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Old 05-24-2011, 12:45 AM   #1
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GCC -- Four Seasons Challenge -- Barbara

As I am leaving for a few weeks, I needed to post my dishes a little early.

I thought of a lot of ways to go with the Four Seasons Challenge, but in the end I went with a simple theme. I thought of what memories each season brought to me.

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Old 05-24-2011, 12:51 PM   #2
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GCC -- Four Seasons Challenge -- Barbara

Spring (Beverage)

Spring always makes me think of cool breezes, citrus, and something refreshing. My Spring beverage isn't anything wild and out of the ordinary, but it was refreshing! I love lemonade, and I love limes. There is something about sherbet that just wakes up my senses, much as everything kind of wakes up in the Spring.

Ingredients: Lemons, limes, lime sherbet, water.

In advance I let the sherbet melt in the refrigerator, then I added the juice of 4 limes to it. I then froze it in ice trays.

I made lemonade, using fresh lemons (6 large and several small ones), following the typical 1 part lemon juice, 1 part sugar, and 5 parts water.

To serve I poured lemonade into each glass, then I added a few of the lime cubes to each glass.

Results: The resulting beverage was delicious and very refreshing. The lime juice in the sherbet gave us both an occasional little burst of tart lime, which complimented the sweet/tart lemonade.

What would I do differently? I tried some new ice trays I bought recently. They make small ice sticks to put in water bottles. I would not use them for this purpose again. They were very difficult to remove. Since it did not freeze as hard as regular ice, I would probably just refreeze it in the sherbet container (or a bowl if it came in a cardboard carton) and scoop it out with an ice cream scoop.

Summer (Main Dish and sides)

When I think of Summer, I think of the 4th of July and Summer picnics. When I think of the 4th of July and summer picnics I think of cheeseburgers and corn on the cob.

4th of July Cheeseburger Meatballs

(Amounts are approximate--I don't usually measure with this type of dish)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
Small onion, chopped
1 egg
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 inch cubes of cheese (one per meatball--I used store brand Velveeta)

Mix onion, egg, garlic, bread crumbs, and sesame seeds into ground beef. Form fairly large meatballs around a cube of cheese, sealing well. Place in baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on how large your meatballs are).

Results: We both really enjoyed these. The sesame seeds really worked in this and gave them a cheeseburger bun flavor. The cheese didn't show very well in the pictures, and some of it did run out, but they tasted nice and cheesy.

What would I do differently? I would definitely chop the onions smaller. Would I make these again? Yes, yes, and yes! When I told my friend about them, she asked for the recipe and wants to try them too.

Corn on the cob with pepper-lime butter

Ahead of time add the zest of 4 limes and about 2 teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning (can just use pepper flakes if you prefer) to one stick of softened sweet butter. Refrigerate an hour or so to let flavors blend.

Prepare corn on the cob using your preferred method. I boiled mine that night. Serve with pepper-lime butter.

Results: Nice and buttery, with a slight kick. I also put the pepper-lime butter on my baked potato. It was good, but I especially loved it on the corn.

Fall (Appetizer)

When I think of Fall my first thoughts are of smelling fireplaces burning as I walk in the cool, crisp evening air. In addition to the smoky aroma of the fireplaces, I think of apples.

Smoky Cheese Spread

I put together a simple tray of smoked gouda and smoked Swiss/cheddar cheese, smoked ham, and crackers. The main feature however was the smoky cheese spread.

To an 8-ounce block of slightly softened cream cheese I added approximately 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke. After I blended it, I tasted it and felt it needed more, so I added an extra splash. I served it with thin fresh slices of crisp Gala apples.

Results: Way better than I had even imagined. I can't even begin to describe how good this was! The smoky flavored cream cheese along with the crisp sweet apple was an amazing flavor sensation in my mouth! James loved it as well.

Would I make this again? I will be making this every chance I get. It was one of the best appetizers I have ever eaten.

Winter (Dessert)

When I think of Winter, I think of Christmas. I asked James what he thought of (food wise) when he thought of Winter, and he said his mom's chocolate rice. No one had the recipe so he hasn't had it since she died. When I think of winter foods I think of our Christmas tradition of Chocolate Covered Cherries. So I got the idea to blend our two traditions in a dessert.

Chocolate Cherry Rice

In heavy saucepan blend 6 Tablespoons powdered cocoa, 6 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup sugar. Slowly stir in 4 cups milk. Add 2 Tablespoons butter or vegetable oil. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil slowly while it thickens (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add 3 to 4 cups (depending on how thick you want it) of cooked rice. Stir in a jar of drained maraschino cherries (I used a medium sized jar--we love cherries). Refrigerate

Results: James said this was very much like his mom's chocolate rice (the only difference, other than the cherries, was that she added walnuts). So I feel I succeeded, since he has been wanting her chocolate rice for years. We both loved the taste of the pudding, rice, and cherries blended together.

Will I make it again? Yes, this will become a regular dessert in our household. I will also make it with walnuts along with, or in place of the cherries to change it up.

I hope you enjoyed my 4 Seasons Meal!
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:41 PM   #3
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I don't know why the Chocolate Cherry Rice pictures didn't go through, but if I can figure out how to add them from my daughter's computer I will add them again.
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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Everything looks great, and the chocolate cherry rice sounds incredible. I hope you find a way to get the pic up!
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:44 PM   #5
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Thanks Sprout!

I wasn't able to get the pictures on here, but I emailed James and asked him to try. That particular file is a little hard to find, but hopefully he can find it.
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:19 PM   #6
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Your menu looks fabulous, looks and sounds great! I knew you could do it! Good Job!
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:22 PM   #7
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I love your cheese burger meatballs idea. I copied your recipe. It would be great to have a bunch in the freezer. The sesame seed idea sounds really good too. Good job!

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Old 05-28-2011, 04:52 PM   #8
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Thanks! It was a lot of fun!

I have really enjoyed everyone else's dishes too.
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:25 PM   #9
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Everything look great but I love the beverage the best!!! I'm going to have to try that this summer.
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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I see we were thinking along the same lines with the beverage and appetizer. Looks YUMMY!!
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:03 PM   #11
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Great job Barbara! I love how you got your inspiration, from the things that really make you think of a particular season. It makes it such a "personal" adventure. I'm glad you had fun. It all looks and sounds just great!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:54 PM   #12
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Great job! I can easily see each season in your courses. The corn on the cob with meatballs made my mouth water! YUM!


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