Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
sugar sprinkles

Beat butter and margarine at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Divide dough in half; roll each portion to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into assorted shapes with floured cookie cutters; place on lightly greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: about 6 dozen

Recipe from Southern Living magazine (July 1999)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Crusted Sea Bass with Shrimp & Roasted Tomato Butter Sauce

1 pint ripe grape tomatoes
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 sea bass fillets, weighing approximately 6 ounces each
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ pounds large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup dry white wine
6 ounces fresh spinach leaves, torn into strips
Juice of 2 lemons, approximately ¼ cup
4 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place tomatoes in a shallow baking pan; sprinkle with minced garlic.
Drizzle tomatoes and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Roast tomatoes in preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Season sea bass fillets with salt and pepper.
Stir chili powder and cumin into 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Brush one side of sea bass fillets with chili powder mixture.
Heat butter and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Place sea bass fillets seasoned side down in the skillet; cook for four minutes.
Turn sea bass fillets over and cook for an additional four minutes.
Remove sea bass fillets to a platter and keep warm.

Stir shrimp into the pan and season with salt and pepper; cook until just opaque, approximately five minutes. Do not overcooked!
Remove shrimp to a bowl.

Stir wine into the pan.
Stir in spinach and lemon juice; cook until just reduced, approximately five minutes.
Stir in roasted tomatoes and shrimp; reduce heat to low, add butter, and stir until melted.

To serve, place a sea bass fillet in the center of a dinner plate. Spoon tomato and shrimp mixture around sea bass fillets. Drizzle with sauce over spinach leaves and over sea bass fillets.

Serves 6
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

My notes:

This is easily divided in half.

I've used both sea bass and tilapia. I suspect orange roughy would also be good.

The spinach was overcooked, so I’d wait to add it to the pan at the very end (once the butter has melted). I didn't bother with the spinach the second time I made the recipe and it was just as tasty. I also didn't bother roasting the tomatoes. I simply cut them in half and sautéed them in the butter along with the shrimp.

This is not my original recipe, but I can't seem to locate the cookbook or magazine in which I found it.

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Val's Potato Casserole

6-8 medium-sized russet potatoes (whole, unpeeled)
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup (condensed)
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup dried dill

Boil potatoes until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then peel. Cut into quarter-inch slices (or dice into large chunks).

Mix sour cream, soup, margarine, green onions and spices in a large mixing bowl.

Place 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a lightly greased deep casserole dish. Top with 1/3 portion of sauce and 1/3 portion of grated cheese. Repeat two more times.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees until heated through and cheese is bubbly (approximately 45-60 minutes).

I first tasted this potato dish at a family gathering almost 20 years ago. It was love at first bite! My family is forever grateful to Val (my sister-in-law) for introducing us to such a delicious side dish. It goes wonderfully with ham, steak, ribs, and chicken. Or, simply by itself!

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