Friday, August 19, 2011

Popularity Escapes Me—In So Many Ways

There are many things in life whose popularity absolutely baffles me. Reality television for one. Uh, I’d rather be undergoing periodontal surgery. Peanut butter? A noxious choking hazard waiting to happen. Philadelphia Eagles’ player (and convicted dog killer) Michael Vick? Serial killer in the making. “Lite” rock music? Cutting my ears off and stuffing the holes with cotton balls would be preferable.

Of course, at the top of my list of popular baffling things is the concept of face painting. What the hell is the appeal of this? Please, somebody tell me. I really don’t know. I see all kinds of events where face painting is advertised with the same gusto as if they were giving away a free pot of gold with the price of admission. Frankly, I think this is merely event planners’ shorthand for “We don’t have any rides to entertain the kids so we’re gonna strap ’em to a chair and paint ladybugs on their cheeks.” Typically done by perky women dressed as clowns (scary enough in and of itself), innocent children are transformed into miniature sugar-crazed lepers. Well, at least they look like lepers after Sparkles the Clown waves her magic paint brush all over them.

One of the most innocent, harmless things I’ve never understood is the watermelon. Aside from ice cream, is there a more iconic summer food than a watermelon? When I was a kid my Grandma Dorothy used to visit us in the summertime for about a month. Because I adored Grandma beyond all reason, I used to try to emulate her in everything she did. Unfortunately, Grandma loved watermelon. She was a genuine watermelon connoisseur. She was so practiced that she could tell a good melon just by looking at it in the grocery store. The concept of the watermelon is a good one—it’s a self-contained food that doesn’t require utensils. AND you can spit the seeds at your unsuspecting dinner guests. But it just tastes like sticking your tongue out the window. No taste whatsoever. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Nichts.

Now, before y’all start to whine, I know that peanut butter and pop music and all the rest are adored by millions of people. It’s not like this stuff is necessarily wrong. It’s just wrong in my world. But just so you know, it’s my world and the rest of you merely live in it. Yet, to prove my planet-sized tolerance (at least to the lowly red and green melon), I bring you…

Caribbean Salsa

2 cups chopped seeded watermelon
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper or jerk seasoning (or to taste)

In a large bowl combine ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Stir before serving. Makes 8 servings.

And for those of you who have REALLY had it with face-painting clowns, try the next recipe. Your outlook on life should improve significantly after a snoot full of this stuff.

Watermelon Sangria

1 bottle red wine (preferably Spanish)
½ bottle white zinfandel
½ bottle Beaujolais
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup tequila
1 quart orange juice
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup lime juice
1 cup club soda
1 cup watermelon juice
6 star anise (optional)
Sugar to garnish
Sliced oranges, maraschino cherries

Whisk all the ingredients - wine, brandy, tequila, orange juice, lemon juice, club soda, and watermelon juice. Add sugar, to taste. Garnish with sliced oranges, maraschino cherries.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lifestyles of the Poor, Fat, and Pale

Having grown up in land-locked Cleves, Ohio, going to the beach was something that just wasn’t in our wheelhouse. You had to travel a loooong way to get to a beach town. Not so here in Philadelphia. The New Jersey beaches (known to the locals as “down the shore”) are a mere two-and-a-half hours away. But I’ve discovered that going to the beach really isn’t the vacation it’s supposed to be.

Every time I return from the Jersey shore, I think to myself, “Wow! It’s better to be rich, thin, and tan than poor, fat, and pale.” I know. That notion was a surprise to me, too. Especially since poor, fat, and pale have worked so well for me in the past.

Instead of sitting in the sand reveling in the warmth of the sun, I spend my beach-reading time thinking about real estate. I’ve spent some time in Avalon, NJ, and I confess to marveling at the size of what are quaintly referred to as “second homes.” The houses around 55th and Dune are really more like multi-storied airplane hangars than houses in the conventional sense. So, when sitting on the beach in my sweatpants, I try to figure out what the hell these people do for a living that allows them to live in these gigantic palaces.

I mean seriously. What DO they do? Can I do that job, too? Frankly, I suspect that most of them have as their job descriptions: “Must weigh far less than the national average of a person from a Third World nation; should have the ability to cope in any bikini waxing situation; and can get a tan on command.” And that applies to the women AND the men.

I think all that is a little bit out of my league, if truth be told. First of all, this whole weight issue is gonna knock me right out of the running for being a rich person. I am so First World on the fat scale. None of these developing nation famine issues for me, no sir. Apparently I really have (at various occasions) consumed enough food to sustain a family of seven in Bangladesh. As for the bikini wax, I don’t wear bathing suits in public so that’s something of a moot point. I prefer to be a part of the solution to eye pollution—not a contributor like many people I’ve seen.

As for the tan, well, my tan looks the same in January as it does in July. It’s nonexistent. I came to discover my true uh, fluorescence, when, at one cloudy point in the day, some woman reading a book actually asked if she could sit next to me in order to take advantage of the glow coming off my skin. Only if you pay me the electric company’s going rates, Miss Leatherskin.

You may surmise from all this that while I love sitting on the beach and watching the waves knock over the dopey little kids, I may not be the best suited for that lifestyle. Maybe next year we’ll take a trip to the Pocono Mountains. Oh, hell. Forget it. I’ve seen “Deliverance” one too many times.

Since I can’t be as high falutin’ as I wanna be, let’s all enjoy a down home, man-of-the-people kinda recipe. It’s guaranteed to make it impossible for you to wear a bathing suit in public, too.

Hash Brown Casserole

1 26 oz. bag frozen country-style hash browns
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
¼ cup minced onion
1 cup milk
½ cup beef stock or canned broth
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Dash garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine frozen hash browns, cheese, and onion in a large bowl.

Combine the milk, beef stock, half the melted butter, the garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in another bowl. Mix until well blended, then pour the mixture over the hash browns and mix well.

Heat the remaining butter in a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, spoon in the hash brown mixture. Cook the hash browns, stirring occasionally, until hot and all of the cheese has melted (about 7 minutes).

Put the skillet into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the surface of the hash browns is dark brown.

Note: If your skillet isn’t ovenproof, you can also spoon the potatoes into a glass 9” x 9” baking dish and microwave the potatoes until they are hot and the cheese has melted. Then put that baking dish into the 425° oven until the surface of the hash browns has browned.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Camping for Smarties

I find it hard to believe that August is here already. August is such a hedonistic month—its sole purpose seems to be to provide a time to take vacations. Our eighth month doesn’t typically have the coolness that early summer can sometimes bring, nor does it have the blistering blazes of July. August is summer in its prime. Hot days and the occasional cool night. Perfect timing for camping.

Well, not in my house. It’s not that I don’t want to like camping. The concept is a great one: get out into nature, hike, urinate in front of forest animals, maybe do a little living off the land kind of thing. Even camping gear is cool—soft warm sleeping bags, pocket-sized stoves, cozy tents. I’d like nothing better than to drift off in a “mummy” sleeping bag. Unfortunately, I’d like to sleep in a mummy bag in my living room while watching digital cable television.

You see, the reality of camping is quite different than the new autumn L.L. Bean catalogues make it out to be. Most of us don’t look like L.L. Bean models (except for me, of course) and most of us can’t afford to have a Ralph Lauren-decorated cabin in the Adirondacks. Honestly, though, I’d love to camp out at one of those so-called “Great Camps” in the Adirondacks. “Great Camps” is a generic term for the huge mansions in the woods built back around the turn of the 20th century by some of society’s wealthiest families. To my mind, though, any domicile in the woods that has an 18-foot dining room ceiling, its own bowling alley or its own Japanese tea house is not a camp—it’s a compound. Evidently the Vanderbilts and I have similar ideas about “roughing it.”

I am not an entire novice at the outdoor life, however. I’ve been camping a grand total of twice. Like many folks, my first treks into the forest were with a Girl Scout troop. My initial excursion was headed by a woman of great sense—she booked us into a nice big cabin at the local Girl Scout camp ground. While we still had to use outdoor toilets, at least we slept indoors and had a kitchen. Eminently sensible.

I can’t say that my second sojourn into the great outdoors was as pleasurable as the first. I could have accepted sleeping in a tent. What really got me were the bizarre food rituals instituted by the troop leader. As Alert Readers may have guessed, I don’t like anybody messing with my food. Just give it to me. Don’t make silly games out of eating. I could die before I managed to get my breakfast cereal out of the tree it was hung in and I’d then go to the afterlife in a state of hunger. I don’t think we want that, do we?

Yes, folks. They hung our cereal in trees. Mind you, there were no bears within 1,000 miles of this camp to pillage our stuff and no self-respecting raccoon is going to break into a sweat over a miniature box of Frosted Flakes. Dinner time, too, had this same prisoner-of-war quality to it. For reasons passing understanding, some misguided soul opened up the skin of a banana, shoved some chocolate chips in next to the banana, closed up the skin, sealed the whole mess in foil and proceeded to throw it into a fire. Why do people do these things? Can anybody tell me? Anybody…Bueller…anybody?

Another brilliant culinary Girl Scout trick was to take a perfectly good orange and then stab it with a peppermint stick. The idea was to use the peppermint stick as a kind of a straw to suck out the juice from the orange. Why? Don’t Capri Sun juice packs come with their own straw? This was so nonsensical I’m still traumatized. (Note to self: speak to attorney about lawsuit against Girl Scouts for giving you food “issues.”)

But, as I said, I do rather like the idea of camping. Just don’t make me leave my living room to do it.


Camper’s Breakfast Hash

¼ cup butter, cubed
2 packages (20 oz. each) shredded hash brown potatoes
1 package (7 oz.) brown-and-serve sausage links, cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ chopped green pepper
12 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add the potatoes, sausage, onion and green pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned, turning once.

Push potato mixture to the sides of the pan. Pour eggs into center of pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until eggs are completely set. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; stir eggs into potato mixture. Top with cheese; cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Yield: 8 servings

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fall Down, Set Yourself on Fire, and Eat Dangerously

Now that the 4th of July has passed we’ve really entered the heavy grilling season. Even the two laziest people on the planet (uh, that would be me and my husband) have fired up the old grill several times already. Well, he’s fired it up and I’ve stood watching from a distance in case the propane tank decides to blow up.

Used to be I was pretty fearless around a grill. If my Dad was going to throw some hotdogs on the barbie he’d let me squirt the brickettes with charcoal lighter fluid. Talk about your conflagrations. You must remember that this was back in the days when charcoal didn’t light up so easily. And my Dad was a volunteer fireman for 30-odd years. I’m sure he would have put me out had I caught fire. Eventually. But I never would have set myself on fire again, would I?

Today’s kids would never be permitted to light a charcoal grill. God forbid any of the little darlin’s actually be allowed to do things and learn how to live in the real world. No, today we have bicycle-helmeted and hand sanitized our kids into a bunch of giant wussies who are afraid of their own shadows. Who had a bicycle helmet when they were growing up? Hmm? Who? Not me. Did I roller skate all dressed up like the Michelin Tire Man? No. If I fell and down skinned my knees I learned to be a better skater.

The other day I would have sworn that I saw a little girl in my neighborhood wrapped in bubble wrap walking along the sidewalk. Poor child couldn’t even put her arms down. I can’t imagine where she was going or what she was doing since kids are no longer allowed to play dodge ball (too violent); kick the can (kicking the can is a violation of the can’s civil rights); or play on a swing set (can’t figure that one out—maybe swing sets discriminate against people with short legs that don’t reach the ground).

Scairdy-cat adults (and their lawyers) have sucked all the fun out of being a kid. No dodge ball? Dodge ball is the theory of Darwinian evolution at its best! Survival of the fittest, man. Yes, it’s brutal and you get the snot knocked out of you. On the flip side, sometimes it’s YOU who gets to do the snot-knocking. Can you think of a better metaphor for the way life works?

I truly fear for the generation of kids that are being raised today. My God, some school systems have decided not to use red ink to correct student papers because red ink is “damaging” to their little psyches. The red apparently has some sort of negative connotations. Huh? Well, if you’re so afraid of red, L’il Spanky, why not try studying harder? Then you won’t have a paper that looks like Custer’s Last Stand. I don’t know ’bout you, but my school papers (especially the math ones) caused the “Great Red Ink Shortage of 1979.” Is my psyche damaged? I said, IS MY PSYCHE DAMAGED?? Well, maybe I’m a bad example, but at least I’m not scared of the color red. Sheesh.

Nor am I scared of grilling the hell out of my food and eating the delicious blackened bits that are no doubt going to send me into the nearest cancer clinic. So, pipe down, let your kids fall down once in a while, set things on fire, and generally be kids. And if you feel like feeding them (that’s strictly your call) why not try this GRILLABLE, POTENTIALLY FATAL recipe?

Spicy Cheeseburgers

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke, optional
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon lemon juice
3 lbs. ground beef
9 slices pepper Jack cheese
9 hamburger buns, split

In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 9 patties.

Grill, uncovered, over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Top with cheese. Grill 3 to 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Serve on buns and garnish with lettuce and tomato, if desired.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

No Better Place to Be—A Small Town on Memorial Day

After a long dry stretch of no paid holidays to break up the monotony of life, Memorial Day is upon us. Instead of going out and buying a pair of white shoes (which one is permitted to wear after the holiday) I will be staying at home and attending Trappe, Pennsylvania’s, first ever Memorial Day Parade. If I had my choice, however, I’d be spending it in Cleves, Ohio. Memorial Day in Cleves is, or was when I was around, a nice mixture of reverence for the holiday and fun for the local townspeople.

The day always started with a parade down the main street. Make no mistake; this was no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. No Broadway show casts to stop and entertain the masses with the latest unimaginative batch of songs. No Radio City Music Hall Rockettes tapping their way down the street in skimpy costumes. And there were no giant balloons being corralled by serial killer look-alikes in clown suits (and thank God for that).

Instead, we always had my old high school band schlepping along out of step and out of tune. The last time I saw a Memorial Day Parade, the Taylor High School Marching Band no longer had to wear proper band costumes. Honestly, these kids looked like they were going to play in a golf tournament rather than march in a parade. (Personally, I take this as another sign of the coming Apocalypse.) When I was in school it was full wool band regalia and tall hats with the chin straps. None of these polo shirts and khaki pants. So what if a couple of band members passed out at the cemetery from the heat? Come on, wussies! This builds character!

Rather than the Rockettes, Cleves had the various women’s clubs marching down the way. Well, maybe the use of the word “march” is a little too strong. (Some of the ladies were a bit up there.) Perhaps “stroll” is more apropos. Then there were the fire trucks and ambulances from the local volunteer companies showing off their newest rigs. But my favorite part of the parade has always been the passing of the “geezer cars.” These are the convertibles used to haul around eminent personages who don’t get around as well as they used to. I have gone from seeing my Grandfather in a geezermobile to seeing my Dad in one. Although I am convinced my Dad is perfectly capable of walking the distance—he just likes to practice his royal wave from the back of the car.

After the parade we would head to the local cemetery for speeches and the honoring of our fallen service people. Cleves has a long tradition of military service going back at least to the Civil War (in which my namesake, Captain Sam Jessup, served with distinction). Folks in Cleves have always been proud of the role they’ve played in our country’s history and they gladly participate in the ceremonies alongside local politicians. It is a solemn, yet homespun, tribute to America and those who served. Following the seriousness of the cemetery services, most people head back to the American Legion Hall for a big cookout and time with family and friends. It’s a good combination of honoring the dead and celebrating our life of freedom.

I can mark my formative years by the Memorial Days I’ve spent in Cleves. Friends I played with as a kid are now parents themselves (although most would have done America a great service by NOT reproducing) and many of the older faces I knew are now gone. Although I haven’t lived in Cleves for almost 20 years it, and Memorial Day, hold special places in my heart. I send a message to those who do still live there: Get it together, people or you’ll lose this little town. It’s already taken a near-death blow by losing the Fire Department. Don’t screw up anything else.

So, what’s my advice on this great weekend? Take your kids to a Memorial Day parade. It may mean more to them than you might think. Then go crash a picnic and take along this variation on an old summertime favorite.

Southwestern Calico Baked Beans

1 (12 oz.) package hot pork sausage
1 (55 oz.) can or 4 (15 oz.) can baked beans, drained
1 (15.5 or 15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (15.8 oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (9 oz.) package frozen baby lima beans
1 cup Old El Paso Thick and Chunky salsa
1 (1.25 oz.) package Old El Paso taco seasoning mix

Cook sausage in medium skillet over medium heat until browned and no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain.

In a 3 ½ to 4-quart slow cooker, combine cooked sausage and all the remaining ingredients; stir gently to mix.

Cover; cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours.

Makes 20 ½ cup servings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Drink Up. The World's About to End.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, I’ve got news for you: “Drink up. The world’s about to end.”

At least that’s how Ford Prefect put it to Arthur Dent in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” And who am I to argue with Ford Prefect? And how can I argue with those folks who believe Judgment Day is May 21? They may actually be right. I don’t seriously think so, but you never know. It’s always best to be on the safe side in these situations.

Apparently this date was arrived at through a reading of the Bible and some interpretation of dates and events therein. I’ve been trying to read up on this (hey, better late than never) and I still can’t grasp the math involved. My lack of math skills is most likely due to a male math teacher I had in the sixth grade (Three Rivers Middle School, Miami Heights, Ohio 1975-76—you figure out who it is ‘cause I don’t wanna get sued) whose idea of teaching techniques consisted of telling kids who had questions to “Sit down and read the book.” Wow! That strategy worked out great, Mr. Putz! Not only can’t I balance my checkbook, but I can’t tell when the end of the world is. No child left behind indeed.

Anyhoo… Judgment Day is supposed to arrive on May 21 with earthquakes all over the world. This, in turn, will force dead bodies out of their graves and mausoleums. Good folks (even the dead ones) will be Raptured up into Heaven. Bad folks (uh, I’m guessing that means me and the majority of my family and friends) will remain behind to clean up the mess. Once again, I’m not getting a date to the prom.

According to the believers of this May 21 Judgment Day theory, the five months following the Rapture will not exactly be a Princess Cruise to Puerta Vallarta with Captain Stuebing, Doc, Gopher, Isaac, and Julie McCoy. They’re a little vague on the après-Rapture details, but I suspect there will be boils, locusts, plagues, and copious amounts of soft rock playing over celestial loudspeakers. And the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (if I can believe their press release on TMZ.com) can probably be counted on for an appearance. My friend Ray has a neighbor with four horses. (I think Ray’s extra doomed. Just sayin’.)

Then, five months later on October 21, the world ends for good. I guess we blow up like the Death Star at the end of “Star Wars: The First of the Good Three Films in the Series.”

So, to believe or not? Beats me. Again, who is to say they’re not right? Religion is a personal thing and I am loathe to argue it. And what do you do about it anyway? Chances are good that you already suck and are doomed. Therefore, my response to this whole thing is the same whether I get Raptured or nuked: I’m gonna have something good for dinner. And since my final meal unfortunately isn’t going to be a “LG PEP BAC ON” from LaRosa’s Pizza (they don’t deliver to Philadelphia) and my husband isn’t likely to catch on to my hints for Outback Steakhouse, I’m making…

Pork Chops Veracruz

Ingredients:

6 pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, mashed (Note: I just use the minced stuff out of the jar.)
2 medium onions
1 cup dry white wine, divided
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped pimentos (Note: Just get a small jar, drain, and use the whole jar. No need to waste time chopping.)1 can chopped green chilies

To Do:

Brown pork chops in oil, turning to brown well on both sides. Drain excess drippings. Sprinkle with flour, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, and garlic. (Note: It’s a lot easier to manage if you put the flour, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt in one bowl and mix them together. Then just sprinkle on the chops before putting the garlic on the chops.)

Add onion and half the wine. Cover and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, add the green pepper, pimiento, chilies, and the remaining wine. Cook, covered for 15 more minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pogue Mahone to You, Too!

Well, faith and begorrah and pogue mahone. After many a year I can actually wear green on St. Patrick’s Day rather than my once-traditional orange. (The sounds you now hear are my dear old Mum clutching her chest in martyred agony and my good friend Kathy Sykes sobbing with joy.) Yes, I now recognize that I’m more Irish than I thought.

As a kid growing up I had no idea what a huge deal St. Patrick’s Day is for some people. In my house (being on the orange side of the tracks as it were) St. Patrick’s Day ranked somewhere below Millard Filmore’s birthday and National Lint Trap Day. And, quite frankly, my Mother had an irrational hatred of the Irish which cast a pall over the holiday. But then I’d be hard pressed to find a group my Mom didn’t hate. She’s a tough crowd. She’s German.

In addition to all the Blarney I spout on a daily basis, and the Irish melancholy I can lapse into when my 403b retirement plan starts to dip, I have found that St. Patrick and I seem to have a few things in common. Apparently the patron saint of Ireland was actually born in Wales and was originally named Maewyn. Up until about the age of 16, old Paddy really considered himself something of a pagan. At that age he was captured by a bunch of marauding Irishmen and sold into slavery. During his six years of captivity he decided that a career as the prisoner of a bunch of Irish hooligans wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. So, he got his act together, escaped to Gaul, and entered the Church.

While in patron saint school, (probably much like Hogwarts) Maewyn underwent one of those extreme makeover things, changed his name to Patrick, and set about converting pagans to Christianity. Seems he got good enough at the whole conversion deal that he was appointed as the second bishop of Ireland. Although the Celtic Druids took a dim view of all the members they were losing (they arrested Patrick on several occasions to try to stem the tide), the Church and the rest of Ireland liked him well enough and got on board the Paddy wagon. So to speak. “Himself” (as the Irish would say) is also credited with the ability to raise the dead and of driving all the snakes from the Emerald Isle. Frankly, I think all the re-animated dead people simply scared the snakes and they high-tailed it out of there.

So, in reading about St. Patrick, I’ve noticed some parallels between the two of us. I, too, was born in a far-away land o’heathens. My home town of Cleves, Ohio, makes Wales look like Euro Disney. For a long time I, too, considered myself a pagan. And I was kidnapped and held captive—by my Mother-in-law. Like a ticked-off Druid, my Mother-in-law also took a dim view of my pagan status. Maybe it was the voodoo doll hanging in my closet….

Fortunately, my indentured servitude was a bit shorter at my mother-in-law’s house (only four years as opposed to the great saint’s six) and I escaped to another country. Well, okay. I only escaped to Collegeville from Hatboro. Whatever. While I’m certainly no saint and I can’t raise people from the dead (I’m not going to be the one responsible for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse), I can at least drive all the dust bunnies from my house. Sort of. Maybe not all of them.

Because of our shared experiences Paddy and I have kind of bonded. I think it’s only fair, then, that I wear some green for him on March 17. And if “Himself” were actually here today we’d probably be watching reruns of “Father Ted” and eating…

Hot Corned Beef Buns

1 lb. deli corned beef, chopped
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 Tablespoon dill or sweet pickle relish
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
6 hamburger buns

In a bowl, combine the corned beef, cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and relish. Spread butter over cut sides of buns. Spoon corned beef mixture over bottom halves; replace tops. Place in an un-greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Cover with foil. Bake at 425º for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

Note: I used Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise and I would never intentionally put butter anywhere near where meat was. Ye gads! This lack of butter may have kept the buns a little dryer than they should have been, but it wasn’t a huge problem.