Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ham Loaf Recipe

one of our family favorites has always been ham has a brown sugar syrup and i usually made macaroni and cheese to go with it......
our sean patrick kelly is a true new yorker and he does have some limitations on what he will eat!.....when we talked about
ham loaf, he grimaced and said he didn't think that was for him....
after our little katie scarlett arrived and i went up with foods for the fridge and freezer, one of the items being ham loaf,
he did try it and absolutely fell in love with it!
i buy the ground ham mixture at l.d. weaver's meats at the west shore farmer's market and was there on friday morning
when i ran into a former customer, delightful gal by name of celeste......we were chatting and i was telling her about the
ham loaf.....she never had it so i sent her right over to l.d. weaver's!
i thought perhaps i would share this recipe..... it is so tasty, even our new yorker loves it!

Ham Loaf (l.d. weavers' recipe)

2 lb. ham loaf mixture
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs

form into a loaf (i usually square off my ends so all my slices are uniform and i don't have a small tapered piece)

boil together for 5 minutes:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/4 t. dry mustard (optional)

pour this sugar syrup mixture over formed loaf pan in roasting pan or pyrex.  bake at 350* for 60-90 minutes, depending on oven.    baste often!   syrup will get bubbly and thicken.

i just made two of these loaves so i can take some up tuesday morning when i head back to new york.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

katie kelly arrives

our barbara and sean had their beautiful daughter in lawrence hospital center in bronxville, new york on saturday,
august 7, 2010.....her name is Katherine Giordano Kelly....she was born at 10:42 a.m., weighing in at 9 lbs. 4 oz. and is
21 and one quarter inches long.....

we are all so overjoyed!!!.....the kelly family is doing well .....barby and sean were so cute!!! they would not lay the
baby down! of them was always holding would hold her and the other parent would sleep and then
they would change places!!!.....

we were all up in bronxville for the birth and i stayed til tuesday night.....then went back up that saturday and stayed til
the following tuesday......then didn't get back up til the following monday but stayed til friday.......then the whole family
came to harrisburg on friday, september 4th for labor day weekend.....sean went back to new york that monday and
barby and little katie stayed til thursday when i drove them back home.....then i stayed til monday night.......

everything with babies has changed so much!'s a wonder my children and their generation survived!!!!...we used to
put the babies on their tummies....that's a no-no now...only on their water at all......i am trying to
help but everything we did is no longer current so i'm learning right with them!.....

the plan is for me to be in new york three days per week taking care of this precious baby while barby
returns to work......diane (grandma kelly) is going to care for little katie on fridays and, possibly, on thursdays as well......

this is certainly what retirement should be all about!!!.......daughters getting married, daughters having babies,
spending time with grandchildren!....what bliss!!!!!

katie is engaged!

so much has been happening in our family and i have not been posting to this blog........

our katie is engaged to her ray!! he had stack rings custom made for her and they are in rose gold and absolutely beautiful and quite unique!...
they were going to wait until next summer to marry but, then, decided why wait?  so they are going to marry in
brooklyn (park slope) on december 18, 2010!....
we found a venue near them...montauk's a wonderful old (1898) gentlemen's club from old brooklyn of
by-gone has a lot of character and charm....a bit of worn patina....katie and ray just love it!

it was quite educational when researching where to have the reception....katie liked the boathouse at prospect park but you must pay a fee (5,000-6,000) and use their exclusive caterer (200.00 per head) and then the liquor, floral, photographer, music and, before you can turn around, you need 45-50 thousand dollars!.....and that does
not include the gown, of course! or any of the incidentals!......

the montauk club has a very innovative chef and we attended a brunch there and i was very pleased with the quality of foods, i.e., good slab bacon, micro greens, etc.  ray and katie attended a dinner there and ray even
took photos of their plates !!! (he will fit so well into this family!) and they were also quite pleased with the quality and presentation and taste of the foods (corn and leek chowder and lobster corn risotto) which were also seasonal.

when our barbara was married in 2009 and we had gone dress shopping, we had gone to klinefeld's which was
a really awful experience!....put us in a too small room and brought out gowns that were not in our price range and were not what barbara had in mind at all!......we then went to sak's fifth avenue and had an appointment with
imo.........what a wonderful experience! she was an angel!......she really was divine!....barbara chose a couture
gown and saks re-did my headpiece and created a wonderful 1940's style for barbara.......absolutely wonderful!

so, katie made an appointment at sak's fifth avenue as well!.....and, there was "our" imo!......katie found the
gown of her dreams there as well! (this is becoming a giordano tradition!)....katie's gown is not a traditional
bridal wedding gown.....she just loves it and looks fabulous, of course!.....

so, we have the venu and we have the wedding gown.........and,  last weekend they  had fittings for ray~~~
he is having a suit custom made for him by tailors in brooklyn!

we are planning a soiree at our home on saturday, october 16th for our friends and family and ray's parents are coming up from kentucky!!!!....

we are planning a menu that will be a little bit kentucky, little bit new york and little bit harrisburg!~~~we are just
going to have fun with the foods!~

our tina will be in charge of floral and decorations for the montauk club----it is so charming, it won't require much!

so, we are in full wedding mode right now!

Monday, February 8, 2010

one project, which creates many more

many years ago, we decided to create a family room, bedroom and powder room in our basement, along with the laundry room.  it seemed like a great idea at the time but left us with no space for storage.  now that the girls are gone, that bedroom has become the all-time junk room.  i decided to re-do it so i could have a home office as well as organized storage for special dishes, pots, serving pieces, cake stands, etc.  also for wrapping paper, bob's hunting gear......

my original thoughts were that i would clear out the room, clean it real good, put shelving from the shop down there and i'd be good to go!  possibly take me two or three days, at most! we were removing stuff, there appeared to be mildew on the outside north wall where the bed was placed close up against the wall.....i absolutely freaked out!.....i called two drywall experts to have them give me an estimate on replacing the drywall in that section since i was convinced we had black mold and it was all toxic!.....i didn't happen to mention any of this to bob---why bother him with this!......

(i didn't know how i was going to get "rid" of the mattress, boxspring and hutch base that were in the room....i called salvation army and they said they would pick the items up and asked me if there were any stains on the mattress---no, not my dear friends lugged all of this out of the basement and stacked it neatly on the deck ready for pick up, along with bags of books and games.......the salvation army drivers came and took everything--except the mattress, boxspring and hutch base!!!....

i then called the city and they told me they would remove it for 25.00 per item!.....and, all items had to be placed right by the curb!, again, my dear friends came to cart all of this from the deck to the curb for the "expensive" pick up......)

the one drywall man told me he would replace it but wouldn't guarantee no more mildew returning.....the second drywall man told me it was just surface dirt from some moisture, could be cleaned  and there was no need to rip out the drywall.....when bob learned of what i was doing, he showed me, by digging a screwdriver into the wall, that it was white underneath and that the "mildew" was most definitely just on the surface of the wall and could be cleaned.....

so, armed with bleach water, i scrubbed....then i purchased tsp solution at the hardware store and washed the walls again.....then i painted them with kills.......then i started to patch.......the girls had hung so many things on the drywall over the years and there were holes everywhere!.....i had never patched before, so it was trial and error but i did a pretty good job! fact, bob asked if i had had someone come in to do it for me!.....

i decided to remove the carpeting since it was musty and twenty years i made arrangements for that to be installed....then i figured i would paint the room before the carpeting was installed.....i found the niftiest thing on sherwin williams---you take a photo of your room and upload it and then you "paint" it---that way you can see what your room would look like!....i had so much fun with that!.....

so, now the room is painted, the old carpeting is removed (thank you, dear friends!) and tomorrow the new carpet is being more glitch, though.......when we had the bedroom done originally, the man had built a desk/vanity for barby and bob and i were going to remove that this morning before we ripped up the carpet-----that took over an hour as it was built and then apparently assembled on site and screwed into the walls.....the screws were stripped!.......i asked bob if he would like to become a house flipper in the next life----i won't share what he said!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

my famous crab cake recipe

in the harrisburg area, every restaurant, caterer, deli, whatever---say they make the BEST crabcakes......
that said, i will tell you that we always made the best!

here is my recipe:

1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
2 t. finely, finely diced red bell pepper, trimmed of pith (i call this "confetti" dice)
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
dash of salt and pepper
1 egg
1/2 c. hellman's mayonnaise (this is the only mayonnaise i ever use unless i prepare it myself)
dash of cayenne
juice of 1/2 lemon (fresh only, not from a bottle)

method:  beat the egg in small bowl and then add mayonnaise and mix well.  add dash of cayenne and the juice of the lemon.  in a large bowl, put the jumbo lump crabmeat.  (**always smell the crabmeat before you use it or add it to anything--it should smell like the seashore in a pleasant way, no ammonia smell whatsoever!) 

sprinkle the crabmeat with the tiny dice of red pepper, a dash of salt and pepper and the breadcrumbs.  with a soft spatula, toss lightly to mix.  then pour the egg mixture over and, again, using a soft spatula, toss to mix taking care not to break up the lumps of crab too much.

melt 3 T. butter on a baking sheet.  form the crabmeat mixture into large mounds and place on the baking sheet.  you should yeild 5 or 6  crabcakes per 1 lb. of crabmeat.  bake in preheated 350* oven for 8 - 10 minutes.  the crabcakes should be lightly browned on top and butter sizzling.

tips:  these crabcakes can be formed small for hors d'oeuvres or just a bit larger as a wonderful addition to a composed salad.  since ovens vary in temperature and "hot spots",  a few additional minutes may be required for the baking time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

smelling the roses

veering way off my usual thoughts on dear, dear pat hickey called me from philly new year's day to tell me
her brother-in-law, craig, had a brain aneurysm while skiing with his son in vermont.  they rushed him to a hospital only to have to transport him to another hospital one hour away.  he is in a coma and will be there a minimum of 3 months.....the doctors keep telling the family, "if he survives".  this is a man with so much joy for life.....absolutely worships the ground his wife walks on and one of those people you always have a wonderful time with....always!
the ski trip was a christmas gift to their youngest son, matthew, who is only 14 years old.

with me just about to retire and  knowing i have an enormous amount of work ahead of me dismantling the shop, equipment and getting my house in order, i must admit that i have been operating under the feeling that, "what i don't get done today, i can do tomorrow".....there it is, taking my precious gift of days for granted!

and, when i am at the store and there aren't enough cashiers to handle the customers, i gripe and grumble and get myself in a foul mood.....when a driver cuts me off or is discourteous, when i call a company and get someone i cannot understand or can't even get through the menu to talk to that someone i can't understand!....all of these small gripes that i allow to affect my what purpose? my pat hickey always says, "life is too short!".....

i think for this new year i am going to resolve to absolutely smell the roses along the way, enjoy everyone and everything
to the fullest and live each day as though another gift of a day may not come my way.....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

cooking for two

how in the world does one cook for only two people?
when i was catering, i would always prepare a bit more and bring dinner home for bob and me.
now, since i am no longer catering, i have to have meals that will be interesting, fun and tasty for just the two of us without a load of leftovers!.....this will be my new mission now----learning how to cut down on amounts of foods!....for two, not fifty!.....
it's funny how things come full cycle.....back in the 70's when we were all starting out with small children and no money, we would entertain our friends in our homes over dinners we prepared....there weren't all the many restaurants like we have now back then and, of course, none of us had any money to spare!....we used to pick interesting recipes, set our tables with the good china, get some fresh flowers and our friends would be so delighted and we'd have wonderful evenings! fact, that's how my catering business began! friends would love my twist on foods and would say that i should provide foods for people who didn't cook....they even suggested a name---trish's dishes!.....this was back when there were very few caterers---it
wasn't the huge industry then that it is now.....
i was always big on presentation.....the lovely table settings, flowers, feeling was that if the meal looked really pretty, it didn't always matter what the menu was!.....
i started out with a stand at the local farmers' market selling prepared foods.....however, i was just a bit ahead of my time----the blackboard would have "shrimp quiche today" and people would say, "what is shrimp qwish?".....or i would have strawberry with port soup when we could get local berries from york county and
people would question serving cold soup!......
that was a wonderful learning experience for me and i did that for a little more than a year and then found a little building where i could install a kitchen and started the catering business.....i was so scared and really didn't know how to operate and promote a business!.....i could probably teach a course on what NOT to do!....
i labored over a name for my business......and finally came up with creative catering----oh, i thought i was so clever!......little did i know til i got a computer years later and went to get a domain name for the website that everybody and their brother all over the country had the same name!.....
when i opened my little shop (i was planning to do take-out also at that time) and had a grand opening party,
my aunt gave me a beautiful book, entertaining by martha stewart.....i felt i had found my soul mate!...she had been doing what i was now doing and her style was right up my alley the way i was doing things!....of course, she was so far ahead of me.....i adapted her recipes and absolutely copied many of her presentations---it would be interesting to find out how many caterers were influenced by martha!....
now with the economy being so hard on all of us in some way or another, we are going to get back to the basics and start entertaining at home makes no sense to go to a restaurant, spend a lot of money and not
be pleased with the food or service or both----who needs that aggravation? that i am not working 24/7 it will be fun to gather our friends and do like we did so many years ago!....
however, that still doesn't solve my immediate problem of what to serve for dinner tonight for just the two of us!.....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

my first blog

it's 1:45 a.m. and i am just setting up this blog....have no idea what i am doing, of course!
i'm sure once i get started and get the hang of this, it will be much easier....this is sort of
like just meeting someone for the first time and not knowing what to say.....i am closing my
catering business after almost 30 years!....we have always strived for perfection and would
use only the finest ingredients and, i guess, were considered upscale....these times are sure
tough now....everyone is being careful and not being extravagant....our style is more for the
very special occasions now....if and when the economy comes back, i still don't think we all
will be quick to spend our money and will continue to be, it's time for me to retire
rather than re-invent our business or settle for anything less than what we do.....

having made that decision, it is both a sad time and an exhilarating one....i will have so much
to do in the coming weeks (months) dismantling our shop and selling equipment, vans, etc.....

then i think i would like to do some volunteer work....because i could never commit to anything
on a specific night or day (we had either events or food prep), i would like to perhaps get involved
with meals on wheels or perhaps help at one of the soup kitchens.....

and then of course there is the house which needs so much attention.....when always working, the house
seemed to be the last item on my daily list!.....and it rarely got crossed off!....

i have so many recipes!....some of course are from others but then we would put our own twist on them...
i remember years ago, martha stewart was accused of publishing recipes that were not her own.....well,
what recipe is truly, truly your own?.....we all start somewhere with a basic recipe and then put something
in we think would enhance, perhaps my recipes are really not "mine" but i think they are!.....

i have so many to weed through from our various binders and thought i might post some of them as i
am going through them.....