Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Eggs-Black and White Wednesday

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"It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs."
Margaret Thatcher 

I'm fortunate to have a supply of eggs from a family member whose chickens lay the most beautiful brown eggs, some small, nearly bantam size and some with double yolks like large yellow-orange orbs. I enjoy shooting images of eggs as they have so many variations of brown, white and beige. Some have perfect coloration while others look as if they have had a brown or beige color wash applied.  

Submitted to Black and White Wednesday created and hosted by Susan of the Well-Seasoned Cook.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flip-Over Plum Cake-Tuesdays with Dorie

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A pleasing cross between a cake and a pudding, Dorie's Flip-Over Plum Cake is one comfort cake that  will definitely appear over and over again on your family table or to serves guest. Not a fancy cake, but   the exotic flavors of the ubiquitous cinnamon, the peppy fragrant ginger and the lemony tones of ground coriander marry well with the diminutive Italian prune plum.  The smaller Italian prune plum, a lovely dark purple when ripe, is the plum of choice here, however, any stone fruit would work equally as well. The Flip-Over Plum cake can be assembled and put in the oven to cook while you prepare and serve dinner. Once out of the oven, allow it to cool slightly, then spoon out into individual bowls. No need to gild the lily, but a big scoop of vanilla ice cream would be delicious.

Usually I have my list of ingredients with me when I grocery shop, but this time, I had only quickly glanced at the recipe, so didn't realize I needed two pounds of the plums instead of the one pound.Since there are only two of us at home, I halved the recipe and after looking  through my stash of dried fruits  found a partial package of dried tart cherries to add to the mix-(1/2 cup added to the pound of sliced plums).  The cherries were fabulous paired with the plums giving the pudding a nice tangy chew.  Now I have another favorite to add to the growing list!

Becky of Project Domestication has the recipe on her blog or you can find it on page 42 of Baking From My Home to Yours. Next week, Katrina of Baking and the Boys has chosen Apple Nut Muffin Cake on page 37. 

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cafe de Olla-Thirsty Thursday

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UPDATE-March 1, 2015
This one from the archives for the last day of our culinary wanderings through Guadalajara, Mexico.   Lucia Ciattaglia of Torta di Rose has been our lovely tour guide for this part of our journey of the World Culinary ABC

A warming coffee from our neighbors south of the border, cafe de olla is infused with cinnamon, brown sugar,  a smidgen of molasses and a dark roast coffee but not as hearty as espresso. Left to steep briefly, the hot coffee is then strained into cups. An olla is an unglazed earthenware jar commonly used for storage, cooking food and beverages, or as a container for water. 

Spices vary, so if you like anise or cloves, by all means add it. Piloncillo a Mexican brown sugar is traditional, but dark brown sugar is acceptable. This coffee can also become a cold drink laced with a coffee liqueur and  topped with whipped cream.

Cafe de Olla

1-3/4 pints water
5 ounces dark brown sugar or piloncillo
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 ounces dark-roast coffee, (French or Viennese) medium grind

Place the water, sugar, molasses and cinnamon stick in a pan and bring to a boil slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar and molasses. When the mixture reaches a boiling point, stir in the coffee, remove from heat, cover and steep for five minutes. Using a sieve and a coffee filter, strain into mugs and serve hot. Serves 4.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tea for Two-Black and White Wednesday

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For Black and White Wednesday, created and hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Salt and Pepper Cocoa Shortbreads-Tuesdays with Dorie

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Very much a shortbread cookie, not too sweet, a little snappy from the addition of fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper. A slice and bake icebox cookie that is easily put together, rolled into logs, then refrigerated for several hours or even frozen until needed. Freshly baked cookies on demand for serving with espresso, a cup of strong tea or a glass of ice cold milk. 

Thanks to Tia of Buttercream Barbie for her pick for  this edition TWD. Check out her blog for the recipe or if you have a copy of Baking From My Home to Yours, it will be on page128.  Next Tuesday, Becky of Project Domestication has chosen Flip over Plum Cake on page 42. 

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Hearty Corn Chowder-Secret Recipe Club

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It's that time again for the Secret Recipe Club reveal day! It's exciting to be assigned to another food blog and go through the process of choosing a recipe to make for  the event.  AndiWinslow, author of The Wednesday Baker lives in Maine, loves  flower and vegetable gardening, cooking for her family and most of all, loves to bake with sugar she says she is addicted to. Her blog posts are filled with gorgeous photos of the sweets she bakes for her family and friends. I plan on baking many of them, but Fall is in the air and I am in a soup mood! A hearty, chunky and delicious looking Corn Chowder redolent with the flavor of crisp bacon and onions caught my eye while perusing the soups section. 

Corn Chowder
  • 6-8 slices of  slab bacon
  •  2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cans creamed corn, or homemade
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn, drained, or 2-3 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half and half 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh or dried parsley, optional
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon slices until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. When cooled, break into pieces. Reserve.
  2. Saute the onions over medium heat in the bacon fat until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. 
  3. Add the chopped potatoes and chicken broth. Cook 6-8 minutes until potatoes are done, but not too soft.
  4. Add the creamed corn, whole corn, milk, half and half and seasonings. Reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes. Swirl in the butter and add the reserved crisp bacon.
  5. While the corn chowder is delicious just made, the flavors meld after a day in the refrigerator. 
  6. Makes about 6 servings.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gin and It (Italian)-Thirsty Thursday

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A cocktail thought to have been invented during Prohibition, the Gin and It is the shortened form of gin and Italian, the Italian being a sweet red vermouth. The original proportions were 4 parts sweet vermouth and 1 part gin, but as the cocktail evolved, the drink consisted of equal parts vermouth and gin, or "fitty fitty" as it was ordered in a bar around 1900.

Gin and It

2 ounces gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
dash orange bitters

Add gin, sweet vermouth and a dash of orange bitters to a rocks glass with a few ice cubes in it. Stir, and add a twist of lemon peel. Makes 1 drink.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Antique Wooden Bowl with Popcorn-Black and White Wednesday

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All packed and ready to go away for a week in Savannah! With some time to spare, I threw a linen cloth on my dining table, poured some popcorn kernels in my favorite old wooden bowl, added a  rustic- carved wooden scoop and began to shooting handheld, my camera on the monochrome setting.  Of the six or seven shots, I chose this one to post for  Black and White Wednesday created and hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.

No special filter this time-only levels and curves adjusted in post processing.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Classic Brownies-Tuesdays with Dorie

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The very first dessert I made as a newlywed was one pot brownies. I could double even triple the recipe and it always turned out. The chocolate and butter were melted over low heat; the pot removed from the stove, then the sugar was basically dumped in which cooled the mixture for the addition of the eggs. I baked so many brownies that I had it down to a fine science! So I hoped that the classic brownies would be just as easy as my one pot ones. Not to worry, they turned out fine!

Thanks to Anne Strawberry for her Tuesdays with Dorie pick of Classic Brownies on page 88 of Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Next Tuesday,  Tia of Buttercream Barbie has chosen Salt and Pepper Shortbread on page 128.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembrance Cakes for 9-11-Marmalade Gingerbread

Print Friendly and PDF 9-11 Remembrance –

In remembrance of that day that changed all our lives forever, especially the families of those nearly 3000 hard working and fun loving souls from 70 countries who were murdered on 9-11-01 by those who hate. It was the beginning of an ordinary day for me. I was headed to finish up last minute shopping for a trip to England on the 14th to attend a dear friend's wedding and then off to Cornwall, England for a few days with the parents of the groom. As I was parking, I heard the shocking news! Shopping forgotten, I drove home to begin calling the members of my family some of whom were traveling on business. I'm thankful they were safe, but many families learned the worst as time passed.

Marla of Family Fresh Cooking has asked we "bloggers with a voice" come together and bake in remembrance of the 10 year anniversary of that tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who lost family members, so we bake in memory.

A moist spicy gingerbread redolent with citrus from the addition of orange marmalade. A lovely cake for dessert slathered with whipped cream or sliced thin and spread with butter or cream cheese for tea.
To ensure a moist cake, don't over mix or over bake! A tester inserted in the center of the cake should contain a few crumbs.

Marmalade Gingerbread
Serves 12

1 cup orange marmalade
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1-1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs

Whipped cream and chopped crystallized ginger, for serving

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together the orange marmalade, molasses and butter. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in finely chopped fresh ginger.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10 cup bundt or ring cake pan. Alternately, use smaller bundt cake pans or cupcake pans..

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In another larger bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs. Stir in the cooled marmalade mixture. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake about 40 minutes for large bundt pan, 20-25 minutes for smaller bundt  pans or about 15 minutes for cupcakes. Cool cakes on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out on a rack and cool completely before cutting. The cake can be baked two days ahead, wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature. Slice and serve with the whipped cream and chopped or thinly sliced crystallized ginger. Adapted from Cooking for the Weekend by  the late Michael McLaughlin.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Port in a Storm Cocktail-Thirsty Thursday

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Tropical storms and hurricanes are at their peak in September. While watching the daily updates on where the storms will go and how strong they will be, try mixing up the ideal cocktail for the season-Port in a Storm. If hurricane watching isn't your preoccupation, watch the classic Columbo episode Any Port in a Storm. The late Peter Falk was one of the best!

The Port in a Storm libation is tantalizing  mix of Port and red wine, plus a generous splash of Cognac for good measure. There are many variations of this cocktail, but this one is pure elegance!

Port in a Storm Cocktail

 2 measures red wine (about 44 ml-3 tablespoons)

1-1/2 measures red port-(30 ml-6 teaspoons)

1/2 measure cognac (10 ml-2 teaspoons)

In a small cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes, pour in the red wine, port and cognac. Shake briefly to chill, then strain into a highball glass with several ice cubes. Or drink the chilled drink neat. Makes one drink.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Sandfly BBQ Restaurant Chalkboard Menu-Black and White Wednesday

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Just like the gnat or biting fly it's named for, Sandfly, Georgia is just a  tiny dot on the map near Savannah, Georgia. Settled by the freed slaves of Noble Jones,Wormsloe plantation owner, the little township concentrated at the intersection of Skidaway Road and Ferguson Avenue has a plethora of restaurants, one grocery store, and several other necessary places of business.

As you are driving toward Sandfly, you can see curls of smoke rising from the wood-burning smoker just across from the restaurant, then aroma becomes more intense as you near the Sandfly BBQ Restaurant. As a barbecue aficionado, I'm drawn to this tiny space and have frequented it many times. The sandwiches are delicious-pulled pork on a soft bun served with classic coleslaw. If you are really hungry-a plate of the same or if you are a beef lover, try the brisket. I have not had the ribs or the chicken, but there is always a next time.

This is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday, created and hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. At the moment, I can't remember which camera I used to shoot this photo, but it was converted to black and white using Snapseed for iPad.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Chocolate Spice Quickies

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A gem of a cookie and so easy to make! Forget those slice and bake cookies in the grocery store, they don't come close to the flavor of homemade. The dough is a breeze to make in the food processor, but needs at least four hours in the refrigerator before slicing and baking. These can be popped in the oven and out in seven minutes great for a cookies and milk snack for the kids when they come home from school.

Jessica of My Baking Heart picked these delightful, slightly spicy chocolate cookies for this Tuesday with Dorie. You can find the recipe on her site or on page 140 of Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Next Tuesday, Anne of Anne Strawberry will feature Classic Brownies on page 88.

As always, I like to play around with my photos. With these, I shot three images, one at the correct exposure, one over-exposed and one under-exposed. I then processed them with Nik HDR Efex Pro. I haven't experimented much with food photography in HDR because sometimes you get some very unpalatable looking food, but decided to give a try for the cookie photos today.
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Monday, September 05, 2011

Bibb Lettuce and Radish Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

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The little black dress of salads, this simple Bibb lettuce salad has no exotic ingredients and is dressed with a buttermilk salad dressing that can be doubled or tripled and kept in the refrigerator until needed. Fresh crisp radishes and the delicate onion flavor of snipped chives and lots of coarsely ground black pepper grace the completed salad.

Bibb lettuce, a cultivar of the butterhead lettuce family, has large loose buttery-textured leaves with a slightly sweet  flavor with colors ranging from pale green to pale yellow green. The lettuce is quite fragile and requires gentle handling of the leaves when washing. Unwashed Bibb lettuce can be kept stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but once washed should be used immediately. When buying Bibb lettuce, avoid broken wilted leaves. Original recipe here (Food and Wine).

Bibb Lettuce and Radish Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Serves 8

For the salad
3 large heads Bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves washed and dried
6-8 large radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup snipped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce with the radishes and chives. To make the dressing, whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise and red wine vinegar until smooth. Gradually whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over and serve.

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Raspberry and Champagne Crush-Thirsty Thursday

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This sparkling fruity crush is so easy, it will become your go to drink for brunch or any celebration you choose. Pureed and seeded raspberries, champagne, Prosecco or any sparkling wine along with a good Cognac make up this simple elegant libation. Blackberries would be delicious, too. Similar to a Buck's Fizz (orange juice and champagne) named after the London Buck's Club where it was invented as an excuse to begin drinking early.

Raspberry and Champagne Crush

6 ounces fresh raspberries
1-2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cognac
8 ounces champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

Puree the raspberries in a food processor. Push the puree through a sieve and then add the sugar, to taste. Pour the cognac into two glasses. Return the raspberry puree to the food processor, add the champagne or sparkling wine and blend briefly. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

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