Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has headed into the Southwest region weaving its magic over the desert vegetation. 

Lemon Ricotta Cake
The perfect dessert to usher in spring and serve for Easter brunch. It's an Italian inspired cake made from scratch with an off the chart delicious lemony flavor and a moist texture. Lemon zest gives it an extra zing. 
Cook's Notes: The cake can be iced with a lemon glaze or topped with macerated strawberries. Recipe inspiration cookingclassy.com
Cake Ingredients:
  • 1-1/3 cups flour (scoop and level to measure) 
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • Lemon zest from one large lemon
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
Lemon Icing Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. softened butter
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • Optional added lemon zest
Cake Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform pan sides and bottom.
  • In a bowl add flour, baking powder and salt, whisk and set aside.
  • Cream sugar, lemon zest and butter until pale and fluffy. 
  • Mix in eggs one at a time, adding in almond extract and beat.
  • Add in half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Add in ricotta and mix just until combined 
  • Add in last half of flour and mix just until combined. 
  • Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until cake is set and a toothpick comes clean from the center. Check at 30 minutes.
  • Cool cake in pan and run knife around edges before removing ring.  
Icing Directions:
  • Using a whisk mix all ingredients until smooth.
  • Ice cooled cake. Optional toasting coconut and almonds together and sprinkling over icing. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Weekend Round-Up Part Two

and it seems like forever
add a few titles to your booklist 
These authors were featured speakers at the Tucson Book Festival 
A heart-breaking, heart-warming historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. For readers of 'The Nightingale," "Lilac Girls," and "Sarah's Key." 
Alert: Same author of a book club favorite "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" and based on a true story. It earned a prestigious KIRKUS REVIEW...
Too old to dream of being adopted, Ernest Young is raffled off at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific World Exposition to Madame Flora, who runs a notorious brothel. His adventures have just begun.
This book is for early readers and would be a great resource in the classroom as a  discussion tool. 

Maria is from Guatemala, Jin is from Korea, and Fatima is from Somalia. All three are new to their American elementary school, and each has trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. 
Recipe Round-Up
Atomic Buffalo Turds
What a fun way to explore a downtown area by going on a culinary adventure. On this tour we sampled food (small bites) from six local restaurants and one tea store. Guides were knowledgeable pointing out architectural highlights, cultural sites, and great local shops along the way. We saw one of the downtown's 13 art murals

and one of the many be kind mosaic art designs found throughout the area. The project is sponsored by the Ben's Bell's Kindness Education Programs. It's based on the belief that everyone has the capacity to be kind, and that kindness can be cultivated through intentional practice and celebration in a variety of venues, including schools, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities.

And yes the food-some samples included:
Quinoa with Thai Peanut Dressing
Bavarian Cream Chocolate Doughnut topped with Bacon Bits
An owl decorated car caught our attention on the way back-truly a memorable day.    

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Weekend Round-Up Part One

Hash is a dish consisting of diced meat, potatoes and spices that are mixed together and then cooked either alone or with other ingredients such as onions. The name is derived from the French verb hacher (to chop).

Corned beef hash became especially popular in some countries including Britain and France during and after World War II as rationing limited the availability of fresh meat.

In many locations, hash is served primarily as a breakfast food on restaurant menus and as home cuisine, often served with eggs and toast (or biscuits), and fried potatoes or hash browns. The dish may also use corned beef or roast beef stirred into potato mixture.
Hash has recently made a comeback as more than just a dish for leftovers or breakfasts. High-end restaurants now offer sophisticated hashes and the first cookbook dedicated exclusively to a wide variety of hashes was self-published in 2012.

Corned Beef Hash
Cook's Notes:If you choose to make this hash with eggs, you’ve got breakfast. Take away the eggs, pair it with a green salad, and dinner is served.  Five cups frozen hash browns can be substituted for red potatoes.  
And don't forget a slice of Irish Soda Bread to round out the meal. 

Recipe adapted from wholekitchenwordpress.com and serves 2-3
  • 4 medium sized red potatoes, peeled and cubed 
  • 2-3 cups corned beef, diced in small pieces
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, finely diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups raw cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 cup combination mini yellow and red peppers, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried thyme, rosemary, parsley and basil
  • 1 TB. oil
  • 1 TB. butter
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place cubed potatoes in large pot, covered with 3 inches of cool water, add in 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • Bring pot to a boil, then cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain potatoes in a colander and set aside to cool.
  • In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 TB. oil, onions, minced garlic, carrots, cabbage, peppers and saute until veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in butter, cubed cooked potatoes, spices and corned beef, stirring to combine.
  • Continue cooking until potatoes and corned beef begin to brown about 10 minutes – stir every 2-3 minutes. Add a dash of Worcestershire just before serving. 
  • Serve the hash in bowls. Adding over-easy eggs on top of each bowl is optional.
Check out these St. Patrick's Day treats served at a recent party. Between the food and decorating it was off the charts. We were all instructed to bring green food. Hope to round-up some of these recipes this week.  
Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes
Shrimp with Avocado Dip
Green Veggie Dip
Atomic Buffalo Turds
Puff Pastry Asparagus
Artichoke Dip 
Fruit Kabobs
Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Part Two: Tuscon Food Tour and some recommended reading

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Go Irish

Colcannon is an Irish version of mashed potatoes made with sauteed cabbage or kale, green onions and bacon. Pair this hearty side dish with slices of corned beef and Irish Soda Bread adding a wee bit of Irish to your March cooking
Irish Soda Bread previously posted March 3. 2015

Colcannon with Kale and Cheddar
Cook's notes: Use a food processor to shred cabbage or kale. A cheese grater also works to shred cabbage. Recipe serves 4-6.
  • 1-1/2 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 8 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cups finely shredded cabbage or kale
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 3/4-1 cup half and half (warmed)
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 TB. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt e.g. Lawry's 
  • 1-1/2 cups grated white cheddar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Bring water to a boil, add in potatoes and simmer until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain potatoes.
  • Fry bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and reserve 1 TB. bacon drippings. 
  • Saute onions on medium high heat for 2 minutes in bacon dripping. Add in shredded cabbage/kale and green onions, cook until cabbage is tender about 5-8 minutes. 
  • Stir in cheddar and mix well. 
  • In large bowl add potatoes, onions/cabbage mixture, cream, bacon bits, parsley, butter, salt and pepper. With a hand mixer beat potato mixture until well mixed. Serve immediately or keep warm in an ovenproof pan or bowl. 
Irish Coffee
Perhaps the most famous Irish drink is the Irish coffee. Over 100 versions of this popular drink exist, including non-alcoholic Irish drink recipes.
Irish coffee was invented by Limerick chef Joseph Sheridan in 1942 to welcome Americans visiting Ireland. The travelers arrived in the west of Ireland on a cold winter night, so Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee to warm them up, telling the Americans they were being served Irish coffee.
A San Francisco Chronicle travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, brought the recipe back to the U.S. after drinking Irish coffee at Shannon Airport. 
It was first served at the Buena Vista CafĂ© in San Francisco on November 10, 1952.

  • 1 ½ oz. of Irish whiskey e.g. Jameson 
  • 5-7 oz. hot coffee or 2 shots of espresso
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Run hot water slowly over a glass mug until it’s at room temperature or hotter, and then dry it (pouring hot coffee into a cold glass could cause it to crack) or use a regular coffee mug.
  • Add brown sugar to mug
  • Pour in whiskey
  • Add coffee or espresso, leaving room at top for whipped cream
  • Stir until sugar is completely dissolved
  • Set whipped cream on drink
  • Do not stir (drink stays warmer longer with the cream sitting on top)
  • To make cold Irish coffee, chill the sweetened coffee before adding the whiskey.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Favorites

Spring Veggies Egg Casserole 
Lemon Dill Tilapia
Shrimp Scampi

New discovery just in time to celebrate Women's History Month

A Mighty Girl is a resource site to help others equally interested in supporting and celebrating girls. The site was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books, play with toys, listen to music, and watch movies that offer positive messages about girls and honor their diverse capabilities.
They have posted an awesome resource list of 60 book titles to celebrate girls. 

Irish Themed Dinner

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Pistachios and Sea Salt

Life is short-eat dessert first
Jacques Torres
Dark Chocolate Cookies with Pistachios and Sea Salt 
Cook's Notes: One bite of these buttery cookies with dark chocolate chunks and chopped pistachios sprinkled with a touch of sea salt and you'll think you've struck gold! Recipe makes 18 cookies and was adapted from twopeasandtheirpod. Use quality chocolate e.g. Ghirardelli

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, shells removed
  • 1 cup dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Fine or coarse sea salt   

  • In a large bowl cream butter and sugars, until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat 2 minutes more. 
  • In a small bowl whisk flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and mix just until incorporated. 
  • Stir in pistachios and chocolate chips.
  • Place bowl in freezer for 45 minutes to chill. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad. 
  • Form into 2 inch balls. Sprinkle dough balls with a little sea salt.
  • Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
  • Let cookies sit 2 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a wire cooling rack.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Strike Gold with St. Patrick's Day Appetizers

Rainbow Fruit Kabob
Reuben Tortilla Pinwheels   
Cook's Notes: Recipes makes 24 appetizers adapted from homecookingmemories.com 
  • 3/4 lb. deli corned beef sliced thin
  • 3/4 lb. deli Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup Thousand Island Dressing
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 TB. mustard
  • Optional 1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained and patted dry on a paper towel
  • 6 fresh soft flour tortillas (6 inch)  
  • Mix together cream cheese, dressing and mustard, sauerkraut if using.
  • Mix well and divide among each of the flour tortillas. Spread to 1/2 inch of the edges.
  • Divide corned beef and Swiss cheese among the flour tortillas.

  •    Roll (jelly roll fashion) tightly

and wrap each one separately in plastic wrap. 
  • Place rolls in a large zip loc bag and refrigerate at least 3 hours. 
  • To serve slice pinwheels. 
It was brought to my attention that a step was omitted from a recent blog posting 
on Balsamic Roasted Tomato and Asparagus with Parmesan.  It has been corrected in original recipe. Tomatoes are added to asparagus and they are roasted together.