Friday, September 30, 2011

Daughter's, Feels Like Summer Again & Weekend Food!

" Food is our common ground, a universal experience". ~ James Beard

Last night after dinner my daughter's decided to bake a cake together. It was so much fun to hear them chatting and laughing away while they worked in the kitchen. My son was home too yet had little interest in the baking part. He did make an appearance when it was time to give it a taste.

It makes me happy that I've been able to pass on and share my love for baking with them. I hope it's something I continue to do and share with them for many years to come.

Today has felt like summer all over again so I spent the day outdoors as much as I could. I know the weather will turn cold soon enough.

I met a friend for lunch earlier then snuck down to Wood Neck Beach for a walk. I was the only one there, which was fun and a nice change from the busy summer days.

As for weekend food, I've been cooking on Friday's to have food and snacks on hand for the week-end. It's kind of nice because the kids are usually in and out and there's something ready for them to pull out and heat up. I made a large Pot Roast in the Crock-Pot and a Cranberry Apple Pie.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Intuitive Cooking, Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Tart & Chicken Pot Pie!

I love to pull out an old recipe that I've had for years and follow it to a T, because an old recipe evokes memories of other occasions, maybe even time with family and friends that we don't want to forget. And an old recipe promises it will be good, because we've used it many times before.
But I also love setting out to cook and bake by using my intuition. I like being creative in the kitchen and waiting to see what will emerge.
Last week I made the recipe I've had for years for Tortellini and Tomato Soup. But I didn't have sage, thyme or paprika on hand so I used cayenne pepper and lots of freshly chopped basil instead. It was delicious.
My oldest daughter asked if I would bake her a Chicken Pot Pie because she had one at a bakery recently and liked it. So, I made one up from scratch. The entire pie was gone within a single weekend. I made up my own version (simple and easy, perfect for a busy week-night).
As for the Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Tart, I made that for book-club last night and I just used a simple combination of sharp cheddar cheese and roasted red peppers on a flat sheet of puff pastry. Here is what I used to make the Chicken Pot Pie.
Super Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Take two pie crusts and place one on the bottom of a pie plate.
15 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups corn
1/2 cups of peas
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped garlic, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
tsp. sage
tsp. basil
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and diced fine
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until mixed well.
Pour into pie crust and cover with additional crust, fold over the edges.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Patti's Pumpkin Bread & Gifts from Friends!

It's a great day for baking. The weather is crisp and cool. When the feeling of summer fades it's fun to make more quiche, soups and breads.

There are a number of people in my life who stopped by to give me really special gifts this week to celebrate my birthday. I am so thankful for each and every one. And, my kids were especially good to me.

Among them is this beautiful bread tray a friend gave me as a gift. It's perfect for serving home made bread in.

I don't teach on Friday's which is a blessing because I have a chance to catch up around the house and get some baking done. Just in case you feel like baking this weekend here is my recipe for "Patti's Pumpkin Bread"--I got this recipe years ago as a gift from a friend of mine. Enjoy!

Patti's Pumpkin Bread

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can also put together your own combination of nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon)

1 tsp salt

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 (15 ounce can) pumpkin puree

1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 x5 inch loaf pans. Sift together the flour, powder, soda, salt and spice mixture and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture alternately with water. Divide batter evenly between the pans.

3. Bake for approximately 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Walk at South Cape Beach, Friends & Food!

We were blessed with amazing weather this past weekend. After Labor Day, I get to enjoy South Cape Beach again. It's less crowded and after the Summer season ends it's easier to find parking. I love to walk the path on the town side to Dead Neck trail out to the Jetty. A friend of mine took this photograph and I want to share it with you.

My birthday is tomorrow. And I'm feeling very blessed to have so many wonderful friends. I hosted a small get together at my house on saturday as a way to celebrate my birthday.

I made Avocado and Cheddar quesadilla's with fresh Pico de Gallo and a Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil salad with Balsamic vinaigrette.

I baked an apple pie for my kids on Sunday because there's been so many fresh apples at the store right now. It disappeared instantly.

I also baked a batch of Dreamy Island Cookies for my neighbor because I know those are her favorite and I wanted to thank her for a small favor she had done for me earlier last week. She called to say, "How do you make them so good?"

I love finding opportunities to cook and bake for people. It seems like such a simple but satisfying thing to do for someone else. Who doesn't like good food?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Savoring Summer!

Pictured Above, From Top: Sophia and Mom's Apple Pie, Coconut Cake & Celebration Cookies, View from Bike Ride to Seconsett Island, Sunset at Chappy Beach and S'mores on the Fire-Pit, back-yard.

And even though it was a hectic week of driving my kids back and forth to Football & Cross Country practice, not to mention getting my own classes ready for a new semester to begin..we've been savoring all the sights, taste's and smells of summer too.