Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Black and White Wednesday #56- Fall Squash and Popcorn on the Cob Still Life

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Below are three photos in various stages of adjustments finally ending in the a black and white version which is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #56 hosted this week by Lail of With a Spin. Black and White Wednesday was created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and is now organized by Cinzia of CindyStar Blog.

Although there is good detail in the image, it's very drab. In Camera Raw, the recovery, fill light, vibrance, and clarity numbers were increased just a little to enhance the photo before going through a series of filters with 2 layers of  texture to finish. I usually use a tripod for shooting still life images, but was in a hurry and wanted to get this posted. 

Image processed in Rad Lab and two layers of the texture "written" by Kim Klassen was added. Further adjustments were minor-levels and curves.

Converting to  black and white conversion was simple using Nik Efex 4.0, with an additional glamour glow filter to finish the image off.

Back in my early days of blogging, I wrote a very simple post on baking Carnival Squash. Every Fall, it seems to be one of the most clicked on posts of mine. More information on winter squash can be found here.

Carnival Squash Trio
Carnival Squash

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Apple Butter Blueberry Bread

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This sweet, slightly biscuit-like bread baked like an upside down cake with a syrupy nutty apple glaze was originally a slow cooker bread that I was experimenting on. Never having made bread in my slow cooker, it was worth a try. Then I realized after I was nearly finished preparing the batter that it would make a very thin bread in my oblong slow cooker, so I began thinking I would bake it like an upside down cake. I'm very happy with the results and would like to share this bread with you. With the holidays not far off, I think this would make a great breakfast bread for family and friends to enjoy.

With a plethora of apples picked while visiting family in Ohio, I have made my own apple butter and with the red peelings of the apples, an apple simple syrup which I hoped to use in a Fall cocktail, but decided to use it as a glaze for the bread. I think it gave a wonderful intensely flavored glaze for the bread, but feel free to substitute any flavored syrup such as maple syrup.

Apple Blueberry Bread
Serves 6-8

  • 3/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, or light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (to coat blueberries)
  • 1/2 apple simple syrup (recipe follows), or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup whole pecans, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together apple butter, half and half and turbinado or brown sugar.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the 1/4 cup butter until pieces are pea size. Add the apple butter mixture-stir until just combined. In a small bowl, coat the blueberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour. Fold the blueberries into the batter. The dough will be thick.
  3. In an 8-inch cake pan at least 1-1/2 inched deep, pour in melted butter, drizzle in apple or maple syrup. Place the toasted pecans around the pan.
  4. Pat the dough over the pan pressing down to completely cover the melted butter/syrup.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Apple Simple Syrup
Recipe from Post Prohibition

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups turbinado sugar
  • peelings from 5-6 red apples
  1. Combine water, turbinado sugar and apple peelings in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer 30-45 minutes. Strain into sterilized jars, add a jigger of vodka and keep refrigerated up to 3 weeks. Great for cocktails, too

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seafood Sausage Gumbo with Okra

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A favorite during the crab and shrimp season here in coastal Georgia, this seafood sausage gumbo is sure to be a dish that will be repeated over and over in my repertoire of hearty comfort food. However, you don't have to go crabbing or shrimping, prepared seafood is readily available in the seafood section of your grocery store or at your local fishmonger. 

What's interesting about this gumbo is the okra is sautéed before it is added to the other ingredients. By doing this, the okra is not quite as viscous. I reserved some for a garnish. Making a good roux is an integral part of making a successful gumbo. Not difficult to make, but needs constant stirring to ensure even browning. Do not leave the pot unattended as it could burn very quickly!

Seafood and Sausage Gumbo
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup
Serves 6

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3/4 pound fresh okra, ends trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 5 cups fish stock, bottled clam juice or chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons creole seasoning, recipe below
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage or preferred spicy sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup crabmeat, picked over for bits of shells
  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add okra, and sauté, stirring occasionally until browned and softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  2. To the same pot, warm the remaining oil for two minutes. Add flour, whisking until incorporated. Cook the roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until dark brown, about 8 minutes. Take care not to burn the roux. Add the diced onion and peppers. Cook stirring constantly, until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute.
  3. Add 1/2 pound of the okra, (reserving remainder for garnish), diced tomatoes with juice, desired stock, bay leaves and creole seasoning. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the sausage, shrimp and crabmeat. Cook until sausage is heated through and the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 3 minutes longer. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and creole seasoning.
Serve over rice and garnish with remaining sautéed okra. 

My Creole Seasoning

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablesspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
1/2 tablespoon ground chipotle powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Seafood Sausage Gumbo
Cooked Crabs

The black and white images above are my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #55 created by  Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, managed now by Cindy of  CindyStarBlog. Hosting this week is Simona of Briciole.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black and White Wednesday #54 Roundup

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Welcome to the roundup for 54th edition of Black and White Wednesday now managed by Cinzia of CindyStarBlog and created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This is a beautiful roundup of  images by some very talented photographers dedicated to showing the food photography world  dynamic and classy culinary monochromatic images.

Sreevalli-Ammaji Recipes

Pumpkin Halva
Lail-With a Spin

Terrine de Foie Gras

Lubna-A Click a Day

Garden Critters

Two Cows
Haalo-Cook (Almost) Anything Once

Sweet and Sassy Blueberry Sauce
Shruthi-Food and Clicks

Blue Crab
Lynne-Cafe Lynnylu

Thanks to everyone who submitted images. If I missed anyone or made any errors, please let me know and I will correct them.  BWW #55 will be hosted by Simona of Briciole. BWW #53 Gallery.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pear and Dried Cherry Crisp-Secret Recipe Club

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It's October, Fall has arrived and the leaves are beautiful this year, especially in Ohio where I've just returned from a few days ago. Fall means lots of comfort food, especially desserts. For this edition of  The Secret Recipe Club, I was to choose a recipe from A Dusting of Sugar, a lovely blog authored by Rebecca, a junior in college. How wonderful to see that with all the time and effort spent studying, Rebecca can cook up such tantalizing dishes, photograph and write a blog all at the same time! Kudos!

Needless to say, I had a difficult time choosing what to prepare amongst all the delightful dishes on Rebecca's blog, but my decision was made clear when I  needed to make something with my stash of pears before we left for trip to Ohio and North Carolina to visit our daughters. Rebecca's apple crisp piqued my interest as I could substitute the pears for the apples. A classic crisp to which I used 3 different pear varieties, added dried cherries soaked in raspberry liqueur and used 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. The scoop of vanilla ice cream is sheer decadence!

Pear and Dried Cherry Crisp
Serves 6
For the Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup (1stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For the Filling
  • 6 cups pears, Bosc or a mix, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cherries, soaked in 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur for 30 minutes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, white and brown sugars, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Cut in the cold butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Set aside or refrigerate.
  2. Butter an 8 or 9-inch pan with high sides. In a bowl, toss the the pears with the lemon juice and cinnamon. Add the cherries, by now the liqueur should have been absorbed, but you may have some left. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. Spoon topping over, sprinkling it evenly.
  3. Bake about 40 minutes, until the crumb topping is golden and the pears are tender. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. Refrigerate leftover crisp. To reheat, bake uncovered in a preheated 300-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. 

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Black and White Wednesday-Week #54

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To all black and white culinary image aficionados, I will be hosting BWW #54 this week! An event that excites me so that I find it difficult to look at food related images in any way but monochromatic!  That's a good and bad thing as it has, along with my husband retiring, put a dent in my blogging! Black and White Wednesday was created by the very talented Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. After a year plus of managing BWW, Susan has handed the baton to the also very talented Cindy of CindyStar Blog. Welcome Cinzia and thanks Susan!

I will accept your images until midnight Tuesday, the 16th of October, 2012. Rules and host line-up can be found here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Cider Baked Apples

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While it was a joyous process to drive out in the lovely Ohio countryside ablaze with the colors of Fall to pick not only Mutsu apple, but the  Melrose, the official apple for the state of Ohio, I'm knee deep in apples! With over a bushel of apples, I realize that the work is not picking the apples, but finding ways to use them. So far, I have made apple butter, apple simple syrup and applesauce which has made only a small dent in my cache. Even though baked apples will only use up a few apples,I couldn't resist these baked apples stuffed with stem ginger, almonds, golden raisins and bathed in a heady spicy hard cider glaze. 
Often called the "oven buster" apple as one baked can easily serve two, the Mutsu, introduced in 1948, is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Indo apple first grown in the Mutsu Japanese province. An excellent snacking apple with white firm flesh and an ambrosial aroma, this apple is also good for baked goods, salads and makes especially tangy sweet applesauce.

The Melrose apple, the official apple of the state of Ohio, introduced only a few years earlier than the Mutsu has yellowish green skin with a blush of red and russet streaks. It's a great keeper with more intense fruity flavors developing after the apples have been off the tree for a few months.

Cider Baked Apples
  • 3-1/2 cups hard apple cider
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 6 unpeeled medium Mutsu, Melrose or Braeburn apples, cored 
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup stem ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy, optional
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the hard cider, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes, or until mixture is syrupy and reduced to 2-2/3 cup.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stuff the cored apples with the raisins, stem ginger and almonds. Place in an apple baker or a 12-inch baking pan. Pour the hot syrup over the apples. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until apples are almost tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from oven, turn the apples over and add the brandy to the pan. Baste apples with the cider syrup and apple brandy combination frequently, allowing the apples to absorb the flavors. Let stand, covered for 15 minutes. Serve the baked apples with the syrup and any of the fruit and nut mixture that escaped during cooking. Top with ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt. Serves 6.

This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging #355, hosted this week by Marta from Mangiare e un po'come viaggiare. Weekend Herb Blogging was created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and is now managed by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything Once. More information about WHB can be found here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Black and White Wednesday #52 Collage

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I thought I would try something a little different for this edition of Black and White Wednesday #52 hosted this week by its lovely and talented creator, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. Having been given my husband's grandmother's old cookbook, I found a few empty pages that I scanned and layered with a texture to enhance the page.
Two of the photos, the Fall pumpkin on the windowsill photo and the fresh garlic photo were shot on my iPhone and the bread photo was shot with my Canon DSLR. 

You can view the host line-up for future Black and White Wednesday's here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission.

Gadget by The Blog Doctor.