Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seaport Village Walk

Seaport Village Walk
Typical of a tourist area, the Seaport Village in San Diego attracts sidewalk artists seeking a donation for demonstrating their talent. One can find for sale or a donation hats, roses, and origami birds made from palms. Tie-dyed t-shirts are also available. Musicians take a seat in the path of heavy traffic hoping their offering is worth folding money. We thought two of the people demonstrated unique talent. The portrait artist sketched on his pad a remarkable likeness of a young girl. The other was a man who picked up rocks from the rip-rap that had been placed to protect the shoreline from erosion. The rocks were stacked and balanced creating unique formations. My husband questioned how long would the rocks remain as they were placed. The man said until the wind blows. We watched him replace one of the stacks of rocks after it had fallen. That was very interesting.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Greatest Generation Walk

The Sailor and Nurse Who Need No Identification A Tribute To Bob Hope

Seaport Village is an area along the waterfront in San Diego with a tribute and park built to the memory of the many military people who have given much to preserve our freedom. My two favorite sights along the Walk Of The Greatest Generation are the monument of the sailor and nurse which appeared on the cover of Life Magazine celebrating the end of World War II and the tribute to Bob Hope. I actually remember the original photo which appeared on the cover. My grandmother subscribed to Life Magazine and she discussed the photo with me.
Two years ago a dedication of the monument of The Nurse and Sailor took place at Seaport Village. The nurse of that photo and monument came to San Diego to be present for this celebration. The sailor had passed away a short time prior.
Most moving is a tribute to Bob Hope who spent so many of his Christmas Holidays with the people he admired most, our armed forces. I hope you will click on the photo and view the detail of this monument which is a lasting marker to a man who gave so much for others. There is a recording of one of Bob Hope's actual programs being played as you enter the area. You feel as if you are there remembering the televised programs of many years ago which entertained not only the armed forces but millions of television viewers.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nature's Palette

Sunset of Wednesday Friday's Sunrise
Each evening the sunset creats a different scene on the landscape. When you think it is the most glorious sight you have experienced, the next evening you see another just as glorious or more. This morning as I sat in the family room I watched the sunrise. The sky was just bursting with color. I thought to myself, sunrise is competing with sunset. Mother Nature uses such a beautiful and varied palette.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An Artist's Touch

click to enlarge the detail
An Artist's Touch
Our neighbors Vera and Tom who live across the street have designed the yard in front of their home as a real show stopper. Vera is an acclaimed professional artist and states this is an extension of her art. Vera meticulously places the tiny plants in a design complimentary to larger plants adding texture and color among the beautiful rocks. It is a yard which has many observers stopping by to appreciate the beauty, stillness and peace of the garden. Vera and Tom, we do appreciate your labor of love.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Kitchen Tip

Adding Salt To Water While Cooking
If you have beautiful stainless or aluminum cookware and want to keep it beautiful, add salt to water after it comes to a boil. Stir the water for a few "swirls" to speed its dissolving. If you add salt to cold water you will notice grey spots in the bottom of your pans. Salt will pit your cookware when added to cold water. It does not dissolve in cold water and causes a chemical reaction with your cookware.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Kitchen Tip

Green Bell Peppers
Have you ever noticed when you are buying green bell peppers that not all green bell peppers are created alike? Have you noticed some have three lobes and some have four lobes? The experts say that the peppers with four lobes are sweeter and are better for eating raw i.e. in salads or with dips, etc. It is also said that the three lobe peppers are less sweet and will have a better flavor when cooked. I must admit that until I heard that fact I really never noticed a tainted flavor substituting a three lobe pepper for a four or a four lobe pepper for a three. Since I am trying a new recipe for a tortilla soup, I wanted to go by the opinion of the experts and I bought the three lobe peppers. One day I will do a taste test as somethings I might be slow to believe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Beautiful Ending Of A Beautiful Day

click on photo to enlarge
This day began with such a beautiful sunrise over the canyon. I posted on Facebook that the vegetation was growing and the mountains were colored green. The song birds were busy at my feeder singing and the flowers are in bloom. What a beautiful day the Lord has made for us to rejoice and be glad. Glad I was. My husband called me to the view of the sunset. I grabbed my camera and headed out to get this photo of a deep magenta sky and sunset to share with you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Kitchen Tip

A Tip Worth Passing On
Have you ever wondered what the fix was for meatballs that fall apart in the meat sauce when preparing spaghetti? I have read that if you develop a crust on the meatballs they will hold their shape when heated in the sauce. What is the easiest way to do this? Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sugar in the oil before you brown the meatballs. Place the meatballs in the fry pan with a space between to prevent "steaming" them. No more shortcuts of browning the meatballs in the oven unless you don't mind a less than perfect round meatball when you sauce and serve spaghetti!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Apple Dumplings

Apple Dumplings
This delicious recipe a cousin served at dinner when we visited last Fall. I thought this was such a tasty apple dumpling that I requested the recipe. A plus for a retired couple like us is I could freeze these in serving size packages and just reheat when we wanted a desert or when company visits. I am sure you will also agree this recipe is special. Thanks Norma.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoon butter
Blend shortening into the dry ingredients of dough recipe. When it resembles cornmeal, add milk and form into a ball. Wrap disk shaped dough in plastic wrap. Let dough rest in refrigerator while you prepare the remainder of the recipe.
Add syrup ingredients together and bring to a boil: simmer for about five minutes.
Cut six to eight apples in halves: remove cores. Roll out dough and cut into squares. Place two halves together and press dough around apple. Place in baking pan and pour hot syrup over apples. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes. You can baste them once or twice. Serves 6 to 8 depending on size of apple.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Week Of Rain

What A Difference A Day Makes The Drains Were Bubbling Up
The Rain Of Yesterday Blocked Out The Mountain View
We received over six inches of rain for the week. At periods it was a torrential rain. Native Californians said they had never seen it rain this hard. The TV weatherman said San Diego had the lowest barometric pressure yesterday afternoon ever recorded.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Rainy Days And Mondays", Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays!

click on photos to enlarge and capture detail
Rain Driven By Wind. Notice The Tree Tops.
The Wind Blows Harder And The Rain Falls In Sheets The Visibility is Reduced By Wind And Rain.

My posting to the blog on October 2, 2008 is an all time favorite of ours, Black Bean Pumpkin Soup. In the upper left corner you can do a search by title and the recipe will show. Cool rainy weather associates with a pot of soup on the stove top. It makes it so easy to stay inside to watch the rain falling just looking out the windows. So far this week we have received over five inches of rain with the largest cell with heavy winds of the week to hit later this afternoon. Remember we only get as many of ten inches of rain in a year. That makes it easy to understand why the rainy weather is such a conversation piece. Do you remember the song by Karen Carpenter, "Rainy Days and Mondays"?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Butterscotch Sticky Buns

Rain Is Liquid Gold In California Voted Best Recipe Of 2009 By Food And Wine Magazine
Rainy Weather Pairs With Comfort Food
Rainy days are far and few between in San Diego since our annual average rainfall is ten inches (when we are lucky). Four of the last five years we have received less than ten inches. Since our most expensive utility is water the rain is always welcome. People walk around much like it is a day of sunshine.
I posted the Cinnabon Recipe which the grandchildren love! My Food & Wine magazine arrived with this gooey looking sweet roll on the cover. I thought if I post the recipe I will give the recipe a try another day this week since our weather for the week is rain everyday.
Butterscotch Sticky Buns
3/4 cup whole milk Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (6 Tablespoons softened, 2 Tablespoons melted)
2 large eggs
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons Scotch whiskey
2 1/2 teaspoons condensed milk
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons creme fraiche
1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1. Make the dough: In a glass measuring cup, heat the milk in a microwave until warm, 1 minute. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the warm milk with the yeast. Add the granulated sugar and the 6 Tablespoons softened butter and mix at medium speed until the butter is broken up, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs one at a time, Add the flour and salt and mix at low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes longer. Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature
for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a standard 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 9 by 24 inch rectangle. In a small bowl, mix the light brown sugar with the cinnamon. Brush the 2 Tablespoons melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Beginning at a long edge, roll up the dough as tightly as possible and pinch the seam. Cut the log into twelve 2-inch pieces and set them in the muffin cups, cut side up. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Set the muffin pan on a baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the buns are golden brown. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast 10 minutes until fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop the nuts.
MEANWHILE MAKE THE GLAZE: In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, Scotch, condensed milk, water, creme fraiche and corn syrup to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. remove from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and baking powder.
Unmold the buns. Pour the glaze over the hot buns and sprinkle with the pecans. Let stand until the buns have soaked up some of the glaze and are cool enough to eat, about twenty minutes. Serve warm.
Yield 12 Buns.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

This recipe comes from Elana's Pantry. She focuses on gluten free recipes and let me tell you, taste is not sacrificed at all! This woman knows what she's doing! I purchased coconut flour awhile back and have been waiting for the perfect recipe to use it in. This was it. It was my first time using the coconut flour and I LOVED it! This cake was moist thanks to the Coconut Oil. I ended up substituting Olive Oil in the Pecan Filling since I ran out of Coconut Oil and it still turned out FANTASTIC! This cake is rich, moist, and perfectly sweet using wholesome ingredients.
A Naturally Sweet German Chocolate Cake by Elana's Pantry
Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake
¾ cup coconut flour, sifted
½ cup dagoba cacao powder (I used regular cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 eggs
1 cup grapeseed oil (I used coconut oil)
1 ½ cups agave nectar (I used raw honey)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, blend eggs, oil, agave nectar and vanilla Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend Oil (2) 9 inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour Pour batter into pans and bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
Coconut Pecan Filling
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup agave nectar (I used raw honey)
pinch celtic sea salt
5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon water
1 ¼ cup coconut oil (I used 1/2 cup coconut oil and 3/4 cup olive oil)
1 ½ cups shredded coconut (I used homemade coconut flakes)
1 ½ cups pecans, toasted and chopped
In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer for 10 minutes In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan Whisk the contents of saucepan vigorously and bring to a boil, briefly Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil Place pot in freezer for 30-40 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white Remove from freezer and blend again, until fluffy, then stir in shredded coconut and pecans Spread frosting over cake and serve.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
1 cup dark chocolate
73%½ cup grapeseed oil (I used Olive Oil)
2 tablespoons agave nectar (I used raw honey)
1 tablespoon vanilla
extractpinch celtic sea salt
In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil Stir in agave, vanilla and salt Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to cool Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy Assembly After the cakes have cooled completely, remove them from the pans and place one on a pretty serving plate or platter Spread the Coconut Pecan Filling on top of the first layer cake Place the second cake on top of the first Spread the top and sides of the cake with Chocolate Frosting Cover the top of the cake with Pecan Coconut Filling Serve Serves 12

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lobster Risotto

click photos to enlarge
Lobster Risotto
Have you ever given thought to menus offering lobster tails that each tail has two claws with luscious chunks of meat not being served with that tail. Last week when I went to our local Costco. I found a 24 oz. bag of Lobster claw meat for a mere $19.99. For me that was too good to pass up. I took it home and popped it in my freezer. Our oldest daughter was visiting from Italy. When she visits we eat such wonderful dishes as she has become such a gourmet cook with Italian recipes. I showed Mary the bag of lobster meat and she said, "oh mom, lobster risotto is so wonderful! Let's make it." Mary is always so gracious to don an apron and she will take over the kitchen. I am sure you can tell how I love her visits!
I will publish her recipe if I have a request.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Grandma Receives A Lesson

Anna Olivia Charlotte
Grandma Receives A Lesson
Christmas vacation from school was a perfect time for the blogger to receive a lesson from the real experts. The granddaughters were excited to be featured on the blog. I took a lesson from the girls making toffee. Each made an honorable contribution. When it was finished, I mean gone, the girls agreed it was wonderful!
Anne's Toffee
1 cup butter
1 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 pound chocolate, melted
4 cups chopped almonds
Using a candy thermometer, cook to 290 stirring to prevent scorching.
Prepare a cookie sheet with sides by buttering foil fitted to the cookie sheet. Pour the toffee onto the foil covered cookie sheet.
Melt 1 pound of chocolate (light or dark) in a double boiler.
Spread 1/2 of the chocolate onto the slightly cooled toffee. Spread 2 cups chopped almonds onto melted chocolate and lightly press into chocolate. Protect hand with wax paper. Refrigerate until toffee is cooled and chocolate is set. Remove from refrigerator. Lift from pan using the foil and flip over to coat the bottom side with remainder of the melted chocolate: press in the remaining 2 cups of almonds.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Of Day Three Puerto Vallarta

The Cathedral of Our Lady Of Guadeloupe
I am always intrigued by old churches when I visit another city or country. This cathedral impressed me with the ornate decor considering the poverty of the people. In my professional career I found that the Hispanic people I gave nursing care were never encumbered with material things in life but had the greatest support system of their people. They were very sharing and caring people.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year's Celebration

New Year's Celebration
Our daughter-in-law Susan spotted this bottle of Gloria Ferrer Champagne at a fund raiser auction at their church. Susan thought she needed this to help celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary/New Year's Eve/cruise. Chilling the champagne required heads together. No one had a refrigerator in their room that would accommodate its size. Son Tom called an 'ice brigade" to help fill the bath tub. The bottle was chilled and served at dinner. We did have a celebratory finale when the clock struck 12:00 a.m.!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Of Day Three Puerto Vallarta

Sculpture of sand and brass dot the waterfront.
Silvano pauses to admire the sculpture. The family gathers for a quick photo
They strike another pose for Mom
More Of Day Three Puerto Villarta
Our pedometer registered walking six miles. Our feet registered blisters. It was such a beautiful day for a walk along the ocean. The art along the waterfront is truly amazing and original.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 3 In Port, Puerto Villarta

click on photos to enlarge
Puerto Villarta
Day three in port at Puerto Villarta. We took a taxi to Old Town where the real flavor of Mexico can be found. We happened to arrive on a religious day honoring the dead. Probably much like the holy day in the Catholic Church called All Souls Day. The ritual was performed by members of a tribe that originated in Vera Cruz. They were attired in a red and black pant with a balloon leg and fitted cuff, a white shirt, and wore a beaded red cummerbund. The brimless red and black hat they wore had long streamers of ribbon for the effect.
The first man was perched atop the pole wrapping four ropes around the top of the pole above a wooden platform. Next, four men scaled to the top and took a seat on the platform. Each man attached a rope to their ankle. The person who wrapped the ropes remained on the top of the pole. He began beating on a drum to a rythmn and the four men rolled backward from the wooden platform and began circling the post hanging by their feet whirling as the ropes began to unwind. In a period of approximately three minutes they were standing on the ground.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday, Day 2 In Port. Matzalan

Day Two, Matzatlan Mexico
The Cathedral In Old Town Evidence Of The Early Spanish Architecture in Old Town Lunch On The Gold Coast
Matzatlan Mexico
Day two in port appeared that it could be another rainy day. The clouds blew away, the sun came out and it turned out to be a great day to tour. Our taxi was a "Volkswagen Thing" with the top cut away which made a 360 view possible if you were not watching out for other taxi drivers. The city was interesting but diverse classes were very evident. It was Mexico! We had lunch along the beach and spent the afternoon touring Matzatlan. Another fun day in Mexico!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Monday, First Day In Port

Our First Day In Port
Notice the kids in the background sitting on top of the divider to keep their feet dry. Also notice the adults getting happier waiting to order food. What happens in Cabo stays in Cabo!
L to R Don, Susan, Tom, Cameron, and Lara
L to R Ron, Barbara, Silvano, Anne, Greg and Mary
The Southern Tip Of The Baja
Monday At Cabo San Lucos
I am not sure when "Cabo" had the last rain fall but we know when the last day long torrential rain fell! We took taxis to our favorite restaurant, Mi Casa.
Planning an excellent meal of local food, we were not prepared for the leaking thatch roof and water too deep to sit at most tables. Mexican builders apparently do not make good use of levels but they do have squeegees to push the water around toward the front door. The Myers family always makes the best of any situation. It was an enjoyable and very memorable day and meal!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our 50Th Celebration

Our 50Th Celebration
Today we disembarked our cruise of the Mexican Riviera celebrating the occasion of our 50Th wedding anniversary as a family. I will sort through my photos and post in the next few days.