Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Fish Seasoning, Turkey Stew with Dumplings, and The Full Beaver Moon

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!
Hope it’s a day that has fine weather and safe road conditions, and that it leaves you with many happy memories. 

About two weeks ago I posted recipes for Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend, Sugar and Spice Christmas Blend, Homemade Seafood / Chicken Spice Blend, Meat and Poultry Seasoning Mix.
Hope you’ve been finding them useful.

Susan emailed and, since she loves fish, she asked if I had a second fish blend for a bit of variety.
Here you go, Susan!

                                   Fish Seasoning Spice Blend

1/4 Cup paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper

Back to Thanksgiving…
Along with being left with the memories, I’ll bet you’re facing leftovers.
I know that in the movie A Christmas Story Ralphie and his family were looking forward to enjoying leftover turkey dinners all the way through to New Year’s.

Yeah, well, sometimes it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
If your family is beginning to flip through their fast food coupon booklets, here’s an easy way to serve leftover turkey that, hopefully, will be new to the family.


This recipe will also work with one pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces, or meatballs.
Brown either in oil before adding to the potatoes.

If you want a creamy stew stir in a cup of milk or a 10 ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup. 

You can also use fresh carrots and cook them with the potatoes.

Canned vegetables can also be used, as can more vegetables, such as corn, cubed butternut squash, sliced mushrooms, and/or zuchini. 

Don’t like dumplings? You can serve the stew over rice, or as a soup with some nice crusty bread or biscuits.

Sometimes Ma added some fried bacon. 
Well, that is the Maltese way. 

                                   Turkey Stew with Dumplings

Wash and quarter
3/4 pound small red potatoes
Place in a dutch oven and cover with water or chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound leftover cooked turkey

Cut into slices
1 onion
2 stalks celery

Add to the potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
the cut up turkey
the onion and celery
3 Cups frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables
Stir to combine and allow to simmer while preparing the dumplings.


In a medium bowl combine
1 1/2 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Cup milk
Stir until just mixed.
Drop by spoonfuls onto the stew.
Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Cover and cook another 10 minutes.

Another way to use up some leftover turkey is in Chicken Pot Pie.
Really, it will work.

About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

November 23 - The full Beaver Moon at 12:39 a.m. In this phase, the visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Although the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered full for the entire day of the event and appears full for three days. Actually, this Moon has two names. Learn about them in this short Farmers’ Almanac video.

November 26  - High overhead at around 8 p.m. this week is a star configuration that people unfamiliar with the sky often mistake for the Big Dipper. The bowl is composed of the four stars of the Great Square of Pegasus, the Flying Horse. The handle is composed of four bright stars belonging to the constellations Andromeda and Perseus.

November 29 - Last Quarter Moon, 7:19 p.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, on its way to the new phase.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Spices, and the North Taurids and The Leonids Meteor Showers

Now that the holiday season is in full swing it’s time for some serious baking.
And that, of course, also includes using more and different spices.

Don’t be afraid of buying spices in bags. 
Along with being quite a bit cheaper than the spices in those small, pretty bottles, the larger bags of spices are also a good buy for making your own spices blends, which is a lot cheaper than buying the prepared blends.

Ma had a few favourite blends she kept on her kitchen shelf throughout the year.
The sweeter ones were really handy during the holiday season.
Pumpkin Spice on everything is not a new idea!

                                   Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

1/4 Cup ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoons ground allspice

Makes a scant 1/2 Cup
Pumpkin Pie Spice also goes nicely on mashed sweet vegetables and onions.

                                   Sugar & Spice Christmas Blend

1/2 Cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Makes a scant 2/3 Cup
Sugar & Spice Blend is perfect for topping rice pudding or egg nog.

                          Homemade Seafood / Chicken Spice Blend

2 Tablespoons ground allspice
1 Tablespoon celery seed 
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons powdered mustard 
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)

Makes 1/2 Cup

                        Homemade Meat and Poultry Seasoning Mix

2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon ground thyme

Makes a scant 2/3 Cup


Here are some links to give you more ideas on how to best use spices:



About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

November 12-14 - North Taurids Meteor Shower peak, with the best viewing, is from 12 – 2 a.m. local time; and good news, the sky will be nice and dark due to the tiny waning crescent Moon. 
The Taurids are actually two annual meteor showers created by the dust left behind from the comet Encke. They are named for constellation Taurus, where they are seen to come from in the sky (near the Pleiades). But they can be spotted anywhere - simply look up!

November 15 - First Quarter Moon, 9:54 a.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing, on its way to full.
Look to the south in the evening to see the First Quarter Moon paired up with Mars.

November 17-18 - The Leonids Meteor Showers peak. Best viewing time is between midnight and 5:30 a.m. local time. This meteor shower, named for the constellation Leo, is typically one of the more exciting showers of the year, producing an average of 20-30 meteors per hour. 
The radiant for the Leonids is near Algieba, one of the stars of the “sickle” or “backward question mark” within Leo. This shower may be hindered by the glow of the bright waxing gibbous Moon.