Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spinach Souffle with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Asagio Cheese

Spinach Souffle With Sun Dried 
Tomatoes and Asagio Cheese
Our daughter Barbara who is such a great cook and a source of many ideas I incorporate at holiday time or family gatherings sent this recipe to share with you. I want to say a big thank you Barbara and know your dad will soon enjoy this souffle.
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Asagio cheese
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, water squeezed out
10 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a medium pan. Add flour, stir constantly till it's combined, smooth and bubbly. Add in milk, stirring constantly and continue to cook until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add cheese, stir to melt. Add spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Combine and then remove from heat.
Separate the eggs, taking care that none of the yolk mixes into the whites, otherwise they will not beat. Allow spinach mixture to cool slightly then mix in egg yolks.
In a large bowl beat the egg whites till they are white and fluffy, taking care not to over beat. Carefully fold in the whites into the spinach mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekin dish and bake for 35 minutes. *Do not open the oven door while you are baking the souffle Serve immediately.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Barbara's notes for the recipe: Barbara used sun dried tomatoes packed in oil (about 1/2 cup), let the oil drain out before you mix them in. I added about 1 teaspoon cream of tarter when I was whipping my egg whites.
Recipe adapted from Mango Tomato.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hummus With Green Goo

Humus With Green Goo
This hummus keeps nicely, refrigerated, for a few days, but is best served at room temperature. As Heidi notes in her recipe, the hummus might thicken in the refrigerator. If this happens, you can simply thin it with a splash of water. Adjust with salt and lemon juice if needed as well. If you are sensitive to heat, you can deseed and devein the jalepeno.
1 Pound dried chick peas or garbanzo beans, soaked in water for at least 4 hours

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water, scant
1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup tahini

Green Goo:

1/4 cup Italian parsley
1 jalapeño, destemmed
1 large clove garlic
sacnt 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large pot cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the baking soda, and reduce the heat. Simmer, skimming any foam from the surface, until the chickpeas are soft but still structured, roughly an hour. Drain. Place 4 cups (1.5 pounds) of the cooked chickpeas in a food processor. (You can set aside any remaining chickpeas and have them as a snack or use them in a stew or soup.) To the food processor add the water, lemon juice, and salt. Process for three minutes or until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice along the way. If you like your hummus thinner add more water a small splash at a time. Add the tahini, process one more time. Taste and adjust the seasoning, add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl.

To make the "green goo" rinse out the food processor bowl, and use it again, and if you don't have a food processor, you can certainly do a hand-chopped version. Pulse the parsley, jalapeño, garlic, and salt in the food processor. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture while the processor is running, until an green emulsion is created. Transfer to a jar, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Drizzle the hummus generously with the green goo. Serve with pita chips, crackers, flatbread, or toasted lavash. 
Makes 4 cups of hummus.

Adapted from
Insalata's Mediterranean Table written by Heidi Insalata Krahling of Insalata's Restaurant in San Anselmo, California. Sent to me by Heidi Swanson og 101 Cookbooks Blog.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Ruins Of Casa Grande

The Ruins of Casa Grande
Last week we visited cousins in Casa Grande AZ. They were eager to share the sights of their new home and community having moved less than a year. I photographed the "Ruins of Casa Grande" of the Hohokum Indians which dates back to the year 300 Common Time.
The building is four stories high and sixty feet long and is the largest structure known from the Hohokum times. The walls face the four cardinal points of the compass. A circular hole in the upper west wall aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice. Other openings align with the sun and moon at specific times. Knowing the changing positions of the celestial objects also meant knowing times for planting, harvest, and celebration.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sierra Madre Wisteria Festival

The Original Vine Planting

Sierra Madre Wisteria Festival
Sunday March 13, we joined with the Travel Club members of our community and traveled to Sierra Madre to visit the two homes covered by a 116 year old Wisteria Vine. The vine was originally purchased by Alice Brugmans and her neighbor Mrs. W. B. Crisp when they drove by horse and buggy to Monrovia to purchase the gallon can plant for seventy-five cents. Today this beautiful vine covers a trellis and the rear of two homes. We arrived a little early in the season this year to see the vine in full bloom but it did show its splendor. Amazing that the vine grows one inch per hour. It is estimated to produce 1.5 million blossoms and weigh 250 tons and has branches that extend 500 ft. Information can be found at www.wisteriafestival.com
The small town in the Pasedena area celebrates annually with a Wisteria Fesstival. Vendors set up stands retailing jewelry, wood items, pictures, art work, and garden items.
We treated ourselves to a wonderful High Tea at the Four Seasons Tea House in Sierra Madre. I must admit it was the best Tea I have attended in many years.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Infused Oil

Infused Oil
A specialty at Maderas Country Club Restaurant is the lunch menu. Recently I chose an entree of:
seared scallops served with
lentils seasoned with
crisp apple wood bacon,
sauteed mushrooms, and
garnished with a grilled green onion,
served drizzled with toasted cumin shallot oil.
I truly enjoy any lentil dish. I copied the description from the menu thinking I could duplicate the dish. I searched the internet for a source of the oil all to no avail.

Last week I returned to the restaurant for lunch asking the server if she would inquire for me the source of the infused oil. She returned to the table saying the source was a restaurant supply house. Not giving up easily I thought perhaps I could duplicate the oil.

Today I took my friend Laura, who is visiting from Calgary, to the Maderas CC for lunch. I was also hoping to purchase enough of the oil to prepare the dish this weekend if the chef would agree. The Executive Chef Earl Schryver came to our table with the recipe in hand. 

After sharing our compliments of the lunch we enjoyed, the chef shared tips on preparing the lentil dish. I returned home and the freshly made infused oil is now in my refrigerator. With the chef's permission, I am sharing the infused oil recipe. I have printed the chefs recipe measurements yielding 2 3/4 cup oil as shared with me. The measurements in parentheses which yields a 3/4 cup which is more manageable for home use. It is a delicious accompaniment with this dish.

Toasted Cumin Shallot Oil
4 Tablespoons Cumin seed (1 Tablespoon)
2 cups E.V.Olive Oil (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup lemon juice (2 Tablespoons)
2 oz. shallots, cut in 1/4s (1/2 oz)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Toast cumin seeds and shallots in small heavy skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool. Put everything in a blender except the lemon juice. Blend until liquefied. Slowly add lemon juice. Blend until emulsified.  

Monday, March 8, 2010

Julian California

Which Way To Go The Main Street Of Julian Julian Real Estate An Original Soda Fountain The Town Hall Of Julian California
Julian California is in San Diego County and today is most notably identified for Apple Pie. Once a silver mining town, the locals have tried to preserve its charm of that era.
Apple orchards dot the highway entering the town advertising Julian's Apple Pie. My husband suggested that we have "our dessert" first and then have lunch in Borrego Springs following our visit to the dessert. We entered a small pie shop which offered Apple Pie, Apple Caramel Pie, Apple Praline Pie, and Dutch Apple Pie. Twenty people was the seating capacity of the pie shop and capably managed by two ladies who were the pie makers, bakers, slicers, and servers. We were amazed at the size of the slice but doubly amazed with the wonderful taste and flaky crust! It is worth the stop if you travel Route 78, just twenty-seven miles east of San Diego. You will be entertained walking the two blocks of the business district able to visualize the bygone era which developed Julian in its earlier days.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Glistening Jewel In The Desert

St. Richards Catholic Church
Leaving the Anza Borrego Desert, we saw what appeared to be a small mission off in the distance. We then noticed a car coming down a road which appeared could be leading to the area. When we arrived at the intersection the road marker read Church Rd. Approximately one mile down the road we found a beautiful well maintained area with three churches, an Episcopal, Methodist and the Catholic church. We stepped inside the Catholic Church and were so amazed at the architecture and beautiful art glass windows. The congregation couldn't be very large as the seating capacity of the church was possibly one hundred or less. It was truly a glistening jewel in the desert.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Anza Borrego Desert

Click on photos to enlarge detail
The Desert Consists Of Over 600,000 Acres. Cactus In Bloom Brittle Bush Mr. Jackrabbit Cactus Showing New Growth A Very Tiny Red Flower Covers The Desert Floor
Mountain View In Desert
Anza Borrego Desert
Approximately seventy-five miles in a north-easterly direction from our home lies the Anza Borrego Desert. San Diego County has four diverse climates. They are coastal, inland, mountains, and desert. The drive to the desert is very hilly with hairpin and sharp "S" curves transversing a very scenic mountain drive. We arrived for what had been advertised as blossom time in the desert. While there were blossoms, the park rangers explained the colors have not yet come into full blossom. We did get to see a satisfying display.
The interesting fact that I learned is the Sea of Cortez once extended the distance to Palm Desert, CA. Land slides filled in the area and now the sea extends as far north as the Baja. This created our Anza Borrego Desert.

Friday, March 5, 2010

1912 Pullman Car

Wurlitzer Piano
Restored To Original Decor
Dining Room
Beautiful California Poppy China by Syracuse China Company

Clara's Sleeping Quarters
Beautiful Cuban Mohogany Now Extinct
The Bathroom
Servant's Room
Cook Stove
The Kitchen
Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago was founded in 1867 to build luxury sleeping cars for the railroads. Pullman's success in this venture dramatically changed rail travel worldwide. The luxuries of a private Pullman Palace Car included chandeliers, electric lighting, advanced heating and air-conditioning systems, complete bath facilities, silk draperies, luxury bedding and elegant furniture. In December of 1912, Clara Baldwin Stocker, eldest daughter of California pioneer E.J. "Lucky" Baldwin, took delivery of a Pullman railcar appropriately named the California. Lucky Baldwin's fortune came from mining shares, real estate, race horses, hotels and the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. Clara and Anita inherited his fortune and both commissioned private railcars. Clara's car was beautifully decorated in a modern style with cream and gold painted staterooms, rather than the usual dark wood grained walls and ceilings. The railcar must have been an imposing and awe inspiring sight, resplendent in maroon, red, gold leaf striping and lettering with polished brass railings and grab handles. The California was a luxurious suite and can be likened to owning a private jet today. The California, as ordered by Mrs. C.B. Stocker, had a floor plan that was very versatile, spacious and comfortable. It has one double large bedroom and two smaller staterooms for two. The large combination dining and observation room was paneled in elegant Cuban Mahogany and the private rooms were painted in cream and gold. The servant's section, including the passageway, was quarter-sawed native oak, which was dramatically different from the beautiful mahogany used in the family section. Beautiful decorative leaded glass adorned every window in the California, except in the servant's quarters. Original manuscripts, photographs, Pullman build sheets and factory blueprints were used in the restoration of the California by the Nethercutt Collection. Details were faithfully reproduced over a three year period. Today the California appears as it did December 14, 1912. This restoration was dedicated to a more elegant way of life.
The Clara Baldwin Stocker Home built in 1963 with funds provided in Clara's will is a home for women without support of their families and unable to care for themselves. Today the home does admit men. It is operated by the Stocker family.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive #2869

1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive #2869

The 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive #2869 dubbed "The Silver Bullet" was built by Montreal Locomotive Works and is resplendent in its Royal maroon, gold leaf, gloss black and brushed stainless steel livery, is a testament to the grand era of steam locomotive engineering. The Hudson type is a 4-6-4 wheel arrangement and was a high-speed passenger locomotive with a top speed of 90 mph.The term Royal Hudson refers to a group of semi-streamlined 4-6-4 Hudson steam locomotives owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and built by Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW). In 1939, King George VI allowed the CPR to use the term after Royal Hudson number 2850 transported the royal train across Canada with no need of replacement. These locomotives were in service between 1937 and 1960. Four of them have been preserved, and one is used for excursion service in British Columbia Royal Hudson 2839, once destined for a museum in eastern Canada, wound up being sold to a group of owners in Pennsylvania. After a restoration to full working order to full CPR livery (with Southern lettering), the engine was leased to the Southern Railway for their steam excursion program in 1979–1980, but was found that the locomotive was not powerful enough for their excursions. During her brief career with the Southern, 2839 earned the nickname "beer can" due to the Royal Hudson's Cylindrical streamlined design. After being returned from the Southern, the engine was stored on Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad before being stored near Allentown, PA. The Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad attempted to restore and run her on excursions, but ultimately #2839 was sold. After a series of owners, the engine was shipped on a flat car from Pennsylvania to the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California, where it has been cosmetically restored and put on display outside the museum with a Pullman car.
Tomorrow I will post photos of the 1912 Pullman Car.