Friday, October 31, 2008

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit
I am always interested in tasting and learning about new foods. Our son-in-law's uncle arrived for a visit. Uncle Bruce is a raw foodie who calculates his diet very scientifically to produce a very healthy balanced diet. We sampled Dragon Fruit tonight. The fruit was cut into quarters and we scooped the pulp from the rind with a spoon. The bland tasting pulp is very rich in nutrients. I thought it had an interesting silky teaxture and something I could eat frequently.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloweewn

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Happy Halloween

Fifty Years Ago

Fifty Years Ago
For those of you old enough to remember back fifty years ago or remember being told of a happening fifty years ago I will share an article from The Smithsonian Magazine. Guess WHO!
"Treat _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ like everybody else" one captain ordered when _ _ _ _ _ was drafted into the Army in 1958. So _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 23, scrubbed latrines and pulled kitchen patrol like other GI's.
Private _ _ _ _ _ _ _ , an exhibition at his mansion marks the 50Th anniversary of his humbling two year stint in the Army. Check out the fatigues, footlocker, ration cards and other Army mementos. Photographs and films show him getting a buzz cut, hanging out in the barracks and driving a tank. The exhibition closes March 2010.
People were expecting me to mess up, to goof up, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ said upon his honorable discharge in 1960. "They thought I couldn't take it, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise." Here is the answer!
ELVIS PRESLEY

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Carrot Soup With Garam Masala And Fromage Blanc

Carrot Soup With Garam Masala And Fromage Blanc
This recipe is from the cookbook compiled by Delores Cakebread of the Cakebread Wineries. Delores states that Fromage blanc is a white cheese with nearly no fat. If it is not available in your area you can substitute Ricotta cheese. Delores also suggests that a Chardonnay wine also goes well with the creamy carrot soup.
***
Ingredients:
2 yellow onions halved and thinly sliced
1 tart apple (Granny Smith or pippin) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
6 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cup fromage blanc, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives, for garnish
***
Directions:
Combine the onion, apple and olive oil in a saucepan. Heat over high heat and cook for three minutes until softened. Add the carrots and garam masala. Cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and the 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook uncovered on low simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
Transfer to a blender. Put the lid on the blender and remove the vent cover on top. cover the vent with a towel to release steam. Puree, in batches, until smooth. Return to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls. Add a dollop of fromage blanc and sprinkle with chives.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Open House

Open House October 26, 2008 October 26, 2007 Friends and Neighbors Rejoice with Bernie and Pat Just A few Of The Neighbors and Friends
The horror of the Witch Creek Fire that hit our neighborhood October 21, 2007 struck two homes in our immediate neighborhood. Today we were invited to a celebratory open house as Pat and Bernie have now moved into their beautiful rebuilt home. We all agreed that the end result was a token for their loss. The home is absolutely beautiful. It is truly a blessing to live on a street where neighbors know and care about each other.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cedar Point

Every person in the Midwest knows of Cedar Point Amusement Park and probably has made numerous visits. It is known as the Roller Coaster Capitol of the World. With the gyration of the rides, lost money is scooped daily from under all of the rides. I recently found an article that said "Amount of change Ohio's Cedar Point amusement park has collected under its 75 rides and donated to charity since 1988 $177,000."

Friday, October 24, 2008

So. California Sunset

The mountain ranges prior to sunset.
So. California Sunset
The sunset last evening was spectacular. Usually we see the hot air balloons at sunset but with the threat of Santa Ana winds they were not visible.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Grand-doggie

New Grand-doggie
Saturday evening we met the newest addition to the family. Following a long anticipation, our granddaughters chose their family pet. "Charlie" as he will be known has four white paws which I don't think have hit the floor since he has arrived. This will be So. California's most loved puppy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunrise in San Diego

Sunrise In San Diego
The weather forecast for today, high 94 and low 56. These swings in temperature create beautiful sunrises viewed from the back of our home.
It is a Santa Ana Day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Year Later

click to enlarge
One Year Later
The date today is one year ago the Witch Creek Fire came through our neighborhood. A total of 366 homes were lost in our community. While we had mandatory evacuation, residents checked websites sponsored by their State Representative for the list of homes lost to the fire. The list grew daily. Pictured is the canyon hillside from the back of our home to show what progress has been made with the recovery. Several scraped lots remain yet to be built. An article in our neighborhood paper said only 25% of the homes are rebuilt and occupied while 15% are in the process of getting permits issued yet several others are still working with the insurance companies or remain undecided yet about returning to the same lot. If one can believe it. there actually were some with no insurance.

Monday, October 20, 2008

OktoberFest

Oaks North OktoberFest
Saturday evening we enjoyed the OktoberFest at our community center complete with bratwurst, German potato salad, red cabbage, and strudel. An evening of great music for dancing was provided by a three piece band all wearing appropriate German attire. Who said retired folks sit at home snoozing?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mixed Greens with Fig-Yogurt Dressing

Mixed Green Salad with Fig-Yogurt Dressing
Figs are so plentiful in Southern California. I found this recipe in my Food & Wine magazine and thought this sounded like a "pleaser" for my family. You know when mom likes something, you will find it being served more often!
Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dried figs, stemmed and halved
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed greens
1 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 ounces)
***
Directions:
In a small heat proof bowl, soak the figs in the boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes, then drain.
Transfer two-thirds of the soaked figs to a blender. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and vinegar and puree until smooth. Add the remaining figs to the blender and pulse once or twice, until the figs are coarsely chopped. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the greens with the dressing and top with the cheese shavings and serve right away.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wildlife In San Diego

Wildlife
It is migration time for the Monarch butterflies through San Diego on their way to Mexico. The Lantana bush in our backyard is full of Monarchs and Painted Lady Butterflies. The Painted Ladies are much to skittish to photograph. They flit off when you get close enough to capture in a photograph even with telephoto. Did you notice it was wildlife and not wild life? This is a retirement community!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Celery Salad With Walnuts, Dates, And Pecorino

The Thanksgiving edition of Food and Wine magazine arrived recently. I have been leafing through the pages to select new recipes to add a change to the routine dishes we serve at our family Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is our big family as a family celebration. The families of our children celebrate Christmas alone with their individual traditions.
Celery Salad With Walnuts, Dates, and Pecorino
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup walnuts
1 small shallot, minced
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons walnut oil
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bunches celery (2 pounds) thinly sliced on the bias
3/4 cup dried medjool dates, quartered in lengthwise
3 ounces dry pecorino cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
***
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Let cool completely, then coarsely chop.
***
In a small bowl, combine the shallot with the sherry vinegar. Whisk in both oils and season with salt and pepper.
***
In a large bowl, toss the toasted walnuts, celery, dates, and pecorino. Add the dressing and toss. Serve at once.
***
Make Ahead The salad and dressing can be refrigerated separately for up to 1 day. Store the walnuts in an air tight container and add the salad just before serving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Creamy Artichoke Soup

Creamy Artichoke Soup
Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, washed well and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 (8-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish
***
Directions:
Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the artichokes, stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Using a handheld immersion blender, or in a blender in batches*, puree the soup. Add the 2 tablespoons mascarpone and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup mascarpone to soften. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Dollop the top of each of the soups with a spoonful of the softened mascarpone cheese and top the cheese with chives. * When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Pork Milanese

Pork Milanese
This is a recipe I watched Giada on the Food Network prepare. It seemed to easy not to pass on. It is a recipe with 15 minutes prep time but 10 minutes cooking time. Fall is the time of year my taste buds are tweaked for lean pork!
Creamy Caper and Lemon Sauce:
Ingredients:

2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup capers, drained and chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pork Milanese:
Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 thin-cut pork chops
For the Creamy Caper and Lemon Sauce: Combine the mascarpone and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Slowly add the milk, stirring as you go, until all the milk is incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Set aside.

For the Pork Milanese: Combine the flour and the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a shallow dish and stir together. Crack the eggs into another shallow dish and beat until combined. In a third shallow bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Dip the pork, 1 at a time first in the flour, then the eggs, then the bread crumbs. Warm the vegetable in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot place the breaded pork in the pan. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a serving platter and serve with the sauce alongside.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Veggie Stromboli

Veggie Stromboli

This is compromise food. It's dough filled with cheesy goodness but jam packed with veggies. We needed an afternoon snack and half of this was the perfect answer. A whole one can definitely serve as a meal for two people. Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 store-bought pizza dough
4 oz cubed black forest ham
1 cup cheese (your favorite melting cheese)
2 cups roasted veggies (I use Trader Joe's w/ balsamic sauce)
***
Directions:
Preheat pizza stone in a 375* oven.
If using frozen roasted vegetables like Trader Joe's, cook them according to package instructions, adding the cubed ham at the end to warm through. Roll out the pizza dough to a rectangle. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on one half of the rectangle, leaving a 1" border from the edge.
Pile the roasted vegetables on top of the cheese and cover with the rest of the cheese. Fold the other half of the pizza dough over the filling and press the seams down with a fork to seal. Cut a few vents in the top to allow steam to escape and bake on the pizza stone for 35 - 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day

Schiller Park
Happy Columbus Day, Columbus Ohio. Pictured is the monument and flower garden at Schiller Park in German Village which is a restored neighborhood of Columbus Ohio. It was named for Mr. Friederich von Schiller a German Poet. The German immigrants came in the mid 1800 and developed the neighborhood as a settlement for the German immigrants who brought their beer making skills to the area. Today the area caters to tourists with architectural tours and restaurants.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

San Francisco Sunday

Boudin Sourdough Bread
Along the waterfront in San Francisco is the home of the world famous sourdough bread. Famous since the days of the California Gold Rush in 1849, the bread has an unforgettable taste. It is made from a fermented starter rather than yeast. The building is designed for tourists to observe the 24 hour process of making the bread.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Buttery Dinner Rolls

Buttery Dinner Rolls
This dough is so easy to work with. You will make the recipe over and over again! It also can be made into a large oval loaf of bread or a braided loaf of bread. Press the ends of three 14 inch long rope shaped dough to seal and braid. When braided press ends together and moisten to strengthen the seal. Put loaf on a buttered baking sheet, cover, and let rise as directed. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom, about 40 minutes. This is another recipe from the April 2008 edition of Sunset Magazine.
***
Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened, plus more for sheets
2 eggs
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for
kneading and shaping
***
Directions:
Microwave milk, uncovered, until warm (90 to 105 degrees) about 20 seconds on full power. Put in bowl of stand mixer. Stir in yeast, salt, and sugar. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
***
Attach dough hook and with mixer on low, stir in butter and one egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. until a stiff dough forms and pulls away from the inside of the bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let sit until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile butter 2 large baking sheets and set aside.
***
Punch down dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Knead a few times, adding more flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking. Divide dough into 24 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, (keep other pieces covered), roll into a 10 inch rope. Coil rope into a flat spiral or twist into a pretzel shape. Cover and let shape raise until doubled in bulk,
about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
***
In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with 2 Tablespoons water. Brush rolls with egg wash and bake until brown, about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even baking. Cool on cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 24 rolls.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Spiced Pecan Toasting Bread

Spiced Pecan Toasting Bread
As a young child I remember going to my grandmother's home on days when she baked bread and oh, what an aroma. I love a slice of bread warm from the toaster and covered with a thin layer on melted butter. Featured in the April 2008 edition of Sunset magazine, I found a series on homemade breads. For many years I baked our bread. I am on my third bread machine which actually can be used only for mixing any longer. It could be replaced as a testimony to my passion for good bread.
***
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons honey
3 eggs
6 to 7 cups bread flour, divided, plus
more for shaping
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dried low-fat OR non fat milk
4 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Butter for bowl and pans
***
Ingredients:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast and honey in 1 1/2 cups warm water (90 to 105 degrees). Let set until foamy, about 5 minutes.
***
Attach dough hook and, with mixer on medium, mix in 2 eggs, 2 cups bread flour, the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, dried milk, salt, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and pecans. Add remaining 4 to 5 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the inside of bowl. Knead ( with mixer on medium) until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking too much. When ready, dough should feel a bit like an earlobe when you pinch it.
***
Transfer dough to a large, lightly buttered bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let set until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, butter two 8 inch loaf pans and set aside.
***
Punch down dough, divide in half, and on a lightly floured surface, shape each half into an 8-in. oblong loaf. Put dough in pans, cover, and let set until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
***
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with 2 tablespoons water. Brush dough with egg wash and bake until brown, about 35 minutes. Remove loaves from pans (they are done if the sound hollow when tapped on the bottom) and cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

COAR

Therese Osborn with husband Don
Cummunidad of Oscar Arnulfo Romeo
In 1980 a cousin of my husband, a catholic priest from the Diocese of Cleveland Ohio, developed an orphanage in Zaragoza during the era of a civil war torn country of San Salvador. Fr. Ken went to the refugee camps and saw many children orphaned by this war and not enough adults to care for them. He took them in under the care of some Maryknoll sisters. Eventually an orphanage was built to house the large number. Today the orphanage serves children who come from extreme poverty or abuse in the region. The school developed at the orphanage serves the children of the community as well as the orphanage. Fr. Ken said, "to break the cycle of poverty, the children need an education".
Tuesday we attended the annual benefit luncheon for the orphanage at COAR. Pictured is Therese Osborn who is one of the most dedicated lay missionaries who has done so much assisting the San Salvadorian people establishing aids to improve their quality of life. God Bless such wonderful people who sacrifice so much sharing their talents to improve the quality of life for the most sacrificing and hard working people.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buzzy

Buzzy
This little white rabbit showed up in our neighborhood this summer. Actually we have spotted three rabbits which appear to be domestic pets. Each morning when I awake I look for this little guy. He is often found on the street under a car. I believe the pavement is warmer than the ground. The neighbors have taken a liking to this little rabbit. I was able to get within four feet to photograph him. My neighbor Ellen has named him Buzzy as he is buzzing around our neighborhood daily. Stay warm and safe Buzzy and we will see you next summer!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Neighbors And Friends

Neighbors & Friends
Monday evening our neighbors and friends went to a nearby restaurant for dinner and a delightful evening. These folks make everyday so enjoyable while we spend summers on Lake Erie. One husband is my husband's mentor with the hot spot for catching fish and the other is a retired banker. Those are both areas of interest and great conversation for the men. Both wives are great cooks and homemakers and genuinely great friends who seem more like my sisters. They would always be there for you!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sausage and Leek Quiche

Sausage and Leek Quiche
Serves 4

1/2 recipe tart dough
8 oz sage sausage
1 leek
1 Tablespoon canola oil
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated fontina
1/4 cup grated parmesan
***
Directions: Preheat Oven to 375* Prepare the quiche shell, but after removing pie weights, only continue to bake the crust for five more minutes. Remove the green part of the leek. Cut the remaining white part in half lengthwise and then into small slices. Dunk the sliced leeks in a bowl of water to remove any dirt and sand. Saute the leeks in canola oil for ten minutes until soft and translucent, remove to paper towel. Add sausage to the same pan and saute, breaking up into small pieces until cooked through. Whisk the eggs together with the cream and add the sausage, leeks and fontina cheese. Pour mixture into quiche crust, sprinkle the parmesan over the top and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until golden around the edges and the middle is no longer liquid. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friends

Friends
This past week we gathered with friends four different evenings as our summer nears an end in Ohio. I received an email this week with a quote, "the greatest gift you give yourself is a friend".

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Uncle Martin

Happy Birthday Uncle Martin
Pictured is our family patriarch Uncle Martin and his lovely wife, Aunt Jean. Uncle Martin is the last surviving uncle of a family of seven boys. Uncle Martin and Aunt Jean raised four very successful daughters. It is so neat to hear someone celebrating their ninetieth birthday calling his wife "honey" and Aunt Jean certainly deserves to be called honey. Much could be written about this couple but we will leave it to Martin's special day. Happy 90Th Birthday Uncle Martin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pumpkin Puree

I have made my own pumpkin puree for several years. On Monday, I baked a pumpkin cut into halves with cut side down on a baking dish. The juices thickened and caramelized to the pan. While this doesn't affect the quality of the pumpkin the puree is perhaps thicker than usual. Tuesday I experimented wrapping a piece of heavy duty foil to cover the bottom and sides of the second pumpkin. I placed it on my baking pans and baked it in a 250 degree oven. The foil saved all of the juices and clean-up was a snap! Baking the pumpkin will take several hours to fully bake, maybe three or four hours but the size of the pumpkin will determine the length of time. This is an easy process. I use an ice cream scoop to remove the stringy center and seeds. Save the seeds to toast and use as a snack or garnish. When the pumpkin is fully cooked it will flatten somewhat with the top dropping into the cavity. If you poke it with your finger it will feel soft. Save the juices. Allow to fully cool. I used an ice cream scoop to clean the pumpkin from the shell. I put the pulp and juices in a blender. It just doesn't get any easier than that. I might add if your pumpkin is thinner in consistency than usual, if you are making a pie add an extra egg. If it is too thick, I add a little extra liquid. I use much of my pumplin puree for soups. Making your own puree spoils the cook and it freezes beautifully I might add. Stay tuned tomorrow for my all time favorite soup, Black Bean Pumpkin Soup.