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All-inclusive escorted tours for active adults and intergenerational travelers

Recipes From Our Travels

Great recipes from our travels and traveling friends!

Wine Butter
The butter with red wine pairs well with red meats, make it with white wine for seafood.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 bottle dry red or white wine
2 T sugar
Combine wine and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, about 45 minutes. Let the wine mixture cool to room temperature.
Briefly whip the room-temperature butter in a medium bowl, pour in the wine, mixing until there is no separation. On a hard work surface, scoop the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Here you may add chopped herbs such as garlic, chives, dried oregano, etc. Roll into a log, twisting at the corners and place in the refrigerator until firm.

Apple Pie Recipe
 Here is an easy apple pie recipe with store-bought or homemade crust.
Apple Pie
1 single pie-crust pastry          ¾ C sugar
¼ C brown sugar                     2 T flour
1 t cinnamon                           ¼ t salt
¼ t nutmeg                              3 # apples (8 cups)
2 T butter, cut up                    ¼ C whipping cream
¾ C flour                                 ½ C brown sugar
¼ C sugar                                ½ t cinnamon
½ t salt                                    ¼ t allspice
7 T chilled, unsalted butter cut into small chunks
½ C chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375, Transfer pastry to a 9” pie dish, crimping the crust. Chill in refrigerator. Peel, core, and slice apples. Prepare crumb topping by mixing all ingredients in a large bowl. Use your fingers to work butter into the mixture until combined and crumbly. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add apples and toss to coat. Layer apples in the pastry crust. The apples will cook down during baking so mound them up a bit. Dot the apples with butter and pour whipping cream over the filling. Sprinkle filling with prepared crumb topping. Bake on the center oven rack for 25 minutes. Check to see if crust is becoming brown; to prevent further browning, cover pie edges with foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes more, until fruit is tender. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve with vanilla ice cream

San Antonio Recipe
Peach-Pecan Upside-Down Cake
2 C Bisquick                      2 eggs
1 C sugar                          1 C milk
¾ C vegetable oil              2 t vanilla extract
1 stick melted butter
1 C packed brown sugar ½ C pecan halves
 1 15oz can sliced peaches, drained
Preheat the oven to 376 degrees. Combine all ingredients for cake batter, set aside.
To make topping, pour the melted butter into a pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Arrange the peaches on top, Place a pecan halfway between each peach slice. Carefully pour the batter over the peaches.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, invert.
This recipe honors Texas pecans which can be found in nearly everything in Texas from salads to appetizers (with blue cheese) to pecan crusted fish and, of course, desserts.

Ventura Cheese Dip
3 C Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 C Mayonnaise          1C Sour cream
¼ C Green onion         ½ C Mushrooms
¼ C Sun dried tomatoes
2 t Minced Garlic        ½ C Yellow onions
Sauté chopped onions in olive oil, add garlic and chopped sun dried tomatoes, add everything else until it melts, pour into bowl..

A Branson Ozark Cake
Part of our Branson Christmas trip includes wonderful Silver Dollar City with its ongoing entertainment, millions of holiday lights and its specialty foods. Below is a recipe for
Silver Dollar City Cake
1 ½ C sugar                 2 C flour          1t baking soda
¼ t salt                         ¼ t cinnamon
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
½ C vegetable oil        4 lightly beaten eggs
1 t vanilla                    1 C chopped bananas
1 C chunky applesauce  
2/3 C toasted chopped walnuts
1. Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 1-1/2-inch round cake pans; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add drained pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in bananas, applesauce and walnuts. Divide batter between prepared pans.
3. Bake in a 350-degree F oven about 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool cake layers on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks.
4. Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting; frost cake. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla  
5 cups sifted powdered sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth and of spreading consistency. Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

An Easy Texas Recipe

63 miniature pretzels             63 Rolo candies
63 pecan halves
Line baking sheets with foil. Place pretzels on foil; top each pretzel with a candy. Bake at 250° for 4 minutes or until candies are softened (candies will retain their shape). Immediately place a pecan half on each candy pressing down so candy fills pretzel. Cool 30 minutes or until set.

Palmer House Brownies
We recently returned from a trip to Chicago where we stayed at the Palmer House, home of the original brownie. Below is the recipe.
14 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
1lb. Butter                                          12 oz. Sugar
4 oz flour                                             8 eggs
12 oz. crushed walnuts        ¼ t Vanilla extract
1. Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler
2. Mix dry ingredients into mixing bowl, except walnuts
3. Mix chocolate with dry ingredients
4. Add egg and vanilla extract
5. Pour into 9x12 baking sheet, sprinkle walnuts on top, press down slightly into mixture with your hand and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. When done, the edges will start to become a little crispy and the brownies will raise about ¼ inch. Even when the brownie is properly baked, it will test gooey with a toothpick in the middle due to the richness of the mixture. After removing from the oven, allow to cool about 30 minutes before spreading a thin layer of glaze on the top with a pastry brush.
Glaze: mix together 1 C water, 1 C apricot preserves, and 1t unflavored gelatin.
Mix all in a saucepan and bring to a boil for two minutes. Apply to brownies when the glaze is hot. The brownies are easier to cut if you place the sheet into the freezer for 3-4 hours after glazing.

A West Virginia Recipe

Cheese Corn Spoon Bread

2 eggs, beaten             12 oz. pkg corn bread mix
8 oz can cream-style corn        8 oz can corn
1 C sour cream            ½ C melted butter
1 C shredded Swiss (or other) cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease an 8x8 baking dish. Combine all ingredients except cheese and pour into baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese on top.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 10-15 min. or until a knife comes out clean. Serve warm

Colorado Bulldog Recipe
This cocktail is common in Colorado and tastes like an ice cream soda. We will keep an eye out for it on our Colorado trip this summer
1 ½ oz. Kahlua            1 ½ oz. vodka
2 oz. milk                    Coke or Pepsi
Pour Kahlua and vodka intotall glass, fill with ice and stir in milk. Top with soda.

Lacy Edge Corn Pancakes
Here is a recipe that survived from the Oregon Trail bringing pioneers to the area.
1 cup white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1&1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon bacon fat or lard
Mix 1 cup white cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, an egg and 1&1/4 cup buttermilk.
Place tablespoon of bacon fat or lard in the hot skillet. Let the shortening smoke a little before placing into it a tablespoon of batter, dropped at a distance of six inches. Dropping batter at a distance into hot shortening is essential. Serve with syrup.

Reunion Luncheon Recipe

Every couple of months we hold a reunion luncheon at our home for travelers of multiday trips. The cooking is from scratch and we use china and linens. It’s an informal social event. Here is a recipe from one of our luncheons. 
Smashed Potatoes – highly recommended
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes     4 cloves
1/3 C butter, olive oil, or combination
1 T fresh parsley, chives or thyme (optional, for the green color only)
Salt & pepper to taste             3 T Parmesan cheese
Boil potatoes until just fork-tender. Drain well. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Arrange potatoes on the sheet and use the bottom of a sturdy glass to flatten potatoes to about 1/4 their original height. Mix together butter/olive oil, minced garlic and parsley or another green herb. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until golden and crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Chocolate Cheesecake Dip

A recipe with Philadelphia’s famous ingredient.
¾ C whipping cream, divided
1 pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese softened
¾ C sugar
4 oz. Baker’s Bittersweet Chocolate, melted & cooled
Beat ½ cup cream in medium bowl with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form; spoon into small bowl. Reserve for later use. Pour remaining cream into same medium bowl. Add cream cheese and sugar; beat on medium speed until well blended. Add chocolate; mix well. Gently stir in whipped cream. Refrigerate 30 min

Wisconsin Cheesy Popcorn
Our Great Lakes to Michigan and Mackinac Island trip includes Green Bay, Wisconsin. In honor of the Packers fans, known as
cheeseheads, try this recipe.
1 full-size bag microwave popcorn
1/4 C cheddar cheese (grated)
6 T butter (melted), less if preferred
Prepare popcorn in the microwave, according to
package instructions, Pour popped corn into a large serving bowl.
Place butter in a glass or ceramic container and place in the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir and reheat for another 20 seconds. Do this until the butter has fully melted into a golden liquid.
Sprinkle grated cheese over top of the popcorn, drizzle melted butter on top of the cheese, and toss to coat well. Serve and enjoy.

Thanksgiving Acorn Squash

1 (2#) Acorn squash – halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into ¾ inch slices
 ¼ C grated Parmesan Cheese
 8 springs fresh thyme or a sprinkling of dried thyme
                  2 T olive oil                
½ t salt,
¼ t black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients and toss until the squash is evenly coated. Spray baking pan with cooking spray or grease with butter or olive oil. Add squash. Bake 25-30 min. until tender & golden brown.

Trip Reunion Brunch Recipe
This make-ahead pecan French Toast was a hit at our latest reunion brunch (brunches or lunches are held for every multiday trip).
Note: I added a little extra topping.

1 loaf French bread                        8 large eggs
2 C half-and-half                             1 C milk
2 T sugar                                             1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cinnamon                               1/4 t nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping: – combine all ingredients, blending well                              
1/2 C butter                                      1 C brown sugar
1 C chopped pecans                       2 T corn syrup                 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon              1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:Slice French bread into slices. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Chewy Vermont Maple Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
In a bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, syrup and vanilla until well mixed. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in coconut.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Marbled Orange Fudge Recipe

Great for giving, after you save some for yourself.
1 1/2 tsp plus ¾ c butter, divided
3 C sugar
¾ C heavy whipping cream
1 package white baking chips (10 to 12 ounces)
7 oz jar marshmallow crème
3 t orange extract
12 drops yellow food coloring
5 drops red food coloring
Grease 13x9 pan with butter, set aside. In a large heavy saucepan combine the butter, sugar and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for four minutes. Remove from heat, stir in chips and marshmallow crème until smooth.
Remove one cup and set aside. Add orange extract and food coloring to the remaining mixture, stir until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Drop reserved marshmallow mixture by tablespoonfuls over the top, cut through with a knife to swirl. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Watermelon & Pineapple Salad
From North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate

Before we enjoy a candlelight tour of Ashville’s Biltmore Mansion on our Smoky Mountain Christmas trip, we dine at the estate. Here is a simple recipe for one of its summer salads.
1 pineapple cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
½ watermelon cut into bite-sized pieces
Mix pineapple pieces with basil and lime juice. Place watermelon pieces in serving dish and pour pineapple over the top. Garnish with lime and basil.


Canada's No-Bake Nanaimo Bars
Here’s a Canadian recipe our Canadian Rockies escort passed on to our group:

Bottom Layer
1/2 C butter
1/4 C sugar
5T Cocoa powder
1 beaten egg
1 3/4 C Graham cracker crumbs
3/4 C shredded coconut
1/2 C walnuts

 Second Layer
1/2 C butter
3 T milk
2 T vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
2C confectioners’ powder
Third Layer
2/3 semisweet chocolate chips (or 4 squares semisweet chocolate)
2 T butter
Bottom layer: melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler or heavy saucepan. Add beaten egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press into ungreased 9x9 inch pan.
Second layer: Cream together butter, milk, pudding mix, and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until light, spread over bottom layer.
Third layer: Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. When cool but still runny spread over second layer. Chill. Makes 36 squares.

Pageant of the Masters Recipe
Newport Beach Butternut Squash Loaf 
1 med. butternut squash, roasted, flesh scooped out
2 eggs                          1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water              1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour           1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt         2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg   1 bunch sage, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash, eggs, oil, water, sugars and vanilla until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
and cardamom.
3. Stir the dry ingredients into the butternut squash mixture. Combine just until incorporated; do not over mix. Pour into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Carrot Ginger Soup- Kenya Style
Did you know the food served on our Kenyan safari will be very European? There are two reasons for this. First, Britain and France were colonial powers in Africa and their food was the food of the upper class (Kenya is a former British colony). This is the food we will experience during the safari.
Second, Kenya exports a substantial amount of fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee to Britain and retains some of those foods for domestic consumption. Below is a recipe for a European-style carrot-ginger soup widely served in Kenya.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

2 T butter                        2 chopped onions
6 C chicken broth           1 C heavy whipping cream
2 T fresh grated ginger    Salt and pepper
2 lbs. peeled & rough chopped carrots

In large pan melt butter and add onions, stirring often until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender.
Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat for easier handling. In batches, puree soup in blender or food processor. Return to the pan and add cream. Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper to taste.
Below is a Kenya Chai Recipe enjoyed by native Kenyans and visitors both. 
Kenya Chai

1 C water
1 ½ tsp. tea leaves (or 1 tea bag)
1 C milk
2-4 tsp sugar 
Heat the water and tea leaves together in a 4 qt. saucepan until it boils. Stir in milk and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove and strain the tea if using loose leaf.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Empress Hotel Scones (Victoria)

4 1/2 C all-purpose flour        1 C sugar        
1 cup butter                3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt                    3/4 C raisins
4 eggs, lightly beaten  2 C heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, rub together the flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, raisins and cream, and mix until you have a smooth dough.
Roll out to one-half inch thickness and cut to desired size, brush with an egg wash (an egg beaten with a little water - this is optional - and you could always brush the tops with cream instead) and bake for
25-30 minutes

Florida Tropical Chicken Breast
This recipe is a sample of what you may taste on our Miami & a Caribbean Cruise trip next February.

½ C orange Juice    ½ lime, juiced
1 T honey        3/4 t red pepper flakes
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 T chopped fresh cilantro

Stir orange and lime juices, honey and red pepper flakes and pour into resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, squeeze out excess air, marinate in the fridge for 30 min. Grill or broil about 7 minutes per side, until the juices run clear and thermometer reads at least 165 degrees. Top with Cilantro.

Iced Orange Cookies from Florida
1/2 C shortening          1 C sugar  
2 large eggs                 1/2 C orange juice
1 T grated orange zest     2-1/2 C all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 C confectioners' sugar   1/4 C orange juice
2 T butter, melted             Orange paste food coloring, optional
In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange juice and zest. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth; drizzle over cooled cookies. Makes about 5-1/2 dozen.

Sonoma County Apple Cobbler Cake

                       Carol Kozlowski-Every,Kozlowski Farms
                           (from Sonoma Culinary Adventure)

6 C peeled and sliced apples (5 to 6 medium apples)
½ t cinnamon              ¾ C apple cider
Juice of 1 lemon                      1 cube butter (8 T)
2 C sugar, divided (1 C for apple mixture, 1 C for cobbler cake)
1½ Cups self-rising flour  1½ Cups whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine sliced apples, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice and apple cider in a saucepan. Mix well, coating apples with the syrup base. Bring to a boil,turnheat down and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Melt butter in a glass 9x13-baking dish. Whisk remaining cup of sugar, flour and milk together slowly to prevent clumping.
Incorporate: Gently pour flour mixture over melted butter. Spoon apples over top of batter. Batter will start to rise up between apples to the top. Pour remaining syrup over top of cobbler cake.
Bake at 350  for about 45 minutes,untiltop is crisp and a golden brown.

Nancy Reagan's Vienna Chocolate Bars
1 C butter, softened         1 1/2 C sugar, divided
2 large egg yolks             2 1/2 C flour
10-oz.jar raspberry preserves
1 C semisweet chocolate morsels
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 C finely chopped pecans, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a jelly-roll pan with lightly greased aluminum foil. Beat butter and 1/2 C sugar until well blended. Add egg yolks, beat until combined. Slowly add flour, beating on low 1-2 minutes or just until combined. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, spread preserves over crust. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels.
Beat egg whites and salt at high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until glossy and stiff peaks form. Fold in pecans. Gently spread egg white mixture over chocolate mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes or until meringue is crispy and browned. Cool completely on a wire rack (1 hour). Cut into bars.

Peter Pan Neverland Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 large egg                                   1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C brown sugar                    1/4 C granulated sugar heaping
3/4 C Peter Pan Original Peanut Butter®
2 t vanilla extract                      1 1/4 C flour
1/2 t baking soda                    1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix egg, butter, sugars, and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the peanut butter, vanilla, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, baking soda, salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute; don’t overmix. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
Form approximately 18 mounds of dough, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with un-chilled dough because cookies will be prone to spreading.
Preheat oven to 350F, add cooking spray. Place dough on baking sheet at least 2 inches apart for 11 minutes, or until edges and tops are just set. They firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.

Michael Jackson's Favorite Sweet Potato Pie
Not only was Michael Jackson the man who changed pop music, he was a dedicated vegetarian who loved sweet potato pie. Below is a recipe from his chef for Michael’s favorite pie.
1 9 inch unbaked pie shell       ¼ C melted butter
2 ½ C sweet potatoes              1/3 C milk
½ t salt                                     3 eggs
½ C sugar                                1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg                               1 t vanilla
2 T lemon juice                       ½ C pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, beat eggs and sugar, add butter, salt, milk, vanilla and spices, add mashed sweet potatoes and lemon juice, pour into unbaked pie shell, top with pecan halves, bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 350 degrees, bake 40 minutes longer or until golden bro

Chocolate Puffs from “The Hamilton Cookbook”
1 C + 2 T superfine sugar (Use a food processor and pulse for a minute)
1/4 C plus 1 and 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa
1 egg white
Preheat the oven to 225 F. Set aside two parchment-lined cookie sheets.
In a medium-small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa until they are a uniform color. Set the mixture aside.
Whip the egg white until it is very frothy and beginning to stiffen. Once the egg white reaches the soft peak stage, slowly add the sugar/cocoa mixture while continuing to beat the egg white. The result should be a thick paste.
Wet your hands slightly and form the batter into small coins about ¾-inches in diameter. Place them on the parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 1-1½ hours. Store the cookies in a tightly covered container.

Bananas Foster, A Classic New Orleans Creation
Bananas Foster started when the Brennan’s owner saw piles of overripe bananas being dumped at New Orleans’ port. Knowing he could get such bananas cheap, he instructed his chef to come up with a recipe using bananas and Banana Fosters was born.
1 stick butter (1 stick)                     1 C dark brown sugar
2 bananas                                           ½ C heavy cream
½ C dark rum                                      ground cinnamon
ice cream             option-add ½ C walnuts or pecans
Procedure - Melt butter in a heavy skillet over a medium-high heat. Add brown sugar. Stir and cook for a minute or two.
Pour in cream and stir.
Peel and slice the bananas, drop slices into the pan. Add chopped nuts and stir into the sauce. Then stir in the rum. Let it start to bubble then carefully use a long lighter to ignite it. (Have a lid handy in case you need to extinguish the flame.) Let the fire burn and go out (it'll only take about 30 seconds or so), then stir in the cinnamon at the end. Spoon it over a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy immediately.

A Thanksgiving Recipe- Brussel Sprouts with Breadcrumbs
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 C flour                   2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1 C. grated Parmesan   2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt                     1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Caesar dressing, for dipping (optional)
Preheat oven to 400. Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.  Add flour to a bowl and eggs to a separate bowl. In a third bowl, whisk together panko bread crumbs, Parmesan, olive oil, salt, and garlic powder.
Working in batches, toss brussels sprouts in the flour until fully coated then dunk in eggs. Dredge in panko mixture then place on baking sheet. Bake until golden and crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately with Caesar dressing, if using.

Cinnamon Walnuts
1 C sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 C water

Heat to soft ball stage(240 degrees, @ 5 min) stirring constantly

Heat 2 1/2 to 3 C walnuts in oven 15 minutes @ 250 degrees. Boil syrup the last 5 minutes nuts are in the oven. Add nuts to the syrup and stir until the syrup is crystallized or dry! Spread out on cookie sheet and separate.

I have used as much as 3 1/2 cups of nuts but they will not be as covered in the sugar. 4 cups is a pound

Donna Burgad, Chief Cracker
I. M. Nuts Co.

Lillian’s Cookies
Use toll house recipe – but change – 3 cups flour, 1 ½ sticks butter, 2/3 C sugar (both white & brown each) for Choc chip cookies

Lillian's Lemon Bars
Lillian Kuniyuki brought these wonderful treats to a trip reunion luncheon. Lillian’s family is from Hawaii and her secret ingredient is chopped macadamia nuts.

Crust: 2 C flour
½ C sifted powdered sugar
½ C butter
½ C margarine
½ C chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

Sift together flour & powdered sugar, cut in butter & margarine till mixture clings together. Add ½ C chopped macadamia nuts. Press mixture in 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Filling: 4 eggs, beaten
2 C granulated sugar
1/3 C lemon juice (do not use meyer lemon)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ C flour

Beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Sift flour, baking powder together. Stir into egg mixture. Pour into baked crust (not necessary to cool crust). Bake again for another 25 minutes. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cool, cut into 1½ inch bars.

Caramel Apple Cake
from Judy Bergman

1-1/2 C veg oil
1-1/2 C sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1 C chopped walnuts
1/2 t salt
3-1/2 C diced peeled apples
2 t vanilla extract


1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/3 C light cream
1/4 C butter
1 C confectioner’s sugar
Dash salt

In mixing bowl combine oil & sugars, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients, add to batter and stir. Fold in apples, walnuts and vanilla. Pour into a greased & floured 10-in tube pan. Bake at 325 for 1-1/2 hours or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 10 min. remove to a wire rack to cool completely. In top of double boiler over simmering water, heat brown sugar, cream, butter and salt until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Beat in confectioner’s sugar until smooth; drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Portofino Pizza Cafe-Gorgonzola Pear Snacker
from Lisa Johnston/Peggy Beezley

Fresh pizza dough or Boboli Pizza
Spread butter on pizza crust
Slices of thin provolone cheese
Pear –sliced thin
Sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese
Sprinkle thinly sliced toasted almonds on top

Bake 350-till cheese has melted

Surprise Chocolate Cake AKA Black Forest Cake
At a recent trip reunion luncheon traveler Lillian Kuniyuki brought a wonderful Black Forest Cake and has shared her recipe.

1 21oz. can cherry pie filling
2 eggs
1 t almond or vanilla extract
1 box Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake (no pudding)

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and lightly flour 9x13 pan
Blend all ingredients for 2 minutes
Pour into pan, bake for 45 minutes
Cool 10 minutes, spread with frosting

In small pan mix 1C sugar, 1/3C milk, 1T butter
Boil 1 minute
Add 6oz chocolate chips
Stir until chocolate is melted
Pour over cake
Sprinkle with nuts

Ralph's Favorites
At the same trip reunion Sheryl Fabrizio brought some delightful sweet treats. Here’s the recipe.

2 sticks of butter
1/2 C of sugar
1 t vanilla
1 C chopped nuts
Graham Crackers

Makes 12, 24 or 48 cookies depending on how they are cut. Bake in preheated over at 350 degrees on ungreased 15 x 12 cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with sides.

Cover entire cookie sheet with graham crackers, leaving no spaces in-between. It will look like one big cookie as it spreads while baking.

Melt butter and sugar in small pan on the stove. Boil for 2 minutes only, stirring as it boils on medium heat. Remove from heat and add 1 C nuts. Add 1 t vanilla. Stir to mix.

Quickly pour mixture over the graham crackers, spread with spatula. It will brown around the edges and will continue to brown a bit when removed from oven.

Bake approximately 10 minutes. Begin to cut 3-5 minutes after removing from oven. Pizza cutter works well for cutting. Cool on wax paper.

Tex-Mex Cranberry Salsa
Lou Camacho contributes her Tex-Mex Salsa recipe.

1 C water
1 t dried cilantro
1 C sugar
1/4 t ground cumin
1 12 oz pkg fresh cranberries
1 green onion sliced
2 T chopped canned jalapeno peppers
1 t lime juice

Combine water & sugar in med. sauce pan.

Bring to a boil, add cranberries, return to gentle boil for 10 min without stirring.

Pour into med. glass mixing bowl. Gently stir in remaining ingredients.

Place plastic wrap directly on the salsa. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate.

Best if served at room temperature. Makes 2 1/2 cups salsa. Use in place of regular salsa, as a side dish with turkey or pour it over softened cream cheese.

Pumpkin Custard Cake
Lillian Kuniyuki brought Pumpkin Custard Cake to our last trip reunion luncheon, and it was such a hit we are including the recipe.

Mix well, then pour into a greased 9x13 pan:

1 large can pumpkin or 3 ½ C fresh pumpkin puree, 1 tall can evaporated milk, 1 C sugar, 3 eggs, Dash of nutmeg

Mix: 1 pkg Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix, 3 eggs, 1 C milk or water, ½ C oil

Pour cake mixture evenly on top of pumpkin mixture. Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Immediately melt 1 block of butter and spread evenly over the cake. Cool in the pan and invert. Touch up evenly with butter knife. Optional – may serve with whipped cream. 

Sonoma County Artichokes
If you  traveled  with us on Wine Country & the Coast, you will have had a chance to taste wonderful grilled artichokes at Kenwood’s The Vineyard’s Inn.

Although the following is not the exact recipe, it’s close enough to be pretty darn good – all the Setness staff members make this at home.

Combine ½ C each olive oil & soy sauce with several crushed cloves of garlic.

Peel the outside of the artichoke’s stem (when peeled the stem is edible). Wrap the artichoke in saran wrap and microwave for 3 minutes.

When cooled, cut artichoke in half and remove fuzzy fluff. Place the artichokes cut side up in the marinade, spooning marinade into the center and leaves. Flip artichoke after 30 minutes to one hour, again spooning marinade.

Grill (or broil if you don’t want to deal with a grill) for approximately 5 minutes on each side.

Apple Hill Cake
2 C sugar
2 eggs
½ C oil
4 C diced apples
2 C flour
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
2 t soda

Mix together in bowl the sugars, oil, eggs and apples; blend well. Add flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and soda. Mix well again. Bake in greased 9x13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 45-60 mins.

Serve hot, warm or cold. Plain, frosted or with whipped cream.

Spicy Candied Pecans
These are a great addition to salads or sautéed vegetables

Spicy Glazed Pecans

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a baking sheet with a light spray of oil, or with butter

Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and bubbles.

Add pecans and stir until pecans are well coated with mixture, about 1 minute.

Transfer pecans to prepared sheet, spreading evenly. Bake until the pecans are beginning to brown, anywhere from 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer the cooked pecans to a parchment lined sheet and keep separate. Cool completely, then store in airtight container.

This recipe may easily be doubled.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Kelly’s Restaurant on the Outer Banks of North Carolina serves marvelous sweet potato biscuits. Below is the simple recipe.

1 pound cooked sweet potatoes (steamed or boiled)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4p water
2 1/4p Bisquick or other baking mix

Cool and peel sweet potatoes. Mix together sweet potatoes, brown sugar, Bisquick and water. Combine ingredients thoroughly. (The mixture will be moister than regular biscuits.)

Flour table. Roll biscuit mix to ½” thickness. Cut with a 2 ½” cutter. Place on greased sheet pan.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes. The moist mixture does not allow the biscuits to rise a great deal. A mindful eye should be kept on the biscuits so they do not overcook. Yield 1 ½ dozen.

Corn & Crab Bisque From The New Orleans School of Cooking
This is from the New Orleans School of Cooking which makes the most wonderful, decadent, corn and crab bisque.

1/4 C flour
1/4C butter
1qt heavy cream
1 qt milk
1C chicken stock
1# crab meat
2C chopped green onion
24 oz whole corn with liquid
1T chopped parsley for garnish
Salt to taste

Joe’s seasoning to taste (available at Marina Market)

Combine milk, heavy cream and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

Make a roux with equal parts of butter and flour to desired color; add in your simmering pot.

Stir in your corn with liquid, crabmeat and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Gradually add in half your green onions, salt and Joe’s stuff to tastes. Use the other half of your green onions

Mushroom Bisque
Many of you have been with us to Ripon’s Barnwood Restaurant. I call owner John Mangelos “performance art” from his handlebar mustache to his stories of catering at several Olympic games, competing in an Iron Chef contest, or his Cretan immigrant roots. Here is his Mushroom Bisque.

1/4 C butter
1/3 C finely diced onions
2 T lemon juice
4 C chicken broth
1/4 t pepper
1 & 1/2 C heavy cream
3 T flour 
1 # finely diced mushrooms
1 t salt 
1/2t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t marjoram
1/3 C bourbon
chopped parsley for garnish

In a 5 quart saucepan heat butter until melted, add onions and mushrooms. Saute 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle lemon juice, blend in flour. Gradually stir in chicken broth & herbs. Cook, stirring until slightly thickened. Stir in cream and bourbon. Heat and serve.

Katherine’s Orzo Pasta
3 Cups orzo
3/4 cup evo
9T fresh lemon juice
3 green onion
1 ½ t dried oregano
¾ cup parsley minced
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 ¼ C crumbled feta cheese
1 cup toasted pine nuts salt & pepper to taste
Thyme, corn, lemon zest, vinegar, splenda, basil, sautéed squash

Cook pasta, drain and cool. Blend oil, lemon, oregano, salt and pepper. Add pasta and toss to coat. Stir in parsley, tomatoes and feta cheese. Chill until served.
Yield: approximately 20 side portions or 12 entree-size servings
Salt and pepper

Cook orzo in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender, then drain well in a colander.
Whisk together lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl, then add hot orzo and toss. Cool orzo, then toss with pine nuts, feta, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

I recommend zesting & adding the lemon zest. If you don’t have lemons, limes work fine. If you substitute a vinegar use a mild one like rice wine vinegar and balance with some sugar or apricot preserve.

You can add fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme or oregano.
Beans such as kidney or garbanzo
Chopped vegetables, either raw, steamed or sautéed such as mushrooms, celery, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, whatever you have.
If you don’t like feta you can substitute parmesan cheese.
You could add ham, turkey, most any leftover meat.

Katherine’s simple vegetables, served at the last reunion luncheon

I peeled & sliced carrots, put them in a large bowl, covered them with saran wrap and microwaved for 3 minutes – The steam cooks the carrots. If I had sauteed the carrots the outsides would have been overcooked, the insides undercooked and I would have had to fool with them longer. I then sauteed fresh mushrooms with a lid on until they lost their juices and reabsorbed them, then stirred in the carrots, some butter and some apricot-pineapple preserve. All done. You can use most any vegetable combination – green beans, red onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, whatever.

All Things Artichokes
We visit an artichoke stand on the Monterey Getaway (we have a few spots left), and I’m preparing recipes for our travelers. Grilling is my favorite preparation, and a recipe for that method is on under “recipes”.

Here’s a traditional Italian preparation for Focaccia stuffed artichokes.

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 2 cups focaccia or herbed bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper

    Wash artichokes, cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Spread leaves, remove center leaves and fuzzy centers with a spoon and discard. Toss bread crumbs with cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stuff bread crumb mixture between leaves of artichokes and fill centers. Place stuffed artichokes in a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 cups boiling water around the artichokes. Cover with lid or foil. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes or until tender.

  • Apricot Almond Bundt Cake
    Here’s Sheryl Fabrizio’s recipe for the Bundt Cake she brought to our recent trip reunion luncheon.

  • 1 Pkg yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 3 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 C oil
  • 1/2 C slivered almonds

    Glaze: 1/2 C apricot preserves thinned with 2-3 T orange juice

    Mix all ingredients, adding cake mix last. Grease Bundt cake pan. Cover bottom of pan with almonds. Pour in batter. Bake @ 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool on rack for 30 minutes, then turn out onto plate. Cool completely. Spoon glaze over cake.

  • Katherine's Rice Salad
    Here’s a general outline of how to make the salad I served at the same luncheon using the classic pairing of feta cheese, artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes.

    Start with a starch – pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, potatoes, whatever. I used basmati rice and barley – be sure to cool the starch thoroughly before combining ingredients.

    Chop and add raw veggies – I used parsley, red onion, baby spinach, corn I removed from the cob.

    Chop artichoke hearts – mine were not in oil, but any kind is fine, add crumbled feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes in oil.

    Zest and juice 2 lemons and add sugar to the lemon juice until it is tangy – not sour. Combine 1 part lemon juice with 2 parts olive oil for the dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste.

    A Sweet Swiss Treat
    Switzerland is known for its fine chocolates and myriad of cookies. Wayne plans to sample several on September’s Switzerland & the Italian Lakes District trip. Here’s a classic Swiss cookie.

    Swiss Hazelnut Crescent Cookies

  • 1 C butter
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C ground hazelnuts or walnuts

    Mix butter, syrup and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts. Chill 1 hour. Shape dough into 2 inch length. Roll in cinnamon coating (1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon). Place on cookie sheet and bend into crescent. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Makes 4 dozen crescents.

  • Mushrooms
    John Steinbeck House Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 50 button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 C shredded stale sourdough bread
  • 1/2 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C melted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

    Break off mushroom stems, wash and dry whole mushroom caps. Chop stems and combine with bread, cheese and garlic several hours before assembling so that the garlic has time to permeate the bread. Add enough melted butter to hold crumbs together well. Pack stuffing into mushrooms. Place stuffed mushrooms on a greased cookie sheet and add another dab of butter on top of each. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 10-15 minutes or until soft.

  • Sheryl Fabrizio’s Chocolate Crackles
    Grease cookie sheets, bake @ 350 for 10-12 min.

    Makes 4 dozen

  • 1C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 1/3 C oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C nuts
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t baking powder

    Melt choc. chips, sugar & oil over medium heat. Remove from heat & add eggs one at a time. Beat well. Add vanilla. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix flour, salt & baking powder, then add slowly to mixture. Chill dough. Stir in nuts. Drop by rolled tsp into powdered sugar. Space approximately 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

  • Rio City Cafe' Salad Dressing
    Our travelers raved about the dressing on Rio City Café’s salad. The key is high quality ingredients. While they gave us the ingredients, they didn’t give us proportions, so you have to experiment. Most dressings have 2-1 ratio of oil to vinegar.

    California Extra Virgin Olive Oil (fresher than imported), Sherry vinegar, lemon juice, pureed garlic, chopped chives, salt, pepper, a touch of honey if you want more sweetness.

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