Friday, August 31, 2012

Brussels Belgium EU Summit 2012 REPOST

Photos of Belgian beers above


Official languages of Belgium are:  (FROM WIKI)

but go to this link at WIKI to find more about other languages in Belgium:

  • Where do you go to eat in Brussels?






  • sole stuffed with crab
  • shrimp in a tarragon sauce
  • green pea soup with oxtail & Chimay beer
  • filets of eel with Espelette peppers from the Basque country
  • chicken with turmeric and apple chutney
  • floating island 
  • Burgundian Bruxellois 
  • melange of poulet and greens
  • chocolate cake like a souffle
  • fresh buckets of mussels with French fries and mayonnaise. 
  • Real Bruxellois eat the first mussel with their fingers, and use the empty shell as a utensil for scooping up the rest. 
  • Mop up the mussel soup with a hunk of crusty bread.
  • excellent beef stewed in beer
  • waterzooï (fish or chicken stew)
  • steak with pepper-and-cream sauce



  • lambic beer
  • open-face sandwiches known as tartines (beef tartare)
  • quiet glass of kreik, or cherry-flavored beer.


Congolese food
  • delectable mussels made with beer, curry and blue cheese.
  • mussels serve 15 different ways:
  • raw (accompanied only by a light white-wine sauce)
  • baked
  • fried
  • grilled
  • broiled
  • moules marinières (boiled in water with vegetables)
  • moules au vin (boiled in wine)
  • Also have other foods if you don't want mussels
  • steak au poivre flambé (flamed pepper steak)
  • escargots (snails)
  • crepes.

Photos below of Belgian sweets:



Photos below of Belgian wine and beer:




Gelukkige eten en drinken

Manger heureux et boire

Glückliches Essen und Trinken

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Christine's Eggplant and Tomato Gratin UPDATED

UPDATE:  Have a try of this sandwich with eggplant from foodista:


Original photo by me.  I adapted this recipe below from the Greensboro News & Record which was in the Life section on 7 29 2012.  The recipe was provided by Susan Nicholson, an Atlanta based cookbook author and registered dietitian. Her email is  The Menu Planner is also accessible at She does the Seven-Day Menu Planner in the Life Section of the News & Record every Sunday. I have made more than one of her recipes.  Below is her recipe.  It caught my attention, however, I never make anything just the way it is printed so I made changes and adaptations. It's just the way I am.


My changes below:
(I made the recipe for 2 not 4)

I  do not like a lot of salt nor sodium.  I used none but if you must, I would cut back to 1/8 tsp. coarse salt.  (Note:  after adding up the sodium in just the Parmesan, the mozzarella and the Pepper Jack that I used there were 1800 mg. of sodium in the recipe the way I made it.  To me that is enough!!) (The recipe calls for part-skim mozzarella - I don't use low fat or skim milk cheese or part skim milk cheese because it does not melt like regular cheese and can turn rubbery.)  But if your cholesterol is HIGH you can use it. 

I put Morton Lite salt on the tomato slices instead of coarse salt and put on a paper towel covered plate.
I used 3 medium sized eggplants because as you slice horizontally from the stem end and as you get to the bottom the last slices are FULL of seeds.  So I use the top half of 2/3rds of the 3 eggplants. I ALSO PEEL MY EGGPLANT.  I don't leave the skin on. (SPECIAL NOTE:  As the season goes on even if you pick the eggplant FRESH from your own garden the morning you make the recipe the slight amount of bitterness in eggplant gets stronger so slice the eggplant as directed and put in a colander over a paper towel covered plate.  Salt both sides and let set in the colander for 30 minutes (again, I use Morton Lite Salt and have for years) and you will be amazed at the brown liquid that comes out of the eggplant.)

 After 30 minutes dry the eggplant off and rub off as much of the salt off without damaging the slices.
Dab the liquid and the salt very gently off the tomato slices.

I used 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs (instead of regular ones) so the texture would be firmer in the bottom of the casserole.

I like spicy and herby food so I used 1-1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning (instead of the Oregano), divided
1 - 1/2 tsp. of my own dried basil leaves crumbled, divided
I used 1/2 tsp. garlic powder instead of minced garlic. 

I used 2 slices of mozzarella cheese and 2 slices of Pepper Jack (for that little bite) instead of grated.

I am a big cheese freak so I used 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan. 

I did not broil the eggplant (which was just picked 3 hours before I made) the recipe because as I started to broil it it began to dry out so I rescued it before too much damage was done (I don't like broiling anyway)
I fried the eggplant slices in regular oil (next time I am going to use EVOO) until brown and semi-soft. 
DRAIN WELL after cooking.

Spray the casserole dish (I used a meat loaf type casserole not a 9 x 13) as directed. 
Pour all of the Pankos in.
Layer slices of eggplant, then tomato slices on top.
Then sprinkle with 1/2 Italian seasoning and 1/2 basil. 
As recommended use 1/2 of the 3/4 cup fat-free half-and-half. 
Then add 2 slices of the provolone cheese laying them on top of the veggies.
Repeat the layering exactly as above starting with eggplants and finishing with the 2 slices of Pepper Jack.  Sprinkle half of the parmesan on it.
Cover with foil and bake at 275 for 30 minutes.
(Less time so eggplant won't get soggy)
Take off foil. Cook for 10 minutes more!!  Let cool for at least 10 minutes!!
Serve with sourdough or real Italian bread (not American Italian bread) toasted or not toasted with butter!!

recommends pairing this dish with

Monday, August 27, 2012

Christine's Pepper Poppers - UPDATED 8 27 2012

Photo from Taste of Home
LINK:  Original pepper poppers recipe from Taste of Home

Original Recipe came from A Taste of Home BELOW:  Everyone's tastes are different so I altered. (My changes are in red; I have made these at least 6 times and I feel this recipe is the best.  Thanks to Taste of Home for the start.  

The original recipe (without my notes) is available  at the link above.

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 25 min. Yield: 8 Servings

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (low fat cream cheese; take out of refrigerator 1 hour before making)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or Pepper Jack)
*My addition:  1 cup of whatever you have on hand (original mix was too dry for us) like lite sour cream, fat-free-half and half milk, lite mayonnaise (I only use Hellman's) or fat free Greek yoghurt.  NOTE:  But last time I made them I used fat free buttermilk and it was even better!!
6 bacon strips, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt (omitted salt; they are salty enough and the cheeses & bacon provide enough sodium)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (1/2 to 1 teaspoon to your taste)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon hot Mexican chili powder to your taste; if you don't have Mexican chili power use regular chili powder and add a 1/2 to one TBSN of Texas Pete)
1 pound fresh jalapenos, tops cut off, halved lengthwise and seeded (and veins removed)
1/2 - 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs (panko; tried first time with regular bread crumbs but the panko crumbs give the topping more texture!!)
My addition:  1/2 - 3/4 cup Parmesan

For dipping:  Sour cream, Greek yoghurt, onion dip or ranch salad dressing (or use fat free versions)

In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, cup of liquid above*, bacon and seasonings; mix well. Spoon about 2 tablespoonfuls into each pepper half. Roll in bread crumbs. (I did not roll in bread crumbs after the first time because the filling comes out and it makes a mess; I mixed equal parts of panko and parmesan and dribbled over the top of the peppers with a spoon while still on dinner plate and let crumbs fall where they may; you don't want crumbs to burn in the oven.)
Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan (I used a cookie sheet instead). (I use foil covered baking pan so I won't have to clean the pan!! And IF you have leftovers just fold up the foil put in frig. and heat up in oven the next day!!) 
Bake, uncovered (in middle rack), at 325° for 15 minutes for spicy (spicy is spicy; we like the medium) flavor, 25 minutes for medium and 35 minutes for mild. Serve with sour cream, dip or dressing. Yield: about 2 dozen.
Taste of Home's Editor's Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face. (My husband does the peppers)
Nutritional Facts 3 poppers (calculated without sour cream, onion dip or ranch salad dressing) equals 273 calories, 21 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 63 mg cholesterol, 454 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 12 g protein. (The nutritional facts may vary depending upon what low fat varieties you use in the Recipe.)

UPDATE:  Made these again this weekend and used Mexican cotija cheese (Link for what cotija is:  Cotija_cheese info) instead and found when I tasted the panko and cheese mix it was too bland for me. The Parmesan adds a little more punch so I got into my MEGA spice and herb cupboard and pulled out Tajin Clasico Seasoning  (cotija and tajin from Walmart) and added some to the mix.  It gave it a little red color and a little kick.  The Tajin Classico Seasoning is a Mexican spice which includes the following ingredients:  chili peppers, salt, dehydrated lime juice, etc. The recipe was equally good!! 

NOTE:  You could use smoky chili powder or cajun seasoning or any variety of ethnic spices.  Call them Chili poppers or Cajun poppers ............... 

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet red wine. The friend who emailed us this recipe left out the sweet red wine part and I didn't see that until I went to the site today; however, I would personally not drink a sweet wine but would recommend one of these three from

  • American Merlot   First Choice (my choice)
  • Chianti Classico  3rd Choice
  • Australian Shiraz  2nd  Choice