Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Jacob

Happy Birthday Jacob
Happy Birthday grandson Jacob. You are now one of the teenagers in this world. Jacob is best known for his easy going personality and big smile. He is a linebacker for the Vikings Football Team. Tackle the day Jake and have a great memorable birthday!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hazelnut Hummus With Cauliflower, Beets, and Celery

Hazelnut Hummus With Cauliflower, Beets, and Celery
Last evening several friends came over for a visit. Our daughter Barbara shared a recipe that she had previously prepared for a bridal shower which was one of those "can I have that recipe" dishes. It is recommended serving with a Sauvignon Blanc wine.
Ingredients:
For the beets:
1/2 pound baby or small beets (different in color if available)
scrubbed, dried and rimmed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Ras el Hanout spice blend *
For the Vegetables:
Salt
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped anchovies
For The Hummus:
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 cup cooked drained chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch cayenne
Salt to taste
For The Garnish:
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley
***
Directions:
For the beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the beets in a single layer on a large sheet of aluminum foil set on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then wrap into a tightly sealed package. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool, peel, and cut into wedges. Toss with the vinegar and spice in a medium bowl. Set aside.
***
For the vegetables: While the beets are roasting, bring a medium pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt generously, then add the celery and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the celery to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Repeat cooking and shocking with the cauliflower, about 5 minutes to cook.
***
Whisk the oil, lemon juice and anchovies in a wide shallow bowl. Drain the cauliflower and celery, add to the vinaigrette, toss and set aside.
***
For the hummus: While the beets are roasting, place the hazelnuts in a baking pan. Toast in the oven, stirring once, until the skins crack, about 8 minutes. Remove the nuts immediately from the pan and wrap in paper towels. Place the parcel in a reusable plastic bag; seal it to steam the nuts for 5 minutes. Roll it on a hard surface to loosen the skins. Sort, removing the nuts and discarding the skins.
***
Place the hazelnuts, chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne and salt in a food processor. Pulse to form a smooth paste, about 1 minute. Adjust salt to taste.
***
Spread the hummus on a large platter. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Drain beets, cauliflower and celery, and pile them on top. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
***
Ras el Hanout:
I referred to the Field Guide To Herbs & Spices, the book I blogged on Friday, and the formula for Ras el Hanout was included.
Combine 1 Tablespoon allspice berries
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon cardamom seeds, (removed from pods)
1 teaspoon saffron (not packed)
2 crushed sticks cinnamon or cassia
1 crushed nutmeg
***
Toast in a dry skillet, shaking often, until the spices are fragrant and lightly browned. Cool and grind, then mix in 1 Tablespoon ground ginger and 2 teaspoons turmeric. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Farro Salad

Farro Salad
Farro is a grain which looks like wheat and has a nutty flavor. I was first introduced to farro in Italy used in this salad. Farro is used in soups also. On our recent trip to Italy our daughter Barbara spotted the farro on the shelf of a grocery store. We both purchased a package. Last evening Barbara came to have dinner with me and brought Farro Salad which she had prepared. I will share her recipe. Barbara used cherry tomatoes leaving them whole. Once the tomatoes are cut the juices can add to much liquid to the salad.
Ingredients:
Farro
1 pkg. frozen peas
yellow pepper, diced
cherry or grape tomatoes, uncut
pine nuts
kalmata olives, oil cured
green olives, oil cured
olive oil of good quality
Directions:
Cover with water and boil farro for about 20 minutes. Use just enough water to cover farro and do not drain but rather allow the water to be absorbed; remove from heat. Add frozen peas and the heat in the grain will cook the peas. Allow to totally cool before adding the remaining ingredients. The amounts of the ingredients will depend on size of salad. Dress the salad with a high quality olive oil.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Herbs & Spices

Herbs & Spices by Aliza Green
Our daughter Barbara thought I might enjoy reading three of her new books related to cooking. The first book I chose to scan has really hooked my attention. Spices are such an important part of any dish. Since I try so many different and also ethnic dishes, it seems my selection of spices are filling my cupboard. You are encouraged to replenish your spices every year to maximize their freshness and flavor.

This book will become your kitchen bible and save costs many times over. Descriptions of spices are given along with other names it may be known. A detailed description of their use is given. For many of the "exotic" spices which I refer to or the blended spices, the formula / recipe is given. These are blends of staple type spices.

Eaarlier this week I was looking for the spice Garam Masala to prepare an Indian dish. We went to a store which specializes in organic and imported foods and yes they did have it but at $2.00 for a tablespoon amount. When I found the recipe or formula for the spice, it called for:

***

2 crushed cinnamon sticks

3 crushed bay laurel leaves

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds

1 Tablespoon green cardamom pods

1 Tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

Toast in dry skillet until fragrant and lightly smoking. Allow to cool and crush. Stir in 1 teaspoon of mace or nutmeg. Yield 1/3 cup.

***

So for $2.00 per tablespoon, The above recipe would not cost me $10.00 to prepare plus I have the fresh factor if I make the spice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grandson Phil

Grandson Phil
Meet our grandson Phil. Phil was awaiting surgery when this photo was taken yesterday. We visited Phil in the Recovery Room last evening about 9:30 p.m. and I plan to go over to the hospital this morning. On a telephone call to home early this morning he told his dad "he was sore". Who hurts the most when it happens to the grandchildren?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Slow Food

San Francisco To Host Slow Food
Part agricultural, fair, part political rally, the three day event in San Francisco this weekend is the Slow Food movement's first big festival aimed at a larger audience. It is expected to draw 50,000 visitors on the west coast to sample artisan foods, tap their toes to name brands and hear arguments for a new national food policy.
Slow Food is an international organization founded in Italy nearly two decades ago by activist Carl Petrini who was outraged by the opening of a McDonald's in Rome's Piazza di Spagna. The name was chosen as the antithesis of fast food and the initial goals were to save the traditional foods, support small farmers and artisans, and preserve the pleasures of the table. More recently the group has simplified its message to "good, clean and fair food" for all.
The fair is being hosted by Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse, a very popular restaurant in Berkley CA known for the selections which change daily according to fresh local fare. Nouvelle cuisine was a term originated in her restaurant.
Ms. Waters believes "good, pure, affordable, wholesome food should be available to everybody and it should be a right, not a privilege".
I especially like the goal of the founding group, "the pleasures of the table". What is better than a nice meal at a table and the camraderie of family and friends.
Locavore: a term for people who try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100 mile radius. In the 2007 Oxford New American Dictionary, it was the word of the year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Grilled Chicken On Greens With Creamy Harissa Dressing

If You Like Chicken Caesar, Try This:
Ingredients:
1 lb. boned, skinned chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon finely shredded fresh lemon zest
About 1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and halved crosswise and thinly
sliced into half moons
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
About 1 teaspoon harissa sauce or paste
1 Tablespoon chopped mint, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 cups loosely packed mixed baby greens
1 cup 2 inch long carrot matchsticks, 1 medium carrot
1/2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced in lengthwise strips 1/4 cup quartered, pitted kalamata olives
***
Ingredients:
Place chicken breast between pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or the back of a heavy saucepan until 1/4" thick. Whisk lemon zest, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, paprika, and cumin together in a small bowl. Put the chicken breasts in a large wide bowl and add the marinade, rubbing all over chicken to coat. Cover and chill at least three hours and up to overnight. Allow chicken to come to room temperature before grilling. Mean- while, rinse onion and dry it with paper towels.
***
Grill chicken on medium heat 6 to 8 minutes turning only once. Remove from heat and place on a platter,:tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
***
Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, harissa, 1 Tablespoon mint, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the lemon juice together in a small bowl. Slice the chicken diagonally across the grain into 1/4 inch strips.
***
In a large bowl, toss together greens with carrot, bell pepper, onion, and olives with 1/2 cup of the dressing until just coated.
***
Divide salad among 4 plates and top with chicken. Drizzle remaining dressing over salads, dividing evenly, and garnish with remaining mint.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Limas California

Limas California
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked Lima beans
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup hot water
2 hard cooked eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
***
Directions:
Heat the cooked limas in a double-boiler. Cream the butter, add salt, pepper, parsley, lemon juice, and beaten egg. Mix well, add hot water, then pour over limas and cook over hot water until creamy. Turn into a hot vegetable dish; arrange sliced egg over the top and sprinkle finely chopped parsley in a border around the dish.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

San Francisco Saturday

Union Square
Union Square is a park in uptown San Francisco named for the powerful pro-Union rallies held there during the Civil War. The park received a $25 million face lift in 2002 and today is a retail and cultural powerhouse buzzing with magnetic entertainment and The City's premier shopping district. (shopping therapy)

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Elderberry Harvest

My Lucky Find The Flavorful Tiny Berry The Harvested Branch Three hours Later, Three Quarts
Somewhere in my soul lies concealed a pioneer spirit. There are a few times of the year it emerges and takes over my mind and body. As a child of a very tender age I learned to appreciate morel mushrooms which grow wild in the month of early May. I tramped woods for hours to find these delicacies. I learned to make the Spring tonic of a Dendelion Salad cut befor the plant developes a bud or bloom. I have also picked wild raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. One of the labor-some delicacies is the elderberry. Today I tramped along a swampy ditch and briars to cut the elderberries from the tall bushes. My biggest fear was that I would slip on the steep bank and into the murky stagnant water in the deep ditch. I am so lucky I do not get poison ivy. I know that is the reason I was able to harvest the nice amount that I did. Snakes are another story
***
Check July 19 posting to see the elderberry blossom which was in bloom 5 weeks ago. My pie recipe appears April 12, 2008. Pictured are our California friends Pat and her husband Joe whose taste buds still had a lingering memory of elderberry pie he tasted in the midwest almost twenty-five years ago.
***
I found it interesting that two neighbor men who saw me stripping the elderberries on the patio asked what they were. One thought they looked like something used to make a good drink. Another said he thought they were bird and bear food. Neither knew they were edible. Oh what they have been missing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse
For those wondering what the pronunciation of this dish is, it is(boo-yah-baze). You might be saying I have heard it many times but never saw it in print! It is a wonderful Mediterranean Seafood Stew. This recipe comes from the June 2007 Wine Enthusiast Magazine which I find is a very dependable source of excellent recipes.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons shallots, minced

2 Tablespoons fennel, chopped

6 fluid ounces white wine

6 ounces snapper, skinned

10 mussels, fresh

4 ounces scallops, halved

6 shrimp

8 fluid ounces tomato broth

4 tablespoons butter

Salt and black pepper to taste

Sugar to taste

4 teaspoons parsley, chopped

6 ounces calamari, cleaned

2 teaspoons olive oil, (extra virgin

4 French baguettes, sliced and toasted

***

Directions:

Place the olive oil in a warm saute pan: add the garlic, shallots, and fennel. Deglaze with white wine and a squeeze of lemon. Add the snapper, mussels, scallops, shrimp and tomato broth. (The tomato broth is made from tomato scraps and tomato juice that have been cooked with white wine, onions and thyme, then pureed and strained to make sure the broth doesn't get too thick.) Bring to a simmer and add the butter. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Add 2 Tablespoons of the parsley. Add the calamari right before the dish is finished cooking.

Place the fish and shellfish in the bottom of two bowls, pour the broth over the fish. Top with the remaining chopped parsley and drizzle with the e.v. olive oil. Garnish with the bread.

NOTE: It is important to add the seafood in the order listed so nothing is overcooked. Serves 2

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hawaiian Rice Salad

Hawaiian Rice Salad
My daughter-in-law Susan shares this recipe today.
Ingredients:
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup mangoes, chunks
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely crushed
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup cucumbers, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
***
For the dressing:
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
1 clove garlic
salt
pepper, freshly ground
***
Directions:
Wash rice thoroughly. In a pan bring stock and turmeric powder to a boil; add rice. Simmer until rice is cooked. Drain, rinse and spread rice on tray to cool. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning. In a bowl, mix rice with pineapple, mango, walnuts, raisins, cucumber and celery. Gently fold in dressing. Serves 4 to 5 .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Carrot Manchego Salad

Carrot Manchego Salad

I buy the Monchego cheese at Costco and find it so flavorful in so many dishes and sandwiches. I love the nutty flavor!

Ingredients:
9 or 10 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin coins on a mandoline or with the slicing attachment of a food processor (to yield 5 cups)
About 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 small garlic clove
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mild honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, or cilantro, plus several leaves for garnish
5 1/2 Tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive-oil
3 oz. Manchego cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
10 whole Bibb lettuce leaves, washed and dried.
***
Directions:
Toss sliced carrots with 2 teaspoons salt and put in a colander. Put a plate on top of carrots and weigh down with a 1-lb. can, and set in sink for 1 hour.
***
Meanwhile chop garlic, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and mash to a paste on a cutting board with t he flat side of a chefs knife. In a small frying pan, toast cumin seeds over a medium heat until fragrant, 1 minute, and grind finely with a mortar and pestle (or place in a plastic bag and crush with a meat mallet or the underside of a small heavy frying pan). In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, cumin, orange juice, sherry vinegar, honey, pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and minced cilantro or parsley; whisk in olive oil.
***
Rinse carrots and turn onto a clean dish towel. Gently dry with another towel. In a large bowl, toss carrots with half of the vinaigrette and the shaved cheese. Divide lettuce leaves among plates and drizzle lightly with remaining vinaigrette. Layer carrots on top of crown with cilantro or parsley leaves. Serves 6

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Lake Erie Sunset

A Lake Erie Sunset
Last evening we met friends for dinner at Kellys Island. We toured their new business venture http://www.kiventureresort.com/ a new detail perfect Victorian style hotel. We saw the early plans and stages and must say, the finished design is such a beautiful architectural asset to the island. Boating back to the mainland the sky was illuminated with such dazzling clouds cast with a deep rich pink from the setting sun. Such a magnificent gift of nature.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Graduation, 50 years later!

We Posed At The Rock
click to enlarge
The Formal Pose For The School Photographer
Unfortunately the formal pose did not include one of the classmates who had attended the Alumni Reunion. I recognized all but one of the classmates with the first glance. Fifty years hasn't change much of the youthful spirit.

Barbary Coast Trail

Barbary Coast Trail
I never hear the term Barbary Coast without thinking of our late neighbor Ken who had Navy Shore Patrol during WWII along the Barbary Coast. The reputation at that time of the Barbary Coast was not a place of refinement. The history goes back to the days of the Spanish Explorers, gold rush, and the great 1906 earthquake. The historic 3.8 acre area is marked with these bronze plaques marking the trail. Today this area is a part of the great historic waterfront which is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Francisco named Pier 39.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Slow Roasted Tomato Pesto

With an abundance of the fresh sweet vine ripened tomatoes so plentiful right now, this is a great recipe for use in dishes.
Slow Roasted Tomato Pesto
Ingredients:
4 pounds ripe meaty tomatoes (such as Roma, Early Girl, or San Morzano).
1/3 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
***
Directions:
Position oven racks on the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 225 degrees. Line two large rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper rubbed with olive oil, or non-stick silicone mats.
***
Slice tomatoes lengthwise and cut a V around stem to remove. In a large mixing bowl combine tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and three garlic cloves. Toss gently together to coat. Arrange tomatoes cut side up, and the oiled garlic in one layer on each sheet pan, paced slightly apart. Set aside any extra juice or oil left in the mixing bowl.
***
Place sheet pans in oven and roast for one hour, then reverse the pans and rotate each 180 degrees. Repeat every hour for at least four hours and up to six. Tomatoes are read when the have been reduced by at least half and have began to caramelize Allow to cool 10 minutes.
***
In a food processor, combine tomatoes, roasted and raw garlic, reserved juices and oil and pine nuts, process for 30 seconds. Add Parmesan cheese and process until combined but still chunky.
***
If making pesto in advance, transfer to a bowl and cover until ready to serve. Any extra pesto can be stored up to a week If freezing, wait to add the raw garlic and Parmesan until thawed and ready to eat. Makes 4 cups.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Light Zucchini Casserole

Light Zucchini Casserole
Pictured is the light zucchini casserole slice with Eggplant Parmesan. This recipe is shared by our daughter Barbara.
Ingredients:
1 pound zucchini, shredded
1 small onion, grated
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup biscuit baking mix
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" pie pan. In a small bowl combine zucchini, onion, buttermilk, oil, cheese and biscuit mix. Mix well and pour into prepared pie pan. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Uova Benedetto / Poached Eggs

Uova Benedetto (Poached Eggs On Polenta With Pesto And Crisp Prosciutto)
This recipe was found in a Sunset Magazine, April 2008. The article was a description of how Sunset introduced "exotic" Italian cooking back in 1946. Basil Pesto was the "hot" recipe of the time which made the dish exotic. Today this sauce is common to most cooks and also homemade by them. A recipe for Basil Pesto is posted on June 3, 2008.

***

I found the Poached Egg recipe that I am including today very appealing for several reasons. I enjoy polenta and also pesto. Another reason is I enjoy cooking breakfast dishes as most are quick and simple. If they are very involved they usually are prepared with make ahead stages which allow an overnight step.

***

Ingredients:

1 cup polenta

About 4 Tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for pan

10 to 12 thin slices prosciutto

1 teaspoon white vinegar

4 eggs

Pesto Sauce

***

In a 3 to 4 quart pan over high heat, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick, about 25 minutes. Stir in 2 Tablespoons butter. Spoon polenta into a buttered 8 to 9 inch square pan; spread in an even layer and let stand at least 10 minutes (or cool, cover, and refrigerate up to overnight). Cut polenta in 4 squares and gently remove from pan with a wide spatula.

***

Melt 2 Tablespoon butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add polenta squares and cook, turning once, until crisp and lightly browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Add more butter, if needed, to prevent sticking. Put on a warm platter; keep warm. Add prosciutto to pan and cook until meat is lightly browned (add butter to pan if needed). Remove and keep warm.

***

Fill a large clean frying pan with about 1 1/2" water. Set over medium-high heat, add vinegar, and cook until bubbles form on pan bottom and occasionally pop to the top. Break eggs in water and cook until egg whites are firm but yolks are still soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently remove eggs with a slotted spoon.

***

Place 2 to 3 slices prosciutto on each polenta square, top each with a poached egg, and spoon pesto sauce over top.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gone-In-A-Minute Spareribs

Ribs With The Rub Ribs In Packets Ready For The Oven Hot Off The Grill And Dinner Is Ready!
Our daughter-in-law Susan came across this recipe and suggested we try it as the published photo looked very inviting. Personally, I think our finished ribs looked better than the photo and were very tender and soooo delicious. Even the grandchildren ate a man-sized portion.
Gone-In-A-Minute Ribs
Ingredients:
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 racks baby back spareribs
Lime wedges for serving
***
Directions:
Heat oven to 400F and place rack in lower third. For dry rub: combine is small bowl, chili powder, sugar, salt, dry mustard, paprika, and cinnamon. Reserve 2 teaspoons mixture.

Rinse ribs and pat dry. Place rack of ribs on sheet of heavy duty foil or two layers of regular foil, large enough to wrap around ribs making an airtight seal. Rub ribs on both sides with dry rub and wrap in foil making airtight seal. 

Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet: roast 1 hour  to 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on thickness of ribs.

Heat grill to medium high. Sprinkle ribs with reserved dry rub, remove foil 
and grill turning occasionally, until grill-marked and deep brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve with lime wedges. Makes 4 to 6 servings




Sunday, August 10, 2008

Californian Crab Stuffed Avacado

This is a recipe from the June 2007 edition of Wine Enthusiast. Some of the best recipes I have tried have been found in this publication. This is another winner!
Californian Crab-Stuffed Avocado
For The Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small shallot minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
For The Stuffed Avocados:
1 cup uncooked medium-grain rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon butter
Zest of 2 lemons(about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ears fresh sweet corn, Husked and cleaned
4 cups mixed salad greens
2 medium-ripe avocados
12 ounces cooked crab meat
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
***
Directions:
Combine rice chicken stock, garlic and butter in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove rice from heat and stir in lemon zest and salt, and let cool.
***
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add corn; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Remove corn with tongs and cool. Using a sharp knife, cut kernels off the cob, (about 1 cup kernels).
***
Peel, seed, and halve avocados. Divide salad greens among four plates and top with avocado halves. Combine rice and corn and mound into avocado halves and top with crab meat. Drizzle each stuffed avocado with vinaigrette and sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 4

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cedar Plank Brie With Raspberry, Almond, & Honey Topping

Cedar Plank Brie With Raspberry, Almond, and Honey Topping
Our daughter Barbara emailed a recipe that she found on a website,  Just remember to make certain that the cedar plank you use is produced to be used with food and not chemically treated.
Ingredients:
6" x 16" cedar plank
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
1 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Coarse ground black pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons honey
2 whole small wheels Brie, Camembert or Cambozola cheese
1 - 2 fresh baguettes
***
Directions: 
Soak plank in cold water, at least one hour. Preheat grill to medium heat, about 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine, raspberries, slivered almonds, and fresh thyme, season with coarse ground black pepper. Drizzle with honey and gently mix to combine. Remove plank from water, place wheels, evenly spaced. Top each wheel with raspberry mixture. Place plank on grill for 20 to 25 minutes until each cheese is golden brown and slightly puffy, topping is hot, and almonds are slightly golden brown. Remove from grill, cool 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately with sliced baguettes and a few spoons and plenty of napkins. Serves 8 to 12 as a party appetizer

Union Square

Art In The Park At Union Square
San Francisco is such a unique City to visit. The park at Union Square features Art In The Park on a Wednesday complete with musicians and works of art by some of the most talented artists in many different mediums. The four corners of the Park are designed with permanently mounted heart shapes each depicting something of a historic aspect of northern California living. Everyone who has ever visited the wine country appreciates and understands the beauty of a hot air balloon against the beautiful blue of a California sky which is depicted on this shape.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Nutritious Fig

A Prolific Fig Tree Sun Kissed and Nutritious Figs Calling My Name
***
My earliest introduction to figs was a Fig Newton. My late mother just loved Fig Newtons. The succulent fruit grows abundantly in California. The fruit is often mentioned in the bible so they must be as old as Methuselah.
***
My first introduction to the fruit fresh from a tree was in Milan, Italy when our son-in-law introduced me to figs wrapped in prosciutto. I recently was treated to fig sauce over Stilton Cheese served with crackers as an appetizer. I also learned the sauce was so easy to make. I will include the instructions I received for making the sauce.
***
Fig Sauce
4 cups of figs, chopped
3 cups sugar
***
Place the fruit and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Microwave for 10 minutes and stir again. Continue to microwave and stir every few minutes until you achieve the desired consistency. Microwaves vary so this is an individual "watch". This recipe can be divided, doubled or tripled or however many figs you want to use. Overcooking creates a rubbery paste.
***
Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid. The sauce will keep refrigerated for at least 4 weeks.
***
If you plan to make the fig preserves or sauce and want to can it, continue with a water bath.
***
The lady who shared these instructions gives her fig sauce for Christmas gifts and her friends look forward to receiving it.
P.S. Many thanks to the lady who shared her figs with me. and allowed me to photograph her tree.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Family Reunion Finale!!!

Grandpa and Grandma With Eight Blessings
Left to right
Charlotte, Katie, Olivia, Laura, Anna, Jacob, Veronica and Philip

Dad and Mom with Our Four Blessings, Barbara, Anne, Tom and Mary
Our Many Blessings!

Each year as we end our summertime reunions, we do the family portraits. We get all kinds of the usual complaints; it is taking to long, are we done yet, the sun is too bright, how many more photos, are we done yet, can we hurry this up and get it over, are we done yet. This year Aunt Barbara was clever. After her photo shoots she said, o.k. give me your worst smile or look. I hope that is their Christmas card photo so next year they really want to smile and not complain. It really is fun to learn if we get an original complaint that we haven't heard before. It didn't happen this year. They really are good sports!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Summertime

Uncle Greg makes everything so much fun Tom displays his skiing talents Flagger Girl Olivia says "skier down". Uncle Greg does some wake boarding The grandkids have an afternoon of crafts. Laura and Katie frost the cupcakes they baked. A new puppy (Duck-Troll) comes to visit Olivia, Charlotte, and Anna Sunset at Discovery Bay
Friday at Discovery Bay was a fun-filled day. We started with boating and water activities. Following a late lunch the grandchildren had an afternoon of crafts while our two oldest granddaughters baked cupcakes. Guests came for dinner and a long evening followed with visiting and family reminiscing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Don's Birthday With Family @ Discovery Bay

The birthday celebrant with his four children, Mary, Barbara, Anne, Don and Tom. Four Kids and A Dog. (Buddy)Tom and Susan's Dock Our Eight Grandchildren The Shoreline of Discovery Bay
Our family has few opportunities to all be together. This is one priceless weekend. Tom and Susan have graciously invited all of us to their weekend home on Discovery Bay. What fun also for the cousins to be together.