Soul Taker Secrets – Exotic Salad For Busy Council Members

In the past ‘Soul Taker Secret’ posts, we learned that Katie loves cooking, not only for Raphael but all Council members with their consorts. Now, Katie is an enthusiastic cook, but not a particularly good one, even though she made progress by constant learning and her consort friends’ help.

With the help of her ‘sisters,’ Katie developed an exotic salad for the busy members of the ‘Council of Twelve.’

I heard they all loved it – and so do I.


Ingredients:

  – 1 1/3 cups brown rice

  – 5.29 ounces salmon (steamed)

-   2 slices fresh pineapple

-   1 mozzarella (ball)

 – 1 bunch fresh thyme

 – grated lemon peel (as needed)

 – salt

  – ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the rice in a stockpot full of boiling salted water for approximately 45 to 50 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and allow it to cool.
  3. While the rice cools, prepare the dressing by steaming the salmon with lemon peel and thyme.
  4. Cook the salmon for approximately 10 minutes, let it cool slightly, then break it up delicately into small pieces.
  5. Next cut up the mozzarella into cubes and place it on a paper towel for 10 minutes.
  6. Peel the pineapple and cut two slices into small cubes.
  7. Plate the salad by placing the cooled rice in a large bowl, add the salmon pieces, the diced mozzarella and pineapple, some grated lemon peel, salt and pepper to taste, and the fresh thyme.
  8. Refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving.

Picture courtesy of: Yummly.com

(Source: https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Exotic-Salmon_-Mozzarella_-and-Pineapple-Salad-632343)

Soul Taker Secrets – An Angelic Dish

Katie and her consort-sisters grew. They developed as a group, as a family, as strong independent powerful women.

While in the beginning, the ‘Council of Twelve’ mainly was that, a ‘council,’ the members of ‘the brotherhood’ how they called it, merely met when they had a problem to solve, work out together, regroup the troops, or some other business challenge coming up. Rarely did they meet just for fun. Of course, when you’re a brotherhood of a dozen enormously strong creatures working together, you start knowing each other. However, they barely met anywhere else than in the Great Hall, the arena, or a battlefield.

Once Katie and Raphael fell in love, the entire Council met for dinner once a month in their house. Katie was known as one of the most incapable chefs of all times, but not even one council member had the heart (or the guts) to tell her that. She knew she wasn’t that good a cook and got herself help and support. But she constantly learned. Not even Sundance could help much. Sundance was a warrior and usually ate either in the warrior common dining hall or cooked for herself. Her kitchen knowledge was limited to mostly oatmeal, coffee, or cereal.

With Zepheira and Simin, two more consorts showed up, and their knowledge and willingness to learn made the monthly meetings much more enjoyable.

The longer the consorts knew each other, the closer their connection was. They started to open up to all council members. Even though they seemed intimidating at first, the consorts included them in their circles, and the ‘brotherhood’ slowly turned into a family—a family who deeply cared for each other. The Great Hall was not only for the Council Meetings anymore, but the consorts often gathered there with the council members to support a crisis.

In an earlier blog post, we learned about the favorite ‘Council of Twelve’ dessert.

Today we find out that the Great Hall does have a small kitchen attached. In case of a crisis, it was much easier to whip something up right there than cooking in one of the houses and carrying the food for sixteen people over.

They stocked the kitchen with long-lasting nutrition, such as cereal, the ingredients for oatmeal, coffee, tea, dried ice tea concentrate, rice, dried mushrooms, raisins, nuts,  cinnamon, pasta, and vegetable and fruit cans.

Our consorts found out pretty quickly that it was easy to ‘whip up’ some oatmeal and that all council members loved it. Occasionally, if there was plenty of time, one of the consorts decided to get some fresh fruit to pimp it up a bit.

Let’s see how Katie’s basic oatmeal recipe looks like.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (such as Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Desired toppings (such as sliced almonds, peanut butter, or fresh fruit)

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine oats, milk, water, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

Step 2

Simmer uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Step 3

Divide equally between two bowls. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon honey. Add additional desired toppings and serve.

Chef’s Notes

For dairy-free oatmeal, substitute your favorite nut milk. 

(Source: The Only Basic Oatmeal Recipe You’ll Ever Need | Cooking Light)

Soul Taker Secrets – Angel Wings

The Council of Twelve series is a YA fantasy/paranormal romance series where we meet celestial beings. The first book in the series is ‘Soul Taker’, where we meet the Council of Twelve, the most powerful individuals in existence, and the protagonist, Katie, a Guardian Angel-to-be. In the ‘Soul Taker Secrets’ category, I reveal the one or other ‘inside’ knowledge about The Council of Twelve, their consorts, and in this case, a little of their physical secrets.


Picture courtesy of https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/feathers-article/

Wing feathers

The wing feathers specialized for flight are characterized by uniform windproof surfaces, or vanes, on either side of the central shaft that is created by an interlocking microstructure. Also called remiges, these feathers are asymmetric with a shorter, less flexible leading edge that prevents mid-air twisting.

Amazon Parrot wing feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Tail feathers

Most tail feathers, or rectrices, feature an interlocking microstructure similar to wing feathers. Arranged in a fan shape, these feathers support precision steering in flight. Typically, birds have six pairs of feathers on the tail, which display increasing levels of asymmetry toward the outer pairs. In some birds, tail feathers have evolved into showy ornaments that are useless in flight.

Ruffed Grouse tail feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Contour feathers

Contour feathers are what you see covering the bird’s body and streamlining its shape. Arranged in an overlapping pattern like shingles, the waterproof tips are exposed to the elements, and the fluffy bases are tucked close to the body. Sometimes brilliantly colored or uniformly drab, contour feathers can also help the bird show off or stay camouflaged. Contour feathers on the wing, called coverts, shape it into an efficient airfoil by smoothing over the region where the flight feathers attached to the bone.

Helmeted Guineafowl contour feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Semiplume

Mostly hidden beneath other feathers on the body, semiplumes have a developed central rachis but no hooks on the barbules, creating a fluffy insulating structure.

Northern Cardinal semiplume feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Down

Similar to semiplumes with an even looser branching structure but little or no central rachis, down feathers, are relatively short and positioned closest to the body where they trap body heat.

Canada Goose down feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Filoplume

Short, simple feathers with few barbs, filoplumes function like mammal whiskers to sense the position of the contour feathers.

Common Poorwill filoplume feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Bristle

Bristles are the simplest feathers, with a stiff rachis that usually lacks barb branches. Most commonly found on the head, bristles may protect the bird’s eyes and face.

Domestic Chicken bristle feather illustration by Andrew Leach

(Source: https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/feathers-article/)


Now that we learned about the different feathers in the wings let’s look at the different wing-shapes.

Picture courtesy of https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/

In this picture, we can see the wing shaping feathers and their functionality.


Now, bird and angel wings basically have the same biological structure with one main difference. Their mobility is far more extended to guarantee the optimal function since, of course, angels don’t have tail feathers to brake, steer, and keep the balance of the wing carrier. And of course, they are much more reliable, due to the weight they have to lift.

Picture courtesy of Freepik.com

Soul Taker Secrets – Katie Bakes Bread

We know that Katie loves to invite the ‘Council Of Twelve’ over for dinner. She cares for each one of the Council members and wants them more to feel like a real family. Now, we also know, Katie isn’t a naturally talented cook. But that does not keep her away from trying. Lately, she got a recipe for European bread, a rare recipe that’s normally inherited within the family. The last family member does not have kids and wants Katie to have it. Let’s see what she did with it.


Ingredients:

2.2- lbs flour

3.5 ounces unsalted butter

2.08 cups milk

2 eggs

2 1/2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cube fresh yeast

*****************************************

Instructions:

The flour goes into a big sturdy bowl. With a spoon ‘shovel’ the flower in the middle towards the outside and create a deep ‘hole’ in the middle.

The salt goes on the outside, where the most flour is.  Don’t mix it with the middle, please.

Pour half a cup milk into a coffee mug, the rest of the milk into a pan. The unsalted butter goes into the pan as well. Carefully and slowly heat up milk and butter together until the butter is liquid.

In the coffee mug add the sugar and carefully pluck the fresh yeast into pieces. Add it to the milk and sugar and leave it there for about 15 – 20 minutes to activate the yeast. (The fresh yeast is hard to find in supermarkets but can be ordered online.) Occasionally stir the liquid until the yeast is viscous and softened.

One egg and the egg white of the second egg go into the deep middle in the flour bowl. The yolk of the other egg putt aside into a coffee cup or mug and put it into the fridge.

When the butter is liquid and the milk warm, let them cool for a moment. It’s better they’re not used boiling hot, or you’re burning your hands. – As soon as they’ve cooled down, pour them in the deep middle of the bowl where the eggs are. At the end add the mug with the milk, sugar, and yeast and add it, but make sure you don’t mix it with the salt.

Start stirring the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the entire mixture turns halfway into a crumbly dough, then turn the bowl upside down and get the mixture out, onto a clean and sturdy surface. Use your hands to clean out the bowl and then start kneading the mixture until you have one compact dough.

 

Continue kneading now and start working some air into the dough. Knead for at least ten minutes, then the dough goes back into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a warm, humid, clean towel and place the bowl for around 90 minutes in a very warm room to let the dough rise. (Under no circumstances try to invent ‘technics’ to accelerate that process. It’s first of all, useless because it’s the yeast that is growing and does that quite slowly, and second, if you involve your oven or stove, all you will have is a slight ‘crust’ on the surface of the dough, which will ruin the bread.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 90 minutes, check the dough. It should have been grown significantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it into two pieces. One of them put aside. The other one is cut into two pieces again. Take the two pieces then and carefully flatten them on the surface to get the needless air out.

Now start carefully rolling both ‘quarters’ of the dough into long (approx 40 – 45 inches) rolls. If your dough has risen as he was planned to rise, that length should be possible). Cross both rolls in the middle and start braiding them. One side goes ‘down South’, the other one goes up to the opposite side. It’s actually quite simple. In case one is confused and doesn’t know how to do it, there are videos on YouTube.

 

Repeat the same thing with the second half of the dough. By now you should have two braided bread loaves on one or two oven trays.

 

Now, cover the loaves again with the humid warm kitchen towel and move it back into the warm room for another 45 minutes.

The bread will rise again. See the difference here:

BEFORE                                                                                    AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, keep the towels on the bread and set them into a cool, almost cold place. (not the fridge or freezer) for about 10 – 15 minutes. This is going to ‘shock’ the yeast into ‘a coma’. Means, from that cold moment on, it won’t grow anymore.

Then get the mug or cup with the leftover egg yolk from the fridge and add a teaspoon of milk. Stir until you get a pale yellow liquid which you carefully apply to the bread with a common household brush. If you don’t have one, just use the back of the teaspoon. But don’t press, just carefully brush over the bread, otherwise, you’ll have lots of bulges and pockets in the bread surface.

Now, place the trays in the cold oven, don’t pre-heat! Bake it on 375 degrees F. for about 30 to 35 minutes until the egg yolk on the bread is golden-yellow. Under no circumstances open the oven during the first 20 minutes. It might be your bread is sinking within itself and you’ll get flat loaves.

Leave the loaves on the trays for another five minutes to make sure the bottom is crusty, then remove them from the tray and put them on a lattice or grid to let it cool.

Katie served the Council Of Twelve braided bread like that:

Soul Taker Secrets: Interview With Nathan – Who Is He And Do We Meet Him Again?

To the readers of ‘Soul Taker,’ Nathan is a known character. He only shows up briefly at the beginning of the story. He takes Katie’s spot when she accepts her new tasks as a Guardian.

If you haven’t read ‘Soul Taker’ yet, it is time to read: I added the universal link where the book is available.

https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj

 

Below you will find an interview with Nathan. Read it and find out more about an Angel we only know by name – and by a perfectly tailored suit.

Excerpt from ‘Soul Taker’:

He looked over my shoulder, and I turned around, watching two beautiful looking men walking toward us. One of them was dressed in a suit and tie and looked elegant and chic like a businessman. The other one wore old jeans, cowboy boots, and a long-worn leather coat.

Joseph smiled. He introduced me to the business-like guy. “This is Nathaniel. He’s your replacement and will take your job over from here.”

The Guy shook my hand. “Please, call me Nate,” he said with a laugh.


Hello Nathan. It is great seeing you again. How are you doing?

Hello AJ. Nice to see you too. I’m doing okay. Unfortunately, I’m far too busy. Sometimes I wish I had more time off.

 

We know you took over from Katie when she wanted to become a Guardian and met Raphael. 

Yes, I did. I was quite surprised to hear the two fell in love. I was invited to their wedding but unfortunately couldn’t go because of an emergency.

 

Why were you surprised? From what I hear, Katie is breathtakingly beautiful, and Raphael, from what I heard, has celebrated quite some success with the ladies.

Yes, but we were taught that it is almost impossible for an Archangel to find his consort.  Raphael found his consort, and now we all are curious to see who of the Council Of Twelve is going to be next.

 

How about you? Is there someone special in your life?

I admit, there is someone I love. But I am not permitted to talk more about all that, remember? You told me to keep my mouth shut about that.

(Oh, yes. *AJ laughs* I forgot)

 

But now, tell us a little bit about you. Who is Nathan?

I am a Soul Taker, as you know. I have been one for about a millennium. I pick up souls and take them to their respective final destinations. Usually, it is Heaven, but occasionally I have to take them to the gates of Hell. Rarely we Soul Takers are attacked by the other side who try to steal the soul we are working with.

 

Now, we know Katie got tired of doing this job for three hundred years. Aren’t you tired out by that job?

Well, Katie and I are two completely different personalities. She is younger than I am, for one thing. Also, she is quite emotionally sensitive. I could easily imagine that a soul she takes to the portals of the Underworld is trashing, crying, regretting, screaming, is almost breaking her heart.

And we shouldn’t forget: We are taking all kinds of souls… not only bad ones, not only good ones, and in particular, we do have to pick up innocent souls too. That was very hard on Katie.

I had to harden my emotions and heart against this kind of compassion, or I could never have done that job to my satisfaction and the satisfaction of my bosses.

 

We met you briefly in Katie’s story. And now we learned a bit more about who you are. Are we going to meet you again?

Yes, you will meet me again. You will learn more about me. Just be a bit patient. I’ll be back.

 

Thank you so much for dropping in as my guest today, Nathan. We really appreciate it.

Thanks for having me. It was my pleasure.


Picture courtesy of Pinterest.com

 

Soul Taker Quiz – And The Winner Is:

July 1st I published a link to the ‘Soul Taker’ quiz for readers. The quiz was open until July 20, 2019.

Once again, I want to thank the participants for your efforts and for making me a happy and funny time with your responses.

The winner will get an e-book version of the next book in the series, ‘Sundance,’ which is going to be published August 10, 2019

Here are the quiz questions and the correct answers:

What is Katies most secret dream job?  To become a warrior

Who is Katie’s successor when she leaves her former job?   Nathan

What is Katie’s hair color?   Honey blonde

Katie meets a quite famous angel a while after she starts her new task. What is that angel’s job?   Warrior

What color are Raphael’s wings?   Similar to the wings of a hawk

One of Katie’s tasks is to help an older woman. What’s her husband’s first name? Jonathan

Katie meets the Council Of Twelve. Twelve of the most powerful individuals existing. Which are the names of four of the Council?   Zachariel, Gabriel, Santanael, Centriel

After the big battle, Katie meets a horrible bloodthirsty creature wearing a butcher’s apron. What’s its name?   Abbraxas

When Katie and Raphael celebrate, there is one Archangel quite sad and Katie comforts him. What’s that Archangel’s Nickname?  The Moon Angel

Katie makes a very nice female friend nicknamed needle. What is her real first name?  Aylah

(Yes, I know, the questions aren’t the easiest. But I wanted to quiz to be a challenge.)
The winner is:

Miss Jasmin Luethi, Switzerland

Congratulations!

I will personally contact you within the next few days.

 

It was such a pleasure to play with you all and I hope you will participate in my next quiz even more numerous and enthusiastic as in this one.

 

The Soul Taker Quiz Is Closed

July 1st I published a link to the ‘Soul Taker’ quiz for readers. Thank you very much for your vivid responses, which were as fantastic as also manifold, and I had a good time.

The quiz is now closed, and I am going to determine the winner and will announce it July 25, 2019, here on Writer’s Treasure Chest.

The winner will get an e-book version of the next book in the series, ‘Sundance,’ which is going to be published next month.

Stay tuned!

*******************************************

To the ones who didn’t yet read ‘Soul Taker’:

You might want to think about reading it before the ‘Sundance’ release day. You can buy it here:

Amazon Ebook US
Amazon Ebook UK
Amazon Paperback US
Amazon Paperback UK
Amazon Kindle DE
Amazon Paperback DE
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
SCR|BD
Kobo
iTunes

*******************************************

 

 

Three Days Left To Take The ‘Soul Taker Quiz’ And Win!

Check out the quiz blog post and find out how to take the quiz and win!


In the first book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, we meet Kate, a Soul Taker who desperately wants a new job.

Today I prepared a quiz for the ‘Soul Taker’ readers and fans.

‘Soul Taker’ is the first book in the series. The winner of this ‘Soul Taker’ quiz will get an e-book of the second title in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, which will be published in August 2019.

 

Take the quiz here

Soul Taker Secrets: Take The Quiz And Win

In the first book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, we meet Kate, a Soul Taker who desperately wants a new job.

Today I prepared a quiz for the ‘Soul Taker’ readers and fans.

‘Soul Taker’ is the first book in the series. The winner of this ‘Soul Taker’ quiz will get an e-book of the second title in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, which will be published in August 2019.

The quiz is going to start today, July 1, 2019 06.00 Pacific Time and will end July 20, 2019. The winner will be announced on July 25, 2019.


Take the quiz here:

http://www.quiz-maker.com/QG6UXFX

 


In case you would like to take the quiz but never read the book, you can buy it here:

Amazon Ebook US
Amazon Ebook UK
Amazon Paperback US
Amazon Paperback UK
Amazon Kindle DE
Amazon Paperback DE
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
SCR|BD
Kobo
iTunes


Good Luck!

Soul Taker Secrets – The Council Of Twelve PicNic (Vegetarian)


In several of my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ books the members of the Council, together with their consorts meet to spend some time together, relax, talk, enjoy nice conversations, jokes and laughter. Sometimes they meet in one of the member’s houses for dinner, but occasionally they organize a picnic. Today I decided to provide you with the recipes of the latest ‘Council Of Twelve’ picnic. Enjoy! (And feel free to try out the recipes!)

Amazon Ebook US
Amazon Ebook UK
Amazon Paperback US
Amazon Paperback UK
Amazon Kindle DE
Amazon Paperback DE
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
SCR|BD
Kobo
iTunes

 


Fruit Platter

Ingredients
Figleaves
Golden pineapple, peeled, cut in 8ths lengthwise, core removed and sliced crosswise
Cantaloupe, peeled, cut in half and sliced
Fresh blueberries
Fresh strawberries
Fresh raspberries

Directions
Arrange the fig leaves on a platter. Place the pineapple and cantaloupe on top of the fig leaves, and artfully arrange the blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries over the top of the pineapple and cantaloupe.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com


Cheese Plate

Cheese of your choice:

Roquefort
Camembert
Cotija
Chèvre
Feta
Mozzarella
Emmental
Cheddar
Gouda
Taleggio
Parmigiano-Reggiano
Manchego
Monterey Jack

1. Brie. Brie is a soft ripened cheese with a rind that helps to preserve the interior. Brie has a very creamy texture and a strong aroma that develops with age. Brie is great with fruit, crusty bread, crackers or toasted fruit bread.

2. Camembert. Camembert is also a soft and creamy cheese with a powdery rind. Similar to Brie, there are some differences as they are ripened differently.

3. Blue Cheese. Traditional Blue Cheese has cultures added to it so that the final product has fine blue veins running through it. Blue cheese has a distinct smell and can be crumbled or melted over other foods. Types of blue cheese include Gorgonzola, Blue Stilton, and Bleu de Gex.

4. Gouda. Gouda is a yellow cheese mainly produced in Holland. It is made in a round mold and has a distinct taste and a complete rind. Gouda can be aged for varying periods of time so the taste and texture depend on how long it is aged.

5. Maasdam. Maasdam cheese is creamy, but a bit sweet and fruity. Great for sandwiches, grilled cheese or eaten with fruit.

6. Grana Padano. Grana Padano is one of Italy’s most popular cheeses. It is a hard cheese and very tasty shaved over pasta or salad.

7. Smoked Cheese. Smoked cheeses are smoked in a traditional way so the outer skin is usually a brownish color. It has a smoky flavor and is sliceable, great on toasted sandwiches or with crackers. Types of smoked cheese include Gruyère, Smoked Gouda, and Provolone.

8. Edam. Edam cheese comes in a sphere, it is pale yellow and has a red paraffin wax coating. Edam is a semi-soft cheese with a mild taste and little smell but as it ages the taste and smell increase.

9. Swiss Cheese. Swiss Cheese is an ‘eye cheese’ or ‘hole cheese’, it has a smooth satiny texture and is slightly sweet in taste. It is a firm cheese which has a wide appeal so it is great for cooking, sandwiches, or a cheese board.

10. Feta. Feta has a deliciously soft and creamy texture. It has a slightly savory flavor and crumbles easily so it is good for salads, antipasto, savory pastries or served with crusty bread and crackers.

11. Cheddar. Cheddar cheese if a hard cheese with a sharp taste. It is one of the most popular cheeses and can be used in a variety of ways such as cooking, for sandwiches or with crackers and wine.

(Source: Weekendnotes.com)


Bread

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups 100% Whole Wheat Flour, White Whole Wheat Flour, or Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/4 cup Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

*Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

Instructions
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. For easiest, most effective kneading, let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the bowl; this gives the flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid, and the bran to soften.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”) Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

(Source: Kingarthurflour.com)


Yogurt

Ingredients
4 cups whole milk, the fresher the better
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt with live and active cultures

Instructions
Rub an ice cube over the inside bottom of a heavy pot to prevent scorching (or rinse the inside of the pot with cold water). Add milk and cream, if using, and bring to a bare simmer, until bubbles form around the edges, 180 to 200 degrees. Stir the milk occasionally as it heats.

Remove pot from heat and let cool until it feels pleasantly warm when you stick your pinkie in the milk for 10 seconds, 110 to 120 degrees. (If you think you’ll need to use the pot for something else, transfer the milk to a glass or ceramic bowl, or else you can let it sit in the pot.) If you’re in a hurry, you can fill your sink with ice water and let the pot of milk cool in the ice bath, stirring the milk frequently so it cools evenly.

Transfer 1/2 cup of warm milk to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until smooth. Stir yogurt-milk mixture back into remaining pot of warm milk. Cover pot with a large lid. Keep pot warm by wrapping it in a large towel, or setting it on a heating pad, or moving to a warm place, such as your oven with the oven light turned on. Or just set it on top of your refrigerator, which tends to be both warm and out of the way.

Let yogurt sit for 6 to 12 hours until the yogurt is thick and tangy; the longer it sits, the thicker and tangier it will become. (I usually let it sit for the full 12 hours.) Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 4 hours; it will continue to thicken as it chills.

(Source: Cooking.nytimes.com)


Cajun Nuts

Ingredients
2 tablespoons bacon grease
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 cup unsalted cashews
1 cup whole unsalted almonds
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cajun Seasoning
1/4 cup Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for Cajun seasoning. (You will only use 1/2 tablespoon of this mixture. Save the rest for other uses.)
In a small pan heat bacon grease over low heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Place nuts in a large bowl.
Drizzle bacon fat/garlic over nuts and toss to coat.
Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of cajun seasoning, salt, sugar, and black pepper over nuts. Toss to coat evenly.
Pour nuts onto a large baking sheet and place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

(Source: Spicysouthernkitchen.com)


Devilled Eggs

Ingredients
10 hard cooked eggs, peeled and halved
½ cup homemade mayo
4 tablespoons melted butter
salt
paprika

Instructions
Scoop out the yolks of each egg and set aside.
Arrange the whites on a platter.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the yolks, mayo, and butter until smooth.
Season to taste with salt.
Put the yolk mixture in a piping bag, and pipe the mixture into the halved whites. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Ranch Salad Bites

Ingredients

16 slices French baguette
1 cup arugula
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup green onions (finely chopped)
40 sprays salad (wish-bone, spritzers ranch dressing)

Instructions
Combine arugula, roasted red peppers and green onions in medium bowl. Spritz with 24 sprays Wish-Bone® Salad Spritzers® Ranch Dressing.

Evenly top bread with vegetable mixture, then spritz with remaining Dressing. Serve immediately.

Arrange bread on serving platter; set aside.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Beet, Goat Cheese, and Grapefruit Salad

Ingredients
1 cup roasted beets
2 ounces of goat cheese (crumbled)
1 grapefruit (cut into segments)
1/4 cup hazelnuts
2 sprigs fresh mint
4 cups mixed greens
balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon EVOO

Directions
Preheat the oven at 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and spread the hazelnuts over the tray. Roast for 5 -10 minutes until golden. Allow the hazelnuts to cool and then chop roughly.
Remove the peel from the grapefruit and cut it into segments.
Crumble the goat cheese, and finely chop the mint.
Cut the beets into small wedges.
Layers the greens, beets, grapefruit, goat cheese, hazelnuts and mint on a large serving platter. Dress the salad with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Super Fruity Beet & Pear Salad

Ingredients 
1/2 cup wish-bone superfruit berry vinaigrette dressing
2 beets (large, peeled, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
2 pears (large, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 head Boston lettuce (torn into bite-sized pieces)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon goat cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

Directions
Toss Wish-Bone® Superfruit Berry Vinaigrette Dressing, beets, pears, tomatoes and parsley in large bowl.
Arrange boston lettuce on serving platter, then top with beet mixture, goat cheese and pecans. Sprinkle, if desired, with freshly ground black pepper.

(Source: Yummly.com)


Wedge Salad Platter

Ingredients
2 heads of iceberg lettuce look for light weight heads
4 ounces blue cheese crumbled
1 cup chopped cooked bacon
3 boiled eggs see below for perfect boiled egg instructions
1 1/2 cups store bought blue cheese dressing

Instructions
Boil eggs: Put eggs in large sauce pan. Fill with cool water about an inch higher than the egg. (Add 1 tablespoon vinegar which will make them easier to peel). Bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover pan and let sit for 10 minutes for a perfect medium hard boiled egg. Remove eggs to a pan of cool water to stop cooking process. Peel when cool
Slice both heads of lettuce into 4 equal size portions for a total of 8 wedges and place on tray.
Sprinkle with blue cheese dressing, bacon, eggs and cheese crumbles. Add an additional bowl of dressing in the center.

(Source: Laughingspatula.com)


Chocolate Lava Cakes

Ingredients
Baking spray, for spraying custard cups
1 stick butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.
Microwave the butter, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a large bowl on high until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until the chocolate is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.
Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates while warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com)


Blackberry Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients
Crust:
Cooking spray, for spraying foil
One 11-ounce box vanilla wafers
1/2 cup pecans
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
Filling:
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
Topping:
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust: Line a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Place the vanilla wafers and pecans into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. (If they come up the sides, that’s okay!)
For the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix again.
Pour the filling into the crust, smooth the top and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and allow the pan to sit in the open oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
For the topping: Add the blackberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan or skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the juices thicken slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, make a slurry by stirring together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Add the slurry to the berries, return to the boil and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture.
Pour the blackberries over the cheesecake and place the pan into the fridge to cool and set for at least 2 hours (several hours is better).
When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. Slice into 15 pieces with a long serrated knife.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com)


Lime Poke Cake

Ingredients
Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, well shaken
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
One 3-ounce box lime gelatin
Topping:
2 cups heavy cream, cold
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Green sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the buttermilk and vanilla in a spouted measuring cup; set aside.
Beat the granulated sugar and butter in a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) at medium speed until very light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer still running on medium, slowly add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting; with the mixer running, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture, then 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and beat until well mixed.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Use a large fork to poke holes an inch apart in the top and all the way through the cake.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil, pour over the gelatin in a medium bowl and stir until completely dissolved about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water. Pour the mixture evenly over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Put a large bowl (for whipping the cream) in the refrigerator.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Whip the cream with the granulated sugar and vanilla in the chilled bowl until fluffy. Spread it over the cake and sprinkle the sanding sugar on top. Slice and serve.

(Source: Foodnetwork.com)


P.S. Don’t forget that these lashings of food are calculated for 17 people, 12 of them huge and strong warriors.