Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black and White Wednesday-Amaretti Al Cafe

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This Amaretti al Caffe, an espresso flavored almond paste cookie has been the go to cookie to bake when I have almond paste on hand. An easy cookie that never fails to please! Originally, a color image with textures added, I have converted it to sepia using Topaz-Black and White Effects

I am submitting this photo 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. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

White Beans and Spinach

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These worn and faded notebook pages came from my husband's grandmother's recipe book given to us by an aunt whom I think had hopes of us recreating the recipe book with photos to match. A daunting task!  Some blank pages were crumbling but I was able to salvage several which I scanned and added the Voyager texture from Flypaper Textures with the idea in mind of incorporating it into my blog somehow and -maybe a cookbook? The dish shown is a recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson's newest book- Super Natural Every Day. Heidi's book is loaded with delicious recipes that are not only healthy, but easy to prepare. Being a food photographer, I have always admired the simplicity and elegance of her photographs. In fact, I was drawn to the book's cover-an antique blue and white bowl brimming with White Beans and Cabbage, the recipe I have adapted here. I have a collection of English blue and white china, but decided to go more rustic with the dish. I had spinach on hand substituting it for the cabbage in the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson's  Super Natural Every Day.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black and White Wednesday-Coswarth House Bed and Breakfast, Cornwall

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 While vacationing in Cornwall, England just recently, we stayed for 4 nights in Coswarth House, a lovely bed and breakfast just a few minutes from the village center of Padstow, renowned not only for its beauty, but also it is home to four seafood restaurants and a patisserie  owned by English chef, Rick Stein.

This is my submission to Black and White Wednesday-A Weekly Culinary Photo Event, created and hosted by a super-talented cook and photographer, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. If you love photos of food related subjects and love to see how they look in black and white, check out Susan's blog. Below are a few photos of the many that we took on our trip to England.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bittersweet Brownies-Tuesdays with Dorie

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A deep, dark bittersweet fudgy brownie guaranteed to please those who take their brownies seriously. And if you are an espresso lover, you can have your coffee and your chocolate at the same time by adding instant espresso to the brownie batter. We like ours with a big scoop of creamy vanilla bean ice cream and a cup of black coffee. Thanks to Leslie of Legally Delicious for her pick this week. Jessica ofCookbook Habit chose the Alsatian Apple Tart which I have not had a chance to bake but, maybe soon.

December's Tuesdays with Dorie hosts are up on the website which will complete the Baking From My Home to Yours baking event. To me, no cookbook library is complete without including this one. All of the recipes are geared toward baking for family, friends and special occasions. My favorites list keeps growing with every recipe I prepare. Thanks to LaurieJules Someone and all the TWD bakers with a special thanks to Dorie Greenspan for writing such a fabulous baking book.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Secret Recipe Club-Mexican Baked Penne Pasta with Chicken

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Mexican Baked Pasta with Chicken
Ready to Bake
A real crowd pleaser, an easy Mexican inspired pasta dish with chicken, penne pasta, and black beans. The flavors of Mexico and the Southwest abound! Cumin, chile powder and oregano along with sauteed green pepper, onion and garlic all come together to add depth to this easily doubled, maybe tripled casserole. Prepared salsa binds the mixture and shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers  gives that wonderful cheesy heat.

Although in the Secret Recipe Club, we have a month to choose a dish from an assigned blog, it was difficult for me to decide what to make from all the delicious recipes that Mary of  Barefeet in the Kitchen had to offer. Several times, I thought I knew exactly what I was going to make and then Mary would post another tantalizing dish. Finally, I chose her  Baked Mexican Cellentani, but used poached chicken instead of ground beef that I had leftover from making pot pies earlier in the week. Mary has a great collection of slow cooker recipes, one in particular, the Split Pea, Potato, Ham and Leek Soup in the Crockpot, I did make, but we enjoyed it all before I could photograph it. Another slow cooker breakfast dish, Favorite Slow-Cooked Almond Raisin Oatmeal, I plan to make later in the week. 

Mexican Baked Penne Pasta with Chicken

1/4 pound mini penne pasta 
1-1/2 cups poached chicken, large dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1- 16 ounce jar prepared salsa-your favorite-mild, medium or hot
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained well
1-1/2- to -2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese with Jalapenos

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook the pasta, drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper, onion and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the poached chicken and spices. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the skillet mixture, the salsa and the black beans. Toss gently to combine. In a 8-inch square dish or a round casserole dish, pour half the pasta mixture in and sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining pasta mixture and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with chopped avocado and sour cream, if desired. Serves 2-4.

Please do not use images or text without my permission.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tervis Tumbler-Ginger Orange Beer

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As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I  recently received the Tervis Tumbler to try out in my home. A microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe  unbreakable tumbler that has a lifetime guarantee-just what I needed to have in my busy kitchen. In jest, I'm accused of constantly having either a glass of iced tea, water or a hot beverage in my hand throughout the day. The Tervis Tumbler seemed to be the perfect vessel for me! Thanks to both companies for giving me the opportunity to try this product.

Last year, I made a  non-alcoholic ginger beer, a refreshing spicy, not-too-sweet cold beverage made from fresh ginger root, brown sugar, lime zest and juice. It was so popular in my house that I wanted to make it again with a different twist. The juice and zest of a large navel orange stood in for one of the limes and while the orange didn't vastly change the flavor of the ginger beer, there was a delightful sparkle to the finished drink. 

Ginger Beer

4 ounces fresh ginger, coarsely chopped-no need to peel
1 lime, zest and juice
1 large navel orange, zest and juice
2 whole cloves
1 cup light brown sugar
Soda, tonic water, or sparkling mineral water

In the bowl of a food processor, process ginger until grated. Remove to a large heatproof pitcher or measuring cup. Add both lime and orange zest and juices, cloves and brown sugar.  Add 4 cups boiling water, then stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool, strain, then chill.  To serve,  half-fill glasses with the ginger beer and top off with the soda, tonic water or sparkling mineral water.  Garnish with lime and orange slices. Top with a maraschino cherry. Serves 4.

Tervis Tumbler was received as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program and Tervis Tumblers. My opinion is my own.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Two Drinks-Blackberry Plum Sangria and Ginger Beer-Black and White Wednesday

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Blackberry Plum Sangria

Ginger Beer

Two beverages originally shot in color and converted to black and white using Topaz Black and White Effects for the Ginger Beer and Silver Efex Pro 2.0 for the Blackberry Plum Sangria which also has a layer of texture brushed away from the pitcher and glasses. These two photos are being submitted to Black and White Wednesday, created and managed by a talented black and white image aficionado, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie-Tuesdays with Dorie

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that this Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie was not your traditional pumpkin-like pie. It contained no eggs, but was a chunky, fruity nutty mixture that was so delicious that there must be other ways to use this delicious filling besides being encased in a pie crust. I just wish now I had made the whole pie instead of settling for a half recipe and making mini-pies. Not having practiced enough with the the Personal Pie maker, I misjudged the thickness of the crust, so ended up with the outer edges of the crust too brown and the pie not done.  So back in they went to finish cooking. I salvaged two of the better ones to photograph, but in my house, we eat my mistakes, so topped those with ice cream. I will continue to practice with the pie maker and hope to finally succeed in turning out the pies I see in the Mini Pies Cookbook.

Thanks to Valerie of  Une Camine dans la Cuisine for choosing this recipe and  who has a beautiful version of this pie on her blog, along with the recipe. Also, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site to view other delicious Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Bavarian Apple Cake

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Volumes have been written about apples, one of the most popular fruits and one of the most versatile of all. The apple is packed full of nutrients, is low in calories and possibly lives up to the adage of "an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The apple tree originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, the ninth largest country in Europe whose borders include Russia, China and the Caspian Sea. Apples are now cultivated worldwide and are available year-round.

When choosing apples, look for firm fruit with no bruising or pressure marks which denote a mottled pulp. Wash apples thoroughly before using to clean off dust or pesticide or fungicide sprays. Apples keep for several days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

While there are thousands upon thousands of recipes for apples, sweet and savory, this Bavarian Apple Cake is one that I've made many times. Delicious for picnics, brunches, for dessert or just about any time, the cake is basically a yeast-raised dough made simple by processing in a bread machine on the dough cycle. 

Bavarian Apple Cake

1-1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk

2 large baking apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

For the dough-Add all the ingredients for the dough in the order suggested by your bread machine manual and process on the dough cycle according to manufacturer's directions.
At the end of the dough cycle, remove the dough from the machine. Preheat oven to375°.
On a lightly oiled  baking sheet, press out the dough with hands into a 10-inch circle. Peel and core the apples, then cut them into thin slices. Arrange the slices in concentric circles on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and ginger and sprinkle over the apples. Sprinkle the finely chopped crystallized ginger over the apples. Bake 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.

Note-If you prefer a thinner cake, divide the dough in half, spread into a 10-inch circle, but double the topping ingredients and follow instructions for topping the dough with the sliced apples. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Yields one thick cake or two thinner cakes.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #308 which begins its 6th successful year! Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, the lovely and adept manager of WHB is hosting #308, having been given the honor by Kalyn, the creator of this popular and informative event.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lanhydrock House Scullery-Black and White Wednesday

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The scullery at Lanhydrock House in Cornwall, England, one of the several rooms dedicated to preparing food for the many generations of Robartes family. Lanhydrock House was built in the 1620's and was occupied by the same family until 1953 when it was given to the The National Trust. For Black and White Wednesday, created and hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook who has one of the best blog events going in the blogger world. Image shot with a Leica d-lux5, uploaded to an iPad and edited with Snapseed.  Because we travel frequently, either in the car or on an airplane, this editing program is my go to for the times when I don't want to use my computer. Before I travel, I use a card reader to upload the photos I want to edit, then while on the road or in the air, I can access them easily.
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.