Thursday, April 17, 2014

Making Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

The biggest hurdle was just getting the fresh cows milk~ this included a one hour drive.... but very well worth it!

Carefully stirring and adding the rennet at the proper time~blew the first batch! At 10$ a gallon, that hurts! Must read and follow directions very carefully! I could absolutely kick myself for reading too fast!

Added some fresh basil and parsley from my herb patch.

Final touch was adding some delicious balsamic vinegar and olive oil from some of the friends we visit while on my Tuscan tour.....all I needed for dinner tonight! So worth the drive and effort! There are tons of recipes on line~this recipe is from a class I took last week in Tampa. They are all so similar......

Friday, April 04, 2014

Pecan Meringue Torte

A family recipe from the Mumford side of the family.We certainly have had some great cooks- actually from both sides!  My daughter and her husband are joining in the ranks as well!  This is one of my favorites!

You can add any type of fresh fruit that you prefer. I used strawberries as they are still in season here in Florida. Raspberries are fabulous in this recipe!

The recipe is so easy~                                                        

1 cup of sugar, 4 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of almond extract, 1 cup of finely chopped pecans, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 cup of fresh fruit and powdered sugar for dusting after it is filled and assembled.

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar slowly. Add the vinegar and the almond extract. Continue beating until egg whites are very stiff.
 Butter and flour 2 8 inch cake pans. ( I also lined wax paper on the bottom of my pans for easy removal.)

Fold in the pecans gently into the whipped cream.Divide the cream mixture into 2 pans and smooth the filling out in the pans. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Let the meringues cool completely before removing from pans.

Whip the cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Fold in fruit and spread over the cooled meringue base. After adding whipped cream mixture, top with the remaining meringue. Press down firmly. Sprinkle with powered sugar. Cut in wedges and serve with some extra fruit on the side.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Bringing back the past

This is a photo I took seven years ago in the very early stages of my food blogging. This photo has always been one of my favorites, so simple and yet taking on the true form of the cabbage and its many uses along with hearty recipes. I took the picture outside on my patio, placing the cabbage on my grill cover. Imagine that! Instant back drop!

Today, however, I was inside my kitchen photographing as well as reading over a few recipes and came across a cabbage and mushroom stir-fry combination. It looked very easy and I liked the caloric count, practically nothing! No need to run to the grocery as I had the mushrooms and cabbage in the veggie bin. Mushrooms were ready to be used....and already sliced! I measured out two cups of mushrooms.

In this photo, I have coarsely chopped two cups of cabbage~not much effort here....

I used my large skillet and added three tablespoons of olive oil and a half teaspoon of chopped fresh garlic.The stir-fry process lasted about seven minutes. I like my veggies a bit crunchy, so it all depends on how tender you like yours as to how long you will need to cook the cabbage and mushrooms. Serve immediately while steaming hot!

There it is~it couldn't be easier ! Sometimes, less is more~very few ingredients for a delicious side, if you happen to like cabbage. Salt and pepper to taste. For a little zing, I sprinkled on some ground red pepper.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Loire Valley's Goat Cheese

I have been busy preparing a little cheese information for our next tour in France and thought I would introduce this truncated pyramid shape to my guests.
 Last week I was in Marky's, located in Miami and found one of my favorite goat cheese items for sale! This is produced by Fromagerie Jacquin, located in the Loire region. The family has been producing goat cheese for over sixty five years.  Two generations continue to keep this delicate tasting cheese in production with shipping connections all over the world. Fresh milk is collected thirty miles around the dairy from fifty local farms whose average herd is around one hundred and fifty goats. Remarkable passion and tradition, along with the highest level of quality control, keep the supplies coming to customers today, even in Florida!

The story begins, and there are several, about Napoleon Bonaparte having a dinner party one evening in the countryside with his interior minister, a man named Talleyrand. Napoleon comments on the tall pointed pyramid shape and mentioned to his friend it reminded him of his military campaign in Egypt  and this is what we see today. A more exciting version tells the story that Napoleon took out his sword and chopped off the tops of the cheese right there at dinner in a fit of rage. The sight of these little shapes brought back memories of his humiliation in battle. He was extremely angered at anything remotely connected with Egypt. Afterwards, cheese makers in France were required to create the shape as Napoleon demanded, no pointed tops! I tend to go with the latter~I think he was a sore loser.

Regardless about the origin of this story and how the cheese got the shape, these short pyramids have become a classic symbol, meaning chevre  and a delicious form of goat cheese.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A gift of apples means sauce!

Recently, my daughter and her husband had a quick get-away into the mountains of Georgia. For doggie sitting their new pup, Miss Lexie, I received  more apples than I knew what to do with~well, actually, I knew exactly what I would do when I saw my gift! I can not think of a better gift for a stuff!

You guessed it, applesauce!

If you ever wanted your home to smell like fall, just bake an apple pie or cook the apples down into a  sauce filled with spices and sweetness. That works every time. When the family gathers here for Thanksgiving, there is always an apple pie baking in the oven just to set the mood~it does work, every time.......

I used 5 pounds of apples, peeled and cored. I only had to add 1/4 of a cup of sugar because they really were quite sweet. I also added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar for color and taste, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1/2  teaspoon of apple pie spices. That was it!
 I  cooked the apples down for about 25 minutes, medium heat, stirring well and them used my potato masher rather than the processor to get the texture I like best. I enjoy applesauce chunky and soft!

There must be a hundred ways to make applesauce, but this one worked for me. Having everything on hand made it that much easier. Thanks warmed my heart and made my day!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Timing is everything in Tuscany!

A lecture and tasting in Balsamic Vinegars. We do several classes while on tour.

This was our group this fall. I can't tell you when we have had a more exciting and fun loving group. Robin, my associate, is in the white shirt. The guests are from all over the U.S. How very proud I was to be their leader this year! They loved discovering, learning and appreciated everything, especially about great wines and delicious foods! What is there not to love about this region!

Cooking class

Ready for the pot~soup time! Fagioli all'uccelletto con salsiccia all'origano e mandorle!

Making a fresh tomato sauce for our pasta. (Salsa di pomodoro a crudo) Yes, we cooked for a day!

Frittata  di zucchine e cipolle~ready for the oven

Simply a divine frittata with a splash of olive oil!

How fortunate to be able to be there to share in the harvest this year!

Ready for harvest!

Let me guess, your mouth is watering!

One of the small hilltop villages we visit while on tour.

Our favorite well known butcher friend, Dario, in his shop. Holding court, as usual! He is such a fine host!

The mornings were cool and nothing better than that smell of burning wood taking away the chill in homes ~the burning firewood was addicting. Honestly, it was hard to leave this year....counting the days until my next tour.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Going to a baby shower!

        Fun day preparing for a friends baby shower. Forgot how much fun it was to make cookies!