Sunday, August 31, 2008
*Then drain on paper towels. Ahhh, look at that lovely golden color. I'm salivating!!!
* Saute one large onion, chopped, in olive oil until just transparent. Then add one pound of chopped potatoes, 3 ribs of chopped celery, 1 chopped red pepper, 1 pound chopped carrots, 1 chopped tomato, 1 clove chopped garlic. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.
* Next add 3 3/4 cups of vegetable stock, then 7 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter, and 2/3 cups of corn, followed by a few splashes of hot sauce (my recommendation will follow in a different post). You can add as little or much as you like, but I add about 5 splashes, then more after if needed. Mix until peanut butter is blended.
* Then bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Once vegetable are tender, you can use a hand blender to to puree part of the mixture and leave half chunky, or blend all for a smooth soup.
* We decided to puree just half of the soup, then garnished with with chopped, unsalted peanuts. While we really enjoyed it, we did puree the left overs, which we both agreed had a nicer taste.
The Inn at Middleton Place: http://www.theinnatmiddletonplace.com/content.asp?catID=6295
Middleton Place: http://www.middletonplace.org/
This was taken yesterday, when it pretty much rained all day. It was forecast to rain all day today, but we haven't had too much. It looks like coastal Sarasota has probably seen more rain today. We've just heard that the winds have gone down another 5 miles per hour, fingers crossed for the people in the path that this trend will continue...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Last weekend I found a recipe for potato salad using curry plant. I wasn't expecting much as I've heard it isn't really that great for cooking. While it wasn't horrible, it wasn't very good either. It didn't ruin the taste, but there was this strange smokey flavor that I'm sure was from the curry plant. It will definitely be kept for the scent, and not flavoring food.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
- First of all, I had decided to add some garlic, rosemary, and thyme. This was pre-chopped and in a bowl waiting to be added in at the end.
- After my sauce had evaporated, I added another large splash of wine.
- While it looked good, I felt that it was a little to thin and lacking something... CREAM! As I didn't have any cream, I used a trustworthy stand-by: Cream Cheese. I added one LARGE spoonful of whipped cream cheese and whisked it all together.
- I then added the crumbled bacon to the saucepan, stirred, then returned the chicken to coat with the sauce.
It was really good. While it did have a slight yellow tinge, it is nowhere near as yellow as my photo. The color balance was off, and I can't be bothered to Photoshop it. The only complaint we had was the white wine I used. While it was good, it was a very floral/fruity wine and it needed something oakier to balance off the bacon. I used Ménage à Trois White, which would have been good without the bacon and with tarragon.
Here are a few things I might try adding in the future:
As for the Butternut Squash (and this is more of a reminder for myself), I cooked it per the instructions in Nigella Express, only coating it in olive oil and then sprinkling it with sea salt, rosemary, thyme, and hot pepper flakes.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
If you've never tasted elderflower before, it has a nice light flavor and is paired with lemon to give it a slight tart taste. St. Germain's website has a fantastic description: Neither peach nor pear, lychee nor citrus, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly. It is a flavor as subtle and delicate as it is captivating. A little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavor of its favorite nectar. Trés curieux indeed, n'est-ce pas?
While living in England, I used to drink elderflower cordial and presse all the time. It is the most refreshing drink on a hot day. Elderflower Cordial is a soft drink made largely from a sugar and water solution and uses the flowers of the elderflower. The most popular companies that I'm aware of that make elderflower cordial and presse are Bottle Green Company, Belvoir, and Duchy Originals (set up by Charles, Prince of Wales).
As it's hard for me to get Elderflower Cordial here, I'm elated to have Elderflower Liquor. Not only does St. Germain have a blissful taste, it also comes in this sublime bottle! I don't know which I like more. So far, and you can tell I've had just a few tastings (ha, ha), my favorite way to drink it is with ginger ale. Though it's not bad in a Gin & Tonic either. Their website is full of good drink recipes, but we've had fun experimenting with our own. Each bottle is also individually numbered with the year in which it was bottled, along with the number of the bottling order. This has definitely become a staple in our bar. It comes from France and is made of Elderflowers hand picked in the Alps. We will be on our way to the French Alps in just over a month, fingers crossed that I will be inundated with all things elderflower!!!
You can actually make Elderflower Cordial. Here is a link to a recipe, along with a few serving suggestions: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/516164
To view St. Germain's website, please click the following link: http://www.stgermain.fr/index2.php
- 1 pound ground beef (or buffalo, turkey, vegetarian crumbles)
- ½ Spanish onion, chopped
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- Sprinkle of salt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Dash crushed red pepper
- 1 small bay leaf
- Dash of dried oregano
- Dash of dried thyme
- 1 can (14 ½ oz) of diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 6 oz red wine
- 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
1. Cook macaroni according to box.
2. Brown the ground beef on medium heat.
3. Before beef is completely brown, add the garlic, onion, carrot, green pepper, salt, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, oregano, and thyme. Continue to cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened.
4. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, Worcester sauce and gently simmer for at least ½ hour on low heat.5. Slowly stir in cooked macaroni, allowing the sauce to fill the pasta tubes. Allow to simmer 5 minutes on low.
6. To finish off, once in serving bowls, garnish with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil.
The results weren't bad. I used buffalo instead of beef, and really welcomed the addition of red wine. Also, I had forgotten to buy a green pepper, so had to use red. In addition to the herbs mentioned, I added a little fresh rosemary. While you could serve it with crusty garlic bread and salad for dinner, mine is going into little containers for my lunch this week. It has been raining here for weeks, so this will make the perfect stay-in-the-office lunch time treat.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Pimm's No.1 is a Gin based beverage that is the color of tea and has a citrus/spice flavor. It is a popular summer drink in England, famously served at Wimbledon and the Henley Regatta, giving it the reputation of being an upper class drink. Fortunately, you don't have to be in England or even a member of the upper class to enjoy Pimm's. In the US, Pimm's No. 1 can be found at most larger liquor stores. (In the SRQ area, I've found it at Norman's, ABC, the Bottle Shop on St. Armand's, and Coastal Liquors)
Sprite or 7-up is traditionally used in the UK, however, I think it is much nicer with Ginger Ale. It is absolutely divine with Jamaican Ginger Beer. I made it for an event tonight featuring local celebrity, Cliff Roles, and had many compliments.
Here is my version of the summer time classic:
- Mix together in large pitcher 1 part Pimm's No. 1 with 3 parts Ginger Ale.
- Add to each glass 1 slice of orange, 2 slices of strawberry, 1 slice of halved cucumber and 1 sprig of mint.
- Add a little ice to each glass and top up with Pimms mixture.
- Enjoy, but be careful – it can catch up with you!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The following Monday, on my way home from work, there was a story on NPR about Charlotte's Web. When I was little, I loved the film, but only saw it once due to the fact that I was inconsolabe at the end when Charlotte dies. The NPR program got me thinking: why wasn't I afraid of the cartoon Charlotte? Would I have been afraid of her or so upset if she hadn't been so witty, elegant, and loyal? To this day I've yet to read the book or watch the updated live action version, despite knowing one of the animators of Templeton. After listening to this though, it made me curios to read it, and see Charlotte through an adult's eyes.
And thanks to my outside guest, my garden will be without (in the words of Charlotte A. Cavatica) "flies, bugs, grasshoppers, choice beetles, moths, butterflies, tasty cockroaches, gnats, midges, daddy longlegs, centipedes, mosquitoes, crickets — anything that's careless enough to get caught in my web."
Here is the link to that story on NPR:
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
With the left over bacon from Saturday's Full Breakfast, I decided to do an updated version of a British classic: Beans on Toast. I used the traditional can of Heinz Baked Beans, but added a pinch of Coleman's Dry Mustard, a pinch of dried thyme, and the left over rasher of bacon, then let them simmer gently for 15 minutes to meld the flavors. The result was divine!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Here is a link to the Daily Mail's story on the name change:
* My fabulous friend Jane in Shipston-on-Stour said that even though she knows that Heinz is an American company, she still chooses to see it as British. And so she should: it is much more of a culinary staple over there than it is over here.
Here is the link for my favorite local organic market:
Once a year we have a Full English Breakfast. This year, however, we had a slight variation. On Friday, we had met some friends at a new local pancake house and each left with a potato pancake. We decided to include them with our breakfast, and omit the eggs, which I don't eat anyways. J picked up some English Style Sausages from the local Pasty Company and I got Irish Bacon from a local import shop. After realizing I had forgotten the Baked Beans (shock, horror) I made a quick run to the local supermarket's "ethnic" section. We topped it off with Fried Mushrooms and Grilled Tomatoes. Yum! Until next year...
Check out Wikipedia for more info on the Full Breakfast: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast