Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grenada-Day 2

Our second day of diving with Aquanuts was just as wonderful as the first day.  The crew that we have is absolutely amazing.  This is the most relaxed dive trip that I have ever been on in my 25 years of diving.  The crew takes care of everything!!  They even take care of your wetsuits.  I have never been this pampered by a dive crew before.

Our first dive yesterday was another wreck called Shakem.  This wreck was a ship that picked up building supplies from Trinidad to bring back to Grenada.  They overloaded the ship with cement bars, blocks and rods.  The weight shifted and that was all she wrote.  This is one of the most intact shipwrecks I have seen.


We also came across a shovelnose lobster.  I had never seen one before.  You can see why lobster are sometimes called the cockroaches of the sea.


Our second dive was called Escape.  It is part of the same reef system that we explored on Day 1. 


It is a healthy, colorful reef with lots of small marine life.



A lot of shrimp hiding out on this dive.


Beauty everywhere you look.


How majestic is God's work!

We spent the remainder of the day around the pool, relaxing and reading.  I finished a novel I had been given and advanced copy of from The Book Club Cookbook for review.  I will be sharing that and the recipe it inspired shortly upon my return home.

The group we dive with is such a wonderful selection of personalities.  It is always an awesome time.  I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow.  See you then,






Pork and Green Chile Stew #KitchenMatrixCookingChallenge

We are still cooking Mexican in our Kitchen Matrix group this month.  This week Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, asked us to be inspired by the section for Mexican Soups.


Each Tuesday of 2018 we are making and sharing a recipe inspired by the Cookbook written by Mark Bittman.  Bittman's cookbook is more of a cooking guide than a hard and set recipe book.  


The recipe that inspired me was Bittman's Pork and Green Chile Stew.  It starts off having you roast and peel the chiles.  This method is the easiest that I have found to date.  Line a baking pan with foil and plop on your chiles.  Stick them in a hot oven until they blacken and fall into themselves.  Wrap them up in the same foil that they baked on and let them steam until they are cool enough to handle.  Peel and seed them under running water. 


The stew itself was very easy to make and impressively delicious.  This meal will become a regular in this household.  We could not get enough of it.

I pretty much followed Bittman's suggestions except that I started with pork stew meat and I allowed the stew to cook much longer.  I think stew needs a long slow braise.  I like my stew meat to be fork tender.  We served this up with warmed flour tortillas.  I think it would be delicious over rice too.



#kitchenmatrixcookingproject, #pork, #stew, #chiles, #onepotmeals, #onedishmeals, #braised, #Mexican,
Stew, Soups, One Pot Meals, Pork, Dinner
Mexican
Yield: 4 servings

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Pork and Green Chile Stew

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 3 hourtotal time: 3 hours and 20 mins
Tender chunks of pork, tomatoes and poblano peppers meld together to make a warm comforting dinner.

ingredients:

6 large Poblano Peppers
2 lbs. Pork stew meat
1 med. onion, cut into large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
salt to taste
Tortillas for serving, if desired

instructions:

Place the peppers onto a foil lined baking sheet.  Place in a preheated 450* oven for 30 minutes.  Turn peppers over to brown the other side and roast for another 30-40 minutes, until browned all over and falling into themselves.  Remove from oven, wrap and seal the foil over the peppers and allow to steam until cool enough to handle.  Remove the skins, seeds and stems under running water.  Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside.

Place a dutch oven over med high heat.  When pot is hot and the pork and onions.  Season with salt.  Cook and stir until pork juices evaporate and the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes.  Fill the tomato can with water and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and add the chopped chiles.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hrs.  Serve with warm tortillas, if desired.


notes

Adapted from The Kitchen Matrix Cookbook.
Created using The Recipes Generator



Please stop by and see what Mexican Soups the others are sharing.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Diving Grenada--Day 1


Grenada is a lovely island and our resort, True Blue Bay, is everything you could want.  Our rooms are lovely, the food is delicious and the service is excellent.  I will be posting photos and more about this wonderful resort in which we are staying later in the trip.

Today I want to share our diving photos from yesterday.  Our first dive was a wreck called Veronica.  The visibility wasn't great but it was a good spot for the divemasters to get to check out our group and learn our strengths and weaknesses.  Good divemasters always get to know their students in locations where they cannot cause too much damage before taking them to the better locations where buoyancy control and respect of the ocean is so important.


That is the ship in the backdrop, filled completely with cup corals.


We did find this guy who is camouflaged so well.


This beautiful Lady.


And this deceptively gorgeous but evil guy who is probably the reason we didn't see much else.


This green moray eel thought he had found a good hiding spot.


Our second dive was at a site called Northern Exposure.  Northern Exposure is part of a large, 6 mile long reef, that we will be exploring all week.  The visibility was much better and the sealife, while not prolific, was an improvement over the wreck.


This spotted moray eel popped out his head to say Hey.


This guy came out right before lunch just to make our stomachs grumble.


And some beauty to finish up Day 1 of Diving.

We all had lunch and a couple of drinks.  I went back to the room with the intent of grabbing my book and heading to the pool.  I woke up in time for dinner LOL.....



I always try to eat as much local food as I can while on vacation.  Dinner was Chicken Calaloo over a bed of roasted plantains.  It was delicious.  I was afraid I would have a hard time sleeping after that 2 hr. nap but not to worry.  Traveling caught up to me I guess.

We just got back from Day 2 of diving.  I am writing this while I wait for Frank to shower so we can have lunch.  See you all tomorrow with more photos.








Saturday, May 19, 2018

Celebrating the Warm Weather with Bordeaux #FrenchWinophiles

The French Winophiles are visiting the Bordeaux region of France this month.  We were blessed with a virtual tour guide, Gabriela of TEUWEN, who sent each of us some wonderful wines and supplied us with tons of wonderful information.  All opinions in this blog are completely my own.  I received no monetary compensation for this post.


The Cotes de Bordeaux region consists of five appellations, Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, Francs and Sainte-Foy.  Cotes is hillside in French.  The Bordeaux region is considerably larger than these 5 areas but for todays post we will concentrate on the Cotes de Bordeaux.


I was supplied with three bottles of wine for sampling purposes, two reds and one white.  I paired the white and one of the reds for this post.  I have yet to open the third bottle but will share my thoughts when I do. 

The Cotes de Bordeaux consists of mainly small, family run wineries and only make up 10% of the production from Bordeaux.  The clay/limestone soil make the perfect growing spot for these Merlot dominated wines, 97% of which are red.  This made me very excited to try the white Bordeaux.

Both of the wines that I'm sharing here today were young and drank very well.  This is characteristic of wines from this area, they are able to be enjoyed immediately but they also age well and can be kept for several years.


As I mentioned, I was very excited to try the White Bordeaux so that was the first bottle I opened to share with you today.  This bottle from Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours poured a beautiful golden color with green undertones.  You can visit Chateau Peybonhomme on Facebook.

Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours, is owned by the Hubert family, and is currently being ran by the 5th generation.  They run the largest biodynamic estate in the Cotes de Blaye.   This bottle is made 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon grapes.  It is very nicely priced at less than $20 a bottle.  

I paired it with Grilled Chicken Skewers, Grilled Asparagus and a Mango Rice Pilaf that I created to share with you today.  I wasn't sure how Mango Rice Pilaf would turn out, let alone how it would pair with this wine.  Let me tell you, this dish was so amazing and the pairing was perfection.  The creamy sweetness of the mango balanced  out the zing often found in Sauv Blancs.


I was going to end this post with sharing just the White Bordeaux but then, for Mother's Day, my husband made dinner.  When he served up the Grilled Strip Steaks with my favorite sides of Grilled Asparagus, Sweet Potato and Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, he also opened the bottle of Chateau de Pitray.  This pairing also deserved some attention.

Chateau de Pitray has been owned by the same family for the past 600 years.  The grapes are grown herbicide free and are vat or barrel aged on the property.  This bottle of Premier Vin is available for less than $15 and tastes as if it would cost much more.  You can visit Chateau de Pitray on Facebook

A blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon made it a perfect pairing for the grilled steak.  I could easily see this becoming a regular pour in this household.  We are Cab drinkers normally and this was a wonderful wine, especially considering the affordability. 

This event is being hosted by Michelle of Rockin Red Blog.  You can read her preview post and are invited to join us for Twitter Chat today following #winophiles. I won't be there because I will be on a plane heading to Granada for a week long dive adventure.  YAY.....

I will be there in spirit though and I will be checking out what the others had to say about the Cotes de Bordeaux wines.  Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the articles.  You will find my recipe for the Mango Pilaf at the bottom of this post.

  • Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Côtes de Bordeaux pairings through Blaye, Cadillac & Castillon” 
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers “Exploring the Côtes de Bordeaux with Simple, Salty, Spicy Nibbles” 
  • David from Cooking Chat brings us “Cheesy Beef Casserole with Wine from Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Nicole from Somm’s Table explores “2 oz Pours: 5 Nights of BDX” 
  • Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog offers “Côtes de Bordeaux: Your Go-To For Affordable, Approachable Bordeaux”
  • Gwen from Wine Predator shares “Affordable French: Bordeaux and Burgers for #Winophiles” 
  • Rupal the Syrah Queen gives us “5 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Jill of L’Occasion offers a “Guide to the Wines of Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Lynn of Savor the Harvest shares “Côtes de Bordeaux: A Chateau Carsin Surprise” 
  • Jeff at FoodWineClick! shares “Drinking Tuesday Night Bordeaux” 
  • Liz Barrett of What’s In That Bottle helps us with “Get to Know Côtes de Bordeaux #Winophiles” 
  • Lauren from The Swirling Dervish offers “Côtes de Bordeaux: Why It Should Be on Your Wine Shopping List” 
  • Amber of Wine Travel Eats gives us “Salmanazar – Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Michelle of Rockin Red Blog will be sharing “Drinking Bordeaux in Blue Jeans” 


Yield: 4 servings

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Mango Pilaf

Tender rice pilaf studded with creamy sweet mango bits makes the perfect accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 40 mins

ingredients:

1 c. long grain white rice
1 t. olive oil
1/2 small onion diced
1/2 c. white wine
1 c. vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and diced

instructions

Heat oil in skillet over med high heat.  Add rice and onion, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook and stir until rice is translucent but not browned.  Add the wine, cook and stir until evaporated.  Add the stock, bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, adding more stock or water,  if needed.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and stir in mango before serving.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Spinach Tortellini Soup #SoupSaturdaySwappers

Welcome to Soup Saturday Swappers, a little group I started, where we share a soup/stew each month based on a theme chosen by one of our members.

This month's theme, "Let's Go Meatless", was chosen by Paula of The Saucy Southerner.  We could make any kind of soup we wanted; chowder, creamy. brothy, chunky, bisque, stew as long as it contained no meat or meat broths.

We celebrate Meatless Mondays here on the Farm.  I also try to incorporate Meatless Meals several more times during the month.  It is so easy to get into the habit of only thinking of meat as your protein each meal, so I'm happy that Paula chose this theme to get me out of that rut.


This delicious and easy peasy soup is quick to make.  It is perfect for a weeknight meal, coming together in less than a half an hour using refrigerated, prepared cheese tortellini and canned goods from you pantry.


Like any good soup, the secret is layering of flavors.  Start out by doing a quick cook of carrots, celery and onion in olive oil until the veggies start to soften and become aromatic.


Add in the canned tomatoes and their juices.  Cook and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan.


Add in the vegetable broth, bring to a boil.  Cook until vegetables are tender.  About 10 minutes.


Add the tortellini and the spinach, reduce heat and cook until heated through and spinach is wilted., about 5 minutes.


Notice the difference in the color of the soup?  That is because when I went into the refrigerator for the tortellini and spinach I spied a container holding the remainders of the tomato soup (condensed mixed with milk) that the Little Miss had eaten for lunch the day before.  I grabbed it and added it to this soup.  It gave it a little more body and was very good.  You can absolutely do without it but if you want to stretch this soup, make it a little heartier and creamier, or happen to have leftover cream of tomato soup, by all means add it.



Make sure you stop by and see the other Meatless Creations being offered this week. You will find links to them all at the bottom of this post.

Interested in joining us on the third Saturday of June when we make Chowders?  Just leave your blog name and url in the comments section and I will send you an invitation.



Yield: 6 servings

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Spinach Tortellini Soup

This semi homemade soup is quick, easy and delicious. Perfect for a weeknight meal.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 30 mins

ingredients:

1 T. olive oil
2 carrots, scraped and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
1 (32 oz) container vegetable stock
3 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 (10 oz) pkg refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 (10 oz) can condensed tomato soup (if desired)
1 soup can of milik (if desired)

instructions

In large soup pot, heat olive oil over med high heat.  Add the carrots, onion and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and aromatic.  Add the garlic, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add the tomatoes and juices, cook and stir scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender.

Reduce the heat to med low.  Whisk together the condensed soup and milk, if using and add it to the pot, stirring to combine.  Add the tortellini and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until heated through.

notes

If you are adverse to condensed soup you could add another can of tomatoes and the milk for a creamier consistency.

This soup is delicious brothy as well so feel free to omit the milk altogether.  

I often add fresh zucchini or summer squash to this soup as well when it is in season.
Created using The Recipes Generator


More Meatless Soups and Stews


Friday, May 18, 2018

Crab Cake Po' Boys #FishFridayFoodies

Our theme this month for Fish Friday Foodies was chosen by Sue of Palatable Pastime.  Sue asked us to share a sandwich with any kind of fish or seafood.

I started Fish Friday Foodies as a way to get ideas to add more fish and seafood into our diets.  I never expected it to turn into such an amazing group of talented cooks who show up each and every month to share a recipe based on a theme chosen by whomever is hosting that month.

It is such great fun and has added tons of variety to our menus.  We love having new bloggers join us.  Should you be interested, please leave a comment on this post with your blog url so that I can send you an invitation.


I did a quick check of my recipe files to see what other fish sandwiches I have shared with you in the past.  I was surprised that I really haven't shared that many and those that I have are in the form of tacos.  

In fact, just last month I shared these Chimichurri Fish Tacos.  I have also shared Fish Tacos with a Mango Salsa and these Shrimp Tacos are from my very first Fish Fridays post when we first started in January of 2016.

I have also shared a Lobster Roll, Salmon Burgers and a Shrimp Louis Croissant.  I was surprised that I haven't shared a Tuna Melt yet.  I love Tuna Melts and I will be sharing one soon, I promise.  But not this month.  This month I am sharing this Crab Cake Po' Boy and Oh' Boy is it SCRUMPTIOUS!!


Tender, sweet crab claw meat is tossed with seasonings, veggies, and cheese, then fried to a crispy golden brown.

Hoagie Rolls are placed under the broiler to toast and then slathered with a homemade tarter sauce that has just a hint of horseradish.


A layer of shredded lettuce, a generous serving of the crab cakes and another helping of the tarter sauce makes for one delectable sandwich.


I can't wait to see what the others are sharing today.  You will find links to all of the great fish and seafood sandwiches at the bottom of this post.



#fishfridayfoodies, #crab, #crabcakes, #sandwiches, #tartarsauce,
seafood, sandwiches
Seafood
Yield: 2 sandwiches

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Crab Cake Po' Boy

prep time: 40 MINScook time: 10 MINStotal time: 50 mins
Tender delicious crab claw meat, tossed with seasonings and veggies before being lightly breaded and fried golden brown, are served up on toasted buns with a homemade tarter sauce that contains just a hint of horseradish.

ingredients:

1/4 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 t. Old Bay seasoning 
1 egg
small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. lemon juice
4 oz. crab claw meat, shelled and picked through
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 c. red pepper,  diced small
1 scallion, minced
1 slice whole wheat bread, pulsed to crumbs in a food processor
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
2 Hoagie Buns
Shredded Romaine Lettuce
1/2 c. Miracle Whip
2 T. sweet relish
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 t. prepared horseradish

instructions:

Whisk together the 1/4 cup Miracle Whip with the Old Bay seasoning, egg, crushed red pepper and lemon juice.  Gently stir in the crab meat, mozzarella cheese, red pepper and scallion.

Place half of the bread crumbs onto a baking sheet.  Form the crab mixture into balls of  6 equal portions.  Place the balls on top of the bread crumbs and cover with the remaining bread crumbs.  Press down to flatten into cakes.  Place in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour and up to 8 hrs.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Place the Hoagie buns under a broiler for a minute or two to toast.  

Combine the 1/2 c. Miracle Whip, relish, lemon and horseradish.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Spread some of the horseradish tarter sauce onto the bottom of the bun.  Cover with shredded lettuce.  Top with 3 of the crab cakes and more of the tarter sauce, to taste.

notes

This recipe adapted from one found in Cuisine at Home.
Created using The Recipes Generator





Thursday, May 17, 2018

Peach Bundt Cake with Cardamom Whipped Cream #BundtBakers

My friend, Sue of Palatable Pastime, is hosting Bundt Bakers this month.  She chose the theme Southern Cakes.

When I think Southern food my mind goes first to Catfish....that wouldn't make a very good cake though so I tossed that thought out of my mind. There is, of course, the ever popular Hummingbird Cake, which I have been wanting to try.  But I thought it might be too popular so I'm hoping there are other recipes for it shared today so that I can use one of them as inspiration for mine.

So then I started thinking about other foods that I consider Southern that would work in a cake. Cornbread, Pecans, Mint Juleps, Sweet Tea, Sweet Potatoes, Peaches......Hey!  Peaches!!  Ding, ding, ding....we got a winner!!!


I found this recipe from Strawberry Plum that I adapted for this event.  I loved that it had cardamom in it.  In fact, I loved it so much that I made a Cardamom Whipped Cream to top this cake instead of the glaze suggested.


Other ways that I made this recipe my own was by adding the juice of the lemon as well as the zest, replacing a bit of the sour cream. I also used slightly less amounts of the spices in the cake itself as I was adding the cardamom to the topping.


Let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to finish cooling.


It smelled so dang delicious that I cut myself a piece and ate it warm without any cream.  It was amazing and would make a perfect breakfast with coffee in the morning.


When I served it up for guests as dessert, I included a bed of cardamom cream as well as a dollop on top.  And then I still had a request for more of the cream.  The cardamom and cream are a fantastic combination.

I almost didn't post with Bundt Bakers this month because we are leaving on vacation tomorrow and I was running short of time.  I happily squeezed this cake in on Wednesday morning before I had to leave for food pantry and I'm glad I did.  You will be too, when you try it.  You will find the printable recipe right after the links to the other Southern Delights being shared today.

Bundt Bakers

Southern Bundt Cakes

Come see what we have baked up for you this month!



#bundtbakers, #bundt, #peaches, #whippedcream, #cardamom, #ginger, #sourcream,
Dessert, Brunch
Southern American, Summer
Yield: 1 Bundt Cake

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Peach Bundt Cake with Cardamom Cream

prep time: 30 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 30 mins
This delicious cake is subtly spiced with cardamom and ginger and then graced with fresh diced peaches in each bite. The addition of cream that has been whipped and spiced with more cardamom is sure to make this a summertime favorite.

ingredients:

2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
3/4 t. ground cardamom
3/4 t. ground ginger
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c. sugar
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 t. vanilla
2/3 c. sour cream
3 lg. peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 pint heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 t. ground cardamom

instructions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger and cardamom.   Set aside.

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Mix in the vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and add 1/3 o f the flour mixture until just combined.  Mix in 1/3 cup of the sour cream and then another 1/3  of the flour.  Repeat with remaining sour cream and flour.  Batter will be thick.

Toss the peaches with a Tablespoon of flour and then stir them into the batter.  Spread into a bundt pan that has been treated with baking spray.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted removes cleanly.  Remove pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.  Turn cake out of pan onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.

In small bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream at med low speed until it begins to thicken.  Increase speed and add the cardamom, beating until light and fluffy.

Serve over the cake and pass any extra at the table.

notes

I prefer no sweetener in my whipped cream but feel free to add some powdered sugar if you like yours a little sweeter.
Created using The Recipes Generator




BundtBakers


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.