Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Blog Tech's House

 With the wedding looming in front of us, we have been spiffing up The Blog Tech's house.  They will have lots of visitors. His roses are about to open and his front porch will be draped in beautiful blooms.

 His patio has become the favorite place for he and his fiance to sit and sip their coffee each morning.

 The wisteria keeps the patio much cooler under the pergola.

They eat brunch on the table under the pergola.
And they have planted their first garden. I can't wait for them to pick their first tomatoes.                                                          
This is a nice shady area for them to sit in.
Another view of the raised bed.  The copper tree is actually a sprinkler.  Water shoots out of all the branches.
Another little seating area and a bird bath.

 I placed this stature in the garden years ago and when someone told me she looked like Mary, I instantly glued a pentagram on her chest. No Mary's here!

 These roses are blooming on their front arch.

 It's fun to sit on the front porch and watch all the people walk by.

 It's a cute little place and perfect for them.

I thought I would show you my Mock Orange blooming in my driveway.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Happy Memorial Day!  If you are making corn on the cob for your meal today, you might want to try this recipe.
 Peel your corn and preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Grate butter over all the ears. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt.  I also sprinkled it with some garlic salt.

 Roast it for about 40 minutes turning it a couple times with tongs to get it evenly singed.

Roasting it like this condenses the flavor.  You don't need to add anything else to it, it's perfectly seasoned.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What's Blooming?

As the sun came up this morning I was out front checking to see what is blooming.  I figured there must be a lot flowering right now because my porches and patio are covered in pollen.  Teddy and I both have bad allergies.
 The flowers are gone from my tree peonies and the little crowns are forming.  When these split open and show their berries, Fall is on the way!

I took a peak through the snake knot gate.                                                                                                                                     
All the rhododendrons are in bloom.
 This one is about 20 feet high.

 My Japanese lilac is blooming.  You can see the humidity in this photo.

 These roses popped up from the roots of an old rose on my arbor.  The ones on the arbor are 'New Dawn' so I am not sure what these are.

 I planted this clematis to train it on the arch over the gate.

I have this one growing on the other side entwined with roses.  These are covered in buds and will be putting on quite a show shortly.
These 'ladies mantels' have been planted here for about 15 years and suddenly became gigantic.  I am guessing it is time to divide them?  It's a jungle out there!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tuna cakes

I think I stared down too much terrible tuna noodle casserole as a child because I have a problem with canned tuna.  I like it in a good tuna salad but beyond that, I have always been squeamish about it.  My daughter requested something light for her lunch the other day and I didn't have much in my coffers.  So, I made this recipe up and it blew everyone out of their loafers.
 Dump 1 cup of panko in a mixing bowl and add 1/3 cup of mayo (not miracle whip).  Add 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup of minced celery, 3/4 cup of minced onion, 1/2 cup of diced red pepper and 1 egg.  Add 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning,  1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, S&P, 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional) and I added a sprinkling of Cajun seasoning, also optional.  Mix in 2 cans of drained tuna.  Mix this thoroughly.

 Form the mixture into patties. I got 8 large 1 inch thick cakes. A tip for forming the cakes:  cut the top and bottom off of the tuna can.  Place the can on waxed paper.  Spoon some of the mixture into the bottomless can and tamp it down using the lid.  Push it out using the lid and you lift the can.  This makes a compact cake which holds together when you cook it.

 Pan fry them in a bit of butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes on each side.  They should be crisp and golden.

 Make sure you cook them until they are crisp.

Drain them on paper towels.  As you can see they really are not oily at all.  You can eat these plain or on buns or even cold right out of the fridge.  I'm not naming names on how I know this.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Celebration Rolls

My daughter requested these to take to work today.  They are some of the best rolls I make.                                                         
 The day before you make the rolls, make the starter.


1 1/4 cups of bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup of cool water

Mix this together. It will be stiff. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 24 hours.

To make the rolls:

Pour 1 cup of water into your mixer bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast.  Add all of the starter. Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Knead until you have a nice smooth dough. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Brush it with melted butter.

I missed a pic but sprinkle the rectangle with grated cheese.  I used Provolone, Fontina and Paranno.  Use whatever you like.  I also added a layer of Jambon Serrano.  You don't have to add meat but if you do, use what you like.  These are very good made with chicken and cheddar.  Roll the rectangle into a log.

Slice the log into 12 pieces and place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Spread the tops open a bit and brush them with melted butter.

Bake them at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes until they turn golden.

Cool them on a rack.

This is my daughters favorite part.  I bake them on a slice of sandwich sized pepperoni.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cake Fail

 I had a terribly frustrating baking day yesterday.  I had lots of things to bake, one of which was the Kentucky Butter Cake I wanted to send to DC with my future DIL for her friends.

 I baked this cake the first time in the mini bee hive pans and 2/3 of the way through the recipe, the cakes all fell.  I was shocked.  I've made this cake many times and it always turns out perfect.  I thought and thought about what I could have done wrong.  Were my eggs too big?  Did I forget to add the flour?  Had my baking powder expired.  No, No and No.  I made the cake 3 times and each time I had the same outcome.  After the third time I finally quit and decided to run to the store and buy new baking powder.  It was the only explanation I could come up with.

Finally, in the middle of the store it hit me....it was the flour!  I had grabbed a bag of White Lily Flour and it was not strong enough to hold up to this cake.  Sheese!  I sure can be dumb sometimes!  Why it wasn't the first thing I thought of I do not know.  Too much baking at one time and I just wasn't thinking.  So, always keep in mind, all flours are not created equal!  Learn from my mistake.  It is one I will never make again.  BTW...I made the cakes early this morning and they came out perfectly.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Everything Gumbo

I love gumbo.  It might be my favorite food.  And when I make gumbo, I put everything I like in it. Why not, right?
 Start by making a roux.  The roux is made using equal parts of flour and oil.  I used 2 cups of each because I was making a big ol' batch of gumbo.

 Dice the holy trinity of Cajun food; celery, onions and green peppers.

 You need some good smoky sausage.  I used andouille and kielbasa.  I always have some in my freezer.

 Slice some okra.  I love okra especially in gumbo.

 Cook the roux over medium heat.

 Keep whisking so it doesn't burn.  You can't use burned roux.  There is just no fixing it.

 See the chestnut color of the roux?  That is the color you want. As soon as it turns that color, turn the heat off and dump in the vegetables.

 Mix it thoroughly to coat all of the vegetables.

 Add some thyme, oregano, granulated garlic and salt and pepper.

 Add about 6 cups of chicken stock, homemade if possible.  I added some bouillon too.Cook over medium heat until it begins to thicken.

 Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and some hot sauce.  I don't make my gumbo too spicy.  I offer hot sauce and let everyone add their own amount of heat.

 I ended up adding more frozen stock.  Add stock until you have the right consistency which should be slightly thick.

Then start adding anything you like.  I roasted some chicken thighs and cut them into cubes and added them.
 Then I added a can of lump crab meat.

And I threw in 2 pounds of frozen shrimp.

 And crab legs...gotta add crab legs!  Yum!  Serve it with a scoop of rice.