Sunday, February 28, 2010

CHEERS! FAREWELL FEBRUARY (MONTH) SEA BREEZE COCKTAIL/GRAPEFRUIT & AVOCADO SALAD/PEPPERED WHITE CHEDDAR MUFFINS

"Life ... is like a grapefruit. It's orange and squishy, and has a few pips ..."

~ Douglas Adams

~ 'GRAPEFRUIT' FULL MOON
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SEA BREEZE COCKTAIL
(for each cocktail)
*
2 ounces vodka
1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/3 cup cranberry juice
lime wedge

  • Shake vodka, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice.
  • Strain over tall highball glass filled with ice.
  • Finish with lime wedge.



GRAPEFRUIT & AVOCADO SALAD

4 large ruby red grapefruit

4 ripe avocados

1 bunch baby spinach

1 thinly sliced red onion


  • Divide grapefruit into sections. Slice avocado into 1/2-inch strips. Toss together to prevent avocado from discoloring. Keep airtight until serving time.
  • To serve: Place spinach on plate. Arrange alternate grapefruit andavocado slices. Top with red onion. Sprinkle with Poppy SeedDressing. (8 servings)
  • Serve with SPICY PEPPERED WHITE CHEDDAR MUFFINS.

POPPY SEED DRESSING

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

pinch salt

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. chopped green onion

1 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds


Place sugar, mustard, salt, vinegar & chopped onion in blender. Slowly blend in oil. Stir in poppy seeds.

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PEPPERED WHITE CHEDDAR MUFFINS

2 cups unbleached flour

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

1 1/4 cups milk

1 large organic egg

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil


  • Stir together first 6 ingredients in large bowl; make well in center.
  • Stir together milk, egg, and oil until blended. Add into well of dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.
  • Bake at 400-degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Cool in pans 2 minutes before removing. Serve warm with plenty of sweet butter. (1 dozen)


Friday, February 26, 2010

'RELISH SMALL PLEASURES' (FOOD & FLOWERS) ~ LINGUINI SCAMPI

"Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures."

~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
(Life's Little Instruction Book)


~ Alstroemeria

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LINGUINI SCAMPI
~ Lemony garlic shrimp over pasta
(adapted from Mirepoix Cooking School - Royal Oak)
_________________

1 1/2 lbs. linguine
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
9 cloves chopped garlic
2 lbs. large peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tsp. fresh thyme
freshly ground pepper to taste
Lawry's Seasoned Pepper to taste
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
fresh chopped thyme and parsley
freshly grated Parmesan

  • Follow instructions and cook pasta 'al dente' in large pot of boiling salted water.
  • In large pan, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute; do not let it brown.
  • Add shrimp, season with thyme, black pepper and Lawry's Seasoned pepper. Saute until shrimp just turn pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Add parsley, lemon zest and juice, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
  • When pasta is done, drain. Toss with shrimp mixture and transfer to large bowl. Top with chopped fresh thyme and parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired, and a crusty loaf of bread. (6 generous servings)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'GATHER GOLDEN MOMENTS ... ENJOY EVERY IDLE HOUR' ~ BIG BATCH HUBBARD LAKE CHILI

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour."

~ John Boswell


'Golden Moment'
(Hubbard Lake)
___________________

BIG BATCH HUBBARD LAKE CHILI

6-7 lbs. lean ground beef
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large coarsely chopped Spanish onions
3 stalks chopped celery plus green leaves
6 cloves minced garlic
1 (of each) chopped red, orange, yellow, green pepper
4 (28-oz.) cans chopped/diced tomatoes
1 cup good chili powder
1 Tbsp. Lawry's Seasoned Pepper
1 Tbsp. cracked pepper
coarse salt to taste
1 (40 oz.) can spicy 'hot' chili beans
1 (14 oz.) can spicy chili beans (or black, kidney or pinto)
3 (15 oz.) cans whole kernel corn
2 (4 0z.) cans drained sliced black olives

  • Brown meat, drain excess grease and add olive oil. Brown onions and add celery and garlic. Add peppers and saute until soft.
  • Cover with canned tomatoes and their liquid, chili powder, salt and peppers. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in beans and their liquid, corn with liquid, and olives. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until heated through.
  • Serve in big bowls topped with shredded Colby/Jack cheese, Garden Fresh salsa and a side of kettle style Blue Corn Tortilla chips.

'Now is the Hour'
(Hubbard Lake)
________________

"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili."

~ Harry James

Friday, February 19, 2010

'SIMPLE PLEASURES' ~ A BOUQUET of FRESH TULIPS / GREEK FESTIVAL FISH / LEMON COUSCOUS

"The pleasure of picking a few flowers and finding the right vase for them is incomparable."

~ May Sarton


A simple Pleasure

____________

GREEK FESTIVAL FISH
~ a simple pleasure and gift recipe from dear friend, Sue
________________

6 white fish fillets (about 2 lbs.)
~ tilapia, whitefish, flounder, sole

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 thinly sliced scallions
2 minced cloves garlic
4 chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
crumbled feta to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Coat 9 x 13 inch pan with Pam.
  • In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and saute until tender. Add tomatoes, wine, parsley, oregano and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Place half of sauce mixture in baking dish. Arrange fish fillets over sauce and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Serve immediately. (6 servings)
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LEMON COUSCOUS
~ delicious simple side with fish or chicken

2 (5.4 oz.) packages toasted pinenut couscous mix
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup diced red pepper
  • Combine broth, lemon rind, lemon juice, seasoning packet from couscous mix, and butter. Bring to boil and stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.
  • Stir in parsley and bell pepper.


Tulips in Tiffany vase

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ANATOMY OF A LENTEN ROSE (HELLEBORUS 'Spring Promise' ~ CREOLE SHRIMP with GARLIC & LEMON

"Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps."

~ Luke 9:23


LENTEN ROSE
'Spring Promise'






CREOLE SHRIMP with GARLIC & LEMON
~ For those who abstain, a simple Ash Wednesday or Lenten meal (adapted from Food & Wine)

_________________

1 lb. large shelled and deveined shrimp
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
1 finely chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup chopped parsley

  • In a bowl, toss shrimp with garlic, Creole seasoning and bell pepper.
  • In a skillet, saute shrimp in oil over moderately high heat, turning shrimp once, until just white throughout.
  • Add lemon juice, zest, and parsley. Serve alone or over favorite rice.
Wine Pairing: Lemony Pinot Grigio





(Click on photos to enlarge)


Ash Wednesday

The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday which is the first day of the Lenten fast.
The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missalis found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead -- or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure -- of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. (New Advent)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HAPPY "FAT TUESDAY' PACZKI DAY!

"I am not a glutton -- I am an explorer of food."
Erma Bombeck





(Click on above for more info on 'The Paczki Principle' and Hamtramck, 'Paczki Central)
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(click on above for festive music:)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

VINTAGE VALENTINE WISHES

"Love is the poetry of the senses."

~ Honoré de Balzac




~ Vintage Postcards
(Original Valentine postcard, 1908, printed in Germany ~
c. 1990 Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village - Dearborn, MI)

________________________


"Love is the greatest refreshment in life."

~ Pablo Picasso

Friday, February 12, 2010

'BLOW YOUR VALENTINE SWEETIE AWAY' ~ CHOCOLATE-CHERRY ICE CREAM BOMBE

"All I really need is love,
but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"

~ Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)



~Valentine Tulip
_____

CHOCOLATE-CHERRY ICE CREAM BOMBE

~Begin making this a day ahead. Chill the mold well before filling it. Allow several hours for the bombe to freeze and mellow before serving time. This easy recipe is from Bon Appetit (February 2000).
______


1 16-oz. jar hot fudge sauce
1 12-oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup brandy
3 pints (slightly softened) cherry-vanilla ice cream with chocolate chunks or fudge flakes
1 1/2 (slightly softened) pints chocolate sorbet (or frozen yogurt)
or chocolate-cherry sorbet (or frozen yogurt)
1 9-oz. package chocolate wafer cookies
  • Stir first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in brandy. Cool.
  • Line 10-inch diameter, 10-cup metal bowl with plastic wrap, extending over sides. Spread cherry-vanilla ice cream over inside of bowl to within 3/4-inch of top edge, leaving center 6-inch diameter hollow. Freeze 30 minutes.
  • Fill hollow completely with sorbet (yogurt); smooth top. Overlap half of cookies (about 22) atop ice cream and sorbet, covering completely and pressing gently. Spread 1 cup fudge sauce over cookies. Overlap remaining cookies atop sauce. Cover; freeze bombe overnight. Cover and chill remaining sauce. (Can be make 3 days ahead. Keep bombe frozen).
  • Rewarm remaining sauce over low heat, stirring often. Turn bombe out onto platter. Peel off plastic. Cut bombe into wedges. Serve with remaining sauce. (12-16 servings)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ROMANTIC ENTREE ~ RACK of LAMB with ROSEMARY SAUCE / PISTACHIO CRUSTED SWEET POTATOES / STIR-FRIED SWEET & PLUMP SUGAR SNAP PEAS

"A Kiss that's never tasted
Is forever and ever wasted."
~ from a song by Billy Holiday
_____________



RACK OF LAMB WITH ROSEMARY SAUCE

2 (1-lb.) frenched* racks of lamb
(*have butcher trip meat from tips for easy serving)
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
3 tsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. fresh ginger
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cracked pepper

  • Blend Dijon, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary, thyme and ginger in food processor or blender. Add cracked pepper and pour over lamb. Marinate several hours or overnight.
  • Bring lamb to room temperature before cooking. Drain lamb, reserving sauce, and place in roasting pan with ribs curving down. Bake in preheated 500º oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300º, baste with sauce, and bake and additional 10 minutes for rare, 15 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Simmer remaining sauce in small saucepan for 5 minutes. Serve over lamb with Pistachio Crusted Sweet Potatoes and Stir-fried Sweet & Plump Sugar Snap Peas. (serves 4)
Suggested Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon




PISTACHIO CRUSTED SWEET POTATOES
~ adapted from Noteworthy Two
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4 medium sweet potatoes
1 egg white
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

  • Bake sweet potatoes until just tender. Peel and rice or finely shred. In medium bowl combine potatoes, egg white, coriander, brown sugar, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Add yogurt or sour cream.
  • Shape rounded tablespoons of mixture to form ovals. (Can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated). Roll potato ovals in pistachios, coating well. Arrange on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 400º oven 10 minutes or until hot. (about 24 ovals)
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STIR-FRIED SWEET & PLUMP SUGAR SNAP PEAS

Stir fry one handful of sweet sugar snap peas and 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil per person in large saute pan. Cook 2-3 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle to taste with cracked pepper and sea salt.

Monday, February 08, 2010

THYME FOR A 'ROMANTIC' APPETIZER ~ SEA SCALLOPS with RASPBERRY SAUCE

"Life without love is like a tree
without blossom and fruit."
~ Khalil Gibran



CYMBIDIUM ORCHID
_______________

SEA SCALLOPS with RASPBERRY SAUCE

1 (10 oz.) package frozen raspberries
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. large sea scallops 3-4/person)
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 pint fresh raspberries
sprigs of fresh thyme

  • Combine raspberries, wine and thyme in small bowl. Let rest for 1 hour. Press raspberry mixture through strainer into small saucepan. Add shallots and heat to boiling. Cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup; strain again and return to saucepan.
  • Over low heat, add 1/2 cup butter, 1 Tbsp. at a time, whisking until each addition is just incorporated. Cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, sprinkle scallops with salt & pepper. Brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Grill or broil scallops 5-6 minutes until just opaque.
  • Spoon sauce onto appetizer plates. Top with scallops. Garnish with fresh thyme springs and fresh raspberries. (4 servings)


"In a pale stream

slowly rising bubbles pour

down our throat & whisper

softly the secret sounds

of that pink mystery."

~ Larry Mawby

~ Pop open a sassy 'provocative' blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay hand-picked grapes ~ M. Lawrence Sex Sparking Wine. A fun Michigan find.