Life on Regal-Hill: Feb. 11, 2009

It is snowing huge flakes here at Regal-Hill. I love to watch these beautiful snowflakes fall as I stand in the big window of the house. They seem to draw me, where I don’t know, and to think every snowflake is different. According to the Farm Service Agency Newsletter of Delaware County, the size of the biggest snowflake ever recorded was 15 inches in diameter and fell in Montana. It sure wouldn’t take many snowflakes to cover everything white. I have never seen any that size.
While looking through some Farming Folklore: Believe it or Not I found this: “The day of the month of the first snowstorm foretells the number of snowstorms during that winter, but there has to be enough snow to track a rabbit.” We had the first snowstorm October 29 or 30. It seems like we have had a number of snowstorms already. I don’t know how many snowstorms we have had, but if this saying is true there are still quite a number of snowstorms yet to come if we are to get 29 or 30 snowstorms this winter. However, since it is only February there is still plenty of time yet. If we have to have them, I hope none of them wait until April to occur. Why not get them now or in March and get them over with? At least we can use the snow to bank the house and insulate the land against the cold now, if it has to be so cold. Anyway, we can’t do anything to stop the storms so we might as well enjoy them as much as we can and think spring will soon be here.
Saturday is Valentine’s Day. What do you plan to do for your spouse and children? If you would like to make it memorable but inexpensive to prepare, make something special at home. Whether it is a complete meal that includes favorite dishes or part of the meal, here are some ideas for making Valentine’s Day special.

Sweetheart Salad
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 packages plain gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
8-ounce pkg. cream cheese
1-ounce bottle of maraschino cherries
1/2 pint whipping cream
Mix pineapple, sugar and lemon juice. Dissolve dry gelatin in cold water; mix with pineapple mixture. Stir well, and let stand until mixture thickens. Set aside. Cream cream cheese with juice from cherries, and blend well. Mix with thickened pineapple. Add chopped cherries. When slightly thickened, blend in cream which has been whipped. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator to set.
Serves 8
Hoard’s Dairyman, year unknown

Chocolate-Hazelnut Brownies
1 cup butter
16 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
8 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 x 1-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine butter and chocolates. Microwave on high, in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine sugars and eggs; beat at medium-high speed with an electric mixer for about 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Gradually add flour, beating until smooth. Stir in hazelnuts.
Spoon batter into prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely. Using foil as handles, remove brownies from pan. Using a heart-shaped cutter, cut brownies if desired. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving if desired.
Makes about 2 dozen brownies
Cooking with Paula Deen January/February 2009