Sunday, April 30, 2017

FROM OUTDATED.....TO OUTSTANDING. Sue discovers Furniture re-finishing!

For a very long time I have been wanting to paint a piece of furniture... And for just as long the Boss has found some excuse why this
Is not a good idea...
His logic is that if I start it.... at some point he would have to
Get involved.. the man thinks I am totally incompetent with

a Paint Brush...
The real problem starts with sentiment for all things from His Youth......How many of you have parents that have either passed away leaving a house full of "stuff" for you to deal with or worse...
Have parents that have moved to South Florida leaving behind
All things that they think you need to be the "keeper" of...

When the Big Boss died 5 years ago the Boss found it necessary to actually pay a moving company thousands of dollars to
have sentimental "stuff" shipped from Jersey to Georgia...
We have a pretty large basement so when all this "crap" arrived
it went straight downstairs never to be heard from again...
You know the items....The Grandfather clock from the 70's
that no longer works but you know your mother would want you to keep it....
The Budweiser Mug Collection certainly worth keeping if only to be able to make a small fortune selling them on E-Bay....
And let's not forget the 1950's chrome (rusted)
Tufted seat orange Bar Stools
That daughter asked the Big Boss for when she was furnishing her college apartment only to be told....
"I'm not dead yet!!"......
She no longer has any need or desire for Orange Rusted
Bar Stools....But we have them if she ever changes her mind....
And then there was this....
The Boss' solid maple B.R. Dresser...You know the piece of furniture where someone says....
"They just don't make furniture like that anymore"....
I still don't know why it made it to Georgia.... But when there became a need to have a dresser for Miss B's Bedroom
I suggested we use it...
Unfortunately The Boss assumed I was going to use it as is....
I had to explain to him that the dresser....although a fine piece of well made furniture...would not match Miss B's new beachy room that I did for her last year...

click on link to see that masterpiece...
No....I had in mind painting his beloved chest of drawers....
You would think I suggested throwing out on Tuesday nights trash
the Grandfather Clock...Painting this fine piece of solid maple
"They don't make furniture like that any more"
was totally out of the question....

He suggested I go to Ikea....My Happy Place....
and just buy a Chest....But in typical Ikea fashion they are always out of stock on the one piece of furniture your looking for....
Then he suggested another all time favorite the
"Woodstock Furniture Outlet"....
When I announced that I would certainly go look but I would not be paying for it He Happily Agreed to assist me in
painting the dresser....
For years I thought what a difficult task this would be.....
So jealous every time I would see another Blogger show off a newly painted piece....Always thinking....
"Oh I can do that"....
Really....how hard could it be....according to the Boss this was going to be near impossible....But if I insisted.... 
I insisted....and as people who know me.... know I usually end up getting what I want....and he always helps...
So after being shown how to sand it lightly....then add
two coats of primer that went on simply with a roller...
I was on my way to giving myself a new title....

"Furniture Re-Finisher"
The only thing I got miffed about was after I rolled on two coats of primer I heard this from the Boss...
"You know they make that in a spray can"....


And then there was the color....
I Adore Color....
And wouldn't you know on the day I started the project
Country Living landed in my mailbox and what was on the cover....
A bed painted the exact color I wanted for the dresser.....
And the Headline
"The One Gallon Challenge"
So with Magazine in Hand....Over to Home Depot I went and asked them to color match me a gallon of High Gloss Enamel
Paint....
They got it spot on....
So excited that they got the color perfect and with music loudly playing on my I-Pod....I rolled and brushed....
and sang and danced....
And in two short days....counting drying time....
I was finished.... I was so proud...
Then I had to ask for real help....
This is where that "they don't make it like they used to"
comes in....This dresser weighed a ton....and the Boss had to
get it to Miss B's room 18 steps up....
The man is a master furniture mover....
An Italian Teamster from Jersey....
There is nothing the man can't do with a moving blanket and a
Hand Truck....
My only instructions from him...
"Stay out of my Way".....
He made it up with very little cursing....
Expecting to have to go to someplace fancy and expensive for
knobs I was pleasantly surprised to find these porcelain ones
at Hobby Lobby for only $2.00 each...
A Perfect match to all the accessories
 in the room
Perfect!!
Miss B was making an unexpected spring break trip down to us and we promised her a t.v. in her room next time she came
for a visit...
So in the end it was all about pleasing the child....
I knew anything I suggested we do for the B would be fine with the Boss...
She loved it....We filled it with new clothes and every morning
I would find her and Monty (The Dog) sitting in bed watching morning
cartoons....very quietly not to wake up
the grandparents....
She is very considerate like that....
And it's sure to be a guarantee that she will want to
spend a few weeks with us again this summer...
 Now I'm thinking about what I can do to a
1970's non-working
Grandfathers Clock???

Saturday, April 1, 2017

"BROOKLYN PAT'S" HOMEMADE MANICOTTI....With Sue's Sauce and Meatballs.

I'm on a Facebook page called
Ina Garten Fan Club....and for anyone who cooks or bakes
who doesn't love our Ina!
Ina can basically do Anything where Food is concerned and for some strange reason makes it sound difficult but then tells you
how easy it is....and We Believe Her!
I so enjoy being in this group of other people who love....like I do...to cook and bake and ask questions...and get new ideas...
Because it's not just about Ina....I would like to think that
Ina simply inspired the site....
We are young... we are old.... we are in between and we are
Men and Women....
We share ideas and who doesn't love a compliment every now and then....
So when I posted tonight's dinner and got people asking for the recipe....I thought the easiest way to do that would be
back to my original favorite way to let people know what I like to
do best....
Besides critiquing and making fun of "My Pillow.com" in my last post....
and telling you all about my crazy life with the Boss..
I do love to cook and bake going back to high school...
so.....here is the recipe for
"Brooklyn Pat's Homemade Manicotti"
with a touch of Sue's meatballs and sauce!
Enjoy!!
sauce...
I jar Rao's Marinara sauce

I also discovered that at Costco they sell a brand called 
Premium Organic Paesana tomato and basil...
2 jars for $6.99....a steal and just as good as Rao's...
1 large can of Cento petite diced tomatoes
(or any good Italian brand)
2 dashes of garlic salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
_______________________________________
meatballs....
1 pound of ground chuck
2 eggs
1/2 cup of dried Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of fresh bread crumbs...
I actually use a hot dog bun put through my food processor
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
I love the smell of the McCormick Grinders mixed peppercorns..
water as needed to bind mixture together...
I use about 1/4 cup...
heat a large dutch oven or any heavy pot with a lid
when hot add a few dashes of olive oil
when oil is hot add your meatballs...
brown lightly then add the above sauce, diced tomatoes, the garlic salt (husband hates real garlic but you can certainly use that instead of the garlic salt) and the sugar...
simmer for a few hours....
________________________________
Making the manicotti shells.....
1 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
beat the egg with the milk....add the salt and then a little at a time whisk in the flour until there are no lumps...
Heat a flat skillet or if you have one use a French Crepe Pan...
Sur La Table sells one
 for $15.96 - 19.96
de Buyer Blue Steel Crepe Pans...
well worth the money....Anyhoo...
I spray the pan lightly with Olive Oil spray and I add a touch of butter for taste...
have a cookie sheet ready and sheets of parchment to place the crepes as you are making them...
I use the parchment so they don't stick to one another....
Plus I just love parchment paper...
I fell in love with it when I realized how cheaply
Costco sells it for...
Using a ladle work quickly by putting the batter....which will be very thin...on to the hot pan....swirl around to make your circle.
I always screw up the first one never remembering how to turn them over.
Using a spatula and a fork after a minute flip it over and cook it about another minute on the other side.
They should be slightly brown....very slight.
This batter amount made 8 manicotti...
_____________________________________
The filling....
1 8oz. container of good quality Ricotta cheese
1 egg....
a handful of grated Parmesan cheese....
1 tablespoon of minced parsley (dried or fresh)
Or...
I used a big handful of fresh spinach that I rough chopped..
salt and pepper...
Mix well....then place a good amount on each crepe...
These are so much easier to fill because you have an open surface to work with. Place the cheese in the center then take each side and fold it towards the center. Put some of the sauce in the bottom
of a baking dish...
place the manicotti seam side up on top of the sauce...
add a little more sauce on top and some more Parmesan cheese...
I also used some grated Asiago....gives it a nice bite...
_______________________________
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes...
let it set up for about 15-20 minutes before serving....
________________
I like to add an extra sauce to serve with the pasta
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream....Let that come to a simmer then add about a cup of grated
Parmesan and some white pepper....I use regular fresh ground pepper.....and I added Asiago to the sauce also...
Add more cheese until you get the thickness you prefer...
Drizzle the Alfredo Sauce over the Manicotti....
Then sit back and wonder how many pounds you just gained....
Bon Appetit from Atlanta Georgia!!


Saturday, March 18, 2017

APPLE STUFFED APPLE CAKE!

Let me begin by saying I have never
tasted this cake....only made it once for a
friend....but it sure smelled wonderful...
After posting a picture on Facebook I was asked
for the recipe so here it is.....
Of Course my middle name is "Sandra Lee" so
You know that a box mix had to be involved....
I started with this box of Pillsbury
Caramel Apple Cake Mix...
Walmart seems to have every possible variation
of cake mixes on the Planet....My friend who got
to eat the cake (and who I asked to critique it)
Thought it was Spice Cake....but I can assume that
somewhere it had the taste of apple...
I dragged out these ingredients with the thought
of sautéing some wonderful "Mutsu" apples
I had just gotten at the local farmers market...

I love Mutsu apples for baking and they are
exceptional in apple strudel if you ever come across them...
The Apple Strudel...BTW....I do make from scratch...
I'm not totally lazy....
Back to the Apple...A Mutsu is also called a 
"Crispin" apple....it's half a Golden Delicious that's been
bred with some Japanese apple....In any case
it's wonderful....If you have never tried them
and you ever see them.....buy some....
When baking something that you want people to
think you made by scratch it always helps
to use a fancy pan....
This is the MaryAnn pan from Williams Sonoma..
Daughter gave it to me years ago and I can't tell you
all the wonderful cakes I have baked in it...
Certainly worth buying one...You will use it
Over and Over....
You can fill that top part with all kinds of
stuff....
Think flavored whipped cream and strawberries in
the summer....
Hershey's Chocolate pudding mixed with
Real Whipped Cream on top of a
Devils Food Cake for the Winter....
And sautéed apples for the Fall...
So I made the cake according to the box...
This pan does need a good spraying of cooking spray..
I use the baking kind that has the flour in the spray...

Let the cake cool before you flip it out....it can be
Tricky...
  

I sautéed two large apples in Good
Butter...
Cut in to slices....
I added a genorous sprinkling of
Cinnamon....and some brown sugar...
about 1/2 cup...and cooked them
until very tender....these apples break down
pretty fast so this did not take long at all...
I pre-cook apples when I make pies and
strudels also...it prevents the dough
from over baking and the apples cooked
perfectly...


I then chopped up some walnuts for a 
fabulous topping I planned to use....
A bit blurry....
But this is a crumb cake mixture that is similar to
the Jersey Crumb cake recipe and I added the
Walnuts...
Here's how you make this...