Sometimes I have thought about what to open that night before 8am...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chilled Grilled Pesto Shrimp with Stone Fruit Salsa

Just when you thought I had fallen down a well, I give you...

Chilled Grilled Pesto Shrimp with Stone Fruit Salsa 

Start with the Salsa
The beauty of this is that since it is Stone Fruit Salsa, you can use whatever fruits are ripest at the store.  The only requirement is that it has a pit! 

For this batch we used:
1 large peach
2-3 plums
1 mango
Peel, pit, dice, throw them in the bowl.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp raspberry vinegar
8-10 fresh basil leaves torn or rough chop
Mix well, cover, and put in the fridge.

For the Shrimp
1 ounce raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 plum (pitted and rough chopped)
15 basil leaves
Pinch of salt
Dash of pepper

Throw everything in the blender and blend well.

Pour into a large ziploc and add:
2-3 pounds Raw U-15 Shrimp (peeled, deveined, tail on)

Marinade 1 hour in the fridge.

Remove shrimp from marinade and grill.
(approximately 2-3 min each side)

Put them back in the fridge.

Just before serving place salsa in a bowl and decoratively arrange shrimp.
Graciously accept applause.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

There is nothing I like better than being a mom.  That statement will either make you love me or hate me.  If you had told me, even 15 years ago the level of joy that motherhood would bring to my life, I would have laughed in your face.  I had no intentions of getting married.  Oh and kids?  Well they were a far off... maybe. 

For me the highlight reel of motherhood is filled with moments of growth.  There is nothing more amazing than watching my girls develop the skills and traits that will turn them into Badass Women.  That is exactly what the world needs more of: unabashed, strong, beautiful women.

And while baking may not seem to go hand and hand with that ideal, I assure you it does. 
Anything that we learn. 
Anything that makes us more confident. 
Anything that we do independently. 
Anything that we conquer (Attila the Hun started somewhere). 
              Those things. 
                        Those things form the women we become.

That said, I give you Karen Ray and the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
This was her first solo baking endeavor.  I did nothing. 
(Well other than take pictures.)

Ancient family secret:
An ice cream scoop makes perfect cookies and whoopie pies.

This is one of my favorite "tells".  Whenever she is really concentrating, she cocks her foot to one side.  So freaking cute!

Proud moment with her finished product!  Where's mine?

If you would like the recipe for these amazing whoopie pies, you can find them under Pilgrim Pies on the Family Fun website (or just click the link.  I did all the work for you.).

These whoopie pies are delicious!  They are perfect for fall.  In fact, they make a great addition to the Thanksgiving dessert display. 

As for the girl...well she's pretty amazing in her own right. 

I can't wait to see the woman she becomes!

A Letter to my Husband

Dear Tim,

Please get a job, because if you keep making these my butt will be as big as Mount Rushmore.

Creme Brulee Stuffed, Chocolate Dipped, Fresh Figs


P.S.  Recipe to follow.  Why should I suffer alone?!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2 Girls+2 Mugs=Heaven

If you take 2 exceptionally cute girls and add...

Apple Cider with Caramel Whip Cream
Apple Cider
Heavy Cream 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar 1/4 cup

In a mixing bowl whip together heavy cream and brown sugar until soft peaks form.  Transfer to a container with a lid, and store in the refrigerator.
Heat 3 cups apple cider on the stove over low heat.
Divide equally among 2 cups. 

Top with Caramel whip cream. 

Sprinkle with Cinnamon.
You will get great big smiles... and giggles!
* A quick recommendation: make the whip cream before you heat the apple cider.  It takes a bit for the brown sugar to dissolve into the heavy cream.  If you make the apple cider first, you will have grainy topping... and goodness knows, nobody likes that!

**Pictured right to left... Karen Ray and her gorgeous friend, Chapin.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Taste of Fall - With Bubbles

We had the wonderful opportunity last weekend to attend a cider pressing party.  It was a fascinating process to watch, and if you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it. 

That said, we now have an inordinate amount of cider!  And truthfully?  I needed some new creative ways to use it.  This GENIUS idea comes from my amazing and wonderful sister, Katy.

Cidre de Pommes Champagne
Apple cider
Turbinado Sugar

In a small plate combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon (I used approximately 1/4 cup sugar - 1 tsp cinnamon as a ratio).  In a second small plate pour a small amount of cider.

Dip the rim of the glass in first the apple cider and then the cinnamon sugar.

Pour champagne into the glass leaving approximately a 2 inch window at the top.  Fill the rest of the glass with apple cider.
Voila!  Crisp!  Sparkling!  Original!
A couple of helpful hints:

* I used a white wine glass instead of a champagne glass.  This was just a personal preference.  It seemed to me that fall is a time for big robust flavors and that a bigger glass was a better choice.  Plus, who would complain about more champagne?

* Pour the apple cider slowly.  The reaction between the champagne and the cider causes a lot of fizz.  Our first attempt at this caused a champagne/cider volcanic eruption... all over the counter... and the floor.

*  You could garnish this with a cinnamon stick as well.  It would make a lovely addition.  Personally, I tend to skip non-edible garnishes in drinks.  You won't see me put one in the Caramel Apple Cider I am posting this afternoon either!

A Votre Sante!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Charlie's Infamous Grilled Peaches

This is one of the easiest things I make, and yet it never fails to garner ooh's and ah's of appreciation.  It makes a fabulous alternative dessert, or my personal favorite, as a side dish when grilling steak.  They take a mere matter of minutes to make, so you can throw them on while the steaks are resting.  Add a tossed green salad, and some crusty bread...

Peaches (You don't want them too ripe.  Still slightly firm is better for grilling)
Goat Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar

In a small sauce pan on the stove pour 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar.  Cook over low heat until reduced by half.  I usually put this on the stove while I am prepping the salad that night.  That way I can keep an eye on it...not that you really need is pretty hard to screw up... I just like to!

Preheat the grill.  (You can skip this step if you were just grilling steaks!)

Slice the peaches in half.  Place them on a pan and spray both sides with cooking spray.  Head out to the grill, and spray it with cooking spray also.  Place peaches on the grill, cut side up.  You are going to grill them a couple of minutes on each side.  It varies a little based on the ripeness of your peaches, but 2-3 minutes per side is a good estimate.
When you are done they look like this!  This time the blurriness can't be blamed on my crappy camera.  That's steam baby!

Bring the peaches in from the grill, and fill the center of each peach with a scoop of goat cheese.
Drizzle the top with honey.

Pour your balsamic reduction into a small pitcher and drizzle that over the top as well.  Use about half as much balsamic as honey.  You don't want it to overpower your peaches!

I promise you, people will LOVE these.  Positively divine! 

Pop the Prosecco!  Dinner is served!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron Boiling. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches.

Witch 1: Thrice the brinded cat has mew'd.
Witch 2: Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin'd
Witch 3: Harpier cries. ---'tis time!  'tis time!
Macbeth, William Shakespeare
Whether entertaining witches, werewolves, or glittery vampires ...
Keep them all Spellbound with your hospitality!

Cabernet Sauvignon
World Market
This was pretty good. 
It was better after it was open for a bit.  
Reasonably priced and decidedly drinkable.
A good party wine. 

WITCH 1: Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!

ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
**This is the first in a series of Halloween related posts.  I love this creepy, heebie-geebie inducing holiday!  Be prepared to take your Halloween to a whole new level!**

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby Love - Or What to Sing When Supreming an Orange

I promised you a post about how to supreme an orange a couple of weeks ago, and every time i think about writing the post, I also think about The Supremes.  So I thought... why not a little background music for the lesson? 

I sing this song to my 5 month old niece all the time.  She loves it. The song, probably not my singing, that is.

So if you're inclined, please press play and then scroll down.

How to Supreme an Orange
This is quick an easy.  All you need is a sharp pairing knife, a cutting board, and your orange.

Cut the two ends off of the orange.  Sit it upright on the cutting board.

Starting at the top slice down the side of the orange, between the flesh and the peel.  When you are done you will have strips of peel on the cutting board.  Turn the orange over and check to make sure there aren't any stray pieces of peel to trim off.

Take your pairing knife and cut down next to each white membrane line.  At the end of every second cut, your perfect orange sections should pop right out.

When you are finished you will have beautiful oranges for a salad, or a dessert, or just to make someone feel special...

Karen Ray loves oranges like this!

And just because I think it is cool, this is what the center and membrane of your orange will look like when you are done.  It makes me feel very chef-like when I finish with them all intact.  It doesn't happen every time!

Oh, and I know you may think that I am crazy for doing this.  You probably think it looks like a pain, and would take to long... but it doesn't. 

In fact, just to prove it, I timed myself.  (Let's call it research, and not being an overly zealous food-geek.)

I set the timer on the microwave for 2 minutes.  Pressed start.  Supremed my orange.  Tripped over the dog (I didn't realize she had snuck up behind me to see if I dropped anything on the floor).  Pressed stop. 

The timer read 37 seconds.  I figure I was a second or two faster than that, what with travel time, and tripping...

Plus there was no blood. 

Which is only shocking if you know me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What (not) to drink this weekend.

I wish I had better news for you people.  But life isn't all peaches, roses and good (cheap) wine.  Sometimes... there are clunkers.  In fact, this month, I have bought two. 

I blame you.

In a quest to give you new great wines to try at under $15, I have picked up some doozies.  Which until now, I have been suffering with on my own.  But then I started thinking... wouldn't it be better if I told you?  Then you could dodge the bullet that I so willingly jumped in front of... TO SAVE YOUR PALATE! 

So I give you:

I bought this for a Halloween post.  \
"Spooky wines for a spooky night" 
It scared me all right.

You know the title of this blog.  One Deadly Zin? 
I love Zin.  This one?  Not so much.

The good news is that I am recouping from these disasters by declaring tonight: Grilled Pizzas, Grilled Peaches, and Cotes du Rhone Night.  Definitely the cure to what ails me.  I'll tell you all about it Monday!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tapestries of Hope

On September 28th, my friend Kat and I went to see Tapestries of Hope.  It covers the horrifying reality of what is going on in Zimbabwe.  There is a belief that having sex with a virgin can cure a man of HIV/AIDS.  This myth has perpetuated the raping of young women and girls.  To be clear, one of the girls featured in the story was 3.  Her name was Runyararo, and she was full of life and spirit.

That is the amazing thing about this film.  To describe what is happening in Zimbabwe you need to use words like; horrifying, disturbing, appalling, disgusting, and sad...incredibly sad.  Yet the movie is none of those things.  The story features Betty Makoni, a human rights activist, who founded the Girl Child Network.  She rescues the girls who have been victimized, and she helps them take back their lives.  It is a story of empowerment and of hope.
 There was a discussion after the movie.  We talked about the horrors we had seen.  Some of which weren't in Africa.  Some of them took place right in Washington D. C. 

The filmmaker, Michaelene Cristini Risley came back on a mission to change things.  Unfortunately, change is never easy.  Many calls were unanswered.  Many doors were closed.  

There is an old African Proverb:  It takes a village to raise a child. 

The International Violence Against Women Act (S.2982/H.R.4984) is poised to incorporate solutions for ending violence against women into U.S. Foreign Assistance Programs.  

We, as women... No. We, as human beings have several ways in which we can help.

Write to your Senator and Representative.  Encourage them to co-sponsor the bill. This link will take you to a page that will have all the information that you need to send your letter.

Donate.  If you can.

Spread the word.  Tell your family, friends and neighbors.  Join the Facebook group.  Blog about it.  YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

They are scheduled to vote on the bill in mid to late November. 

I am part of the village.  Are you?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Time to find a new Farmer's Market

So remember when I started this new, Fresh Food Wednesday item for my blog?  Remember how excited, and nerdy I was?  Remember how I promised you amazing, fresh recipes from the ingredients that I bought at the Farmer's Market on Tuesday?  Well, that was before I realized that our local Farmer's Market carries the exact same items each week. 

In their defense, it is a small market.  But this is week 3 of our attendence and there hasn't been one new fruit, vegetable, animal, or mineral to be found! 

So in this weeks addition of Fresh Food Wednesday I have two things to offer you.

1.  How to spoil your dinner.

Vanilla Quark
I know I already featured the Garlic Quark, but the Vanilla takes it to a whole new level.  There are pieces of fresh vanilla beans in the quark.    It is like a smoother version of ricotta.  Almost like a creamy goat, but without the bite.  We went through 2lbs of strawberries and a tub of Spring Hill Vanilla Quark while I was making dinner.  I am pretty sure it was better than whatever I made (Especially since I can't remember what that was.).  If you don't live near a farmers market that carries Spring Hill Cheese, you can buy it on their website:

2.  We are trying a new Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  Which means I hope to have new fun things for you next Wednesday!

Until cheese!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I don't think I've met a Barolo, I didn't like.

We had it last night with Eggplant Bolognese.

Tonight, with Polenta cakes smothered in spinach, mushrooms, and heirloom tomatoes.

In both cases, it held it's own.
La Loggia
(and worth it)
Trader Joe's

This was delicious.  My immediate reaction was to buy 2 more, so I did.  One to drink, and one to put down. 

Then I read the back.  Boy I wish I did that first, "Note for wine collectors:  This wine will improve with long aging." 

I am going back to Trader Joe's tomorrow.

Also, "Suitable with game, roast beef, pasta with TRUFFLES AND RICH CHEESE."  No, they didn't actually write that part in bold.  That was an error on  their part, as it is THE ONLY PART THAT MATTERS!

Guess what you're making this weekend, honey!

Monday, October 4, 2010

New leaf. New tree. New me.

I am starting a remodel this month. 

No, not the house.

This is a life remodel.  I have gotten in to some bad habits, and it is time to correct them.  That said, there are some things I have been wanting to do that keep getting pushed to the back burner.  Time to dust them off and as my sister would say, "Get a wiggle on it." 

It takes 21 days to make something a habit.  That means that by the end of the month, I should be a lean, mean, organized machine...

Here's my Life Remodel Plan:
1.  Blog.  Everyday except Saturday.  I want to sharpen my skills, and the only way to do that is by using them more regularly.
2.  Exercise.  4 days a week.  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.  I want to look better, but more importantly, I want to feel better.
3.  Eat healthy.  All right... I know I'm a vegetarian and I already eat a lot of healthy things, but I also make a lot of terrible choices.  Step away from the Cheez-Its, Charlie, and nobody gets hurt!
4.  Organize my cr- I mean stuff.  I have yet to finish the organizational part of moving into a new house.  Before holiday season is upon me, I need to get my house/act/life together.
5.  Read.  To be honest, I had quit reading very much because I was too vain to get glasses.  I didn't want to admit that at 37 years old, my eyes weren't what they used to be.  I have them now, which takes me to my last item.
6.  Wear my freakin' glasses.  It is time to quit being vain, and start being practical.  While my eyesight isn't terrible, the glasses make a big difference.   I have always thought of myself as no-nonsense.  It is time to apply that principal to my vanity.  Being 37 is better than the alternative!

If you want to join in the remodel, leave your list in the comments section.  I'll post my progress on Mondays and you can too.  Together we can raise our spirits, and our tushes... not that mine needs it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

No One Understands Me...

Like Trader Joe's understands me! 

It is hands down, my favorite place to food shop.  There is something unique and delicious around every corner. 

Look what Tim brought home last week!

(Please note the container is empty.)

These are perfect little packages of graham cracker and marshmallow wrapped in chocolatey goodness.  Oh, and there are directions for serving them warm... 

Thank Goodness tomorrow is shopping day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What I'm drinking this weekend

Trefethen Family Vineyards
Dry Riesling
Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley
This is a great little wine.  It has been years since I tried a Riesling.  I tend to prefer reds.  This was dry, light, and a great match for the Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches.  I bought a second bottle for the weekend, I liked it so well!

Enjoy the weekend!