Monday, September 21, 2015

Summer's End

Celebrating with Kathy and Scott was a wonderful way to bring summer to an close.  Kathy has been working on my Daughters Of The American Revolution application and brought it for me to sign.  It is ready to turn in.  For weeks Kathy and I have been researching, pulling records and making copies.  Many of my Great Great Grandfathers are already listed with the DAR. 
Once the paperwork was accomplished, we migrated out to the porch, where I had appetizers and drinks waiting.  Throughout the evening we spoke of family lineage, history and the DAR.  As the sun went down and the frogs began croaking, I lit the candles as we gathered around the table, enjoying dinner and talking about our ancestors.  In the short time that I have been researching my family I have already learned so much.  My people were and still are very patriotic. Numerous of my Great Grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary and the Civil War.   My 2nd Great Grandfather was named "Pink." Hmmm, apparently there was a senator back in the day with the name Pink. It became very popular to name your son after a senator.  But the big question still remains, what happened to my Great Grandmother Janie Mae???  We may never know, although we have a very good idea.  The more I research, the more I want to know.  I want to learn about my roots and who I am.  Like all family's, mine is not perfect.  As they say, "every dog should have a few fleas."
Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with 
Basil-Garlic Stuffing
1 pound large shrimp
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 pieces thinly sliced bacon
1/2 cup prepared fruit-based barbecue sauce
Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on.  Butterfly shrimp by cutting a slit along the back and gently pressing open.
Combine basil, parmesan, and garlic in a small bowl.  Place basil mixture evenly in shrimp opening; press shrimp closed.
Cook bacon over medium heat until partially cooked.  Drain on paper towels.
Wrap each shrimp with 1 slice bacon, and place on greased baking sheet. Brush barbecue sauce over shrimp, and bake at 400' for 8-9 minutes.  Recipe from:

 Mango and Sour Apple Martini's

Baby Greens with Goat Cheese, Beets and Candied Walnuts
Salad Ingredients:
4 ounces Chavrie Goat Cheese log
1 (5 ounce bag) mixed baby greens
3-4 small red beets, cooked and cut (roast them)
2 ounces candid walnuts or (PomeCranate Honey Walnut Fusion) which is what I did.
Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon honey
Vinaigrette Instructions:
Make the vinaigrette by whisking olive oil, balsamic and honey until smooth. (I also do this the day before and place in the refrigerator.  Just whisk prior to use).
Salad Instructions:
Preheat oven 425'.  Wash beets. Cut off stem.  Oil with Olive Oil. Wrap in foil, enclosing completely. Place on baking sheet and bake 1 hour or so until slightly soft.  I usually do this the day before.  Let cool in refrigerator.  Once cool the peel comes off easily.  Dice.
Divide greens between four bowls.  Tops each with cut up beets.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and walnut toppings.  Top with Vinaigrette.

Creamy Polenta with Goat Cheese 
and Parmesan
5 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, cut in half
1 rosemary sprig
1 thyme sprig
1 1/2 cups polenta (course cornmeal)
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled soft goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan heat the chicken stock over medium heat just until hot.  Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, garlic, shallot, rosemary, thyme, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.  Strain the cream mixture into a heavy large saucepan.  
Slowly whisk the polenta into the hot cream mixture and then whisk in the warm chicken stock.  Whisk the polenta over medium heat until it boils.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring often, for about 1 hour, or until the polenta resembles the consistency of mashed potatoes and no longer has a starchy taste.
Stir in the flat cheese, parmesan cheese, butter, and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make-Ahead: The polenta is vest served as soon as it is made, since it will continue to thicken after it is made and may become too thick.  If the polenta becomes thicker than desired, stir in more hot stock or milk to thin it to the desired consistency.

Molasses and Coffee Pork Chops
Yields: 4 servings
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
6 ounces (unsulfured) molasses by weight
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 (6-8 ounce) bone-in pork chops 1-11/2" thick
Combine all the above ingredients except pork chops into a gallon air lock bag and shake to combine.  Place pork chops into bag and marinate in the refrigerator overnight and into the next day to prepare for dinner.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove pork from bag.  Pour marinade into a saucepan and boil gently over medium-high heat, stirring, until reduced to 1/2 cup, approximately 12-15 minutes.  Remove the thyme stems.
Grill pork chops until the reach an internal temperature of 140-145', about 20-25 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Serve with the glaze.
Great served over Creamy Polenta with Goat Cheese and Parmesan.

 Summer Strawberry Coconut Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 (18.5 ounce) box white cake mix
4 Tablespoons strawberry gelatin powder
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced
1 cup coconut, finely shredded in food processor
Several strawberries to fill cake and garnish
Cake Instructions:
Preheat oven 350'.
Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl and stir together.  Beat in oil, eggs, water, strawberry puree, vanilla, and coconut extract.  Mix well.  Stir in diced strawberries and coconut.  Pour into three 7" round pans (this is what I used), or three 8" rounds pans or two 9" round pans, prepared with baking spray. With rack on 4th row bake for 25-25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean and the cakes are pulling away from the sides of the pans.  Put pans on wire racks and cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and leave on racks to cool completely.   Recipe Adapted from:
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 sticks (2 cups) butter, softened
4 (16 ounce) boxes powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
Cream cheese Frosting Instructions:
Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.   Add vanilla and coconut extract.  Slowly beat in powdered sugar until desired consistency.  Add a tablespoon or so of milk if icing is to thick.