Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just Peachy

What do you do when your sweet daughter goes on a peach kick?  You buy peaches every time you go to the store and then she decides not to eat them.  I had a case of them in the fridge that I was about to throw out.  I considered making some peach cobbler but my waistline begged me not to.  Plus, I hate peeling fruit!  I have often heard if you drop the peaches in boiling water for a couple of minutes the skins pull right off.  I gave it a shot and it worked like a charm.  Now I have a bowl full of naked peaches just waiting on me to decide what to do with them.  I'm thinking of making a peach puree' to keep in the fridge for bellinis. You all know how I love the "champs" so a little peach puree' couldn't hurt, right?
Drop the peaches into a pot of boiling water and let them hang out in there for about two minutes.  Remove them with a slotted spoon, then as soon as they are cool enough to handle pull the skins off.  
It's hard to tell, but these are the peeled peaches.  The blush color from the skins is still on the fruit, they are so pretty! If you've heard of this little trick and wondered if it works, I'm here to tell you it does; give it a go. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm Afraid of Pie

There, I said it.  I'm afraid of pie.  My Mam-Ma made the best pies in the world.  I've yet to have a slice of pie that was as delicious as hers or see one that looked quite as pretty.  It seemed so effortless to her, the way she handled the dough, dropping in just tiny bits of ice water until it was the perfect consistency to roll.  She always had some pie dough in the freezer, just waiting to be made into one of her tempting treats.  Apple (hers was pink inside), and chocolate meringue were my favorites.  What I wouldn't give to be standing next to her on that green metal stool just watching her work her magic one more time.  I bet I would pay closer attention, 'cause this girl can't make a pie crust.  About that pink apple pie, red hots were her secret ingredient.  All my life I have thought other apple pies just weren't near as pretty.  She didn't go for the big chunks of apple either, this woman could slice apples paper thin.  Imagine these paper thin slices of apples just mounded up inside the pie plate.  I can still see her putting the top crust on and so nimbly pinching the edges to make the perfect flute.  I am fortunate that I do have a hand written recipe of that pie dough, but it intimidates me.  Maybe one day I will conquer that fear, but in the meantime, ain't nothin' wrong with a Pillsbury pie crust.  I buy the one in the refrigerator section, not the frozen one in the tin.  This way, you can put it in your own dish and it actually looks homemade.  It doesn't hold a candle to Mam-Ma's, but it beats mine to pieces!

Last weekend a girlfriend was telling me they had been on a pineapple kick.  Since we were going to their house for dinner I decided to try my hand at one of Mam-Ma's pie recipes, pineapple cream with a meringue top.  If you're not into meringue, this would be just as delicious with a whipped cream top, with maybe a little toasted coconut sprinkled over it.  This wasn't one she made often, but it was always good.  My meringue wasn't nearly as high, and my store bought crust wasn't as beautiful, but it tasted almost the same. I sure wish she was here to have some with me!

Obviously, my fingers aren't as nimble, but I can use a fork!

Next time, I'll use 4 eggs instead of 2 to make my meringue taller, but it sure did brown up nicely.

This is the recipe I used and I highly recommend it.  In reading this recipe, it seems many a grandmother made a pineapple cream pie.  If it sounds strange to  you, I understand, but try it!  It's evidenced (or not) by the fact that I don't have a photo of the finished pie, it was gone that quick! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

So Much to little time to tell it

I have abandoned my little blog lately.  I'm sure you all noticed, right? (Crickets)  It's actually crazy that I haven't written because I have so much going on that would provide plenty of material.  I've been busy starting my new job; I gave up my teaching career to start a new chapter in the work world.  I am very fortunate to have found a new career that allows me to use what I know about schools and education in a whole new way.  I am working with a publisher of children's books on the digital side.  In a nutshell, I work with schools to develop a custom professional development plan that will allow them to implement their new library of over 2500 digital books.  I am really busy and have lots to learn but I have been loving every minute of it.  I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego for a technology conference a couple of weeks ago.  Have you been to San Diego?  It was my first time and I have to tell you it was A-MA-ZING.  First and foremost let's talk about the weather.  It was sunny and in the upper 70's or low 80's every day; I'll take that over this Oklahoma heat wave any day!  I had no idea there was so much to do in San Diego.  My husband came to meet me after the conference was over and we stayed through the weekend.  We drove to Carlsbad which was the cutest little beach town.  Then to La Jolla where we walked along the beach and got to see the sea lions, so cute!  Then we drove to Del Mar for dinner and enjoyed a beautiful beach sunset while we ate.  On the way back to our hotel we stopped in Old Town. It was like a short trip to Mexico! Too bad we were stuffed silly from our dinner, there were so many restaurants and Mexican is one of our favorites.  We had planned to go back for dinner the next night, but didn't make it...that's another story for another day.  We were fortunate to make it over to Coronado Island for a day of shopping and sight seeing.  The Hotel Del was just one of the most amazing places I've seen.  It's full of history and so picturesque.  The pictures we took just don't do it justice.  We zipped through Little Italy one day where they had the cutest little grocery stores and fun little shops.  We had pizza and gelato while visiting, when in Rome Little Italy...
The sea lions in La Jolla, really cute, but really stinky too!
The "Del"
His and Hers beach cocktails. 
 His is self explanatory.
Hers is a margarita made with pineapple and chile infused tequila.
Our beach side dinner view in Del Mar

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Liquid Strawberry Shortcake

Here's my inspiration recipe, but I kicked it up a notch.  Mama loves some champagne and I saw an opportunity here.  I am not a sweet cocktail drinker so I wasn't sure how this would fair.  Let me say that it fairs well.  Follow that inspiration recipe but use a champagne flute and top the mixture with some bubbly.  When I'm using champagne for cocktails I use Tott's Brut, the price is right and it tastes fine.  Tip: the fruit makes the champagne really bubble up, so pour with caution. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Menu Monday

I decided to link up on Rachel's blog for Menu Monday.  I am a faithful reader of her blog, but have never linked up.  Those of you that know me in real life already know that I cook most every night.  I'm just not always thinking about taking pics of what we had, so I will try to be better about that. Some of the things on the menu last week include:
Since I didn't take a pic of mine, I borrowed this photo from How Sweet it is, the blog that I got the recipe from. I really liked this, but mine was way soupier than I think it was supposed to be.  I remedied that by taking the chicken out of the cooking liquid once it was done and shredding it into a separate dish.  I then just added the amount of sauce needed to make it the right consistency for us.  I didn't cook it quite as long as the recipe called for, so if you will be cooking it all day, you may not run into that.  The leftovers were really good in a salad, I made a dressing using some of the leftover sauce and added some green onion and cilantro and tossed it all with a big bowl of salad greens.  This would also do double duty for you if you wanted to make a BBQ chicken pizza.  I planned to do that, but didn't get around to it before the chicken was all gone.  I will make extra next time. 

I made quiche for dinner one night, I like to make to so I can eat it through the week for breakfast too. I have started using Kate's recipe as the base and then I just add whatever veggies I have on hand.  This week, it was asparagus, spinach, and mushrooms.

Wednesday nights we host an American Idol watch party and I have a couple of girlfriends come over to eat.  This week we had an Asian Chicken Salad, similar to this one from Pioneer Woman. We served it with edamame and plenty of vino, (Wednesdays are fun)!

Thursday and Friday we ate out, but Saturday we had a Cinco de Mayo feast over at some of our dear friends' house.  They have a gorgeous pool and the weather was perfect for sitting outside.  I made these Sour Cream Enchiladas to go along with all the other great food...we always over eat when we visit these particular friends!  I love these enchiladas but they really are pretty hard to do by yourself, you need an extra set of hands.  We set up a little assembly line and I get the hubs to help me!  It's pretty fun because he really doesn't do much cooking and I enjoy having him in the kitchen with me.  We always double, or even triple, this recipe.  I figure if you're going to make the mess, might as well make plenty! They reheat really well from the refrigerator, I haven't ever tried to freeze them though. 
My line cook

Here they are before going into the oven, I didn't get an "after" pic because we took them to over to the party to bake later. I serve these with my home made salsa and fresh guacamole. I also like to sprinkle chopped red onion and cilantro over them before serving, but they are great without that too.

As you can see, I get lots of inspiration from blogs I read, hopefully I can inspire a few of you out there to cook more meals at home!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend Getaway

I had the opportunity to join the hubs on a business trip last weekend.  His company hosted an awards banquet in Kansas City and I was so glad I was able to go. We stayed at the Sheraton Country Club Plaza, and it was perfect.  The location was phenomenal, right on the Plaza so we were able to walk everywhere.  The Plaza makes for great shopping and we spend most of Saturday doing just that.  We had great dinners both Friday and Saturday night.  Friday night we spent some time at a mixer/reception then headed out to eat with the other couple that was there with us.  There were so many choices of places to eat that it was a hard decision, but we ended up at Brio.  My friend and I split the Halibut because we weren't that hungry after snacking at the reception.  It was good, but the real hit for us was the Gimlet(s) we had.  They were so refreshing with all the lime, mint and cucumber muddled right it.  They went down pretty easy.  A bunch of folks were heading to the new casino out there but we were all so tired we skipped that.  As I said, we spent all day Saturday shopping so I was glad we rested up.  The hubs had never eaten at a California Pizza Kitchen so we stopped in for lunch.  He had a pizza that was ON FIRE hot and I got a roasted veg salad.  Overall, it was just ok, but now he can say he's been there. 

The shopping on the plaza is great! I got to go into some stores that we don't have here at home. H&M and Kate Spade were among my faves.  I didn't take many pics at all, but I did snap this with my phone.
I LOVE Tim Gunn, and there he was right in front of Kate Spade; there was a fashion show on the plaza and he was the commentator.  He is just as funny in person as he is on TV. After our marathon shopping day we went back to the hotel to freshen up for the awards banquet.  Here we are waiting on the shuttle to take us to the Intercontinental, which by the way was gorgeous!

Kelly and I both were sporting our white wedges. I probably haven't worn white shoes since my mother dressed me in white patent Mary Janes, but I just loved these.  Kelly's were really cute too and I think I am going to get the same ones in black.
I sure was glad she was there, we kept ourselves pretty well entertained during the ceremony.
We ended Saturday night at a neat Mexican place called Zocalo, the atmosphere was fun and the food was excellent.  The only thing that was a little weird to me was that you had to pay for chips and salsa.  I will say that when you order it, you get a huge serving of several different types of salsas and plenty of chips.  It was a really pretty presentation, but again, I didn't take a pic. We had such a great weekend, I highly recommend that area if you are looking for a low key getaway and live anywhere near KC.  It was about a three and a half hour drive for us, not too bad.  Where are your favorite getaway spots?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pita Pizzas

I've been really hitting up the cooking blogs lately! I decided a few weeks ago to try and go meatless at least one night per week.  I figure if I make it delicious, even the hubs won't complain.  But then, hey, if he's complaining about having a plate of food set down in front of him upon walking in the door from work...well let's just hope he likes PBJ's.  I stumbled upon a post for this pizza made on a pita.  It included avocados, which admittedly seemed kind of weird.  But, since I had some going south in my fridge, I decided to give it a try.  I will totally cop to the fact that my laziness in not wanting to go to the store for something else was what nudged me to make these.  I made a few modifications to this recipe; I added some red onion to my pizzas and topped them with crushed red pepper and a little more cilantro after they came out of the oven.  I doubled the sauce recipe and used lots more jalapeno that it called for and less oil.  I had lots of leftover sauce and I plan to use it on taco salads for another dinner.  I can best describe the sauce as a cilantro pesto.  It's so pretty and fresh!  These made for an easy and delicious weeknight supper, but would just as easily be perfect at a party.  I think they would taste great at room temperature so you wouldn't have to serve them straight from the oven (not that I'd know since I pretty much inhaled mine as soon as it was done).
Oh, and for the record, the hubs really liked these too.  He dodged the PBJ bullet!