Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flour Sack Towels

I just finished embroidering this set of owl dish towels. There are seven in the set, each belonging to a day of the week. I ordered a bunch of different hot iron transfers online. Aunt Martha's are my favorite, because she has such a wide variety and they are all so old fashioned. Bundle them up with some baker's string and you have yourself a perfect hostess or shower gift.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spicy Cheese Crisps

These spicy cheese crisps are a perfect marriage of a cracker and a cookie. They're butter and salt all in one bite. A friend gave me the recipe years ago, and I love to bake them for parties because they're always a crowd pleaser. Yesterday I took them to a birthday party. The cayenne pepper gives them a little kick, you can adjust the amount you add depending on how spicy you want them.

1 cup flour
3/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup softened butter

In a medium bowl mix flour, salt, and cayenne pepper together. Add cheese and butter. Work with hands until dough forms. Transfer to wax paper, form a 1 1/2 inch log, and rollup. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400. Slice 1/4 inch thick, arrange 1 inch apart and bake for about 15 minutes.

My Latest Obsession = Vintage Typewriters

Look what arrived in the mail yesterday! I found this 1950's Super Smith-Corona Typewriter on Ebay. I cant wait to start typing letters to friends and family the old-fashioned way.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shrimp Po' Boys

I made these Po' Boys last night for dinner, adapted from a recipe I found in Cooking Light. For a side dish I prepared a crunchy coleslaw which complimented the sandwiches nicely. I'll definitely be making this meal again. It would be perfect for a picnic. Also, I love to say "Po' Boy", it makes me smile for some reason!

Ingredients (serves 2)
1/4 cup reduced fat mayo
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon spicy cocktail sauce
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 demi baguettes
romaine lettuce
1 tomato, sliced

Whisk the mayo, shallot, capers, and coctail sauce in a small bowl. Combine the shrimp and Cajun seasoning in another bowl. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil in the pan and swirl to coat. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side, or until done. Slice and scoop your baguettes (it leaves more room for the shrimp). Spread each sandwich with the mayo mixture and pile shrimp, lettuce, and tomotoes on top.

For the coleslaw:
Combine 2 cups shredded green cabbage and 1 shredded carrot. In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayo and 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar. Dress the veggies and toss well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I picked up these Dahlias on my way home from work tonight. The vase is an old cigar tin that my husband and I found at an antique store in upstate New York. I love how geometric these flowers are.

Monday, July 20, 2009

And for dessert....

I decided to bake a peach and blueberry cobbler. This recipe is super easy and requires little prep. It serves 4.

15 ounces blueberries
2 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
cooking spray
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of salt

1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a pie dish with cooking spray. Toss the filling ingredients gently in the pie dish. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with two knives. Add half-and-half and knead until the dough is moist. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto the fruit mixture. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Mini Parmesan Toasts

In lieu of serving my gazpacho with croutons tonight, I decided to make these crispy parmesan toasts.

1 baguette
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. Thinly slice the baguette and spread on baking sheet. Drizzle bread with olive oil, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toasts are brown and crispy.

Gazpacho Two Ways

I love to eat gazpacho in the summertime. Its so fresh and healthy, and brings back many fond memories of living and traveling in Spain over the years. I've recently been on a quest to create a perfect pot of gazpacho, and I think I finally nailed it. In addition to a traditional red gazpacho, I'm also including a recipe for a creamy white version. When I was a teenager I spent my summers with family friends in Andalucia. My dear friend and second mother, Mati, made a delicious white gazpacho called Ajo Blanco. She knew it was my favorite, and would prepare it for me often. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago. Although I'm sure my version below is nowhere near as tasty as Mati's was, I bet she would be proud of her American daughter's attempt at Ajo Blanco.

Traditional Red Gazpacho (serves 4)

1 cucumber
1 red bell pepper
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
2 minced garlic cloves
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion. Process each vegetable in a food processor for a couple seconds. Be careful not to overprocess if you like your gazpacho chunky. Combine veggies in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. I like to leave mine in the refrigerator all day as it allows the flavors to develop.

White Gazpacho (serves 4)

1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets
1/4 cup half and half
2 slices crustless bread
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
1 medium cucumber
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
sliced almonds for garnish

Cut the cucumber in half, peel one half and chop into small pieces. Boil a pot of salted water and cook the cauliflower for 8 minutes. Rinse well under cold water, then puree in a food processor. Meanwhile, in a blender combine 1 1/4 cups water, half and half, bread, garlic, vinegar, shallot, chopped cucumber, and olive oil. Add the cauliflower puree and blend until creamy. Season with salt and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with chopped almonds and peel of reserved cucumber.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Tonight I made homemade pesto for dinner. In the summertime I love to eat fresh veggies with my pasta. I tend to shy away from pesto because of all the oil and garlic it contains, but this recipe is actually quite light. Its especially tasty if you buy fresh refrigerated pasta. The flavor doesn't compare to dry pasta, and it cooks much quicker. This recipe serves 4, and only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

Pesto Ingredients:
3/4 cup oil soaked sun-dried tomato halves, drained
handful of basil leaves
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 minced garlic clove
dash of salt
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Cook 9 ounces of pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Whisk the pesto paste and your cooking liquid together. Add to pasta, toss well to coat. Garnish with 2 ounces of feta. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cheese Souffle

I've always been intimidated by the idea of baking a souffle. However, I recently decided it was time to face my demons. With a little coaching from my mom, I successfully baked my very first cheese souffle.

6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
a pinch of cayenne
1 sprig of thyme
4 eggs
4 ounces goat cheese

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk the milk in, little by little. Season the bechamel with salt, pepper, cayenne, and thyme. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the bechamel. Add the goat cheese. Stir and taste for salt. It should be a teensy bit too salty. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 1 quart souffle dish with 1 tablespoon butter. White the egg whites into moist firm peaks. Stir one third of the whites into the souffle base. Then gently fold the base into the rest of the egg whites. Pour the mixture into the buttered dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until puffed up and golden. Serve immediately, or you will see it deflate before your eyes!