Sunday, May 14, 2017

May, Rhubarb & Beekman Boys

Happy May, Happy Mother's Day. A friend shared these beautiful lilacs with me, and I just can't get enough of all the beautiful spring blooms. 
Each spring I look forward to seeing this rhubarb sign, it's self service with a cash jar on the table. $1.50 per bunch, just picked from her chemical-free garden. She happened to be pulling out of her driveway when we stopped to make our rhubarb purchase. Her smile was ear to ear. If you enjoy rhubarb, I have a couple recipes I enjoy mini pies  and rhubarb apple pandowdy.
When I was offered this beautiful Farm-to-Table Desserts book by chef Lei Shishak who grew up in rural Pennsylvania, I jumped at the offer to let my blog friends know about this new book with 80 seasonal, organic recipes. Go back to the earth, back to basics whenever you can. Back to a time when it was easy to find whole, chemical-free foods in your own community, to support local farmers. Lei demonstrates how baking with locally sourced, organic ingredients is so satisfying. This book is divided by seasons which I love since I try to use local ingredients at their prime. 

I made her Rhubarb Cardamon Cake which was lovely. "The texture and shape of this cake is similar to a pound cake, but what makes it so much more is the gorgeous red sweet-tart rhubarb on top and the hidden layers of soft rhubarb in the middle. This cake is lightly flavored with cardamon, ginger and orange liquor."

Ooh, what is in that mini Courtly Check loaf is a lavender poppyseed mini tea loaf that is the perfect size for two of us. It's from a gift set that comes with soap, lotion and a mini baking dish.  MacKenzie- Childs entered a regional-based collaboration with Beekman 1802 from Upstate NY. The "Beekman Boys" Josh and Brent were at MKC and we popped in to see them.  I have been to the Beekman Farm which is used for goat milk soap and cheese production. These are a couple perks of living in Central New York. Don't ask me in the winter why we live here. 

You may recall that in 2012 the "boys" won $1 million on the CBS show "The Amazing Race". They invested the money in the business. I found out about them several years ago when they had their own TV show on Planet Green and later on the Cooking Channel. They worked with Martha Stewart at one time.

I rarely make a pie because we can't eat more than two slices, so my sisters and nieces and I are enjoying the mini pies from the Breville pie maker that I dusted off. I bought it in 2012, and am enjoying it again. All it took was La Table de Nana to post a pic on Instagram to jog my memory. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Peonies....Something you should know

They are so lovely in vases around the home. Celebrating the peonies is something we do.  
For the last few years, I  have stored peony buds in the refrigerator for a month, and brought them out for a Fourth of July celebration. I found the instructions at Boreal Farms. If you are interested, here is information on how to store peony buds to be used at a later date. It's almost peony season here in New York!!!!

"Commercial cut flower operations pick their peony buds and can successfully store them for up to three months. This practice allows them to extend the marketing season as the peony bloom period is short. The home gardener or small producer can also save their flowers for a later occasion but because the home refrigerator typically cools to a range of 2-4 C , as opposed to the commercial 0 C, the storage time frame is reduced to two to three weeks. Not all peony flowers are the same though, some varieties have a longer vase life and store better than others but almost all will hold a few days in the vase after storage. The peony buds are stored dry, packaged in plastic, and placed flat on the shelves of the refrigerator. Alternately they can be stored upright in buckets with a few inches of water. When storing dry, remove almost all of the leaves as they tend to produce too much moisture when bagged resulting in the buds rotting. Bunch the stems together and place in a plastic bag, any bag will do but the two gallon Ziploc work well, place them flat on the shelves of the refrigerator. Moisture is the key to successful storage, too wet and they mold. Check them periodically, if there is moisture build-up open the bag to vent or place paper towels in the bottom and remove and replace them when they get wet. Upon removal from storage don’t worry if the blossoms look wilted and the cut ends are dry. Re-cut the stems to expose clean fresh tissue and place upright in a bucket containing warm water. I allow at least 24 hours for opening especially if the flowers are wanted to decorate a special event."

Thank you for stopping by!  I am joining Foodie Friday and Everything Else. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Run For The Roses

A few years ago, I posted this tasty Run for the Roses pie that I made for a Derby dinner we attended at our friend's home. They have a huge TV (we have never had one) which is great for watching the Kentucky Derby. I actually enjoyed watching the race, and we all chose our horses that we wanted to win.  Our dinner group is hosting  another Derby day this year, and I was asked to bring this special pie for what is perhaps the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports".

To celebrate the Run for the Roses, you'll need a pie crust, eggs, unsalted butter, sugar, flour, pecans, chocolate chips and bourbon whiskey.  Instead of the 1/4 cup of bourbon whiskey that the recipe called for, I used 2 TB and decreased the sugar to 3/4 cup.

A hat is believed to bring luck to the jockeys, horses and your bets. This is my hat that I made and will be wearing (again). 
Joe's hat :-)
And if you must, you could wear this Vineyard Vines shirt with The Mint Julep recipe for a mere $55. We saw this at the designer outlets in Manchester Village, VT.

Have you listened to Dan Fogelberg's song.... Run For The Roses? I have a special place in my heart for horses that race. My aunt and uncle have raced horses for a living for over 50 years, and their two sons also race at Vernon Downs. They take such good care of their horses, and even in their 80's now, they still go to the barn every day until noon. When we were children, they would leave us tickets at the "Will Call" at the track, and we thought we were pretty special having family that raced horses. LOL  If their horse won first place, we were invited into the winners circle for the photo. The good ole days.

If you'd like to sing along, here are the lyrics :-) Youtube

Born in the valley
And raised in the trees
Of Western Kentucky
On wobbly knees
With Mama beside you
To help you along
You'll soon be a growing up strong

All long lazy mornings
In pastures of green
The sun on your withers
The wind in your mane
Could never prepare you
For what lied ahead
The run for the roses so red

And it's run for the roses
As fast as you can
Your fate is delivered
Your moment's at hand
It's the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it's high time you joined in the dance
It's high time you joined in the dance

From sire to sire
It's born in the blood
The fire of a mare
And the strength of a stud
It's breeding and it's training
And it's something unknown
That drives you and carries you home

And it's run for the roses
As fast as you can
Your fate is delivered
Your moment's at hand
It's the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it's high time you joined in the dance
It's high time you joined in the dance


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Roasted Chicken with Maple-Sage Brine

Each spring, we love taking drives and seeing the many maple farms in action during the six to eight week season. (Our area has a LOT of maple trees) To cook with maple for the health benefits and antioxidants, use this maple conversion guideline to help you substitute sugar in any recipe.

1 cup sugar = 1 cup maple syrup and reduce other liquids in recipe by 1/2 cup or 1 cup maple granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and reduce other liquids in recipe by 1/2 cup or 1 cup and 1 tablespoon maple granulated sugar.

One of my favorite ways to use maple syrup is to brine a whole three pound chicken in a mixture of water, salt, maple syrup and fresh sage. It's one of my favorite ways to roast a whole chicken. 

Roasted Chicken with Maple-Sage Brine
1 whole 3 lb. chicken
1/2 cup maple syrup (or more if you desire)
1/2 cup salt
1/2 bunch fresh sage
Water (enough to submerge the chicken) 

Mix syrup, salt and 1 cup of water to dissolve. Put chicken in a large bowl, and pour water/salt/maple mixture over the chicken. Add enough water to cover chicken completely in the brine.

Leave chicken in brine for at least eight, and up to 24 hours. Remove from brine and pat dry.

Lightly brush chicken with olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until thigh reaches 165 degrees or juices run clear.

I serve with wild rice and a salad. 

I could drink the entire bottle of maple syrup....just sayin.

Thanks for stopping by! I am joining Foodie Friday.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Beautiful April


It's been a fun-filled April. Birthday celebrations, locating gorgeous Rananculus plants at Lowe's, attending the Mackenzie-Childs warehouse sale in Union Springs, delivering a sweet bunny to a friend that needed some cheer, chatting at the lake with friends, getting ready for an Easter celebration at my sister Diane's house and hanging out with our Sweet Xavier who just turned one. 

Love to all!
Happy Easter!