A message from Judith’s niece, Lesa Ferguson:

Aunt Judith asked me to report that she is busy in her kitchen and garden readying both for her move to a new home. Before long she will be back on her blog, sharing the joys and frustrations of transplanting. Until then follow her pins on Pinterest @ http://pinterest.com/piccadillybug/ where you will find one of my favorite of her boards http://pinterest.com/piccadillybug/beautiful-women/. She has been one to me. Below is a picture of us on my wedding day!

Judith Stewart Lesa Ferguson

Aunt Judith and her niece Lesa on her wedding day

~ Judith’s Rolled Meatloaf ~ Exquisite Flavours ~ served with Roasted Veggies ~

  • The Meatloaf is baked in a ROLL. the veggies were roasted this summer harvest and frozen & heated up for this lovely dinner.
  • Meatloaf mixture consists of 1/2 lb each; ground beef,veal,pork. please ask the butcher to grind all 3 together” IN FRONT OF YOU”, as my grandmother said whenever she sent us to the butcher to purchase meat for our dinner. I never use the “already ground up in a package in the meat case” never-ever ! The Home Economist here in Davidson will do this for you, and it’s excellent makes all the difference in the taste.
  • Please read this recipe through before you start…then measure 7 weigh ingredients and have at the ready ;
  • in a large glass or porcelain mixing bowl combine meat with 1 cup cut up 2 or 3 day old rosemary & olive oil bread , leave some chunks in bread. I use the crust as well. then add 1/2 cup half & half and 3 large eggs lightly beat up with a fork.
  • fold with your CLEAN hands
  • then add 3/4 cup fresh grated Romano cheese 1/3 cup fresh chopped italian flat leaf parsley…keep folding…
  • then sprinkle in 2 tsp. fennel seeds,  ground sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. combine with your fingers just ’till all mixed. do not overwork.
  • here is the fun part…..lay out a long sheet of wax paper.
  • Pat the meat mixture to about a 12″ X 9″ X 3/4 inch  thick rectangle.
  • now slice some garlic, do not mince, slice very thin long strips from at least a dozen cloves,,,and lay slices on meat
  • Now lay very thin slivers of Prosciutto over the entire meat, but leave a border free along edges.
  • then lay fresh sliced Provolone over top of Prosciutto
  • at this point I sprinkle more parsley over top of cheese.
  • Now take one side of the wax paper [the long side] pushing the filling ingredients in if necessary. lift the wax paper and ROLL up the meat to completely enclose the filling.
  • pinch the seam and ends together, gently but completely.
  • using the wax paper to lift it, place the loaf seam side down in the jelly roll pan
  • Sprinkle the roll with Progresso Italian seasoned bread crumbs. [do not use these bread crumbs for the filling=you must use bread there.]
  • writing these rolling instructions seems difficult, but it’s easy as rolling out a filled puffed pastry !
  • bake for about 50 minutes. do not over-bake.
  • you will love the delicious aromatic flavours.
  • In my post tomorrow, i’ll give the recipe to change this up  as well as the roasted veggies recipe.
  • leftover meatloaf makes a wonderful sandwich.
  • Enjoy !

~ Pecan & Sharp Cheddar Cheese Mold ~

Preheat oven to 350′ Spread 1 cup chopped pecans in a jelly roll pan , in a single layer. toast ’till fragrant 5 to 8 minutes. watch carefully do not burn or it will spoil the entire dish. Please be patient and let cool for a minimum of 20 minutes in a single layer on parchment paper.

While pecans are cooling stir 3/4 cup of mayo a few shots of Tabasco sauce and a heaping tablespoon of horseradish [I use more] so you will need to taste before adding the 2 nd tablespoon. Stir in a mixing bowl. Add some sea salt FLAKES. and some fresh ground black pepper.

At this point refrigerate mixture while you hand grate on your fine microplane grater 1 lb. of sharp Cheddar cheese. I use CABOT Seriously sharp cheddar .

remove mayo mixture from frig…gently fold in grated cheese & cooled pecans. At this point I usually line a 1950’s jello mold w/ press & seal, and place carefully the mixture into mold and it is important to *chill *overnight.

when ready to serve pull the edges of press & seal up to unmold and place on a pretty Christmas dish, and fill center with my defrosted strawberry jam . as the combination of sweet & savory taste thrills my taste buds. or for a savory pallet  fill center with green onion stalks/thin sliced carrots /red peppers sliced in strips / a few thin cut celery stalks.

This presentation pictured is just the cheese mixture scooped up and on a plate with a large dollop of horseradish on top and topped with some capers and served with green onion Juline , on crackers.

If your party will be several hours. please place the cheese on your Christmas plate and set it on a bowl w/ ice.  ENJOY ! Your guests will !

Holiday [or anytime] Side Dishes, cont.

  •  Roasted  Cauliflower & Sliced Onion  [ i had theis pan in oven with sweet potato & apple muffin, they were finished at same time, so 2 different side dishes were ready for serving with spiral ham ! easy !
  • place parchment paper on a jelly roll pan

carefully trim cauliflower into flowerettes in a mixing bow. add lots of EVOO & salt & Pepper [fresh ground] slice onions on mandolin [for even slices, which will cook evenly] place in a mixing bow. add progresso italian seasoned bread crumbs, [although i love Panko crums, this is Not the correct application for them, a very fine crumb consistancy is needed here]. add lots of EVOO w/ bread crumbs & fresh ground S & P. I then sprinkle some hot pepper flakes, but again for children this step should be avoided.

Add some hearty dabs of Butter[ Iuse land o lakes salted] bake along with another side dish to save time and not waste electricity ! 350′ 45 min use your timer and check often.

Holiday [or anytime] Easy Side Dishes

Sweet Potato & Apple slices in muffin cups
  • slice sweet potatoes on mandolin into mixing bowladd brown sugar -olive oil - salt/pepper [both fresh ground] -butteradd brown sugar- s/p fresh ground- EVOO -butter

slice apples in separate plate add sprinkle of all spice , set aside

now for the fun part…do this with your grandchildren…they will love helping. stand sweet potato slices up on edge. next apple slice and so on ’till muffin cup is full. scoop out all brown sugar etc. and dab in-between w/ butter pats. I used my flavoured orange butter for this, but you can use salted butter. then I had some Chocolate Special K cereal , and so i added a sprinkle of cereal to top of each muffin cup. if you like them, i added some whole cloves, but watch them when serving children.Add lots of fresh ground pepper medley to top of butter, [for children use judgmentBake 350′ for 45 min checking for doneness often. Scoop out with spoons to capture all the gooey buttery goodness. and Enjoy. they are so delicious and easy and everyone loves their own serving!

How Santa Claus Came To America


Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of the city of Bari in Puglia region. he is also revered throughout Europe as the protector of children. the story of how the saint,called San Nicola di Bari,came to be our modern-day Santa Claus is a long fascinating tale.

Nicholas was born in the fourth century to wealthy parents in what is now Turkey. His parents died when he was quite young and  he inherited their fortune. Nicholas was very kind and when he heard of a poor father who could not provide his three daughters with wedding dowries, dooming them to a life in a brothel, he decided to help, without revealing his identity. One night, depending on the version of the story, he either climbed to the roof of the families house and dropped a sack of gold down the chimney or tossed the money through the window. he repeated the action on two more occasions. the last time, the father, who sat up waiting to see who the family’s benefactor was, recognized Nicholas. soon everyone in town knew of his good works. eventually he was made the Bishop of Myra in Turkey, where he lived and died.

In 1087, sailors decided to take the Christian bishop’s remains to safety away from Myra, which was then in control of the saracen infidels. his bones were removed and a great catheral was built to house them in Bari. many miracles were attributed to the bishop, and he eventually became a saint.

Nicholas is also considered the protector of sailors because, it is said, he once saved a ship from disaster when he was invoked during a fierce storm. his fame spread as far away as northern Europe.  In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas, there known as Sinterklaas, was depicted as a kindly old man with a long white beard, wearing his red bishop’s robe. It became the custom to give children small gifts on his feast day, December 6.

Dutch settlers brought the story of Saint Nicholas with them to New Netherlands, what is now New York State. In 1809, on Saint Nicholas Day,  Washington Irving published his Knickerbocker Tales, a humorous history of New York and the Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant. Saint Nicholas is mentioned frequently, and Irving wrote, “nor was the day of St. Nicholas suffered to pass by, without making presents, hanging the stocking in the chimney and complying with all it’s other ceremonies.” evidently the traditions we associate with Santa Claus and Christmas were already established.

Clement Clark Moore, a classics professor and a member of a group of writers known as Knickerbocker authors, which include Washington Irving, is believed to have written the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” in 1822 as a gift for his children. Moore’s poem inspired cartoonist Thomas Nast of Harper’s Weekly to draw Saint Nicholas much as we know him today, as a jolly old fat man in a red suit.