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by on August 28th, 2014

Chocolate Cream (Dream) Cake

Dreamy beyond your imagination.

 

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What is it about dreams that’s so fascinating. I have never figured out why I dream the things I do while I’m stacking the ZZZZZZZZ’s. I’m sure everyone has had the dream where you fear someone is chasing you and you can’t get away or you go to school with your pj’s on and how embarrassed you were.

The dreams that use to disrupted my sleep the most were my catering dreams where I forgot to buy the food and got to the party with no food cook and only an hour before the guests arrived and while I’m quickly trying to throw something together I’m telling myself “WAKE UPPPPPPP” this is only a dream. No matter what my dream is it’s gone in a wink as soon as my eyes are open. My husband, on the other hand, dreams in technicolor and the most elaborate involved dreams you have ever heard; dreams he can’t even interpret and he can go on for 15 minutes telling me every detail of the dream.

This chocolate cake just happens to be the dreamiest chocolate cake and you could not even dream up something this delicious. I saw Laura Calder of French Food at Home (Cooking Channel) make this and knew I had to give it a try. She calls it Chocolate Cream Cake; I think this is the cake you may dream about or in my case it may be the cake that keeps me from going to sleep.

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by on August 23rd, 2014

Southern Comfort Breakfast Bowl

Not THAT kind of Southern Comfort!

 

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 (I’ve been in Asheville this week and have several things I want to try out on you soon.)

 

Southern comfort? Is that rocking away on the front porch drinking a glass of sweet tea waiting for those grand kids to come so you can say “Come give me some sugar” (kisses – and that’s exactly what one of my grandmas use to say, and I would never say that) or is a good pimento cheese sandwich on white bread your southern comfort; and sitting on a stool in a drug store would make that so much better. Maybe a pan of good cornbread or grits or maybe just taking that dog for a long walk on a hot sweltering day is your idea Southern comfort and this recipe certainly isn’t made from the Southern Comfort we use to drink years ago.

Well, I’m fixin to give you a recipe that isn’t a recipe at all; so before you have a hissy fit and say what’s she talkin about, this can be any breakfast ingredient of your choice served in a bowl. It’s all in the presentation and if you are one of those people who don’t like their foods touching then you may not like this.

WARNING: This is a big hungry man breakfast. If it is too heavy for you for the summer, then save it for a cool autumn morning.

One rainy weekend morning I had my head in the refrigerator trying to come up with something yummy. I had seen a episode of Diner, Dives and Drive-Ins months earlier where Guy was in some diner eating a bowl full of gravy and other ingredients.

I decided for my bowl of Southern comfort goodness I was going to start with some browned frozen hash browns and then from there go with a homemade biscuit or two topped with peppered sausage gravy then some bacon “planking” the top with a perfectly poached egg to the side.

I just knew my husband was going to love this. I made him a large size and I ate my biscuit and gravy separate. Big pasta bowls were the perfect dish to serve this in for this rainy day breakfast.

I’m sure everyone knows how to make perfect gravy but to me the most important part of the gravy making is to stir the flour into the bacon fat (or sausage fat) to brown it a little. Doing this will guarantee that your gravy doesn’t have a raw flour taste. I’ve seen people put flour and milk in a jar and shake before adding to a pan. Believe me, this method will not give you good results and who wants to ruin a great breakfast by taking shortcuts.

I’m making just plain old buttermilk biscuits for my bowl. I also think a base of grits, then biscuit, egg, gravy would be yummy to try.

I had this post ready to go a long time ago and has been waiting in the wings for the right moment. I forgot about it and now that it’s summer already, I’m giving it to you anyway even though it may be a little more filling than you would want for this time of year. You get the idea anyway — for a lighter version, how about a little grits on the bottom topped with some sautéed spinach then a poached egg on top; or even a pile sweet potato hash browns topped with vegetable and egg would be yummy.

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by on August 18th, 2014

Green Pea Risotto (with Pan Seared Halibut)

Not only is this risotto beautiful, it’s delicious too.

 

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Our 45th wedding anniversary was August 16th, followed the next day by my husband’s birthday. He married an older woman (by 9 months); I was 21 and he turned 21 the next day so his mom had to “sign” for him to be able to get married.

So, to celebrate our 45th we took off for Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria/Seattle. We called this our “planes, trains, and automobiles” trip (after the movie) but it turned out to be planes, trains, automobiles, water taxis, whale boat, ferry boat, tour bus (to Butchart Gardens), hop on hop off bus trip.

The trip started in Seattle, one night there and then caught Amtrak for a beautiful 5 hour ride to Vancouver which was almost totally overlooking the water. Once in Vancouver we walked the Calpilano Suspension bridge, tree top adventure and cliff walk along the edge of the park.

A whale watching boat took us on a 4 hour trip across to Victoria where we saw lots of whales. While there we saw Butchart Gardens and of course had to have tea at the Empress Hotel where we were staying.

One night we had dinner at the Blue Crab Restaurant and took a water taxi over to the restaurant since the walk was a little long with the sore foot I developed while hiking through the Cilpilano Park (:() ) It seems like ever dinner we had (they were all great) we called our anniversary dinner.

That night at the Blue Crab, GA (hub) had a pan seared halibut with summer green pea risotto and tarragon butter sauce. It was so beautiful I almost wanted to trade but I had Sea Scallops and Tiger Prawn with pancetta and garden pea couscous and chili citrus butter sauce which I did not want to share. (We did share a bite.)

This was definitely one of our favorite trips and ranks right up there with trips to France, Spain and Italy.

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by on August 13th, 2014

Tropical Rice & Chicken Salad

Recipe gone wrong!!!!!

 

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I was at World Market one day looking for a few things and happened up on this Imperial Jasmine Rice Blend. It’s beautiful colors of purple, red and white made me want to grab it off the shelf and come up with a recipe using it. The jasmine rice is grown exclusively in the East of Thailand.

According to the package Imperial Jasmine Rice is a unique purple grain that is mixed with naturally perfumed white jasmine rice to give it an ideal texture while retaining its vibrant purple color and sweet flavor. (This is according to the package). Ya know purple is one of my favorite colors so I couldn’t wait to see what this rice was going to look like. I think it would also be beautiful under apiece of grilled salmon and I have just the new recipe to try using this beautiful rice

Years ago I made this tropical chicken salad for a church function of over a hundred ladies and all I remember about the luncheon was how much everyone enjoyed the salad so I decided to take that recipe and make some changes and like magic — a new recipe.

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by on August 8th, 2014

Savory Cabbage with Caraway

Beautiful cabbage to go with your dogs!

 

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So, what do you do on a day you don’t want to cook?  I had a busy morning shopping at a second hand kid’s store (twice). Then after getting home I couldn’t wait to mail the things off, so my third trip out for the day was to the post office so get the new purchases in the mail.

I emptied my refrigerator of all the 4th of July leftovers; I can only take looking at old food for so many days and then I feel like the refrigerator needs to be purged of it’s contents.

I just happened to have some Italian “hot” sausages in the freezer so I threw them on my magic defrosting tray which is a Wilton Armetale grill tray. When I was working at Williams Sonoma we sold these trays and one day I decided to look up what else to use the tray on other than grilling.  One suggestion was to thaw your frozen foods on it. Don’t ask me how this works but it does. Put a piece of frozen food on it and in less than two hours it will be thawed.  If you have ANY Armetale, try it, it make work with all their pieces and it may be because it is made up of many kinds of metals and it absorbs the cold. Believe me, it works.

After getting the sausages thawed on my tray I knew I had some red and green cabbage left from the 4th so I found some recipes from Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, and Martha Stewart and I came up with this variation.

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