Friday, April 29, 2011

A Bit British Today

The Radiant Couple
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Don't You Just Love It?
"You Look Beautiful", He Whispered
My Favorite
The Common Thread In Them!
Everyone Is "A Bit British Today"

Today is the long awaited day in the British Kingdom. William emulates his mother's gift of compassion. This wedding with all of the pomp and circumstance seemed to lack much of the stuffiness associated with the Royal Family and tradition. My favorite of the day was William and Katherine leaving the reception at Buckingham Palace and driving in an Aston Martin through the streets beaming with pride showing off his new bride to "his people". We all wish the new couple many years of love and happiness in their long life as husband and wife. How wonderful!

We have to love that they are going to their new home with NO maids, servants, or the usual entourage of help. It will be the love nest of William and "Kate". She will make a beautiful queen!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lobster Thermador In Phyllo Baskets

I check several sites weekly for new ideas and recipes. Recently I purchased a bag of lobster pieces, cleaned and cooked. I am planning to have some friends in for brunch and this will be my fare. Check the LCBO site for some of the best recipes available on the internet.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sheets phyllo pastry
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
1 can frozen lobster meat, tails and claws variety, defrosted
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp paprika
⅛ tsp cayenne
1 cup water
½ cup dry white wine
8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced about
3½ cups
1 cup whipping cream
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp Cognac or brandy
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1½ cups Indian bismati rice
2 cups water
1 To make phyllo cups, preheat oven to 350°F. Combine melted butter and oil. Layering in turn, spread 1 phyllo sheet lightly with butter and oil mixture (all of surface does not need to be covered). Sprinkle with ⅓ of Parmesan. Lay another sheet on top, repeating twice. Finally top with fourth sheet, finishing with butter and oil mixture only. Cut layered phyllo into 6 rectangles or squares (shape depends on brand of phyllo).
2 Push center of each phyllo rectangle deep into cup of cupcake pan, staggering rectangles so each is somewhat apart. Allow edges of phyllo to overflow cup tops in a decorative frill. Bake in centre of oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack; store airtight for a day at room temperature or in refrigerator for up to several days.
3 To make rice, wash in sieve under cold running water. Turn into a medium saucepan; add measured water. Let soak at room temperature for 30 to 90 minutes. Then bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to very low. Cook 15 minutes; turn off heat. Keep covered for 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Rice keeps well in a warm spot for an hour.
4 To make thermidor, defrost lobster in can overnight in refrigerator; then open. Over the sink, press lid to press down firmly on the lobster meat within until somewhat dry (liquid is discarded). Cut large pieces into chunks. Cover and immediately refrigerate until needed.
5 Melt butter over medium heat until bubbly. Add shallots; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mustard. Mix flour with paprika and cayenne; stir into shallots. Cook 1 minute. Whisking briskly, stir in water and wine. Bring to a slow boil so bubbles are just appearing; cook 2 minutes or until thick and somewhat smooth.
6 Stir in mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until they release their liquid. (If making ahead, take pan off heat; place a piece of plastic wrap directly on sauce surface. Cool on a rack; then promptly refrigerate for up to a day. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon while reheating over medium heat until hot but not boiling.)
7 Stir in cream; heat 1 to 2 minutes or until hot but not boiling. While heating, stir yolks with Cognac in a small dish such as a custard cup. When sauce is hot, spoon about 2 tbsp of hot liquid over the yolks and stir well. Stir back into hot sauce; cook a minute or 2 stirring constantly. Do not let sauce boil! (Sauce tastes slightly flat as no salt has been added, however lobster adds sufficient seasoning.)
8 Add lobster; continue heating 3 minutes or until just hot. Fill phyllo baskets to overflowing with rice. Top with Thermidor, letting sauce decoratively flow onto warm plate. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Liptauer Cheese Cristini

I frequently post a copy of recipes which another blogger I follow posts weekly on her blog, 101 cookbooks. Heidi Swanson is also an author of cookbooks.
This recipe looks like a good one to share for the Memorial Day weekend get together!
Liptauer Cheese Crostini
Use room temperature butter and cheese. It helps the spread cream up beautifully. You can make the spread a few days ahead of time if needed.
8 ounces / goat cheese, room temperature
4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 big pinches of salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallots or onion
1 tablespoon chopped pickles
a few dozen thin crostini or crackers*
one bunch of chopped chives, to serve
Cream the goat cheese in a large bowl wither by hand or with a hand blender. Add the butter and incorporate that as well. Add the paprika, mustard, and salt and cream some more. Now, by hand, beat in the caraway seeds, capers, shallots, and pickles. Taste and adjust until everything is to your liking.
Assemble no more than an hour before serving, so your bread doesn't go soft. Spread the liptauer across each crostini, and sprinkle with chives.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
*You can make crostini simply by tossing pieces of bite-sized, thinly sliced bread with a couple glugs of olive oil and the placing them on a baking sheet in a 350F/180C oven until deeply toasted. Cool and store in an airtight jar until ready to use.
Prep time: 10 minutes

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chilled Avocado Soup

Chilled Avocado Soup
3 avocados, cut in chunks
3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Crab and Mango Garnish (recipe follows)
Combine ingredients in blender, and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until completely chilled. Pour soup into serving bowls. Top each serving with Crab and Mango Garnish. Makes 6 servings.
Crab and Mango Garnish
1/2 pound lump crab
1/4 cup sweet onion
1/2 cup diced mango
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Combine ingredients in bowl; cover and chill. Makes about 2 cups
How To Cut An Avocado
1.) Place avocado on a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, slice the avocado in half, following the contour of the seed. Twist and separate the halves.
2.) Tap the blade of the knife into the seed, and gently remove it.
3.) Slice or cut a crosshatch into the avocado flesh (being careful not to cut through the peel), and then scoop out the pieces with a spoon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Pasta Recipe

In my earlier days as a new bride I had heard the stories of a good pasta sauce cooks for hours. I always associated pasta dishes as a labor-some task and did not prepare pasta often. When our oldest daughter married and moved to Italy, I was totally intrigued by the "Italian" preparation of pasta. As our daughter says, "If it takes more than fifteen minutes, it is taking too long". The blogger, Heidi Swanson has written several cookbooks and weekly posts easy but healthy recipes. This is Heidi's recipe. Her blog is

Spring Pasta Recipe

I used thin, egg noodles here, but spaghetti, angel hair, or fettuccine would all work as well.
8 ounces / 225 g cooked, leftover pasta 2 eggs fine grain sea salt 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 big handfuls of sliced asparagus, and/or pea shoots, or tiny broccoli trees, or shredded greens - anything quick cooking and fresh
chopped avocado chopped herbs
Use your fingers to fluff up the leftover pasta a bit, so its not clumpy or stuck together. Set aside.
In a small bowl crack the eggs and beat them really well with a pinch of salt.
In a big skillet melt the oil and butter over medium high heat. If you're using a vegetable that might take longer to cook than others, add those to the pan - for example, asparagus or broccoli. Add a couple pinches of salt, stir, cover, and cook for a couple minutes. Until the vegetables are bright, and just cooked. Now stir in anything that just needs a quick flash of cooking - in this case pea greens, but chopped greens would go in at this point if you're using those. Stir, and cook just until tender - a minute or so. Pull about 1/3 of the vegetables out of the pan and set them aside.
Now, add the pasta to the skillet, and toss well. Once the pasta is hot, turn down the heat, wait a moment, then quickly stir in the eggs. Stir well, then cover the pan, remove from heat, and let everything sit for a minute. Uncover, give everything another toss, the egg should be cooked through. Taste, and adjust the seasoning before dividing between two plates. Top with the reserved vegetables, and some chopped avocado.
Serves 2.
Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 5 min

Friday, April 15, 2011

Post One-Thousand

Post One Thousand
Today I am blogging post one-thousand. I began blogging May 2007. I remember well the evening the blog was developed. We were invited to have dinner with our daughters Barbara and Anne at Anne's home. I had taken the recipe for "Warm Camembert with Mushroom Fricassee" and served it with a wonderful bottle of chilled Chardonnay. This recipe remains a favorite to serve when guests are invited.
If any of you are Costco shoppers, you know you pay almost the same price for a giant size at Costco as you pay for the smaller version at the neighborhood grocery store. You guessed correctly. I purchased the larger wheel of Camembert which was no punishment for my family who appreciates good cheese. We skipped dinner and ate just the appetizer, it was so tasty.
As the evening passed and our daughters kept sharing compliments, Barbara suggested that I should have a food blog and post recipes. Anne suggested to have a Flash-back Friday with a recipe from their childhood. That I did for a while.
Most comments that I receive on a recipe / posting come via email, telephone call, or a meeting on the street rather than a comment posted to the blog and this is fine. This may be the indicator to those who look for posted reader's comments on the blog as to the level of readership. For my greatest satisfaction, I continue to post as it allows me to have a portable recipe file or for my friends to learn where we have recently traveled. When I travel, my postings are at my finger tips. It also has given me an outlet to organize my day and continue my interest in nutrition. I am proud to say that I am 70 and take no medication which I attribute as a result to proper nutrition.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baked Idaho Potato Salad

Last evening we entertained friends who had an Ohio connection. Each Fall we return from Ohio with frozen perch which were caught while spending our summer on Lake Erie. Lake Erie perch has such a "lite" flavor and are so tender.
I had noticed a recipe in the "Food" section of our newspaper last week which sounded like one I would try. Usually the recipes I have tried from the newspaper have come with disastrous results. I have come to the conclusion that the editor in charge must eat out or has a cook.
Yesterday I pulled the article again and read that the recipe won first prize in the Idaho Potato Side Dish challenge, one of the events at the 2011 South Beach Wine & Food Festival earlier this year in Miami. That was it. If another judge declared it was worthy, that was enough for me. I think you will agree. It is not diet food but was very simple to make.
Baked Idaho Potato Salad
4 large potatoes, washed
1 16oz.container sour cream
5 scallions, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 strips bacon, diced and fried crisp.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potato for about 1 hour or until fork tender. (I usually cover the potato with a hot pad and gently squeeze. When it feels soft, it is done.) Cool the potatoes at room temp for 15 minutes.
Coat a 3 quart casserole with cooking spray. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently until mixed well; place in casserole dish.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until warm in center.
Note: To lighten up the recipe, you can substitute lower fat varieties of the sour cream and cheese and use turkey bacon instead of the traditional bacon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hollyhock House

The Japanese Garden
Art In The Park
Hollyhock House / Art Garden
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for oil heiress Aline Barnsdale in East Hollywood, the home sets stop a thirty-five acre tract. Designed with hollyhocks carved in sandstone or poured concrete, it was the favorite flower of Aline. The building of the home began in 1918 and was finished in 1920. By 1927 Aline was offering the home, art gallery and thirty-five acres of prime real estate to the city of Los Angeles to be maintained as an art park.
Over the course of the years the home was sold several times between the time Aline donated the home to the City Of Los Angeles and before the Los Angeles City Art League retained ownership. Today the Gallery exhibits local art.
The home suffered much damage in the 1999 earthquake and is undergoing extensive repair. The park located between the Art Gallery and the house displayed several metal sculptures.