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Patriot Main Course

This is the final recipe from my Red, White & Blue holiday cooking class at Les Gourmettes. The summer provides three excellent chances to get together to celebrate our country; Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Invite friends over and enjoy!

Patriot Picnic

Image via Country Living

The ingredient list for this chicken dish is lengthy, but please don’t let that scare you off. The marinade keeps the chicken juicy and is put together the night before.

The grill only needs to be manned for a few minutes, since the chicken is only “marked” on it… it is cooked through in the oven. This is a serious plus in Phoenix! The hottest 4th of July on record happened in 1989 when it reached 118°F. Manning a grill in that heat – no thank you! But if you live in a more moderate climate and you’d prefer to use the grill to cook the chicken through, that works too.

The BBQ sauce is sweet and tangy and is equally delicious used with shrimp, beef, or pork. It is an absolute delight.

I doubled the recipe for class, so you’ll notice I had to use two zip-lock bags to marinate in – the single recipe needs only one.

Red White and Blue Picnic

Image via Country Living

Patriot Picnic Menu

Barbecued Chicken with Blueberry Bourbon Sauce
Succotash Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing
Creamy Dijon & Dill Potato Salad
Root Beer Baked Beans
Red, White, & Blue Trifle

succotash salad

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May 19, 2013   1 Comment

Patriotic Trifle

Berry Trifle

This is the dessert I made for the last class of my 3-week cooking series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. The semester ended last night – it is officially summer for me. No more classes until September.

Since I made this during class, I don’t have any step-by-step photos for you, but the recipe is straight forward.

Flag Trifle

This is the perfect dessert for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or honestly for any day of the week this summer. Enjoy!

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May 16, 2013   5 Comments

first course

The table before dinner…

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… and during dinner.

party people

We started with Rosé champagne and a toast to the birthday girl.

Peggy’s brother, Mark, made the first toast – and her brother, Vince, said grace.

As we enjoyed our first course salad – many of the guests toasted sweet Peggy. When Peggy got up to speak… well, there wasn’t a dry eye at the table.

peggyplusthree

Peggy and her gorgeous kids; clockwise – Peggy, Stevo, Samme, and Natalie.

quinofruitsalad

Quinoa Salad with Baby Greens, Summer Fruit, and Herbs

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March 1, 2013   5 Comments

wheat berries from the farm

Another weekly haul from my CSA – another recipe to go with it. In case you forgot, CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture group who comes together to purchase fresh farm produce and products from local farms. The CSA I belong to gets its items from Crooked Sky Farms and this week, one of the items in my basket was a bag of fresh wheat berries.

What is a wheat berry?  A wheat berry is the entire wheat kernel, minus the hull, composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheat berries have a tan to reddish color. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture. When wheat berries are milled, whole-wheat flour is what you end up with.

Have you had wheat berries before? Have you cooked with them? I’d previously eaten wheat berries but I hadn’t used them in my kitchen yet. Now I have, with delicious results. Enjoy!

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September 24, 2012   1 Comment

Blueberry-Vodka Lemonade

If you made your blueberry vodka yesterday – then today you are ready to enjoy a tall refreshing and very pretty glass of blueberry-vodka lemonade.  Oh, and you’ll be so very happy you did – it’ll cool you down and chill you out, all at once.

This is what the blueberry and raspberry vodkas looked like when they were done macerating. Be sure and reserve the berries after you strain the vodka – you’re gonna want to use them as garnish.

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June 11, 2012   No Comments

knee deep

I am nearly buried in cooking classes at the moment, so I only have a couple minutes to slap up a few photos and a couple recipes – if you can call them recipes. They are more like quick and super easy ideas for tasty bits… almost too easy to even label “easy breezy”!

A few students are missing from this photo. One was home sick, another was late because she was coming from lacrosse practice, yet another was just running late, and so on. We start at 10:30 sharp, because there is a lot to do and it can’t wait. So this is a glimpse of what it looks like at the very start of class – when the students are just getting underway. Trash cans are empty, counters are relatively clear, the floor is still rather clean, and my two assistants are observing, rather than washing, drying, and well, basically “assisting”.

The gentlemen in the forefront are mixing up bread dough, for English muffin bread. My assistants, Connor and Troy, are waiting for something to do. The young lady in the orange shirt is frying up bacon for the Bacon Strip Pancakes, the two on the right are starting on a batch of Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and the young lady in the center, at the island, is working on a batch of granola.

For our breakfast themed meal yesterday, one of the dishes we made was English muffin bread with quick homemade strawberry jam – here is the jam simmering away. You could use a potato masher to crush the berries, but donning gloves and using your hands is so much more fun!

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June 6, 2012   1 Comment

the definition of summer

Can you tell that summer is weighing hot and heavy on my mind? The last few posts have been Gazpacho, Panzanella Salad, Peach Pizza, Baba Ghanoush, Mojitos, etc. 

I know that for many of you, summer does not begin until June 21 (actually June 20th is officially the first day of summer this year – don’t ask me why).  But here in the Arizona desert, summer hit on the first 100 degree day, which was April 21st this year.  Yes, a full two months before it’s “official”.  And yes, that sucks royally! Today’s forecasted high temp is 108 degrees! UGGGGG!!!

But I can’t deny that I do love summer foods; tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, plums, radishes, watermelon, cherries, cucumbers, eggplant, corn, basil, and, maybe most of all… berries! 

“Boo” to 100+ Degree Days!
“Hip Hip Hooray” for Summer Produce!

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May 21, 2012   3 Comments

… and now a break from our regularly scheduled program

We are taking a one day break from our “Take Your Lunch to Work Week” so that I can put up a recipe I made last night for the first night of my 3 week cooking class series at Les Gourmettes.  I want my students to have all four of the links to the homemade versions of several components of this beautiful salad, at their fingertips, and not have to search for them.

The salad includes lemon curd, vanilla extract, limoncello, and granola – all items that can be store-bought or made from scratch. Mind you, while the vanilla extract and limoncello are easy to make, both take time to ferment, so if you’re craving this salad and want to have it NOW, buy those two items for the time being. But also get them going so the next time you just HAVE to have it, you’ll be armed and ready.

Finally, remember that any one of the four would make the perfect gift. Any lucky recipients would love you for life if you handed them a bottle or jar of homemade lemon curd, vanilla extract, limoncello, or granola. At least I know that I would!

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May 3, 2012   4 Comments

Bundt

How about a little Bundt pan history?

In 1950 Nordic Ware invented the Bundt® Pan; a ring-shaped pan with fluted sides.   The pan sold somewhat slowly until the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest winner used the little-known Bundt® Pan for her Tunnel of Fudge cake recipe. This prompted a mad rush for the pans, causing them to surpass the tin Jell-O mold to become the most-sold pan in the United States. Since their introduction, more than 50 million Bundt pans have been sold by Nordic Ware.

Oh, and by the way, National Bundt Pan Day is November 15th.  And do you remember the scene in the 2002 movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the mother of the groom-to-be comes to the home of the mother of the bride-to-be and presents to you a Bundt cake? Still makes me smile, HERE IS A LINK to a grainy video from You Tube.

This super moist yogurt cake is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. So simple to put together and pop in the oven… seriously delish.

FYI: I used a decorative sunflower Bundt pan in place of the traditional Bundt that has the tube in the center, so it took about 20 minutes longer to cook than this recipe states.

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February 4, 2012   No Comments

everyone loves pie!

This is the final recipe from the grand lobster bake I hosted a week and a half ago.

First off, a few disclaimers. The photo above and 2 more in the body of the recipe (you will easily spot them!) are not my own, but from an article in Fine Cooking. This recipe is inspired by the recipe in that article, created by the renowned baker and cookbook author, Rose Levy Beranbaum.  The reason for the snatched photos – yeah, I didn’t take enough while assembling the pie and when I served it at the lobster bake, I was in such a rush, I didn’t get a quality photo of a sliced piece either. No matter, this is one incredible pie~

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February 1, 2012   3 Comments