Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lemon Ginger Scones

I have a weakness for scones, and so far I haven't devoured one that I didn't like. A crumbly, soft, buttery sweet-en biscuit-like cake.  I have tested many different variations that I will be posting.  Below is the most recent and just plain delicious.
For the scones:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 cup heavy or whipping cream, plus a little for brushing
1 egg yolk, beaten slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 400'.    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add lemon zest and combine the mixture with your hands.  Using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour in the cream, egg yolk, and the vanilla extract and use a fork to blend the liquids within the well.  Then use a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients, just until the dough holds together.
Scrap the dough onto a floured surface, using floured hands, kneed it gently four times to form a ball.  Flatten the ball into a disk about 3/4" thick, transfer it to the parchment lined baking sheet. Cut it as you would a pie into 8 wedges.  Brush the tops with cream, lightly.
Bake the scones in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 16 minutes.  Allow them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.

For the lemon glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 Tablespoon melted butter
2 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 Tablespoon ground ginger, or to taste

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze.  In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredient, whisk them until the mixture is smooth.  Thinning the glaze with water, (or cream), if necessary  stirring in no more than a 1/2 teaspoon at a time.  When the scones have cooled for another 10 minutes, drizzle each one generously with glaze.  Makes 8 scones.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rosemary Gruyere Crusty Bread

You want believe how easy this golden Rosemary Gruyere Crusty Bread is to assemble.  With it's chewy exterior, that is moist inside and with filled with flavor.  Great for sopping up sauces and devouring with soups.  So get out your cast iron pot and your mixing bowl, no electric mixer needed and get started on your bread, you want be dissatisfied.


Ingredients: 
3 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature), I had water at 110'.
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 1/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese

Instructions:
In a large bowl mix flour, yeast and salt together.  Pour water into the bowl, using a spatula mix it until it's all incorporated.  Add in chopped rosemary, lemon zest and 1 1/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese.   Mix well.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours.
Preheat oven to 450'.  Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it's at 450'.
Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
Flour your work surface well and make sure you flour your hands.  With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball.  Take the ball of dough and place it into the pot.  Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.  
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool.  Slice and serve.
Makes 1 loaf.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Luncheon with Author Pat Conroy, and his "Sandra's Mama's Pound Cake with Peaches n' Cream".

Author Pat Conroy and I

Recently Pat Conroy, author of ten novels and one cookbook spoke at a luncheon where I was a guest.  Several of his novels have been made into movies.  During the luncheon Pat spoke of his family, childhood years, and how he came to become a writer.
  The Pat Conroy Cookbook has many recipes and stories of his life.  Below is the recipe of the pound cake adapted from his cookbook.  I am enjoying a slice of this heavenly cake as I write this blog.  

Sandra's Mama's Pound Cake


3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, softened
8 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour
Sliced fresh peaches
Whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 325'. With bakers spray, spray your tube pan.  Set aside.  
2.  With mixer on medium beat 3 sticks of butter that have softened and 3 cups granulated sugar together until light and fluffy..
3. Beating well after each addition, add eggs one at a time, then add your vanilla and almond extract.
4. With mixer on low, stir in cake flour just until incorporated.  Do Not Over Beat.  Bake for 1 hour, begin checking at this point.  Ovens vary, mine took about 1 hour 15 minutes.
5.  Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes then invert onto cooling rack. Let cool.
6. Serve with sliced peaches and whipped cream.
Sandra's Mama's Pound Cake recipe on page 188-189.





Have you tried any other recipes from his book?  Comment and let me know which I should try next.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Riding the Greenway on a Yellow Schwinn

For three and a half hours we rode our bicycles on the Greenways taking us on a journey through the shaded canopy of trees, spring foliage and water streams.  We took many stops along the way, including Campbell Station Park where we found a bench along a beautiful walking trail.  Bronze sculptures placed throughout the park adds an artsy feeling.  Many people where here today, having picnics, biking, walking their dogs, photographing babies, one in particular was having her one year old picture taken and was very excited to have a go at the cake.  There is a water creak that runs through the park, and with temperatures in the high 80's, some children where splashing around trying to keep cool.  Leaving the park we make our way further along the Greenway where we happened upon a friend of ours, Lynn who was also out biking.  We chatted for a bit and said our farewells as we forged ahead.  Continuing deeper into the Greenway we came upon numerous hills, some of which took us to first gear, others to walking.
After only getting lost once, having to get out my iPhone for directions we made our way to Walgreens for a much needed water stop.  Ultimately hydrating ourselves, we returned home completing a fourteen mile ride.  In a mere thirty minutes after arrival, a bumping thunder storm blew through.  Phew!!!!!

Me at Campbell Station Park

Our Yellow Schwinn's
Creek that runs through Campbell Station Park
Me and Lynn
Beauty


Grinding up the trail on my Yellow Schwinn








Chattanooga's Aretha Frankensteins

Have you ever awaken and your first thought is about a restaurant you have visited in the past?  Well thats what happened yesterday, only the food we wanted was a 3 hour round trip drive.  Did we go? Well yes we did.  Was it worth the trip?  Definitely.  Let me tell you about our day. By the time Stone, Lucy, of course she went, and I left the house, it was late morning which was perfect because this place we where going is crazy busy during prime-time .  We wanted to make sure that we hit the off time, so we arrived at the restaurant about 1:30 in the afternoon.  We parked the car down by the Tennessee River then walked the 1 1/4 miles the rest of the way.  Yes, you can drive there, but it was such a beautiful day and we wanted to walk.  We meandered across the Walnut Street Bridge which is for pedestrians only.  From here you have a really nice view.  The route to Aretha Frankensteins has numerous quant eating establishments and boutiques. We then meandered through a neighborhood, arriving at our destination, to discover the wait was 20 minutes. If you have ever been here you would know that is not long at all.  During prime-time you can anticipate it to be an hour or more and worth every minute of your stay.  We took a seat on the porch to wait for an open table outside, since we had Lucy and it was such a beautiful day.  The hideaway is a small house that was converted into a restaurant.  There are four tables inside and four outside.  Finally being seated we place our orders knowing before we arrived what we where going to get and began our wait which took about an hour to get our food. During this time Lucy was visiting with any and everyone who passed our table, hearing the same questions from each, what kind of dog is she?  If I only had a nickel for every time I was asked that.  She loved the attention and stayed quit busy visiting and looking for morsels of food that had been dropped.  Our food finally arrived and it was everything we had remembered and more.  We ate slowly wanting to enjoy the flavors for as long as possible. Towards the end we where feeling full but I was not about to leave anything on my plate.  I was a member of the clean plate club and proud of it.   Describe Aretha Frankensteins, you ask, the decor interesting, atmosphere fun, excellent service, staff great, large portions,  they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the food is amazing.  Whats not to like?
Needing to walk off some of the calories we had just consumed, we sauntered toward Walnut Street Bridge and through an Art Festival. We lingered, checking out all that was for sell, then made our way over to drift along theTennessee River.  It's getting late, time to make our way back to the car and head home.  It was a perfect day.  I hope yours was to.
Stone's slim stack buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and bacon.

My egg white omelette with bell peppers,  spinach, onions, mushrooms and shrimp, cheese grits, and a biscuit that I dream about.  I always save my biscuit for last and it's kind of like dessert.

Stone's slim stack, 2 buttermilk pancakes.

Aretha Frankenstein:http://www.arethas.com

Dog on a roof, this was crazy……..

Coolidge Park

Walnut Street Bridge


Lucy and I
<a href="http://www.menupix.com/chattanooga/restaurants/4200240/Aretha-Frankensteins-Chattanooga-TN"><img alt="Aretha Frankensteins | MenuPix" src="http://www.menupix.com/badges/4200240/blogger_large.gif" style="padding:0px;width:200px;height:150px" /></a>

Where is your favorite breakfast place to eat in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stabilized Whipped Cream

Have you ever whipped up your cream, topped your sweet course, put it in the refrigerator ready for serving only to find it wheeping?  I have done this a handful of times. You have company coming for din-din and your trying to get business done beforehand. With this recipe you can do just that and it want separate or go runny!  Get this, if I have some cake left over I slice it,  freeze it, whipping cream topping and all.  I love it.  The vanilla pudding adds an extra richness to the flavor without being enough to know that its instant pudding.  You could use any flavor of instant pudding to change up the usual whipped cream flavors.


Ingredients:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (dry)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar (or to taste)

Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, preferably one that has been chilled.
Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined.
Mix on high speed until soft peaks form, scraping sides of bowl often.
Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Beef with Blue Cheese Pinwheels

Looking for something distinct to serve for an appetizer.  This is quick, easy and exceptionally tasty with the sharp and salty oomph from the blue cheese.  And don't forget the green beens that makes these healthy,  right?  I shaped the above mentioned recently for a CAbi party that I hosted.  If you've never heard of CAbi clothing, you should check them out at http://www.cabionline.com/purchase-clothing/ I am a huge fan of their apparel.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pound Deli Roast Beef
4-6 ounces blue cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream, more if necessary
6 ounces green beans, trimmed
salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, combine blue cheese and heavy cream.  Process until mixture is smooth and spreadable,  adding more heavy cream if necessary.  Transfer mixture to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Fill a medium bowl with ice and water.  Set aside.

Fill medium saucepan with water.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and green beans.  Cook until color changes to bright green and beans are tender, about 2-5 minutes.  Transfer beans with a slotted spoon to ice bath.  Let stand until cool.  Remove beans from ice bath with slotted spoon and pat dry.  Set aside.

Divide blue cheese mixture among the slices of beef and spread thinly on each slice.  Roll up beef pinwheel style, place 3 beans in each.
Recipe slightly adapted:http://www.sporkorfoon.com

CAbi

CAbi


Thursday, April 24, 2014

North Carolina Tar Heel Pie

This is one of my favorite go to pies.  What's not to like, with ingredients such as chocolate, coconut and pecans.  Slightly under baked, served with vanilla ice-cream. Yum!!!

Pie:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans-(toast pecans prior to mixing 6-8 minutes) at 325'.
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 (9") deep dish pie crust, unbaked

Preheat oven to 350'.
In a large bowl, pour warm melted butter over 3/4 cup chocolate chips and stir until smooth.
Mix together flour, brown sugar, and white sugar, then stir into chocolate mixture.
Stir in eggs and vanilla, the fold in pecans, coconut, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
Pour into pie crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Top should be set, and may crack slightly, but the pie is best if under-baked.
Recipe source:http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tar-heel-pie/detail.aspx


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two-Layer Key Lime Pie

Overlooking the historic Provincetown harbor is a restaurant in New England where we had waterfront dining.  It's name is The Lobster Pot.  Here is where I fell in love with Key Lime Pie.  Since then I have had different versions of this sweet delight, below is my adaptation and the one I have come to love. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  
Crust:
1/2 c. chopped pecans, toasted, this is optional you do not have to add pecans.  I do.
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
½ c. butter, melted
¼ c. firmly packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350’.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and ½ c. toasted pecans until blended. Press crumb mixture on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 10” deep-dish pie plate.  Bake 10 minutes.  Cool completely, about 45 min..

Filling:
2 (14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk)
1 c. bottled key lime juice
6 large egg yolks
Whisk condensed milk, lime juice and egg yolks in a bowl to blend.  Pour into the pie crust. Bake 20-25 min. The center will not be firm, but will set up as it chills. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Cover and chill 4 hours.

Top Layer:
1 (8oz. pkg. cream cheese softened to room temperature
½ c. sweetened condensed milk
¼ c. key lime juice
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the cooled baked layer. With a knife, spread evenly and smooth out the top. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

Stabilized Whipped Cream:
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1 T. Jello instant vanilla pudding mix, dry
1 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined. Mix on high speed until soft peaks form, scraping sides of bowl often. Decorate top of pie as desired.


Slice one lime to use for decoration, may use some zest also for decoration.




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

House Mountain Recreational State Natural Area

What to do with leftover egg whites, spinach and ham (thank you Helen and Don) ?  A breakfast sandwich.  I had previously whipped up some biscuits to freeze so that I could bake them fresh as needed. I snagged two from the freezer and cooked them up.  Once done I place a slice of cheese, ham, some fresh spinach and an egg.  This made for a very filling pre-hike meal.
Once our meal was done, the dishes put away we loaded up the car with the important things, phones, hiking boots, bottles of water, and Lucy.  With the top down on the car we where on our way.  This is a picture of Lucy with the wind puffing her hair.  I know, she's beautiful.
House mountain is a 500-acre natural area.  The trails consists of steep slopes, and are heavily wooded and possess a unique combination of scenic views, rock outcrops and a variety of bird and plant life including poison ivy which we saw a great deal of.  













Near the crest we encountered a snake who wasn't willing to share the trail, we had no option but to turn around and head back to the parking lot.  Luckily Stone didn't let out his horrific man scream that he usually does upon seeing a snake.
  
After a rather quick descend from the mountain we make it back to the parking lot.   Lucy couldn't wait to get a drink.
Back home, Lucy was bathed and spent the remainder of the evening sleeping.  Hiking can wear a girl out.

Where is your favorite hike in East Tennessee?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter

Easter Lunch
With the temps in the high 70's it made for a perfect day to have lunch on the screen porch with friends.  Thanks to Helen and Don for getting every one together at there home to celebrate Easter.  From beginning to end, it was a perfect day.  Lots of food was consumed.  It was a very southern spread from ambrosia, deviled eggs, asparagus, fruit salad, salmon, broccoli salad, potatoes, hot rolls and ham.   I savored every bite of it. There was turkey that Don smoked on the green egg , now you know that was so good.  He also roasted some brussel sprout on the green egg. Wow, if you've never tried that you should.  After consuming our spectacular meal, with really no room in our stomachs, we made our way to the dessert table where the plates where filled with either cake are banana pudding.  Few pics where taken, groups gathered to chat, some nibbling on the very little that was left. With satisfied stomachs it time to leave.  One by one the families leave, making there way home.
 After arriving home Stone and I went for a bike ride, I told him that later when he is devouring some leftover banana pudding he wouldn't feel so guilty.  He said unlike me, he would not feel guilty.  O well, maybe we worked off a few of the calories we consumed today, but they where so worth it.  I hope everyone enjoyed there day as much as I did.