Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Basil and Pesto

It seems this is Pesto week so I'm joining in. I actually made mine over the weekend and special thanks for Brigette's suggestion of using lemon juice which I had not done before. If you haven't visited her site please do it is hilarious. What would you expect with a name like My Mother In Law is a Troll!! Brigette and Anna have kind of a competition going. Anna had never eaten pesto??? Don't understand that!! So she finally made some with Brigette's suggestions (that's putting it nicely) and now she loves it. You need to visit to see how she sampled it. Personally it was a little weird...ok a lot weird, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Anna's blog is wonderful and always makes me smile. I personally like my pesto on pasta or sandwiches and I'm stickin to it. Please no bananas or ding dongs???

I love the color of basil. It is so green and refreshing.
Here I am collecting the ingredients. I'm peeling garlic and roasting the pine nuts. I even have a glass of lavender lemonade to keep me cool.

I love the color of pesto and the lemon juice makes it extra green and vibrant. Thank you Brigette.
All made and ready for the freezer. I put it in ice cube trays and when it's frozen I put it in a ziploc bag and defrost when I want an easy dinner. So easy and so yummy when basil season is over.
My recipe for Perfect Pesto. (I have no idea where I got the recipe but I have used if for years).
This makes about 2 cups.
Perfect Pasta
4 cups basil washed and dried
4-8 cloves garlic minced
1 cup toasted pine nuts (I always toast my own)
1 c good olive oil (if you use the 1 lemon juiced then use 1/2 cup of oil)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan (I grate my own cheese, not pre grated stuff)
Put basil, garlic, nuts, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil slowly until creamy. If it's not creamy enough add a little more oil. Add cheese and pulse until mixed together. Add a little kosher salt (no table salt please).
I also make a pesto from Arugula. I'll be posting about that later. Really good with linquine and shrimp.
Have a great evening and Bon Appetit!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This post is for Melissa

This is a wonderful cookbook and I wish I had the first one they wrote. This is the 25th anniversary edition which is beautiful. I'm not posting the recipe because everyone has more than one zucchini bread recipe in their collection so I'm going to tell you a story that I'm sure Melissa will enjoy.
I had a couple of zucchini's in my frig that needed using so I decided to make bread. I was going to make it with crushed pineapple but no pineapple!!! So I decided too make plain ole bread. I mixed all the ingredients, poured it in the pan and thought this seems kind of thick. I then put the bowl in the sink. I noticed a cup on the counter so picked it up to put in the sink also. I wondered why is the cup heavy and what does it have in it and why is there oil in my cup.....Oh No...I forgot to put the oil in my bread. I looked at the cup and the bread in the pan and thought..well maybe I shouldn't say that here. So I poured the bread back in the mixing bowl, put the beater back in my kitchen aid and tried to mix it gently but the oil just wasn't incorporating so I turned it up. The bread is okay but a little dry probably because of the extra beating.
See Melissa even the best of us cooks make mistakes!! Melissa is learning to cook and someday I'm sure she will be great.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grilled Shrimp and Pasta Salad

Actually I should call this post Dinner for One. This was the easiest and tastiest meal I've made in awhile. I don't really have a recipe so I'll just tell you what I did but it is so simple you don't really need one.
A couple of weeks ago I was at Whole Foods and buying shrimp because it was on sale. I was looking at all the fish and happened to see some shrimp skewers flavored all sorts of ways. The one that caught my eye was one with lemon and basil so I read the ingredients and decided that I could do that easily.

1 pound of shrimp
juice of 1 lemon
chopped fresh basil and parsley
1 garlic clove minced
Marinate for about 15 minutes and grill. I used my cast iron stove top grill.
I don't remember what I had with it but yesterday when I was at Whole Foods, I decided to try it again. So I bought some more shrimp and made an orzo salad to go with it.
For the salad I cooked some orzo, mixed in tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers and chopped parsley. I tossed the whole thing with a red wine vingegar and olive oil dressing. And of course kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to all the above.
I topped the salad with the shrimp, poured a nice glass of pinot grigio and had my feast.
I did have some leftovers (after my daughter raided the frig when she got home) and I'm going to chop the leftover shrimp and add to my orzo salad and take it to work tomorrow for lunch.
And now look at this scrumptious thing. Dessert!!! A lovely strawberry pie which was so so easy and so so delicious.

I made a strawberry pie last year but could not for the life of me find the recipe (and if you could see my recipe collection you'd know why) so I found this one on the food network site. It is called Our Favorite Fresh Strawberry Pie. We loved it.
That was my Saturday dinner. What did you have?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sharing the Love

Isn't this beautiful? Melissa gave me this award. The story behind it is so touching. It is such a beautiful award and I am so honored to be selected to pass it on.
The rules: SHARE THE LOVE!!! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog. **All I ask, is that you include a link to this post with the award and ask your recipient to do the same** Read all the details at Memoirs of a Mommy. It is really an inspiring story. Fair warning, have a kleenex handy.
I would like to share with:
There are so many of you out there I'd like to share with. If you would like to pass it on I'm sure it would be ok.
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. Anna would like to thank each and everyone of you that came to her birthday party yesterday. She has been sleeping all day recouping from all the fun.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Anna

OH YEAH CATNIP...THE BEST IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. My Mommy gets it from Moon Dance Botanicals.

This is me and Bailey playing with my birthday present. We both got a new catnip toy. Isn't my Mommy nice and me too because we share with Bailey.
Hi everyone, today is my birthday and I'm 3 years old. My name is Anna. When my Mommy brought me home she said Well, Little Orphan Annie what are we going to name you? We thought and thought and for awhile we thought maybe Annie would be a good name but decided we didn't like Annie. Anna sounds like a princess so that's what we decided. My Mommy has a friend Anna who thinks she named me after her so please don't tell her. We don't want to hurt her feelings.
This is a picture of me in my buggy. My Mommy bought it for us at a flea market. It is really really old but she lets us lay in it. We don't sleep in it, we just lay on the pillow and look around.
This is me when I was a baby. My Mommy adopted me when I was about three months old from a shelter for homeless pets. They almost didn't let her have me because I am black and it was close to Halloween and the lady said that some people do mean things to black kitties. I was sooo happy when the lady said I could go home with her. I started purring and I haven't stopped. I purr all the time I am so happy. Since noone knew exactly how old I was or when my birthday was the doctor said I should have a birthday on July 25th so that's what we do every year.
I was 7 months old when we got Bailey. He was really tiny wasn't he? He is big now though. I'm going to tell you a funny story because I know Bailey will never tell. We got him from Mommy's grandson's kitty and we thought he was a girl so we named him Kailee...whoops!!! We took him to the doctor for shots and he told us he was a BOY!!! We decided to name him Bailey since it sounds like Kailee. We really felt silly when the doctor told us.
I love my Mom's new red mirror. I like to look at myself because I am so pretty. My fur is so soft when people pet me they say I feel like satin.
I'm resting for my birthday party. My Mom always celebrates and makes me feel special. I'm dreaming about what I'm getting for my birthday. I always get my favorite dinner and treats too!!
Whoops, I'm not supposed to be up here...
I'm not supposed to be here either. I really do mind most of the time.
See how good I am here!! Thank you all for coming to my birthday party. I'll see you next year!

Tomato Tart

I've had several requests for the tomato tart recipe. I actually borrowed it from here. My recipe that I've made for years takes longer and I wanted something I could make after work that didn't take too long. Mary from Across the Pond made these last month and I finally got around to making some. I used some of my heirloom tomatoes but failed to take a pic of the tarts with the yellow, green and red tomatoes. They were very pretty but got eaten!!!

The only thing I did differently was slice the tomatoes and put them on some paper toweling to get the water out. I've found the crust stays crisper by doing this. I probably let them sit for 30 minutes or so before cutting the dough. This recipe was so easy. I just made a nice salad and I had dinner. The leftovers heat up very nicely in the oven. I took one to work for lunch and the microwave did not do it any good. The crust was kind of watery but still good. I hope you hop over for the recipe. If you haven't visited Mary, her blog is awesome.
Have a great evening and Bon Appetit!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Silk Art Embroidery

Oh look no food tonight!!! When I was thinking of starting a blog I was seriously thinking of starting a food blog. I didn't want to commit to just food or one topic so I decided to do an Etc. blog. I don't know how second hand I'm being but if you think about it the recipes are second hand, the treasures I find are second hand and even the scenery are God's creations so I guess they are second had too!!
Well now for tonight's subject...a wonderful new book I received today and wanted to share. I quickly browsed and after all my evening chores are done, I'm curling up in my jammies and doing some serious reading. I heard about this book from Amy. I couldn't get the post to copy so scroll down a couple and you will see it. (Amy even advertised me...she is the sweetest) I then jumped over to this and was hooked. I wanted to take a pic of every page but settled for a few. I hope you enjoy!! The front cover is above. This is the first page....can you read it? It is autographed just for me!! The following are pictures I took randomly. If you click on them you can enlarge and get a closer look.

Aren't the pictures beautiful? Donna tells how to take care of your embroidery and how she started with her collections. It is an amazing book. I can't say enough about it. I'm in love!!!

Aren't these scissors too awesome? I'd love to have a pair.

And this is the back cover. I hope you enjoyed!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blackberry Cobbler

I hope you are all staying cool. It is so hot and I know I'm complaining when so many of you are over a 100 but I can't help it. We actually got to a 100 Sunday!! Oh Yeah!! Now we are in the 90's and it is hot hot hot. It is not cooling off at night like it usually does. Living in the Rockies does have it's advantages. Remind me of that when I complain about the snow!!
I made this cobbler over the weekend. It is so easy and yummy.
Blackberry Cobbler
2 1/2 cups blackberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, plus 2 T butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a buttered shallow baking dish place blackberries. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar.
In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1 stick of butter cut into small pieces and pulse until crumbly. Add cream and pulse until dough forms. Dough will be soft. Spoon dough over blackberries.
Melt remaining 2 T butter and drizzle over mounds of dough. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup sugar.
Bake 30-40 minutes until is lightly browned.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tomatoes and Etc.

Don't you just love tomatoes? I bought these Saturday at the market. A little pricey...ok a lot pricey but I couldn't resist. I'm making a tomato tart with them. Would you like to come for dinner?
The cloche has a bird nest we found on one of our hikes. Not the grueling Mt. Beirstadt, just a nice slow easy one we took a couple of months ago. It was probably from last year and just hanging on the branch so we broke it off and brought it home. I found some little eggs to finish my display. The hydrangeas at Whole Foods were so pretty I couldn't resist bringing some home for a nice summer bouquet.
Have a great Monday.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I've been Meme'd

Before I get to the Meme I've had a couple of questions about my jam and pectin. I used to think that was the only way to make jam but a few years ago I started seeing recipes not using it. Curiosity finally got the best of me and I tried one. Now I usually use recipes that don't use pectin. It has to cook longer until it gets kind of syrupy but that is the only difference. I used the plate in the freezer thing for the Strawberry but I do use Certo in my Blueberry. I've never tried a recipe that calls for pectin and leave it out so I don't know if it would work or not.

My new friend from Fancy Horse has picked me to join in a Meme. Some of these I had to think about for awhile. Way too hard for a Sunday morning, but fun too!!
I THINK -- I'm hungry and should start breakfast
I KNOW -- I'm at a content place in my life
I HAVE -- no patience
I WISH -- I was more patient
I HATE -- not being organized
I MISS -- my Dad
I FEAR -- not being able to take care of myself
I FEEL -- happy
I HEAR -- the birds sing in the morning before I get up
I SMELL -- coffee
I CRAVE -- chocolate chocolate and more chocolate
I SEARCH -- for peace
I WONDER -- what life will bring me
I REGRET -- not being able to spend more time with my Dad before he passed away
I LOVE -- my family and my kitties who are part of my family
I ACHE -- my poor back
I AM NOT -- unhappy
I BELIEVE -- there is a reason for everything that happens
I DANCE -- when I'm happy
I SING -- when I'm alone
I CRY -- when I see a sad movie or read a sad book
I DON'T ALWAYS -- have patience
I FIGHT -- I try not to, life is too short to fight
I WRITE -- lists
I WIN -- everyday when life is good
I NEVER -- play games
I ALWAYS -- try to smile
I LISTEN -- when I want to
I CAN USUALLY BE FOUND -- at home in the kitchen
I AM SCARED -- I don't think I'm really scared of anything but I don't like bugs or spiders or snakes. In other words anything that crawls
I NEED -- quiet time, I don't like hectic
I AM HAPPY ABOUT -- most everything, this morning watching my kittens play and lounge on the patio
I IMAGINE -- staying young at heart and healthy

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. We are going to an early dinner and to see Batman tonight. I'll let you know how I like it. Have you seen it yet?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Strawberry and Blueberry Jam and Blueberry Crumb Cake

Happy Saturday to everyone. I've been a busy bee, cooking and more cooking. I love it. Below is my Strawberry Jam. The recipe is from Ina the Barefoot Contessa. I don't think it is in any of her books but she made it on one of her TV shows.
Fresh Strawberry Jam
2 cups sugar
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Combine the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes until the strawberries release some of their juice and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate (put two plates in the freezer). Pour carefully into pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately or follow proper canning guidelines. You can use Molly's directions here:
Now onto Blueberries!!

This is a recipe I found in a Cooking Light magazine several years ago. It is so easy. I use it for syrup for pancakes and waffles. It is also delicious on ice cream (homemade of course).

Wildflower Inn Blueberry Jam

5 cups fresh blueberries

5 1/4 cups sugar

2/3 c fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 (6 oz) package liquid fruit pectin (such as Certo)

Place blueberries in a large saucepan; crush with a potato masher. Add sugar, juices, and salt; stir well to combine. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add pectin, stirring until well blended. Pour jam into jars or airtight containers. Cool completely; cover and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. I put it in really hot jars and seal with hot lids and let it seal. It will last a year.

My daughter will not eat pancakes or waffles unless she has the blueberry syrup on them.

And now for breakfast before all the jam. I made a Blueberry Crumb Cake which is out of the Everyday Food magazine. It is a nice moist and delicious cake and did I mention easy?

Blueberry Crumb Cake

(From Everyday Food May 2004)

4 T unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pan and 1 tsp for blueberries

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground allspice

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" square pan; dust with flour. Make the streusel topping and chill.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 c flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined.

Add flour and buttermilk in alternating batches beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined (batter will be very stiff).

In a small bowl, toss blueberries with remaining tsp flour. Fold berries into batter and pour into pan. Sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake until golden brown 45 -50 minutes. Let cool completely

Streusel Topping

In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 c packed light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Using your fingers work in 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoons until large moist crumbs form. Chill until ready to use.

After all that I made some really refreshing tea I bought yesterday at Whole Foods. I had never heard of Acai
before but I really enjoyed the tea this afternoon. Doesn't it look pretty? I put orange slices in it because I had one left from the blueberry jam.

OK I am quitting for the day and relaxing with more tea. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.