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Posts from — May 2010

as American as…pie

Way back in March when I started the limoncello process, I knew I wanted to make this pie. It will be the ending to our Memorial Day dinner. Apple pie may be America’s pie, but this can’t be beat in the summer. It’s pretty, cool, delicious and refreshing… all-American for sure!

I learned an awesome technique for “applying” the meringue to the top of the pie from one of my favorite and most inspirational blogs, Zoe Bakes. Click here to see Zoe’s original step by step instruction with amazing photos. It actually made my mouth drop open when I first saw this gorgeous cake back in January.

I’ve found another fantastic recipe using the sweet Italian liqueur – a cheesecake square recipe from the ever beautiful and talented Giada De Laurentiis.  Feel free to go to www.foodnetwork.com and make it yourself, or wait until I post the recipe here, which will  be soon, because I am already craving another limoncello masterpiece.

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May 31, 2010   1 Comment

long weekend cocktails

Tomorrow, the previously long-promised limoncello dessert recipe will appear!  In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a couple limoncello cocktail recipes to tide you over and enhance the long holiday weekend.

As for me – I am still trying to catch up from the exceedingly relaxing and lazy vacation. After spending a week at an all inclusive beach resort where we had our own butler to fulfill our every wish, it’s been an adjustment getting back into the swing of it. On top of that, summer kid’s class begin on Tuesday, so I’ve been turning over the kitchen and grocery shopping like crazy for the last couple days. I really could use a little cocktail for myself! Above is one last picture from our magical week – dinner at the teppanyaki style Japanese restaurant.  Aw, good times!

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May 30, 2010   No Comments

golden bounty

Upon returning from our luxurious week in Turks & Caicos, I was welcomed home by a sweet golden bounty of yellow teardrop cherry tomatoes. I generally go out each morning and pick the ripe little gems, so I have never had an opportunity to see how many the one plant could produce in a week. Turns out the answer is about 1 pound! Just enough to make a wonderful tart. I sometimes like to use a 9-inch square tart pan in the place of a round, especially when using the tart as an hor d’oeuvres or appetizer.  The slices also act as a delicious and beautiful addition to a salad served with a mustard-shallot vinaigrette. I ended up with a little extra dough, so I make a mini tart and baked it along side the large one, it was browned and ready about 3 minutes sooner.

Pictured above is the garden bounty and a few souvenirs from the island, including a bottle of Jamaican rum our butler, Minto, gave to Connor on his birthday (the legal drinking age on Turks is 18), so we’ll save it for a couple of years… when he turns 21…

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May 29, 2010   1 Comment

Finito – limoncello

The long wait is finally over!  It’s been 80 days! Today is THE day that we can finally finish making our limoncello and reap the rewards of our patience! Once again, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you have missed a post or two.  The first appeared on March 8th when we began the process of making homemade limoncello. The second occurred on April 17th when we completed the second step, so if you haven’t been following along, sorry! But really it’s not too late, you can just go back to those two posts and begin anew, and you too will have your own limoncello…ready to use…. on about…. August 14th!

CLICK HERE for Step 1

CLICK HERE for Step 2

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May 26, 2010   No Comments

happy birthday baby boy!

Today is my baby’s 19th birthday! We’re spending it in Turks & Caicos on our family vacation. Our suite includes butler service and our butlers, Minto and Ellen, made the day extra special. While we were out getting spa treatments, they hooked up our room with a full blown party.

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May 24, 2010   1 Comment

naturally sweet

It’s the second day of “operation refrigerator clean-out”. Today I found a bag of parsnips I purchased at the Scottsdale Farmer’s Market from the McClendon’s Select booth 2 weeks ago.  I bought them with the thought that my boys might like to use them for their Mother’s Day dinner, but the boys had other plans for the vegetable course. It actually didn’t surprise me, in my opinion parsnips are one of the most underrated root vegetables. For example; if you search for potato recipes on epicurious.com, over 2100 entries come up. The search for carrot brings forward nearly 1600 recipes.  And for parsnips – a mere 209 entries.  That’s not right! Like potatoes and carrots, parsnips are a root vegetable. And a delicious one at that, they are related to carrots,  and they resemble carrots, but have a paler, light tan peel. Until the potato arrived from the New World, parsnips were the root vegetables of choice in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Parsnips are naturally sweet and can be boiled, roasted, pureed, or used in stews, casseroles, and soups.  Additionally, they are rich in potassium and are a good source of dietary fiber.  So, I give you this recipe as I give out props to parsnips!

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May 19, 2010   1 Comment

the big clean out

Les Petites Gourmettes summer kids classes are exactly two weeks away. Aside from being a bit behind on typing up approximately 85 recipes needed for the five sessions, I also have got to get my refrigerators and freezers cleaned out so there is room for the impending flood of food needed.  If you were to drop by and take a peek my kitchen, you might think I’m prepared for the next big pandemic. My goal is to not purchase anything besides fresh produce and milk between now and May 28, which is the day I will do the first “big shop” for summer classes. Although my bank account and husband will be happy to hear this, Costco and Trader Joe’s stock may take a bit of a hit!

The first thing I noticed in the freeze that needed to go were two big New York strip steaks and a lone flank steak (originally purchased in a Costco 3-pack). Additionally, there was a chunk of Pepper Jack cheese,  some almost wilting cilantro, and a partial container of frozen roasted chili peppers in the fridge. Hey, this is going to be easy after all! Obviously, this application will work on just about any protein, from beef to pork or chicken to a firm fish or shrimp.

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May 18, 2010   No Comments

oldie but goodie

I developed this recipe about a dozen years ago. It’s been featured in two cookbooks, FamilyFun Cooking with Kids and Reflections Under the Sun, and I will be making it on Channel 12 NBC Valley Dish with Tram Mai next month (4:30 PM, Wednesday, June 3rd). The thing I love about it is how quickly it comes together and how, with just a itty bitty bit of planning, you can get it on the table in about 10 minutes. How is that possible? Make the marinate in the morning before you head out the door, (it literally takes less then 5 minutes to do) throw in the chicken, cover and refrigerate. When you come home, get the water for the pasta boiling while you drain the peppers and sun-dried tomatoes and stem/string the peas (or purchase them already stringed in the bagged lettuce area of your supermarket), steam or blanch the peas in the “pasta water” – before you add the pasta to it. Once you throw the pasta in the salted water, you get busy browning the chicken – and by the time you’re done reducing the sauce and heating it all through, the pasta will be ready – hopefully you’ve gotten one of the kids to set the table, because dinner is ready!

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May 17, 2010   3 Comments

quick appetizer or dinner

If you are wondering -Yes, blue was the required apparel color

Graduation was wonderful! We stayed at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, which was beautiful. Had a celebratory dinner at J Bar after the big event, which was beyond delicious. After dinner we went back to the girls’ house for a dessert party, which was the perfect way to end the night. Then the next day, we were able to spend a relaxing morning with our graduate at the resort pool and then had a fun lunch at Frog & Firkin (a University of Arizona hang-out) before heading back to Phoenix.  All in all – a momentous and memorable weekend!  To keep with the theme of relaxation and ease, here’s an “easy-breezy” and versatile dish that can be used as an impressive appetizer or a quick dinner. To make it a meal, just toss with cooked linguini or spaghetti and add garlic bread.

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May 16, 2010   No Comments

this trifle is not trivial

Proud! That is what I am today! My precious baby girl graduates from the University of Arizona today with a Journalism major and Creative Writing minor. She has been a hard-working dedicated student ever since kindergarten 17 years ago. Heck, since her “mini-threes” days in preschool! So yeah, I am a proud braggart mom, and I will not apologize for that, at least not today!

After the ceremonies, Dave and I are taking Marissa, Alberto (boyfriend), Grandpa Gene (my dad), and Connor (treasured baby brother) out to dinner to J Bar. You may recall that I posted about the amazing nachos we had there earlier this month(May 2). Well Marissa has been craving them ever since reading that post, and whatever she wants, she gets today!

After dinner, we’ll be heading back to her house where she and her four beautiful roomies (see picture below for the proof of said beauty!) are hosting a dessert party for all their families. The girls requested I make a trifle they tasted back in October that was posted here.  I changed it up a bit for the occasion. The lemon curd is now a lemon-cherry curd and there is a fabulous addition – cream cheese filling. Expect more mama boasting and pictures tomorrow!

Marissa, Kaley, Kelsey, Paige, and Petra

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May 14, 2010   1 Comment