brandy-soaked flour clothes, wrapped in multiple layers of plastic wrap, stuck it in a super-sized zip-lock bag and placed it in the cupboard of my antique dry sink. That was 3 weeks prior to Christmas day.

My man loved the fruitcake I had made. That year, he might’ve shared a tad, but mostly he ate it himself over a course of about two weeks. With each passing day he told me he loved me more than the day before because I had become a fruitcake maker. It was clear that another family tradition had begun and the following Christmas would include a homemade fruitcake.

So the next year there was indeed another two-ton fruitcake made that tasted similar to the first. Last year though I got bold and decided to make three large loaves instead. The idea being that now my fruitcake gift was even more fun because my husband could taste the cake at varying ages and share more easily since now his fruitcake had gained a small following. He finished the first loaf in about a week. The second loaf took him just about through basketball season (those who read this blog often know my husband was a basketball coach). To him, this was the best fruitcake ever! I’ll never get over the fact that my husband could love a gross food so much. For him, my fruitcake was right up there with the very best of my recipe rotation.

This is where my story gets a little sappy. You see my husband never got to his third fruitcake loaf. He unexpectedly died on February 18th of last year. Needless to say I never gave that fruitcake aging in my antique dry sink a thought until this holiday season, over a year since it had been baked. My daughter, son and I knew the holidays would be hard for us but we were determined to make the best of it while keeping our papa and husband in our hearts. I had suggested to my daughter we open the fruitcake on Christmas day to see what became of it then throw it away. I forgot all about it so the holidays came and went without the fruitcake making an appearance. Just yesterday (it’s January 7th) I remembered a Hallmark Christmas Movie featuring an 100 year old fruitcake (it’s called “Broadcasting Christmas”, I looked it up). That made me go right to the dry sink to fetch the last fruitcake loaf.

I took it out, unwrapped it’s many layers of plastic wrap and brandied cloth. It was still moist, dark and smelled thick of molasses. I took a bite. It tasted as gross as always. That same gross taste that my husband loved only now the brandy flavor was magnified. I took another bite. This time it tasted so much better. I could taste the love I put into making it. I could taste my love! Almost a year since my husband had passed and I was enjoying his fruitcake! In the end the gift I made for him became a gift to me. And that gift is going to keep on giving at least another year. I wrapped that “dark brick of molasses filled love” again in a brandy doused cloth, applied multiple layers of plastic wrap, put it back in the zip-lock bag and in the cupboard it went. Next Christmas, if I don’t think it’ll kill anyone, I’ll make my kids take a bite and share some with my husband’s fruitcake fans. I may keep any remaining for the following year but probably not.

I still think you’ve gotta be nuts to like fruitcake, but in this first week of January 2020 having a few bites was a gift to me. Live each day, be kind to one another and share the love.

“Political advice is a bit like your average Christmas fruitcake: something everyone gives and no one wants.” ~ Bob Dole

The Story of Hodge Podge Lodge and the Patchwork Garden

20130426_151722000_iosMy favorite Billy Joel song is the less popular “You’re my Home”. Life as an Army brat played right into the lyrics as I moved around a lot when I was young so I never really had a place I could call my very own until I fell in love with my eventual husband with whom I was married to for just shy of 38 years. Thing is, once you find that certain someone and as a couple you have the opportunity to acquire the “right” home together, Billy’s lyrics, while still lovely, don’t adequately portray how truly special it is to live and love in a dwelling that just “fits”.

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We stumbled upon Hodge Podge Lodge over thirty seven years ago. It was only up the road a piece from where my new husband and I were renting. I never gave the long empty, perpetually for sale, seemingly sad house much notice until one summer day when we were walking back from the swimming hole (yes, really and it’s still here) I decided to take a peek into the dirty windows.  

 

To say I was mesmerized at my very first glimpse inside is fairly accurate. The feeling of looking into my future was pretty intense. We were only twenty four years old, certainly not looking to buy, but how could I pass up finding out more about this oddly long house with what appeared to have not one, but two unique fireplaces, real knotty-pine on some of the walls AND ceilings along with nooks and crannies throughout!? The magical acre that surrounded the building was overgrown, buggy and poison ivy saturated but when I squinted a little and took a moment to dream I saw my garden beds, my little pond, my fairy stuff and plenty of room for outdoor entertaining. Another look and I saw our not-yet-born kids growing up here along with a sweet collection of cats and dogs. I was hooked. Fortunately my partner in life was willing to agree to our biggest impulse buy ever! Hence, Hodge Podge Lodge (fondly, HPL) and my Patchwork Garden was born.

A couple of seasons corn was planted among the flowers

We started out slowly, at a snail’s pace really, transforming what was once another family’s “place” (I know this because years ago the previous owners very grown-up children asked if they could spread some of their mom’s ashes down by the creek) into ours or more accurately, mine. The love of my life was no handy man and I, in turn, am no traditionalist. Whimsy is how I roll (even though my career choice was, uhm, restrictive to say the least). That being said, my personal time, my HPL time, for the last 37 some years has been filled with silly photos, tons of super-fun parties, my-style paintings and edible landscaped gardens.

My husband easily went along with my HPL vision while often reminding me he was just along for the ride. Occasionally he’d put his foot down, like when I wanted to put terraced steps down to the creek or create a fitness trail around the perimeter of the property (usually when it required “muscle” from him), but more often than not he let me meander through life at the lodge however I saw fit.

There’s nothing like drinking tea and eating scones on a grownup size toadstool dinette

Through the years parties and get togethers were many! Obviously since I write a blog about it, you already know I’m very fond of food and drink. Cooking is my passion followed closely and not unrelated by gardening. Our social events at HPL through the years are numerous and varied. There was the 60’s Retro Party, the Sangria Competition, and the Halloween Happy Hour where I read everyone’s tea leaves. There were countless Christmas parties, after B-ball game parties, Ladies luncheons and even a “St. Patrick’s” Day or two. Tablescaping (not sure that’s a word) is just like painting for me and to be honest I’m better at it! I love to start with a bare table and create a beautiful table tailored to the festivity at hand whether it be grandiose gala or an intimate dinner for two.

Traditions are huge in our family. Although not always, food and drink naturally plays a role in most of our traditions. We always had Crème Brûlée French Toast on Christmas morning, Spaghetti for the big guy the first night of basketball practice and Pork “Floaters” and Sauerkraut every New Year’s Day. Our famous Shrimp Spread (see my post “History, It’s in the Making” to know more) showed up often. Through the years at HPL, I’ve extended family traditions into my gardening. I grow a whole bunch of herbs. Years ago I developed my own double secret herb mix called Jen Blen. I use fresh in season, but also dry, package and label it. It’s then given to family and friends. I also make make blends of “Charsley”, “Chasil” and “Thanksgiving” all of which that are family staples that make their way to my grown children’s kitchens every year (yes, my daughter and son have become foodies in their own right). I “press” flowers and herbs and use them in art work. I’ve pickled cucamelons while my daughter created Cucamelons Photography! And of course there’s my social media favorite…. Friday Food Faces.

Things were not perfect at Hodge Podge Lodge.  The outdated wiring was a challange that has ever-so-slowly been replaced through time. For years our well water had a tendency to have the appearance of chocolate milk a couple of times a year until we invested lots of money we didn’t have into a heavy-duty filtration system. Poison Ivy has refused to vacate still and deer families and the resident ground hog seem to think the flowers and vegetables planted is their very own all you can eat buffet.

Our home life, like everyone’s, was filled with our own unique set of challenges. Ours was my husband’s health. Early in our marriage, my husband was diagnosed with a kidney disease. Chronic gout, a blood clot and a resulting pulmonary embolizism, kidney transplant, hip replacement and a triple by pass followed through the years. Always an extreme busy man, to everyone outside the home my husband’s health problems were hardly noticed. He rarely missed work except for required procedures and as a varsity basketball coach for 37 seasons he did NOT miss pratice or games….no way! At home it was different though. Hours were spent filling his meds box for the week (in recent years has was taking 26 pills a day, not to mention the monthly infusion given to him at the office or at home). Late night trips to the ER for an elevated heart rate happened several times but somehow he always got stablized so he’d be back at school the following morning. Inside and outside home improvement projects were put on hold in order to address the current health issue. Some of our family holidays can be remembered by whatever ailment “Papa” was suffering from at the time. Thing is though all this happened within the walls of our Hodge Podge Lodge, our family safe place.

Eight months ago my love, the father of my wonderful children, the person I have laughed with the most in my life died unexpectedly. While my grief is still immense, I am so thankful that my little Hodge Podge Lodge is filled to the brim with the sweet memories of our 40 years of life together. The way I look at it your “home”, whether it be your people, a place or both, intertwined with simple pleasures and traditions give you a sense of belonging.

 

We all have it in us to find true happiness, whether it’s with a true love, a place, family relationships or simply self-care. Find your “thing”, find your “person” or find your “place”. Just know that once you find it, no matter what happens you’ll never lose it. Memories live forever. Love, in all it forms, lives forever. I wish you love.

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression” – Maya Angelouimg_1653

 

 

 

I’m not Cavalier about the Cavalier!

20180906_144857494_iOSAfter spending the entire summer musing about relationships and losing as opposed to musing about eating and boozing, I’m back, better, and filled with lessons learned! When you treat someone with loving kindness you should be able to expect that in return….. that’s not always the case. Feminism isn’t age specific, one-dimensional or anger driven…… if you claim to be a feminist, you should be supportive and mindful of all women. My feelings are hurt certainly not for the first time or the last and I didn’t get a proper goodbye ……. I will try never be so “cavalier” with a loved one’s feelings.

Speaking of cavalier, and in this case I mean the Cavalier Hotel, early in September I spent four glorious days at this newly revamped gem in Virginia Beach. I got several musings I must share:

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Coupe style glass filled with a delic Dirty Martini overlooking the Croquet lawn.

The glasses: Martinis served from the Raleigh Room Bar are superb and the coupe style glass used gives the whole experience a certain elegance of a by gone era.

20180904_005049087_iOSBecca www.beccavb.com : The more upscale restaurant at the Cavalier serves Cheddar Popovers as the bread option! After one bite of this heavenly puffy, gooey, pastry slathered in sweet cream butter I kinda forgot that I had an entrée coming. I heard one server say the dinner menu changes weekly, I certainly hope that’s not the case for the popovers.

The Hunt Room: Meeting my high school/college chum and her husband is always fun! This occasion was no different. I recommend the duck thigh… it’s succulent, just the right size and the roasted brussels sprouts served with it are divine. In addition, in my opinion the in-house distillery, the Tarnished Truth, produces a fine Vodka and my husband would vouch for the bourbon and rye.

20180906_003414305_iOSBaladi’s http:/baladicafe.com/ : We dined with my 7 year-old grand-nephew, Dominic (most likely the only actual name you’ll ever see on this blog) and his parents at this absolutely delicious Mediterranean restaurant. Tucked away in a strip-mall, I didn’t expect much but once you enter you’re greeted with a quaint bistro feel and the food was more than delightful. I got the fish special which is prepared the same way as described on the menu just with different fishes. Our night it was Mahi-Mahi and well, it tasted as lovely as it looks. The jasmine rice was tasty as well and I just wish the Cavalier had more space in the honor fridge so I could’ve taken the leftovers. As it were I gave all that I had left to my absolutely favorite nephew who lives in the State of Virginia.

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EAT Bistro http://eatbistro.net/: Our last night we made a return trip to a place that we had been to three years ago that was ironically within a short distance of the Cavalier. Eat was very good years ago, but this time it was great! I ordered one of the specials that was on the board, a Halibut dish that was wrapped in rice paper. It was superb! Likewise, my husband ordered a Veal Chop special so I can’t promise similar results but I’m pretty sure everything on the menu is just as succulent.

Some random pictures:

 

“A farewell to a good relationship is like a fine meal eaten. Although it’s over, you should be thankful for the experience and make sure the chef knows it was appreciated.”

Something New from Something Classic

20171025_163015337_iOSI took the opportunity recently to develop a couple of recipes using a new dressing offering from Gazebo Room, Asian Vinaigrette. With two of my close friends as guinea pigs, I set out to create and serve them an Asian inspired luncheon using the flavorful bottled dressing as a highlight in two of the dishes I prepared.

For the entrée, I changed ingredients but used a preparation for Chicken thighs that I’ve prepared many times. The Chicken ALWAYS comes out tender and very flavorful. The use of one of Gazebo Room’s newest additions had the same delectable results!

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Asian Vinaigrette Chicken Thighs

2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 Tbls peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1/2 cup GAZEBO ROOM ASIAN VINAIGRETTE
2 Tbls chopped parsley or green onion for garnish

1. Combine lemon juice and chicken in a large zip-lock bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Remove Chicken and discard marinade.
2. Pat Chicken dry with paper towels. Dredge in flour mixed with the five spice powder. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet with high sides over med-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken. Remove all from pan.
3. Add onion, ginger and garlic to pan and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Return Chicken to pan. Add stock mixed with vinaigrette. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour until tender. Garnish if desired. Makes 6 servings (2 thighs with 1/3 cup sauce.

 

The salad I served was a revamped version of an old recipe I’d clipped from a magazine in 1982.

Far East Rice Salad
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup cooked ham diced
1 8-oz can chunk pineapple, drained
1 green or red pepper cut in thin strips
1/2 cup water chestnuts coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sliced green onion
2 Tbls GAZEBO ROOM ASIAN VINAIGRETTE
1 Tbls low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup mayo
1 can (3 oz) chow mein noodles

Combine rice, ham, pineapple, peppers, water chestnuts and green onion. Blend Vinaigrette, soy and mayo. Mix with the ham mixture. Serve on greens if desired and top with chow mein noodles. Makes 6 side dish servings.

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Both dishes were easy to make, tasty and appealing to the eye. My friends gave the meal two thumbs up as well. Give either recipes a try if you’re in the mood for some Asian flavor!

“Laughter is brightest in the place where food is.” – Irish Proverb

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