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SPICE NOTES

JANUARY 2012

 

Greetings from Grand Rivers and the domain of the Happy Cooker. It’s been a long time between “notes”. Sometimes the words come easy and sometimes they don’t come at all. That seemed to be the case last year. Since I do this for fun, I don’t push myself. If I don’t seem able to do something fun or witty, I just don’t do it. Those of you who contacted me, hoping the missing newsletters were just laziness, not evidence of something serious like brain damage or arthritis (can’t type with gnarly fingers), know the reasons, and let me just say in 10,000 words or less, that I’m over the funk. I have a whole year of unspoken wisdom to share, starting now.

 

As you may remember, I have a commercial kitchen and a restaurant license. I am able to serve small groups, from two to 12, by reservation only. We‘ve actually stretched to a maximum of 30 - if you don’t mind someone’s elbow in your plate. I prepare individual meals for take-out, and produce anything in the bakery line that can be made from scratch - your recipe or mine. I conduct culinary classes with a regularly scheduled class every Tuesday, and custom classes for groups of four or more - your choice of topic, date and time.

 

My colleague, Kathy Reed, maintains my front-of-house gift shop with culinary-related goodies, and I keep a full line of spice blends, sauces, and house-made fruit jams and relishes. We’ll assemble a basket with just an hour’s notice if you need an instant gift for the cook in your life.

 

Last year’s news: We had to abandon the hot dog stand - it was simply too hot to sit outside - I wouldn’t do it myself and couldn’t expect anyone else to do so. The business was fine, and we eventually did weekend doggies from inside the house, where it was cool. But sales weren’t the same when people had to park, and come inside - I just didn’t enjoy it and this is really all about me. I’ve reached a point in my life where I can try something out, work it a while and then give it a toss if the cost exceeded the satisfaction. So Don’s Designer Dogs went bye-bye. Anyone want to buy a gently used doggie wagon? I’ll include the paper goods, the sign, and the sport peppers. Make me an offer.

 

Other Successes: Sold a passel of cupcakes - I really enjoyed coming up with new combinations, and that kept me busy all summer and fall. Even though the local IGA didn’t want to collaborate again, the customers knew where I was, and kept me busy. Best seller after Red Velvet? The “Elvis”, which consisted of a banana batter, a graham cracker crust, chocolate frosting, marshmallow filling and topped with a fresh chocolate dipped banana slice. Had to eat that bad boy with a fork.

Oktoberfest - my 28th year - went extremely well. And I can still prepare schnitzels on request, with all the

trimmings - Bavarian kraut, sweet-sour red cabbage and spaetzle or potato pancakes. Just give me a call the day before you need an Old Country fix. Other favorites that are available with one day’s notice:

 

Chicken Pot Pie:  a one-dish meal that serves two generously. Our touch - a layer of sausage-sage dressing instead of a lower crust and a dash of saffron for extra pizzaz $12

Stuffed Birdie: Whole breast with sausage-sage dressing, “smashed” potatoes & succotash $10

Pork Madison County: Medallions of tenderloin, with mushrooms, bacon & green onions, Swiss

scalloped potatoes & green beans almandine $10

 

Champagne Chicken: Chicken breast in wine sauce with grapes; Wild rice medley & vegetables $10

 

Beef Stroganoff: Tenderloin tips, mushrooms & onions in sour cream gravy; noodles & vegetables $10

 

Citrus Pork: Pork cutlets in a grapefruit sauce; roasted sweet potato wedges, & vegetables. $10

 

Seafood Etouffe: Shrimp, scallops & crabmeat with spicy sauce & rice: by the quart - $12

 

These dinners can be prepared for pickup either hot,

chilled ready-to-heat, or frozen, and include dinner rolls.

 

STUFF I GATHERED FROM THE WEB:

I posted these tips a year ago, and feel they need repeating. I personally found myself confronted with fruit flies and couldn’t remember the formula for solving the problem; couldn’t remember when or how I knew there was a solution until I pulled this up - Bingo!

 

* Bananas ripen faster If you leave them connected at the stem. I use one of those little hook-hanger things and they don’t leave a stain on your counter-top.

 

* Wrap opened cheese in foil instead of plastic wrap or baggies. It stays fresh longer and doesn’t turn moldy.

 

* Scrambled eggs cook up fluffier if you use a couple tablespoons of water instead of milk or cream. The milk proteins make them firm and to my taste, less appealing.

 

* Add garlic or herbs while the food is cooking for a mild flavor; add right at the end for a stronger taste.

 

* Reheat leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat instead of in the microwave. Keeps the crust crispy. Cover with a lid for the last couple of minutes to melt the cheese.

 

* To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it ½” with apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and hasten their journey to bug heaven.

 

THUMPER TAILS (I am repeating this from November 2010)


The King of Cats has a new friend from across the street. A big black neutered Tom moved in this summer, and is allowed to run about the neighborhood. He attempted to move in on Thumper’s territory, but soon found that our driveway is sacred Thumper ground. After much howling, screeching and low rumbling warnings, the intruder now skirts the street in front of our door. They do meet on neutral ground in the yard next door where they keep the grounds free of vermin, mice and squirrels. And an occasional birdie, which Thumper thinks I would enjoy, since he deposits them by our back door.

While just barely tolerant of other kitties, Thumper loves our random human visitors and greets them by the front door, and demands much patting and scratching of his chin. About a year or so ago, I had complaints because Thumper was able to get inside and do his “love me, pet me, hold me” act. So we put up a screen door limiting his ability to get in and out, and installed another door between the kitchen and our living quarters. Now all you can see are his little furry paws reaching under the door beseeching entrance, and wouldn’t you know it? Someone always wants to let him in. When I tell them he is supposed to stay outside, they make a frowny-face like I am the bad guy. He is such a sweet kitty - in his next life I hope he gets to live in a room filled with pillows, cat food cans that don’t require an opener, and fresh water that doesn’t require a flush first.

 

RECIPE OF THE MONTH:

 

CHICKEN CHILE STEW

 

CHICKEN BREAST, BONE-IN 1#

 

VEGETABLE OIL 2 TBS CREAMED CORN 1 CAN

 

GROUND PORK OR SAUSAGE 1 / 2 # FROZEN OR CANNED CORN 1 CAN

 

CARROTS, PEELED & SLICED 3 EA. BLACK BEANS, DRAINED 1 CAN

 

ONIONS, SLICED 1 CUP TOMATOES, DICED 1 CAN

 

CELERY, TRIMMED & SLICED 1 CUP CHILIE SEASONING 2-3 TBS

 

WATER OR CHICKEN STOCK 3 CUPS BROWN SUGAR 2 TBS

 

SALT & PEPPER TO TASTE

 

DIRECTIONS: SEASON CHICKEN BREAST WITH SALT & PEPPER. HEAT OIL IN HEAVY-BOTTOMED STOCK POT. BROWN CHICKEN ON BOTH SIDES; REMOVE. ADD PORK; COOK TILL BROWNED. ADD CHICKEN, CARROTS, ONIONS, CELERY & STOCK. SIMMER UNTIL CHICKEN IS COOKED THROUGH - ABOUT 30 MINUTES; REMOVE TO COOL. ADD REST OF INGREDIENTS; WHEN CHICKEN IS COOL ENOUGH TO HANDLE, REMOVE BONES, SKIN & GRISTLE & DICE MEAT. ADD BACK TO POT. THIS IS NICE WITH TACO CHIPS.

 

Eat Well, Live Well..

Marilyn Kunz, The Happy Cooker

P.S.

Remember your Sweetie on Valentine’s weekend, February 10 & 11. Special theatre event & limited seating at Sugar & Spice.

 

SUGAR & SPICE GOURMET TAKE-OUT -2012

 

JUMBO SHRIMP ~ $22 per pound ( 18 pieces)

Served with Club crackers; choose from VEGETABLE TRAY (Seasonal) $25 & up (serves 10)

 

1. Cold, chilled with cocktail sauce FRUIT & CHEESE- $3.50 per person; 10 minimum

 

2. Cold, marinated in herbs & garlic COMBO SALAD - Mixed Greens, apples, walnuts, cheese; dressing $4.00 p/p; 6 minimum

 

3.Shrimp Ole with Salsa; Taco Chips CRABCAKES…nicely seasoned patties, with raspberry drizzle $5 ea (no min)

4.Chilie Lime Shrimp; Taco Chips NEGIMAKI ~ Tenderloin roll-ups with Asparagus $6 / oz (minimum 2#)

 

5. New Orleans BBQ Shrimp (to be re-heated) CHILLED MEDLEY, INCLUDES CHOICE OF SHRIMP - 5 PER PERSON ~ VEGETABLE, FRUIT & CHEESE TRAY $15 PER PERSON (10 minimum)

 

TOO TIRED TO COOK? TOO BUSY TO GO OUT? TRY OUR PERSONAL CHEF OPTION:

 

EACH WEEK WE OFFER SEVERAL DINNER CHOICES THAT WILL INCLUDE CHOICE OF ENTRÉE, POTATO OR RICE, FRESH VEGETABLES & HOUSE-MADE DINNER ROLLS - $10 PER SERVING. CALL FOR THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS. NO MINIMUMS

 

 

BAKERY - SPECIAL ORDER ONLY

 

CHEESECAKES 8” 10” 16 HALF PAN

Too many to list (check our website) 20 24 30 60

 

OUR OWN FRUIT PIES 10” serves 8 $12 each Lattice $14 Streusel $16

Apple, Blackberry, Blueberry, Peach, Pecan, Rhubarb, Strawberry

 

CAKES - 2-LAYER $18 3 LAYER $20 9X12 SHEET CAKE 20 (2 LAYER - 36) HALF PAN - 40 (2 LAYER) 60

 

CANDY BAR PIES ~ 10” pies serve 8 $20 each

 

Almond Joy - coconut cream filling topped with milk chocolate & sliced almonds

 

Reeses’ Pieces - caramel filling with candy topping Butterfinger - caramel cream filling topped with crushed butterfinger candy topping

 

Heath Bar - caramel filling with toffee & milk chocolate topping

 

Candied Pecan - caramel filling topped with candied pecans M & M - caramel filling with candy topping

Turtle - caramel filling topped with lush chocolate and pecans

 

Peppermint Pattie - Cream mint filling with dark chocolate topping

 

Snickers - caramel filling topped with nougat, peanuts and milk chocolate Blueberry Cream Streusel - Cream cheese filling, berry topping

 

Rocky Road - chocolate filling with maraschino cherries, marshmallows & walnuts almond crumb crust

 

Taffy Apple - Hand crafted with cinnamon taffy topping & crushed nuts

 

Peach Melba - Cream filling, Peach & Raspberry topping

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

BOURBON PECAN BREAD PUDDING Serves 12 $24 FRUIT COBBLERS Serves 16 $20

 

TIRAMISU (with fresh berries) Serves 12 36 CHEESE & CHERRY CREPES (6) 12

 

WEEKEND OFFERINGS

 

CUPCAKES - TOO MANY TO LIST - 1.50 EA., 8.00 FOR 6; $16 FOR 12 FRUIT TARTS 1.50 ea.

 

BOURBON BROWNIES 1.50 ea; per dozen - $16 BLONDIES 1.50 ea; $16 per dozen

 

 

 

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147 BARKLEY DRIVE

GRAND RIVERS, KY 42045

PHONE: (270) 362-2362

E-MAIL: callme@happycooker101.com

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