Hi food lovin’ friends– Just finished one of those “I can’t put it down” kinds of books–a mysterious set of characters and a dusty bookshop, set in 1050′s Barcelona. So good! Great fun to recognize locations in the book and made me think of our walk through the “Boqueria” market there last summer. All that beautiful bounty. I was wishing we had a a kitchen at hand to make use of all that gorgeous food. So we just took pics and had a few snacks along the way…
There were more beautiful cheeses than you can count– and my personal favorite– olives of every shape, color and size.
We passed eggs galore and that most Spanish of meats, “Jamon Iberico,” cured ham– love that salty, flavorful stuff!
Aisles of colorful candies in imaginative shapes and bins full of every kind of nut.
Tubs of spices, common and exotic, to scoop into little bags.
Icy counters were full of the bounty of the Mediterranean–fish, cockells, clams…
Lots of chances to snack… Laurel with “Cataluna on a stick,” a sample of the regions best charcuterie.
Through the market and out onto the streets of Barcelona to find dinner on a quiet plaza in the cool of the evening…
Hello all– Larry’s folks brought over an armful of bright lemons. They’ve been sitting on my counter, patiently waiting to be used all week. Actually I kind of loved them sitting there brightening things up, so cheerful in the corner by the stove. My friend Jenni advises to keep a lovely bowl of lemons in your fridge to greet you when you open the door.
So today I finally, I decided to put them to good use. And here they are–as pound cake. It’s triply delicious– lemony pound cake, doused in lemon syrup AND topped with a lemon glaze! Hope you like this one.
LEMON POPPY SEED POUND CAKE
for the cake:
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)*
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large lemons
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
for the syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
for the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. lemon juice
Grate the rind off of the two lemons and juice them. With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla, 2 tsp. of the lemon juice (save the rest), the grated lemon peel and poppy seeds. Next blend in the flour, baking powder and salt. Spoon the batter into a large 9″x 5″ loaf pan or two smaller pans and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until they are firm to the touch.
While they are baking make a syrup by mixing 1/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup lemon juice.
And put together the glaze made of 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tab. lemon juice.
As soon as the loaves come out of the oven douse them with the lemon syrup. Let them sit in the pan to cool and absorb all the syrup.
When they’ve cooled, put them on a pretty plate and drizzle the glaze over the top. Cut nice thick slabs of this lemony cake and serve it up with mugs of tea.
Hello friends– A while back Larry and I drove on down to Mozza, for a celebratory anniversary meal– The Crostini we nibbled on before dinner was the best! So I decided to try my hand at duplicating it. Cooked it up along with a pear & almond salad for a light dinner on a warm evening. It was crunchy, creamy, cheesy delicious!
CROSTINI WITH CREAMY BURRATA & CHARD
4 thick slices of sour dough bread
(or your favorite sturdy loaf)
4 large leaves of Swiss chard
2 tab. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. Burrata mozzarella creamed cheese
2 tab. pine nuts
2 green onions
Lightly toast the slices of sour dough bread. Then heat the olive oil in a pan. Drop in the Swiss chard and give it a couple shakes of garlic salt. Stir it in the pan just 1 or 2 minutes until it starts to wilt. Then take it off the heat. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over the bread slices. Cover them with the Swiss chard and top that with slices of the burrata cheese. Sprinkle on the pine nuts and pop the them all in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melty and the nuts brown a bit. Drop the green onion bits on top as you pull them out of the oven. Eat them up hot and gooey!
Hello all- I always am happy to drag out those Pilgrim stories at Thanksgiving to read to my third graders. People who gave up comforts and home to travel afar so they could find a place where they were free to truly worship God.
“pilgrim (pil’ grim) A person who journeys a long distance to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.”
And this morning I read:
“O Lord Almighty, my King and my God… Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on Pilgrimage.” – Psalm 84:4-5
My days are a pilgrimage, a journey by his strength, my heart set on coming into God’s sacred presence. I love the idea of life as a journey, a pilgrimage…
Hello you all– I know it’s not truly summer yet. But we did have a day that hit 100 degrees this week! And tonight we dragged the back yard old wooden table out of storage and had our first dinner under the maple trees with friends. It was an easy pot-lucky kind of meal– everyone walking in the front door with a bottle of wine and something to add to the table. We sat and ate and talked til well after dark. So somehow it just feels like summer.
SUMMER DINNER SALAD
1 head of red leaf lettuce
1 roasted chicken, deboned and chopped to polite little bites
1 box of strawberries, sliced
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of blackberries
2 kiwis, peeled and cut to chunks
4 apricots, seeded and cut into little pieces
1/2 cup blue cheese
1/2 cup roasted almonds
Layer this all on the biggest platter you have and set it out to share with friends…
DRESSING– We had two choices on the side:
Tarragon Dressing– 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar, 1 tab. sugar, a few shakes of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Shake it all together in a jar with a tight lid until it is emulsified.
Cilantro Lime Dressing- 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup unflavored yogurt, 1 tab. lime juice, 1 tsp. grated lime peel, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tab. mild vinegar, leaves of 1 bunch of cilantro, 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Just whip it all together in a blender or food processor for a pretty bright green dressing.
Here we are finishing p dinner before we tucked into Debbie’s cupcakes for dessert. Good friends and worthwhile conversation…
Hello there– We had friends for dinner last night out under the maple trees out in the yard. Seemed like the first night of summer talking through the evening. But when they all finally wandered home, I still needed to bake up something for “goodie day” at my school. (Teachers are notorious goodie aficionados). This recipe takes 10 minutes to drop in the oven (thanks to a box brownie mix*), but looks like it took you a good long while. Perfect for late night, want to get in bed baking…
CARAMEL COCONUT BROWNIES
1 large brownie mix (size for a 9″x 13″ pan)
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1 more egg
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
2 cups coconut
1 cup slices toasted almonds**
Make up the brownies according to the directions on the box (this particular box called for 2 eggs and 1/3 cup oil & 1/3 cup water). Scrape the batter into a 9″x 13″ pan sprayed with cooking spray. In another bowl, whisk the egg til it’s fluffy. Then stir in the caramel, coconut and almonds. Carefully spoon it over the brownie batter. Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let it cool a bit before you cut into it– so the brownies and topping will set up. Yummm.
*Brownie mixes, I love them. I do make a couple favorite brownies that are better made from scratch, but for your “I just need that rich chocolate layer and am in a hurry kind of brownie,” I think mixes are the best.
**sliced toasted almonds bagged up and ready to go at Trader Joe’s
Hi there– I’ll admit I’m a little envious. My mom is off visiting my sis in Lijiang and it’s left me wishing I could have tagged along. We were there last summer, wandering over canals and cobbled streets in the old town, sitting down to a plate of yak for lunch and sampling the green onion pancakes from street vendors… So I pulled up our travel pics- Here are a few:
The houses sit perched over winding canals connected by stone bridges and streets paved with huge blocks of stone.
Bicycle delivery men– the first is headed to a restaurant with his load of vegetables and a whole pig tied to the top. And right is the wagon full of blocks of coal used for heating.
Old gentlemen sit in the afternoon sun on the plaza and a friendly grandma lets me take her photo with her grand baby in the market.
Red buckets stand ready by the canal for the fire brigade in case of fire. And a jeweler plies his trade on an anvil in front of this shop.
Here’s my mom and my sister last summer on their way to the wet market, basket in hand. I hope you two are having a grand visit this time around as well. Wish I could drop in and spend a day wit you!