Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sidewalk Chalk Art

Using the sidewalk as a canvas, the best Mother's Day card was drawn on the path for all to enjoy.  It was perfect for a photo op as walkers passed by.  I wonder how many did partake in having their Mother's Day photo shoot standing beside this piece of art, I know I did.  

Malia the artist💓

My Mother's Day card.

She met this cute little guy while we were on a garden tour.  I thought she was going to bring him home.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bacon Jam

Tonight is bookclub and the publication that was selected to read was, "The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry."   It takes place mainly in a bookstore called Island Books and is located on a small peninsula called Alice Island.  Once in a while a book comes along that captures your heart and soul and part of you wants to pack a bag and journey to that magical place. 

 It's our time to host and burgers have been on my mind for weeks and what would be better than Bacon Jam to spread on it.  Sweet and spicy, just like I like it.  A perfect meal while we discuss A.J. Fikry, Maya, Amelia and the people of Alice Island.

Bacon Jam
1 pound thick cut bacon
2 cups large yellow onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1.  Preheat oven to 400'.  Put baking sheet on middle rack in oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until desired crispiness.   You'll want the bacon fairly crispy for the bacon jam.
2.  When the bacon is cooked to your liking, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.  Pat dry with a paper-towel to remove the bacon fat.  Reserve the bacon fat left in the baking sheet.
3.  Heat 2 Tablespoons bacon fat over medium heat in a skillet.  Add the onions and stir.  Allow the onions to cook for about 10 minutes.
4.  While the onions are cooking, chop the bacon and set aside.  After about 10 minutes, you'll notice the onion are starting to turn a light golden color.  Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and stir in 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar, 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Stir to combine.
5.  Add the chopped bacon and stir 1/2 cup water into bacon mixture.  Cook until the overall color is a dark brown bacon color and has a jam consistency, about 15 minutes.  Give the Bacon Jam a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
6.  Allow the bacon jam to cool slightly and transfer to a serving dish.  Store bacon jam in a airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

One word to describe this book, heartwarming.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tres Leches Cake

While talking to my mama recently, I was telling her that we had friends coming for dinner to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, not that I needed an excuse to have Mexican food, my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e cuisine.   Our friends that joined us for our feast are Indian, so my mama say's "why are they celebrating Cinco De Mayo their not Mexican?"  Hmmm I then had to point out to my sweet mama,  neither am I.  😏

With our nationality taken care of it was time to focus on food, most importantly the dessert.  Tres Leches Cake or as some call it Three Milk Cake has been on my list to make for a long time.   This cake is soooo good!!!  Easy to make. Best made the day before, which is nice if you are having a dinner and you can make it and mark it off your list.  This dessert is perfect for summer or anytime.  



Tres Leches Cake
Best Made The Day Before
Serves: 12
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 whole large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Maraschino Cherries, optional.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Dry really well on paper towels to keep from bleeding on your Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting.
1.  Preheat oven to 350'.  Spray a 9X13" pan with baking spray.
2.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.  Separate eggs.
3.  Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup granulated sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow.  Stir in whole milk and vanilla.  Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
4.  Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.  With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
5.  Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined.  Pour into pan that has been sprayed with baking spray and spread to even out the surface.
6.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter or leave in pan as I did and allow to cool.
7.  Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream in a small pitcher.  When cake is cool, pierce the surface of cake with a fork several times all over the top.  Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture, try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.  Do this very slowly or the liquid will go straight to the bottom of the pan instead of soaking into the cake.
8.  Allow the cake to absorb the mixture for 30 minutes or so.  I actually covered it and put it in the refrigerator to get cold.   You want the cake to be cold before you put the frosting on.
9.  Make frosting using Stabilized Whipped Cream recipe below.  Frost cake.  Cover and Refrigerate!!!
Recipe adapted from: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/tres-leches-cake/

Stabilized Whipped Cream
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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

After spending the early part of the day in the Garden District we made our way over to Louis Armstrong Park to hear a little jazz.  Carla greeted us as we entered and convinced us we needed some hats for protection, especially since we were attending the Jazz Festival.  


Second Line Parade starts off the concert at Louis Armstrong Park.

Greg and Karen

Me and Stone

Goofing off in the French Quarter while waiting to get into Preservation Hall.

 The French Quarter
Bourbon Street

Stone and I ready for Jazz Fest

Thousands gather while waiting for Harry Connick, Jr  to perform.


Members of the Second Line Parade

 After 10 years Harry Connick, Jr. returned to his home town to perform at Jazz Fest.

"Scrap House"  A memorial to hurricane Katrina

Stone and I along the Mighty Mississippi