I wanted to make something fun for Boat Club this month, since it’s the last one before fall.

I decided to make some personal Smorgastarta, which are just basically a sandwich cake, but a fun one.

I had a couple of Hoagie Rolls in the freezer and I sliced them into thin slices, then layered egg salad and smoked salmon spread in-between the layers.   I also made up a few with egg salad and ham salad layers.


Let me show the fun I had…

I usually have fun in the kitchen when I’m creating, just not so much fun when it comes time to clean up, but I’m getting better at cleaning as I go.

To start with, cut the crust off of the bread.  And umm, it helps a lot if the bread is still frozen at this point, it was really hard to get the crust off the one thawed loaf.

Then slice it into thin slices.  And again, the frozen loaf worked out a lot better this time round.  I used my new Miracle Blade slicer for this.  I just bought the set, and the slicer and the paring knife are worth it in my book, both are super sharp.   Just had to say that.

I used the ham salad spread recipe I made in January, with one exception, I used some thin sliced luncheon ham for the spread.  And it worked out quite well.   I didn’t have any scallions, but I did find one lonesome looking leek in the veggie drawer, so it was pressed into service.   Leeks do tend to last a lot longer than scallions or green onions and make an admirable substitute when you want a little oniony flavour but you don’t want it to hijack your dish.

I think I’m officially in love.

With my food processor.

I placed a few slices of ham in here and let the food processor have its way with the meat.

Added a little cream cheese, mustards, and mayo along with some of the chopped leek.

Mooshed up the hard cooked eggs, and added some mayo and mustard to them.

The leeks just as I was chopping them up.

 Deviled Ham Salad all ready to go.

From the left, Egg Salad, Smoked Salmon mixed in with some cream cheese and mayo, and the Deviled Ham Spread.   In the front Leek cut up and ready to decorate.

Spread some egg salad on one slice, top it with another slice of bread which has been spread with either the ham salad or the smoked salmon spread.


Assembly line…

Continue until all the slices are done or you’ve run out of one of the spreads.

Place into a covered container and put into the fridge for a couple of hours.


This gives the sandwiches a chance to rest and recuperate and also means you get to clean up the kitchen.

After they’ve rested, you need to ‘frost’ and decorate them.
I used equal amounts of a good  mayonnaise, in my case Duke’s Mayonnaise, Creme Fraiche and Sour Cream.  Mix it together and then spread the ‘frosting’ along the sides and top of the sandwich.  Don’t worry about it looking pristine or even really pretty.   You will be decorating them a little.
I used a spoon to spread the ‘frosting’ along the sides and then spread a little on top, placed them on the serving platter and then I had fun.   And forgot to take pictures of the just ‘frosted’ sandwiches.   whoops.

I then had fun decorating.
You can do whatever your heart desires or in my case what I could find in the fridge.
I really need to go shopping, soon.
I used some of the leek I’d minced up, some of the  hard cooked eggs, some parsley out of the garden along with some ham slices and the last of my jar of fire-roasted peppers.

And there you have it.

Mini Smorgastarta, and this won’t be the last time I make them.  It’s just too much fun bringing them to the party.

Home made Seeded Crackers

I found these crackers at  Sawsan’s blog, Chef in Disguise 
I love seeded crackers, they’re good on their own, or with a bite of cheese on top or …

OK, so they’re tasty all by themselves.

You were peeking in my kitchen, weren’t you?  You saw me just eating them, plain, without anything on them.

I did taste test a bunch of few crackers.

I baked some of the crackers according to the recipe, and then I had fun with the last half.

I also changed up a couple of the ingredients, but that’s cause the big old bottle of poppy seeds, that I knew I had, in the pantry, are MIA.

Here’s my take on the crackers.

2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup Flax Seeds
1/4 cup Chia Seeds
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 cup water (enough to moisten the dough, maybe a little more or maybe a little less).

Mix together, and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Divide the dough into either thirds or quarters, and roll out each piece until you get it thin enough.  I made it about 1/4 inch thick, or maybe a little less.

Cut into squares and place on a baking sheet, bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crackers start to brown around the edges.
Take out of oven, taste test one, burning the tongue in the process, decide you need a touch more seasoning.

So for the next batch I grabbed my onion powder and sprinkled just a little on top of the rolled out dough and then cut out some rounds.

I reserve the right to change things up in midstream here.   Baked them off, and then for the last bit of dough, I rolled them out, sprinkled some pizza seasoning on top, and cut them into diamonds and baked them off.


I really like this recipe, it’s versatile, tastes great and best of all, I know exactly what is in it.

I think next time I might add some sunflower seeds as well, or maybe just toast the sesame seeds a little to get more of a nutty flavour.

I made some more last night for NPA and served them alongside a nice double cream Brie.    They were a hit.  Again.

I swear I’ll never buy the seeded crackers again, these are so outrageously good, and best of all  I know exactly what is in them.

I do live in the Redneck Riviera and umm, I reserve the right to make my own ‘Crackers’.

Prepping Jalapenos

I got the coolest tool awhile ago from a friend.  It’s to be used to core out Jalapeno’s.

So you can actually make whole stuffed Jalapeno’s.

It actually, umm, took me awhile to learn how to do it.

I can be a little slow sometimes, getting a new concept into my head, that is.

But once I do, watch me run with scissors.

Sorry, but after some experimentation, I now core all my jalapeno’s before freezing them, well, apart from the ones I mash up, accidentally.

To start with, glove the hand you’ll be using to play with the jalapeno’s.

I never mess around with this step.

Trust me, but if you’ve ever brushed an eye or a nose when  you have pepper juice on it, you’ll never use an ungloved hand again.

The pain, the pain…

I’m also assuming that you rinsed the jalapeno’s off first, and patted them dry.

Take a sharp knife and cut off the top of the jalapeño.

Then, taking this really cool tool, insert the sharp bit into the jalapeño, twisting clockwise and counter-clockwise to release the little seed parcel.

Pull the seed parcel out with the tool, and set aside.

Proceed to the next one and continue the process until all the Jalapeno’s are seeded.

There is a mangled pepper in the back there along with one I did the old-fashioned way, which entailed cutting it in half, and then digging out the seeds.

The corer makes it a lot easier, and quicker.

And they’re cute to boot.

You can now stuff them however you like,  do as I did, put them into Ziploc bag and into the freezer for future seasoning and eating possibilities.

I suggest using a mixture of cream cheese and sausage, although you could also stuff them with some Cheddar Jack cheese, wrap them in bacon and broil them.

I have an idea, I think I see a new appetizer in my future.  I’ll share the how to’s as soon as I do them.

In the meantime, if you happen to see one of these corers running around, catch it and try it out yourself.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

I’m an Omnivore, I admit it.

But, just cause I’ll eat almost anything or at least try, almost anything, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat meat-free from time to time.

Really, I like meat-free meals.

And yesterday I hit it out of the park.   Well, I lobbed a good one.

Wait, it isn’t baseball season just yet, but with the sun and everything outside, I’m getting anxious.

Sorry, my mind wandered a little there, but I caught it before it escaped.

We, as in the Senior Center, were given a lot of Green Peppers earlier in the month.  They were lovely, and we used some in a salad, we chopped up a bunch and froze them, and then I got the bright idea of making some Stuffed Peppers for our seniors.   So we did.

But, there are some vegetarians among us who don’t eat meat, and I wanted to make sure that they were able to have a great meal as well.

So, I made a lovely filling, and stuffed them, baked them off, and served them. This was the solitary one that was left over yesterday, so I took it home and had it for breakfast.

And I have to say, OMG, they were so good, and in fact, I’m planning a repeat, soon.

But this time it will be a private party of one.   And I’m going to go for a little healthier version as well.

I plan on using some brown basmati rice.

I wish I had pictures of the process to go with this, but, I was cooking against the clock, as usual.

I took a couple of carrots, two small zucchini, an onion and a little garlic, sautéed them in a pan with some olive oil until they were soft.  Sprinkled them with a little Badia Sazon seasoning, then mixed them in with about 4 cups of cooked rice.   Stuffed them into some green peppers and they baked for about an hour, then we covered them.   They were served with a dollop of Creole Tomato Sauce.

And I’m going to try to recreate that recipe so I can share the how to’s on that, cause the flavour was out of this world good.

And maybe I’ll add a couple of chopped up mushrooms as well.

Hmmm, the possibilities…

Peanutty Doggie Biscuits

I’ve made my own home-made dog food for many years, but for some reason never tried my hand at making doggie biscuits.
And I have no idea why.

My Chimi gets all kinds of treats that I buy, and in fact she has her own little table, with a selection of treats, and is given a couple a day.  I try to change them out, so she doesn’t get bored with the same all the time.

Well, I get bored eating the same thing, so, why shouldn’t she get some variety?

I decided that it was time I tried my hand at baking her some treats.
This is my first try.
I nailed it.

These are Chimi approved.

I got my inspiration from this recipe I saw on the King Arthur website and  here is the Link to their recipe.

Of course I changed it up, but just a little, I added a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat, cause I had it and didn’t want to throw it out, or eat it myself.


2 cups AP or Bread Flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon dried Parsley
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup peanut butter, crunchy or plain  (I used some organic, whole peanut butter)
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1/2 cup water, plus a little if it’s too crumbly, just enough to make a dough.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
Mix together the dry ingredients,


then add the eggs and peanut butter.  This will be crumbly.  Then add the water, just enough to make a dough.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out with a cookie cutter.  I had a doggy bone shaped one, so I used it.

Cut out the shapes, gathering and rerolling the scraps until you’ve used up all the dough.

Bake for about 40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes.   They should be a dark golden brown and crisp all the way through.   Remove from oven and let cool right on the pans.

Take one cookie off, and burn your fingers on it, tossing it from hand to hand so you can cool it off quickly and let your dog taste test it.
I got just over 50 biscuits, and Chimi did approve the taste.

Mazarin Tarts

I saw a link to a Mazarin Kage on Facebook and when I read how to make it, my mouth started watering.

But not for the cake per se, I wanted the tart.

It’s been years and years and years since I’ve had a taste of a Mazarin Tart.

I did wipe the drool off the keyboard, and continued to my cookbooks and decided to see if I had a recipe in one of them that I could follow.

There was a Danish baker in the town I grew up in, where we would get all our special occasion ‘cakes’ or special treat cakes.   They weren’t cakes as Americans think, they were more small tarts.

But oh, they were so good.   And the funny part is that I didn’t care for this particular tart that much back then, but for some reason, I’ve now decided I liked it more than I realized.

Confused?  I am.

So I decided to do a search and see if I could find a recipe online.   I found lots for Mazarin Kage.

I found a recipe here as well as here  and here and now cannot find the original posting I read.   sigh

And then there is this recipe over at My Danish Kitchen.  So many recipe sources and yet…

I wanted a tart recipe!!!

As I remember the Mazarin Tarts from childhood, they had a pastry bottom and there was a kind of  marzipan for the filling.   And they had a glaze icing on top.

I found a recipe in a cookbook one of my sisters gave me a few years ago, but it was for the cake, not the tarts.   But, that was the only recipe I found.  (And can I show off my very red face here?  I just got an email from the very sister who gave me the cookbook, showing me the recipe I managed to not see, my first 3 times through the cookbook.)

Amazing…  I do have several Danish cookbooks.   Oh well.  Just didn’t have what I wanted.

BTW…   The Mazarin Kage/Tart was named after an Italian Cardinal named Mazarin.
Just thought I would throw in a mini, very mini, historical reference there.

Then I found a couple of recipes for tarts and I was happy.   But, since I’m the cook baker here, we’re going to do it my way.

And I got to use my new food processor as well.

So here goes.

First off I mixed up the pastry in the food processor and managed to get it out without cutting myself on the blades this time.
It was a personal victory, OK?

I formed the pastry into a flat disk and put it in the fridge to rest a little.
After the workout the food processor gave it, it needed a time out.

I then made the filling, and got to use the processor again.

I think I love it.


At any rate here is the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  This recipe yielded 48 mini tarts.
1 1/2 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

1 tube Almond Paste, 6 oz.   I like Odense brand for this. Cut into small chunks or grated.
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp. Lemon Extract or Almond extract.  (I used some of my homemade Lemon Extract for this.  For more of an almond flavour use the almond extract)

Place the flour, sugar and butter into food processor or cut the butter into the flour and sugar until it is well incorporated.   Add the egg and process just until the dough comes together.  Form into a disk and place into the fridge.

While it is cooling, make the filling.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the butter, sugar and Almond Paste and mix together, until combined.

Add an egg and continue to blend until incorporated, then add the other eggs, blending in between each egg.    Set aside.

Take the dough out of the fridge, cutting  it in half.   Roll out each half on a well floured board.

Cut circles out, either for mini tarts, which is what I made or for full size tarts, making sure the dough disks are slightly larger than the depressions.


When you have all the depressions covered, try this little trick.
Using a heavy bottomed shot glass, lower it gently into the cut out round, pressing it into the depression on the tart pan.  You do need to be a little careful here that you don’t tear the dough.  But you can easily press it together if you do.


See how perfectly they snuggled into the tart depressions?  Cannot believe how easy this was and is a trick I will continue to use.
Fill the tart shells with some of the filling.

About 3/4 of the way.   The filling will poof up a little, but trial and error showed me they didn’t poof up as much as I thought they might.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes for the mini tarts.


I did have to taste test one of them.

It was good.  And one of those I used a scant amount of filling in.   Oh, and I also used my mini scoop to get the filling into each tart shell.   Love my scoops.

You can see the fine crumb in the tart here.

Mix up some glaze with confectioners sugar, a little milk and some vanilla or almond or other extract.   I actually used a scant 1/2 teaspoon bourbon liqueur for flavouring.  I didn’t measure, but it was about a cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of milk and the liqueur.   You want it to be able spread out a little but not too much.
I glazed the tarts while they were still a little warm.  If you put the glaze in a pastry bag you can fancy up the presentation just a tad.  I did circles, thinking they would kinda ooze together and form a nice little ‘cap’ of icing, but they didn’t.
Looked pretty though.

And here they are on a platter at Boat Club.

All of them were eaten.   But, I have to admit to saving a couple out for myself.
I did bake them.   I also shared a few with a neighbor, I wasn’t totally selfish.

Deviled Ham Spread

If you’re like me, and maybe you’re not, but if you are…

You still have ham left over from Christmas and you may even be sick and tired of eating it.

I’m not, but I still have a lot of ham to get through.   I did make some lovely Split Pea soup the other day from the ham bone, and we’ve had Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches and Ham and Eggs for breakfast and a couple of sandwiches along the way as well.

Gosh it kinda feels like the everlasting leftover turkey at this point.

Which leaves me approximately 6 pounds to go through.

I’m kidding, we’ve only got 2.8 lbs left.

And even less after today.

At any rate, there are a bunch of us who gather together most Sundays and I subjected them to some of my leftover ham last weekend.

But not just leftover Ham, I wanted to have fun with it, and since I love that spread you can buy in the can.
OK, so I’ve been known to buy a can and eat it all.

So I went down to the kitchen and …

I swear sometimes you shouldn’t let me loose in the kitchen.   I have way too much fun.

Here’s my take on Deviled Ham


2 cups cubed cooked ham
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Yellow Mustard
2 shallots, finely minced
2 garlic scapes, or one small garlic clove minced

Put the ham into the food processor, and process until it’s all broken up.  I actually tried just chopping it with my knife, but decided to try my little processor and it worked.  Yay!!!!

Place the softened cream cheese into a bowl and add the mustard, mayonnaise and creme fraiche.

Add the minced garlic and shallots  (you can also let them have a quick whirl in food processor if you like).
Mix together and then add the ham.   Mix until all the ingredients are combined.   Taste at this point and add more mustard or creme fraiche if you like.


Put the ham mixture into the fridge and let it set there for a couple of hours, let the shallots and garlic get acquainted with the ham.

Serve with crackers.

And get out of the way, you don’t want to get trampled.

I’ll be making this again soon, or at least the next time I make a large baked ham.