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Panna cotta with strawberry coulis

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This classic Italian dessert looks impressive and is surprisingly simple to prepare. It’s sweetly creamy and tart, and the perfect way to end a summertime meal.

Start to finish: 6 hours 15 minutes (15minutes active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients

• 3 cups table cream
• 1 cup sugar, divided
• 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 package powdered gelatin
• 2-1/2 tablespoons cold water
• Vegetable oil or cooking spray
• 4 cups hulled strawberries
• Fresh mint leaves

Directions
1. In a small pot, combine the cream and 1/2 cup of sugar. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then add a spoonful of the hot cream mixture to make sure the gelatin has dissolved completely. Stir the gelatin mixture into the cream and sugar.
3. Using cooking spray, oil the inside of 6 small ramekins. Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly between the ramekins, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
4. To make the coulis, puree the strawberries and remaining sugar in a food processor. Refrigerate.
5. Remove panna cotta from the ramekins by dipping the bottom in cold water for a few seconds, running a knife around the side and inverting onto a plate.
6. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the strawberry coulis on each panna cotta and garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

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Food

Creamy corn chowder

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This hearty corn chowder is the perfect meal for a cold, wintery night. Indeed, it’s a recipe you’re sure to come back to again and again.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
• 6 slices bacon, chopped
• 1 leek (the white part only), finely chopped
• 1 large potato, diced
• 20 ounces corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
• 13.5 ounces creamed corn
• 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup (15%) cream
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary
• 1 bay leaf
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 4 chives, chopped

Directions
1. In a large pot, cook the bacon. When it’s almost done, add the leek. Continue to cook until the bacon is crispy and the leek is translucent. Drain the bacon grease.
2. Add the potato, corn, broth, milk, cream, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the potato is soft.
3. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish with the chives, then serve and enjoy.

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Food

Slow-cooked chili con carne

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There’s nothing better than a meal made in the slow cooker, especially when it’s this chili con carne.

Start to finish: 8 hours and 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 10

Ingredients
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 celery stalk, diced
• 1 carrot, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons chili seasoning
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/4 cup ketchup
• 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
• 1 18-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 red pepper, diced
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup beef broth
• Salt and pepper
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2 green onions, sliced

Directions
1. In a large pan over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and brown the beef in it. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
2. In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and cook the onion, celery and carrot. When it’s almost done, add the garlic, chili seasoning, cumin and dried oregano. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Add the ketchup, diced tomatoes, beans, red pepper, brown sugar and beef broth and cook until hot. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour over the beef in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
5. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding more chili seasoning, salt and pepper, if necessary.
6. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and some of the sliced green onion.

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Food

Homemade fried chicken

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If you want fried chicken that’s crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside, then try this recipe. You won’t regret it!

Start to finish: 5 hours (1 hour active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients
• 1 whole chicken
• 2 quarts 2% milk
• Juice of half a lemon
• 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
• 2 teaspoons dried basil, divided
• 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided
• 2 teaspoons paprika, divided
• 2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
• 2 teaspoons white pepper, divided
• 2 teaspoons salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons garlic salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons celery salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 quarts vegetable oil

Directions
1. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings).
2. In a large bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice to make buttermilk. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Add a teaspoon of each herb and spice to the buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. Put the chicken into the milk to marinate and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
4. After marinating, put the flour into a bowl and add one teaspoon of each herb and spice. Mix well to combine.
5. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and coat it completely in the flour mixture. Let rest for a few minutes.
6. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot until it reaches 400 °F.
7. Carefully put 2 pieces of chicken in the oil, and fry until they reach an interior temperature of 165 °F. Repeat until the entire chicken in cooked.
8. Drain on a piece of paper towel and serve with your choice of sauce.

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Food

Baked brie with pear jam

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This decadent dish is easy to prepare. Serve it as an appetizer or as a crowd-pleasing dessert. Either way, it’s sure to be a winner.

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 1 10-ounce wheel of brie
• 1/4 cup pear jam
• 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 1 baguette, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
2. Cut the brie in half horizontally, thereby creating 2 round slices.
3. Spread the pear jam on the inside of one section of the wheel and cover with the other half, thereby reassembling the entire wheel of cheese with the pear jam in the middle.
4. Place the wheel on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
5. Using a knife, score the top of the cheese to create a checkered pattern.
6. Top with walnuts, honey and rosemary and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is just starting to melt.
7. Serve with slices of baguette.

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Food

Spicy chicken and sweet potato stew warms up everyone

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Ahhh, stew. It’s a comfort food in the harsh winter, not only in its makeup but in its usefulness: we can stand over a steaming bowl and feel warmth on our face. Plus, it’s a great way to use up that stray potato left over from the holidays.

Stews start with a base of liquid, meat cut into cubes, and typically some type of root vegetables. Categories typically include brown stews, in which the meat is browned in fat before the liquid is added, and white stews, in which it is not.

Although stews are generally considered a pedestrian dish, there are some, like beef burgundy, that are fine dining-approved. And every culture seems to have its twist, according to Encyclopedia.com: from Argentinians who add fruit and bake them in a pumpkin or squash shell, to bigos, also known as hunter’s stew, considered Poland’s national dish.

Here is a recipe for spicy chicken and sweet potato stew from the website Allrecipes. It’s easy, hearty, and, like the appeal of most stews, it’s a one-pot meal.

Ingredients:
6 servings
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sweet potato,
peeled and cubed
1 orange bell pepper,
seeded and cubed
1 pound cooked chicken
breast, cubed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
11/2 tablespoons all-purpose
flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup frozen corn
1 (16 ounce) can kidney
beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in sweet potato, bell pepper, chicken, tomatoes, and 2 cups of water. Season with salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

Dissolve flour in 2 tablespoons water, and stir in to boiling stew. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 10 to 20 minutes. Stir the stew occasionally to keep it from sticking.

Once the potatoes are done, stir in corn and kidney beans. Cook a few minutes until hot, then stir in cilantro before serving.

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Food

Beef Stroganoff

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This classic Russian dish is hearty and easy to make — and perfect when paired with a glass of red wine. It’s best enjoyed on a cold and frosty evening but can be made anytime you need to whip together a quick meal.

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
• 25 ounces beef sirloin, cut into strips
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped finely
• 16 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cup beef broth
• 1/2 cup red wine
• 1 sprig fresh thyme
• 1 tablespoon old-fashioned mustard
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Coat the beef strips with a thin layer of flour. Shake to remove any excess.
2. In a deep pan, heat the butter and olive oil over high heat. Sear the beef on all sides. Remove and set aside on a paper towel.
3. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the onions in the same pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the beef and stir to combine.
4. Add the red wine, beef broth, thyme and mustard and stir well. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and add the sour cream to the sauce, stir well to incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over egg noodles.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 29 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Jan
30
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 30 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Jan
31
Fri
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Jan 31 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
Feb
1
Sat
10:00 am Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog.  For beginning readers and up.  Choose a time slot at registration, which begins[...]
11:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
Feb 1 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County will hold their 1st annual Polar Plunge event on February 1st at the Culpeper Lake, located at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Harmony Hollow. “Plungers” are asked to[...]
2:00 pm World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Children ages 5 and up are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos.  Registration begins January 1.
Feb
4
Tue
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, February 4 – Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! After[...]
Feb
5
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 5 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Feb
6
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 6 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]