Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black and White Wednesday-A Photo for Susan

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Some friends of Susan  and participants in the blog event Black and White Wednesday are posting photos as get well wishes for Susan whose hard work made the culinary monochrome event very popular with food photographers and for those who love food related subjects devoid of color showing texture and the many tones of black and white. Astrid from Paulchens Food Blog has set up a Black and White Wednesday-Culinary Edition group on Flickr for Susan to peruse while recovering from an illness that has temporarily curtailed her managing BWW.  Several other bloggers have used Wednesdays also to post photos for Susan. Some I know of are-Simona of Bricole, Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums, Briii of Briggishome and Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything Once

Get well soon, Susan!

Campari Tomatoes Still-Life
(Canon 5D Mark 11, HDR, Silver Efex Pro 2.0)

Antique Forks Triptych

Antique Forks Still Life-Homage to Bob Carlos Clarke

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls-Bread Machine

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I suppose if I'm  well-known in my family for a specific dish, it would be chicken enchiladas (which one day, I will photograph the dish before it's devoured) and these cinnamon rolls. I began making them for my girls before they went off to college and continued to bring them to their dorm mates and boyfriends. Now that they are all married and I have grandchildren, I have begun a new tradition. 

Now instead of the mixer, I use my bread machine to make the dough and they come together in a snap. Also, I used to bake the cinnamon rolls as you would bake any roll, but I've found that by cooking them all-together in a pan, they rise better and and don't dry out as fast. Of course, they are usually consumed before they have a chance to dry out. And while, I love nuts and sometimes raisins, the palates of my grandchildren don't agree. These are delicious!

Cinnamon Rolls-Bread Machine

For the Dough
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast or fast-acting
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg

For the Filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

For the Icing
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 tablespoons milk, or more

In a saucepan, heat milk and 2 tablespoons butter until very warm. Place milk mixture, salt, flour, yeast, sugar and egg to the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Process on the dough cycle.

When the dough cycle has completed, remove dough to a lightly floured surface, cover with bread machine pan. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Roll out dough into a large rectangle. Spread the softened butter all over leaving about 1/2-inch at the edges. Combine the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over the dough.

Roll the dough into a log, beginning at the long side. Cut into 12 slices. Place the rolls cut side down in a 9x13 greased baking pan. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine the confectioners' sugar, melted butter, vanilla and the 1-1/2 tablespoons milk until a thick frosting is attained. Set aside while baking the rolls.

Bake the rolls in the oven until golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove to a rack and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Spread the frosting over the rolls. Makes 12 rolls.

All photos were shot with an iPhone 4 and processed with various apps including Instagram, and PicFrame.
Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Herb Blogging #321-the Roundup

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Welcome to the roundup for Weekend Herb Blogging #321. Feast your eyes on some unbelievably beautiful photos and some delicious dishes from all around the globe. If I have missed anyone, please let me know. My brain sometimes switches off especially when I've been partying with my grandkids in North Carolina this weekend where it began snowing at exactly the same hour the birthday party was to be held.  We don't see much snow here in Georgia where I live so it was exciting. Without further ado---

This flavorful  and colorful stir-fry comes together easily with some advance preparation of each component.  Using a combination of fresh vegetables, baked tofu, quinoa or a favorite grain with an orange and sesame enhanced sauce, Janet comes up with a winner.
Janet-Toasted Sesame Orange Teriyaki Vegetable and Quinoa Bowl
The Taste Space
Toronto, Canada

Also, hosting the Italian version of WHB #321 , Terry submits these delightful mini carrot cakes with ground almonds, heady with lemon oil and a perfect breakfast treat. 
Crumpets and Co
Venice, Italy

Stir-fried separately with garlic and ginger,  preserving the integrity of each of the trio of vegetables with the cabbage-green onion stir-fried last for caramelization, allows Tigerfish to construct a an Asian composed salad each with distinct flavors.
Tigerfish-Trio of Vegetables Stir Fry
An Escape to Food
California, USA

Johanna whirs up an emerald green basil pesto to spread on a tomato cheese sandwich as well as adding a dollop to a  hearty minestrone soup. Discarding conventional wisdom on how to keep the color green, Johanna leaves the top off  in the refrigerator. Looks like I misread Johanna's advice on how to keep the pesto green. She does, in fact, store the pesto covered in the refrigerator-just loved the bright color when she opened the lid.
Johanna-Basil Pesto
Green Gourmet Giraffe Blog
Melbourne, Australia

Haalo's intensely flavored chili sauce made from the moderately picante dried Guajillo chili comes from a recipe on the iPad version of Bon Appetit and used in the preparation of the delicious breakfast dish called chiliquiles, a casserole of fried wedges of tortillas layered with cheese and topped with a fried egg.
Haalo-Guajillo Chili Sauce
Cook (almost) Anything Once
Melbourne, Australia

Not only are nuts delicious dipped in chocolate, but also tantalizing and novel are these heart-shaped slices of roasted beets dipped in dark chocolate from Simona who suggests that when buying fresh beets with greens, cut the stems about an inch above the beet.
Simona-Chocolate-Covered Red Beet Hearts
California, USA

With lovely travel photos of sunshine and snow to accompany, Brii brings us a old recipe revisited using mandarins. Her mandarin cake topped with mandarins in syrup looks like decadence on a plate.
Brii-Soft Mandarin Cake with Mandarins in Syrup
 Garda Lake and the Monte Baldo, Italy

Lovely little confections fashioned from cornflakes and various chocolates are served to us by Cinzia who is kind enough to post this delightful sweet even while on holiday in the mountains. Even though the sweets share a common ingredient, they look entirely different.
Garda Lake, Italy

Two vegetable dishes, mushrooms and spinach, can be either served as sides to a grilled steak, chicken or fish entree or part of a small plate meal. Serrano ham flavors the already flavorful mushrooms and pine nuts add crunch to the wilted spinach.
Cafe Lynnylu
Georgia, USA

Hosting WHB #322 will be the trio of Aitina, Branka and Conchita or A.B.C of Fragoliva

Until next time, 
Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Vegetable Duo-Garlicky Fried Mushrooms and Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts-Weekend Herb Blogging #321

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Two delicious vegetables, mushrooms and spinach, make their appearance in a duo of easy and healthy
Tapas dishes. The garlicky fried mushrooms are a mixture of the common white, or supermarket  mushroom, and baby bella, the diminutive of the portabella mushroom . Serrano ham and garlic add a jolt of flavor to the mushrooms. The quickly cooked fresh spinach is topped with toasted pine nuts and raisins for extra crunch with a chewy sweetness.

While the white mushroom is the more common variety and is readily available fresh in the grocery store, it is actually a younger cousin of the crimini mushroom,  a little older,  brown in color with a slightly fuller flavor due to its age. Mushrooms, as well as spinach are regarded highly in world's healthiest food category. Both are high in antioxidants and vitamins. When buying either mushrooms or spinach, choose the freshest available. A good tip is to check with the produce manager in your grocery store to find out what day the vegetables come into the store.

Garlicky Fried Mushrooms
Serve with crusty bread to sop up the juices or atop grilled bread for an appetizer.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound white or brown mushrooms or a mixture, washed, if desired or wipe clean, stems trimmed and halved if large
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup diced Serrano ham, or ham of choice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grilled or toasted bread

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add mushrooms in a layer stem sides down and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes longer, or until golden.

Add the garlic and the ham, reduce the heat to medium and cook one minute. Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, stir  and season with salt and pepper.

Serve at once with the bread on the side or spooned atop grilled bread. Serves 4 as a main and 8 as part of a small plate meal.

Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

1/4 cup raisins, plumped in hot water for about 30 minutes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds spinach, tough stems removed, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook, turning and stirring constantly with tongs, until just wilted, 3-5 minutes.  Drain the raisins and add to the pan along with toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish and serve warm. Serves 4 as a main or 6 as part of a small plate meal.

Both recipes adapted from Joyce Goldstein's Tapas. This is my entry to WHB #321 of which I am the host of for the week of February 13-19th. Roundup for this event will be posted here on Monday, the 20th.  

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weekend Herb Blogging #321

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Imagine a blog event lasting over six years and still going strong! I'm happy as always to host this popular event created by by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and is now being managed by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once

The rules are very simple, but for those of you who are new to WHB, the goal is to inform your readers about using the many plants and herbs that we may have seen, but have not used in cooking.  Posts must be written specifically for WHB and cannot be cross-posted to another event, however, photos from the posts can be submitted to DMBLGIT.

Looking forward to your entries! Email your entries to me at  lynnylu AT gmail Dotcom no later than 3pm Sunday Utah time, February 19th with WHB in the subject line.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tuscan Coffeecake-Secret Recipe Club

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Tuscan Coffeecake
The Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers and foodies who enjoy preparing recipes from other members blogs. Each member is assigned another member's blog to prepare and post a dish on the selected reveal day for that particular group. It is a secret, hence the moniker. As always, I have a difficult time choosing a recipe amongst all the tantalizing photos of culinary delights. However, after perusing the yeast breads featured by Karen of Karen Cooks, I knew I had at least narrowed it down. Karen prepares many delicious dishes and like myself, she likes to bake breads. The Tuscan Coffeecake with its Italian name caught my eye immediately, so the choice was made. Originally from King Arthur Flour, the cake is chocked full of dried fruit and toasted walnuts-a hearty slightly sweet bread that incorporates a starter to further enhances the flavor and quality of the baked product. Because the dough is a thick heavy one, I used my bread machine to mix and knead, adding the fruit and nuts later in the cycle. If you don't have a bread machine, I suggest using a heavy-duty mixer to knead the dough.

A few words about Karen that I learned while reading her blog-she loves photographing her family, calls her husband-the gardener and has recently set up a gardening blog-Karen Cooks and Gardens, a perfect site for one who loves to cook with fresh herbs and vegetables. Not only a bread aficionado, but also prepares many delicious Mexican and Portuguese dishes. I also made her Chile Verde, but it's in the freezer now awaiting its turn at dinner. The recipe is as it reads on Karen's blog with the exception of one or two substitutions noted in parentheses. I saw no reason to mess with a good thing-so to speak.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour and Karen Cooks

1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
Mix the starter ingredients in a small (about 1-quart) bowl, and let rest overnight at room temperature.

all of the starter
2/3 cup water
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup toasted walnuts, very coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped dates-(I used chopped dried prune plums)
3/4 cup raisins, golden preferred

2 tablespoons sugar (I used Turbinado sugar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I used powdered vanilla)
1 teaspoon water (2 teaspoons of water if using powdered vanilla)
Combine the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth, supple dough. It’ll be very slack; for this reason, I suggest kneading in a bread machine, or with a mixer, rather than by hand. Place the dough in a bowl, and let it rise about 1 hour. It may not double in bulk; that’s OK.

Gently deflate the dough, and knead the nuts and fruit into it. Shape the dough into a flat ball, and place it in a 9-inch round cake pan. Cover the pan with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise for 30 minutes, or till it barely crests over the top of the pan.

Combine the sugar, vanilla and water, and drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen coffeecake. Bake it in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190°F. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes, carefully turn it out of the pan. Allow it to cool on a rack. Yield: 1 cake, about 8 to 10 servings.
Tuscan Coffeecake Dip

Leftover coffeecake can be sliced, toasted and spread with cream cheese. Part of a Valentine's tea party, maybe?

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Salmon Gravlax on a Himalayan Salt Block

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One beautiful day a few months ago, while walking around downtown Savannah, we wandered into a shop called the Salt Table. Super curious as I couldn't imagine a store just with salt to sell, but wow was I amazed at the various salt products-salt seasonings, savory and sweet, Himalayan salt blocks for cooking and serving, pottery and even a local honey. I chose one pink Himalayan salt block mainly for its beauty and as a potential serving plate for sushi, ice cream or cheese and crackers. I was told that each block is at least 200 million years old and are found exclusively in Pakistan's Himalayan Mountain Range. After arriving back home, I began a search for recipes using the block. A salmon gravlax recipe from Mark Bitterman's Salted, a Manifesto piqued my interest, but it required two salt blocks. So back to the store for another one!
Salmon Gravlax
The above photo shows the first two steps of the process of curing the salmon. A bed of fresh dill  is laid upon the block, then the salmon which was rubbed with a brown sugar, dry mustard, coriander seed and black pepper curing mixture. Another bed of dill is laid on top of the salmon. The bottom set of photos shows the top salt block pressed on top of the dill. The two blocks are wrapped in plastic wrap, then placed on a 1-inch deep baking pan and refrigerated for 1-3 days. Upon checking the salmon, two days was enough to cure the two fillets.
Salmon Gravlax-Himalayan Salt Block 2

Salmon Gravlax on a Himalayan Salt Block

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 Himalayan salt blocks, same size each
1 piece commercially frozen salmon fillets to fit salt block, thawed
1 bunch fresh dill, reserve some for garnish

Creme fraiche, toast points, or crackers to serve. Sprigs of dill for garnish

Combine brown sugar, black pepper, dry mustard and coriander seeds. Rub it on the fleshy side of the salmon. Using photos above as a guide, lay a bed of fresh dill on one salt block. Lay salmon over the dill. Top with another bed of fresh dill. Place second salt block over the assembled salmon. Wrap the salmon salt block "sandwich" with plastic wrap and place on a rimmed baking sheet. The salmon will exude some juices while it is curing. Refrigerate for 1-3 days depending on the thickness of the salmon fillets. Mine took 2 days. The salmon should lose its raw look, feel resilient to the touch and be somewhat opaque.

When salmon has cured, rinse fillets in water and pat dry. Thinly slice and serve with crackers, creme fraiche or toast points. Garnish with dill. Salmon will last several days refrigerated.

Two Salt Blocks with Carry Bags

Helpful links and Sources
At the Meadow
Salt News
The Salt Table

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

White Loaves-Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia

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"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"
--Julia Child

Another round of baking-this time the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group will be using Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  If you aren't familiar with the book, it's a collection of recipes based  the PBS series  hosted by the unforgettable Julia Child. The group tops 300 members and will be baking bi-monthly instead of weekly as was the case in the TWD baking group.

White Loaves, the inaugural recipe was chosen by Laurie and Jules. Group rules state only the hosts feature the recipe so you will find it on Jules site or on page 81 of Baking with Julia. This bread recipe is a basic bread you will love to serve with soups, for sandwiches or toast. One loaf went in the freezer for later in the week. It's relatively easy white bread recipe with added butter for a tender white crumb and familiarizes one with using yeast. It can be made completely by hand or with a heavy duty mixer using the kneading tool. If using the mixer, take care as mine danced all over the counter during the 10 minute kneading cycle. In other words, stay close! 

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