Saturday, December 18, 2010

Turkey Tetrazzini

 
What lengths I will go to to get a turkey carcass for Turkey Tetrazzini with homemade semolina pasta!

Happily, this is such a flavorful preparation of a roasted turkey that we're making turkey breast just to have it on hand for  turkey sandwiches.

A smallish, young turkey breast rubbed with lots of my homemade garlic oil and stuffed with tender herbs from the garden. . .rosemary, thyme and oregano.  A light dusting of kosher salt. Roasted at 400 degrees for a half hour-reduced to 325 degrees for a final twenty minutes
Juicy, flavorful meat with a nice crust!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pork Tamales

Tamale Sauce

Deglazing the Seared Pork

I am a day away from stuffing my first tamales. One of the things that I have learned in this very short span of a few days is not that tamales are labor intensive-but that it's important to create the individual components in good order!

Far from being an expert, I received advice years ago from a Mexican friend who made the most delicious tamales. Her voice is inside my head and I am hopeful that I will create a great first batch!

My friend regularly made two types of tamales; a delicious pork tamale with a fiery sauce and a second type that was sweet and stuffed with bits of corn. I intend to tackle both.

I started my sauce with the final green tomatoes from the garden, added a bunch of garlic, cilantro, my own dried poblanos and dried fingerhot peppers. The tender pork butt chunks were simmered for two hours in the flavorful sauce and added another great dimension to the sauce.


Cooled Pork Ready to be Shredded

I have already shredded the pork, added fresh cilantro, garlic and 2 tbsp of the sauce to add to the tamales. Today, I bought frozen corn on the cob and will shuck it for the sweet tamales. I opted for that method to add the cob liquor and the sweet bits to the tamale dough.

In the morning I will soak the husks for two hours and finally stuff and steam the tamales. It's been a fun adventure! More photos to follow!
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last of The Garden

Would you believe that I shot this photo only two weeks ago? Hard to imagine when I'm sitting here with layers of clothing fighting off the chill from freezing temps!

The plants are a memory and recently pulled from the raised beds-but not before making plans for my first attempt at homemade pork tamales with a green tomato and chile sauce. A noble end to a great garden!
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Mistake!

It's an old story. . . I send hubby out with a shopping list filled with specific items to make a simple meal of vegetable soup and biscuits. He's a good shopper and I have no worries that he will return with every item on my list.

But! for some unknown reason he was feeling very independent and returned with a completely different bag of mixed vegetables , thinking I might prefer those instead!

He bought a small bag of potatos, carrots and celery. That's it.

Fortunately, (for him), I had a leftover roasted turkey carcass, ears of corn on the cob, fresh spinach and lots of tomatoes. I felt confident I could turn this into a worthwhile dinner. What I ended up with was one of those lucky "mistakes".

I made a Mexican vegetable soup with plenty of fresh spinach, tomato, and corn-and a tasty broth made from the turkey carcass and corn cobs.

Cumin, chili powder and chives made for a smoky, flavorful contrast to the sweet broth. I fried strips of flour tortilla and crumbled a salty cotija cheese for a perfect, steamy bowl of Mexican soup!
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sesame Leaves

I regularly stroll the isles of one of my favorite farmer's market hoping to discover ingredients I have never used in my cooking. Sesame leaves caught my attention several months ago and I purchased them not really knowing what I would do with them.

I've since learned that sesame leaves are popular in Korean cooking and valued for their mineral content. Good enough for me. Their ample size and pliable texture intriqued me and I soon learned I wasn't the first person who saw their potention as wraps! Into the cart they went!

With so many projects on my "to do" list, I left these in the refrigerator and promised myself I was going to stuff the pretty leaves and make some tasty rice stuffed-Asian wraps. It never happened! The pretty leaves dried and withered. I just didn't have the heart to throw them away.

90% of my leftover vegetables and fruits are reused in another form in my kitchen. Leafy greens and scallions are dried into flavorful blends to season stocks and soups. Fruits are used to make syrups for breakfast dishes and drinks in the bar. Adding the dried sesame leaves to a spice or herbal blend was a natural progression and one of the best I have stumbled upon in a long time. A perfect companion to my dried scallions

Now, I regularly buy up these pretty bundles to dry for broths and stocks. Minty, with a scent a little reminiscent of tea, I add my dried sesame leaves to anything where I might add file. (sassafrass). This week's show is a Seafood Courtboullion with Poached Seafood, flavored with dried sesame and saffron. Truly, this is one of the best broths I have ever made, and I only added the poached seafood out of a sense of obligation! The broth was a "stand-alone" success!
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Are Diamonds Really A Girl's Best Friend?

Or possibly a great cheesemonger?

Find a passionate cheesemonger and you'll discover a secret portal to the cheesemaking world!

Pictured here is my new best cheesemonger's cheese pick for me and I have to give it to Toni, this is an interesting cheese with a young history that is making cheese news. This is a Frumage Baladin from the Piedmont region of Italy. 

Complex with a creamy texture, I am sure many of you will appreciate the history of the company's desire to create a cheese using an all-vegetable rennet made from thistle flowers.  So far, my head says "mustard" but I wonder if that is because of the beer that is added.

I will continue to try to dicipher it's wonderfully familiar flavor! I find the somewhat silky texture very pleasing in my mouth That's half the fun of discovering a new cheese-especially when it sits on a crusty sliver of baquette!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Here's Looking At You, Kid!




I've been recently struck by cravings for all things Louisiana. Upcoming shows include Louisiana Dirty Rice. . .one of my favorite side dishes of all times. Flavorful little bits of green onion, sauteed livers and chopped gizzards-or as I like to call them-Givers and Lizzards!

And, since it's my "party", I decided I would indulge another craving for Seafood Soup. I've already steamed a half dozen Blue crabs and made a fish stock to simmer the crabs, shrimp, fish fillets and some Campari tomatoes. Simple, flavorful and "feels like home!"

I'm thinking . . . Chocolate Martinis to round out the evening!
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Medley


This was a beautiful bag of peppers offered at a reduced price at a local farmer's market! I couldn't resist buying it - if for no other reason than to photograph it!
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Farmer's Bread



This was a very successful experiment and one that I will definitely continue to work on.  I might consider ordering German flour from GermanDeli.com for a more authentic German taste . . .although this was very good with the flours I had on hand.

My goal was to bake a loaf similar to the brown farmer's bread that I enjoyed as a child while living in Germany. I started with the basic bread recipe that I have on the Home At Last! website-but changed up the recipe by swapping out a cup of rye flour for one of the five cups of flour.

 I have made just about every combo I can think of. This particular loaf was rye, unbleached, Italian flour and a white whole wheat. Everything else was the same except that I spritzed the oven through-out the entire bake process (about every ten minutes) and added a jar of water to create a crispy crust.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Plum Good Galette


Fall weather presents the perfect weather for a plum galette with homemade blueberry syrup-using local blueberries. I also love this idea for an easy dessert at a garden party or ladies luncheon.
I made a simple cheese mixture with cottage cheese, neufchatel, cream cheese and a beaten egg. ( I didn't add the beaten egg until the morning) The plums were tossed with brown sugar, a dash of lemon juice and vanilla to brighten the flavors.
This morning all I had left to do was cut my puff pastry using a small fluted tart pan with removable bottom. I baked the puff pastry and the pastry cream for fifteen minutes before putting the sliced plums on top. I baked the galettes for another ten minutes until the puff pastry was golden and crispy and the plums softened a bit.
The results were a delicately sweetened galette with a clean taste and a wonderful delicate crispness.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

15 Year Anniversary of Home At Last!


Inspiration for fifteen years of Home At Last! episodes has come from many areas of my life!
This bowl of vintage beads was the inspiration behind an episode with artist, Ginger Fulton who repurposed a pretty plastic necklace set that I found at a roadside junk store. A stretch double strand bracelet with a large cabochon and striking label pins were the results of Ginger's incredible imagination and now serve as a wonderful reminder of a visit to an incredibly gifted artist.

Garage and yard sales are such a great resource for vintage bits and pieces as well as the occasional rare piece!  My pretty repurposed bracelet sits on top of vintage costume pearls belonging to my Aunt Ruby! Aunt Ruby was always impeccibly dressed and never without her beautiful jewelry!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Land of Milk and Honey


With a few days off to relax and play I've lined up a few projects that I have wanted to work on for awhile.
My first project is a batch of milk and honey bar soap with lavender. A smooth, silky experience for my favorite winter activity! Luxurious hot baths in my favorite tall pedestal soaking tub!
The lavender flowers are a healing natural scrub for face and hands and the honey provides a delicate, soft scent to the creamy texture of the soap!  Preferring lavender flowers over scented carrier oils I appreciate the more delicate scent of lavender than the addition of lavender-scented oil.  


The pretty white bar on the bottom is a Milk & Honey  Bar with super emolient properties and a delicate scent.  Sitting on top is a Peppermint Vanilla Face Bar. 
Hyper-sensitive to overly scented bath goodies I'm really pleased how these bars came out.  More about the luxurious feel than the heavy scent I made all of this without the addition of scented oils.  My yield was huge and I now have gifts and starter bars for the next batch!
I made a 2 lb.block of the pink and have it cooling. It will be sliced and wrapped for gifts. The individual bars were made with my loaf and square cookie bar pans. I also tried and loved a plastic butter stick holder and found it to make an interesting presentation.  I'm already imagining having our CB logo made into a stamp to impress our name into these pretty soaps! 
Sweet bubbles!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fresh South Market in Peachtree City


Emily G's Jam of Love


 

Two Doves Farm Sprouts
 An undeniable truth. . .Georgia has remarkable Fall weather!

And! We celebrate our gorgeous weather outdoors-as evidenced by the crowds milling about the Fresh South Market in Peachtree City this morning.

Beautiful, crisp air with plenty of sunshine, the smokey smell of BBQ and sultry tunes greeted shoppers at the new Fresh Market site on Hwy 54.  Vendors offered "fresh from the garden" greens. sprouts, veggies and a good mix of fresh baked breads and sweets!


A bi-weekly market held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Fresh South Market will celebrate the end of the 2010 Season with a Dog Walk-complete with prizes on Saturday, October 30th.

  To learn more about the Fresh South Market and the 2011 Season please visit http://www.freshsouthmarket.org/

Susie Berta  "Rick & Susie's Little Gourmet Cookies"


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Monday, October 18, 2010

Lost in Translation

 



I am still giggling about these cute plastic forks and picks I found at my Asian market in Atlanta. Not quite sure what the original intent might have been but are I am considering all the possibilities. .  .

Fruit Picks?
Fruit Forks?

or, maybe, they were coining a new word, "porks" . . .  intended to describe both utensils with one word?!

Either way, aren't these the cutest Fruit Porks?
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

French Pancake With Blueberry Coulis


Our newest sweet plate at Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast! It might be a stretch calling it a French Pancake but what would you called a puffy, grilled pocketless pita with Praline Creme served with Fresh Blueberry Coulis?

Our guests called it "delicious" and thought they might actually be able to eat two! That came as a bit of a surprise-as we served it with scrambled eggs and applewood smoked bacon.

I grilled the pita with Olivio until golden crispy, spread the warmed pita with Praline Creme and a scant tablespoon of homemade blueberry preserves. Once cooled to the touch, I gently rolled the pita, secured it with a pick and place it on top of some of my fresh coulis.

Praline Creme

4 oz each Neuchatel and Cream Cheese
1 container Jello brand Caramel Mousse
1 tbsp toasted pecans
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Cream ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's That Time of Year!



Creamy Greek yogurt, smokey seared-lamb seasoned with traditional Mediterranean flavors and a secret ingredient in the hummus make these authentic-tasting gyros perfect Fall fare!
I take great care in readying my infrared grill for the Fall grilling season . . .scraping down the grates, cleaning and polishing the stainless steel and finally, checking for back-up cannisters of gas to fuel my wonderful grill!
This is my first meal of the season! Grilled pocketless pita, savory lamb seared in my favorite black skillet on the grill and one of my favorite things in the world. . . Tzatzike sauce with seeded cucumbers and tomatoes.
Our grilled pocketless pitas are smeared with a wonderful Greek hummus that is light and airy with so much flavor and fiber! I remember the first time I sampled the fluffy hummus at Atlanta diner. I was struck by the creamy, garlic-y goodness of the garbanzos! I was determined to learn the chef's secret!
If you take a look at the middle photo note that the hummus is almost fluffy! Cloud-like in fact! So, what do you think! What could make a can of grainy garbanzos so delicate and smooth?
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