Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Visit to 'Back In The Day Bakery' in Savannah, GA

It's November and in 3 days Thanksgiving will be here.   I have much to be thankful for; and I will wait to explain in a future post.  Today I want to share a wonderful recipe that could be an alternative to your usual pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.

This recipe comes from a recently purchased cookbook: "The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook", (It is from the bakery in Savannah, GA by the same name). I recently had the privilege to visit this wonderful place and meet one of the owners - Cheryl Day.  All I can say is what a fantastic place.

 

Everything in the store is inviting - the owners, the waite staff, the vintage merchandise, and of course the food.  The shelves are lined with antiques/retro and other wise. 

You can enjoy 'baked from scratch' cookies, pies, cupcakes and much more; sit down for a relaxing lunch (I can recommend the 'pimento & pig hot sandwich - excellent), or just enjoy something from the expresso bar. 
 But, if a trip to Savannah is not in the cards then, their cookbook is a must for your collection.





 







 























Recipe for Pumpkin Crunch
(as it is written in "The Back In The Day Cookbook")

For the Crust:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
One 1-pound box (4 cups) confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs

(Fresh whipped cream, for topping, optional) 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9-by-13-by-2 inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the paper to hang over the edges.

To make the crust: Put the butter in a large heatproof bowl, set it over a pot of barely simmering water, and stir frequently until melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Add the flour all at once and mix until just incorporated.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden on the edges but still light brown in the center.  Let the crust cool for at least 30 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the pumpkin and mix until thoroughly incorporated, about 5 minutes.  Turn the speed to low, add the melted butter and vanilla, and mix until combined, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the confectioners' sugar, mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs, beating until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Continue to mix on medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. 

Pour into the prepared crust.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the center is firm.  Let cool to room temperature, the refrigerate. 

Cut the bars into squares and serve chilled with whipped cream, optional. (will keep in airtight container in refrigerator for 3 days)

 Enjoy this recipe - and definitely buy this cookbook!

Happy Thanksgiving to All!



Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Do I Do, Really?

About a month ago I read a devotional that asked that same question?  In my reading the answer the person gave was not your typical answer given - she said, "I bring hope to people who are hurting."  I loved that answer (her occupation - a clerk in a local grocery store.  She paid attention to her customers; if someone looked stressed or sad she would give them a kind word, a smile.  Something to brighten their day.)  What a wonderful thing to do.  What a wonderful way to be.

This persons answer to that questions made me think - What do I do, really?  A typical answer from me would be:  I am an artist, a food photographer, and an art teacher.  Now I think a better answer would be - I bring out the creativity in a person and give them something to enjoy in life.

So today, on this beautiful fall day, please allow me to bring out your creativity and try something new.  A simple, but elegant dessert with the taste of cinnamon. 

Cinnamon Creme Brulee
**from:  The Last Course   By: Claudia Fleming
*(this is a beautiful, creamy dessert; the hint of cinnamon is perfect for the season.) 

(yield: 6 servings)
Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 cinnamon sticks
6 large eggs
Pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, bring the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the cinnamon sticks to a simmer. 

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar.

3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and add a little to the egg yolk mixture to warm it, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from curdling.  Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture, whisking the cream constantly as you pour.  Let the cream mixture cool completely.  Strain through a fine sieve and stir in the salt.  Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. 

4. Pour the mixture into six 4-ounce glass or ceramic ramekins.  Arrange the ramekins in a baking pan and place it on the oven rack.  Pour enough very hot water into the baking pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the baking pan with foil and pierce the foil in a few places with a knife.  Bake the custards for 30 minutes, then lift off a corner of the foil to allow the steam to escape.  Recover the pan and allow the custards to bake for 15 to 25 minutes longer, until they are set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center.  Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. 
After removing from the oven
5. Right before serving, sprinkle the remaining sugar in a thin, even coating on the surface of each custard, using 2 teaspoons for each one.  Use a preheated broiler or blowtorch to caramelize the sugar.  In a broiler it will take 1 to 2 minutes, and it will take about 30 seconds with a blowtorch.


Hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe and I highly recommend "The Last Course" cookbook

Thanks for taking time to visit!

Happy Fall!
 
 






Sunday, September 8, 2013

A, B, C's & 1, 2, 3's

I have been away from my blog for a while.  I have missed testing recipes, photographing, writing, and just blogging in general.  I'm not sure what I have been waiting for but, decided that 
the best way to get - back on the horse (so-to-speak) was to just start.

 (Vann making blueberry muffins at school)
(sorry image is blurry - came from my instagram file)

     This post is going to be in honor of my grandson Vann.  I am homeschooling (preschool) this year and we are at the beginning of the alphabet.  I probably should have made the title -
Foods that Start with the Letter A and the Letter B

Making an Apple/Blueberry Tart
(this was is an easy recipe - people will think it took you hours to make)

 Ingredients:
1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed (available at grocery store)
4 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roll out puff pastry to a 14 inch circle on a lightly floured surface.
    *there are 2 puff pastry doughs in the box.  I used both - placing one on top of the other;
      then rolling them together and cutting the 14 inch circle
3. Place the dough on a large cookie sheet and chill while preparing the filling.
4. Put fruit in a large bowl and toss in 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.  
5. Add sugars, flour, and cinnamon, mixing well.
6. Bring out the pastry - Evenly arrange the fruit mixture in the center of the pastry, leaving a 2 inch
    border.  Than
7. Fold the edges of the pastry up and over the apple mixture in overlapping folds to form sides of the
    pie.  (there should be a 4 or 5 inch opening in the middle.  
   (Brush folds with a little water and pinch to seal)
8. Cut the butter into bits over the fruit, sprinkle tart with a little granulated sugar.
9. Bake 40 minutes (If the pastry gets too brown, lightly cover tart with a piece of foil.  
10. Cool 10 minutes, slide onto serving plate.  Sift over the tart with a bit of powdered sugar. 
11. Serve (serves 6 - 8)
 
 
The finished product



 Hope You Enjoy this Simple Recipe
Thanks for Reading

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dare to Dream

That is what I am doing right now - Dreaming.  I am currently in West Palm Beach visiting my son Matthew, Angie (his fiance), and my grandson Julian Carter.  There is much excitement, planning, and activity going on - for in one week we are having a wedding.  And it's going to be beautiful! (pictures to come, but for now just a few photos of West Palm & Matthew, Angie, & Julian.)



Now, back to the reason for the title -Dare to Dream-. I've always wanted to write a cookbook; and now that I am in West Palm visiting with Matthew (he is a Chef), talking about recipes, food, etc. - my mind is going a mile a minute with ideas and  write/create a cookbook with Matthew. But, for now it is just a dream; but, dreams do come true. 

Here's to Dreaming and Making them come True!


Thanks for Reading!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's Hot, It's Humid - Let's Have Ice Cream

It's Friday and I know everyone is 
ready for the 
weekend!

Here in Atlanta it's hot, humid, and this summer 
experiencing crazy weather.   With that 
said I wanted to bring a little sunch9ine into your weekend 
- so let's talk ice cream. 
**(just an excuse to use my ice cream machine)

When yo think of ice cream - you (well, me) definitely 
think of summer
  • the ice cream truck (don't get me started about the fact they want to pass a law so they can't play their music. This is very sad.)
  • walking on the pier at the beach
  • the neighborhood pool 
  • evening car ride with the family to get an ice cream cone
  • refreshing, cool - you know 
Just Happy!
 So my friends to start your weekend; here is a little happy for you
to try:
 
Coconut Pineapple Ice Cream
Sprinkled with toasted Coconut
 
rich and creamy - a pina colada in a cup      

  •  2 quarts half & half
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 can crushed pineapple 
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • garnish: toasted flaked coconut (this really adds to the flavor)
In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the half & half, cream sugar, crushed pineapple and the coconut extract.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir often; don't want it to scorch.
 
Remove from the heat when the first bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan: DO NOT let the mixture boil.  Let mixture cool slightly.  Place mixture in an airtight container; refrigerate overnight.
 
Pour mixture into the canister of the 4 to 6-quart ice cream freezer (if your ice cream freezer is smaller; divided the mixture).  Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  The ice cream will be soft.  If you would like the ice cream to be firmer; place in the freezer for several hours or overnight.  Garnish with toasted flaked coconut. 
 
Have a Great Weekend!!!!
 
 
 

Monday, July 8, 2013

For the Love of Gardening



I am here to announce that I Love Gardening - the being outside, the working with the soil, composting, growing vegetables from seed.  It gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  It also reminds me of my grandfather - who could grow anything.

This season I am just in awe of my garden - mostly my vegetable garden (my flowers are doing great as well, but my vegetables); I've never seen them so hearty.  Some years have been better than others and there have always been one or two vegetables that have given a good yield - tomatoes and jalapenos.

But, this year - this year is over-the-top.  I have tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, and herbs that are just out of control - I Love It!  And something that I have planted year after year; and it dies year after year - cucumbers.


People I have cucumbers and not just ordinary cucumbers. 
A wonderful friend informed me that the variety is called 'lemon cucumber'.  They are
are coming in like gangbusters.  Because of this abundance
 I have come up with a few recipes that use this 
wonderful fruit and I hope you will enjoy.

 (oh, something else I have learned - a cucumber by definition is a fruit. 
This from a Bontonist - A fruit is the part of the plant that developes
 from a flower.  It's also the section of the plant that contains the seeds.)
You learn something new every day.

Cucumber Martini
  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 1/2 oz. cucumber vodka (I used Skinnygirl Cucumber Vodka, three or four slices of cucumber (any type of cucumber works just fine), and at least 1 cup of ice.
  2. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds (this may seem like a long time). You're not just mixing the ingredients, you're trying to melt some of the ice into the cocktail to soften its edges and blend the flavors.
  3. Strain into a martini glass (or vessel of your choice). Add a slice or two (or three) of fresh, unbruised cucumber and serve immediately.











Cucumber Infused Water

  • 2 whole cucumbers, rinsed, and sliced round
  • 2 gallons of filtered water
  • glass pitcher (or whatever you would like to serve the water in)
Directions:
  1. Add cucumbers and water in the pitcher. Let steep for a few hours before serving. Right before serving, throw in ice to keep the water cool.
  2. It's as simple as that! 



















Cucumber, Basil, & Lime Juice
(this recipe is from Gwyneth Paltro's new cookbook - "It's All Good" page - 213)
**this is a must try - love this recipe and her book** 
 



 
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lime, zest & pith removed
  • 1 apple, cut into wedges
      Starting with the basil, juice everything into a glass.
      ** If you do not have a juicer she suggests - chop all the ingredients and pop them into a
      powerful blender with 1/2 cup of water - then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer
      into a glass. Stir and drink immediately.







Greek Tomato, Cucumber, & Bread Salad
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups diced rustic bread
  • kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, unpeeled, sliced a 1/2 inch thick - the halved
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 and onion, thinly sliced into half-rounds
  • 1/2 pound good feta cheese 3/4-inch diced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
      Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sate pan until hot.  Add the bread and sprinkle with salt
      and pepper; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for about 5 to 10 minutes
      or until nicely browned.  Set aside.

      Place the cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onion in a large bowl and toss together.

      Add the feta, olives, and bread to the vegetables in the bowl, add the vinaigrette, and toss lightly.
      Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.  Season to taste.  Serve at room
      temperature.

      
       
       Vinaigrette 
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
      Place all the above ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Whisking constantly, 
      slowly add the 1/2 cup of olive oil to make an emulsion. 
  
There you have it - 5 different ways to have cucumbers.  I really hope you try these recipes.

Here's Wishing you a Happy Monday!

 



 
       



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Have You Ever Wondered?

(Today I have just a few thoughts I want to share: no recipe; no photos (o.k. maybe one photo)
This is just an in-betweener - on June 30th there will be a post
with many photos and recipes.  I just had some thoughts today
that I wanted to share.)

Have you ever wondered why you are here?  Do I make a difference?  I do - all the time. 
Besides all the things I love - photography, painting, cooking, etc.  
I wonder if I have made someones day better or worse.  Did I listen to them
when they were speaking?  What about that friend that needed a  meal?
 a prayer? a kind word?  Was I there for them? did I take the time?

I came across an old letter this morning that was thanking me for being there, for listening,
for being a friend.  I probably did not solve their
problem(s), but I did acknowledge that they mattered.

It is amazing that just that little act of being there and listening
could rock someones world.   I hope that I can always
be that kind of person to listen when someone has a 
burden; to make someone laugh, to be a friend.

So, if you ever wondered how you can help someone - 
just be there 
listen
show them they are important

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and an amazing weekend!
and
Go out and rock someones world!
** side note -----
As of July 1st 'Google Reader' is closing its doors.  You can still connect and 
read my blog as well as other wonderful & amazing blogs by 
switching over to 'Bloglovin'.
Bloglovin is great - they are organized 
and 
you can join and read all you favorite blog
just by typing in the name in the
search box - then hit 'follow'.
Everyone will be in one place.

Here it is - on June 30th
(along with a new post - photos & recipes)
I will replace my Join button with
Bloglovin -
Please come and join me there - 
Love to All

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's Official - Summer is Here!

    



It's Official - it is now Summer!  I love the different seasons, but I do believe that summer is my favorite.  So to kick off the wonderful day I am going to share an old favorite - Pudding Pops.  This is one of my grandson's favorites when comes to visit Flash (that's me) and Papa Oz.  You know that Grandma always has the good stuff.


Pudding Pop Recipe
Ingredients: 
  1 package (3.9 oz.) Jello Instant Chocolate pudding mix 
  2 cups of milk
1. Put ingredients in a mixing bowl
2. Beat ingredients with a whisk for about 2 minutes 
    (until mixed and getting thick)
3. Pour mixture into Popsicle molds.  Insert the Popsicle stick.
4. Place in freezer for about 4 hours or until they are firm.
Enjoy!!!!!!
(Sailboat Popsicle molds from William-Sonoma)