Monday, July 28, 2014

Walking in Pemberton & A Dinner Revisit

  Saturday stayed grey and I should have taken that nap I was wanting. If it could go wrong it did. Sunday was only slightly better and that is just because I knew it was a Murphy's law kind of day and did only what I had to.
  I slipped away Sunday afternoon and took a walk with my camera in a little town called Pemberton. 

There are the usual beautiful old buildings.

 A creek that we have kayaked many times. 

A lovely old cemetery that was so very peaceful to walk through. Walking in cemeteries has always brought me a calming peace like no other place. Is that strange?

 There is a wonderful antique shop where I came across a boat load of Fiesta Ware.

 The bowl I covet is a little pricey and I would rather a different color so leaving it on the shelf wasn't that hard.

 I saw my first cream soup bowl. Everyone seems to go nuts for this bowl. Cobalt blue is a beautiful color for the soup bowl. I would have liked to have brought it home but I was a good girl and left it on the shelf.

 The turtles sunning themselves were to cute not to take a minute to picture. I loved how the bigger turtle clowned for the camera before he jumped the log and swam away.

 Among all the big beautiful old homes and buildings I found the cutest porch I have ever seen. It actually boarders on art in my mind. They even made a sweet little flower garden in the sidewalk that was artful too.

 Directly across the street from that porch is a bed and breakfast that looks like it would be fun to stay in. It would be a great chance to see inside one of those big old beautiful homes. I love the whole look of this place, including the street lamp in front of the B&B.

 After that wonderfully relaxing walk I was pretty sure I had left my bad or no luck weekend behind me. It seemed that way all through dinner and into the evening. It seemed that way as I turned in for bed. It seemed that way right up until the first crack of thunder jolted me out of a sound sleep and my bed just in time to see in the lightening's glare. Did I mention Sunday was beautiful sunny blue skies and big fluffy white clouds. Well it was and on days like that I like opening my sun roof as I am driving around. Are you seeing where this is going. Well if your vision has a jammie clad women armed with lots and lots of towels charging out the door in the pouring rain, thunder and lightening then you are on the right track. My car is all dried out and looking good now in the light of day.I thank God for that crack of thunder because it rained all night long and it rained hard.Lets hope that's all Murphy's law has in store for me.
   " What Was Dinner" Today I decided to go back in my files and revisit a dish that was worth repeating. Instead of rewriting the recipe I figured I wrote it so well the first time I would just share it as I wrote it in the first place.
Burgers and Beer that would be the title of last nights dinner. Using a dark stout beer and frozen french onion soup I try a new twist with my classic meat cake recipe.
   To start I mix together 1 egg, 1 lb ground meat,1/4 cup milk and my seasonings Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder,dried basil,dried Oregano, nutmeg,allspice and cardamom. I then make extra thick patties and place them in a hot oven safe skillet. Don't mash them down with your spatula just let them cook untouched until browned flip once and let that side brown untouched as well.

I then removed the burgers from the pan. I added a med sliced onion and a cup give or take of sliced mushrooms,cooked til the onion was soft and translucent . I degazed the pan with 8 oz of Guinness stout from a can and let that cook about 5 minutes, then  I added the frozen soup defrosting it first, about a cup. I turned the oven to 425 when I started cooking the burgers on the stove.After letting the beer,soup and meat drippings cook together for about 5 minutes I removed the pan from the heat and added my beef patties back into the pan I covered the pan tightly with foil and placed the skillet into the oven lowering the oven temperature  to 375 set the timer for 30 minutes and went and wrote yesterdays blog.  
 When the timer went of I removed the foil and let everything continue to cook another 30 minutes.My sides were simple and good. Bill was bored yesterday and had gone foraging coming home with fresh picked  asparagus so that was a no brainer, I steamed the fresh veggies with butter and lemon till the asparagus was just tender. The lemon smells so good as it wafts around the kitchen.Boiled potatoes rounds off this meal perfectly.The kitchen smells so good and I am drawn back in time to the happy childhood memories of dinner and fun.

I normally make meat cakes on the stove top with a mushroom gravy and while it is always very good cooked like that I will be using beer and the oven method from here on out. The Texture was beyond words, it was every thing and I mean everything you ever want from a meat cake. Moist, velvety and full of taste.         
                 Well I am hungry now so off to the kitchen I go to whip up yet another amazing dinner!     

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nothing & Dinner

 Good Saturday morning to you. It is grey and cool here today and some what quiet after three days with Madeline. Yes three fun filled busy days. My camera never came out of it's bag and we only left the house and yard when we had to,but we were still busy little bees running races, picking vegetables, rolling on the floor laughing, and dancing. Always dancing even we are walking she is dancing. 
  This year I am not going to attend the Philadelphia Folk Festival. The first time in at least 20 years I won't be there. It must be weighing on my mind a little because for the past few night my dreams have centered around the fest and my inability to get there. I am always running trying to get there and the fest just gets farther and farther away. I wake up so exhausted after this dream and last night was no different. This morning all I can think about is how inviting this grey cool weather is for a napping. My house says no nap and so does the garden but boy I would much rather be napping. 
  As my title suggest I got nothing new or exciting to write about. Just a little peek at my everyday uneventful happy life.
 " What Was Dinner " One of the times Madeline and I needed to leave the house was to go to Dzia's cousins house to pick zucchini from his garden. He had some different verities from what I grew and I was excited to try some.

 For this dinner I tried the zucchini he called a Brice. This is also called a round zucchini, no matter what name you put to it you will have to agree it is delicious. I cut the zucchini in half and stuffed it. I knew from the get go I was going to stuff this little baby I just wasn't sure how. I was juggling two ideas around in my head. In the end I picked traditional stuffing with the addition of curry powder to the seasoning topped with cheese. 

  This is how I made the zucchini 
  1 round zucchini cut in half from stem to bottom
4 cups dry bread cubes
1 egg beaten
3/4 liquid such as broth
2 stalk celery finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon each
fresh dried sage
fresh dried basil
fresh dried oregano
1 or 2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
 Turn on the grill or oven and heat them up. Remove the seeds from the zucchini and place flesh side down on a baking dish. Place in hot oven or grill and let cook until about 1/2 way cooked.( I didn't do this and it took too long to cook) Melt butter in a skillet and add onion, celery, and garlic cook until tender and translucent. Add spices and herbs and mix together. Add liquid and simmer. Mix beaten egg into the bread cubes in a large bowl. Stuff each half of zucchini with stuffing mixture. Heap it on. There will be left over stuffing. Place squash in baking dish and place in a hot oven or grill and bake until squash is completely tender. About 30 minutes. Add the cheese about half way through the cooking.

  This was so so good and made a great side dish. I have one more Brice and I am going to try stuffing it with my other idea this week.
 Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Walk Around The Yard & Dinner

 Wednesday is looking all bright and beautiful. Madeline comes today and I am all ready to play. My chores are done the garden tended and my post is rolling nicely out of my head. Like I said I am ready.
  Yesterday evening I was looking out the window at my colorful beautiful yard and realized I hadn't taken a walk with my camera in a long while. I don't like taking it out when I am doing yard work or in the garden so I have been more without my camera than with. Realizing this I decided to change that and go for a walk.
  The setting sun was just perfect dancing on the flowers and plants lighting them up like jewels in the sand. Every where you look there are waves and waves of color and the yard is filled with the sweet scent of Star Gazers and roses.

 I played with different focus points and angles. I tried to catch and use the setting sun to my advantage.

 I am more then pleased with my results. I had a very hard time picking my selection today. I am even more proud to say that all the photos you are looking at today are untouched. No editing what so ever.

 I love love love my camera. Thank you Sweet Dzia for the best Christmas present ever.
  The garden is doing so well and producing some very good vegetables. The cucumbers, egg plant, and zucchini have been plentiful and tasty.

 With so much coming in at once and wanting to enjoy it all fresh I have been enjoying the challenge of finding different ways to serve everything. 
Now it looks like the tomatoes are starting to turn red and about to add another wonderful taste to my table. 
 " What Was Dinner "  Well I did just say I was using my garden bounty and looking for different ways to serve them. Well I found a nice tasty way to use my zucchini and keep it on the light and healthy side.

 I didn't find the recipe on line or in a cook book, instead I stood in my kitchen and worked it out in my head. I call it Couscous and Zucchini with a lemon butter sauce. I am going to share the recipe but keep in mind that my measurements suit my family's taste and you should feel free to adjust things to suit your family's taste.

1 cup Couscous
vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 stick butter
2 small carrots sliced on an angle
1 celery stalk finely chopped
1 medium to large green zucchini sliced in moon shapes an inch thick
1 medium to large yellow zucchini sliced in moon shape an inch thick
12 leaves of lemon or sweet basil chopped
3 teaspoons lemon pepper
salt to taste
3 green onion chopped
1/2 stick butter
shake or 2 of lemon pepper
 Cook couscous as directed using the broth.Add basil to couscous once it is cooked and sitting. use a little olive oil to help keep the couscous from clumping. In a large nonstick skillet melt 1/2 stick butter be careful don't burn it, add Lemon pepper, celery and carrot to the pan. Saute until starting to get tender, add the zucchini and saute making sure all vegetables get coated with the butter. Cook to just tender and add the couscous and green onions. Mix up everything together and remove from heat. Cut butter into patties and scatter on top of couscous mixture, sprinkle butter with lemon pepper cover until butter melts. Give a final stir and serve warm.

  The light lemon flavor was a nice addition to the zucchini and the couscous turned the vegetables into comfort food.
  Happy Wednesday everyone! Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wilmington, The Wedding, & Dinner

 It was a beautiful weekend. Full of sun shine and fun. I spent Saturday morning in the garden and getting the house in order and packing our over night bag. I smiled and sang my way through all the chores and before I knew it I was done and we were on the road.
  Wilmington Delaware is an hours ride south of us and truth be told not a place we would ever have thought of as a travel destination. If it weren't for the wedding reception we were attending, the Hotel DuPont and Wilmington would still be unknown to us. We arrived at the hotel a few hours before the reception and checked in. Once we were dressed and ready we took a short walk around the area to check it out.

 What caught our attention first and foremost was how clean the city was and how empty. There was no one on the streets and sidewalks.  No cars no people. Well a few but not what you expect in a city. All the shops and stores were closed and it wasn't even 5 :00 in the evening yet. There didn't seem to be tourist walking about or getting dinner. There were restaurants but they didn't seemed to be doing any business and some didn't appear to be open. Maybe Wilmington comes to life after 6:00. I don't know because once we stepped back in the hotel we didn't come back out again until mid morning. In the morning after a awesome brunch I took a little stroll and got a few pictures.

 Once again it was like the city was locked down tight and no one was home. 
     The strangest and some what startling thing happened Sunday morning. I took a picture of a big beautiful church that had no people in it except one lone soul walking up the steps.

 No Sunday service seemed to be happening at all. As we are leaving the city to come home I asked Dzia to stop at a corner coffee shop I spotted so I can get a coke for the ride home. The sign on the door said open for business, I push the door open and walk in. There is some sort of bible study going on at the first table and few other tables I notice are full and no one has a coffee or other drinks. I don't give it all that much thought and walk over to the soda fridge and grab a bottle. A lady walks up to me and says excuse me but this is church and we don't sell anything on Sunday. I say okay put the soda back and head for the door. Now I am already a little taken a back by this because there was no sign or anything to let a stranger know that on Sunday this is not a coffee shop. I was really surprised when I get to the door my path is blocked and I am being invited to join a table. I smile and say no thank you I am just traveling through and wanted a soda. The lady still didn't move but instead once again invites me to join a table and she will get me water. I say NO THANK YOU and push my way past her and get my self back in the car. I was so flustered I couldn't even tell Dzia what had just happened and why I was unsettled. I kind of just babbled something stupid. We do eventually find me a soda while getting a little more view of this empty empty city. I wonder where the people live because we never saw houses or apartment buildings. I saw a few windows I think might have been apartments above the shops but I saw less than a dozen of them.

 Really a strange place. Beautiful but strange. 
  The wedding was just absolutely stunning. The bride and groom were beautiful and handsome, the dancing enjoyable to watch, the food was spectacular. It was indeed a joyful celebration. Sorry for the lack of wedding photos but I was having trouble getting the settings right for the light in the room and the photographer I was standing next to suggested that it was because my camera sucked. I don't agree but really didn't want to fuss any more so I put my camera away and enjoyed the party. I see why the Bride and Groom picked the Hotel DuPont as the venue. 

This hotel is glamorous beyond words. Our room was grand. We had a lovely view, a comfortable bed, a large luxurious bath tub, and nice sitting area for enjoying our morning caffeine.The bell boys and valet parking weren't hard to take either.

 As nice as the rooms were the lobby and ballrooms were even better. Every thing was ornate and opulent.

 Nothing in this hotel is low key, and they manage to make it all work together elegantly making everyone feel regal and special. The staff matches the hotels elegance  with their friendly, and efficient attention to each and every guest. While the city itself is not one I would like to revisit, I certainly wouldn't mind revisiting the Hotel DuPont. 
  " What Was Dinner " When we got home Sunday afternoon I couldn't do anything other then sit on the couch and not move. Tired is an understatement. I slept like a champ in that king sized perfectly firm hotel bed but I was still tired when we got home. I did manage to walk out back and look at the garden. Our neighbor and friend Tom stepped over to the garden and asked what we were doing for dinner. Without missing a beat I said coming to your house. Then it dawned on me to ask whats for dinner.

 Yep that's right sea food, not just seafood but the kind that everything goes in one bowl and is mixed together. That meant I couldn't even eat around the seafood. I brought some Johnsonville Brats for myself and was happy with them and dessert. I have seen Paella made on cooking and traveling shows but never seen it made in person. There are a lot of steps to the dish.

 The end result is very pretty and from the way everyone scarfed it down I'd have to say tasty too. I will give this a try some day without the seafood, or since the seafood goes on last I may make half and half so everyone gets to enjoy. I asked Tom for his recipe but like most good cooks he just does it, nothing is written down, there are no measurements he just knows when it is right. So I went looking on the internet and found a dozen different recipes for Paella. I picked the closet to what I saw Tom make last night.
 This looks like a good party dish as well as a good healthy meal.
  Cheery Monday to you! Thank you for stopping by.