Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Taking a moment to breathe...

We have been busy little soldiers around here.  Sunday after Mass we went out to lunch with John and Kirsten, then we walked around the Art Fair.  The sun came out, the sky was blue...it was a perfect day AND....I picked up 3 Christmas gifts.  When we got home we worked around the house and yard.  Frank replaced the washtub, fixed the pool filter and got the pool up and running, started working on putting in the dog fence and began making a tv stand for Tingting out of an old dresser she picked up at a garage sale for $25.

He had to close the opening that was in the middle of the dresser.
Then he put decorative edging along the front to hide the seams.

Frank began painting it yesterday after he was done with work but ran out of paint.  It will be completed tonight.  While Frank was busy with his projects, I cleaned out the storage area, scrubbed the carpet and furniture, prepared the guest room for Larry and Mary, prepared Melody's room for Jack and Spence and gave the stinky dogs a bath.

This morning I got up early and began running errands.  I stopped and saw Mom who was sleeping again.  It seems like she is sleeping every time I stop by lately.  We visited for a little while and then an activity was starting so I left her with her "gang" and started my errands.  I hit the bank, the dollar store for the food pantry, Lowe's for more paint for the dresser, the grocery store and the feed store. When I got home I cleaned out the refrigerator and put together a Strawberry/Rhubarb Pie before the fruit was no longer usable.  That was the end of my strawberries and rhubarb, at least until the next CSA visit.  I boiled up some beets to use in our Greek Salad tonight when John, Kirsten and her family join us for dinner tonight.

While I was busy with all of this the puppies wanted in.  I let them in and Shadow went and sat down for his treat.  Sherman ran straight into my bedroom.  Curious I went to see what he was doing.  He was chewing up a baby robin that he had brought in from outside.  Aaaargh...poor little thing....the bird not Shermy!

During these crazy days of summer when we are entertaining and running continuously I try to stick with tried and true meals that are not only easy peasy but delicious.  So for tonight I am serving a Greek Feast that includes dishes I have shared before, Greek Meatballs, Pilafi, and Baklava.  We are starting with a Greek Salad and I noticed that I haven't shared this recipe with you before so I will finish this post with that.  Enjoy!

Greek Salad

6 c. of your favorite lettuce ( I used an assortment from my CSA)
1 English cucumber, cut into slices
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion. thinly sliced
1/2  jar Greek Olives
2 beets, cooked, peeled and cut into eighths
 pepperoncini to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. good olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. oregano paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. feta cheese, crumbles

Line a platter with the cleaned and dried lettuce.  Top with the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives, beets, and pepperoncini.  Place lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper in a small jar and shake well to combine.  Pour over the salad.  Sprinkle with the crumbled Feta and serve. Print Recipe

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Welcoming July and the Weekly Menu

Things are heating up around here....not the weather....this has been a very mild summer thus far...but we are preparing for a very busy week month.

July is a chaotic, exciting, fun time here on the farm and I am anxious to share it with you.

Today my nephew is getting married so we will be attending the ceremony and party this evening.

Tomorrow, after Mass, I would like to go into the neighboring town of St. Clair.  They have an Art Show each year that is always very nice.  We will be having lunch out so we will have a light dinner.

On Tuesday Kirsten's mom and sister are in town so we are having them all over for dinner.  My brother should be arriving sometime Wednesday from California.  He is riding his Harley here again. He has done this for several years now, pretty amazing especially as he is 73 years young.  His wife and grandson will be arriving in the wee early morning hours on Thursday.  They are coming by train and it arrives about an hour from our house at 2 AM.

On Friday, Amy and Doug, Dick and Jackie, Tingting and the baby and Dawn and Tom will be joining us for dinner to welcome Larry and Mary home.  I think that my TC family will be here on Friday also but perhaps not until Saturday.  I am going to be dog sitting for them while they are camping with the other side of the family.

And so it begins......

Pea and Pesto Pasta


Hot Dogs

Meatless Monday
Pea and Pesto Pasta

Tuesday-Company for Dinner
Greek Meatballs
Rice Pilaf with Carrots and Parsley
Greek Salad

Country Ribs and Sauerkraut

Grilled Chicken
Potato Salad
Broccoli Salad

Friday-Welcome Home Party
Baked Ham (on Grill)
Grilled Pineapple
Cheesy Potatoes
Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad
This and That Salad

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mmmmmmmichigan Strawberries

It is Michigan Strawberry season.  It lasts for only 2 or 3 weeks so grab them while you can and enjoy these tasty little morsels.  There is nothing that compares.  No, they are not huge like California strawberries.  They can't be dipped in chocolate and made into a beautiful bouquet.  They don't look pretty on a platter near a chocolate fountain and no one is going to say "Wow, look at the size of that strawberry!".

But they are the most juicy, sweet, delectable little berries you will ever pop into your mouth.  So run out and get as many as you can.  Make some pies, freeze some whole, pop them into your mouth as you wash them up to put into your salad or to make into Strawberry Shortcake.  Just grab them while the grabbing is good and grab a lot because otherwise you will be sitting there in a couple of weeks saying "Oh, how I wish I had some Michigan strawberries".

My Amy grew a strawberry patch this year and when she came by last week for dinner she brought me some that had just been picked.  Sun ripened, juicy and incredibly sweet.  I wanted to showcase these beauties at the peak of their perfection so I turned them into a mouthwatering, delicious, delectable, scrumptious ice cream.

I used a recipe found in Real Simple magazine and, you guessed it, it is really simple.  A perfect way to preserve your fresh Michigan strawberries.  I am happy to share the recipe with you.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
very slightly adapted from Real Simple Magazine

1 lb. strawberries, washed and trimmed
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
2/3 c. sugar

Place half of the strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree. Slice the remaining strawberries into 1/4" slices.  (If you are using Michigan strawberries, leave the tiny ones whole and cut the larger ones in half).

Combine the sugar, cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add the pureed strawberries and stir to combine.  Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs.

Pour the cream mixture into an ice cream maker and chill according to the manufacturer's directions.  During the last 5 minutes of churning add the remaining strawberries and allow them to incorporate into the ice cream.  Turn into an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hrs.  Print Recipe

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Review-The Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

Kirsten was over the other day and while she was here she dropped off a couple of books that she had completed.  One is a Debbie Macomber book that I haven't picked up yet and the other was the first in a trilogy by Nora Roberts called the Dark Witch.

Front Cover

I am a Nora Roberts fan and love that her books often make me laugh out loud.  This book was no exception.  The characters all have a great, dry sense of humor.  The humor you often see in people who are from Ireland which is where this book is set.  Near the beginning of the book one of the characters mentions a John Wayne movie called The Quiet Man.  This movie was chosen as one of our Food n Flix movies.  I had never seen it before and it was very cheesy and funny, just like this book.  This book portrayed the Irish in the same light as the movie and it was a fun read.

It deals with the supernatural as well as with Nora's normal genre of romance and relationships.  It is the story of cousins who are witches fighting the evil that has been following their family for generations.  It is a classic good vs evil story that has you rooting for the good guys and hissing at the bad guys.  It is a fast, easy read and I am anxious to read the next two books in the series.

They will have to wait a bit though because yesterday I started reading Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.  This book is the first book being cooked from in a new group that I had told you about the other day called The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Project.  It is not a requirement to read the books each month but I thought it might be fun to do so I picked up the book at the library yesterday.  It is a selection of short stories.  I read the first last night, it was good, held my interest but a little depressing.  I hope they aren't all sad stories.  If you want to join us, whether you read the book or not, just go to Camilla's link above and learn how.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baklava ala "It's All Greek to Me" for Cook the Books Club

Before I entered the world of caregiving for my folks and the world of blogging, I had started a club that I called "The Cook and Book Club".  There were 10 of us in the group and each month one of us would assign a book, we would all read it and then the person who assigned the book would host the meeting and feed us all a meal that was inspired by the book we read.  Our group lasted for a loooooong while.  I think about 9 years.  People moved away, got married, had babies, became caregivers, changed jobs and through it all we would meet each month and eat and gab, sometimes about the book but more often just about what had been going on in our lives.  I miss that monthly meeting very much.

cookthebooksSo, needless to say, I was extremely excited when I was invited to join the Cook the Books club here in blogland.  It is much the same as my club was except that we each cook something inspired by the book and then we meet each month and share our thoughts and recipes.  It is fun and you should join us.  This current selection was for July/August.  I read it in one sitting so you have plenty of time to jump in.  You can learn how by going to the About page and the Guidelines page.

Our host this month is Simone of Briciole, and she chose "The Wedding Bees" by Sarah Kate Lynch.

As I said, I read this book in one sitting, which lets you know just how much I loved it.  It is a love story with absolutely no smut included.  It is the story of Sugar, a girl running from her past and a dysfunctional family who moves from place to place as chosen by her honey bees, a legacy from her grandfather who was the only constant normal in her life.  As she moves from place to place she meets other lost souls and cares for them, developing close relationships that she did not have with her family.  This book starts with Sugar moving into an apartment building in a shady area of New York City.  The apartment complex is filled with a conglomeration of people suffering from their own shattered lives and quirky personalities.  This book will make you laugh and make you cry and it is well worth a trip to the library or the price of purchasing it.

The Wedding Bees is filled with tons of delicious food all described in mouthwatering detail.  The dish I decided to make was Baklava, a dish that showed up a few times in the story.  The baklava in the story was made with pistachios and sounded absolutely delectable.

Once I decided on Baklava, I knew there was only one place to go for the recipe and that was in a cookbook that I won from Debbie Matenopoulos called "It's all Greek to Me".  I have taken several recipes from this book, including Roast Chicken, Greek Meatballs and Pilafi.  All of these recipes were winners so I feel safe assuming that means all of the recipes included in the cookbook will be just as wonderful.

When I went to Debbie's recipe I found that her Baklava is made with walnuts instead of pistachios and that she cuts her Baklava prior to baking it.  It looked lovely and sounded scrumptious so I followed her directions to a T.

I placed the nuts, cinnamon and sugar in the food processor and pulsed until finely chopped.

After baking drench with the syrup.
I was worried about clean up but it came off easily.
Make sure you butter the seam of the roll.
You can see that I forgot that step on one of my rolls.

Not as gorgeous as Debbie's but not bad for my first try and they tasted perfect!

from It's All Greek to Me by Debbie Matenopoulos

1 1/4 lbs Walnuts (about 5 c.) finely chopped
2 T. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 of a  (1 lb) pkg. phyllo dough sheets, thawed (You need 18 sheets)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 c. sugar
2 c. water
1 c. honey
1 (2") piece of lemon peel
2 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325*

Mix together nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  (I placed the walnut halves, sugar and cinnamon into my food processor and pulsed until finely chopped and left them in that bowl).  

Working quickly, and keeping the unused phyllo covered, lay out 1 sheet of phyllo onto your counter. Brush with melted butter.  Cover with  second sheet, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1/2 c. of the nut mixture.  Repeat this process with twice more using 2 sheets of phyllo and 1/2 c. of nut mixture each time.  Starting at the long end, gently roll the phyllo sheets up into a tight, fat roll.  Brush the seam with butter to seal.  Repeat this entire process twice more making 3 rolls.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into 1" slices and lay the slices, cut side down onto 2 large ungreased, rimmed, baking sheets.  (I lined mine with parchment).  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and using tongs flip the baklava over and bake for another 20 minutes or until cooked through, golden and flaky.

While the baklava is baking, combine the sugar, water, honey and lemon peel in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over med high heat stirring to dissolve sugar.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Remove the Baklava from the oven and slowly pour the syrup over the pieces while still on the rimmed baking sheet. (I used a ladle).  Let stand 1 hour to soak up the syrup. (I flipped mine halfway through the soaking period).  

Transfer to individual cupcake liners and serve immediately or cover and keep at room temperature for up to a week.  Print Recipe

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Random Ramblings

It's been a while since I updated what is going on around here on the farm.  It seems like recipes and food clubs take up the majority of my blogging time.  Of course, I am sure that these ramblings will contain food info and club info because they seem to be a big part of my life right now.

So where to start.....
  • We flew up north Sunday to help Spencer celebrate turning 13.  It is hard to believe my little guy is 13 already.  We also made plans for him to come and stay for a couple of weeks next month so that he can have his Scuba Lessons.  That is our birthday gift to him.

It takes an hour and a half flying as opposed to 5 hrs driving.
That meant a shortened nap for me LOL.

  • Since we weren't here on Father's Day we have Amy and Doug coming over for dinner tonight. We will also be celebrating Kirsten's birthday.  Ting and Melody will be here too so Amy and Kirsten can get their Little Miss fix.  This, of course, means that my Weekly Menu has been updated and changed as well.  I also updated it for Friday since Kim and Kurt are coming for dinner and he is a Meat and Potato kind of guy.  
  • For those of you who are not regulars to my blog you can see who I am talking about by going to the Cast of Characters.
  • Yesterday, for some reason, while doing laundry the laundry soap fell off of the washing machine and spilled all over the floor.  Our laundry area is in the attached garage.  Frank was going out to the garage for something and stepped into the soap.  He fell a TON!!!  He is one sore guy.  Thankfully nothing was broken but the small of his back came right down onto the step.  He is really hurting!
  • Stopped and saw Mom yesterday.  She was making a necklace.  I should have taken a photo! She no longer has any idea who I am.  Most of the time I am just someone who works there. But she is happy as a lark so I am happy too.
  • I picked up my first CSA basket on Saturday.  It will be put to good use this week when we entertain.
  • The pups had their last vet visit and don't need to return for a year.  They each gained about 10 lbs this month.  They are getting big, the chicks are getting big, the flowers are blooming, the pool is open, the storms are over and life is good.
  • I will be stopping at the library today to pick up a book for another new club I have joined called The Bookclub Cookbook Cooking Crew,
That's it.  You are all updated and know exactly what is and has been going on in my life here on the farm.  I will be posting my Cook the Books recipe later today so that I can serve it tonight along with the Gooey Butter Bars I made last night from my Food n Flix club.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Gooey Butter Shortbread Bars for #FoodnFlix

Butter gets a bad rap....Not just the delicious creamy stuff made from cow's milk that we are told is fattening, cholesterol raising and unhealthy by those people that make margarine from chemicals and hydrogenated oil and may cause cancer.

I think I'll stick to the butter, thank you, and serve it proudly along with olive oil, coconut oil and other oils made from things found in nature and not in some laboratory.

Another Butter that got a bad rap was the movie starring Ty Burrell, Ashley Green, Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde, Yara Shahidi and others.  The critics were not crazy about this movie but, like the manufacturer's who make margarine...I take their opinions with a grain of salt.

I love butter...the food and I liked Butter....the movie.  It was hokey but it was also touching.  It is the story of butter carving at the Iowa State Fair but it is also the story of a rocky marriage, of placing winning above people, of a young orphan girl who not only finds a family who loves her but also finds that there are things at which she excels.  I enjoyed it.  I laughed and I cried.  I would not have gone to the theater to see this movie nor would I buy the dvd but I would stop channel surfing for it.

Image result for butter the movie

Our host this month for Food n Flix is the incomparable Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz.  Evelyne explains how she chose the movie and how you can join us in her announcement post.

There was food in the movie....butter, of course, and fair fare along with a pretty nice looking roasted chicken.  But when you are assigned a movie to watch with only one word in the title and that word is Butter...I kind of think you should create a recipe using butter.  I almost just made butter but my friend Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures beat me to it.

I thought about making honey butter and combining this post with my Cook the Books post but then decided I wanted to make something different for Cook the Books.

Hmmm....garlic butter maybe?  Butter cookies?  Buttered Popcorn?  Buttery, gooey caramel?  What to do, what to do??

I normally use Land of Lakes butter around here so I went to their website to see what they had to say. They had a lot to say. Many, many wonderful recipes.  And then I saw this one for Gooey Shortbread Bars.  I had to make it...it had the words Gooey and Shortbread in the title!

You line the baking pan with foil.
I then just lifted the foil out to allow it to cool completely.

I had originally thought to cut the bars into shapes so as to mimic the carving in the movie.

I decided that was too much work and was going to lead to waste.
These little morsels are MUCH to tender and delicious to waste!!

Gooey Butter Shortbread Bars
very slightly adapted  from Landolakes.com

For the Crust:
1 c, flour
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar

For the Topping:
2 T. light corn syrup
1 T. water
1 t. vanilla
6 T. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. + 2 T. flour

Heat oven to 350*.  Line an 8" square baking pan with aluminum foil and then spray the foil with cooking spray.

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl and beat at medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press evenly into bottom of foil lined pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Combine syrup, water and vanilla in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

Place 6 T. of butter and sugar in a med. bowl and beat until well mixed.  Alternate adding flour and syrup mixture beating after each addition.  Spread over crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and lift foil out of the pan.  Let cool completely before cutting into 24 bars. Print Recipe

Food‘nFlix Want to join Food n Flix?  Learn how.

Christine from Cherishing a Sweet Life stopped by and invited me to link up with #OhMyHeartsieGirlWWlinkup.  I checked it out, liked what I saw and linked up.  Why don't you meet me there and we can look at some of these great posts together?

Grilled Mahi Mahi for Secret Recipe Club

I am in my happy place again today.  That's right it is Secret Recipe Club time again.  I love Secret Recipe Club.  SRC is the first club I joined when I was just a brand new blogger.  But not too new. SRC requires a minimum of 200 recipe posts before they will even consider you.  And then there is a waiting list.  These things, along with over 100 wonderful members make this "the club" to join and I have been very happy here.

Each month you are assigned another blogger from your group, there are 4 of them.  I am in group D and boy, what a creative group we are.  The bloggers do not know who was assigned to who.  The idea is to stalk learn about the blogger you have.  You do this by secretly going into their blog, read about them, spend time with them, drool over all their delicious recipes and then find one that you can't wait to make and make it.  Then share it.  That is what today is all about, sharing.  We are sharing our recipes today with each other and with our readers.  Make sure you stop by the other's posts...they really offer some amazing recipes.

This month I was assigned Sally of  Bewitching Kitchen.  Sally is celebrating her 6th blogiversary this month.  Six years!!  Amazing.  She is a biochemist currently working for Kansas State University.  Prior to moving to Kansas she resided in Paris and California but she was born and raised in Brazil.  With all of those influences how could her cooking be anything other than delicious.

You can imagine just how many recipes Sally has on her blog after 6 years.  I was very overwhelmed so I decided to make my life easier and decide what I wanted to make and then look for a recipe. Sally makes this very easy with a search option on her recipe page.  I decided I would like to make a fish/seafood dish and that led me to the recipe I am sharing with you today.

I made some very slight adaptations to Sally's recipe because it sounded perfect just as it was.  I only had one Mahi Mahi fillet but I also had a Cod fillet so I used that as well. The recipe calls for a mild vegetable oil.  Sally used grapeseed oil.  I had some cottonseed from Acala Farms that was flavored with cumin and chilis.  I used that and deleted the chili sauce in the recipe.

The fish was tender and flavorful.
Just a word of caution, it was a bit spicy for my hubby as I made it.
If you have a spice sensitive love in your life you may want to follow Sally's original recipe.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Citrus Marinade
slightly adapted from Bewitching Kitchen

2 fillets of MahiMahi or other firm fleshed fish
2 T. fresh lime juice
3 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. finely chopped ginger (I used Gourmet Garden Ginger)
1 T. finely chopped scallions
3 T. Chile seasoned cottonseed oil or 3 T. mild vegetable oil and 1/2 t. chili sauce
1 T. soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients except fish in a sealable plastic bag and shake to combine.  Add the fish fillets and reseal the bag.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 min. to 2 hrs.  Grill over med high heat until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish.  Print Recipe

Take a look at what everyone else brought to the table today!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Vouvray Poached Pineapple with Rosemary Whipped Cream aka #CIC meets #Frenchwinophiles.

I joined a new group....yes, another one...but this one is another wine group that is concentrating on French wines.  We drink wine with dinner nearly every night so this group's blog posts should be a piece of cake for me.  I also have been wanting to get more familiar with the wines of France since we received a lovely wine box containing French wines  from Bordeaux for Christmas from our daughter and son in law.

Our new group, created by Christy of  Confessions of a Culinary Diva, will feature a different wine region of France each month.  This month we are looking a Loire Valley.  Loire Valley is located in Central France and borders the Loire River. It is sometimes called the Garden of France because of the abundance or vineyards, fruit orchards, and asparagus and artichoke fields (source:Wikepedia).

The region specializes in white wines but does have some Cabernet Franc blends available.  Among the white wines available in the region are the wines from Vouvray featuring the Chenin Blanc grape. This is the wine I chose to feature.  With that out of the way I just needed to figure out what food I would feature with the Vouvray.

As luck would have it, another one of my groups, Crazy Ingredient Challenge was due to be posted the same day as French Winophiles.  Crazy Ingredient Challenge is the brainchild of Dawn from Spatulas on Parade.  This group votes on ingredients that you would not necessarily think would pair well together and then we are challenged to create a recipe using the ingredients.  This month's ingredients (as you can see from Dawn's cool graphic above) are Pineapple and Rosemary.

While browsing the web for ideas for this months CIC I came across a recipe by Chef Matt Selby, for a Riesling Poached Pineapple with Rosemary Whipped Cream and Pink Peppercorns.  I was very happy.  I knew with just a few adaptations this would be the perfect recipe for both posts that were due today.

I opened the wine and took a taste.  I had expected the wine to be sweeter but to my delight is was bright and quite acidic.  I am not a big sweet wine lover so I was very pleased but a little concerned about how it would pair with the Pineapple and Rosemary.

So without further ado...Let me introduce Vouvray Poached Pineapple with Rosemary Whipped Cream.  Other than the obvious adaptation of changing the wine used, I halved the recipe and spiced the poaching syrup with chili peppers instead of the pink peppercorns.

This is it.
The only other ingredients in this dish are sugar and vanilla.

I made this dish one evening after dinner. I steeped the rosemary in the cream and vanilla and then placed it, together in the refrigerator.  I poached the pineapple in the wine with sugar and chili paste. Allowed it to cool and into the refrigerator it went as well.

The following morning, when I got done with my farm chores and straightening the house, I remembered about my pineapple and wine in the fridge. I pulled out the cream and it was very thick. When I pulled out the stems of rosemary they kind of disintegrated.  I removed what I could and left the rest.  I placed this into my stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and began whipping. Almost immediately it became buttery in consistency.  I tasted it and was half tempted to leave it as a herb butter....it was tasty!!  But that would not have helped me with this recipe so I added another cup of heavy cream and whipped it up with the others.  Perfection.  I tasted it and loved it.  It was light and creamy with a very subtle but distinctive rosemary flavor.  I decided not to add any sugar to the cream.

I scooped the pineapple into a serving dish along with some of the vouvray syrup.  It was beautiful. Shimmering with the syrup and flecked with red pepper flakes.  I put on a dollop of cream, garnished with a sprig of rosemary and poured a glass of wine.  I was ready for my photo shoot.  I took several photos and was pleased with them so I was really hoping that the dish was going to be tasty and the pairing was going to work.

I took a bite.  The pineapple was almost cloying in it's sweetness but then I got a bit of a bite from the chilies and the soft, creamy rosemary goodness of the whipped cream and it knocked my socks off!! I could not stop taking bite after bite after bite.  I took a sip of the wine..OH EM GEE...I am so glad that it was not a sweet wine.  It immediately cut through the sweetness of the pineapple and made my mouth tingle with joy.  

So here I was at 10:30 in the morning having Vouvray Poached Pineapple and a glass of wine for breakfast.  I tried to tell myself that this was not a proper breakfast for a woman in her 50's who was home alone and skipping her Zumba class.  You know what myself said back to me??  "Zip it Lady...this is the best breakfast ever!!!"

I couldn't wait for Frank to get home.  I met him at the door with this creation and he was as crazy about it as I.  I cannot wait for my next dinner party.  I already have dessert all planned.  I am printing the recipe to make 4 servings.

Vouvray Poached Pineapple with Rosemary Whipped Cream
adapted from a recipe by Matt Selby shared with jamesbeard.org

2 c. heavy cream, divided
2 sprigs rosemary

1 pineapple, peeled,cored and cut into 1" pieces
1 bottle Vouvray wine
2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 t. vanilla paste
1/2 t. chili paste

Place 1 c. of the cream into a saucepan with the rosemary.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.  Pour into a container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Place the pineapple into another saucepan and add the wine, sugar, salt, vanilla and chili paste. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and allow pineapple to poach for 15 minutes.  Pour into a container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove the rosemary steeped cream from the refrigerator and remove all stems and large pieces of rosemary.  Place the cream mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the second cup of cold heavy cream and whip until soft and creamy.

Divide the pineapple between 4 serving bowls.  Drizzle with the syrup and top with a dollop of the whipped cream,  Garnish with additional rosemary sprigs if desired. Print Recipe

Pop open a second bottle of Vouvray, sit back and enjoy.  Then please comment and let me know if you loved this as much as we did.  I cannot get it out of my head!! 

Let's take a look at what the others created today using Pineapple and Rosemary.

And here are some more great wine and food pairings featuring wines from the Loire Valley.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Taking a moment to get ready for next week and the Weekly Menu

Crazy day today, folks.  We are having our after dive party tonight and gratefully the weather is perfect.  We had a vet appointment for the mutts today...they are done now for a year....YAY.  They both gained about 10 lbs in this one month.  We got the pool opened but unfortunately it won't be ready for our guests tonight but that is where you will be finding me for the rest of the summer, every chance I get!

Frank has a CPL class tomorrow.  I normally make lunch but I am waiting to see what we have left over from tonight's party. They will either get the leftovers or pizza.  I won't be home as I have an internment to attend for one of my dear friend's sons.  Tomorrow night we get to have Mel.  We are going to attend 6 pm Mass and then have some Beef Vegetable Soup.

Sunday, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the weather is nice so that we can fly up to see our Spencer, who lives up near Traverse City.  He turned 13 yesterday and his party is going to be on Father's Day.

The rest of the week is clear except for Wednesday when we will be going to see Danielle in her dance recital.  We will all go grab dinner afterwards.

I am sharing the Weekly Menu and will be posting photos and recipes as the week goes on.  I also hope to link up with Menu Plan Monday but even if I don't please stop by there and enjoy browsing through some terrific menus.

Mozzarella and Tomato Pannini with Pesto.

Beef Vegetable Soup

Traverse City

Meatless Monday
Mozzarella and Tomato Pannini

Celery Steak (Venison)
Steamed Rice
BBQ Ribs
Mac and Cheese
Asst. Salads

Out for dinner

Grilled Pork Chops
Potato Salad
Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Fish Friday
Coconut Shrimp
Vegetable Fried Rice
Grilled Steaks with Mushrooms and Onions
Potato Salad
Grilled Asparagus

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt for #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 our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

Yes, that's right, it is time for this month's Bundt Bakers reveals.  Our host this month is Anne who blogs over at From my Sweet Heart.  From my Sweet Heart is a blog dedicated to all things yummy and sweet....you really need to check it out.....but have a napkin handy to mop up your drool.  Anne chose Lemons as our theme this month.  This made me happy because, after chocolate desserts, lemon are my favorite!  Thanks Anne for choosing lemons and for hosting us this month.

I actually made this cake for a Memorial Day BBQ to which we were invited.  It was the perfect cake to take on a picnic or a barbecue.  You didn't need to worry about refrigeration.  The slices could be eaten from a napkin with your fingers.  Last, but most importantly, it was bright and moist and delicious.

I adapted the recipe I used from one by Martha Stewart.  I made some minor changes in the recipe.  I used Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream because that was what was in my fridge.  The recipe also called for adding all of the lemon juice at once before alternating the dry ingredients with the yogurt. Reading the comments on the recipe, I noted one that said her cake batter "broke" when the lemon was added so I added my lemon juice gradually alternating with the dry ingredients and the yogurt. It was very successful.  I don't know if the cake batter would have broken otherwise but I figured why chance it.  The biggest adaptation I made was to add poppyseeds to the cake because Lemon/Poppyseed....well YEAH!

This is a large cake so use a 12 c. Bundt Pan.
I was excited because I got to use my new pan that Ting got me for Mom's Day.
I needed to cover the cake with foil about halfway through the baking time so it wouldn't get too brown.

I allowed it to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.
It slipped right out without a hint of trouble.

I also chose to use a lemon glaze on the cake instead of a lemon syrup.

This was a wonderful, bright cake that I was proud to serve.

Lemon/Poppyseed Bundt
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3 c. flour
2 T. finely grated lemon zest
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. sugar
6 eggs
1 c. Greek Yogurt
2 T. poppyseeds

For Glaze:
1 c. sifted confectioners sugar
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350*.  Prepare pan by spraying liberally with baking spray.

Combine flour, lemon zest, soda and salt in a bowl.  In large bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Turn mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, alternately with the yogurt and the lemon juice, mixing after each addition until just incorporated and being careful not to overmix.  Stir in the poppyseeds.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  If the cake begins browning too much loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil.  Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15-30 minutes. Turn out onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Sift 1 c. confectioners sugar into a bowl.  Stir in 1 T. of the lemon juice, continue stirring in lemon juice a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Pour over the cooled cake.

Look at all the lovely, lemony creations being shared this month!