Bloody Mary Cocktail

As a tomato farmer’s wife, I’d like to share this tomato-juice-based recipe for a well-liked adult beverage–the Bloody Mary. In the United States, this is a traditional cocktail consumed during the morning or early afternoon, and is popular for its reputation as a cure for a hangover. It contains vodka, tomato juice and various seasonings, and is garnished to create an appealing presentation. If you don’t want to drink alcohol, just skip the vodka for a tasty “mocktail.” Whatever version you choose to make, rest assured that you’re helping support tomato farmers. Cheers!

Bloody Mary Cocktail/Mocktail

Ingredients:

Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice

A splash or two of Worcestershire sauce

A splash of tabasco sauce

A dash of garlic powder

A dash of paprika

A dash of salt

A dash of cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon green olive juice

Juice from one lemon or lime

1-2 ounces Vodka, optional

Green olives

1 lemon or lime, sliced into wedges

Celery stalk

Crispy slice of bacon, optional

Directions:

Pour Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice into a highball glass. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce; if using tomato juice, add a couple of splashes. Add tabasco sauce, garlic powder, paprika, salt, cracked black pepper, green olive juice, and lemon or lime juice. Stir. If you want to drink an alcoholic beverage, add the vodka to desired strength and stir. Garnish with green olives and a slice of lemon or lime on a toothpick; a celery stalk and/or a crispy slice of bacon; and serve.

Prime Rib

Prime rib is a favorite food in many families, including mine. We enjoy eating this tender cut of beef, particularly during the holidays and other special occasions.

Prime Rib

Serves 14-16 people

Ingredients:

1 standing rib roast of beef, 10-12 pounds

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Seasoning salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Make small slits all over the roast with a knife and insert garlic slivers. Rub roast all over with seasoning salt. Place on a rack in roasting pan, with fat side on top, and roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and roast the meat for 16 minutes per pound (about 2 hours), or until a meat thermometer reaches 135-140 degrees F for a medium-rare (pink) center. Remove beef from oven, loosely cover with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Carving from the outside to the center, everyone gets a slice done just to his or her liking. Tip: Serve with horseradish cream or your favorite chutney.

Beef Burgundy

Beef burgundy, also called beef bourguignon, has its roots in the historic Burgundy region of France. This region, located southeast of Paris, is known for its wine and architecture, as well as for its white Charolais cattle that produce distinctively tasty beef. While this dish started out as peasant food that depended on slow-cooking tougher cuts of meat, eventually it was elevated to haute cuisine status that was served in expensive Parisian hotels. It was also featured by famous American cookbook author and TV chef Julia Child. While it’s classically served over boiled potatoes or pasta, my version includes serving it over a bed of hot, cooked rice—I live on a rice farm, what more can I say? I guess that would be, bon appetit!

Beef Burgundy

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups white rice

3 cups water

1 pound beef steak, sliced into 1-inch-long strips

Drizzle of vegetable oil

2 cups sliced onions

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups sliced carrots

½ cup Burgundy or other dry red wine

1 ¾ cups beef broth

2 teaspoons seasoning salt

Dash of thyme and/or dried parsley

2 cups sliced bell pepper (or celery)

2 tablespoons corn starch

¼ cup water

Directions:

To cook rice, boil water in a saucepan, add rice; then reduce heat to low, cover and let it simmer until rice soaks up the water, 15-20 minutes. As rice is cooking, heat oil in a large pan and brown the beef. Add onions and garlic, stir and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, wine, broth, seasoning salt and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Mix in the bell pepper, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Dissolve the corn starch in ¼ cup water and add to beef mixture. Continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 4-6 servings.

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

‘Tis the season to bake cookies for Christmas. Here’s a recipe for Scottish shortbread cookies. These buttery-delicious cookies have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture and are very easy to make with common ingredients. The beauty of it is that you can vary the taste of these shortbread cookies by adding different flavors. I like to use vanilla, but other options include lemon or lavender extract. Also, you can sprinkle white sugar on top, or add a festive touch with red sugar sprinkles or another color. I’ve always been a fan of shortbread cookies–perhaps it’s due in part to my mostly-Scottish heritage. No matter what your background is, I hope that you enjoy baking–and eating–these as much as I do.

Scottish Shortbread

Ingredients:

2 ½ sticks butter, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vanilla (or other flavoring such as lemon or lavender extract)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cornstarch (or rice flour)

¼ cup white sugar (or colored sugar sprinkles)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine butter, powdered sugar, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in flour and cornstarch, and beat until well-blended.

Press the dough into a 13” x 9” baking pan. Pierce the dough all over with a fork to make a decorative design; this allows the melting butter to release steam, thereby preventing the dough from puffing up. Bake until crust is a light golden color, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; take a knife and cut through the dough to make cookie bars. Sprinkle the white (or colored) sugar all over the top. Place back in oven and continue baking for 5 more minutes. Remove the baking pan to a rack and allow the cookie bars to cool until slightly warm. Makes 2 dozen cookie bars.