Thursday, September 22, 2016

What do you do . . .?

What do you do when you come back home after a week-long vacation?  We just returned from Portland, Oregon.  So . . .

In my world I:
  • Unpack right away (For me this is a must.  I am obsessive compulsive that way).
  • Wash all the dirty clothes (another obsessive act)
  • Download all vacation photos(More than 500 photos,  Yes, this is a typical number when I visit new places.  My philosophy is, ‘What if I never get back this way again’.) 
Without further adieu I would like to introduce you to a great city.  When you visit here are just a few things you should do:

           *walk around the city (you can't enjoy it if you drive)
           *try a food cart for lunch – my 2 favorites right now are the
             Jook Joint (Asian    Fusion – try the coconut corn fritters,
             so great) and Squeeze Berries (the best fresh juice smoothies).
             They are located beside each other on 10th Ave.
           *Find a great coffee shop; experiment they are everywhere. 
           *Hike through Washington Park and end at the Rose Gardens
             *Visit a winery or one or two or three
           *Have dinner at the many microbreweries' or restaurants

             in the city.
             A Killer Burger perhaps?
           *Visit  Mt. Hood (it’s amazing)

I could go on, but I will move on to the day after (returning home).
Question: Doesn’t everyone pickle jalapeños after returning from vacation?

The day after is usually filled with taking care of the things that have been left undone for a week. 
  • Sorting through a pile of mail
  • Watering plants
  • Sprucing up the garden
  • Picking veggies (banana peppers, jalapeños)
  • Last on the list - what to do with 3 1-gallons zip-lock bags of jalapeños.  Of course, make pickled jalapeños (nine jars to be exact).

So, Welcome home.  Everything is washed, picked, pickled, and put away. Now I can relax.

Would love to hear from friends out there.    How do you get back in the swing of things after being on vacation?

Thanks for Reading and Happy Autumn,

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Strawberry Picnic or that saying "Everything old is new again."

I know that just about everyone has heard that old expression “Everything old is new again.”  And lately that phrase has been very true for me.  The last few weeks I had been working on a family cookbook for our upcoming reunion in beautiful Pennsylvania.  The hand-written recipes by the sweet family that are very much in our hearts, but no longer with us have brought back memories of my childhood: family picnics, dinners together, birthdays, and family reunions. 

While writing one memory kept coming to me and it involved strawberries.  When I was growing up I loved strawberries (still do).  When we went out for Sunday lunch at the S& S Cafeteria (no longer around) I would always get strawberry shortcake for dessert.  At home my favorite thing was strawberries with cream.  One of the best desserts ever!
In this photo:  Stangl Pottery, Longaberger basket, old quilt from my late Grandmother, hand-made hearts from old material (made by Amy (my sister-in-law) 
Being summer and the memories flooding through my mind I felt like sharing a few strawberry recipes, along with a few old photos.
My Daddy and Papa

Me (8 yrs) standing by the first car I ever remember my Daddy driving
One of my all time favorite photos (Papa holding me, my Uncle, my Dad.  In front my Aunt and my sister.

Strawberries and Cream
(Which I found out is a traditional English dessert and served at afternoon tea.  Who knew this country girl had a slice of sophistication.)

2 cups strawberries (cut in halves or quarters)
(divided into serving dishes)

Mix together:
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

Pour the cream mixture over the strawberries and serve.

In this photo 'Stangl Pottery'; Flemington, New Jersey
 Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar
3 cups strawberries (halved or quartered)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup blasamic vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Place berries in a bowl and toss with the brown sugar.  Put aside so that the sugar dissolves and makes juice.  This will take about 10 minutes.  

For the syrup: place vinegar, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until syrup is reduced to half.  This will take about 3 minutes.  Pour syrup into small bowl to cool completely.

After cooling, pour syrup over the berries and toss to combine.  To serve divide the berries & syrup into individual bowls.  Serve immediately.

 Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream
2 cups strawberries (halved or quarters)
1 Tablespoon sugar

1 cup mascarpone cream cheese (softened)
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 Tablespoon sugar 
1 vanilla pod (scrape out vanilla seeds)

Place strawberries in a bowl with the sugar.  Toss to combine.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk to combine mascarpone, yoghurt, sugar, and vanilla seeds. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Divide the mascarpone cream into individual bowls and top with the berries.
Serve immediately.

Stay Cool and have a Wonderful Summer,


Thursday, May 5, 2016

May Flowers & Recipe-of-the-Day

Feta Orzo Salad
On a bed of Curly Leaf Lettuce
Ingredients:  (makes 4 servings)
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
½ cup feta cheese (crumbled)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain
 and rinse with cold water. Drain.
2. Combine drained pasta, green onions, cheese, dill, and
  chickpeas in a large bowl.  Toss gently to combine.
3. For the dressing - combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt
  and garlic in a small bowl.  Stir with a whisk. (or a
  small mason jar with a lid.  Shake to combine.)
4. Drizzle over the pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.

Happy May!


Simple Strawberry Pie

It's summer and it's Hot, and it's the weekend.  This strawberry pie recipe, to me, is the best.  Yes, it is simple; yes, it u...