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Happy Independance Day!!

Patriotic Pugs

Patriotic Pugs courtesy google photo’s

 

Happy Holiday All!! I know many of you are from other countries and don’t celebrate this but thats ok, independance no matter where you are is a cause to celebrate. Every year I attend a 4th of July party at my friends but this year her husband is ill and the party was cancelled. He just got home from the hospital on Wednesday and is recuperating. I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and took it over to them with all the fixings last night along with a lemon meringue tart for dessert.

I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday with lots of delicious food and fun with family and friends.

P.S. Nsndo’s wheels will be here on Wednesday, so happy. That will be his independance day celebration, he will be free to stand and eat on his own for the first time in months.

Suzanne and Nando

Why it is important to watermark the photos on your blog

apuginthekitchen:

I thought this is a very useful and important post for everyone. We can all fall victim to the pilfering of our photo’s NOTE: skd made a change in the text and I tried to undo my reblog but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Please visit her site to see the change, follow this link 

Originally posted on Aromas and Flavors from my Kitchen:

wpid-screenshot_2015-06-26-05-02-22-1-1.png

A week ago, I was shocked to see this page on a popular website. The photo of samosas which has been conveniently posted alongside the ‘Tikka Samosa’ recipe is mine and taken from this blog.It was posted under the title Chicken and corn samosa on July 9,2014, the day when Germany held the World cup trophy after defeating Brazil in the finals. I had made the samosas to celebrate the victory because my family was rooting for Germany.

What infuriated me was instead of giving due credit (forget being decent enough to link it), they mention the source as Chef Jalal Haider. Chef Jalal haider is a celebrity in his own right and definitely doesn’t need to borrow some one else’s work. So, I thought it must have been a mistake and mailed him……No response.

Then I posted a polite comment on the pages (the picture was published on two pages and garnered…

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Spaghetti With Fantasy Sauce

Linguine with fantasy sauce

Linguine with fantasy sauce

I saw this recipe (see the recipe)  on Food52 and found it intriguing, Fantasy Sauce, with a name like that I expect a lot. The recipe looked very easy and quick, thats important to me right now, the ingredient list is in most pantries and refrigerators, so I decided I have to give it a try. BTW, for my vegetarian friends this would be equally delicious without the bacon, you could probably even make this vegan with some substitutions.

I did not have spaghetti but I did have linguine so I used that, I had the bacon, spinach, leeks and onions, wine, butter and cream. A short list of ingredients done very quickly.  First let me say I didn’t really pay close attention to nor measure everything, unless I am baking I tend not to measure. I did use 3 slices of bacon that I cut into bite size pieces, a small yellow onion and probably a cup of chopped leeks.  The recipe comes together quickly, the recipe calls for a handful of spinach I added more than that and it kind of disappeared, next time I make it I will use more spinach. Posie tells you to get your spaghetti done first.. well mine was cooking while my sauce was and the timing was perfect.

The dish is very tasty, it is reminiscent of a carbonara in flavor and I love that. I think it could easily be adapted to other ingredients and can be an elegant dish at a dinner party or an easy weeknight pasta supper.

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Pecan Brittle Ice Cream- Dairy Free For Fiesta Friday #74

Creamy and dairy free

Creamy and dairy free

I made this creamy non dairy ice cream for the latest contest at Food52, they are asking for our best recipe for non dairy frozen treats. This ice cream is so creamy and delicious you would never know it’s non dairy. I made homemade almond cream, same method as making almond milk but using less water so it’s thick and creamy using that for the custard base with a little corn starch to thicken. I wanted something similar to a pralines and cream, I love that flavor. This has to be dairy free so I made a dairy free pecan brittle using vegan butter, brown sugar and dark corn syrup, it hardened nicely almost like toffee, I chopped it finely and added to the ice cream. It really is delicious, you wouldn’t know it’s dairy free.

Since there is a party today, you know Fiesta Friday I thought this would be the perfect summertime treat to cool us all down. Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting the bash and to help her this week is Loretta @ Safari Of The Mind and Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking. You all can join the party, follow the link to Fiesta Friday (Angie) and join the fun.

Pecan Brittle Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

Almond Cream and quick and easy brittle:

  • 3 1/2 cups raw almonds
  • 3 cups filtered or spring water
  • pinch of salt
  • Quick Pecan Brittle
  • 2 tablespoons dairy free butter (I used earth balance)
  • 1/2 cup loose brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark corn syrup or golden syrup (use 3 if you want softer)
  • 3/4 cups pecans broken into pieces
  • generous pinch of sea salt
pecan brittle

pecan brittle

  1. Soak almonds overnight in spring or filtered water. Drain almonds after soaking, place in food processor with 3 cups water, salt and process. Strain through nut bag, cheese cloth or sieve. Refrigerate until ready to use. The almond cream will be quite thick the consistency of light cream.
  2. I did not use a candy thermometer for the brittle, Melt the butter in a small saucepan add the brown sugar and cook until the sugar is completely melted and its smooth, add the syrup and salt and pecans and cook on medium an additional five minutes stirring continuously. Line a small sheet pan with parchment or silpat and scrape the brittle onto it, spread as best you can, I pressed it flat with a doubled piece of parchment paper. Allow to cool, it will get hard, break into pieces and chop it into small fine pieces. Place in lidded container and store until ready to use.

Custard base and Making the ice cream:

  • 3 cups almond cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Add all the ingredients except for the vanilla into a heavy saucepan. Heat on medium high whisking constantly until custard becomes thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, add the vanilla. Pour into a heat proof container, cover with plastic wrap directly on the custard. Bring to room temperature and refrigerate over night.
  2. Make the ice cream according to manufacturers directions on your ice cream maker. When it’s sufficiently thick add the crushed/finely chopped brittle. Spoon into freezer container and freeze until it’s scoopable consistency.
Pecan brittle ice cream

Pecan brittle ice cream

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Nando’s Wheels A Backyard Redux And A No Recipe Crumble

Pets on wheels from Red Flyer Facebook site

Pets on wheels from Red Flyer Facebook site

I follow a blog Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog, Sharon who authors the blog is one of the sweetest most caring individuals I know, she cared for her sweet Sophie for many years and she is an inspiration.

Nando as many of you know who follow this blog is very old and has many health issues. The most recent is a degenerative disc disorder that has left his hind legs almost paralyzed. He can barely stand at times and falls continuously when he is trying to do his favorite thing in the world, eat. Recently Sharon posted on her blog information about a program that loans wheelchairs to handicapped pets. How brilliant is this idea, wheelchairs are very very expensive and for many it’s something that is unattainable. Harlan from Red Flyer, The Handicapped Pets Community initiated this great program to help pet parents obtain one of these wheelchairs at no cost, you only must return it when done.

I sent the wonderful people at Red Flyer Nando’s dimensions now I just wait for Nando’s wheelchair. It will make such a difference for him when he eats. He can no longer stand for more than a few seconds at a time while eating and because of this he has become discouraged and doesn’t eat as much. He is losing weight which is not good. I will post some photo’s when Nando gets his wheels. If any of you know of someone not using their pet wheelchair ask if they will donate to pets in need,  contact Harlan on Facebook use the link I provided in the previous paragraph.

Before

Before- weeds, way too many shrubbery

My Garden

I think I have mentioned before that I am not a gardener, don’t have a green thumb and systematically destroy almost every plant that I put in the good earth with exception of my roses which for some reason have defied the odds and are gorgeous and healthy and of course the many varieties of weeds that I can’t kill no matter how hard I try. It was pretty early for my weeds to grow so huge but they did so I put a message out on a neighborhood message board Next Door Clinton Hill asking if anyone knew someone who would clean up my backyard.  The good people at Root and Stalk answered my request, Jessica is the plant whisperer and she and her team came over to assess my mess. She was very kind and didn’t say what she probably thought about my lack of gardening prowess but she gave me some solutions that I really liked. Several of the excess shrubs were re-homed, she and her team also repositioned much of what I had planted to better spots in the garden. It really does pay to have an expert (if you are not one) do it right. We still have some finishing touches, some additional annuals and perennials to plant but already it is a huge improvement and I love having a backyard I can use. Now I will get a new grill and some additional seating and I’m set.

Problem #1- Weeds out of control huge overgrown ugly weeds. Jessica has planted ground cover, thinned out some of my overgrown shrubbery, dug some up and is giving them a new home somewhere else, I seriously over did it with shrubs. She planted some gorgeous pots of flowers, made a raised bed with my herbs and climbing hydrangea, planted perennials and annuals and my garden looks just beautiful. I had a problem with weeds in between my blue stone patio so they planted creeping thyme.

Problem #2- mosquitoes Well  I have a major mosquito problem, hundreds and thousands maybe millions of them and I refuse to use mosquito spray it’s poisonous  so I just didn’t use my  backyard starting the end of June until around Thanksgiving. Thats not acceptable. Jessica said to put fans in the back yard which I will do but there is already a huge improvement after she got rid of my weeds and multitude of shrubs. Almost finished planting

Almost finished planting

Pretty pots with flowers

Pretty pots with flowers

More flowers in pots

More flowers in pots

raised bed

raised bed with herbs and climbing hydrangea

Mixed Fruit Crumble

Mixed Fruit Crumble

I had some nectarines that I got at Food52 from Frog Hollow Farms, they are a once a year indulgence for me and boy are they delicious (I get 3 lb nectarines and 3 lbs peaches, seriously they are amazing). I ate what I could and the rest were getting too soft so I decided to make a crumble. I also had some frozen raspberries and blackberries that I got from the green market so I put them all together in a buttered 8×8 square pan. The crumble is simple, oats, spelt flour, pastry flour (ratio’s are equal parts oat and spelt and a smaller amount of pastry flour) butter approximately 2 oz (4 tbs), pinch of salt and about 1/4 cup brown sugar to taste. Mix it all up it should be crumbly but not dry, it should clump together. Butter your baking dish add the fruit and sprinkle with some sugar.  Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture, drizzle with a little honey and bake at 375 until browned and bubbly. Serve with heavy cream or ice cream. Delicious. NOTE: You don’t have to use spelt flour you can use any combination you like, sometimes I use barley and oats sometimes regular AP flour and oats, You can customize to your taste.

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Poached Pear Chocolate Puddings | Winter Menu | Dessert

apuginthekitchen:

Margot @gather and graze and the creative mind behind TDPC created this elegant and VERY delicious dessert. Pears poached in a lovely spiced liquid, and the pear is nestled in a chocolate cake batter and baked, serve this with double cream or ice cream. Imagine taking a bite of this……heavenly!!!

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

Poached Pear Chocolate Pudding | The Dinner Party CollectiveBy this stage of the Dinner Party you should be feeling totally relaxed, especially in the knowledge that your beautiful little desserts have been totally prepped and are almost ready to go. So sit back, enjoy the flowing conversation, have another sip of that gorgeous wine… the oven will do the rest of the work for you.

Poaching pears is such a lovely way of celebrating this seasonal winter fruit. The spices I’ve used in the poaching syrup are some of my personal favourites… though feel free to adapt as you wish. Cardamom, cloves, allspice, ginger and citrus peel all go wonderfully too. With a dollop of cream or ice cream, poached pears can be a delicious dessert in their own right, but by taking them that one step further by surrounding them in a rich dark chocolate pudding, it lifts them to new heights.

We truly hope you’ve enjoyed…

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Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | Winter Menu | Main Course

apuginthekitchen:

This dish is so elegant and sounds so delicious, amazing Sandra aka Lady Red Specs of Please Pass The Recipe really outdid herself. I will confess I have never had quail but seeing this makes me want to go find and make this I hope you all enjoy……

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | The Dinner Party Collective Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | Celeriac Puree | Grilled Treviso Radicchio

I resent being stuck in the kitchen while my friends enjoy good wine and spirited conversation at the dining table, so choosing to prepare delicious food that requires only a short amount of time to cook without compromise to the “wow” factor is paramount in my planning.

It’s nice to serve food that’s not dished up for family meals during the working week at a dinner party and once deboned, quail requires minimum last minute cooking.

Sandra

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Cremini Mushroom Soup | Winter Menu | Appetiser

apuginthekitchen:

Francesca, a friend and part of a dynamic team with her husband Stefano, I love her recipes and her writing and I love this soup. The soup is rich and full of mushroom flavor, this scream Fall/Winter folks, please enjoy…..

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

Cremini Mushroom Soup | The Dinner Party Collective Cremini Mushroom Soup

A mushroom soup is such a great dish to start your party with. It can be made ahead of time, it’s very easy to pull together and it gives your table that effortless and yet sophisticated touch that any dinner should have. The mushrooms’ delicious aroma pervades the air of your home and your guests immediately know that they are in for a very special treat.

This dish is the perfect starter that will help you set the tone of your dinner, creating that magical atmosphere (along with wine glasses and colorful cocktails, of course!) when your guests get to be cheerful and relaxed and have a good time.

Hope you and your guests will enjoy it as much as my family and friends do!

Francesca Xx

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The Winter Menu | June 2015

apuginthekitchen:

Take a look at this amazing menu and wine pairing for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere where it is currently Fall/Winter. A stellar lineup of food and wine comforting and delicious, enjoy everyone.

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

The Winter Menu | Southern Hemisphere | June 2015

Apéritif/Pre-Dinner Drink

Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Champagne or Crémant, France / Franciacorta DOCG or Trento DOC, Italy
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Tasmania Traditional Method Sparkling Wine, Australia / Méthode Cap Classique, South Africa

***********************************************************************

Appetiser/Starter (by Francesca)

Cremini Mushroom Soup

Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Barbera d’Asti or Barbera d’Alba, Italy
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Central Otago Pinot Noir, New Zealand

************************************************************************

Main Course (by Sandra)

Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes

Grilled Treviso Radicchio

Celeriac Purée

Wine- Northern Hemisphere: Left Bank Bordeaux (Médoc), France
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Barossa Valley GSM Blend, Australia

************************************************************************

Dessert (by Margot)

Poached Pear Chocolate Puddings

Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Banyuls, France / Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito, Italy
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Tawny Port, Australia

*************************************************************************

The full recipes for each of the three courses for this Winter-warming Menu, along with the Wine Pairings  (by Stefano) will be released over…

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Charelston

I want to post this piece my friend Emily wrote on her blog Em-i-lis regarding the senseless murder of Innocents in South Carolina. I am sure that you share the outrage and sadness at this senseless loss of life. This is a food blog and I generally stay away from “political” issues and concentrate on, well, food, but what happened in Charleston rips at the heart of our country and the laws that in my humble opinion need to change. I get it really I do, the right to bear arms is a constitutional right but we need laws in place that make it impossible or at least very hard for people to obtain these weapons.

Posted today

Charleston

Early this morning, I posted this message to my Facebook page: 

If anyone continues to feel that we need more relaxed gun laws in this country, I say to you that you are crazy. Slaughter and murder are happening all around. Let’s get our collective head out of our collective, fraidy-cat ass, and make some change. Holding #‎charleston in the light.

Twelve hours later, I concur.

I just don’t know what it’s going to take for our country to move on the issue of gun regulation, nor do I understand why we appear to be marching backwards in time towards an ugly past. Racism and guns are a combustible mix. They aren’t causal but the connections are clearly there.

Black Americans are “killed at twelve times the rate of people in other developed countries.” (Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight, 18 June 2015) If you want to see how we compare, read this piece from FiveThirtyEight that was published today. A sad comparison within is this: the homicide rate per 100,00 people for black Americans is 19.4; for white Americans it’s 2.5.

I am so angry and demoralized about the lack of government leadership on gun control. Columbine happened in 1999. Since, there have been more than 40 more school shootings, including that at Sandy Hook which killed more than 25 and seemed so horrific that I thought change might actually come.

In the meantime, there was the Aurora, CO, theater massacre, the Fort Hood disaster, Oakland, Santa Monica, as well as all the many individuals shot dead. 

Last year alone, there were “283 separate incidents in which four or more people were shot.” (Gary Younge, The Guardian, 18 June 2015)

Gun-regulation rhetoric grows louder but nothing happens. Citizens and government leaders who have no real idea what the Second Amendment was written to protect scream like feral beasts about their rights to bear arms. Instead of restricting where those arms can be brought, we expand their reach by allowing them in bars, churches, airports and college campuses. We enact bullshit legislation like Stand Your Ground and we elect racist assholes like Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

All of this serves as a hideous veil behind which killers hide and then get away. They are police officers who murder unarmed citizens and are then acquitted. They are bigoted punks who promote themselves to neighborhood guardians and shoot and/or report suspicious -read: “of color”- others in their midst. Some are mentally ill, but not all; some are just hateful and mean. They are racist and ignorant. They shouldn’t have guns in the first place.

More guns does not a civilized society make.

We watch again and again and again as the tears of mothers, fathers, children and friends are prayed for and then forgotten. We wring our hands in sympathy and outrage but when the dirt covers the coffins, our attention shifts. 

This is shameful. It is not leadership, and it is not compassion. It is immoral and cowardly and weak, and all who do not vociferously insist on change are culpable in the continuation of such unnecessary tragedy and inexcusable disregard. 

If we cannot simply say “NO MORE” after children are slaughtered and families are ripped apart and welcoming church congregations are shot up during a prayer group, then we are a pitifully impotent country. 

Not a day after Dylann Roof murdered nine black people (including three older than 70) at the Emanual A.M.E. church in Charleston, right wing pundits ignored the racial dimension and asserted that his rampage was an attack on faith. They asked whether pastors should be armed. And the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol building continued to fly high. 

I don’t understand how these images don’t haunt change into our leaders. I am outraged and heartbroken and ashamed. 

photo courtesy NY Daily News

photo courtesy NY Daily News

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