December 13th, 2014

Christmas Illya

something yummy to have with your coffee - cranberry scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
10 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup dried cranberries (I used the ones enhanced with orange)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup half & half cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk


GLAZE (optional)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

ORANGE BUTTER
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons orange marmalade

In a bowl, combine flour, 7 teaspoons sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg.
Add to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. On a floured surface, gently knead dough 6 - 8 times. Pat dough into an 8 inch circle. Cut into 10 wedges. Separate wedges and place on a ungreased (I very lightly spray mine because I don't use non-stick) baking sheet. Brush with milk, sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 400ºF for 12 - 15 minutes, or until lightly browned
Combine glaze ingredients (I don't use the glaze) drizzle on top.
> Combine the Orange butter ingredients (I do use this).


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Run Away!

The perfect gift

Let's face it, one of the hardest things about the holiday is finding the perfect gift. to that end, I offer:

Zombie head and brains

a peanut butter and jelly pocket book


blood shower gel (talk about a blood bath!)

A book tent

CSI do not cross tape


Now it's your turn - what do you think would make a great gift this season?
UNCLE artwork
  • mrua7

The second wave arrives...

Apologies but LJ cut is not working! Grrrrr!

Napoleon and Illya will be by later, but they sent these breakfast buffet goodies for the early risers to get the party started.

(They said they were slaving all night in the kitchen…)


    Mimosas


Bloody Marys


Assorted pastries


Croissants with almond cream chesse and tomato


Bagels with cream cheese



Eggs Bemedict with Canadian bacon



Smoked Salmon with onion and capers



Streaky bacon


Italian sausage with cubed potato, green peppers, and biscuits



Country fried potatoes


Apricot glazed tofu with walnuts


Zuchinni Pie with eggs, parmesean and tomato


Black beans with scrambled eggs, tomato and avocado


Sweet potato casserole with eggs, cheddar, mozzarella and cottage cheese.


And last but not least, Illya insisted upon…


Pirozhki


And to help you digest, a brief concert to get you in the Christmas Spirit:



dark illya

More gifts...

All of these are from Amazon.com

For the Secretary who is known for spreading gossip... just call her nosey ;)
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What Illya pushes when he's heard enough of it around Headquarters...
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And my personal favorite... a Flying Screaming Monkey.  I actually ordered one of these.

Christmas Illya

It can't be a Christmas party without fruitcake!

White Fruitcake


1 lb. butter
2. c sugar
6 eggs
1 T. lemon flavoring
4 c. flour
½ t sale
2 t. baking powder
1 lb. shelled nuts
1 lb. golden raisins
2 slices candied pineapple
1 lb. cup up red and green candied cherries.

Cover raisins with hot water; set aside

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and the lemon flavoring; beat well. Drain raisins. Flour nuts and fruits with 1/2 cup of flour and stir into batter. Combine the rest of the flour, baking powder and salt and add to butter mixture. Mix well. Line 5 - 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch loaf pans with waxed paper; grease paper. Pour batter into pans and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1/1/2 hours until done. Place a pan of water in the bottom oven the oven to keep cakes from drying out.

Okay – that is the recipe.

Instead of using candied pineapple and cherries, we use a variety of dried fruits, such as apricots, cranberries, cherries, mango, pineapple or anything else that catches our eye. By using dried fruit, it keeps the cake from becoming too sweet.

After removing from the oven, we brush with brandy.

This will also make 10-13 small mini loafs. Reduce cooking time to 45 minutes.
My default

Cheese Straws

Ingredients:
1 ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
½ t. salt
¼ to ½ t. cayenne pepper
Flour for dusting the work surface
1 pound frozen puff pastry, defrosted (the two sheet pack works best)
1 egg, beaten

Preparation:
Mix the cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl and set aside.

Dust the work surface with flour and roll out one sheet of the puff pastry (or 8 oz of dough) into a 10 x 18 inch rectangle. Brush the entire surface with egg and sprinkle one cup of the cheese mixtures over the top half of the dough only). Fold the bottom half of the dough up and over the cheese and press the edges together with a rolling pin to seal. Then press the halves together gently to make the layers stick. Then roll out the dough again into a 10 x 18 rectangle.

Sprinkle a ¼ cup of the cheese mixture over the top of the dough and press the cheese into the dough. (they say with a rolling pin, but, honestly, your hand works better.

Using a pizza wheel or a long knife, trim the edges of the dough into a neat 10 x 18 rectangle and then cut it into ¾ x 10 inch strips. Twist each strip 4 or 5 times and place on a parchment-lines cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator to allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400

Bake the cheese straws for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature (if you can wait that long).
McCallumsweetie

For our table.....

Allegedly these are many hundreds of cloth napkins for your dining guests folder in such a way to make amusing animal shapes - however not being allowed to touch them or indeed breathe on them I could not verify that.
nap
Pretending to be a napkin sounds like a good plan to get Illya into the Thrush Christmas Party, he's small and used to being wrapped up in bandages. Once delivered to the being set-up table, he can wait until he's all alone, and then fashion the napkins back into some sort of smaller animal shape so nobody notices the gap and then hide under the tablecloth or pretend to be a waiter.
Christmas Illya

Chicken and Sour Cream Enchiladas - my favorite thing to take to a potluck

1 lb. boneless and skinned chicken breasts (cubed)
3 cans condensed cream of chicken sop
1 pt sour cream
2 4 oz cans diced green chilies (I use red peppers myself for more pop)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ bunch green onions (chopped – 1/3 cup)
1 pkg. flour tortillas (18 count)
Vegetable oil
Combine diced chicken, soup, sour cream and chilies in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Heat the oil in a small sauce pan and heat tortillas until flexible. Remove and drain on absorbent papers. (I skip this step, preferring to avoid the frying. I just keep the tortillas at room temperature). Place two heaping Tbsp. of chicken mixture on tortilla, roll and place in a large baking pan. Continue until you’ve used up the tortillas or run out of space. Spoon the remaining chicken mixture over the top of tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and green onions (I also use chopped red bell peppers for color contrast). Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Serves 8
UNCLE artwork
  • mrua7

I blame this on Spike...

So seeing all those aluminum trees made me feel very nostalgic, as we had a full sized one when I was little and my mom loved that tree. So armed with a trusty coupon, I headed off to Big Lots tonight and found the last small aluminum tree, complete with ornaments and lights for $5. I am happy.  And this from soneone who wasn't even going to put up a tree this year....now I have two. LOL!

It's barely 24" tall and is on a small table by my door...


                                                        .Photo on 12-13-14 at 6.39 PM #2
UNCLE artwork
  • mrua7

Memo from Alexander Waverly:

From the desk of Alexander Waverly

RE: A broken window pane.... Mr. Kuryakin. I understand you were giving a shooting demonstration this morning. Would you happen to know anything about this?


            57072368-132-656x240



            Disco_ball4


Mr. Solo: We replaced the so-called "glitter ball" (at great expense) after last year's fiasco in which it was used as a volleyball.  This replacement was last seen in your possession. Where is it? And it better not be home in your bedroom.

Gentlemen, I expect immediate answers to my queries.

A. Waverly.

Great Aunt Jeannie's Fruitcake from Glasgow.

As requested by Lindafishes8:

I have to start by saying it took me some time to get this right since the original recipe said: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and fruit soaked in rum or brandy. Mix. Put in pans and bake until done. Wrap in liquor soaked cheesecloth and put in tins to rest. To serve top with marzipan rolled to 1/4 inch, ice with buttercream.

Here's how I have interpreted her recipe:
Two large plastic tub of glaced cherries red and green, sliced. If you can't find big tubs get four of the small ones. Cut the cherries in half and put into a clean mayonnaise jar.
Add half a package of apricots chopped, two small packages of candied pineapple, and a third box each of golden raisins and currants. Put in about a half cup or a little more of rum, and put the top on. I use a really nice dark rum, twelve years old called El Dorado. Let it sit overnight, turning it a few times. It can sit as long as a week, just keep turning it to soak the fruit. I forgot to add that I keep putting rum in to keep the fruit wet until I use it. Today I found I had used about a half bottle... just saying.

To make the cake:

2 Cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar

Beat until light

Add 6 eggs one at a tome and beat well. (I add a tablespoon of vanilla here.)

In a separate bowl whisk 3 1/2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons soda and 1 tsp. salt.

Mix the flour into the batter a third at a time, then put the fruit and whatever liquid is left in the jar into the batter. Let me insert here that occasionally I use some candied ginger chopped into a small dice added to the batter. It isn't original but it is good. I also add pecans to the recipe, about a cup and a half. And for those who love pecans, lightly toast a cup and a half of pecan halves and add to the batter when cool.

Divide into loaf pans, (how many depends on the size of them. I use foil pans from the grocery as they can be saved and used to ship the cakes in. I usually get at least four cakes and maybe a couple of miniature ones.) prepared with butter and flour, or use one of the good baking sprays (I like Pam for Baking)

Bake at 350 degrees F. until a skewer is clean when inserted in the center. I usually plan on at least an hour maybe more depending on how much liquid was left in the jar.

Let them cool, baste them with more rum, wrap in wax paper and foil, store where it's cool (fridge or like me, the back porch since it's cold now.) I usually let them soak at least two weeks, but in the cold they can sit for a month or more.

I use marzipan from the sticks you can get at the grocery store in the baking section. Be sure to buy marzipan and not almond paste. Roll it out on a board dusted with confectioner's sugar, about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rectangles using one of the loaf pans as a guide.

Buttercream Icing
1 cup butter softened
1 box of confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
cream
beat the butter, add the sugar gradually with the vanilla, add cream as needed to make a thick spreadable icing.

Assemble the cakes:
Put a dab of icing in the middle of the top of a cake, place a slab of marzipan on top, spread marzipan with buttercream and let set. Decorate top at opposite corners with a glaced cherry,
UNCLE artwork
  • mrua7

I bid you all adieu for the night...

Time for me to settle in and try to unwind. Rewatching Peter Pan Live! (why I don't know, because it was rather disappointing...Christopher Walken as Hook was bloody awful!)   Anyway, thanks for a great Christmas party. It was lots of fun. Thank you Spikesgirl and Sparky for being great hostesses!

Don't forget to post your 'Christmas Cards for Spies' on Uncle du Jour, and it's not too late to join in the holiday PicFic on Section VII.  Can't wait to read more Down the Chimney stories on muncle.

Here's a little song you may know from the Beatles White album.  BTW I decided to buy myself a Christmas present, so a remastered copy of the White Album (vinyl) is under my Christmas tree.  I got it for Christmas when it first came out, given to me by my...late brother. All my Beatles albums are long gone, lost while moving too many times.  Sigh...  Hmm, now I'm getting a bit weepy.

Good night all you cousins and hasta mañana...

                   

gray kittens

The lonely widow Sparky has an honest question

Can anyone talk me through copying my PRIVATELY OWNED, PERSONALLY PURCHASED DVD that are NOT AVAILABLE FOR DIGITAL PURCHASE from Amazon or iTunes onto my external wireless hard drive so I can watch them on iPPY?

Dear FBI agent, all I want to do is to be able to watch The Invisible Man and The Equalizer through the retina resolution of my iPad. Look at the AmEx bill I just paid in full...I bought all 10 seasons of NCIS and all 4 seasons of UNCLE and I even bought Sapphire and Steel from Amazon Instant Video.

Seriously, I'm not out to break the law, I just would rather not succumb to temptation and buy a new laptop that has a better display resolution than my dearly beloved but beginning to show its age Toshiba.