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Vacation stories continued

I said in my last article I would fill you in on more about the cruise of the Greek Islands that we took in September.

We were mainly in Greece this trip on business and our lawyer said that he needed one more week to finalize all our paperwork and so on, so we decided to take a five-day cruise of the Greek Islands and Turkey. We had taken this same cruise several years before, but this time the cruise was much more superior.

The ship was first class in every way, with 12 levels and 2000 people with 15 languages being spoken. Since there were so many languages, they had different meeting rooms, but the main two languages were English and Greek.

Like most cruises, everything was offered, but on this five day cruise all beverages were offered all hours of the trip, and you had your choice of a huge inside white linen restaurant with many gourmet dishes and desserts, or you could go to one of the gigantic buffets of your choice and most items excellently prepared.

Nightly entertainment with live shows, bands, dancers and so on, with various programs were enjoyable.

The tour visited five Greek Islands, Mykonos and Santorini (which are the two most popular islands in the world) Rhodes, Patmos (where St John was exiled and wrote the book of Revelations) Crete and Ephesus and Turkey.

We have been to Mykonos many times in the past and even have friends there. One is an iconographer (who is one of the most famous painter of orthodox icons in all Greece.) His icons are pricey, but of excellent quality and workmanship. We have purchased 10 icons from him over the years, including one for each of our eight grandchildren.

Mykonos is a 24/7 party island — it never sleeps — but also keep in mind that it has become VERY EXPENSIVE.

Santorini is very famous for its beautiful sunsets and the expression they say is “that there were so many tourists visiting Santorini this summer that they were afraid the island might sink.”

When we docked at the ports there were like 30 or more buses waiting to take you to the various sites with a tour guide. The buses were numbered and the bus number you were assigned depended on the language you spoke and country you were from.

On the return from the city of Ephesus, our tour bus stopped at a place where they made handmade oriental rugs from linen threads. Our group was seated around the large room where they offered everyone tea, wine and a special juice while they displayed all the fine rugs in hopes of making sales.

I spotted a small (probably 3-by-5) throw rug that I thought I possibly would like to purchase. I got the OK from my husband if the price was in reason. When I ask the one salesperson what the price of the rug I like was he told me $8,000 in U.S. dollars. I replied “WHAT” and he said for me only $6,000 dollars so I told him that he had better keep it.

They are very good rugs and some rugs take up to three years to make and last many lifetimes, but still one must know and be educated if they ever plan to purchase a rug of the quality and price.

The next stop was in a small shopping area with an upper-class jewelry store where my husband pointed out a different type stone in a ring — a stone that changed to many different colors under different lights(Like Alexandrite, but different). They gave me a price of $2,000 then when I walked away they offered the ring to me for $900 which shows a person that they must be very careful if they ever go to Turkey and plan on shopping much.

Until next week.

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Spinach Souffle

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream

3 beaten egg yolks

salt and pepper

dash nutmeg

1/2 cup grated American cheese

1 cup chopped spinach (1 box frozen, drained)

3 egg whites, beaten to peaks

Melt butter. Add onion and cook 1 minute. Blend in flour. Stir milk and cream in slowly and continue to stir until smooth and it comes to a slow boil. Add a little cream sauce to beaten yolks. Mix well. Add yolks to cream sauce and cook 1 minute. Add seasoning, cheese and spinach. Fold in beaten egg whites. Set casserole in pan of water and bake at 325 for 40 minutes.

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Sheila’s Spinach Casserole

3 packages frozen chopped spinach

1 cup sour cream

1 package onion soup mix

4 tablespoons margarine

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook and drain spinach. Mix sour cream and onion soup; toss it with spinach. Mix well. Put in casserole. Melt margarine, add crumbs and cheese and put on top. Bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes.

***

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

2 packages frozen spinach, cooked, salted and drained well

2 ounces cream cheese

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/2 teaspoon instant dried onion

4 large or 6 medium tomatoes

Parmesan

Cook spinach, drain well, butter, toss with cream cheese and onion. Take tops off, scoop out tomatoes and salt and pepper them. Fill with spinach mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

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Champignons a la Bourguignonne

18-24 large mushrooms

1/2 pound butter

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsely

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

Wash mushrooms, remove stems, being careful not to break caps and save for another use. In a small bowl, cream butter until soft, using a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Fill each mushroom cap with mixture, arrange in single layer on buttered ovenproof baking dish. Add about 2 tablespoons water, cover closely with foil, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

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Mushroom Supreme

1 pound whole mushrooms

2 beef bouillon cubes

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 stick butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2-1 cup Parmesan cheese

Saute mushrooms in b utter. Dissolve beef cubes in water. Melt 1/2 stick butter and blend with flour. Add cream, salt and pepper and beef broth. Top with cheese and bread crumb mixture before baking. Bake in buttered casserole for 30 minutes at 350.

***

French Fried Onion Rings

3 large Spanish onions

ice water

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

fat for deep frying

Slice onions about 1/4-inch thick, separate them into rings and soak in ice water for 2 hours. Drain, dry throughly. Dip into batter made by mixing the egg with the buttermilk and adding flour sifted with salt and baking soda. Fry in deep fat at 375 until brown. Drain well on paper.

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Apple Cake

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups corn oil

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 cups dried apples

1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together sugar and corn oil. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Add dry sifted mixture to apples and walnuts. Then add to creamed mixture. It will be difficult to stir and the end result will be a stiff doughy mixture. Bake in greased 9×13 pan at 325 for 55-60 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve warm with whipped cream or plain.

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Blackberry Cake

1 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon soda

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 1/2 cups blackberries, canned or frozen, undrained

Grease and flour 2 8-inch or 9-inch layer pans. Cream shortening; add sugar and eggs. Sift together flour, soda and nutmeg. Add blackberries to creamed mixture. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into pans. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until done.

***

Pound Cake

2 sticks butter

5 whole eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon rum, vanilla or almond flavoring

Soften butter. Beat 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute or more after each addition. Add sugar gradually, continue beating and add flour, then flavoring. Bake in a tube pan, buttered and sprinkled with sugar at 300 for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Keep door closed until done.

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Kiki Angelos is a longtime columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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