Thursday, March 31, 2016

Food n Flix Roundup: A Walk in the Clouds

This month I had the privilege of hosting Food n Flix. I chose the movie A Walk in the Clouds and invited others to watch the movie, get inspired, make a dish and share it with the rest of us during the month of March.  You can see my invitation post right here.

Image result for a walk in the clouds

I chose this movie because I love it.  It is not a foodie movie per se but there is plenty of food inspiration.  I hoped everyone else would enjoy the movie as much as I and I was anxious to see how they would be inspired.

The first post came in right away from Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, and what a creative post it was.  Camilla had seen the movie previously and states that she, in fact, owns a copy of it.  She put it in one night after the boys went to bed and sat down to be inspired.


Inspired she was....look at this delicious dish that she calls Charred Grapes on a Cloud.  Cam's inspiration came from the fire in the vineyards.  "I decided to char some grapes. And in honor of Las Nubes, the Aragon property aptly named 'The Clouds', I served them with a mound of burrata."

Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen had never seen this movie before but she is a fan of Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon.  Heather enjoyed the movie, even the cheezy parts of it.  But she didn't make something with cheese as I did when we were assigned A Quiet Man.  No, Heather, was inspired by several different parts of the movie and we are blessed that she was.  I present to you......


...Chocolate Flan with Frosted Grapes!  Heather says, in part, "in the end I decided to combine the idea of frosted grapes with chocolate (for Paul) and flan (as a nod to the Aragon's heritage).  What a great dish Heather.  Thanks so much.

Debra of Eliot's Eats was not as enamored with this movie as I.  She didn't love it but she did like it. She felt the whole movie had sort of a "dreamlike" quality to it and she was disappointed that the filming did not seem to take place in the Napa Valley which is so very beautiful.


Debra did not feel there was a lot of food inspiration in the film.  One scene, however, stuck with her as "Don Pedro bonds with his new grandson in law over brandy".  This inspired these wonderful Brandied Grapes.

My friend, Amy, of Amy's Cooking Adventures went with grapes as well.  Amy loved the movie and found herself inspired by the scene where the vineyard catches fire.


Amy made this beautiful Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes saying "Hubs told me I was getting a bit dark, getting inspired by a tragedy and all, but the resulting salad is delicious!"

Kimberly of Coffee and Casseroles found the most food inspiration of all of us.  She had a huge list of food ideas.  Very impressive since she didn't much care for the movie.  Even more impressive that she didn't use one of those foods but instead put on her thinking cap again and came up with.....


Papa Don't Preach Onion Rings!  "And he gives her a ring.  Sort of.  It's the candy wrapper from one of  his uber expensive chocolates"  Very creative Kimberly!!

The lovely Ms. Deb of Kahakai Kitchen had seen the movie years ago and bits and pieces of it since then but decided to sit down, watch it again and see how it inspired her in regards to food.  Deb went with grapes as well but was the only one of us who used them in a drink.  And then as an added bonus Deb made Grape "ice cubes" to keep her drinks icy cold.


Deb tells us "This Grape Chia Fresca is what I would want to be drinking on a warm day, working to bring in a grape harvest".  Later in the post Deb notes that this has become her new favorite of all the agua and chia frescas that she has made to date.

Terri, of  Our Good Life, was right on the same page as I.  She loves this movie and considers it one of her favorites.  She decided to make Mexican Bonbons and share them with us.  YUM!


Terry wrote : "So I decided to make chocolates, a fondant filled chocolate, like the ones Don Pedro liked".

I was beginning to think that I was the only one to go with chocolates but then Terri came through for me.  Great minds and all that.  I decided to go with filled chocolates as well but decided since I was making chocolates I may as well go with an Easter theme and put all my eggs into one basket.  I know, I know.......that was bad......


I made Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs in honor of Paul's disdainful job that led him into the arms of Victoria and her family.  I hope you enjoyed this month's version of Food n Flix.



Food‘nFlix

Join us next month for Tampopo hosted by Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Not one but two wonderful recipes for #SecretRecipeClub

So here's the thing....This has been an extremely crazy month for me and I was starting to panic when I realized the SRC deadline was looming and I had not even given it any thought.  I hadn't even yet stopped by to visit Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories, who was my assignment for this month.

I originally thought I would make muffins since it is Muffin Monday and I found this wonderful recipe for Ham and Cheese Rye Muffins.  Perfect, especially since I will have leftover ham from Easter.  Then I slapped myself upside the head...what was I going to do, make muffins Easter night after everyone left.  Sure....I could fit it right in there along with packing for our trip.  Yep, as you read this we are in the car heading to sunny Florida Keys!!  I decided not to add that additional stress to my life, however these muffins are staying on my to try list.


Now, those of you familiar with my blog know that SRC is a fun little group in which we are assigned a blogger and sneak around their posts and recipes to share with each other on reveal day.  It is a great group.  The best thing about this group, especially if you are lucky enough to be assigned to Karen, is that you can pretty well rest assured that any recipe you choose is going to turn out wonderful.

Knowing this, I took a leap of faith and made two of Karen's recipes to serve for Easter Dinner.  I was not concerned in the least about making them for this special occasion.  I knew it was no problem that I wouldn't have time to find any other recipes to share for today.  That is how much faith I have in Karen and that faith was proven well deserved with these two wonderful recipes.  They were huge hits with everyone.  Thanks Karen for making our Easter celebration complete!!



I share with you now.....Karen's Potatoes au Gratin and Asparagus with Lemon, Mint and Red Pepper.  I made a few minor adaptations, I used a large casserole for the potatoes instead of individual casseroles. I steamed and grilled the Asparagus but used my grill on my range instead of a grill plate, therefore I just tossed them with the other flavors after grilling instead of before.  I made the asparagus earlier in the day and served them at room temperature.  They were perfect!



Potatoes Au Gratin
very slightly adapted from Karen's Kitchen Stories

3 c, half and half
3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1 T. garlic, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
12 oz. med. cheddar cheese, grated

Place the half and half in a 6 qt or larger sauce pan.  Add the garlic and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the potato slices and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Pour potato mixture into a casserole that has been treated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven, uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour.  Casserole should be bubbly and cheese should be browned.  Print Recipe

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Mint
adapted from Karen's Kitchen Stories

2 bunches asparagus, steamed slightly and rinsed in cold water to stop cooking
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 small handful of mint leaves, minced
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt an pepper to taste

Place steamed asparagus onto a grill and cook until blistering and charred, turning often.  Place into a large bowl.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, crushed red pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and place onto a platter.  Serve immediately or let set and serve at room temperature.  Print Recipe  

Here are what the other's are sharing today



Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Perfect Son....an audible book review


Image result for The perfect son



I joined Audible.com recently and have listened to several books.  Some of them, like this one, The Perfect Son, have been specials offered by the website.  I probably would have never heard of or read this book if not for it being on special, but I am glad that I did listen to it.

It is the story of a family, dealing with their every day lives complete with all the imperfections given them.  The Mom has genetic heart problems and is in need of a transplant.  The Dad suffers from OCPD and was the victim of an abusive father.  The son has Turrette's as well as anxiety and ADHD.

It is the story of coming to term with your fears and demons. It is the story of unconditional love.  It is the story of getting to know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses and coming to terms with it.

I thought the narrator did a good job.  It took me a while to adapt to her style but in the end I liked her.  I also liked all the characters in this book, but it took me a while to warm up to the father who ended up being one of my favorites.

I would give this a solid 3 stars merging onto 4 stars.







Thursday, March 24, 2016

Individual Grasshopper Cheesecakes #SixteenCheesecakes

My friend, Cam of  Culinary Adventures with Camilla is celebrating her 16th Wedding Anniversary. On their wedding day, Cam and Jake, served cheesecakes in lieu of wedding cake.  To celebrate this year (and last) she has asked her fellow bloggers to share some cheesecake recipes.  Happy Anniversary Dear Cam and Jake, I hope the next 50 years finds you as happy as these past 16.

This all started last year when Camilla  rallied some blogging friends to help her celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary. She was only looking for fifteen cheesecake recipes. But we posted waaaaaay more than #FifteenCheesecakes.



It was such a hit and we all had so much fun that she decided to see if she could get enthusiasm for another round of cheesecakes. Yep. This is an encore performance by some of her favorite foodie bloggers.


Today is also Mom Klik's birthday.  She will be celebrating up in heaven this year but since we were sharing these recipes today, I decided to make individual cheesecakes that I served in the refreshment room during Mom's funeral visitations.


I'm afraid I didn't get any good shots of the cheesecakes but they were delicious, none the less.  They are easy to make and would be great for a St. Pat's party too with their lovely green color.  I adapted my recipe from one by Pillsbury.

Make sure you scroll down past the recipe to all the other great cheesecake offerings.  You will be so happy that you did.

Individual Grasshopper Cheesecakes
adapted from Pillsbury

1 sleeve thin mint cookies
4 T. butter, melted
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese
2/3 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/3 c. green creme de menthe liqueur

Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to fine crumb stage.  Add the melted butter and run until crumbs are moistened and sticking together.  Place about 1 T. of the crumbs into the bottoms of 18 muffin tins that have been lined with foil baking cups.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy scraping bowl as needed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each.  Stir in liqueur.  Pour approx. 1/4 filling into each of the muffin cups.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 20-22 minutes or until edges are set but middle is slightly jiggly.  Turn of heat, crack open the oven door and let cheesecakes remain in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for another 30 minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs before serving.  Print Recipe

More than #SixteenCheesecakes


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Easter Menu

Easter is going to be a quiet affair this year.  It is going to be strange celebrating sans both Moms and then we are leaving early Monday morning for our vacation.  Frank is singing at 11:30 Mass and we will have sung the Easter Vigil which is a long and beautiful ceremony.  That makes Saturday night a late night for us though.  The vigil doesn't begin until 9 pm so we won't get home much before midnight.

Nicole has to work, so Pierre is hanging out with her.  I know her Mom is cooking so hopefully they get a chance to join her and Anthony for dinner.  They joined us for dinner this past Sunday because we knew Easter wasn't going to work.  If I know my son, Chuck, I am sure he is cooking for half the Navy on Sunday.  Amy and Doug will be going to Doug's family for an early dinner and then heading over here.  We get Tingting and the Little Angel Face all day long.

All of this preface is just too let you know that the Feast is subdued this year.  No lamb and I was just going to make ham but Amy advised that we had to have fresh kielbasa as well.  I don't want to have too many leftovers.  Karen will be staying here while we are gone and she is only one person. However, I will make up some sandwiches to take on the road with us.

I pray that you all have a Happy, Holy Easter.

Image result for Easter

Italian Egg Drop Soup
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Baked Ham
Roasted Kielbasa
Potatoes au Gratin
Sweet Potato Casserole
Asparagus with Lemon
Buttered Corn
Sauerkraut
Baked Pineapple
Sweet Dinner Rolls
Spice Cake



Monday, March 21, 2016

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs #FoodnFlix

I have the honor of hosting Food n Flix this month.  I absolutely love this club.  The host gets to choose a movie, the rest of us watch it at our leisure during the month and then create a dish inspired by the movie.  We post about the recipe, how it turned out, what we thought about the movie and what in the movie inspired the dish we are sharing.  We all do this individually, informing the host as we post.  At the end of the month, the host does a round up post including a small blurb and a link to everyone who participated.  It is so much fun getting the different viewpoints and ideas.  I look forward to it each month.

I chose the film A Walk in the Clouds.  This is not a foodie film but I think there is a lot of food inspiration.  Mostly, I chose it because I love this film.  I think it is touching and warm and it makes me feel good each time I watch it.  I love strong men who place their families first and this movie is filled with those type of men.  I blame  thank my father and I am grateful that I found a husband who always places me and our family on the top of his list of priorities.  You can learn more about the film and join us in the fun by going to my Invitation Post.

I have already started getting some submissions and I am very impressed at how the other's were inspired.  I didn't think I was taking the easy route until I started perusing the other's posts and now, I must admit, I am a little embarrassed to share mine.

The movie takes place at a California Winery called Las Nubes (the Clouds) owned by a proud family of Mexican heritage.  As with so many cultures, the Mexican culture, has fiesta's for everything. Many of the fiestas held by the families in this area are dictated by the growing and harvesting season.  There is lots of food and lots of drink from which to choose but I went with chocolate.  You see, the protagonist (Keanu Reaves) is a traveling chocolate salesman and it is while traveling with his wares that he meets a young girl in dire straits and our story begins.


Another reason I wanted to make chocolate is because Easter was coming up so of course, that means a Celebration or Fiesta.  The Abuelo (grandfather) in our story has a soft spot for chocolates and manages to go through the entire sampler box in very short order.  My husband, (Grampie) also has a soft spot for chocolates, especially when it covers peanut butter.  I decided to make Chocolate Covered Easter Eggs.  I adapted a recipe that I found on allrecipes. com and they turned out wonderful.  I served them for dinner last night following the Easter Egg hunt that we attended with Little Miss.


Following the Easter Egg Hunt, 3 of the 5 kids and their partners came over for dinner.  Chuck lives out of State and Anthony was out of town.  Nicole has to work on Easter so we tried to get everyone here yesterday for an early Easter celebration.  No ham, no lamb...we had steaks on the grill but we did have Easter gifts and for dessert I decorated up the Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs with frosting and sprinkles and placed them into a deviled egg tray.


I think it is safe to say that the family loved them at least as much as Abuelo loved his chocolates and it led to great conversation about a movie that the kids had never seen as it is 20 years old.  We are going to do a movie night some day soon and introduce them to this great flick.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 (16 oz.) pkg. powdered sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 T + 1 t. milk
1 (12 oz) pkg dark chocolate melts
sprinkles for decorating, if desired
additional colors of chocolate melts for decorating, if desired

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, combine sugar, peanut butter, butter and milk until blended.  Mixture will be crumbly.  Shape the mixture into eggs by pressing it into an egg shaped soup spoon.  Place the egg shapes onto a baking sheet, continue until all peanut butter mixture is used.  Place the baking sheet with the eggs in the freezer for at least one hour or overnight, if preferred.

When ready to coat the eggs, melt the dark chocolate using package directions.  Coat each egg with chocolate and place onto parchment paper. Decorate as desired.  If using sprinkles, do so immediately before the chocolate hardens.  Print Recipe



Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Eggtastic #SundaySupper

This month's Sunday Supper is being hosted by Wendy of Wholistic Woman and she has chosen Eggs as our theme.  Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I raise laying hens and always have eggs on hand so this is a perfect theme for me.  I couldn't be happier.

There are so many egg recipes that I love and I was originally going to try my hand at a souffle.  I have never made a souffle before and have been wanting to give it a go.  I am still going to do that one day, but not today.  Today I decided to start with hard boiled eggs since many of us are going to have lots of colored eggs left from Easter that will need to be used.


Of course, you could always make this easy peasy Egg Salad  that is just delicious and could be served on leftover croissants if you served them for Easter as well.  It then occurred to me that I have never shared a recipe for deviled eggs with you.  I was just going to give you my stand by recipe. The same recipe that my Mom used and passed on and that my kids use today.  An oldie but a goodie that I will share with you now that I realize I haven't yet, but not today.  Today I am going to share with you a Deviled Egg recipe from my friend Sarah's blog, Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.  When Sarah shared her version of this recipe that she had adapted from Steak and Potatoes Kinda Gurl that had been adapted from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy.  I immediately pinned it on my To Try board. Then I promptly forgot about it until Wendy chose this great theme.  I present to you now Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs!



Each of the recipes is a little different from the other and mine is a little different from theirs.  I decided to use fresh jalapeno instead of pickled but I roasted them first over an open flame.  I used a Mexican blend of cheese. I omitted the bacon.  I also used Miracle Whip and Neufchatel Cheese as these are my preferences when a recipe calls for Mayo and Cream Cheese.


They were delicious.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.  Thank you to all of the above ladies for this great inspiration and to Wendy for choosing this theme.

Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
adapted from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

6 eggs, hard boiled
1 jalapeno
2 T. Miracle Whip
3 T. Neufchatel Cheese
2/3 c. shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Place the jalapeno pepper onto a cooking grate or grill plate over an open flame and char on all sides. When blackened and blistered, place into a plastic baggie and seal closed, allowing the pepper to steam.  Rinse the charred skin off of the pepper under running water.  Slice pepper in half removing seeds and cut into a large dice.

Peel the eggs, cut in half and separate the yolk from the whites.  Set the whites aside.  Place yolks, Miracle Whip, both cheeses and the jalapeno in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until completely combined.  Spoon filling into the egg whites and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Print Recipe  


Appetizers & Sides
Main Dishes (Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Brinner and Dinner!)
Desserts
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce for Crazy Ingredient Challenge

This month's CIC isn't so crazy.  The vote was tallied and the ingredients are tomato and heavy cream.  Not too unusual and certainly flavors that work well together.  After all, Cream of Tomato Soup is an American icon and one that I thought of making.  Then I thought maybe since the ingredients weren't that unusual, I should use them in a way that was unusual.  I decided that was the route I would go and stepped away from the computer.


Next thing I knew CIC was in 3 days!!!  Life had gotten very Crazy around here even if the ingredients weren't and I had completely forgotten about this challenge.  In the end, I went with my old stand-by, pasta.  Pasta makes everything better and I needed a little comfort in my life.

I made a rich pasta sauce using Italian sausage, mushrooms, lots of herbs and spices and, of course, tomatoes.  When the sauce had cooked down to a nice thick pot of goodness that made my house smell amazing....I added some heavy cream and made it perfection in a pot.



I decided that since I had to wait around for the sauce to simmer for a couple of hours it would be a good time to make some homemade fettuccine noodles to go with this sauce. I made my first homemade pasta at the beginning of the month and was tickled at how easy it is using my kitchen aid. I used the same recipe but the flat pasta plate instead of the macaroni plate.



John and Kirsten joined us for dinner after Mass and we had a wonderful relaxing evening of food, friends and fun.

Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce

4 Italian Sausage Links, casings slit and removed, sausage crumbled
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz, mushrooms, sliced
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 qt. tomatoes, with juices
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. parsley paste
1/2 t. oregano paste
2 t. lightly dried basil
1/8 t. lightly dried red pepper flakes, crushed
1/3 c. heavy cream
1 lb fresh or dried pasta, cooked al dente

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, or similar heavy vessel, over med high heat.  Add the onions and garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant and softened, 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the sausage, cook and stir, breaking up any large chunks until no longer pink.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 or 5 minutes until mushrooms have released all their liquid and it has evaporated.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine, bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 1-2 hrs, until thickened.  Stir in heavy cream and serve over cooked pasta. Print Recipe

Here are some more great Tomato and Cream creations!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Happy Holy Week, here is our menu

Easter is so early this year.  I don't feel like I have recovered from Christmas yet, and here we are celebrating our Lord's rebirth and our redemption.  This week before Easter is the busiest of the church year.  It is due to the Risen Christ that we know that he is our Savior and our Lord and through him we are guaranteed eternal life.  It is a very big deal for us and so we celebrate very big!


Our celebration commences with Palm Sunday, followed by Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil on Saturday and Easter Sunday.  Our Easter Season then lasts 50 days of celebration and jubilation before returning to ordinary time.   

My Weekly Menu, this week is going to extend through Saturday and then I will be sharing our Easter Menu with you during the week.  There will be no Weekly Menu following Easter because we are heading on vacation....Woooohoooooooo!!

Today we are singing at 4 pm. Mass but meeting at 2:30 to squeeze in some practice time. Tomorrow, Palm Sunday, Frank and the ensemble are singing at 11:30 Mass. In the afternoon we are going with Tingting and Little Miss for an Easter Egg Hunt held by our local library.  Ting, Mel, Amy, Doug, Nic and Pierre are joining us for Sunday Supper.  Nic is working on Easter so it will be nice to have them over for an early celebration.

We have another practice Monday at 6:30 and then I have a meeting following choir to talk so more about our new sound system. Tuesday evening we are meeting up with Frank's family for a night of ballroom dancing at the hall where we had Mom Klik's funeral luncheon.  We saw it advertised while we were there and our niece, Danielle, who loves to dance asked us all to go.  It should be a lot of fun.

Wednesday we are doing Easter Food Basket distribution for the food pantry.  So we will be busy Tuesday during the day doing the shopping and prepping for this and then will be there Wednesday from 1-6 pm passing out the goodies.

Holy Thursday falls on Mom Klik's birthday this year so it will be a bittersweet celebration.  This is the day we celebrate the Last Supper with an evening Mass.  Good Friday we will be singing in the afternoon at 1 PM Mass and then we will be doing the Tenebrae at 8 pm.  Here is a more in depth explanation of our traditions.

Saturday morning we take our Easter baskets in for the blessing and then we will be singing at the Easter Vigil which is a very long and beautiful Mass celebrating the resurrection of our Lord.  Easter morning, Frank and the ensemble are singing.  I will be staying home and getting ready for our Easter Feast.  

Monday morning we leave bright and early for our trip to Florida.  First stop is in Nashville where we will spend some time seeing the sights with my dear friend, Sue's daughter, Kelly.  Looking forward to it and looking forward to some R&R.

So, without further delay, here is our extended Weekly Menu.  Stop by during the week for recipes, photos and the posting of the Easter Menu.

Saturday
Pasta with a Creamy Tomato Sauce

Sunday
Grilled Steaks
Onions and Mushrooms
Baked Russets and Sweet Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus
Glazed Carrots

Meatless Monday
Macaroni and Cheese
Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday
Out for dinner before dancing

Wednesday
Pot Roast-moved from last week

Holy Thursday
BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Good Friday
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 
Tomato Soup

Holy Saturday
Salad and Pizza

Easter Sunday
See large Menu



Friday, March 18, 2016

Sea Bass and Shrimp en Papillote #FishFridayFoodies

I am so excited about this month's Fish Friday Foodies theme.  It was chosen by our friend, Karen, of Karen's Kitchen Stories.  Karen decided we should all cook en papillote.  En papillote is a French term for in parchment.  It is a wonderful method of cooking wherein whatever is in the packet, steams as it bakes in the oven.

A couple of years ago I shared a recipe for Fish in Foil that I cooked on the grill.  This is the Americanized version of a cooking method popular in Europe forever.  You can use parchment paper, foil or even a paper bag but the method is the same.  Place your food inside along with aromatics, seasonings and a little liquid and put it in a hot oven or over hot coals for a few minutes.  You will open the packet to find a beautifully cooked and flavorful meal.


  1. I used foil lined parchment paper.  Fold the paper in half and reopen.  Center the fish on the paper near the fold.  I then seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with my first aromatic, thinly sliced fennel.
  2. I layered on thinly sliced orange pieces.
  3. Added 4 shrimp on top.
  4. Sealed the packets and placed onto a baking sheet.
  5. Baked in a preheated 425* oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully open the packets so the steam doesn't burn you.  The fish and shrimp are cooked perfectly.
  7. I made a gremolata topping while the fish baked.



       8. Transfer to a plate and top with the gremolata before serving.

I am so excited about this group.  I never dreamed when I started it that I would have so many friends who would want to join me in this adventure. Please make sure that you scroll down past my recipe to see what the others are sharing this month.

I want to just request that when buying and serving seafood or fish you make sure that the product you are serving is sustainable. Visit Seafood Watch and you will be able to print out a guide to carry with you when you go to the fishmonger.

We would love to have you join our group.  Just leave a comment here or a request on our facebook page.  Next month Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting and the theme is Whole Fish.

Sea Bass and Shrimp en Papillote
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #110

1 (6 oz) sea bass fillet per person
4 lg. shrimp per person
salt and pepper to taste
thinly sliced oranges
thinly sliced fennel bulb
1 T. white wine per packet


For GremolataThis recipe is for 4 packets.  Adjust as needed.

1/2 c. fennel fronds, chopped
1/2 c. chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 T. pine nuts, toasted
1 T. small capers
1 T. orange zest
1 T. orange juice
1 T. minced garlic

Fold a 12x16" piece of parchment in half for each fillet you will be making.  Open the parchment and center a fillet on each, near the seam.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover the fillet with the fennel and then with the orange slices.  Top each with a tablespoon of white wine and then place 4 shrimp on top of each.

Fold the top of the parchment over the fish and match the edges with the bottom sheet.  Fold over 1/2" of edges, pleating every inch, until packet is sealed.  Place onto a baking sheet, 2 packets per sheet.  Roast in a preheated 425* oven for 10 minutes.

While fish is roasting, combine ingredients for gremolata into a small bowl.  Remove fish from oven and carefully open the packets.  Remove fish fillet with the toppings onto a plate and sprinkle with the gremolata.  Print Recipe



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tres Leche Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

This month's host of Bundt Bakers is Christiane of The Mom Chef.  Christiane has chosen the very apropos theme of Tropical Flavors for this month.  The perfect theme for those of us who are in the dead of winter and yearning for those tropical breezes.

Not to rub it in or anything but I am going to be leaving in 10 days for Islamorada in the Florida Keys.  Sunshine, sand, fishing, diving, fruity drinks by the pool....ahhhhh....10 more days.......

Oops...sorry.....back to my cake.  I love tropical vacations and spend a lot of time on warm islands enjoying one of my favorite pleasures in the world, Scuba Diving.  One of the places we like to go diving is in Cozumel, Mexico.  When I saw this recipe for a Tres de Leche Bundt in an issue of Cuisine at Home, I was immediately flooded with thoughts of warmth and sunshine.  I wanted to share this feeling with all of you.  I did put a little spin on the cake other than the slight adaptations I made to the recipe procedure itself. Once the cake was finished, we did our taste test and it was very good but I thought it could use something to lighten up the flavors so I whipped up some heavy cream and then folded in some crushed pineapple an finely diced strawberries. It was the perfect topping to this cake.  I think that the next time I make this cake I am going to include some coconut in the batter as well.  The cake is a basic pound cake so it is easily flavored to your liking.


The cake itself is just a Buttermilk Pound Cake.
For some reason, there were a lot of steps in the original directions.
I streamlined them because who has time for all that guff?


I should have used some of that saved time to make sure my pan was properly prepared.
Make sure to grease and flour all of those nooks and crannies so this doesn't happen to you.


Thank goodness for the Tres de Leche.
What booboo?  I see no booboos.


A moist, dense pound cake covered with a rich glaze made with 3 different types of milk.
Served with a side of fruity whipped cream and garnished with a fresh strawberry.


Quite a contrast from the view outside my back door the morning I made this cake.
Everybody needs a little Tropical love in the middle of winter.
Thanks Christiane!!

Tres Leche Bundt Cake
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #86

Cake:

3 c. cake flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk, room temperature

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with all sugar dissolved.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Mix in vanilla then alternately add the flour and the buttermilk beating after each addition.  Pour batter into a bundt pan that has been greased and floured or sprayed with baking spray.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 1 -1 1/4 hrs or until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.  Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Tres Leche:

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. dark rum (if desired)

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan over med high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to med low and boil gently, stirring constantly until reduced to 2 cups and thickened to the point where it drips from the spatula or spoon in a thick stream.  Let cool to room temperature before pouring over the cake.

Pineapple and Strawberry Whipped Cream:

2 c. heavy cream
1 T. powdered sugar
1 c. crushed pineapple
1 c. finely diced strawberry

While Tres Leche is cooling to room temperature, place the small bowl and whisk attachment from your stand mixer into the freezer.  When icy cold, remove from freezer and attach to stand mixer. Whip the heavy cream and sugar starting at low speed and increasing the speed as it thickens until light and fluffy.  Gently fold in the fruit and serve along side or on top of the cake.  Print Recipe

Come along with us on our Tropical Vacation


BundtBakers
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Italian Vegetable Stew for #TheBookClubCookbookCC

This month's assignment for the BCCBCC is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and was chosen by Emily of Life on Food.  You still have time to join in the fun, just go to Emily's invitation post and learn how. You can read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn if you want but it is not mandatory.  I read this book many years ago as part of a book club that I belonged to that we called the Book n Cook Club.  It was a great group of people and we were together for many years.  Then, life happened.  People retired and moved away, got married and had babies, moved out of the area, etc. and we slowly disintegrated. This is one of the reasons I love blogging.  Now I belong to this club and also Cook the Books which is a lot of fun as well.


In this club we choose a book that has been incorporated into this cookbook written by Judy Gelman and Vicki Krupp.  They have done all of the legwork for us.  They give a synopsis of the book and a recipe that was inspired by it.  They give little blurbs from different bookclubs telling their feelings on the book and what it inspired them to create.  You can read the book and be inspired to create your own recipe.  You can read the blurbs in the cookbook and see if that inspires you or you can make the recipe in the cookbook, either as written or adapted to make it your own.

I did not reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for this month.  I enjoyed the book when I read it but I am currently in the middle of other novels and didn't think I would finish in time to read this one and create a dish.  The story is of a young girl and her family during the great depression.  They were very poor and to make matters worse their father had a drinking problem.  It is a story of struggles and success, failures and resilience.  It is a story of a family barely getting by but knowing that above all they were a family.

Image result for a tree grows in brooklyn


Food was scarce for the family and the young girl would pass by a bakery and admire the Charlotte Russe in the window and this is what inspired the authors of the cookbook to choose Chocolate Russe as the dish they showcased.  I didn't make a Russe although I have a lovely recipe for a Raspberry Russe that I love.  I guess I chose not to make it because that was not the food that stuck with me from the book.  If you were to ask me what food I remember from this story that I read some 10 years ago I would respond stale bread and limp vegetables.  You see, the young girl would go to that bakery, not for pastries but for the day old bread which was all they could afford.  Then she would go to the grocer and look for vegetables that were past their prime and so could be gotten for much less and perhaps even free.  If she were very lucky, the butcher might give her a soup bone.  These are the memories that have stuck with me.  I don't know how accurate they are but that's what I remember so that is what I'm going with.



I decided to make an Italian Vegetable Stew that uses stale bread as a thickening agent.  I did not use limp vegetables (well the celery was limp) but I did use vegetables that are plentiful and inexpensive.


Roughly tear your bread into pieces and let it set out for a couple hours to further stale. I had some onion rye that had seen better days but you can use any day old bread that you happen to have on hand. This is a very rustic stew so you need not worry too much about knife cuts on your veggies. Just roughly chop them.  The original recipe called for leeks, I didn't have any so I used onion.  You can use any greens that you would like.  The recipe called for mustard greens and kale.  I used kale and chard.


Once the vegetables are sweated and tender, add the greens, the beans and your seasonings.  I used dried thyme, a bay leaf and oregano paste.  You can use canned or boxed broth.  I happened to have some homemade vegetable broth so I used that.  You could also use chicken or beef broth but then it would not be vegetarian or vegan.


To serve, scatter some bread into a shallow bowl and ladle the stew over the top.  Drizzle a bit of good olive oil over all and enjoy. I made the stew for dinner tonight because it is Meatless Monday.  I can see this dish as one that would have been made and served during this time period when families learned to stretch what little food they had into comforting and filling meals.

Italian Vegetable Stew
adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 loaf of day old bread, torn into pieces
1 bunch swiss chard, center ribs and stems removed
1 bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed
2 T. olive oil
2 carrots, scraped and cut into small chunks
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of slightly dried red pepper flakes, crumbles or 1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1 qt. whole tomatoes with their juices
8 c. vegetable broth
3 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 t. oregano paste
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling

Scatter bread on baking sheet and allow to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Blanch chard and kale leaves for a few minutes, until tender, rinsing immediately with cold water to cool. Place in salad spinner and spin dry (or squeeze in paper towels).  Roughly chop the leaves and set aside.  

Heat olive oil in large pot over med heat.  Add the carrots, celery and onion, cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and chili pepper, cook and stir until fragrant, 1 minute or so. Add tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you do.  Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated, 10-15 minutes.  Add the reserved greens, rinsed beans, thyme, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for a few moments then stir in the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for an hour until flavors meld.  

Serve over torn bread with a drizzle of good olive oil.  Print Recipe