Where is spring?

It seems as if we’ve been waiting, waiting and waiting some more for spring to arrive. Actually, the official first day of spring is on the 20th of this month! For some of you, this the day you will receive your paper and for others it will be yesterday. After days of clouds and dampness, we finally had a pretty day on Saturday, and I enjoyed it by going “garage saleing” with a friend of mine. The local paper stated that there was a ‘city wide’ garage going on in Shiner, TX, (home of the famous Spoetzel Brewery), so we drove over to Shiner, thinking it was going to be in one location with lots of booths or something. Wrong! It was literally citywide which meant we had to go practically street-by-street. A few were listed in the local paper, some had signs, some didn’t, some had great things, others just had ‘stuff’; however, we had a great time checking things out, and no, we didn’t go visit the brewery and take a tour. That’s for another day! We each one did find a few things that we wanted but not much. We had a delicious lunch together at the local chicken place that is called “Fridays”, and serves really delicious chicken. We then headed back home as she had a birthday party to attend and wanted to make a pan of cornbread to take with her. It was for a family member of hers and all of the woman’s children were each bringing a different kind of soup! It sounded as if it was going to be a totally delicious time. As for me, I had been invited to a 50th anniversary party to a couple I have known for quite a while. We all have been attending our local Senior Citizens and having lunch together; and I had decided to attend. My surprise came when I got to the house at 1:15 and checked the invitation (the one I couldn’t find that morning), and discovered it started at 2:00 p.m. They used a local venue and had it decorated beautifully, and a table set with plates and plates of fruits, cheeses and deli-sliced meats. Everything was delicious; her cake was also a beautiful confection, that when served was really good. With all the food that was available while we were visiting, I was totally surprised when caterers showed and started serving a meal with a choice of either roast, or seasoned baked chicken, along with potatoes, green beans and two types of salad! I made myself a very small plate and it all tasted wonderful.
Saturday morning, while I had the TV on, they were showing how they went about dyeing the San Antonio River green. I was not sure if they still did this or not. When I was in the Nix Hospital in San Antonio, one year, it was St. Patrick’s Day and from my room on the 20th or 21st floor, I could see the river in all of it’s green glory! Hope your day Sunday was a really great one.
Here are a couple more meatless meals for you to try. The shrimp dish is terrific, and this past week, I decided one evening that I wanted shrimp nachos for my supper. Well, it turned into a little more work than I thought it would be, but they were really good. You can find a recipe (or two or three) on Google if you would like to try them.
Chiles Rellenos
1 large can whole California green chiles
2 eggs, beaten well
Monterey Jack cheese, cut into pieces ½ inch square, and 1-inch shorter than the peppers you are going to stuff
Drain canned chilies and pat dry. If they have any seeds and pith, remove them. Stuff each chili with a piece of the cheese. Lap one side of the pepper over the other to close. Roll very generously in flour, dip into the beaten egg and then back into the flour, repeating twice. (You want to coat them just as if you were frying chicken). Deep fry in heavy skillet until brown on one side turn over gently and brown the other side. Serve either plain or topped with enchilada sauce, or a ranchero sauce and sprinkled with cheese.
The following dish is really delicious and works well with the easy-peel shrimp that you can purchase at most HEB stores. Over time, I have found their seafood to be really fresh and good in most recipes. The best thing about this dish is that you can use the small to medium shrimp that are not as pricey as the large or jumbo shrimp are.
Shrimp Pasta Primavera
½ cup chopped green onion\
½ cup green or red bell pepper cut into strips
½ cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
½ cup margarine
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, cut into cubes, and at room temperature
¾ cup milk
2 cups, small to medium, peeled, de-veined raw, shrimp (tails also removed)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package spiral macaroni (7-oz or 8-oz), cooked according to package directions and drained well
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Sauté onions and bell pepper in ½ cup margarine, add cream cheese cubes to pan, along with milk; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Stir in shrimp and Parmesan cheese and cook until shrimp are pink and done. Cook and drain macaroni, toss with 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, add to cream cheese/shrimp mixture and stir together. Serve hot, along with salad and hot rolls or bread.
Now, to get ahead of the game, here are some desserts, if you would like to try something you haven’t made in a while for your Easter dinner.
Lemon Meringue Pie
(1 baked 9-inch pie shell)
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups water
3 eggs separated
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
6 tablespoons sugar
Combine sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir in water with a wire whisk and cook over moderate heat until mixture becomes thick and clear, stirring frequently. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl; add a little of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks. Stir yolks into the hot mixture, and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. (If you want this filling to be a prettier yellow color, add a few drops of yellow food coloring). Remove from heat and blend in butter, lemon juice, zest (if used), and extract. Pour into baked pastry shell. Cool slightly, and top with meringue made by beating egg whites with 6 tablespoons sugar until stiff enough to hold in peaks. Begin beating the egg whites, and add sugar one tablespoon at a time until you have your stiff peaks. Brown in hot oven 425ºF about 5 minutes, and cool thoroughly before serving.