Thursday, June 18, 2009

United Nations Cheesecake

A Birthday cake was needed! I just recived a new issue of Good Food direct from England......inside was a mini-edition of Olive Magazine. It was filled with some interesting recipes, including a lovely Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake from non other than Chef Gordon Ramsay. The bête noire, who was getting some press 'down under'!

The ingredients included Double Cream(hard to come by in the US), Creme Fraiche, and some high cocoa chocolate (brought over from France)! I set off to Lexington to Whole Foods.....just to see! I knew they carried Creme Fraiche! What a surprise to find Double Cream, and boy-oh-boy.....this was thick and delicious! The recipe called for Digestive Biscuits, but I had Chocolate Graham crackers on hand and thought I would substitute!

Now you see why I call this the United Nations Cheesecake! A real combo of ingredients. The beauty of this recipe is it is no cracking and fiddly baking. I combined and swirled and then we celebrated a birthday and fought over the last crumb. Creamy, smooth, a hint of lemon and that wonderful rich chocolate. Even the crust set off the taste of the cheesecake!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gourmet 1988!

I used to save old magazines with recipes that I thought I might cook. Then the pile got huge. My super organized hubby suggested that I rip the recipe or article that I liked out and place it in a book. Well, that was too organized for me at that time, so I had a box filled with recipes. No, not a pretty box with flowers or cute cooking things, it was a packing box. Then, I got the organizational bug, hmmmmmm, maybe 10 years later, and put all those recipes in a book. I even have a special room in our new house to peruse my books of recipes now.

Needless to say, I haven't cooked each and every recipe, but the urge does strike to try one out, and I have been saving a Quiche Recipe that caught my eye from Gourmet Magazine, circa 1988. I was living in France at the time and running after a 1 year old boy. Not a lot of time to devote to cooking, but I knew I'd get back to it later in life!

I made a Flavored Dough as the base for my quiche. A parmesean and garlic powder blend. I gotta' say, this was very tasty and filled the kitchen with a good aroma while blind-baking.

The recipe was called, Crab and Saga Blue Quiche, Savoir Fare. Sounds good, huh?
I bought some Saga Blue cheese, couldn't find any crab though and wasn't going to make the trek to Lexington to find some good Crab meat. BUT, I did find some Florida Rock Shrimp that looked like it might go just fine. Wow......this was the best quiche I have made in a long time.

Moral to the story, save those old recipes and enjoy a cup of morning coffee or evening glass of wine, look through your pile of recipes and plan that next meal!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baking Frenzy

Easter has come and gone, but there are still some leftover crumbs! About a week before the holiday, I start thinking of what Bread I'll be making! I thought about Croissant, but I got lazy! A typical Easter Bread for our family is the Brioche. Buttery, tender crumb and can have several applications to a batch of dough. I found some more Plugra at Liquor Barn (of all places!!), my local Kroger had fresh yeast and I was on my way.

During my years in France (ahhhh, but a thought away) I have attended many cooking classes, hands-on and demo's! My first Cordon Bleu was a Saturday morning hands-on class. It was lots of fun, my two buddies AA and Barb were loads of laughs, but the dough was already made for us. We were just shaping and baking. A 'taste' into the world of baking, really! I knew I wanted MORE! A 5-day intensive class came a few years later and this recipe is from that exciting class! I also did a last minute, before my move class at Le Notre which was a delight!

The 'old man' hooked up the 220v outlet for me and I am in business with all my Euro gadgets! This yummy looking dough is full of butter and will rest/ferment in the fridge for a few days if you'd like. This dough rose beautifully in the fridge and easy to pull out and shape up for Easter Breakfast & days beyond.


Check my flickr site on the side, for some other sites of Spring in Kentucky!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Garlic Fougasse!

Having a well-stocked freezer is a good thing! But, let me be freezer is the black hole of well intentioned, but long forgotten goodies!

I love to make Pizza Dough, those who know me, know this to be a fact. It also brings me pleasure to know that pizza dough is in the freezer to be thawed at a whim!

So, the reason for this post is developing right now, a lovely pasta I was making for dinner needed some fresh bread! I haven't found a Boulangerie here in my town yet!!! (I never will!)
So, the dough from the freezer called my name and it soon was on it's way to becoming a garlic fougasse! I shaped the dough, brushed with garlic butter and fresh herbs and let it rise in my big ol' American oven.
The result was tender and delicious!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lasagna for 'the house'

What house? The White House? The Frat House?.......oh yeah, our house! Here in the Blue Grass!
Spring Break comes early for the schools in the north, and we had a wonderful week with our bearded-baby. He insisted on cooking for us one night, his specialty!! Scaled down for a family of 3, not a Frat House of 80 dudes!

I must say, our trip to the new favorite store Meijer in Hamburg netted some good items. I did influence my son (insisted) that he try some Italian Sausage to his mix. He relented! Other than that he did follow the 'house' recipe.

I also had some 1-step lasagna sheets on hand that I thought we should use up. I must say, the conoction had some great tastes! He raided my spice cabinet for many of my powders and salts and added some fresh garlic to his sauce.

We were delighted with his results, and are enjoying another serving (plus some for the freezer) tonight. The
'bearded-baby' is back 'up North' and Max is a little depressed right now. As all parents will join me in this thought.......we can't wait till the next visit home!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mom!!!!! What happened to the pie?

Spring Break......and I start to get into my recipes that please a 21 year old. Pie....who doesn't like pie??
Chocolate cream pie, did you say? Whipped cream, choco shavings?

Everybody likes pie, like I said......even black and white dogs. Seems like, while I was on Skype with my bearded-baby, a black and white dog helped himself to some pie.

This caused great rushing around and phone calls to the vet, but Max was ok and I lopped off half the pie and all was well and good! yes, we ate the rest of the pie!

Great flaky butter crust, made with Plugra, the equivalent to my precious French butter!

Monday, March 02, 2009

By the goodness of Grace

As I hang on to the coat tails of Technology, trying to keep up with my son, every once in a while I find a gadget that is easy to use and wonder why it took so long for me to find this thing.
It is called the Grace WI-FI Internet Radio. and it is awesome!

Of course I can't really take the credit for finding this gem of a was my 'bearded baby' who said that he just found an 'app' for his I-Phone, he said he was streaming some old radio stations that we used to listen to in France.
That got me to thinking that I can stream from my computer! Next was a little internet search of a gadget that might let me carry my music from room to room. You'll find several radio's like Squeezebox, but I needed to economize and found Grace! As you can see, CNET gave it a great little review. The 'bearded baby' gave it his blessing and off to Best Buy I did go.

Easy to set-up, easy to use....and now I'm streaming my favorite jazz stations like FIP-FM and TSF. Oh-La-La!

FIP's programming is an eclectic mix of musical genres: chanson, rock, world music, classical music, film music, jazz and more, but connected with a theme. FIP is one of the few stations with this type of programming in the world.
TSF Jazz has a wonderful selection of all jazz, classics from the 30's & 40's. Both stations have disk jockeys who speak slow enough for my poor French! That way I'll always know the weather and the next National Strike date! Oh.....those were the days!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A few nights with........Phil

I feel like I've been invited to a secret society! He is a local cult figure! You open a newspaper and his name pops up, you read a local magazine and there his name is again. Phil is his name! I fortunately, was added to his eMail list and got to come to some classes. They are held in a lovely 'home' that has been turned into a fantastic showroom. He cooks on an AGA that has been produced for the American market. A roaring gas stove-top is at his command. Then he bakes in a dreamy Wolf oven. Yes, one can dream!

One of the things I really enjoy about Phil's classes are that you come away learning a lot! Yep, I've been to quite a few classes in my years, but his recipes are delicious and pretty easy to other words, they are perfect weeknight fare! BUT, also perfect for stress free entertaining!

I've been to his Egg class, he had so many tricks and tips. A Casserole class netted some real keepers, I even sent that batch of recipes up to 'the bearded baby' when he cooks for his Frat House! We have had a Tapas night and I brought 'the old man' along for this latest class of Brisket (2 ways)!
I did bring my son along to a class during his holiday break and Phil could not have been more generous! The 'bearded baby' mentioned that he cooks for his Frat House from time to time and Phil promised some recipes to cook for a crowd!

You pretty much can't walk away from the class, you are rolling down I-75 towards home! The food and drink flow and you usually get a take-home plate for the loved one who had to stay home!

Phil is a joy to watch and you can tell that he has run his own kitchen! His knife skills are awesome......and the guy can muli-task like no one else! He is a pro. He is also very down to earth. I have learned where to shop here in Lexington for good products! You'll be surprised to learn where he frequents and even where he purchases some of his equipment.

I really shouldn't brag too much about him or his next session of classes could be full!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Did I ever tell you the story about my Thanksgiving Popovers? No?
Let me make this short and sweet. I usually like to do a 'fresh' bread or roll along side of my 'bird'. Got to thinking about Popovers and thought I could make a batch and bake them off in a muffin tin. Well, those babies did NOT 'pop'! They could have been used as lethal weapons to get rid of any Kentucky critter or evil doer that was passing by. They didn't even make good bird food and our birds eat everything! The birdies turned up their beaks at my offering!

A recent trip to Williams Sonoma, I came home with yet another new baking pan. The mighty popover pan! There are some times when I like living back in the U.S.
Searching through the internet, the worlds biggest cookbook,......I found a recipe that looked pretty good. Sometimes tho, when I look for a recipe I have to find one that fits the ingredients that I have on hand. This recipe called for 2 eggs and I had 3! There ya' go! It also called for some Gruyère cheese, had it in the fridge, I can find a decent one in my Kroger store. Everything was looking good so far.

Looking at the photos above, you can see they rose mighty high and were darned tasty! I'm happy with my purchase and just need to find a place to stash my new piece of cooking equipment!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lamb Sliders

Well, Super Bowl Sunday came and went, and to be honest, we went to a movie! I'm just not a big fan of Football. I do, however, enjoy the food that seems to be on the menu during those games!
While we were snowed in, watching the Early Show, I caught a great snippet on Super Bowl food and Sliders!
Still in comfort food mode, I needed some meat and potatoes! Inspired by the cool way of fashioning a burger I was ready to give it a try. Not only did the guy come up with cutting the burger into
a square, a la White Castle's.......he put cheese in the mixture as well.

Let's get to the point. Ground Lamb, green onions, Worcestershire Sauce, Tahini Paste and cilantro. (I could have put some cheese in, but didn't with the lamb) It didn't get any better than that and the result was a very juicy burger. I seared them in my cast iron, then finished them off (not too long) in the oven. Served with roasted sweet potatoes with 'our' special dipping sauce and we had a easy weeknight meal.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Great Winter Storm!

I'm back.....
And we survived the Great Storm of '09! We didn't lose power, only Internet and Cable. Compared to many, many others, this just wasn't bad. We had a local Starbucks to log in and enjoyed a coffee or a dinner at the bookstore cafe' called Bronte' Bistro . You can log in, eat a nice little meal and buy books, all centered around a lovely fireplace!

This brings us to the build up for the storm. It has been a while since I faced a full-on Winter Storm. The warnings were out, we had the kerosene heater filled and ready. I had a freezer filled with items just in case we couldn't get out. It did snow, but it was just a preview of coming attractions, so we headed out to the local WalMart whle we could still get out. I wanted to lay-in some real comfort food items. I made a soup last year and it was pretty good. I wanted to make it again, with changes!

This soup can make you feel like you can handle any storm (plus leftovers!). Healthy swiss chard and kale, a bit of beef broth mixed with the chicken (just had both on hand!). A can of fire-roasted tomatoes and a rind of Parmesan cheese. I served it with cornbread and we felt cozy. The changes in the recipe were noted and I wonder what I'll add next year. But for now, I dream of spring! Next project will be saving some of our trees that were savaged by the ice.
Heartbreaking. Again, I think we didn't have it too bad, really!